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
Shelley Miller would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

Tales from the Kingdom of Grim

By Shelley Miller All Rights Reserved ©

Horror / Fantasy

The Ash Queen

"I am all I deserve to be."

The Queen of Grim, known among her people as the Ash Queen, was feared beyond any ruler. It was she who started the Hundred Year Famine and the Great Pestilence which caused the deaths of many men, women, and children in her kingdom. They call her evil, which she may well be, yet her true tale is one that is long forgotten. It is a tale which she, herself, will not speak of. For it is one of kindness turned cold, of a pure heart sullied, and the light of innocence being swallowed by darkness.

Long ago, when she was just a girl, she lost her mother to illness. Her father, a weak man of little value, remarried a widow with two daughters of her own. Only when it was too late, and her feeble father's life was extinguished, did the stepmother reveal  her true, calculating, and cruel self. She treated her stepdaughter with rare heartlessness and worked her like a slave, while her own fat, spoiled daughters laughed gloatingly at their stepsisters misfortunes, delighted spectators of their mother's cruelty.

The girl worked as a servant in her own home, trying her best to remain strong in the face of such a loveless life. While half of her heart hoped for a chance at happiness in the face of such tribulation, the other half started to grow cold. It was this half of her heart that stared at her stepmother and stepsisters with a loathing unfitting a simple young woman. She fought to suppress these dark thoughts and worked with hope in her heart.

But finally, the abuse took its toll. The girl snapped one day after long, grueling hours of housework and far too many beatings and cruel words from the hags that dare call themselves her family. That night, she sneaked quietly into her stepsister's chambers and stole a gown and a pair of shoes and tried to flee the household. She did not get far. A neighbor who knew nothing of the girl's terrible life saw her leaving the house. He caught her, berated her from sneaking out in the night, and promptly returned her to the clutches of her stepmother, telling the stepmother that she ought to do better than teach her girls to run off at night.

It was the worst punishment she'd yet received. The stepmother ripped the stolen clothes from the girl's body while her own daughters laughed and mocked her. The stepmother then started beating the girl with everything she could get her hands on. For a whole day the girl was beaten with everything in the house, hurt and laughed at until, finally, the stepmother took a heavy black kettle from the fire place and hit the girl's head so hard that she collapsed into the fireplace, blood leaking from her hair. She didn't move or make a sound after that.

Fearing she'd finally landed a death blow on the girl, the stepmother took her own daughters out of the house. A royal event would be taking place that night and, she believed, that if the girl died there while they were attending the event, she could claim the girl's death was an accident and she and her daughters would be blameless. They dressed in their finest and took off at once, leaving the girl to bleed in the fireplace.

In those moments, as she lay there dying, that girl surrendered her heart and soul to the darkness she'd kept at bay for so long. All the anger and hatred burned through her, willing her to survive. She prayed to any dark god that might be listening that, if she could survive this, if she could revenge herself upon those who wronged her, if she could take over this unfair and harsh world and rule it as she saw fit, she would belong to the darkness forevermore.

The Darkness accepted her offer. It's wicked voice whispered in her ear.

"Take the ashes that have been soaked in your blood and cover yourself with them."

The girl was barely alive and so it took every last bit of her strength to gather a small handful of bloody ashes and rub them against the gash on her head. Suddenly, the pain faded, her eyesight cleared, and strength returned to her. Rejuvenated and wild with excitement she started covering every inch of herself with the bloodied ashes. Once she was covered, she hurried to the water pump and washed them off to reveal, not only was the gash on her head completely healed over, but many years worth of scars and bruises was completely washed away and replaced with pale, glorious flesh. Her stringy, uneven black hair was now shiny and full. Her coarse, rough hands were now soft and her nails were shiny. The ashes had made her whole again and possessing a most enviable beauty.

She took what was left of the ashes and rubbed them into the tattered fabric of the gown she'd stolen. It too was completely restored and had turned into a fine, glimmering dress of pure black. She donned her new gown, looking finer and more glorious than any woman ever had in the kingdom and she took off after her stepmother and stepsisters.

The royal event being held that night was the wedding of the kingdom's prince to a princess from another realm. It was a union meant to secure peace and prosperity between their homelands forever. As the prince and princess stood at the alter and prepared to make their vows the doors to the chapel opened. The girl, reborn from the ashes, entered the ceremony and approached the alter. Her beauty, a gift from the Darkness, cast a spell on all who laid eyes upon her. Every woman who looked upon her burned with envy while every man was filled with an aching lust. But the man most effected by the beauty that Darkness had bestowed upon the girl was the prince. He was so entranced by her that, without realizing what he was doing, he put his wedding band not upon the finger of his bride-to-be but upon the finger of the girl!

So the girl became the Queen, the Ash Queen, more powerful and seductive than any in all the world. It was she that plunged the world into darkness as repayment of the Darkness that granted her all she'd ever wanted. As long as she sits on the throne, the world will never know peace or happiness again.


Continue Reading Next Chapter
Further Recommendations

catd69: Karim is a very talented writer. When I started reading his journey it took me into the book and I was in the story till the end. I've never felt this way with any other writers stories. If you want to read a gripping adventure, this will be the one book I would suggest you pick.

skippybash12: This story has engaging characters that you care about and a plot that is unpredictable and exciting. It is well written with a believable voice. Great weekend escape and if there was a sequel available I would buy it today -

Mourn8220House: When first reading "Avarice," I thought it would be another fairytale but I was taken back the author's approach and choice of ending. There is little to be said for the story and overall plot besides the sudden twists and speculation, other than that I do not want to ruin a fantastic tale, you m...

dragonswilleise: I loved this book, it was nearly impossible to put down from start to finish. It was fast passed without being overwhelming and slowed down where needed. Overall this was an amazing novel that I will definitely recommend to others.

ElNachoWOTC: The grammar is tight and easy too read while packing a great vocabulary and you use a lot of vivid imagery with your words. One of the biggest things I noticed right away is the gritty realism you managed to cram into this book while going into a lot of exotic fantasy material. Including issue...

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.

colt: i love your books! all of them! i am so happy for you! when i first read your book i thought "this seems really interesting" and i just got hooked had to have more, i wondered if you had a sequel to the first one, and you did, i was so excited that i had to start reading it. your series left me t...

Hudson: Your story was fantastic Erin! The Rising Sun was one of the first stories I read on Inkitt, and I have to say I don't regret the three to four days I spent pouring through the story.Probably the biggest strength I see in your writing is your characterisation of Eliana, Oriens, and the rest of th...

Lauren Suzmeyan-Raine: I'm so glad you found a place to post your stories. I was horrified when I saw yours had been taken down, they are definitely the best 'reading' stories I've ever read. And I've made it my business to read every one I can. Well done.Lauren

More Recommendations

Alice Liu: Whoa! I've been wondering how would the Maurauders react to Harry's life and here we go! YOU ARE THE BEST! All the characters are consistent with their personalities shown in the book! I love how you compare Lily with Molly and it's definitely true for her being a mother! I wish Peter comes have ...

Shayleen Seiberg: See, I wasn't sure if I'd like this story. But it turned out extremely well. It kept me interested the whole entire time. The only thing wrong with it is there are multiple grammatical errors. Not punctuation wise, but spelling wise and word placement wise. But overall, I loved the book.

Schaelz: I was intrigued from the second I started reading, and it kept my interest the whole way through. Chelsea has a way with words that will enchant you until the very end. She is very poetic with the way she mixes genres and keeps you on the edge of your seat. The main character is also very relat...

Yellow: If you are looking for something original try Evening Goddess. Karina takes you on an adventure filled with tragedy and dangerous situations. The mixture of a serious plot and sexual situations keep you reading to discover what challenges she will face next. The novel will make you laugh, cry...

This story wasn't for you ?
Look at our most viral stories!
King's Lament

FreakyPoet: "you made me laugh, made me cry, both are hard to do. I spent most of the night reading your story, captivated. This is why you get full stars from me. Thanks for the great story!"

The Cyneweard

Sara Joy Bailey: "Full of depth and life. The plot was thrilling. The author's style flows naturally and the reader can easily slip into the pages of the story. Very well done."

This story wasn't for you ?
Look at our most viral story!
Spectra

Ro-Ange Olson: "Loved it and couldn't put it down. I really hope there is a sequel. Well written and the plot really moves forward."