EMBER’S TALE: PART TWO
In the light of his compulsion, it became apparent to Anna that Ember, the fairy-tale prince, was in love with her. His kidnap was suddenly not imprisonment but a form of elopement; it was suddenly romantic to be trapped there with him. Why did she wish to return to a land that would cast her aside if they just so happened to stumble across the fairy ears she expertly hid beneath each headdress she wore when she could be with her Prince instead, in a land that embraced her for her true self?
Once the silly fear she had for him had passed, she could see Ember for what he truly was- a handsome, intelligent young Prince and a fitting choice for the King Apparent of a growing nation. Anna knew that if she pleased him, she’d be his Queen. They’d live happily ever after together if only she’d stop being so fussy.
Her thoughts made his broken heart whole again. She was thinking about their future together as ruling monarchs. He cupped her face lovingly in his hands and kissed her putting all the passion and love he felt for her into his kiss. She replied in kind, completely under the thrall of his compulsion, her mind and heart convincing her of the intense and passionate love she felt for Ember.
There was truly something to be said of the passion of fire fairies including partial ones. Once the spark was lit, it ignited and only grew in intensity, enveloping both Anna and Ember and consuming them. And yet they only fanned the flames further and nothing sated the fiery dragon of their own making. Even giving in and burning so merrily with each other didn’t seem to do the trick.
Ember had never dreamed that such passion could exist; he’d thought himself incapable of such intensity but Anna was his undoing. What made it all the more rewarding was that Anna seemed unable to control herself. She had been rejecting the part of herself capable of such intensity after all, and was ill prepared by Ember’s confrontation. Ember, however, could not be mistaken for having complaints about Anna’s passionate insatiability… He was truly in a beautiful fantasy, one more beautiful than the land of his birth.
He soon found out that once one corrupted themselves by compelling another’s mind, not only was an irrevocable mental bond formed between them and their victim but also a willingness to perpetuate this bond by compelling the victim further was commenced. He wondered how the sorcerers of the nation who inaptly referred to themselves as ‘the Cosmos’ believing themselves to be the most powerful casters in the world, who were especially gifted in this type of telepathy could live with the guilt as they had previously enslaved an exceptionally large portion of the Magical and Mortal Realms respectively by using their power and with the aid of dark magic merely two centuries ago resulting in the enslavement of witches such as his mother, Queen Penny Roth and eventually, Anna…
And yet even as the guilt continued to rack up, Ember continued to use his power on Anna, making sure to reinforce the bond lest she overcame it by her own significant power. He found life was so much easier and could relate to the Cosmos on a personal level when he saw the rewards of the power of compulsion…
Anna’s love for him grew and she was the best that she could be with him. Her sudden fairy tale life was a source of great inspiration to her and she began to keep recollections of it in a journal . Anna also began to use her gifts more confidently to rally other world leaders, including those of the Kingdom of Breanna to her cause for Mialand. The Queen and Prince as well as the people of Mialand were shocked to learn that Anna was indeed a half-breed and there were mixed reactions towards allowing her to continue acting as an ambassador of all witches.
Ember tried to advocate for her as well even going as far as to involve his mother but it never seemed to quell the feeling of betrayal from a majority of the witch Kingdom and subsequently led to Anna’s ambassador status being revoked and her banishment from Mialand by the Queen. The Queen explained through a letter she’d penned herself that she was very saddened by the decision and had not intended on banishing or firing Anna but had had to make the impossible decision to appease the masses.
Anna was heartbroken by the news and Ember tried to console her as best he could but upon noticing that she was not improving and becoming increasingly depressed, he used his compulsion on her again to make her think that she was over it. Under the strong weight of the compulsion, Anna was happier than she’d ever been and was more content in decorating the Castle and making it a better home as she pleased. She was also more involved with meeting the people of Medula and won over their affection and loyalty. All looked forward to the wedding that took place not long afterwards.
With his personal affairs finally settled, Ember was able to gain meaningful instruction from his Master and even beat his talented sister Emilie in a few lessons, much to the delight of Master Ammon and even his sister Emilie. He was happier than he’d ever been and was determined to keep things that way. He knew he had to continue embracing more of the gifts of pure magic and eventually, he’d have the life of his dreams.
He continued to learn more about his abilities uncovering more latent abilities as the days passed. Ember also continued to love Anna more obsessively sometimes even being jealous that he couldn’t spend more time with her. He was at first rather irritated by his wife’s charming of other men including his own brother in law, Lord Travis. Travis and Anna always seemed to be as close as siblings and got along swimmingly ever since they’d first met. However, he continued noticing his wife’s “intolerable overt charming personality” and discovered that Anna had a tendency to be naturally flirtatious and it made him irate and extremely jealous.
Seeing no better way to address his concerns than to compel her once more to particularly cease being a flirt was, of course, Ember’s only logical alternative; since after all, Ember had compelled her so many times before. Anna’s mind had by then become accustomed to his tweaking from time to time and so happily accepted his new precepts. She no longer reached out to people as she did lest she arouse her husband’s jealousy and suspicion.
Anna then began to be very afraid. She did not know why she was afraid of her husband; only that being with him was suddenly not as romantic as it had previously been. She began to avoid him as best she could and then a few days later, she began feeling close to him all over again. Without explanation, she was suddenly unafraid of her husband, a vast contradiction to what she so often felt.
Anna sounded crazy even to herself as she read through her journal. She started to wonder why she’d even written down that she was afraid of her husband. It almost seemed as if another person had written in her journal. She re-read her previous entries and really began to wonder if she really belonged in the mental ward…
There were several inconsistencies in Anna’s journal. Once she had been so happy and fulfilled in her work as an ambassador to the people of Mialand and then she had been depressed when she lost her job and then out of the blue, she was talking about how wonderful Medula was and how her abilities would be better suited to its people. What’s more, she couldn’t remember being depressed. All she could feel was how happy she was in Medula, with her husband which led her to think that she was either losing her mind entirely or losing her memories.
Worried that some unseen, wicked hand was causing her amnesia, she approached Emilie. She did not understand why she felt terrified of approaching her husband but she didn’t feel very safe with him anymore. She spoke to Emilie of her fears that something or someone was erasing her memories and hoped that Emilie would help her create some form of protection for herself.
Emilie imparted knowledge on how Anna could best protect herself using mental wards. It was very difficult casting but she had total faith in her sister-in-law. Anna practiced every day until she could master the art and skill. Still, it appeared not to work since her journal entries continued to astound her. She was even surprised that questioning the entries in the first place seemed to go against what she felt on most days…
Anna became very alarmed when, just a few days later, she had the sudden urge to stop keeping a journal entirely. In fact, she had a strong urge to burn the dastardly book immediately. Fearing not being objective, she visited Emilie yet again to explain her predicament with her journal in tow. Emilie then examined Anna’s mind, which she had resisted the urge to look into out of respect for her brother and sister-in-law. Emilie was horrified to discover that Anna was being compelled and she could think of no one else who had that power and was as close to Anna other than she and her brother.
Emilie then placed mental wards of her own making in Anna’s mind before sending her on her merry way, retaining Anna’s journal which she used to confront her brother with. Ember was surprisingly unashamed and claimed that what he did to his wife was none of her business.
“You have become consumed by your own power, Ember and I fear it will be your undoing,”
“I have it under control, sister. Besides, my compulsion is for Anna’s own benefit. She worries so much and I am only trying to help her,”
“You do not sound like yourself, Ember. Were you not as abhorrent of Empress Doris and her people’s evil reign through compulsion? Why then is it so easy for you to impose your will on the woman you claim to love? Should she not be allowed to have her own mind? Haven’t you a clue of how you have burdened her or would you rather see her mad than have a different opinion than yours?”
Ember angrily stormed away from his sister’s confrontation but was again weighed down by his guilt. He consulted Master Ammon on the matter who scoffed at the rebuttal of Emilie, “She has no right to tell you such things. You mean well. Ignore this counsel. Emilie, like all other women, is overly emotional and myopic in this matter. You are only looking after your wife’s needs and the needs of your future family. So tell me, had you not persuaded Anna, would Emilie have a sister to complain about? Do not let that bother you, your majesty. Instead, focus on my instruction and become stronger; become the caster you were always meant to be and let me deal with Emilie.”
Ember nodded still a little bothered by what he was doing to Anna but a bit reassured by his Master’s words. However, Emilie did not let it go but instead told their parents about it such that he got told off by both his father and mother. They told him to immediately release Anna from his compulsion or risk being disowned and going to prison like any other criminal accused of such a serious violation of freedom. His mother, having been a slave, was especially disappointed in her son’s decision to mentally enslave Anna.
Instead of heeding their advice, he stubbornly stuck with his decision and challenged anyone who thought they could defeat him to try and duel him and further, imprison him. He forbid anyone but Master Ammon from coming to see him until they could ‘see the error of their ways’. He then compelled Anna to stay in the Castle and refrain from communicating with anyone in the outside world in any way and even placed powerful spells around the Castle so that no one could enter without his approval.
Master Ammon remained loyally by his side and Ember felt validated in his decision. Only Anna mattered and they’d eventually have children of their own and have their own family. If being with his wife meant separating from everyone else, then so be it. She was worth it. Master Ammon also made another correct deduction- in the interest of peace, his family would not openly challenge him to duel. He would remain unopposed and isolated from everyone else; a small prize to pay, surely, as the Master reasoned, for the love of Ember’s life.
For several months, the people of Medula did not see or hear of their Prince. It was as if he had disappeared from the face of the Earth. They often visited LoyalLand, the capital center of the Kingdom to look at the empty plain on a hill where the castle they had worked so hard to build and gift to their Prince for his twenty first birthday, had once stood and saw nothing but an empty, deserted hill. Little did the people know that the Prince had enchanted his Castle so that no one could see it, not even his parents or his sister…
On the warm mid-morning of January 21st 1343, a few months from the sudden disappearance of Prince Ember, two royally dressed people claiming to be ambassadors sent by the Queen of Terra Sapienta arrived at the border between Medula and its closest nation, Cosmotopia. The female ambassador was a very beautiful woman with flaming red hair and sea-weed green eyes, rosy cheeks and a fair complexion. One might mistake her for a fairy or nymph only she had no long, pointed ears as one such as a fairy or even a nymph would have.
The gentleman besides her had the demeanor of a warrior and the stance of one ready to go to battle if required at a moment’s notice. He had a fair complexion as well with deep auburn curls and warm, brown as honey eyes. His eyes never seemed to depart from the lady even as they greeted the warriors they met at the border.
“Blessed be to your ladyship and lordship. How do you fare this day?” asked the chief guard who approached them first. The ambassadors looked at each other then looked back at the chief guard full of disdain.
Aurora Alison pulled out two forged letters written on parchments and handed them over to the chief guard who read them and authenticated them as being legit, misjudging both content and royal seals on them. He nodded to his fellow guards and they let she and her Protector through. Protector Grayson took both the winged unicorns they had arrived with by the reigns and walked away from the guards with his charge walking right next to him.
They had managed to walk quite a considerate distance from the guards when one of them howled at them to stop, running after them. Aurora and Leal prepared themselves to fight when the guard came up in front of them.
“I cannot read your aura. Why is that?” he asked quaking a little at the end. It was clear that he had never met anyone who escaped the gift that had been bestowed upon him from his fairy father and it frightened him. Aurora really hated playing the role of the snobbish, racist ambassador and would have preferred to put the guard at ease but being too kind to a ‘half breed’ during that time period would raise suspicion.
“You dare question us, filthy half-breed? How we are able to hide our aura is none of your concern!” Aurora spat out with as much venom as she could inject into her statement.
Leal, keeping in line with character, shoved the guard aside. “We’ve got things to do, half-breed, have you forgotten that you and your… fellow… shall we call you ‘countrymen’ are at the heels of our mercy? Do not presume to have authority to question us, heathen.”
Their harsh words connected with the guard and he simply nodded, returning to the other guards who were equally as insulted to learn of their rudeness from their colleague. Aurora and Leal, upon their release, rode as fast as their steeds could take them. Within the hour, they were upon the hill leading to the capital city, Loyalland and in yet another half hour, they were at the Royal Palace. After another check, they were directed to the throne room of the Palace and instructed to wait for the King to address them, as was custom.
The King showed up not long afterwards and beamed warmly at them. “Good day, sir and Madam.”
“Blessed be, your majesty,” said Aurora with a curtsy.
“Blessed be, my liege,” said Leal with a humble bow.
“I am informed that you have been sent from Terra Sapienta? How does the Queen fare?”
“She is in excellent form and health, your majesty. She sends her regards,”
The King smiled and nodded. “I sense you are very powerful casters and have some form of protections- I cannot see through your veil, quite impressive but a tad bit… unnerving,” he said suspiciously.
“Please be rest assured that we mean you no harm, majesty. We simply must do what we can to protect ourselves and her Grace, our Queen by veiling ourselves,” Aurora reasoned.
“It is understandable, of course. Please, join me in the Great Hall where we can discuss the details of a treaty properly,” the King said seeming satisfied by her reasons but still holding onto a healthy bit of skepticism, the counselor he had been manifest in his natural aversion towards trusting strangers entirely.
“Beseech us, majesty but we were informed that Princess Emilie and Prince Ember would be in attendance. Her Grace has heard great tales of these chosen ones and insisted that they attend our negotiations,”
The King was suddenly very uncomfortable prompting Aurora to ask, “Pardon us once more, my liege but shall these precepts of our Queen cause any complications?”
“I may send for my daughter, Princess Emilie but I’m afraid that the Prince is not available as he has been indisposed for four months now,”
“Nay! Say it isn’t so! Is it an illness, majesty? I assure you my colleague and I are well versed in advanced healing magic and may attend to his lordship if it pleases my King,”
The King scratched his chin seeming very agitated and then replied, “I’m afraid that I cannot honor thy request nor oblige any further details concerning this matter, my dear lady but I assure you it shall not in any way disrupt our proceedings. In the meantime, allow me to arrange for my daughter to join us in the proceedings.” The King then send a messenger passenger-pigeon to inform the Princess to attend their treaty negotiations.
Aurora and Leal followed the King to the Great Hall of the Palace where they’d have the meeting. They continued acting out their roles convincingly well. By lunchtime, they’d signed a treaty and were served lunch at the Palace by the King whose suspicion and skepticism had significantly reduced. The King even encouraged them to tour the beautiful country and admire its booming mining industry before leaving Medula. Aurora and Leal promised to do so and just as they were about to leave, Princess Emilie and her husband, Prince Travis, finally showed up to answer the summons of their King which they had not attend to sooner due to conducting their royal duties.
Immediately Emilie saw them, she knew they were more than the Queen of Terra’s ambassadors as they claimed. Unlike with her father, Emilie was able to see past Aurora’s elaborate concealment.
“Who are you people truly?” she asked them seriously.
The King and Prince were both taken aback by Emilie’s sudden serious demeanor and looked between the guests and Emilie herself.
“Princess Emilie, it is a pleasure to meet your acquaintance. Please allow me to introduce myself . I am Lady Aurora Alison and the gentleman beside me is Lord Leal Grayson,”
“There’s… there’s something strange about you two, I- I don’t think you’re from here- from this time, I mean, your thoughts are- are from a different era. And your aura- your aura is- is intertwined. They say that the only time that two people’s auras can intertwine is when… but that can’t be! You aren’t the Oracle but how- how is it that you share such a bond as strong as the one the Oracle and Elemental Fairy shared with their defenders? Why are you truly here and who really are you?”
“You are very perceptive, Princess Emilie. You are right of course. My defender and I are not really from this time. We are from a distant future and we came here for visit you and your brother. We would wish to inform you of our noble mission to stamp out a terrible evil and we believe you and your brother will be key to helping us fight against this new threat,”
“You’re from the future?” Emilie asked them shocked. Aurora nodded.
“Which- which year are you from?”
“The year 2003, presently, your majesty.”
All present in the room save for the guests were stunned to silence.
“Please, allow us to explain more about our cause and why we are truly here,”
“I’m all ears,” Emilie said. They began to speak about the entity careful not to reveal too much about the future to prevent time from folding into itself even though Aurora knew that simply by being there, she was creating paradoxes of time herself. Luckily, since Emilie and Ember had told their family about their past lives, they already knew and could accept that the Grigori, the rebellious fallen Messengers had somehow found a way to linger on in the universe through the insubstantial mass of evil known as the entity.
“I will aid you, Lady Aurora but my duty is first and foremost, to my people, the people of Medula,”
Aurora smiled and nodded. “I completely understand, Emilie. I would not ask you to abandon your people. I only ask for your aid when Leal and I require it,”
Emilie smiled and nodded. “You have my word, Lady Aurora and my aid, whenever you require it.”
“I appreciate that, your majesty. We also wish to rely this message to your brother, Prince Ember. Where is he? Is he alright?” Aurora asked.
Emilie looked at her family sadly and shook her head. “My brother cannot aid you in this, Lady Aurora,”
“And why, if I might ask, is he shrouded with so much mystery? Did something so horrendous befall him?”
“Prince Ember chose to distance himself from us all. He- he even used his magic to shut us out of his life. We have left him on his own in the interest of peace,” Prince Travis responded.
Aurora was astounded. “Why did the Prince choose to distance himself from you all? Did you all quarrel?”
“It was because of a woman… his wife, Princess Anna. He- he has been obsessed with her since he first learnt of her existence and when he finally got her, there were no depths he was not willing to go to ensure she was everything he ever wanted. He- he has been using compulsion magic on her and when we tried to intervene- well, he shut us out,” Emilie said sadly.
“And Princess Anna is still with him?”
“Do you know the location of his last whereabouts, Princess Emilie?”
Emilie shook her head in shock and said, “Surely you are not thinking of going after him, are you?”
“I’m sorry, your majesty but I cannot give up so easily. I understand your position but I am under no such legal or moral bindings. I will not allow the entity to win over him. Please, tell me where he was last seen,”
Emilie shook her head yet again. “My brother shall deem you a threat to himself and to Anna. He will annihilate you,”
“It’s a risk I am willing to take for the sake of goodness. Please, help me,”
Emilie still had her doubts but it was clear that Aurora could be stubborn and there was no point arguing against her. She requested for a detailed map of Medula and upon receiving the map as detailed on a piece of parchment cast a powerful divulging spell on it so that even locations hidden by magic were revealed. Aurora thanked her before she and Leal assumed possession of the map.
“Please, be careful Lady Aurora. My brother is well versed in all types of combat magic,”
“Thanks for the fair warning. We’ll be fine,” Aurora said and then she memorized the location on the map and focused unilaterally on it, willing to be there physically and through these acts was able to open up a portal through which she and Leal passed through and ended up on the hill where Prince Ember’s Castle stood.
Ember’s castle defenses warned him the moment the intruders set foot on the hill where it stood and he immediately went out to meet his attackers. Master Ammon was beside him and hissed on seeing the intruders. Ember was frightened to hear his master hiss because though it was a natural reaction for nymphs who were angry or threatened to hiss, he had never seen his master so angry. In fact, his Master displayed more loathing than fear or anger, something very uncharacteristic of him.
Aurora and Leal readied themselves for battle. Leal pushed Aurora behind him, a knee-jerk reaction of a Protector ready to die before allowing anyone to harm his charge. Ember was able to see their intertwined auras and it astounded him.
“Who are you and why are you so eager to die?” he asked them.
“Arrogant, aren’t we? Why do you presume yourself the victor of a battle you haven’t even began?” Leal asked.
Ember chuckled humorlessly. “Do you really think you can defeat me? Who is the arrogant one now?”
“Is this how you are going to win? By talking us to death?”
“Funny you should mention death. This day, the land of the spirits shall welcome you,” he said and engaged them in a fierce battle of the elements of fire and earth until his enemies were at long last vanquished. Exhausted from the battle, Ember turned to face his Master who was shutting his eyes and concentrating on something and then he hissed louder than before.
“Fool! They have tricked you. They are not truly dead,”
“What? What do you mean? You saw them die. I slew them,”
“They have outsmarted you with parlor trick magic; the battle you just fought was an illusion to delay you and achieve their ends! Go after them now, you fool!”
Ember was still confused by his Master’s harshness but thought of Anna and how much danger she’d be in if their enemies were not dead. He used his magic to teleport himself into her room and found her missing. He called out for her but she did not respond. Further, some magic appeared to be trap him in her room for some time and it took a while before he could leave. He searched every nook and cranny for his beloved but she was gone. His enemies had not only escaped death but had also freed Anna!
He quickly grabbed hold of locks of Anna’s hair, created a potion in a large cauldron by mixing it with several other ingredients and the potion helped him track her down. The traitors had taken her to the Royal Palace and Ember thought it was so obvious then that his family was behind the kidnap. Enraged, he easily incapacitated the guards and stormed into the Palace. His parents were there, waiting for him rather calmly.
“Where is she?” he snapped.
“She is safe, Ember. You need not worry about her,”
“How dare you take her away from me? How dare you send- send thieves against me!”
“Lady Aurora and Lord Leal are anything but thieves. They so bravely did what we were too fearful to- save an innocent woman from your tyranny,” Queen Penny said.
“She is my wife! How dare you imply-”
“Look into yourself, Ember! Do you recognize the monster you have become? What brings you here is not love but obsession. Anna was nearly driven mad by your compulsion. She was enslaved, a mindless, helpless victim of your compulsion. Do you not see that she needed to be freed?” his mother tried to reason with him.
“Enough!” Ember said stomping his feet so roughly on the floor that the Palace shook.
“May the next words you utter be her location or so help me…” he claimed looking at both his parents in anger. None of them spoke and he began to force his way into their mind to learn the truth or else compel them to reveal Anna’s whereabouts but he was halted by powerful mental wards no doubt cast by his sister. He tried harder and harder to read their minds but met the mental equivalent of a concrete wall.
“I will turn this Palace and its inhabitants to dust if you do not tell me where she is this instant!” he bellowed like an angry dragon. He stomped his foot, using it to cast a powerful earthquake that shook the Palace so roughly, it began to reign debris down on all in the Palace. The King quickly grabbed hold onto his wife’s hand and begun to run away from their son but there was no place to hide and the roof continued to rain down on them.
“Stop it, Ember!” Emilie cried running to intervene and save her parents. Ember used telekinesis to throw Emilie across the room slamming her into a corner of the throne room while the Palace’s debris fell on her, knocking her out cold.
“I will bury you alive! Tell me where she is right now!” he bellowed at his parents who were still trying to escape the Palace but couldn’t because of some kind of invisible force field trapping them there.
Lord Travis snuck up on him and hit Ember at the back of his head with a metallic vase with as much strength as he could muster causing the latter to stumble and fall forwards, causing the earthquake Ember had generated to stop momentarily. Travis then attempted to knock out the disoriented Prince entirely when a sudden gust of wind blew him across the room into the Queen and King knocking them all out and covering them with more debris and parts of the roof.
Master Ammon, the attacker, then helped Ember up. Ember thanked him and his master nodded who though still groggy and disoriented and bleeding from his brother-in-law’s attack, focused on finding the exact location of Anna in the Palace only to meet some kind of magical resistance preventing him. He kept pushing through with his magic until he finally found her and teleported to where she was immediately.
She was not tied up and frightened as he expected she would be nor did she seem to be in any kind of pain. He walked straight towards her only to find himself in yet another booby trap. Anna stood up and walked to where he was and he could see how hurt she was, saw her utter loathing of what he was and he knew in that moment, he had lost her forever. Anna shook her head and tears poured from her eyes which she unsuccessfully tried to wipe away.
“Anna! Wait, please darling- please- forgive me, please. I can’t- I can’t live without you. Please-” he begged her.
Anna did turn to face him but only to throw her wedding ring at him.
“Anna, no! No!” he said and tried to escape from the booby trap which was then revealed to be a circle of magical crystals surrounding him and he was at the center. Anna walked out of the room and his captors showed themselves to him.
“I’m going to destroy you both!” he spat at them.
His captors did not seemed disturbed by his threat at all and he started to unravel his imprisonment while they watched nonchalantly. The next thing he knew, a woman who looked exactly like the female captor, came into the room and walked towards him. From her clothing, he could assume that she was some kind of cleric. He attacked her using all short and medium range attacks he knew to halt her progress from fireballs to light beams but it simply rebounded off of her.
The woman entered the circle and placed something around his neck and then forced him to look straight up at her. He insulted her with all the foul words he knew but she ignored him and then he began to feel her peel the layers of telepathic protections he had placed in his mind and she could read his thoughts and he found out that he was very embarrassed by them.
He then could feel her in his mind, calming him down with the firm, reassuring hand of a mother and he tried to forget what he had done to his beloved mother. Though he didn’t want to, he began to feel calm under her ministrations until he stopped resisting entirely. Once he was calm, she began to chant and he began to feel something dark and sinister stir uncomfortably in his soul.
The more the woman chanted, the more the dark energy shook in Ember so that it began to manifest physically and he began to shiver and shake uncontrollably.
“Stop!” he screamed in agony not long afterwards but the woman did not relent and the entire room began to descend into chaos. There were sharp winds, things being thrown about the room and the crystals holding him in place began to glow ethereally and flash into several colors some which he had never seen.
The darkness continued to fight for his soul and convinced him that only it could help him have Anna. It tormented him with the dark thoughts of Anna being lost to him forever. Surely Anna would never forgive him. She was left him forever and the only way he could ever get her back was to force his way into her mind and compel her. He had seen the benefits of compelling her and how much better it made Anna.
The darkness was winning… He would do anything to keep Anna for himself. His own soul be damned but he would have her…
“Ember…” he heard her voice in his mind.
“You and I were meant to be together,”
“Yes, my love,”
“Then why do you persist in compelling me? If we are truly meant to be, then why do you want to force my hand?”
“Be… because you hate me. And you’ll leave me. I- I can’t lose you,”
“Don’t I deserve to choose you? Can I not love you of my own accord?”
“You’d- you’d never,”
Ember then felt her retreat from his mind and held onto the darkness until he felt her there with him physically, kneeling besides him. He opened up his eyes and he saw her, eyes reddened by her weeping. He reached out to touch her face and she surprised him by not flinching or turning away.
“I can forgive you, Ember but you must learn to love me and by that I mean that you must learn to truly love me, not obsess over me,”
“Fight the darkness for me, Ember and give me the choice- I will choose you, I promise,”
“You’re just- you’re just saying that so that I- I-” he began but was interrupted by her urgent, passionate kiss. He forgot about everything and focused on his wife, his darling Anna for whom he was willing to forfeit his own soul for and he held her in his arms as they kissed, back in his happy place; the world of their own making. He could read her mind and saw the true extent of his damage. Her mind was jumbled up with thoughts of her intense love and passion for him and thoughts of betrayal, anger and even hatred. However, she focused on the earlier and convinced herself that in spite of everything he had done to her, she still loved him more than anything in the world and that he was her soulmate.
Could such a pure, selfless love truly exist? Ember was astounded. It was true then. He did not love her. He was obsessed with her and only she could teach him to love for real. Ember acknowledged that he had messed her mind so much with his compulsion and had done so many misdeeds, that he felt that he didn’t deserve her love or forgiveness.
Anna slowly pulled away from their kiss and held his face firmly in her hands. “Please Ember, let go. Please, be good… For me… For us… For the sake of your people, your family… Atone for your sins by choosing the light,”
“You… won’t leave?” he asked desperately.
Anna hesitated but then nodded. “I will not leave your side,”
She took both his hands in her own and looked directly at him. “I- I love you,” she added.
With her words to encourage him, he let go of the darkness and it came out of him painfully, reluctantly trying to dig its claws deeper into his soul. He began to cough violently and a dark, incorporeal substance left his body with every violent cough until it left him entirely and floated above his head in the room seeking a new host.
The woman continued to chant and a mystical white ball of energy appeared from thin air and chased after the dark substance until at long last, it was vanquished and the chaos of the room finally settled. Ember turned to face Anna who smiled and hugged him.
“I’m proud of you, Ember. You’ve done so well,” Anna said smiling brightly at him and retrieving the beautiful wedding ring he had crafted for her and placed it back on her right ring finger where he had placed it on their wedding day.
“I-” Ember began to state when suddenly, his Master appeared in the room.
“Master, these people aren’t our foes- they’re-” Ember began to explain to his Master that had a blank expression on his face.
Suddenly, some kind of creature burst where his Master stood with a crack that sounded like a whip. The Creature was quite scary and stood at 11 feet with sickly grey skin that looked like several bandages had been placed on the creature that were peeling away. It was faceless but had a mouth with sharp teeth and long, talon-like fingers.
The Creature was incredibly fast and lunged itself straight at Anna. Ember panicked as he watched it attempt to attack the love of his life but luckily, his two captors shot at it with what was unmistakably Greek fire and it instead flew across the room and writhed in agony before it vanquished entirely. His captors then extinguished the flames by uttering a foreign spell he had not heard of until then.
“What- what was that?” Ember asked them as he securely held onto Anna.
“They’re called hellish golems. They come from the sixth plain of existence- the hellish lands,” Aurora explained.
Ember nodded. Of course he knew of all plains of existence but the world was not ready to learn of them just yet.
“Well, it appears my work here is done,” said Aurora’s doppelganger who had officiated the cleansing ritual.
“Thank you, your holiness,” Ember told her.
“Blessed be, your majesty! I am glad to have helped. Please remember to observe all the religious observances recommended for cleansing. Burn some sage and eucalyptus too… It will help with the symptoms,”
“The- the symptoms, your holiness?” Ember asked.
Aurora’s doppelganger nodded. “The consequences of hosting such malevolent energy. The eucalyptus will help and the sage will keep the dark energy at bay,”
Ember nodded. He watched as Aurora’s doppelganger walked away and approached Aurora and Protector Grayson. “Well, it was lovely seeing you both again, especially you, Protector Grayson,” she said with a wink and a soft chuckle when Leal smiled sheepishly at her and his charge gave him a stern look before exiting to send Aurora’s doppelganger to her rightful timeline.
After a few weeks, Ember stood at the solar of his Castle overlooking the plains to the Kingdom he would most not inherit. His family had disowned him and though he still had his comforts as a royal Prince, it was unclear if they’d ever forgive him. Anna’s mind required plenty of healing as well and his people were frightened of him based of what he had done to his own family.
He spoke to Aurora and learned of her gifts and her mission. He, of course, offered his help to her but Emilie was highly suspicious of him and their relationship soured from his attack. They learned that their true Master Ammon had been murdered and replaced with the golem, a new version of the hellish creature, it appeared, since it had been able to shape-shift and assume the Master’s identity.
Ember began to experiment with his traveler’s ability since he had so much time on his hands and not enough to do. He then came across another special ability of his- the ability to reverse time. With enough practice, he was able to move from reversing time for short bursts of time to even larger bursts.
Finally, the Prince was able to reverse time to before Master Ammon was abducted and murdered by the golem. Since he had inherited his father’s gift of conjuring fire, he was able to vanquish the foul beast with his own specially made Greek fire. Prince Ember then realized he had a second chance to mend the mistakes of the past and do things the rightful way. He was hopeful because he had his true Master by his side to guide him.
The second time around, Prince Ember’s meeting with Aurora and Protector Leal Grayson was more pleasant. Anna’s mind was whole again and he began to woo her the right way; accepting her rejection in stride and never relenting. Anna was his soulmate and it was only a matter of time before she accepted his courtship. He realized that he had to let her get over her prejudice against fairies on her own and he’d have to give her the chance to choose him on her own accord.
Being patient finally paid off when he finally had Anna for his own just as Medula became declared as its very own sovereign state with Prince Ember and Princess Anna becoming its first declared rulers and crowned monarchs thus becoming the Queen and King. Due to the matriarchal nature of Magical Realm states, Anna would enjoy more powers as the Queen than King Ember which Ember was very glad for because she was everything a Queen should be and more…
END OF STORY TWO