Strains of music wafted from the ball room of the
With great effort Emme capped her anger. Lysanda would pay
just as her other sisters had. As the oldest, she should have been the first to
find a bridegroom. Envy twisted with jealousy to form a rope binding her
thoughts. This prince should be here for he was the last of the eligible ones
in this world called Amber suited for training as a wizard and destined to sit
on the amber throne beside Emme’s.
The scent of roses, jasmine and bluet filled the air with
their sweet breath. The heavy aroma pressed against her forcing Emme to gasp.
She heard light tapping of slippers on the stones and knew
Lysanda approached. Her sister expected to find Prince, what was his name,
waiting to declare his love. Then amber lights would radiate across the night
sky announcing Emme had failed again. That would not happen.
Lysanda came into view. Her hair, a few shades darker than
Emme’s pure amber tones, hung in ringlets down her back. “Where is Rendel?” she
“Looking for you,” Emme said. “I sent him to the
Emme stepped toward her sister. She smiled at the alarm in
Lysanda’s pale blue eyes. Only Emme’s matched the blue of a summer sky. “You
stole him. He was to be my prince.”
Lysanda asked. “He fell in love with me. His heart once
given can never change.” She stepped closer. Don’t think to take him from me.
That is impossible.”
Emme fisted her hand on her hips. “I have no desire for a
man who chose another over me. I’m sure he believes he will be able to rule you
for your power is small and you can never sit on the amber throne. You have
taken my last chance for love and rulership. I will take from you.”
Lysanda tore her gaze from Emme’s face. “What do you
“Face me, sister. Power against power or are you afraid?”
“I fear no one. I am a witch with power equal to yours.”
Emme heard a slight tremor in her sister’s voice.
Knowledge filled her. She would drain Lysanda and leave her week. Three times
before she had faced a sister and won.
She drew the wind to eddy around Lysanda in wispy bands
and sped and tightened them. One by one Lysanda broke the restraints. With each
snap, Emme absorbed the power of the breaking.
Emme set the torches of the garden blazing. Tendrils of
fire flowed toward her sister.
Lysanda gathered the flames and sent burning orbs toward
Emme. “You will not win.”
Emme pulled water from the fountain. Fire and water met
turning to steam shrouding the air with sizzling vapor. With slow steps Emme
moved through the mist. The earth shook beneath her feet. Lysanda’s body wove
in an attempt to remain standing.
Emme grasped her sister’s wrist. “Cede to me.” She drained
the essence of magic from her sister’s cells.
“A curse I cry.” Lysanda’s shrill voice pierced Emme’s
concentration. “Long will you search. Until you can give with forcing and
demanding you will be alone.”
Those words forced Emme to release her sister. Lysanda
slumped to the ground. Four times one of her sisters had said the same curse.
Four times a sister had survived. She raised her hand and released all she’d
taken from Lysanda. Brilliant flashes of light colored the night sky with all
the colors possible except for amber.
She heard the sound of pounding boots. The prince stepped
into view. “What have you done?”
“What I had to. Lysanda remains a witch and in a hundred
years or so she will recover. You will never become a wizard. You will never
rule the world called Amber.
The prince drew his sword and stalked toward her. “Why
have you done this to my beloved?”
“You chose the wrong sister as those before you have done.
Take her. Announce your betrothal. You can’t defeat me. You are the last to
The sword slipped from his hands. Lysanda stirred. He
lifted her to her feet. “My love.” He glared at Emme. “You will never find love
until you love another more than you love yourself.”
Emme turned and strode from the garden. Why didn’t triumph
fill her? Her life had been destroyed. There would be no chance to take her
rightful place. She hurried to her tower. Why did the shimmer amber walls seem
cloaked with gray? Instead of going to her room at the tower’s peak where the
city spread before her, she fled to the dark basement and sat in a dark corner.
Mark My Places