We are taking book requests on our companion website. You can request books here. Make sure, you are following the rules.

Spark of the Everflame: Chapter 26


My eyes flew open.

How long have I been lying here?

Am I dead?

My exposed skin was swollen and tender, nearly sizzling against the blistering stone floor.


“No,” I whispered weakly.

I’d made my choice. This was the end. There was no point in fighting it, no point in—


Energy blasted through my veins, filling them with an icy gust that soothed my aching skin and sent me recoiling from the scalding tiles beneath.

“By the Undying Fire,” I swore as I sat upright. “I can’t even die in peace.”

The voice paced like a predator inside me, snapping its jaws and urging me to action. It wanted me to move, to leave, to save myself, to fight for myself—all the things my own head and heart had willingly abandoned.

I pulled in a deep gulp of air, surprised to find my lungs clear and unscathed. The room was still swirling with black, noxious smoke—surely I should have fallen unconscious by now.

Fight. Fight. Fight.

Fine,” I growled, dragging myself to my feet. “Leave me alone. I’m up.”

At full height, the air felt molten, far hotter than it had been on the ground, but for some unexplainable reason, it no longer bothered me. A frigid tingling sensation had spread from my chest up into my head and down through my arms and legs, numbing me to the surrounding inferno.

I’ve gone insane, I thought. It only took two months off of the flameroot powder, and I’ve really, truly lost it.

I lumbered out of the room and wavered in the corridor while my smoke-fogged brain tried to orient itself in the smoldering darkness.

The way out was to the right.

But the people I’d come to save were to the left, if they were even still alive to be saved.

As if the gods themselves were listening, a flaming chunk of the crumbling wooden rafters crashed to my right side, narrowly avoiding a direct collision with my head. Another, larger piece fell beside it, and I lurched to the left and swore.

A quick glance up confirmed I didn’t have much time before the rest of the roof came crashing in. If I was going to do this, it was now or never.

I broke into a jog down the hall. “Hello?” I called out. “Anyone still alive?”

Soft and weak, nearly inaudible over the crackling flames and tumbling debris, a voice cried out in response.

“Hello?” I shouted. “Can you hear me?”

“Please… help.”

My heart kicked into a sprint.

“Keep talking! I’ll find you.”

“H-help me… Blessed Kindred, please… I don’t want to die…”

In a room just off the main corridor, I spotted two men—one in a heap on the ground, the other trapped beneath a fallen beam. Under the heavy wood, his hips appeared flattened in a way that turned my stomach, his legs bent at an unnatural angle.

His eyes found mine, dark and hopeless. I didn’t need to tell him the grim reality of his situation. “Please don’t leave me,” he begged. “Please… save me.”

“I will, I promise. You’re going to be fine.” The words tasted sour on my lips. The massive beam was far heavier than anything I could possibly lift. Maybe I could go back and get one of the Descended guards, convince the others to hold the opening long enough for us to—

A hailstorm of rubble rained down into the hallway, sending a wave of flame surging through the corridor and flooding into the room. On instinct, I threw myself over the injured man to block him from the fiery blast.


Again the voice pulsed, and a cold burst crested over my skin. I heard a hissing sound and looked up to see a cloud of steam rising toward the ceiling.

Definitely going insane.

“What’s your name?” I asked.


“Alright, Perthe—can you push this beam off of your leg?”

He shook his head, despair pooling in his azure eyes. “Can’t. Too weak.”

I shifted to the man sprawled beside him. A quick check of his pulse confirmed he was alive, but several firm slaps to the face did nothing to rouse him back to consciousness.

Not good. Even if I could free Perthe, I would have to carry them both through a fiery gauntlet of raining debris. I doubted I was strong enough to carry one.

Hopelessness began to set back in. I can’t do this, they’re both going to die here and it will be all my f

Fight, the voice snapped.


No time to wallow.

I wrapped my arm around the wooden beam trapping Perthe, wincing as my skin blistered on still-glowing sparks along its splintered edge. With a loud groan, I heaved my weight against it in a desperate bid to shift it loose.

In my days as a healer, I’d heard stories of mortals digging into some hidden well of inhuman strength in times of crisis—frantic mothers who single-handedly lifted overturned carriages off their children, delicate ladies hauling a fallen horse away from their beloved trapped beneath. There was something about the imminent terror of losing a loved one that coated our bones in steel and injected our veins with fire, giving us the will to face Death with defiance and push our bodies beyond anything we ever thought ourselves capable of.

Perthe was the furthest thing from a loved one to me, but that was the only explanation for the way the mammoth log, five times my size and at least ten times my weight, slowly dislodged and slid free from his crumpled legs. Glowing embers swirled around us as the charred wood collapsed in a thunk to the ground.

Perthe cried out at the movement—in pain or relief, I wasn’t sure.

“Can you put any weight on your legs at all?” I asked him.

He tried to push himself upright, but his chest barely made it off the floor before his face contorted in agony and his arms gave out. “I’m sorry,” he said, his eyes guttering with a defeat I recognized painfully well.

“It’s alright. You’re going to be fine.” I glanced between him and the other guard, a plan taking shape. “We’re getting out of here—all three of us.”

Hope sparked in his expression. “We are?”

“We are. But—” I winced. “—this is going to hurt like hell.”

Perthe nodded, undeterred, and pushed himself upward again. Though a tormented cry ripped from his chest, he was able to prop himself up on his elbows. “I can take it,” he said, panting.

“Good.” I took the arms of the unconscious man and laid him out lengthwise, dragging his body as close to Perthe as I could manage. “I can’t carry you both, but maybe I can drag you. We’re going to use your friend here like a stretcher. Can you lay on top of him?”

Perthe nodded again, a hard focus honing his features. He gritted his teeth and let his screams die in his throat as I wrapped my arms around his chest and hauled his body across the other man’s back. I cringed as I gingerly arranged his mangled legs and shattered hips until the two men were layered together.

“Hold on as tight as you can,” I ordered, taking the unconscious man’s limp arms and clasping them at my waist.

I dug my heels into the stone and threw my weight ahead of me, straining forward with a labored grunt. My heart hammered in cautious hope as the men behind me slid forward—then sank as we ground to a stop.

I took a deep breath and tried again. A few more feet—then another stop. I screamed as I barreled as far down into myself as I could, scraping the edges of my soul for whatever shred of strength I could find.

Another foot, then another—and stop.

We continued like that for what felt like an eternity, progressing inch by grueling inch. Even Perthe, with his body brutally decimated, did his best to help by shoving at the stone floor with his palms.

After every push, I felt deflated and entirely drained, convinced I couldn’t possibly give it another try, couldn’t possibly find one remaining ounce of effort in my weary, exhausted soul—but each time, the voice inside of me roared to life and unlocked some new cavern of defiance deep within. Flames licked at the walls as we passed, flecks of falling debris speckling my arms with blisters and burns, though I barely felt it. I felt only the pound of my heart and the call of the voice as it urged me on.

When a cool breeze finally brushed my cheek, it felt like a splash of spring water in the Ignios deserts. Through the smoke and the flames, I spotted an opening to the starry night beyond, and in that opening, a face. Bright blue-grey eyes.



His voice sounded hoarse, almost panicked. So unlike the frosty calm I had come to expect.

Like a candle snuffed into darkness, the last of my energy vanished. I sank to my knees with a painful, heavy thud.

“Luther,” I croaked out. “I can’t…”

“Stay there. Stay strong. I’m coming.”

There was shouting. Shuffling feet. The groaning of shifting metal and wood.

“I’m coming for you,” he shouted again.

Twin ropes of blinding light unfurled from the entrance and slithered across the floor. The haze of the smoke gave them an eerie halo that surrounded me as they curled around my ribcage and tugged me forward. I grabbed for the two men, but my muscles were too weak, my grip unable to hold on.

“No,” I panted. “Not me. Them—get them out first.”

Again, the glowing cords attempted to yank me forward, leaving the two men behind. “No, Luther,” I growled, louder. “Save them.”

I grabbed one of the luminous tendrils and peeled it off my body. As my hand brushed against Luther’s magic, the sensation that thrummed along my skin was unlike anything I’d ever felt—like starlight made solid, like holding a shaving of the moon in my hands. It seemed almost to flow into me and coat my body in a shimmering, silvery sheen.

A tingling burst of energy exploded up my arms and bloomed through my chest, dulling the bite of my fatigue and renewing my focus. I took the strands of light and wrapped them like a binding around the wrists of the unconscious man. Luther’s magic hummed at my touch, and I swore I heard a distant harmony that went silent the moment I let them go.

“Pull—now,” I yelled. “Pull!”

The cords went taut. I collapsed on my side as the two men slid as one, slowly but surely inching toward the opening until they could move no further.

The fallen beams barricading the door began to lift, bolstered by a dome of sparkling blue light. It was excruciatingly slow, and the nest of logs was so splintered I was sure it would give way at any second, but I watched with awe and exquisite relief as hands reached through the smoke, and the two injured guards disappeared out into the night.

An absurd, exhausted laugh bubbled from my chest. I’d done it—they were safe. Severely wounded and possibly forever scarred, but alive.

Maybe they were terrible men. Maybe they’d tortured mortals, or executed children under the progeny laws, or done any number of other horrific things. Maybe someday I would regret giving them a second chance.

But at least for today, I’d saved their lives. In a way, they’d saved mine, too.

The rustle of shifting wood warned me the opening wouldn’t hold much longer. I struggled to my feet and staggered forward, my bone-tired legs swaying precariously.

Luther strode through the now-widened entrance, his fearsome profile haloed by the bright city lights beyond, and our eyes met in the darkness.

We both froze in place as something ancient, something profound passed between us. It was a primal force that transcended word and thought, as powerful as a crack of lightning, a child’s first breath, the endless depth of the sea. It was not of this world but entirely woven within it. It warmed my blood with a calming peace I’d never known, yet filled me with the terrible dread of a fate I could not avoid.

A vision came to me. The same one I’d had before—a battlefield drenched in silver flame and strewn with dead bodies in a circle at my feet, my body clad in glittering onyx armor and a gilded, night-black blade in my hand. Only this time, I wasn’t alone.

The shadowed figure I’d seen before was now visible, as if he’d thrown off a great cloak of darkness, the jeweled sword in his hand dripping with crimson blood. When I looked into those familiar eyes, the most beautiful, heart-wrenching ache burned against the left side of my chest. I covered it with my palm, and on the other side of the field, the figure mirrored the movement.

The vision ended, twinkling in the air as it faded like mist in the sun. The battlefield became a burning warehouse, its silver flames darkening to an angry red-orange, and the scattered bodies dissolved into fallen rubble, but the figure I’d seen remained. His pale gaze was still locked on me, his palm still flat against his chest, as was my own.

“Diem,” he whispered.

“Luther,” I answered.

He reached his other hand out and took a single step in my direction.


The sound came from above.

I broke his stare and looked up to see a massive beam, then another, detach from its joist.

Everything moved in slow motion.

Wooden rafters drifted toward me.

Luther’s mouth opened, lips forming my name, eyes wide with horror.

My trembling hand stretched for his.

The sky was falling.

And the world went dark.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


not work with dark mode