All that changed when the Shard outran us. All of a sudden, she just doubled her speed. We ran our horses ragged trying to keep up with her. Broke an axle on one wagon, abandoned it to keep moving. On and on She ran in the night sky, her tail taunting us as she fled. Like a playful lover she teased us through dells and valleys, over hills and through a petrified forest. But we reached a canyon we could not cross, a wide gaping thing at least a mile wide. Probably created by a Sunscrape, when a large shard gets too close to the ground, creating a wide swath of firey destruction, destroying everything in its path and creating canyons such as these. We stood on the brink of that abyss as we watched our Shard, our friend and companion, our mother, disappear over the horizon. I stood on a rock a long time watching the last of her tail fade into black.
It grew dark quickly and cold even quicker. Back came on the furs, out came the weapons. Grim designs for grim purposes. Water was found, the wagons circled. Torches long stored but never used were brought out and lit once more. Out from the wagon circle went pairs of scouts on fast horses, ascending to high ground, searching for Shards. Lone fireflies in the dark.
But torches and light bring more things than sight. They bring animals, they bring predators. They bring trouble.
One of our scouts, a promising boy named Milo, strayed from his partner Zeke. We saw his torch go out on a nearby hill, followed by that of his partner. When by the time I and the other rescuers had arrived, we found a large reptile guarding his half-eaten body. Zeke was never seen again.