Secret Shores Storybook Series: Embers.
Aerya sits perched atop a hill, alone, flooded with fond memories of a time before. She stares into the vast abyss before her: where there was once lush flora now lies a slowly burning ember of ashes which extends for as long as the eye can see. It’s eerily calm and she can see the sun starting to set, emitting a faint hue of red which covers the sky, matching the desolate landscape below.
What was once a bustling village tucked away in a quiet pocket of the countryside had been turned to a ravaged warzone, rendered entirely unrecognizable. Rubble and debris covered the cobblestone streets, barely visible underneath all the wreckage. Once beaming with colour, the village – or at least the ruins of what now remained of it – were a dull grey and scarlet.
But in the middle of this death and destruction, she spots a single flower, nestled between the rubble of two fallen buildings – in the ominous wasteland, a beacon of hope. And a reminder to her that even in the darkest of times, nature has its way of reassuring her through its inherent beauty.
She closes her eyes and starts to flash back to a time before. She imagines the turquoise lakes that once encircled the lush pastures in the valley, as green as emerald, now turned a dark shade of grey from all the dust.
Then, another memory – she’s running now, in no particular direction, as fast as she can, the sky turning from blue to violet as fire rains down around her. Deafening crashes ring out as the world she knows is turned on its head in a matter of seconds. Screaming, chaos… then, silence.
She opens her eyes. It’s getting dark now; she must march on.
Hoisting over her shoulder a rugged sack containing no more than a few rations of food, a spare set of clothes, and a single picture frame, she stands up and begins to walk into the valley.
The crackling embers illuminate the way as she trudges along through the ruins. She gathers what she can of that which remains and continues on. She kneels down, picking the single pink flower and storing it carefully in her sack. Over the next hill she spots in the distance what appears to be a faint glint of shimmering light. Hopeful, but afraid, she marches towards it in solemn silence.
. . .
Continue on to Chapter Two here.