Author's note: Ironically, I started writing this over the summer of 2010. I wanted to create a fantasy world... Show full author's note »
PrologueA single Fire flickered in the quiet, shadowy woods.
Two figures were huddled close together, a mother and her little girl. With scarred fingers, the mother wove strips of rich bark into a tightly braided necklace, a heavy ruby pendant strung at the end of it. The hard, delicately cut surface of the jewel glistened luminously under the flames, winking at every sudden flare. The little girl watched her mother braid intently until a small, dead knot tied the necklace together. Her small mouth
She pointed a finger at the Fire. “What is that?”
“Fire?” her mother asked gently, but her emerald eyes darkened. “It’s a powerful Element. You mustn’t play with it.”
The little girl understood the warning to her mother’s serious voice. Still, she couldn’t shake off that inquisitive, curious feeling. She didn’t understand. Slowly, she reached out to touch the leaping flames that were licking the air like a hungry snake. She expected nothing as her finger steadily plunged into the comforting warmness of the fire. It didn’t hurt. Her mother was watching this carefully with guarded eyes and did not speak.
The little girl drew her undamaged hand out and examined the fire thoughtfully. Just for a flicker of a second, she thought she saw a face appearing within the fire – a young boy’s, with tawny eyes and a splash of honey hair. But it disappeared as quickly as it had come, and so she shook it off, still mesmerized with the Fire’s beauty. The Fire gave her a sense of capability, of unconquerable elation, of power…
“How did I do that, Mother?” Her small, childlike voice was full of deep intuition, yet she still had to ask. The Fire answered her thoughts, unraveled the raveled, understood the mysteries of beyond.
Her mother didn’t answer directly. “Come here, child.”
The little girl obliged and climbed into her mother’s waiting arms. Within the arms, she felt safe and so she smiled happily at her mother, who returned a glowing look. Her mother took the freshly woven necklace and placed it carefully around Summer’s neck, the pendant fitting perfectly into the hollow of her throat.
“There,” her mother said, “that should remind you of me.”
The little girl’s delicate brow furrowed slightly. “Are you leaving, Mother?” Her ringing voice was filled of confusion. “Stay with me, please!” “I’ll never leave you, Summer.” Her emerald eyes were distant as she gazed the infinite darkness beyond the light of the fire. It was nothingness, just a vast, endless plain of the unknowns of her little girl’s deepest fears. Her mother was the only one she could hold onto, who she needed most desperately - she couldn’t leave... could she?
The question was answered almost immediately. The mother pushed her daughter gently back onto the black floor, and rose. To the little girl’s shocked cries, her only mother walked into the darkness.