Chapter 16: Ashes
You leave the sprites and continue on your journey. Several hours in, it begins to snow. Then you realize that it's not actually snow but ashes covering the ground. You see smoke in the distance and start walking towards it in case someone there needs help. Very soon you come across the smoking ruins of a house. It's been burnt to a crisp.
There is a little girl near it sitting on the ground, her face covered in tears and soot. You sit down next to her and ask about what happened. You could have guessed of course but you had to know. She lost her parents in the fire. The guard came when someone reported they had books in the house. They had a whole library in the cellar in fact. Her mom told her to run and she did. Now she is all alone. She says she has grandparents living nearby but she is too afraid to go by herself. You tell her you can take her and she will be safe.
You notice she is struggling for breath and you worry that her lungs might have been damaged by the smoke.