Part I - Udumbara Flowers
Zoe looked out a window framed with blue butterflies and blue flowers onto a snow-covered field and saw a small bridge and beyond that, a little house half-buried in snow. A path through tall, green trees lay in the distance. It was still winter at the White Castle. Zoe turned around and looked for the others but the room was empty and quiet. No one was here but her. Where were her traveling companions? Zoe couldn't remember.
Levi and Finn each had a Dragon Claw from the Silver Dragon, but Finn decided to part ways and hitched a ride to Constantinople. From there, he was headed for the madrasahs (Islamic schools) of Samarkand of the Timurid Empire, now in Uzbekistan. Finn hoped to study astronomy and Eurasian languages during his time in Uzbek.
Ruby arrived next at the White Castle, but all she saw was the sea. The sea was blue and the sun shone in a ray of light through the open doorway. Ruby looked out and saw a white rain of Udumbara Flowers falling from the powder blue sky. Zoe found Ruby staring at the white flowers raining down softly from the sky and landing on the water's surface.
Zoe bent down to look at Ruby's small face and asked, "Where is everyone else?"
Ruby said, "I don't know mama. We were supposed to meet together at the White Castle, but all I see are white flowers."
"It's alright Ruby-bird," Zoe reassured the small girl. "We'll wait here and watch the Udumbara Flowers falling from the sky. The udumbara flower is said to bloom once every three thousand years to herald the appearance of a gold-wheel-turning king in the world."
"Does that mean we are going to find a King?" Ruby asked, as she picked up a handful of the small, white Udumbara Flowers and put them in her purse.
"I'm not sure about a King, but we might be able to discover what brought us here in the first place. Let's see if we can find Levi and Hazel first. Come on Ruby-bird, maybe they got stuck outside in the forest."
Cover image for this post provided by Stamperia: Blue Land Scrapbooking.