Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.

0
Free copy left
You can read our best books
Bushkill would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

Let Embers Fall

By Bushkill All Rights Reserved ©

Adventure / Fantasy

Let Embers Fall


Here I stand, looking over the village of my birth.  Grey clouds boil above, casting the land in an eerie darkness.  The sun is hidden from me.  Or I, it.

I can see the house I was born in across the valley from the hill I stand on.  It lies hard against the river that runs through this valley.  The hill I am on is known as Sentry Mount.  It is the tallest of a series of hills that runs from the northeast to the southwest on this side of the river.  The far side of the river, where the house is, has no hills to speak of.  It is low farm land and very fertile.  

The river dumps into a small lake to the southwest.  I look to my left but I cannot see the lake from Sentry Mount.  I know it’s there, I used to fish in it as a child with my dad and brother.

I can see a woman in the yard of the house that used to be mine.  Would she remember me?  The chickens in the yard are flapping around her skirts and she is swatting at them to both get them away from her and keep them out of the house. 

Can I hear her voice on the wind? 

I hated feeding those chickens with their incessant flapping. 

A just-roused child opens the door, blond curls falling around her face in sleepy waves, and she holds the door open for her mom as the older woman hustles to be inside.  I hadn’t known mom was expecting again.  I didn’t know I had a little sister.

The wind whips around my cloak and the cold steel of my halberd presses against my hip and weighs me down.  It is heavy.  Many things are.

I can see the irrigation system I spent so many summers working on as a child.  I see the youth of today working on the same trenches.  They are, no doubt, cursing the leaves, sticks, and sundry debris that clog the system after a rain storm. I make a mental note about the condition of the fields below following the two days of torrential downpour that ended, hopefully, earlier last night.  At least it hasn’t rained since then.  The clouds still look pregnant and ready to burst though.

The wind cries out as it whistles through the trees.

I haven't been back to this valley in nearly ten years.  A lot can happen in ten years.  Lives change.  The Empire’s press gangs had claimed me from the fields and sent me to fight people I didn't know, under a sun that burned too bright; too hot.  I had been strong and clever and had a very committed desire to stay alive.  I still have those qualities.

I had been beaten by the press gang thugs the first time I countermanded my superior’s orders.  But not so harshly as the offense warranted since I had saved my unit and plugged a gaping hole in the line that my superior was threatening to widen by moving us the way he planned.  We would have been flanked and buried by the cavalry charge.  Instead we anchored our pikes in the dust and rocks of the desert and broke the charge.  I was promoted after the beating.  

My superior was hanged.

The Empire was like that.  Service, unwavering, was demanded and rewarded.  Negligence was punished and incompetence was punished harshly.  I was advised in my promotion that I should be far more careful in changing battle plans.  Bring up ideas and concerns in planning, they told me, and run changes through the chain of command during the battle.

Six weeks later I was beaten again for “operational insubordination” that had, for a second time, spared my troopers a brutal butcher’s bill.  It had also saved the life of a fellow squad commander.  The fellow's father was in command of the unit we fought with.

Luck and fortune favor the prepared … which I wasn’t … but it didn’t hurt my cause, and that’s a fact.

Ten years later and I am running an entire Army for the Empire.  More than 5,000 men, supply trains, siege engines (though, in truth, I will build what I need on site when I see what I have to defeat with my own eyes). 

Carefully though, very carefully because the Empire is strong and I am their man. 

My hands are clasped behind my back, wind whipping my red trimmed black dress coat around my waist and tugging at the button holding it closed.  It is cold and foreboding, like the clouds.  I stare at the valley I called home.  The rain would hold.

“Burn it, Colonel; every house, every barn, every hut and hovel.”  I stop and turn to face my second, “I don’t want anything alive in that valley when the sun sets except my troopers.”  I drill a hole in him with my gaze so that he fully comprehends the intensity of my command.

He blinked at me, “Livestock?”

“Burn it all, Colonel.”  I look back at the village I grew up in; the struggles of the past belong in the past.

The Colonel raises a flag in a series of motions to signal the start of the attack.

The hoof beats of the cavalry charge echo across the valley and up the hill to wail at my feet.  They pound into my soul as I stare at the village I grew up in, the struggles of the past, the fighting and scrapping for every morsel of food. 

For dignity. 

For Pride.

The fires taking root below burn with a chillness that I feel twisting through me.

 “Dismissed, Colonel.”  It is coldly said, like the day.

Write a Review Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, Bushkill
Continue Reading
Further Recommendations

Lydia Walters: I really enjoyed this novel. It gives us a view of what could be if we really tried.Also that there's nothing wrong with loving our LORD and our fellow humans. couldn't wait to get to each new chapter (mission). Thanks, Joe!

Giuliana Cassetta: My face is full of tears, I never cried like now with a book or even a movie. I loved every single chapter. I truly don't know what to say, I'm out of words and my eyes hurt from crying. Such an bittersweet story, it's so wonderful. One of my favorites for sure. Keep it up!

ArgyrisMetaxas: Thrilling story which builds layer ontop of layer. A few mis spellings every few chapters. What I found special was that it took a modern day problem and took it to its logical conclusion and plays this realism with gritting precision. I'm always on edge ready to shout from adrenaline. This is gr...

Ayesha Shaikh: I love the twists. 😆I like how the writer describes everyone's point of view and the character development. I'm gonna read all the books by this author (current and upcoming). She's one of my favorites now. The spelling mistakes are normal no big deal, the amazing plot makes up for it. Thank you ...

Jason Phang: It's too short! The plot was excellently thought through, with the characters flowing up and down the storylines like the peaks and valleys of the Himalayas. Thoroughly enjoyed the book and the time spent with Asta and her journeys. (:

Jason Phang: More, I want MORE! Your stories are keeping me from games and (gasp) even sleep! Each chapter brought fresh hooks that I willingly wolfed down (pun intended) and I just couldn't bear going to sleep not knowing what happens next to Lindsay and Wayne. I also loved how the epilogue was done. Excelle...

genlynne2379: I read the other review of this book and I must say that I disagree with it wholeheartedly. I do not believe the author put the apostrophes in the names just to be unique, but because the characters are supposedly of a different race than humans. They are Anmah. They should have different names a...

littlebunnypoopoos: Omg this was so amazing! The ending was a little bad and predictable. But otherwise, I need a second book or I'll die :D The character development was excellent and the whole romance, action, and suspense was superb

Lynda Keosavanh: very well written. from start to finish. I loved the plot and how it flowed. I enjoyed the characters and was engrossed by the mystery unfolding. I could barely put the book down. and look forward to seeing more

More Recommendations

Alex Rushmer: This was not what I expected, but I enjoyed it a lot Malfoy was always one of the characters that I liked a lot, so I like that a lot of this happens between him and Colette. I read the first couple chapters, and I enjoyed your writing style and am excited to see where you take this story. My com...

makaylakay: I love love this story! It's written incredibly and well thought-out plot! I love how it's a different twist in fantasy fiction, other then the usual vampire or werewolves. Love the romantics and drawn to the two characters so much already! This book will draw you in within the first chapter and ...

maryahbeebe66: OMG I fell in love with the story and how the characters fall into place. I'm really excited to read more into the story and hope there's a sequel to it. My fav characters are Dylan and Laila. Your doing a great job keep it up 👏🏾

tsolaidowu: I want a continuation dammit....I loved this book and the 1st one. I can't believe this is it. I'm not ready to say goodbye to Jeff and Lorie; and the gang. Great book and storyline. You're a genius Madelyn.

mullikin902: Do not start reading this book unless you have enough time to finish it in one sitting, because you will not be able to put it down! Superlative! Addictive! Deliciously wicked characters you can't get enough of. Impatiently waiting for the sequel!

Stephen Warner: To start off, I am thoroughly impressed. The writing style is somewhat unique, and the plot seemed to move at a nice and steady pace. However, I was not expecting this to be a vampire book! I am usually not one for novels about vampires, but I was pleasantly surprised! You wrote with such grace a...

About Us:

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.