The Warmth of the Hearth

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When Ashes Fall

Megon rises from his broken throne as the wraiths swirl around him. The sands of Blepalon sweep beneath his feet, its purple essence diminishing with his touch. Aeorexus calls me. A pull from the mortal realm arrives, a faint clutch of the Thread of Fate as he walks towards the rift. It will open soon, he will open it for me. A severe cold overwhelms Blepalon, the touch of death strong within it. Everything will rot beneath my feet. My insolent son shall pay for his treachery!

Father? Black marks appear on Kein’s skin as a burning sensation causes him to wince. Bolts of lightning home towards him, tracking him as he jumps from one location to another. He glances over to Thora, who fends off Varsha and Rolan, weaving in between ice and thorns. Kein studies Noah’s calculated strikes, his lightning precise as his eyes look for openings.

“Eyes on me Kein! I’m your opponent!” Noah Skye picks up speed, boosting himself with his lightning. Kein was faltering in front of him, an invisible pain evident on his face. “Take this!” A tremendous amount of manna gathers above Noah, forming a massive blade of pure purple lightning. His cloak sways violently as it fuses itself with the blade. It drops down at a blinding rate, a bright flash of indigo light. “Kneel before the Storm.”

A loud explosion follows, Kein at its center. A concussion overwhelms him, smoke emanating from his scorched and battered body. He remained intact, on his knees upon using everything he had to contain the explosion, protecting everybody. Heavy breathing, a blurry sight rendering him blind. He hears Thora’s muffled scream, now being held back by large wooden arms, a sharp ice held by her throat. Kein has lost, for the sake of protecting Thora. Eyes welling with tears, he smiles, contented with the second chance he has been given. “Forgive me, Thora. It seems that I have failed you once again.” I will be chained, asked to hurt the people I love, forced to destroy everything we’ve built. “I won’t let that happen.” A small dagger manifests in his hand, the small amount of manna he had left now at the palm of his hands. His hand rises, followed by a sharp drop as the sharp pointed end plunges through his chest, a sharp exhale as he drops down, life seeping from the newly carved hole in his heart.

“No!” A tremendous amount of pressure is emitted from Thora, blowing everything away. “Not again.” She clutches a lifeless Kein in her arms, her heart shattering more and more as each second passes by. “You promised me.” Her mind becomes an empty blur, her hands trembling at the reality being presented in front of her. The coldness of Kein’s skin hits the palm of her hands, the same comfortable touch that no longer seemed to respond. There was nothing left within Thora, her will lost along with her heart, which died along with him.

Ethan springs into action, sending waves of unrelenting attacks towards his father. Desperation creeps into him, the possibility of the world his father has always wanted now unfolding before his eyes.

Elizabeth supports him, blocking off Mistral and Rolan with walls of glistening Llyr. “Skye, go!” She extends both walls, flattening Varsha who was now freezing Elizabeth’s attempt. Her eyes scour for a plan as she watches Ethan leap into the air, his eyes the gentle color of the sky.

Carson steps in front of him, blocking his passage towards Noah. He extends a palm, setting off a combustion which sends Ethan flying, now landing splendidly on his feet. “Forgive me.”

“Keep them at bay Carson, that is the last thing I’ll ask of you.” Noah speaks, now walking towards the exit. “Put that wretched son of mine down, if you want the deal to continue.” He disappears into the darkness, followed by Varsha and Rolan.

“Blaise, I have no idea what my father has against you. But I beg of you, do not let him get what he wa---” Ethan doesn’t get to finish his sentence as an enormous pillar of flame surges from beneath him, knocking him back as he barely blocks it with his wind. “Then you leave me no choice!” His eyes turn to look at Elizabeth, nodding in agreement.

What are you doing, Carson? Her mind runs as she fends off Carson’s forceful blows away from Ethan, who was now engaging in hand to hand combat against him. Thora disappears with Kein, now nowhere to be found. “Carson, please!” Elizabeth screams, trying to knock some sense into him. “Don’t do this!”

I can’t lose Claire. Carson weaves in and out skillfully as Ethan, agile in his movements, does not tire. I cannot lose my sister. A block, counter after counter as they do not give in to the other. It will kill mother. “I’m sorry, Ethan.” He mutters, an opening now available for his punch to connect. Enormous flames erupt from his fist, sending Ethan flying into the wall, unconscious from the impact as blood drips down his forehead.

“What have you done?” Elizabeth mutters, trying her best to keep herself upright. Fatigue tugs at her, her knees bobbling.

Carson makes his way through the debris, flames swirling around his skin. He knew what was coming, and he knew that he made a mistake. “What choice do I have?”

It was at that moment, amidst the roaring of the flames threatening to engulf her, that she knew that she had lost him. Her friend, one of the people she had believed in since the beginning, was lost somewhere beneath that mask. “You have every choice to make.”

In a desperate attempt to pull him back, she grits her teeth as she pulls herself together. It’s painful. Adrenaline surges through her as she gathers whatever manna she has left. The ground shakes furiously, causing cracks to appear all over the ballroom floor. Water seeps through, heeding her call as she prepares for one last scuffle.

“What happened to you, Carson?” Her eyes glow a manic blue, waves swirling all around her, waiting for her signal to strike.

Don’t make me do this, Liz. “You know me.” His eyes yearn for hers to notice, that he was never in control. A crimson glow is reflected off of his, lit up by the searing fire.

A pause, the air is still. With smoke all around, they spring into action. Llyr and Agni clash to create an explosion of blue and red, a dance that neither were wishing to win.

A misstep, her knees lose their strength and before she could regain her footing, crimson flames were already above her. With a thunderous boom, she fell into darkness.

“I’m sorry, Liz.” Carson walks away with a heavy heart, leaving nothing but rubble and an unconscious Elizabeth in his wake.

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