SEVEN CROWNS | The Black Stone

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Chapter XV

Queen Ashryn still can’t get used to the diamond glass walls surrounding her. The luxury she has been only dreaming about for years now belongs to her, all of it. She used to look at diamond rings from the jewellery shop window, wondering if she’ll ever be rich enough to afford one. The expensive jewels were like a fantasy to her, something she can just imagine wearing or wishing to receive. But today, she needs no money to touch a diamond, because she is a diamond.

Her room is larger than the whole studio she was living in since she started going to college. A diamond-shaped bed is standing in the middle of the space, circled by glass furniture. Lady Lyrei has told her that it used to be her room when she was a child, it’s obvious looking at all the princess books on the shelves and the small dresses in the wardrobe. Ashryn can’t remember anything and yet she feels a strange connection to the room and everything inside it.

The young queen sits in front of her the glass dressing table, facing a large oval mirror. She looks at her face, one she’s not yet familiar with. Her fingers slide down the while locks that were dark back in Moon City, her skin looks paler and softer, without any imperfections. Her usual dark brown eyes are now bright and clear. But one thing she can’t stop staring at is the mark under her collarbone; a blue diamond symbol. She traces it gently with her finger and closes her eyes, a feeling of calmness and tranquility consumes her heart while she senses her power deep inside her bones.

“Good morning, your Majesty.” a female voice interrupts her quiet moment. Her frown gets quickly replaced by a smile which she offers to the lady who is looking at her nervously. “Lord Evindal is waiting for you on the breakfast table.”

Ashryn nods, she gets up and puts on the blue jacket and a pair of pants before following the maid outside. Two large figures surprise her from behind, “It is an honor to be serving you, your Majesty.” the two guards kneel before their queen and bow to her. The young woman ignores their gest, admiring their strange features. The male looks at her with eyes touched by blue fire. She sees strength and determination but at the same time waves returning to a calm sea. The female’s silver hair lies long and loose, brightening the dark blue of her uniform jacket. She notices the same mark under the collarbones, it seems like it’s a symbol that unites them all. On their jackets is sewn a sign in silver and blue, an arrow. Ashryn looks at the ring around her finger, the one which was offered to her by her best friend. She always thought he chose the arrow because it looks good, but now she understands it was by instinct, one he didn’t know then.

The creatures who supposedly are her guards have a extraordinary beauty she has never seen before. Her eyes look more like glasses, ready to shatter in a thousand pieces. Other than the diamond-shaped mark, they have a few others all around their skin, even their faces, looking like tattoos with diamond ink instead of a dark one. She doesn’t understand the rest of the symbols, they have no particular shapes, they’re just lines and curves spread on their bodies, shining like crystal blue lights.

“Is there anything you would like to ask from us, your Majesty?” the male asks her, cutting off her reverie. She clears her throat and looks at them both with a smile, “I’d like to know your names first. You’ll be following me everywhere, so I think it’s necessary for me to know you.”

“I am Viessa, your Grace. And he is Reptar.” the beautiful long haired answers with a bow. “We haven’t had the chance to serve the late king and queen, but we are truly dignified to be by your side, my Queen.”

Ashryn smiles, “I am glad then. I hope we will get along well.”

“I hope your room isn’t too small, your Majesty.” says the Royal Counselor after taking a sip of warm tea. “If you would like it, I can arrange for a change. After all, you have grown up now.”

“There’s no need.” the young woman shakes her head. “It’s not very important. Also, I think it’s good to leave it this way, it might help me get back a few of my memories.”

Lord Evindal hums, “If you say so, your Majesty.”

Ashryn has tried many croissants and cakes before but she has never eaten something as delicious as the pastry prepared in the castle. She takes another bite of the soft bread covered with icing sugar and moans when she tastes the sweetness of the blue cream inside it. “Now, Lord Evindal. I’d like you to tell me about the past attacks. What happened exactly?”

The man sighs and places his cup back on the glass table. He clears his throat and adjusts his jacket before starting, “It was horrible.” he whispers. “Our people became powerless in front of the Mávros soldiers. There was nothing that could be done.” he sighs and marks a pause before continuing, “I’ve seen people, children and adults fighting, giving their all to stop the soldiers from invading their homes and killing their king and queen. I’ve seen little boys and girls lying on the ground, inert. Women were trying to protect their babies, men were screaming loud and hitting every soldier on their way. But still, we were powerless.”

Ashryn gulps and looks down, closing her eyes for a moment. “Why so?” she asks with a muffled voice. “Did they have different weapons?”

“They were not just weapons.” says Lord Evindal, his eyes staring as his tea cup but his mind travelling back to the battlefield. “It was something never seen before. No one knows what it is.” he shakes his head. “ just happens instantly. Black smoke envelopes you and then all your power disappears.” he says, still not believing what he’s seen a few years ago. “The Diamond Stone lost a high proportion of its power back during the battles and it’s still decreasing gradually now.”

“The Diamond Stone?” Ashryn asks. “What is it?”

“The heart of this kingdom.” answers the man. “Each kingdom’s castle has a stone hidden in a chamber guarded day and night. It is the source of our powers, the origin of the diamond’s capability.”

The young woman looks at him with serious eyes, “I’d like to see it, please.”

Shivers descend down her spine when the guards open the Stone Chamber. A blinding light greets her eyes, the room may not be surrounded by windows but it’s as bright as a city under the moonlight. Ashley sees the blue particles fall like snowflakes on the ground, her hair and her clothes. She smiles, feeling the power near her heart. The young Queen looks down and watches the mark under her collarbone gleam like a star.

The Diamond Stone stands majestically in the middle of the large round space. It’s floating in the air despite its cumbersome weight, emitting a crystal blue light which spreads all around the chamber. The Queen approaches it, her steps slow and careful. She looks at Lord Evindal to make sure it’s alright to get closer to the big stone. Her heart throbs hard as its power haunts her flesh and bones.

“It used to be brighter than this.” says Lord Evindal with a sigh. “Its power is fading slowly.”

Ashryn looks at the stone with a concerned look, she places her hand around it and closes her eyes for a moment.

“Help me!” the battlefield appears and suddenly she’s walking between corpses, spread on the ground like garbage. Children’s sobs and men’s coughs sound in her ears, soldiers dressed in full black uniforms walk on the dead people, stepping on their faces and feet, not feeling any sympathy or mercy for them. “Mummy!” A child is crying, hiding behind a rock. He’s holding his mother’s dormant body and slapping her cheeks gently so that she wakes up. Ashryn tries to hold his hand but she can’t, the child doesn’t see her because she’s not even there. At that moment when people were fighting for her kingdom, she has been sent to another world to live a peaceful life.

“Your Majesty.” Lord Evindal’s voice pulls her out of the vision. She looks at him breathlessly, tears fall down her cheeks as the child’s voice still plays in her mind. “What...what can be done to revive the Diamond Stone?” she asks with a shaky voice.

The Royal Counselor looks at her with sad eyes. “There’s only one way to revive it; be powerful. The stone hasn’t lost its light only because of people’s inner strength. The kingdom needs to raise and fight to get its honor back. You, my Queen, need to make your people trust you and fight Mávros alongside the rest of the kingdoms.”

“The Kingdoms of Silver, Ruby and Emerald are already our allies, aren’t they. I know their sovereigns, they are my friends and I know they will do anything to protect their people.”

“But unfortunately, your Majesty.” Lord Evindal sighs, “Emerald is the only kingdom among the three that is powerful enough to resist the Mávros Army.” he gives her a small smile. “Before the war, your father had promised to protect Silver and Ruby because they are weak compared to the Great Sapphire.”

“We will need the Sapphire power too then.” Ashryn rubs her chin. “Back then, each kingdom fought on its way. It’s understandable that the battles were not easy to win. But what if we unite the six kingdoms? What if we combine all our powers to defeat the enemy?”

The white haired man looks down with the same sad smile, “It is easier said than done. King Eldwin will hardly agree to it.”

“Does he even have the choice?” Ashryn frowns. “It is no situation to be caring about pride and honor. If the Great Sapphire as you said couldn’t destroy Mávros back then alone, I hardly believe it can be done now. I need to speak to King Eldwin.” she looks at Lord Evindal with serious eyes. “The sooner possible.”

“I...I am afraid it might be complicated, your Majesty. The two kingdoms have not been in good terms for many years.”

“And I care less about it.” the Queen shrugs, a frown drawn on her pale face. “Accepting me or not, I will get there and I will tell him about my proposition.”

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