Chapter 18 Blood Fall

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She stands in the desert. The sky is black and the wind is cold. Around her the ground erupts upward while the ground she stands on slowly descends. The earth shifts until a canyon is formed, similar to the one where the caravan was attacked.

The ground trembles again. Directly in front of her more earth rises to form a great mound. A star appears from the mound and shoots up into the sky. The quaking increases and mounds appear all around her. Stars explode from the mounds and join the first in the sky. Some rise quickly, shooting into the sky while others rise gradually like smoke.

One star rises from the ground beneath her feet to stop in front of her face. She stares deep within it and sees an unknown village burning. When she reaches up to touch the star, it shoots into the sky. She turns to another star and sees a small girl crying with bruises on her face and torn clothing before this star shoots into the sky. Moving to another star, she sees a pregnant woman staring out a window. This star, too, shoots into the sky.

She looks around at the remaining stars rising from the earth. She realizes that each star is one of a million different lives. The black sky fills with the stars and those still rising cast the land in a beautiful array of colors and light.

A great earthquake knocks her to her knees. She looks ahead, towards distant mountains that grow higher and higher as the stars rise in the sky. A large, dark shadow emerges from the mountains to stand high above her and look up at the stars.

A single star slowly rises in front of the shadow, which reaches out, grabs it, and pulls it close. The shadow watches the light curiously, moving its large head from side to side, then crushes the star and reaches for another. After crushing several stars, its gaze turns to the first star, which has grown much larger than the others. The shadow reaches for it, but it is too high for the shadow to reach.

The shadow looks down and sees Meah. It moves towards her with each footstep shaking the land. Darkness follows it and stains the earth black. The shadow reaches for her, but she runs. Her mind fills with images of the shadow crushing the stars. The canyon’s walls close in, trapping her. She turns back to the shadow to see its hand moving closer and closer.

An explosion of light fills the night sky. The shadow tries to turn just as a giant fist of light smashes into its head. The shadow is thrown to the ground with such force clouds of dust rise, blowing Meah’s hair and clothes around her.

She looks up at her savior. The first star has crashed down from the sky and taken the form of a large being of light, matching the size and general shape of the shadow. It looks at her and leans to her eye level. She sees the life of the star in its brilliant eyespot.

The shadow attacks the light being, catching him off guard and the two titans crash into the wall of the canyon. The force of their impact shakes Meah off her feet. The two giants stand to resume their fight.

As their feet stomp around her, she tries to move away, but the shaking earth keeps her on her knees. The canyon falls apart around her with large boulders blocking her only escape route. She manages to move away from the feet of the titans, but sees the first star is losing ground to the shadow.

The shadow overpowers the being of light and lifts him high above its head. It throws the being of light towards her. She can’t escape as the first star lands on top of her.

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