Ludena, witch ruler of the world called Amber, witnessed the brilliant display of colors painting the velvet of the night sky. Though she had hoped to see streaks of amber showing true love had been found for Emme, she sighed. Therewould be no wizard to stand with her oldest daughter whenthe ending of her centuries arrived. Ludena left the ballroom where the mucic had soured and the guests stood in awe staring at the colors flaring in the sky. Would she find her oldest and youngest daughters dead?
Surely Emma would spare her sister. Ludena shuddered. To raise a child in the manner Emme had been had troubled her. Four princes, each with the potential for wizardry, had chosen one of Emme’s sisters.
She dreaded the next step to be taken but this prince was cannier than the others. There was a dangerof the four princes and four sisters uniting to overpower Emme. Without unselfish love Emme would be destroyed along with the world called Amber.
Ludena reached the garden and found the gazebo where her youngest daughter and Prince Rendel sat. She clasped Lysanda’s hand and restored enough power to allow the young woman to walk. In several hundred years, Lysanda would be a witch again but the man at her side would never acquire the power needed to become a wizard.
The prince glared. “I demand Emme be punished. Indeed, I would see her dead.”
“You have no right to anme her punishment,” Ludena said.
“She kept me from my rightful place.”
“You did that to yourself. Come, you and Lysanda must announce your betrothal for you have declared your love is mutual and binding.”
The pair walked ahead of Ludena. At the entrance to the ballroom she stepped to the fore and signaled the orchestra leader. The music changed and the pair walked to the centerof the room. Ludena sought her spouse.
Soldar waved and pointed to an alcove. As soon as they were inside he waved his hand. Neither sound or sight could penetrate the barrier he’d raised. “And so the final eligible prince has failed the test.”
Ludena nodded. “I fear so.”
“I saw the demonstration. At least she only drained her sister.”
“Again she showed restraint.”
“We must send her forth as your parents did to you and pray she finds love before our days end.”
Ludena sighed. “Thereare centuries ahead of us. Though anger rules her now I believe Emme will conquer anger, envy and jealousy. She will find her mate.”
“I pray you are right.” Soldar took her hand in his. “When do we do the deed?”
“As soon as possible. She must not have time to think or plan. Right now she’sin the basement of her tower.
Soldar took his spouse’s hand and dismissed the barrier. Wjile music played and the newly betrothed couple danced Ludena and Soldar strolled the edge of the ball room uuntil they reached the entrance to the throne room.
Light sparkled on the walls of amber. A pair of thrones carved from the gem appeared to be formed from crystalline honey streaked with ruddy tones.
Ludena paused to remove a tear shaped orb from a display niche. She sent her daughter a message andclasped Soldar’s hand. Her time away from theworld called Amber had been worth every lesson she had learned. Would Emme feel the same?
Soldar cleared her throat. “I feel your pain.”
And he did. She also felt his. “The lessons must be elarned. Mine brought me you and your love. Until she learns she is unfit to take my place on the amber throne.”
Soldar smiled. “She must not rule alone She is our daughter. Have faith and pray for her safe return. There are centuries ahead of us.”
“So we call and she must answer.” She placed her hand palm up on the arm of her chair. His palm covered hers. “Emme, come.”