Day grew into night and Cari and Demus finally made their way back to their homes. Cari found the children snuggled deeply asleep in her bed. Demus looked at them and smiled. “I would join you but it seems your bed is already full.” He kissed her softly then went out the door to his own bed. Cari moved Kate around so that she could lie in the middle of the bed. The pile of children soon converged and all 8 little hands found Cari and she patted each one before drifting off to sleep.
Morning dawned and things appeared to be back to normal. Everyone was doing their chores, but there was a shadow sitting above everyone as if it was about to rain, and continue raining all day. But the cloud never let lose its rain. Cari did her morning chores and then gathered the children for their school lessons.
It wasn’t until they were in town and getting out of the wagon that things started to go badly. With Petra missing the school was out of one teacher. Cari didn’t have to tell anyone what had happened everyone was asking her if it was true. Rumors fly far in small towns. And Cari wondered if the White Cloaks had anything to do with spreading these rumors.
Cari tried not to confirm the questions about darkfriends but even in doing so they still believed. The children went into school with a buzz around their heads. Each other child was asking them questions and Cari feared they would be set home for disturbing the class even though they were not the cause of the problem.
Cari made her way to the Silver Bow and even there she could feel the distance growing. They would not be able to stay long. Cari turned around just as she made it to the inn counter. There was no reason to stay in such tension. No need to fuel the Shadow into waking from her paranoia. But Cari went home and let Sara and the others know that it probably wouldn’t be safe here. Only Demus agreed that it was time to think about moving on. Cari couldn’t leave Sara so she willing would stay until she convinced her to leave.
Days went on and the tensions only increased. A week passed and things started to change, the rumblings started to give way to refusal to do business with the Ranch. The children were kicked from the school as bad influences. Soon the Silver Bow started refusing service. But when these tactics failed things became violent and unnecessary. Dragon Fang’s scrolled on every door in the ranch, fights starting with even the men who followed the light who worked on the ranch. Fairhaven was seeking its own justice now.
A clear night brought on the worst of it. The town folks started a bonfire, and torches were lit. Each man and woman who could make the five mile walk did – torches blazing. If it hadn’t been for the night watch, Vik was standing watch that night, casualties could have been total. But with the warning the Ranchers were given, it would hopefully leave them to their own measures.
Vik ran in to the court yard yelling, “They’re going to burn us to the ground.” And then he headed for the ranch house to gather what he could before fleeing.
The cry was hardly unexpected but it was something that they weren’t completely prepared for. Cari gathered her things. She had insisted that the children all pack belongings the day after the Children had come, she knew something was going to happen. And they knew it too; they could feel it happening around them.
Cari had prepared Sara as best she could with the possibilities, the older woman was looking to Cari as she had her husband for guidance, she was alone now and Cari was the only one left to care for her. Cari didn’t regret that, but it would slow them down a little, but not anymore than the children would. But it was Sara’s refusal to leave that left them in this situation.
Sara rushed off with the children to the house that Kate and Aiden knew. It was a place they snuck off to when they didn’t want to do their chores. Cari had found them there numerous times. They would be able to get there quickly enough and stay hidden as the threat passed.
Cari hugged her children and spared one for Taylor as well. “I’ll meet you there, but if I don’t come in two days, go to Cairhein and find Rachel. She will watch you until I find you. I will come for you.” There was no doubt in her mind that she would return to find her children, even if she was caught here.
Cari dashed through the main residence of the Ranch and grabbed the secret stash from Nathan’s belongings, contents that the villages didn’t even need to find the ashes of. It also held extra cash and the names of contacts for emergencies. Hopefully she wouldn’t have to use those names.
Cari’s next destination was Demus. She found him packing the last of his belongings. She smiled at him. He was still a boy, he needed to live longer, she felt bad for tying him in to her life. But the heel weaves as the Wheel wills. The saying of Aes Sedai but it was the world’s way of saying, deal with it. Cari kissed Demus softly on the cheek and slipped him a piece of a paper. “A name and place you can always find where I am. I have other things to tend to before I go, don’t follow us, come find us where the paper leads you. I will be waiting if you choose to join us.”
He nodded, then grabbed her and pulled her tight for one last kiss before they had to part. He smiled at her, but it fell almost as soon as it came. “Take care of yourself, Cari. I expect to see you again when we all get clear of this.”
Cari really didn’t want to leave with Demus holding her. It was an odd feeling to feel safe with him, but they were far from safe and there was much more to do. Cari smiled at him. “You take care as well, I’ve got to finish what I was about. I will see you soon.” I hope.
Cari kissed Demus softly again, before breaking free of his loving hold on her, she needed to go before things were too late. It was time to meet up with everyone else and it was a long run.
Cari ran towards the forest and only spared a glance back to see that nothing was following. With that glance she saw Kate sneaking around Demus’ house. But the sounds from the villagers were coming much closer. The glow from the torches could be see cresting the hill. Cari stood at a stand still, unable to think what to do. She wanted to panic.
Kate followed Demus as he ran in another direction. Cari watched from a distance and saw Demus finally stop and turn around, Kate was grabbing his hand, they were talking, neither saw her, but Demus looked up and Cari waved him to go. Kate held on, as he ran and the villagers were getting closer but Demus disappeared into the tree line.