Spark of the Everflame: Chapter 32

I stormed across the patch of land surrounding the house and toward the watery marsh. Though night had fallen and the forest was barely visible under the thin wink of moonlight, the ground seemed to glow with its silvery light at my feet. I was still struggling to think, struggling to breathe.

Behind me, the distant call of Teller’s voice yelled my name, but I couldn’t stop.

My anger wasn’t subsiding—it was growing. Mutating. I had completely lost control, and I had no clue what I was capable of.

I hurtled through the trees, barely noticing the sting of the wayward branches that whipped at my face. A root caught my foot and sent me crashing to my knees in a clearing near the shore.

I was hot—why was I so hot?

There were too many sounds.

My ragged, panting breaths. Teller’s muffled voice. Something sizzling beneath my palms.

And the voice. It was no longer just chanting—now it was taunting me, singing to me, pleading with me, screaming at me. I clamped my hands over my ears to block it all out, but it only grew louder until it drowned out all else.

Free me, Daughter of the Forgotten.

“Diem, are you alright?” Teller’s voice cut through the cacophony as he carefully approached.

I couldn’t see him—the light was too blinding. Even in the dark shroud of night, it was as if the sun itself stood over me and shook its disappointed head.

“What’s happening to me?” I whimpered. My fingers clawed into the damp, peaty soil, and I heard the hiss of steam. Beneath my palms, the ground had turned into a blanket of complete darkness, and for a moment I felt lost in a freefall through the evening sky, never again to land.

Far away, a shrill and inhuman cry roared through the night. An ancient sound.

A mourning—and a calling.

Release me.

The top of my head throbbed with undulating waves of pressure and pain. Slowly it began to condense and take solid form as an excruciating heat gathered in its place. And a heaviness—a colossal heft that threatened to crush my bones into stardust.

Teller cried out. “Diem, you’re—you’re—oh gods… oh my gods…”

Suddenly, I was screaming. My throat was scratchy and raw—perhaps I had been screaming the whole time. My connection to reality had become tenuous, my body too overwhelmed with warring sensations to separate the real from the imagined.

Claim me. I am your birthright and your destiny.

I couldn’t take it anymore.

The pain, the heat, the weight, the voice.

I was going to die from it. I wanted to die, if only to make it all stop.

I lifted my hands to the gods as a great beam of light shot from my palms into the heavens.

Take me, I whispered to the voice. I surrender.

All my senses narrowed in on the warmth that had gathered atop my head, and for a moment, all of existence went preternaturally still.

The light subsided.

The voice hushed.

The tingling melted away.

I looked up at my brother, his form watery and blurred. Crying—I was crying, I realized. I blinked until the tears spilled down my cheeks and my vision cleared.

With wild eyes and a horrified stare, Teller whispered the words that would change my life forever.

“Diem—you’re wearing the Crown. You’ve been selected. You are the new Queen of Lumnos.”


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