The light of the moon brought a shimmer to the amber sphere. Emme slid from the globe and stretched. She had remained with in the globe for years awaiting the light of the full moon to strike the surface. She had until moonset to live on this side of time. How long had the amber been hidden in the dark. Had the time of her release come? Could she again attempt another trial with the rulers of Rivand?
As her strength grew, she saw the man on the road. “Who is he? As she peered at him, she knew he wasn’t the man for whom she had entered the globe. She knelt beside the body. Someone had beaten him. “Who are you?”
He groaned. “Kristen.” He tried to rise but fell back.
She saw the horse and knew she couldn’t tend to the young man here. She would have to get him onto the horse. She gathered the things the thieves had strewn about and put them in the pack. When the horse drew near, she commanded the beast to remain as still as one carved from stone.
With a struggle, she got Kristen to his feet and managed to shove him across the saddle. She fastened the haversack to the saddle, put the amber globe in her tunic and mounted. She felt herself begin to fade and pulled the sphere into the moonlight. She prodded the horse along the trail and came upon her cottage.
A cry erupted when she saw the ruined garden. Though spring had arrived little green showed. The cottage remained but the wooden door and shutters had rotted away. She halted the horse at the door and using Kristen’s blanket she managed to drag him to the house.
Dust and debris that had blown through the door and windows crunched beneath hr feet. She started a fire and found a large pail for water. When she returned, his eyes were open. She heated the water and washed his wounds.
“Yes,” she said.
“How did you come?” He looked at the amber globe on the table.
“For one night each lunar, I can be in this world but only when the light of the full moon shines on the amber can I be released but at moonset I must enter the amber again. Be still and let me tend you.”
With gentle touches, she washed the blood from the knife wounds on his arms. She took leaves she’d found on several plants and placed them over the cuts. As she washed, she studied him. He looked a bit like his grandfather and the other princes she had loved. He was leaner and the signs of dissipation were in his eyes.
“Why do you harm yourself?” she asked.
He shrugged. “There is nothing left for me to do and no way to serve the kingdom. All the positions belong to my brothers.” He winced when she cleaned the wound on his head.”
“Nothing?” she asked.
“Marriage to someone I’ve never met. Travel to another country to live as an exile for all my days.”
She washed the blood from his hair. “Then we have that in common. I was banished from my world to search for a man to love me. I found love, at least I thought I did. But my love was never returned.”
“Then stay with me.”
“I can’t. I must see this to the end. One day when a hundred years of less has passed a crown prince will arrive to answer my call. Perhaps he’ll be the one.” A line of pain crossed Kristan’s face. She gentled her touch. “I didn’t mean to hurt you.”
He pushed into a sitting position. “The night my grandfather died, he told me the story of how you came to live with him and what you did for love. I think if his honor had not meant he had to marry his betrothed, he might have chosen you.”
She shook her head. “Sometimes when the moon was full and shone on the amber globe, I left the stone and saw a man who was happy with his life’s choice.”
She looked outside and picked up the globe. “Sleep now.” She caressed his forehead until his eyes closed. Then she let the amber globe envelop her.