{{ contest.story_page_sticky_bar_text }} Be the first to recommend this story.
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 copies left
You can choose from our best books below
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

Felisa Yoder Osburn: I really enjoyed the story. Civil War stories are some of my favorites and the intertwining of the past with current times was wonderful. I look forward to reading the next stories.

ynez2005: I LOVE THIS BOOK SOOOOO MUCH!!!!Though you really need to make another book,more Princesses!!! Whoooo!!!Girl Power!!!Mabey it could even be Devona's BFF???That would make it even better!!!Plus can you pleeease make Akki come back,together with Thea and Authur amd the whole family is back!Other th...

rudyoxborough46: An action-packed, mystical adventure awaits anyone wishing to read this novel. I’m amazed at how well you’ve managed to flesh out the characters in this book, and I hope to read more of your work.I’ve read books about goblins and elves and all that mumbo-jumbo before, and most accounts of these c...

Bri Hoffer: I couldn't put it down!! The characters are all incredibly likable, and it's so descriptive you can see, smell, and feel thier surroundings. Great story, and very well written. I cannot wait for follow up stories. there were a few grammatical errors, but nothing that I could move right over.

Jade Niday: This book has a really great plot. The author really makes you feel connected to the main character. There are twist around every corner you never see coming.. Great read for sure and I can't wait to see what happens next.

Flik: Hi! ^.^ huge fan of yours on ff.net! When I saw the note about this contest on The Way We Smile, I couldn't help but rush over here, create an account, and vote! XD Seriously love this story and would recommend it to anyone! :D best FT fanfiction out there. Amazing story, amazing concept that wa...

maewilde25: I am so in love with this story!!! captivated me till the very end, there wasn't a dull moment. Didn't particularly enjoy the lay out and some bits of info was missing along with how a 21 year old man amassed so much wealth that needed to be explained other than that and a few spelling errors, th...

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!

CookieMonster911: The story overall was an adventure that is appealing to any age. The way the characters develop adds a more human characteristic to the novel. The writing style itself is amazing because you can learn every character's thoughts and emotions. The awkward love triangle and jerk moments adds to the ...

More Recommendations

daneliacapote116: This was one of my favorites! When you start reading you want to continue I can't wait for the rest of the novel!! The characters where awesome! Everything was great. I encourage you to read this novel, your going to love it it and want to read it more and more !!

Olivia N J Hamel: I want this book. I love it so much. It is so enjoyable to read and to have a copy of this always, I would be very happy, to always be able to come back and look at it again.

Caryn Moy: Love this series! Very well written, great plot and characters! I love time travel mysteries and this was different from anything I've read in the past! Bring on the sequel!!! I need to see the Compact get squashed!

Hawkebat: Playing both Kotor I & II and Swtor I found the story line interesting and it held me until chapter 35 Very good story and plot flow until then, very few technical errors. I felt that the main character was a bit under and over powered, as it fought for balance. The last few chapters felt too f...

Lauren Sanby: This is an excellent story. Very gripping and keeps your attention throughout. Hoping the author is writing a sequel because I'd love to read more about Rhi and Andreas and find out what else Rhi is able to do with her powers.

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.