“Mama, it’s a beautiful day. Can we plant my garden now? You promised,” the little girl asked as she tugged on her mother’s covers.
The mother moaned as she stretched and rubbed her eyes. “Is it morning already?”
The girl nodded quickly with a large smile of excitement.
Her mother smiled back, then stood and pulled open the curtains. The sun shone brightly as the birds called in the distance.
“You’re right Molly, it is a beautiful day. Get your bucket and shovel, and I’ll grab the flowers.”
The little girl hurried off to collect her things as her mother put on a scarf and hat and grabbed a tray of fresh flowers she had dug from her own garden the day before. Farming and gardening were the main way of life for the Orr people and she was happy to be introducing her little one to their ways. Today, Molly would plant her own garden, and learn how to tend to its needs.
When both were ready, they headed out into the neatly manicured fields behind the houses which formed a ring around the main city. The city itself was quite small and compact, with a few large buildings towering a good ten stories high. Most were made of white or yellow stone with many windows to take in the sunlight.
Surrounding the city and throughout its core, was the most amazingly beautiful mix of colors any plant or flower collection could produce, and each was manicured to perfection. Every doorway or window was dressed with living color of all shapes. It was like a paradise, and though their structures were unnatural in form, they blended in nicely with the unending garden canvas that wove every part of that city.
Farm fields as far as the eye could see stretched out past the city and disappeared into the horizon, and many tended the crops that grew there. Though the work was hard, the people loved it and did it with pride.
“Here you go, Molly. This spot is just for you,” her mother explained as she knelt down by a small patch of cleared dirt she had prepared for her little one the day prior.
Molly grinned from ear to ear as she placed her bucket beside her, and began to dig a small hole with her little shovel.
“Remember, dear, don’t dig too deep, and leave space between each flower for it to grow big.”
“Yes, mama,” the little girl chimed as she carefully dug enough holes for the flowers she would now call her own.
The mother handed the fresh flowers to her daughter who gently placed them in their new homes. Then, she covered the base of each and patted the dirt around them.
The mother liked the enthusiasm with which her little one dove into what would be her lifelong purpose amongst their people. She took a deep breath of the clean, crisp morning air as she admired the perfection her people had crafted and tended for countless generations.
“How’s that, mama?” Molly asked.
“Beautiful, well done!” her mother encouraged.
Molly stopped a moment and a sadness filler her face as she looked over her garden. She then looked to her mother. “Mama?”
“Yes, my dear?”
“I wish daddy was here.”
The mother’s eyes softened with the same sadness. She hugged her daughter and kissed her on the head. “I know, love. I do too.”
“I wish he could see my new garden.”
The mother wiped away a tear that had parked itself below her eye. She turned her daughter’s head to look at her and smiled as she gently held her little one’s cheeks. “Molly, wherever he is now, I believe he can see us. I believe he can see your garden and that he’s very proud of you.”
Molly smiled and nodded.
“Come, we’ll need to get some water so they don’t dry up,” she said as she took her daughter’s hand and headed for a well a short distance away.
Molly skipped along, excited to finally have the responsibility any member of Orr looks forward to.
“Okay Molly, I’ll fill this jug for you, and you carry it back while I return the bucket to the well, okay?”
Molly nodded as she carried her little jug back to her flowers. As her mother watched her daughter trot back for her garden, she stopped and admired her. She was the greatest gift she had ever been given. She was a true treasure and the very best of both her and her late husband. Though they both missed him terribly, they’d always had each other. She lowered the bucket back into the well and went to follow her little one.
Just then, something flickered past the sun. She paused a moment as she looked up. A swirling black cloud filled a spot in the sky as rumbles of thunder and flashes of lighting beamed from it. The menacing presence cast eerie shadows along the ground as it grew in size and descended for the city.
“Oh no,” the mother whispered to herself as fear took her.
As the cloud of dark energy landed, a fierce wind blew about and a dozen figures emerged from the core of this darkness. They floated down from the cloud and landed in a clearing in the city.
Every member of Orr made their way into the city but kept a good distance.
The people were terrified and cowered in fear. The three leaders of Orr cautiously stepped forward to address their visitors. They bowed and kept their eyes to the ground.
“Masters,” one said as he bowed further. The shake in his voice was obvious.
The twelve proud and confident men stood as they looked about the people of Orr. An excited wickedness filled their powerful eyes. Each wore long robes of various colors, and had different length hair and beards. Some buzzed with obvious energy while others subtly and coldly took in this place.
“What brings you here?” another leader asked.
“There is something of yours we want,” a dark wizard in a long red robe with high collar responded as he made his way forward. His long black hair flowed down his back and his black beard was tied in a point at his waist. His eyes reflected the darkness in his heart
“What is it, master Krazix?” a leader of Orr answered, eyes still on the ground. “We are always pleased to serve you.”
“We want your children.”
The shrieks of the people were almost deafening as they grabbed their little ones and held them tight. Children too cried in fear.
“Our children? But why!?”
“There are experiments we want to run and children are the best, and most honest subjects.”
“How will we flourish as a people without our children?”
“You can always have more.”
“We have always obeyed your commands and given you whatever you’ve asked of us. Please, do not make us give you our children, I beg you!”
“I am not asking you. Bring your children forward!”
Everyone hesitated to part with their most precious belongings.
“You either give us your children and go on to live your simple lives in peace, or you all die this day!” Krazix announced to the group.
When no one moved, the wizard became annoyed. With a wave of his hand, children were forcibly pulled from their parents and collected in a mass around the visitors.
Parents wept as they tried to hold onto their little ones. Children screamed as they were torn away. The sobs of helplessness filled the air. No one dared move against these powerful oppressors.
The mother nearly jumped as her heart hit her throat. She looked quickly to her daughter, fear burning in her eyes.
“Mama, I’m done watering, now what? Mama? What’s wrong?”
“Oh, my baby girl,” the mother half whispered as she hugged her daughter tightly. “I need you to do something for me, okay?”
Molly looked confused but nodded. “What’s going on, mama?”
“I need you to run home as fast as you can. I need you to hide under your bed behind a pile of covers and wait for me.”
“Now Molly, please. Go!”
The little girl, now just as scared as her mother, turned and ran with all the strength her little legs could muster. She dropped her watering jug as she rushed for her house, not looking back.
“Is that all of them?” Krazix asked.
“Yes. Please don’t hurt them. Please let them go. You can have whatever you want, just don’t take our children.”
As Molly’s mother stepped into the crowd, Krazix closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He then popped them open and motioned a nod to his comrades. The remaining eleven raised their hands and disappeared. With a quick motion of his finger, Krazix lifted one of the leaders from the ground and floated him within an inch of his face.
“You wouldn’t lie to me, would you?” Krazix asked in a low, serious tone.
“No master, not at all,” the leader pleaded.
Krazix dropped the leader as he looked to the people. They cried and moaned and begged for the release of their children. Even their deepest most pained pleas didn’t sway the darkened heart of the leader of the wizards.
“Silence!” Krazix shouted with a roar that rumbled the sky around them.
The people stopped instantly.
One of the leaders addressed the wizard again, “Will our children be returned to us?”
The people cried aloud at that.
“Will you hurt them?”
“The experiments are excruciating at times. Most will not survive them.”
A moment later, the eleven wizards reappeared. One was holding a scared little girl by the shoulders.
“Molly!” the mother screamed as she quickly tried to get to her daughter, but the crowd held her back.
“What is this?” Krazix asked.
“I found her hidden in one of the homes,” the wizard with the girl answered.
Krazix looked quickly to the leaders of Orr as he pointed to the little girl. “What is this?”
“I-we...we don’t know!”
“You are trying to hide your children from us?”
“No master, not at all!”
“You think it is okay to defy me?!” his anger was growing with each word that left his lips.
“Master, please, we have always done as you’ve asked. We have not lied to you or defied you.”
Molly’s mother finally broke free from the crowd, and with tears running down her face, she ran for her daughter.
Krazix stopped her in her tracks with a field of energy. She kicked and fought to get free and to her child.
“Defiance is death,” he explained to her as she toiled in her prison.
“She is all I have, please don’t take her from me. Without her I am already dead.”
Krazix threw the mother back into the crowd. Then, with a wave of his hand, the children were covered in a fog of red magic. They cried in fear.
Molly’s mother came running back out with a gardening hoe in her hands as she charged for Krazix. “Let my daughter go!” she demanded with fear, anger, and hatred burning in her tear-filled eyes.
Shouts from the crowd began to build as others took up a tool of their trade and charged in towards the wizards.
Krazix pursed his lips as he shook his head.
As the people of Orr rushed in, demanding the return of their children, willing to fight to the death for them, Krazix flicked his finger and many were hurled violently up and over the city to meet a painful end in the gardens they so lovingly built.
“Your children are now my property,” Krazix said as he motioned to the other wizards who began to float up high with the children. He stopped a moment and turned back. “I cannot have anyone in this universe feel they are free to lie to, or defy their masters. If I allowed that, the universe would fall into chaos again. I will make that painfully clear to any and all who wish to try it again. You will be my example,” he said as he stomped the ground. A large wave of red energy filled him.
A huge tremor ripped up the dirt around them and sent waves of rock and debris flying out in an ever-expanding ring. Homes, gardens, and people were violently uplifted and tossed about.
As people and debris rained down amongst the destruction that was once their home, one of the leaders spoke. “Please forgive us!” he said as he stood on wobbling legs, a bloody cut gushing red down his face.
“You are forgiven,” Krazix said with a smile as he spread his arms and sent out a devastating ring of fire that charred everything it touched as it roared and rumbled across the face of Orr.
As Krazix and his wizards floated high above Orr with the stolen children, Molly watched though tears as her mother desperately reached for her, screaming her name. As the wave of fire grew, everything that had made that planet beautiful was destroyed and replaced with ash, char, and smoke...
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