A carriage crunched its way through the sparkling snow as the setting sun bid the world farewell for another night. Inside the carriage were Harold and Sapphire Fenton, successful merchants who had earned their way to a privileged life. With them was their prized daughter and only child, Garnet. She was a shy and tiny little child of only six years. Never once did Harold or Sapphire ever regret her birth.
Sapphire was telling Garnet a little story about a pokey little rabbit named Wilson who went all around the world trying to find his place in life.
“After many years, Wilson finally went home to his family. Having not found his place in life, he was clearly upset, so he asked his mommy and daddy what his place in life was. And they said-“
The carriage suddenly lurched right, sending Garnet flying across the carriage, the force breaking a window. Garnet screamed in shock and pain, glass digging into her back and ripping her newest dress.
“Garnet! Harold, please go scold your driver!” Sapphire franticly demanded, pulling Garnet into her arms and trying to check her wound.
“As you wish, love.” Harold peeked out the side door of the carriage, gasping as an arrow flew into his shoulder. He quickly pulled back in, biting his lip to avoid screaming.
Sapphire watched him fearfully, hiding Garnet’s face in her breast.
“Bandits… or something… outside the caravan… they’re chasing us… that’s why the carriage turned… he’s probably hoping to lose them.” Harold grumbled in pain as he looked at the shaft sticking out of his shoulder. Blood was slowly soaking the finery around it, staining the blue material. He bit his lip and pulled the shaft out, his heart racing. Ripping some of the curtain covering a window, he wrapped it around the wound, hoping it would work until they reached their destination.
“Mommy… I’m scared…” Garnet peeped, keeping her face hidden.
“I know, darling. It will be okay, don’t you worry…”
Harold peeked out the window, sighing in relief.
“They’re gone, we must have lost them.” He smiled at Sapphire, winching lightly at the pain his shoulder spiked.
Just as Sapphire opened her mouth to speak, a large crack sounded, and the carriage seemed to fall a little.
“Sapphire, get her out, now.”
“Harold, what is-“
Sapphire opened the carriage door, but before she could get out, the carriage sunk deeper. Losing her balance, she dropped Garnet outside the carriage and fell down, cracking her head on the surface below.
They were on an ice lake, and the ice was too thin for the carriage.
Harold rushed and picked up his wife, stepping one foot out towards Garnet.
And that’s when the ice completely gave way.
Garnet screamed as her parents fell down into the murky depths of the ice lake, Harold’s foot catching on some part of the carriage. He looked up at his daughter with pleading eyes as he gasped for air, drowning.
Garnet sobbed and reached for them, flinching at the realization of how cold the water really was. All she could do now was watch as her parents and the carriage sunk too low for her to see. All she could do was watch her own parents die.
Cedric Mallory and his men rushed along the road, following the tracks of a carriage. Cedric was the guild master of the Riverhawk guild, and he had just received word not fifteen minutes ago that a rival guild had discovered his affiliation with the Fenton family. And they planned to attack them on their ride to Stonewall.
“Faster you bloody nag!” He yelled at his horse, digging his heels into her side as he hung onto the reins. If only he had more time, he could have grabbed his spurs.
He yanked his horse to a halt as they approached a body riddled with arrows. He was dressed up well in warm clothing. Not far from his body, the carriage tracks took a turn off the road and towards a frozen lake.
“Oh no…” He kicked his horse again, charging out onto the lake. Up ahead, he saw a large breech in the ice and a small, bundled figure lying beside it, sobbing.
“No no no no…” He pulled his horse to a stop and dismounted, not willing to risk the ice on the beast and further the situation.
“Take the reins, I’m going in on foot.” He tossed the reins at a companion who had (somehow) managed to keep up.”
He made his way to the girl with care, gently grabbing onto her arm.
“Garnet..?” He inquired, had not seen her in a few months, and he rarely ever saw her. Seeing the Fenton’s anywhere other than the guild house was risky. And Harold would never bring Garnet to the guild house. And aside from that, the girl would never talk to him. She was such a shy little child.
Garnet slowly and shakily looked up at Cedric. She had her mother’s blonde hair and her father’s striking green eyes.
Odd that her name isn’t emerald. Those eyes are green. He thought to himself, kneeling down and picking her up.
“Do you remember me?”
Garnet shook her head, wiping away snot using the sleeve of her finery.
“I’m Cedric. Do you remember me now?”
Garnet shook her head again.
He sighed annoyingly and stood.
“I’m a friend of your father. We were close, like brothers. I was there when you were born, darling.”
Garnet sadly looked down into the gap that the carriage made in the ice.
“You’re going to be safe with me now, okay?”
Garnet didn’t answer, but Cedric didn’t care. He began slowly walking back to his horse and men. All the while, Garnet was staring deeply into her parent’s grave.
The water seemed as blue as a sapphire.