Emme opened her eyes and quickly closed them. The brilliant rays of a pale yellow sun glared. She pushed against the ground and sat. The amber orb lay on the ground near her hand.
With caution she studied the surrounding area. Huge trees stood like sentries around the small clearing. She inhaled the scents of evergreen, moss and grass. Using a hand to shield her eyes she looked at the sun.
She wasn’t on the world called Amber. The sun was paler than the one she knew. An ember of anger multiplied. They had banished her. Rage erupted. Around her the grass smoldered. The odor of burning vegetation rose with small flickering flames. Emme doused the fires and pulled her rage inside. Burning the forest wouldn’t solve her dilemma.
Shelter, she thought. The sun stood at what must be past midday. She lifted the amber gem and watched the play of light along the surface. Birdsong filled the air. A chittering sound caused her to look up. Along a branch of a hardwood tree a gray creature with a fluffy tale scampered. Emme rose and strode forward.
Was this the world where she would find her prince? How long must she wait for him? When she found a prince, he had to love her or she would be exiled here for long years measured by sleeps.
She came to a brook flowing over rocks with a liquid sound. She stooped and cupped her hands and drank the clear cool liquid. As she continued the forest thinned. She found a tree with white blossoms scenting the air. She picked a few to carry as she continued to search for something or someone.
Anger ebbed. Sadness rose. Four times she had been passed over when one after one a prince chose one of her sisters. What was wrong with her? Why had none of the princes chosen her? She had to find a prince. Not as ordinary one. She would seek a crown prince from one of the princedoms of this world. A memory arose. Lessons to be learned. She closed them away.
A slow slid of tears began. Sounds of small animals scurrying through the brush reached her. Where were the people? How could she find her prince if there were none to be found? Had she been banished to spend years in lonely seeking?
The flow became a stream. Her eyes burned. She felt a desperate need to curl into a ball and weep until her tears ended. She couldn’t.
After a time she came upon a dirt road. Left or right? She stepped onto the dusty surface and found an invisible barrier kept her from turning right.
The sun set. The sky darkened. She called a ball of fire to light the way. The moon rose. She studied the full circle and knowledge arose. This was the night of this world’s summer solstice and the moon was full. Would her prince arrive before moonset? She could but wait and hope.
In the distance she saw a stone cottage. “Hello,” she called. Twice more she repeated the greeting. When no one answered she stepped around the sagging gate and walked along a stone path to the door.
When she stepped inside, she sneezed. Deserted. Dusty. Musty. How long had the place been abandoned?
Emme raised a breeze to spin dirt and debris out the door. Exhaustion made her falter. She left the main room and found the bed chamber. Using the last of her energy, she refreshed the mattress and linens before sprawling on the bed and falling into a deep sleep.
In the morning her energy renewed, she cleaned the rest of the cottage. Outside she studied the garden. Spreading her hands wide, she restored the growth. Flowers and vegetables sprouted and bloomed. She cleared the small pond. Water sparkled in the sunlight. With a wave of her hands the fallen pickets of the fence rose to surround the garden. The gate slid into place.
Inside the house she placed the amber orb on the ledge above the fireplace. With fruit and vegetables from the newly established ones and eggs from the chickens she had lured into the yard, she prepared a meal.
All was in order. All she needed was a crown prince to arrive and to promise unending live. But the time was not right this year. She needed a solstice full moon to be able to return home.
Emme used her power to attune herself to this new world and learn the next time the signs would be right was a hundred years plus minus one day. Thoughts of living out that time in solitary seclusion didn’t suit. Though she could walk the road a memory of the barrier along with the knowledge she must remain for a spell. In four hundred years plus twenty there would be a rare occurrence of a solstice full moon.
She cleaned the dishes and carried the amber orb into the garden. She stared at the reflection of the jewel in the water. Thoughts of the Amber World rose and tears fell. She must cast a spell to fulfill her desire to return home.
“On the night of the solstice full moon, the crown prince of this land will be drawn to this garden. He will have a choice. Declare his love for me or enter the amber orb and find his destiny elsewhere.”
The spell was set. Exhaustion caused her steps to falter. She returned to the cottage and gathered her power to cast an enchantment. “Until a month before the solstice full moon, I will sleep and age no more than a year.” Her last thought was of awakening to find her prince and return home.
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