Excerpt for Heart of Fire Season One Episode Two by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Heart Of Fire

Episode Two: Castle Madness

Written by TheCrimsonDM

Heart of Fire

By TheCrimsonDM

Copyright 2019 Coriantumr Pace

Smashwords Edition

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your favorite ebook retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard-work of this author.

Special Thanks

A special thanks to all the family and friends who have supported me as I’ve worked on my craft. Some of which are unlucky enough to have their names thrown on characters in my books.

Another one for Damian with whom I have been able to do some great world building with.

Jacob for being there in some of my darkest moments to pick my sorry butt back up as well.

Alex for being one of the people responsible for getting back into writing in the first place.

And finally to Kirsten who gave me the emotional safety that I needed to write this project in the first place.

Thanks guys, this book filled with insanity and anime is thanks to all of you.

Table of Contents

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Seven: Transitioning Shade

Snow fell gently from the gray swirling mass of clouds from up above. The old gray stone castle walls were quiet as ever. Everyone was already asleep in their beds, everyone that is except for one young girl walking the streets of the city alone. Lunaria was cold but it didn’t bother her unlike most people. In fact she enjoyed the embrace of the cold, it was safe and brought with it its own sort of power. Of course her sister would never understand.

Lunaria looked behind her at the small wooden house she lived in with her older sister. Right now the lights were on, and loud voices were coming from inside along with music, laughter, and everything else that could be expected from a party. After all they were all celebrating the recent defeat of the baron. Even if Lunaria had aided them in that fight, she didn’t feel like she belonged in there. So she’d gone for a walk earlier.

Lunaria tested the door handle once more, and just like it had been for the last five minutes it was still locked. Her previous attempts at yelling and banging on the door had left her voice hoarse. The windows and backdoor were locked as well. Clearly they wanted their privacy, and if peaking through the nearly closed blinds revealed anything about her sister, her older sister and uh… friends needed it.

So Lunaria began walking down the streets. This late at night the streets came with a sense of loneliness that had plagued Lunaria for quite some time. Not many other people were still awake and if it hadn’t been for Sol’s defeat of the baron, the guards would likely have stopped the noise already. Yet the silence was often times much more inviting than the noise of day.

Minutes passed by as she walked through the streets. She avoided the well lit streets as much as possible. Going through back allies and uncommon roads. It was all going good too until she began to hear a soft melody being sung.

The words of the song, if one could call them such, were unintelligible. Instead it was the emotional sound behind the song that really stood out to her. Soft, sad, and yet with a tint of hope, Lunaria tried following the song, but it was like every time she got close and rounded a corner where she thought it was coming from she would find not but an empty street and the song would be further away again. It was difficult to follow.

Difficult, but not impossible.

Lunaria found herself in the old part of town at the foot of a large gate blocking off an underground passage. The bars of the gate were just far enough apart for someone her size to squeeze through. The song was emanating from inside, its wonderful tone echoing off the stone walls and coming up the stairs which led into a deep darkness below. A sign nearby warned of some possible structural dangers, but Lunaria didn’t care.

It was just a little bit of a tight squeeze but Lunaria got through the bars and went down the stairs into the darkness. Minutes went by as she continued walking down. The walls quickly went from stone brick to natural rock. The steps soon after stopped being brick as well turning into steps carved into the rock. A few mushrooms could be found growing here and there through the earth, casting the only light in these tunnels with their dim white glow.

Finally Lunaria hit the bottom of the steps and exited out into a large cavernous room where the glowing mushrooms were growing in abundance. The song was at its loudest here, vibrating off the walls and through Lunaria’s very bones. In the center of the room was a lake filled with black liquid.

She was careful on her approach, but stopped just short of the lake too look inside it. She couldn’t see her reflection in the liquid. Part of her wanted to touch the water, but everything else in her body warned her to be cautious.

The song’s lyrics of the song didn’t change but somehow she began to understand them. “Take a dip in the pool, and let the dark take you in its cold loving embrace. The power of darkness will be yours if you do.”

Lunaria squatted down and looked deep into the pool before her. “Why would I do that?”

The song replied in her heart and mind, “If power is what you seek, we offer it for those who can hear our song.”

Lunaria scratched at her head. “There’s always a catch though.”

The melody quieted for a moment before the voice returned. “Once you bathe in the darkness of the world, in the Pool of Shadows, you cannot bathe here again. No matter how much you may require more power, you mustn’t bathe twice.”

Lunaria thought back to how her sister had all the powers of the sun. It simply wasn’t fair that Lunaria couldn’t help her, couldn’t stand beside her. Instead Lunaria, as always had to follow behind, barely able to help at all. Even when their mother passed away there was nothing that Lunaria could do.

The melodic voice spoke once more. “We resonate with your pain. You are the first one in a very long time to hear our song, and the only one to visit. It is not within our power to keep the world safe, happy, and loved. But it could be within yours.”

Thoughts about how one of her mentors had died when taking down the baron resurfaced. There was nothing she could do to help. He had to go so far as to sacrifice himself for their victory over the baron, yet now that he was gone there was nothing but an empty hole in her chest. If she lost her sister like that, what would she ever do?

Lunaria’s voice cracked ever so slightly as she spoke. “If I took your power, would I be able to stop someone I love from ever being killed again?”

That power would be yours, but it would be up to you to use it.”

Lunaria stood up. Everyone she’d ever loved up until now had been cruelly taken away from her, but she could feel it in her bones. This darkness before her, it offered her the ability to actually stop that from happening again. This way, she could prevent her sister from being taken away too, if she could only prevent that much, it would be worth any price.

Lunaria stepped forward and started walking into the slimy water. As it wrapped around her feet she felt the power entering her. It was cold, it was dark, and it was so full of pain. She felt the pain of every single individual in the city above. The darkness crawled up her legs and around her waist as she continued to walk forward. So many people had been hurt over the years. The forces of light had never been able to save them, even when they tried. The darkness swam up to her shoulders. Energy flowed through her and she could feel the darkness aching to help out all those who cried out in pain. As the dark liquid enveloped her head a singular thought ran through her mind; if the forces of light couldn’t save people from being hurt, what about the forces of darkness?

A dull throbbing ache danced up and down Rita’s wrist in an awkward way. The chemical smell of various medications filled her nostrils with disgust. The sheets beneath her were just as soft as the blanket on top. Of course she was lying on her back which was slightly uncomfortable, Rita was used to waking up on her side.

Slowly opening her eyes revealed a wooden ceiling but not the one she was familiar with, this one was light brown almost tan in color. Around her she saw a few empty beds along with one two other occupied beds. One held the guard that Rita had met earlier, the other one held Lamont who was sitting up with his leg being held by a support, and a book in his hands.

Rita’s heart skipped a beat as she recalled the vicious assault from the Lady of Shadows, Nightmare. Lamont looked over and offered a kind smile. “You fell asleep on the job.”

Rita bit her lower lip, flames rushing through her heart at the half jabbed insult. “At least I managed to do something.”

That brought a small laugh out of him. “That’s true. All I did was trip, fall and break my leg.”Rita glanced down at the leg. Lamont must have noticed because he said, “I’ll be fine though.”

Rita recalled the sound she heard back in the old temple ruins. The sickening crunch still rang clearly in her mind. “How bad was it?”

“I’ll be fine,” Lamont repeated, this time a little more stern.

Rita pushed herself out of the bed and was hit by a wave of dizziness. It took everything she had to remain sitting up straight rather than falling over. She was exhausted, like all the strength had been sapped from her bones. She’d been injured before, she’d even been knocked unconscious, but this felt different from any concussion she’d ever had before.

“Rita, lie down,” Lamont warned. “You lost a lot of blood.”

Rita looked down at her right hand and a cold shiver ran down her spine. There were bandages covering her arm from her elbow all the way to her palm. She could hardly even move her fingers. “H-how bad?”

Lamont closed his book. “You were lucky not to lose that hand. Apparently Miss Nightmare nearly flayed your arm. She could have easily taken it off.”

A lump formed in Rita’s throat. “When will I be better?”

Saturn’s voice came from behind Rita. “When you’ve gotten plenty of rest. It took everything I had to just make sure that Lamont didn’t lose his leg. All I could do for your arm was make sure the skin didn't fall off and I kept you from bleeding to death.”

Rita looked back at her princess, and saw the scrapes, bruises, and cuts along her face. She was concerned for Saturn, but Rita couldn’t help asking, “Will I be able to use my hand again?”

Saturn nodded. “You’re welcome, and yes you will. After I recover I can finish my healing on it. As for Lamont’s leg however, there’s not a whole lot more that I can do. He’ll be lucky if he can walk normally again after this, and running is out of the question.”

A ball of iron formed in Rita’s gut. She looked back at Lamont, her vision burning from tears she refused to shed. “You said you’d be okay.”

Lamont was still smiling despite the news. “And I will be. All three of you are safe and sound, that’s all I need.”

Saturn shook her head. “You should be more concerned for yourself.”

Lamont laughed and opened up his book again. “I’ll worry about myself when I’m dead. Until then I have plenty of other people to care for.”

Saturn nodded at Rita. “Think you can move yet?”

Rita placed her feet on the ground and although difficult she was able to push herself up onto them. The lightheaded feeling didn’t help, but it was possible for her to walk over to the door. Her trench coat was hanging from a rack the sleeve on the right arm was sliced cleanly through up to the elbow and stained a blackish red.

“You won’t need that,” Saturn said as she started walking away from the infirmary. “Come on.”

Rita didn’t argue. If Saturn needed her for something, and she could help, then she would. They walked through the quiet castle. Even though she was tired, and battered, Saturn looked lovely. She stood with a sense of pride and honor. There was an air about her that said she wouldn't give up fighting for her home and friends even if she had to pay the ultimate price. Rita's heart was beating faster now which couldn't have been good for her blood loss, but she couldn’t help it, Saturn was freaking hot.

It didn't take long to reach the staircase leading down into the cellar. The air grew colder with each step down the cellar stairs. Once at the bottom they were in a long hall with an arched ceiling. Shelves full of food, drink, and many other supplies existed here. There were star patterns all over the walls ceiling and floor.

Saturn led her through the hall and towards a metal door at the end. Halfway there it became cold enough for Rita to see her breath through the air. A strange tingle of aether energy was running through the air. Saturn got up close to the door and slid the little eye slit on the top open. “Okay, look through here.”

Rita was about a foot too short to see through the eye slit. So Saturn ended up hoisting Rita up just a little to see inside. Feeling Saturn's strong and muscular arms around her waist was a feeling of pure delight. Through the door there was a bright light, and it took a moment for Rita's eyes to adjust. There was a prison cell lined with bright lights, magical seals strewn about the walls, floor, and ceiling, and in the center of it all strapped to a chair with glowing chains, was the very creature that had put both Rita and Lamont down for the count; Nightmare.

Rita pushed back from the wall prompting Saturn to set her down. “What the hell is she doing here?”

Saturn looked back through the eye slit once more before closing it. “Being kept far away from anywhere she could do anymore harm.”

“How did you capture her?”

Saturn rubbed at the spot her neck that met her left shoulder, there was a nasty black bruise. “It wasn’t easy, but after dealing with you two I think she had been weakened.”

“She was only getting stronger when I fought her,” Rita proclaimed.

“She might have been regaining her old powers, but she was certainly fatigued.”

Rita felt a grin crack ever so slightly on her lips. “So I did help kick her ass.”

Saturn folded her arms over her chest. “Don’t let it get to your head, but I think if you’d had the time to prepare, you could have defeated her yourself.”

With a skip Rita started walking back toward the staircase. “Sounds good, what’s next?”

“We keep her here until we know what to do,” Saturn said. “I already put a call out to m- the Queen. So we should see some support within the next couple days. Until then we’re not safe.”

“We stopped the big bad, how could we not be safe?”

“Because I’ve seen three more of those shadow beasts since we brought her here.”

Rita was still grinning. “Those things are complete pushovers, let them come, we’ll take them all down without even trying.”

Saturn looked back at the iron door. “Is that confidence or bravado I hear? Either way, I just hope your right.”

Chapter Eight: Dark Angles

Lapis was enjoying the sunset from the little boardwalk going over the pond behind the castle. There was a thriving ecosystem of fish in here, some of which were fairly strange, most of which were not very good to eat. There was a slight nip in the breeze but for the most part she was just fine up here. Recalling how much Rita was bleeding when they brought her in caused a pang of hurt in her heart. The old wooden doors behind her squeaked as they were opened.

Lapis glanced over her shoulder to see Wonder walking out with a jacket over the purple dress she wore. “Hey, Lapis?”

Lapis put on the largest smile she could in order to mask the wounds she still had in her heart. “Yeah, Lucy? What’s up?”

Wonder took a spot next to her. “Earlier, when we brought Rita in. Saturn had been using her healing magic to heal Lamont’s leg, but Saturn started bleeding from her nose… I thought healing magic couldn’t hurt you?”

Lapis laughed. “You never did very good in magical theory did you?”


“S’cool, I’ll explain it.” Lapis looked up toward the orange sky and felt the warmth of the sun flowing through her. “So we all have natural stores of aether energy, this is the energy we use to create magic. Our magic as starlings tend to be very specific. I can use transmutation animal magic, octopus specifically. You can use illusions and lightning.”

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