Brought to you by: The Figment
No music in the cards today gang. Also, no current reading. This came to me during a class I was taking. This week’s figment prompt was one word: destiny. What do you view as your destiny? Are we bound by fate or God or just extraordinary circumstance?
Just a random idea that might develop. Then again, it might not. The blog will be on hiatus until after the first of the year so I can enjoy the holiday season with my family. I encourage you all to the same. Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays if you do not celebrate Christmas. Take care everyone. Here goes. Enjoy!
Frost glittered across the window pane. Emma Jacobs muttered a soft curse and blew on her numb fingertips. She rubbed her hands together to warm them before she tossed another log on the fire. Here on the outer edges of the realm, far to the northwest, she could hide from her heritage and from the other royals. More importantly, she could hide from her twin.
Edward was on a path she knew she could not and would not follow. The Light called her as sure as the dawn. She wanted her books; her quiet; her writing. Emma wanted no part in the horrors of war or the civil unrest that plagued the kingdom at large. Even here, she heard the debate about Christiana Morningstar’s right to the throne.
Propaganda slandering their Queen was spread far and wide. In spite of the Queen’s retrieval of a holy weapon, people still questions. As of late, rumors ran rampant that she arranged her twin’s demise and that of the late Lady Jade in order to secure her throne.
This situation brewed tyrants. Kings and Queens of the past silenced these rumors with executions. The Queen’s own grandfather resolved unrest in this manner. In other ages, acts like these were the seeds of bloody revolution. The thought troubled her but in the same vein the trouble was not hers. In recent months, she had enough of her own.
Emma’s self-imposed exile was her doing. She would not allow Edward’s darkness to taint her. Her dreams were frightful things as of late. Light and shadow haunted her. The winds of change blew through her dreams like a hurricane and she did not understand why. Her vibrant hazel eyes skimmed the room around her. The sight of this library comforted her in a manner that few things could. Books were constant and steady. People were not.
Her grandmother erected this home when her generation was exiled. At the time of exile, Sarina Starson could barely summon enough holy to heal a paper cut. Emma had only fleeting memories of her grandmother. She may not have been able to summon but, Fate above could that woman teach. Grandmother taught her mother and passed on the Starson lineage to herself and Edward. How her brother twisted those teachings. Her lips thinned to a line. Or he allowed his employer to twist them. She could not be certain.
She too had heard whispers of the realm’s grand cleric. Tessa Starson would have been her cousin had the woman even been aware they existed. The two had never met and Emma made certain never to draw enough power to entertain such an existence. She wanted to be left in peace, nothing more.
Emma knew from her last encounter with her brother that she could not allow him to find her. Edward would use her. Her blood was powerful enough to pursue his descent into madness. She was no fool. Their grandmother had spoken of the books of holy and shadow. If Edward had what she suspected he did…what her senses told her he did when she opened the door between them, she needed to maintain utter secrecy. “Where you go, I cannot follow.” She remembered her last words to him. Emma could feel the darkness pulsing in the South as surely as she could feel the light pulsing in the North when she opened her senses.
With absent violence, she grabbed the poker and tried to stir the fire with a dark look. Her hair was a richer red than what her cousin’s was rumored to be. Her hazel eyes flashed gold a moment as power mixed with her frustration. A knock at the door startled her. The hour was quite late. Moonlight had long since chased the sun away. Snowfall littered the ground. The white lent an innocence to the world she struggled to acknowledge. Who the devil would be calling on her at this hour?
“Damned inconvenience.” Emma growled. Her voice was a rich, warm honey that even in annoyance could be considered endearing. She tightened the sash on her robe and moved to answer the door. What stood before her was a man covered in snow. The figure stood a shade taller than her five foot eight frame. His ash-blonde hair was dotted with snowflakes while his green eyes sparkled with a mix of boyish humor and curiosity. “Please forgive the intrusion; I saw a light in the dark.”
Emma flushed to the roots of her hair. The cherry in her cheeks matched the richness of the waves framing her delicate features. Her snow covered guest skimmed her over with a practiced eye. Without a word, she stepped aside to grant him entrance. She could have turned him away but there was no shelter beyond her home for miles.
With a grateful smile, he stepped into the house. Since his sister’s disappearance, he kept his senses open for the slightest hint of her presence. The experience was both painful and humbling. Anytime he reached inward for a place she should have been, he found an emptiness he could not describe. At each sunrise he looked for her presence in hope that some slip on her part would lead him to her. Six months of searching led to this house. What was going on in the capital or with state affairs he could not be certain. Finding his sister was paramount to both his continued existence and the realm’s survival.
His senses identified that flare of skill with his cousin more than his sister. Tessa would have skimmed this girl over and determined her origins in a heartbeat. With a minute flex of his will, he stirred the hearth to life. As he did this, he watched the young lady’s face. The subtle flicker and widening of her eyes almost made him laugh. “Jason Burke.” He introduced himself. Marc knew quite well his name would send this woman running like a frightened hare. He also found this level of secrecy necessary to continue his search.
Why was this girl going to such great lengths to hide what she was? Marc could tell she was formidable by the wards on her lands and within her head. This was quite a puzzle. Marc proceeded towards what was now a roaring hearth. The blank spot in his head where Alex should be was a severe distraction and put him at a sorry disadvantage when dealing with other magic users. His presence and ability felt muted. The thought made him wonder if she knew what was ahead when she blocked him the first time he sparred with Lily.
“Emma Jacobs.” The girl responded then scowled as the fire flared again. Was he goading her? The man was dangerous. She felt him tug the fire to life. The pull was no stronger than a mild breeze. His actions were deliberate. Even with her walls up, she sensed that tug. His finesse was impressive. In response, her defenses were on full alert. This man was no mundane. He was leaving his power out like a trail for her to follow to find his true identity. Emma decided she was not playing that game.
Marc felt her panic rise as if she were at the other end of a hallway and chuckled. Truly he hated this. “As it stands, I will not press you about your identity provided you do not press me about mine. I have a hunch we will revisit this discussion another time.” His tone was intended to ease her. “And since we have dispensed with the pleasantries of a sort.” Marc loosened his grip on his skills a little and poured the energy into the hearth. Soon enough the blaze was enough to dry him.
Fate above he missed Lily, he thought. He had to make her promise now to shadow him. Even then, he could not be certain she kept that vow. If his Lily did not want to be found, she would not be. Her engagement ring allowed her to hide from his senses. He drew his attention back to the woman that now sat across from him. “Have you sensed anyone like me or has anyone tried to test your wards?” His tone remained conversational as he warmed his hands.
Emma watched this casual use of talent in utter shock. He was going to get her caught! If his last name was Burke, she would eat the Starson crest she kept buried in her jewel case. “No. No one has. I would appreciate you not displaying such talents in my home.”
To be continued…