The Lone Ember | Teen Ink

The Lone Ember

December 17, 2021
By Bella_Queen DIAMOND, Plymouth, Ohio
Bella_Queen DIAMOND, Plymouth, Ohio
81 articles 25 photos 79 comments

Favorite Quote:
Keep your face always toward the sunshine and shadows will fall behind you.
-Walt Whitman


I shut my eyes, tasting salt, as the name washed over me. Soft, like a blanket.

But it wrenched at me.
“Daughter, look at me.” I choked on a sob, clenching the edge of his blood-stained robe tighter, “you have to go. Get out. I’ll be fine.”

I shook my head, heart aching like I had never felt before.

“Take your sisters, and go!” He tried to sit up, but a groan of pain had him slumping back against the marble column.


I tried to touch his face, but he pushed them out of the way, “You have to go!” He repeated.

I clenched my hands into fists, shaking my head again. “I’ll die with you. I will.”

“Don’t say that! You have to live. Take it back.”

I choked on another sob, “I can’t.”

He grabbed the front of my dress, already sullied with red, and looked me in the eye with his dimming blue ones. “The throne is yours now. Your responsibility. Our people need you alive.”

“They need you alive!”

“We don’t have much time!” Phemia, the knight carefully guarding us, looked back. “We have to go!”

I couldn’t.

“Sympathy,” my father, the king, took both of my hands in his. “Do it for me. For our country. For what has been done here. The injustice.”


The word rooted me, sparking an ember of anger.

“Yes,” my father smiled slightly, “you have to rip the throne right back from him. Like he took it from us.”

Our home. This was our home.

“I can’t leave you.”

“They’re coming!” Phemia hefted up her sword, though it shook in her hands. She was exhausted from fighting for three days and three nights.

Each night bringing us closer to a siege.

Until suddenly, it became one.

“Go with her,” my father pushed my hands away. “They took your mother, they cannot take you and the girls!”

Magdalene, Phoenix, and Crystal.

Still. I stayed and tried to convince him, even though the shouts were drawing near. Blades were being drawn. “Phemia and I will carry you.”

He chuckled, “I’m too old and too big.”

“I can do it, Majesty!” Phemia said, kneeling. “I can.”

“See?” I tried to tug him towards me, but he resisted.

“Sympathy, enough. Go!”

Before my eyes, he drew a blade and held it up to his chest.

His hands did not shake.

My eyes widened in horror, “Father…”

“Go,” he whispered, eyes soft. “Go.”

I screamed in frustration, powerless. 

“Take her,” my father looked at Phemia.

An order.

“No!” I spat, lunging away from the knight, but not before she caught me round the waist.

Never disobey a direct order.

The Knight’s code.

“Let me go!” I screamed.

“I hear something!”

“Over there! It’s the princess!”

“Take her!” My father, seeing there was nothing I could do to escape the knight, dropped the dagger.

Accepting it.

His death.

“No!” I sobbed, screaming as loud as I could.

“We have to go!” Phemia hissed in my ear, “come on!”

I continued to struggle as she dragged me away, nearing the end of the corridor. I knew my sister’s rooms were there.

I had told them to hide.

But I couldn’t leave him.

“Let me go!” I shrieked, reaching for my father.

“He’s dying! You are next to the throne, therefore my allegiance is now to you!”

I let that truth seep into my skin, sticking there. Right in my veins.

But I didn’t stop fighting until the marble column, and my father, were well out of sight. Then I knew it was too late.

“Come on,” Phemia set me on my feet firmly, keeping a tight hold of my arm. So much so that her fingers indented my caramel skin, turning the spots purple.

She kept me from running, though I wanted to.

“We’ll find your sisters,” she whispered to me, edging us around another spotless column.

I shut my eyes, feeling sick at the scent of blood wafting from me. I saw my father behind closed lids.


I couldn’t help the fresh flood of tears as I opened my eyes.

Phemia glanced back briefly. “We will avenge him. Somehow.”

I said nothing, didn’t even nod, as we warily made our way through the palace. It was mostly empty, but I knew, as soon as we reached the royal suites, they would be flooded. All of them would be looking for me.
For us. My sisters and I.

Phemia held a finger to her lips as we sunk into the shadows of another hall, listening for shouts of alarm.

As I predicted, as soon as we neared the royal suites, a chorus of conversing voices echoed down the hall.

Amongst the noise, I heard sobs.

My sisters.

“No,” I whispered, trying to shoot out of our hiding place to save my sisters.

“Sympathy!” Phemia was forced to grab my waist again, keeping me from rounding the corner full of enemy soldiers. I opened my mouth, ready to shout, but a hand clamped over my lips. “Stop! We will save them. I swear.”

I didn’t believe her.

“Stay here,” she hissed urgently, pushing me through an empty door that led into a study.

The door slammed shut behind me. I shut my mouth, still open to scream, and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

The sun moved lower behind the trees until all that was left was an ember. A single spark of sun.

To shine on a single heir.

I shut my eyes, taking a deep breath littered with sobs. Phemia could be dead. My sisters…


I had to go to them.

I turned around and grabbed the golden handles with sweat-soaked palms. The door opened without a noise; the hinges bending easily. Darkness met my gray-blue eyes.

“Phemia,” I breathed.

No answer, but darkness whispering at the corners of my settling vision.

I couldn’t stay there, breathing into the hall. The royal suites were only a few steps ahead, empty, from what I could tell.

A lone ember.

I was alone.

My sisters were alone.

And my father was probably dead.

I ventured further from the study, barely breathing now. The suite doors were left open, furniture and jewelry strewn about. I spotted my mother’s crown, void of its emeralds.

Another spark lit in me. An anger growing.

Find them. Find them.

I brushed past the wreckage, heart in my throat, and made my way deeper into the castle. They would be in the ballroom, most likely, with their hostages and stolen goods.

I was alone.

I couldn’t fight them.

I turned down an empty hall, stopping when a dark shape took form. It was on the ground, motionless.

A body.

“Phemia?” I whispered, panic taking over my barely there breaths.

The form didn’t so much as move, so I quickly knelt and turned the person over. It was an enemy soldier, a woman, bloodied from both the wound in her belly and the deaths she delivered to my father’s knights.

No longer his. But mine.

My castle. My sisters.

My people.

Once they had all they wanted, they’d leave a few people here and then take my sister’s to their own country.

They’d take them from me.

I narrowed my eyes, thinking. The woman was small, slight. An archer, judging by the quiver left on her back. We would be the same size.

Phemia would have stopped me. Father would have, too. But they weren’t there.

I was.

And I had a plan to do what my father would have wanted.

A plan to take back my sisters.

And my home.

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