When her knees gave out, she had lost track of how long she had been walking.
The days had passed, and she had not stopped. A hint of smoke and burning rode the air as she walked eastward, as fields smoldered, as leaves turned to dust, as branches turned to bone.
Ellanora knelt on the ground, her feet splayed out behind her slightly, her hands on the dry dirt in front of her. She cupped her hands together, breathing heavily, feeling the empty ache of hunger through her ribs, through her heart. She tilted her head up, to look at the cloudless sky, to try to remember what rain felt like, what water tasted like.
The day darkened as she crumpled there, wilting, her chin to her chest. The wind picked up the dry earth and danced it through the sky and with it came a trembling of sound, like coins falling in the distance.
Ellanora couldn’t raise her head, but hoped that the sound would come closer. Her legs had no feeling, her fingers were caked with dirt, and her lips were cracked and dark with dried blood.
A glitter of sound and light was there, at her shoulder. A jangle of copper and brass slid into Ellanora’s vision on a dark arm, darker than damp earth.