Hearts And Ashes

Hearts And Ashes

By:  Keren Michael  Updated just now
Language: English
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Love. Duty. Valor. Secrets & Betrayals *** In the Kingdom of Vakythia, power cleaves the populace into two distinct classes: the Blessed, wielding gifts granted by the Ember, and the ordinary citizens, devoid of such divine favor. Arwyn Balchor, a rebellious girl and a blessed healer, finds her life intertwined with that of Thrystan Gaelen, the Fire Prince and future king of Vakythia— propelling her from the shantytown of Wyrm to the opulent palace. Amidst challenges and the revelation of a gruesome past, Arwyn discovers an unimaginable truth about herself. She is an Aegis— a being born of greed by the witches of Elrim and frowned upon by the laws of Vakythia. This revelation threatens the very balance of the kingdomas evoking new enemies and opening a gateway to war.

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32 Chapters
Chapter 1; The Tailoress
ORDER OF THE BLESSED AS GIFTED BY THE HEAVENSEtheralScorchers; Blaze BringersSiroccians; Air weaversTerramancer; Earth Healers; Water manipulatorAnatomDiremages; control the heartbeats and the bloodVeilwalkers; clone people bodies and powersHealers; heal the bodyElementalCinders; they fix things*************-***************ARWYNWyrm Town...Beneath my nails, traces of dirt linger from my daring descent down the chimney of the brick-layered fabric store two nights ago. The worth of that venture now weighs on me as I sit in the dimly lit room of the same establishment, anticipation thick in the air.Gloves hastily conceal my hands, shielding them from the prying glances of the passing servant, evidence of undeniable dirt underneath. Leigh's disapproval echoes in my mind, her scolding for tarnishing the hands she meticulously softened with rose water and lavender. Yet, this sacrifice is a necessity.Having confirmed the lady of the fabric store's shady dealings, I silently v
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Chapter 2; Little Lamb
ARWYNI release the powder puff, filling the room with pink smoke. I scoff at the color, wishing Raith— Pete's Artificer— had chosen something darker.A smirk plays on my lips as the men cough and collapse, grasping their stomachs. The puff was laced with wildbane, a substance that weakens soldiers by slowing their heartbeats dangerously.I hold my breath and lunge for the window, but it won't budge.Cursing, I attack the window again, but it won't open. Frustrated, I give up and run for the smaller door.Why won't this window open? There's no latch. In the smoke, I can't see the Tailoress or her men, but I hear them groaning in pain. Reaching the door, I slam my body against it, and it breaks open, hinges snapping as I fall to the floor. My arm throbs, but I get up and dash down the hallway."Stop her!" I hear the Tailoress scream, but how did she avoid the puff's effects? The men recover, snarling, ready to hunt me down.I leap through an open window at the end of the hallway, grinni
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Chapter 3; The Glory Rivet
ARWYN"Arwyn, what were you thinking?" Leigh asked, her voice reaching me in the kitchen.I stumbled home, exhausted and bruised, and Leigh immediately started questioning me. I was tired of hearing her lectures about dealing with Pete. All I wanted was to rest and tend to my cuts.She came over with water and a rag, dragging a chair to sit with purpose. Her golden hair was tied back with one of her simple bands, framing her face. Leigh didn't have many accessories, but she didn't need them to look beautiful.In the cozy corner, Lilith played with dolls Leigh had made from our old clothes.Leigh muttered, "Stay away from Pete, but you never listen." It was sweet how much she cared, and I couldn't help but smile."I'm fine," I reassured her, taking the bowl and dipping my hand in, waiting for my power to surface. "Lilith, close the window!" Leigh commanded her sister, who mirrored her in every aspect—golden hair and blue eyes. Over the years, these sisters had become my everything. Lei
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Chapter 4; The Spire
THRYSTANThe Dragon Spire...A brisk breeze brushes past my ears, hinting at an early winter. Suspended fifty feet above ground, I maneuver my dragon to dodge the playful wind.My Sirrocian companion seems to enjoy blasting wind in my face.Curiosity ignites, urging me to respond with fire. I conjure a mesmerizing ball of flames and release it towards him. He dodges with a grin, clearly pleased with his maneuver.As I guide my dragon higher into the clouds, I sense Daelan's imminent presence. The hiss of his dragon and the swirling whirlwind signal the impending encounter just moments away."Watch out for those rocks, your highness!" Daelan's warning rings out. Rocks? Absurd! There shouldn't be any rocks at these heights. Despite the challenging gust of air, I stay firm on Rocco, clutching his scales atop his sturdy neck. Blast these Sirrocians and their mastery of the air. In no time, Daelan maneuvers beside me."Sneaky. But you'll need more than that to beat me," I retort with a defi
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Chapter 5; The Wreath
THRYSTANWhile Elaria diligently changed her muddy boots, I took the opportunity to discard the sweat-soaked shirt I had worn while riding with Daelan. Opting for a more refined attire, I aimed for a wardrobe transformation that mirrored my father's taste—something not just approved but adored by him.I slipped into a sophisticated ensemble: a cream-colored inner shirt paired with a knee-length black coat adorned with intricate gold trinkets along the edges. The deliberately split-open coat revealed the inner shirt, while a brown belt cinched my waist, complementing the sleek black pants that elegantly met a polished pair of boots.Emerging into the hallway, I found Elaria standing before the imposing oak doors of the throne room. She fidgeted and adjusted, her hand meticulously arranging her hair into the most perfect style possible."Ease up a bit," I mumble from the shadows, jolting her so much that she drives a punch straight into my gut. Her swift strikes are irritatingly effortle
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Chapter 6; A Lady Like Yourself
ARWYNDespite Leigh's stern warnings, I couldn't resist the allure of the Wreath. As much as I despised the place and everything it stood for.Pete had a talent for turning violence into profit, drawing crowds eager to witness the spectacle of men grappling and trading blows, each fighting to assert their dominance.But the Wreath was more than just a venue for testosterone-fueled brawls. It was a vibrant hub of desires and aspirations, where both men and women sought entertainment, excitement, and sometimes, something deeper.Women adorned the stands alongside men. Some came for the sheer thrill of the spectacle, while others were dragged along by eager partners. And then there were those who lingered in the shadows, their intentions less noble, seeking pleasure and profit in equal measure.It was a world of excess and indulgence, where the wealthy flaunted their riches and the desperate sought their fortunes in the sweat and blood of the fighters. And amidst it all, Pete reigned supr
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Chapter 7; Sly Wicked Thing
THRYSTANI struggled to maintain focus during breakfast the next morning, my mind consumed by the mysterious girl I encountered at the Wreath. The one who deftly pilfered Nerys' dagger right under my nose. Was it a calculated move on her part, or simply a spur-of-the-moment decision when she stumbled into my arms?Initially, I mistook her for one of the typical women who frequented the Wreath, seeking attention and affection from anyone willing to provide it. But there was something different about her—an air of cunning that set her apart from the rest. She wasn't here for idle flattery; she had a plan, and she executed it flawlessly.The image of her petite frame pressed against mine, ocean blue eyes, her mischievous grin hinting at secrets yet to be revealed, lingered in my thoughts."It's quite the spectacle to have you join us for breakfast, but perhaps you could acknowledge our existence," Daelan's whispered remark jolted me from my reverie.I looked up from my plate of shrimp and
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Chapter 8; My Dagger Thief
THRYSTAN Elaria's laughter echoed through the drawing room, a mocking counterpoint to my rising frustration.She knew all too well the bitter history between Sora and me, how the letters I found in her drawer to a lover in Quasar broke me and her departure to Quasar had coincided with the unraveling of our once-close bond. Despite my pleas, she had left, leaving behind a trail of betrayal that still stung."Mother, I don't think that's wise," I interjected, my tone edged with thinly veiled discomfort.A fleeting sadness flickered across Mother's face, quickly masked by her serene facade. "Ah, I see. My apologies for assuming otherwise."But Mother's apology offered little solace as she revealed her involvement in the unfolding drama. My frown deepen as she disclosed her unwitting invitation to Sora and her parents, a decision made in ignorance of the rift between us.Elaria's laughter bubbled forth anew, grating on my nerves like nails on a chalkboard. I struggled to contain the risi
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Chapter 9; Death-Roll
THRYSTANAs I entered the Infirmary, the scent of anticeoptic and herbs hit me like a wave, momentarily overwhelming my senses. My eyes scanned the room, searching for her amidst the rows of neatly arranged beds and bustling healers.There she was, standing near the far wall, her back turned to me as she spoke quietly to one of the attendants. Without a second thought, I closed the distance between us, my steps purposeful and determined."Arwyn?," I called out, my voice a low, urgent whisper that cut through the sterile air.Startled, she turned to face me, her eyes widening in surprise as she registered my presence. Probably remembering my face from last night. Before she could react, I closed the gap between us, my hand shooting out to grasp her wrist and pin her against the wall."What do you think you are you doing?" she protested, her voice a mixture of shock, confusion and guilt. It's more of the guilt plastered on her face for stealing my dagger and it made me smirk internally.
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Chapter 10; A Dragon's Coil
ARWYNLeigh's gaze lingers on the gleaming dagger as I tuck it into my belt, her sapphire eyes betraying her thoughts before she even voices them."I'm guessing a generous merchant didn't just hand that to you," she remarks, adjusting her brown satchel bag across her chest."No, it wasn't a gift," I reply with a smile. "I acquired it."Leigh's expression darkens into a frown. "Arwyn! You're asking for trouble if you go around pilfering from wealthy merchants."Lilith snatches the last slice of bread from the table and nibbles on it, her gaze darting between me and Leigh, eager to witness another spirited exchange between us."He wasn't exactly a merchant," I confess with a sheepish grin. "And he's hardly the type to organize a pursuit over a lost trinket."Leigh raises an eyebrow. "So, you fancy this man then?""What?" I sputter in disbelief at the suggestion. "Fancy him? I don't even know him.""Come off it. It's been four nights since you acquired that dagger, and the first evening y
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