Chapter 2


I was two weeks shy of my fourteenth birthday when the canisters fell from the sky.

Not many people who actually saw the fist-sized projectiles lived to tell about the onslaught. I lost more than my hearing that day. My parents and two older brothers. Everyone I’d ever loved.

In the years since I’ve often wondered why I was the one to survive. Was it only so that I could carry on with my family’s destiny? I’d hoped it wasn’t but logic and my father’s teachings told me I was kidding myself.

The time was coming.


The tracking light/camera mounted on the side of Emmalee Sky’s helmet projected sufficient light for me to see her immediate surroundings and even several yards further into the darkened cavern.

It was almost impossible to curb the rush of anxiety that ripped through my chest as I focused on the mayhem that she’d stepped into.

There were dead bodies strewn everywhere. Not only one or two, or, even perhaps a dozen or more. No, from what I could tell, there looked to be well over a hundred.

My stomach clenched. A hundred dead people.

Where had they all come from? Was this place a burial ground? Or perhaps an actual Prayers’ feeding den. And why hadn’t Ragtop alerted us yesterday?

My breathing accelerated.

Em’s warnings to Jam flashed across the dialogue box of my tiny display screen. Angie and Jam’s exchange of words quickly followed in rapid succession.

Even though neither Jam nor Angie were close enough to Em to physically see the carnage all around their sister, the microscopic digital readout embedded in both of their helmets gave them each a fuzzy picture of exactly what Em had stumbled upon.

I couldn’t say that I disagreed with Angie’s concern. Jam was freely walking into a pit of indescribable horror. And there was little chance that he wasn’t condemning himself to an early death. As for Em…

A sorrow so painful that it punched a hole the size of a fist in my chest, had me gasping. My heart ground to a halt. Then began beating so fast, it ricochetted around my ribcage.

I was going to lose Emmalee Sky. The one, and only, person I’d allowed myself to… No, I couldn’t lose her. I’d made a promise the day the canisters fell and a promise to the dead is one you never, under any circumstances, ever broke.

I ran my tongue along my dry lips and chewed briefly on the inside of my lower lip before swallowing.

I had to do something. Find someway to save her. To save them both. There had to be a viable solution. I only had to think.

Em’s helmet bobbed and the cavern scene suddenly blacked out on my display screen. I swallowed hard.

Angie and Jam’s continued argument was the only thing I could now see scrolling across the bottom of my display screen.

Not much help. What was going on? What had happened?

Then Em’s anguishing words appeared. “Jake, please. Please, Jake…please. Don’t let Jam die. Please…please…don’t let him die.”

I stopped breathing.

Jake? Em? Surely not? After all these years how…how was that even possible?

The cavern scene flashed back on the screen. Em was now bending her head. I was suddenly staring at the rocky ground and the edge of the massacre.

I felt my stomach convulse. I almost closed my eyes, to shut out the close up shot of one horrifying image, when Em shifted her head. I caught sight of the strap of her pouch that was slung over her shoulder and across her chest.

My breath came out in a rush while my mind kicked into overdrive.

Fyre eggs. Em was carrying a bag full of fyre eggs.

“Em…Em. Emmalee…Emmalee!” I hollered.

©Legend of the Sapphyre Wings by Janet Merritt