Chapter 1


I watched from a little distance as the beautiful tents were put up, the poles and strings adorned with flowers and pretty decorations. The big festival of Elements was once again taking place. Every fifth year witches from everywhere would gather to celebrate the gifts bestowed upon us and the connection we had with the many elements around us. It was always the biggest and most significant event there was, and as queen of Adorna, it was my responsibility to ensure everything would work smoothly and be in perfect order. I watched it all with a smile, assisting where I saw things were going and instructing the workers. It helped that our powers could do much for us.

“No, not there!” I quickly interrupted as some worker were about to set up the big torch that would be lit later in the night was about to be put up in the wrong place.

I hurried over to them, showed them the platform that had been prepared and elevated from the soft grass ground, and showed them where it should be put. It had a long thick pole and a bowl shape. My husband, King Acan, would be the one to light it. His fire powers were incredible, and had kept this kingdom safe since he rose to power. His father had died young, sadly. Not all witches were gifted with good powers, and some joined together wanting power for themselves. They were known as the Dark Ones, but stayed on the shadow side of Adorna. It was said that the Great Goddess had not appeared without a darker side to balance the world. A brother. It was told that he gifted some witches with a hunger to destroy and steal the powers of other witches to strengthen themselves.

He poisoned them at birth, appearing shortly after they were born and ruining the beautiful harmony we shared with nature and the Great Goddess. But despite the Goddess being proven through our powers, no one could say if she was the one who made this dark side in them or if she truly had a brother. There was a shadow side, though, a place where the sun never touched the ground. Who knew if she had created that too? I didn’t bother much to put too much thought into it. Unfortunately, I was not gifted with any powers. It happened to a few. I had witch parents. I wasn’t born human, but somehow no powers. It had happened before, but it was so rare. I didn’t let it drag me down, though. I rose up and made sure to show I was a capable queen, taking care of my people and my king.

Acan didn’t care that I didn’t have powers either. Our families arranged for us to get married. I was the former princess of a big kingdom in Adorna, called Miracle. It was always planned that the families should be joined together before we were born. Already at the age of nine, we began showing powers. But I never did. It didn’t stop our families from still strengthening themselves by marrying us. We found a way to work together. We fell for each other. Acan was so charming and we had enjoyed a lot of good years together. I was nineteen and Acan twenty-four when we were married, and were now celebrating our tenth year together. It was only fitting we had the festival of Elements today. We had been married on this special occasion, so it meant even more to us.

“That’s better,” I said, and nodded approvingly as I looked up at the beautiful torch. It would burn so brightly thanks to Acan’s powers that it could be seen almost over all over Adorna.

I was about to walk over to my spot, so I could survey everything, but just as I stepped down from the platform, a bear walked in front of me, letting out a little growl at me for getting into his path. Around him hung thick baskets filled with fruit. I chuckled, shaking my head and apologizing his way, before another witch appeared beside me, panting almost and looking at me apologetically.

“I am sorry, my Queen, he refuses to wait for me,” she apologized.

“No, it’s quite all right. I think I was in the wrong for stepping into his way, as he made quite clear.”

She smiled at me before she hurried after the bear, and I shook my head a bit, chuckling softly. I went back to my spot, looking at everything and finding the sight pleasing. Yes, this would be a grand festival, and I could not wait. Little by little, everything was set up, and it only fueled my excitement. A small group of children suddenly ran by me, holding sticks with small colorful flags at the end and laughing as they played around. I looked at the sight, feeling a slight sting. After all these years, I had not been able to have my own child with Acan, and as king and queen, it was expected we had an heir… but no child had ever appeared. I had not even gotten pregnant.

Many believed it was because I had been born with a defect, and I heard them whispering behind my back. I tried not to let it get to me, but sometimes that seemed like an impossible task, when I knew the weight upon my shoulders and the desire to have a child myself. One to love and teach about the wonders of our world. It truly was beautiful, and I sought away from the pain in my heart by gazing at the beautiful forest further away. Even though I had no powers, I still felt it. A connection to all the elements out there. It filled me with happiness, but the sting did not leave me.

“Watch out!”

I turned my head in time to see a big pole coming my way. The workers had lost their grip on it and it was quickly descending upon me. I froze, unable to move, but then out of blue a soft grip found my arm, pulling me back, out of the dangers, and the pole landed in front of me instead of on me.

“Your Majesty!” people called and came running to me to check to see if I was all right, and apologizing for what happened.

I shook myself out of the shock, assuring them I was fine and that it was all right. No damage was done, so there was no reason to punish anyone or to find a culprit for it all. It was just a mistake, and I kept repeating it to both calm myself and the workers. No one seemed to understand how I had gotten away from the pole in time, though. They asked what happened, but as I glanced behind me, I saw no one was there. A smile spread across my lips as I realized what had happened. It wasn’t the first time I had been rescued from terrible accidents happening or had gotten company when I needed it and no one knew. He couldn’t be known as a hero, though. Not when he was known as the Dark Prince.

“Your Majesty, are you sure?” one of the workers asked me, still fearing I had gotten hurt, and according to the law, that was almost a death sentence. Those laws were outdated in my opinion, and I would never punish anyone for an accident.

“I am sure,” I said. “I am perfectly fine. Now let’s get back to work.”

I tried distracting their worried minds with a task, and it seemed to work, as they all went back to their jobs. I wasn’t the only one who had frozen or someone could have stopped that pole from landing me, but instead, someone else had stepped in.

“You can come out now. No one here to see my actual hero,” I chuckled, as I looked at everyone getting back to their jobs.

It took a moment, then I felt him. I somehow always felt when he was near.

“You should hire better workers.”

Darius didn’t look at me, but had his arms crossed, wearing all dark clothes while he looked at the workers too. He looked more like an assassin, ready to strike, than a prince. Despite the dark color, it was clear his clothes were of fine material. Darius was the former king’s bastard son, born with dark powers, but like me in some way, he had changed his fate, never succumbing to the fate we were bestowed. No one thought I would be fit as a queen, and no one thought Darius would not hunger for the crown himself, but Darius was rarely even seen at court. He was there, but hiding in the shadows as his powers allowed and he had always shown great devotion for his brother, fighting with him against the Dark Ones and other kingdoms threatening Acan’s rule.

Darius was a powerful warrior, and I knew what was truly in his heart. Not darkness, but light, and I smiled as I watched him. The wind that blew by tousled his short dark hair and it gave him an enticing look, almost. Acan was only a few years older than his brother. Darius was the same age as me: twenty-eight. He had never married though, and no one dared pressing the Dark Prince to ever choose a bride. His dark appearance made people fearful, and he rarely spoke, except when it came to me. Then he uttered at least a few more sentences. But while others found his strange quietness scary, I found it calming. It could be because I knew him. At least I fooled myself into thinking I knew him. He had never revealed much about himself.

“They are excellent workers,” I defended with a smile, and he glanced at me. “Mistakes just happen.”

“Mistakes that could have killed you because none of them reacted fast enough.”

“Then it’s good you did,” I said and teasingly smiled at him, seeing how his dark eyes almost seemed to turn darker.

“It was, but I cannot be here all the time.”

“Do not worry, I can protect myself,” I teased before I grabbed his sword, sliding it right out of the scabbard and holding the tip towards him.

It was not costume for a lady to know how to fight with a sword, and his was too heavy for me to really wield, but he had taught me a few things. Often when I felt down, he came to see me. We spoke little, but he offered distractions from my tears. It was difficult being the defect queen, and while I had secured my role through my hard work, I didn’t have many friends and my time at court in the beginning had not been pleasant. Acan didn’t think it was right for his brother to teach me, but now it was too late, and Darius had even gifted me a sword of my own. It hung in my bedroom, rarely used because I knew how it looked if I did, but he thought it was a good idea. Darius saw that while I had no powers, it didn’t mean I had to be defenseless. His words.

“I am trembling,” he said dryly, but I saw the amusement in his eyes.

“Yes, you should be scared Sir, this queen knows a trick or two.”

“Oh, and who could have taught you that?”

“That’s a secret.”


“No one can know about him, and how I sneak out to see him behind my husband’s back,” I teased, making the side of his mouth almost curve a little.

I could count on one hand how many times I had seen him smile, so it was special when he did. I felt lucky to have him as my friend, though. I didn’t believe anyone to be more loyal than Darius. I knew how he had his brother’s back, and he had mine too.

“Better put it down before Acan sees you with it,” Darius scolded, but there was no serious tone in his voice.

“But I am proving my abilities as a skilled fighter.”

“It has been proven. Now don’t cut yourself.”

I stuck out my tongue and then handed him the heavy weapon. Just as he grabbed it, I saw someone coming my way. He had a big smile on his lips and looked amazing in the red and golden clothes. People bowed as he walked by, but his eyes were only on me.


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