"Do not look back Sari. Take your grandma's hand and do not look back," Sari turned her young eyes to her grandfather's face. He looked so sad. She wanted to hug him, but instead she did as he asked and took her grandma's hand. They had been walking since morning. She was hot and thirsty and wanted to go home. She had forgotten to bring her dolly. When the soldiers had come and taken them her doll had been in the barn. That was two days ago. Poor dolly probably thought she was never coming back.
"Grams," she whispered softly so her grandfather would not hear. The last time she had talked he had yelled at her. "I am thirsty Grams."
She felt her grandmother's hand tighten around hers. "I know child, I know." Sari hung her head down and watched the marks her feet made in the sand for a few minutes before turning her head back to her grandmother. "When can we go home?" she asked. Her grandmother did not answer and Sari did not ask again. She had been asking for days when they could go home and no one had answered her.
"We are not going back home," her grandfather's voice said.
"Samuel," her grandmother said startled.
"She might as well know the truth," her grandfather stopped and turned to look at her. She and her grandmother both stopped and looked at him. "Sari, your mother broke the Temple laws," he spoke softly. Sari knew her mother had done something bad. Her grandfather told her the soldiers had taken her away and she was not going to be able to come back home. "As punishment for her crimes we have to live here now." Sari wasn't sure but she thought she saw a tear roll down her grandfather's cheek before he turned around and begin walking again.
Sari looked around as she continued forward with her grandmother, careful not to look behind her. "There are no trees here," she said tugging on her grandmother's arm. "How will grandpa build us a new house with out trees?" Sari looked expectantly up at her grandmother, but she gave no reply.
Sari kept looking at the sand that surrounded them. As far as she could see there was nothing, but sand. "Where are we going?" she asked wondering how much longer it would take to get there. Neither of her grandparents answered her.
She filled the silence of there journey with a song her mother had taught her, but after fifteen minutes she realized she really needed a drink. Her throat was raw from the dry air. Absently she brushed her hair from her face and gave a little squeal at the pain caused by the little action. Her skin was on fire and touching her face hurt really bad. "Grandma, Can I please have some water?" she begged.
"I'm sorry Sari, but we do not have any water," her grandma was going to cry again. She had been crying a lot since the soldiers had come.
"Why not?" Sari asked.
"Sari just keep walking," her grandfather said roughly. Sari had never stopped walking, but did not say anything to her grandfather.
Her growling stomach reminded her she had missed breakfast that morning. "When will we stop to eat?" Sari stopped abruptly when her grandfather fell to his knees in front of her. "Grandpa," she screamed. "Grandpa are you alright?" Sari released her grandmother's hand and ran to him. She knelt on her knees in the burning sand next to him.
"Sari, I am so sorry," he whispered.
"What for?" her innocent voice broke the last of his resolve.
"We are being punished Sari, because of your mother. We can not go home. We have no food or water. The soldiers sent us to this barren wasteland to die," he softly whispered through his tears.
"Are you thirsty to, Grandpa?" Sari asked.
He nodded. He knew she did not understand what he was telling her. She was only five. Only five and destined to grow no older. What possible threat could she be to anyone? "Can I borrow your hat grandpa?" He took the worn leather cap from his hand and handed it to her. It would keep the sun from burning her face more than it already was.
He slowly stood and waited for her to put the hat on, but she never did. Instead she placed it on the ground in front of her and knelt over it. He watched her for a few minutes trying to figure out what game she was playing. After a few moments she lifted the hat to him and he stared in disbelief at the sight before him. Water poured over the rim and fell to the dry sand below. Gently he took the hat and held it to his lips. Carefully spilling as little as possible he took a drink.
"Sari, how?" her grandmother asked from behind them.
"Mother, taught me. She said to keep it a secret, but we need something to drink," Sari said meekly. Her mother said something bad would happen if anyone found out she had the gift of the elements. She waited trembling to see if her grandparents would yell at her.
"Praise be," her grandmother said falling to her knees crying next to Sari. "You have saved us Sari. You have saved us."
Three days later Sari and her grandparents top what appeared to be just another sand dune among many and stop in their tracks at the sight in front of them. "Oh grandpa have you ever seen a river as great as that one?" Sari asked with delight. In the distance a wide river snaked through an oasis surrounded by lush vegetation. Beyond the river as far as the eye could see was nothing but the welcoming sight of green.
"Dacca," Sari said hugging her grandmother.
"Dacca, Sari. What does Dacca mean?" her grandfather asked.
"Before father died he was teaching me to speak the language of his ancestors. He said Dacca means home. We are home." Sari turned and smiled at her grandfather. Returning her smile he reach down and picked up his granddaughter. "Dacca," he said taking his wife hand and leading them towards the great river.
"There will be others," his wife said. "Others condemned to die without cause."
"We will help them," he said.
In the centuries that followed thousands of lives were spared by those who made their home near the Great River. The descents of Sari and those saved by her grandparents never forgot the kingdoms that had sentenced their ancestors to death in the barren waste land. In time a vast kingdom emerged and Dacca became a thriving city from where the Emperor ruled the Realm of the Sun. While there where many who led them none where as great as the Emperor Descartes and his wife Leesha. It was her sight, one of many gifts from the Sun, which lead to the long awaited time of glory. The time when those of the Sun would return and seek revenge for their ancestors. The time to conquer those who worshipped the Moon, so the Sun could spread it's light through out all the kingdoms.
AN: This is going to be a really long one... Read and Review.