// that every-Sunday blog post that is apparently a thing now //

If you had thought to ask her what her favorite time of day was, she wouldn’t have been able to choose a single time. She had three favorites; after much deliberation (for she was the type of girl who pondered these things), she knew the exact reasons why.

Early morning she loved (if you could make her rise at such a time) because it was so peaceful, with just the right amount of gentle color to suit her half-awake state. The sunrise contained the promise of a new day, made sweeter when the girl held the Sword of the Spirit in her hands, preparing for the day’s battles and victories.

Evening she loved because of the sunset. It painted the sky in a brilliant rainbow, proclaimed the work of the Creator’ hands. This picturesque view never failed to bring her a sense of contentment, and she would always pause in the middle of her busy routine to gaze at the horizon in admiration and whisper, “Thanks, Lord.” She just knew that heaven was filled with sunsets, and that they were even more breathtaking than any seen on earth.

Midnight she loved because the rest of the world was asleep (on her side, anyway), and she was alone with her thoughts and her Savior. Her imagination seemed to spring to life in the darkness, in the stillness she so adored. She liked the fact that, if she so chose, the only source of light in sight was the streetlight outside her window. There was something about the silent cover of night that freed her to be wholly authentic, wholly herself. She was not required to speak; there were no tasks to accomplish save sleeping. It was there, in the middle of the night, that she was left completely to her own devices. And it was wondrous.

The girl lived for these times of day, mainly because they brought her to such an acute awareness of the One who had planned out each one.


// Story Drabble: Ember & Coal //

ember and coal

//Credit: This short story was inspired by this beautiful picture created by TrueLoveStory, “Night And Day”. //


Your path is illuminated by the light

Yet darkness lets the stars shine bright.

~J.L.W. Brooks

The one rule that the Light Bringers had always abided by since the dawn of time was this: Never associate with Night Watchers.

There were occasions, of course, when interaction with them was necessary; when a lamp or torch was lit to cast darkness aside, or when a sunny day cast a shadow on the sidewalk, or in the moments of dawn and dusk that weren’t solely night nor day. However, only the most experienced Light Bringers were entrusted with these important tasks. Only the oldest and wisest were able to maintain that aura of professionalism around Night Watchers and, as the Rulebook stated, “work in tandem but never get involved”. Each Light and Night sprite knew their place and stayed there— well, most of them, anyway…

There was one young sprite— the youngest daughter of a family of renowned Light Bringers— who liked to dance among the fireflies at dusk when nobody was watching. She technically wasn’t supposed to be out so late in the day, for she was neither wise nor experienced, but she had perfected the craft of sneaking out into the fading light when other Light Bringers were either heading to bed or kept busy with their own duties. Ember was her name and adventure was her mission; her curiosity was insatiable, and this wasn’t necessarily a good combination with her impulsive nature. The dark, silent figures that were the Night Watchers fascinated her; they were just so— so— different from her people.

Light Bringers were vibrant; born of the sun, they glowed with warmth when happy, and burned with anger when provoked. They were quick-tempered but loyal, loud but tenderhearted. They were an emotional, chatty, friendly people who brought light to the world each day with pleasure.

Night Watchers, from what Ember had observed in her sneaking-out, weren’t nearly as vibrant. They weren’t of the sun like the Light Bringers; the moon was their leader, quiet and steady. Their epidermis was various shades of black and grey, to better blend in with the night that they called home, and their personalities reflected their appearance. They were reserved, levelheaded, and mysterious— but not exactly unfriendly. No, Ember could clearly see their comradeship as they worked and whispered quietly amongst themselves; she even caught a smile or two every once in awhile. They weren’t rude in the slightest—so why couldn’t the two peoples interact with each other?

“The Rulebook never says exactly why we can’t,” she murmured to herself—she had a habit of voicing her thoughts aloud— as she sat perched atop the petals of a daffodil one morning at dawn. She was rather grumpy, for her faction of sunbeam-directors had been transferred to the sunrise shift, and while she enjoyed a lovely sunrise she did not enjoy having to wake up to see it. Yet here she was, at work a few minutes early— so she took the opportunity to gaze out at the horizon and think.

She was distracted from her irritated thoughts when she caught sight of a shadowy figure darting among the daffodils. Her natural curiosity took over and she jumped up, soaring deftly down into the grass to track the renegade down.

The shadow was fast, but it was moving on foot; Ember had the advantage of flight. She soon caught up to the perpetrator and, without thinking, tapped it on the shoulder with a suspicious, “Hey! What’cha doin’?”

“Ouch!” The figure halted, drew back sharply and clutched at its shoulder, and it was only then that Ember got a good look at it and realized that the figure was not an it but rather a he.

As soon as the second realization hit her— the fact that he was a Night Watcher— she began to grow very excited. Although she had spent countless hours watching them, she’d never been this close to one until now. The glow of her skin became even brighter when she got excited; in that moment, she was positively radiant. “Oh, I’m sorry! Did I tap you too hard or something? I didn’t know Night Watchers’ skin was so sensitive. Not that that’s a bad thing! I just meant— oh, don’t mind me.” She flashed a grin, golden eyes alight with merriment. “Sorry. I’ve never spoken to one of you before, and I get kind of rambly when I’m nervous. I s’pose we should start over with a proper introduction.”

The young Night Watcher seemed to relax ever so slightly, and he shoved his hands into the pockets of his jacket with a quick nod at her to signify that she could begin the introduction.

She beamed and went to stick out her hand for him to shake before thinking better of it and shoving it behind her back. “My name’s Ember, and I’m a sunbeam-director. That’s the only reason I’m up here at dawn, y’know. I’m definitely not a morning person. Anyway, your turn!”

He nodded again, and when he opened his mouth to speak his voice was gravelly, as if it were unused to being used. “I’m Coal,” was his quiet response.

“Nice to meet you! So, what brings you up to the land of the daffies this early? Or I s’pose I should say late. Don’t Night Watchers have to be home by dawn?”

Coal cracked a small smile at this, and Ember felt as if she’d just made a small crack in a marble statue. “I technically shouldn’t be out here; it’s past my curfew. But I stay here for a few minutes in the morning after work to watch the sunrise.” He looked highly uncomfortable at having said so much— This is probably the most he’s spoken to anyone in a week, poor guy! she thought sympathetically— and shuffled his feet awkwardly.

But Ember refused to let him feel awkward; she would keep this conversation going if it killed her. “Oh, so you’re a rebel too?” She clasped her hands in front of her. “Interesting! I’ll let you in on a little secret…” She leaned closer, and he involuntarily took a step back but she ignored it. “I stay out too late too. I dance with fireflies at dusk.”

He raised a dark eyebrow, as if to say, ‘That’s not so rebellious’, and she folded her arms. “Of course it is! For a Light Bringer, anyway. My curfew’s in the late afternoon because, according to my grandmother Aurora, I am apparently not ‘trustworthy enough’ to be given the night jobs.”

At the words ‘Light Bringer’, Coal suddenly stiffened and glanced around furtively. “We shouldn’t be talking like this. I’m sorry; I forgot.”

“No— we’re not supposed to, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t,” she argued.

“I don’t follow you.”

“The Rulebook says that we can’t associate with you. But here I am associating with you, and nothing bad has happened to me!” She grinned in triumph. “What if the Rulebook’s wrong?”

He sent another worried glance around the meadow; thankfully, they were still alone for now. “Be careful saying things like that,” he cautioned her.

She rolled her eyes and flopped down rather ungracefully onto a leaf that had fallen to the ground. “This your first time talking to a Light Bringer?” At his nod, she continued. “There’s one thing you should know: We say whatever pops into our minds— the good, the bad, and the absolutely insane.” Impulsively, she patted the leaf beside hers. “You’re welcome to sit down, y’know. I don’t bite.”

“No, but you do burn,” he remarked, rubbing his shoulder as he took the proffered leaf-chair.

“Was that a joke I just heard?” she teased, but suddenly realized what he was saying and sprang out of her seat. “Oh, wait— did I actually burn you when I tapped you earlier?”

He shrugged. “It’s not that bad. I’m black anyway…”

“Coal! I’m sorry! Aw, man…” She stared down at her thin, glowing hands in dismay. “I’m a monster!”

“What? No, you’re definitely not a monster.” If he had been any color but black, she would have no doubt seen the faint blush on his cheeks.

“This is so disappointing, though!” she cried, floating back and forth in distress. “I’ve never hurt someone just by touching them before. This means I’ll never be able to hug you?”

Now Coal was beginning to look a little afraid. “Hug me?” he repeated.

“Oh yes. Light Bringers are big on hugging. You’re not, I presume?”

“Public displays of affection aren’t exactly our strong point.”

“Or emotion in general, it seems,” she quipped. “I couldn’t hide my feelings even if I tried. How do you manage it?”

He gave a noncommittal shrug. “Blending in with the night and casting shadows don’t require emotional displays. The people I’ve grown up around have all been stoic, so I’m stoic as well.”

She cocked her head. “But you do feel things, right? Even if you don’t show them?”

He was saved from having to answer by the sounds of singing; the other sunbeam-directors were coming. Ember gave him a frantic glance. “You’ve got to go now; if they see you here we’ll both be in trouble!”

Coal jumped up and immediately turned to obey, but was stopped by a cry of, “Wait!”

When he turned back around, he caught the hope shining in Ember’s eyes and her almost bashful smile. “We’ll see each other again, right? I did so enjoy talking to you!”

He made a split-second decision and offered her a slight smile in return. “Same time tomorrow,” was all he said before vanishing into the trees.

If Ember’s grin was brighter, or her cheeks pinker, or her air more absentminded than usual as she scattered sunbeams across the meadow that morning, none of her friends commented on it.


            The next morning, as Coal waved goodbye to the fading stars from his vantage point in the branches of an old oak tree, he was admittedly rather distracted from his work— a sensation he had never experienced until now. Sure, he looked forward to his daily sunrise escapades, but they had never affected him like this before.

He knew exactly why things were different today, too. It was that confounded Light Bringer, with her vibrant, loquacious personality and earnest plea for further conversation. Why he was so excited about seeing her again, he would never know.

Interacting with Ember was breaking every single rule that had been engraved into his mind since he was a small Watcher-in-training. It went against his very nature; it was imprudent enough to be out past curfew, but to be talking to a Light Bringer was downright dangerous. Yet his curious side had to admit that he had felt oddly… warm for the past day. He didn’t know quite what to make of that, but ultimately that warmth was what drove him to the same spot under the daffodils at dawn.

He took a seat in the leaf-chair and waited, trying— and failing— to look as if he wasn’t waiting at all. In an attempt to calm himself and curb his nervous anticipation, he leaned back and folded his arms, closing his eyes for a brief moment; it had been a busier night than usual, with the stars arguing amongst themselves and all the crickets and owls cross. Coal was tired, so very tired, and wondered why he insisted on staying out past his bedtime…

“Coal, what’cha doin’?”

His eyes flew open, and he was nearly blinded by the flicker of a flame mere centimeters away from his face. With an involuntary scream of surprise (that he would deny for as long as he lived), he scrambled to his feet and backed away. “Ember! Control your hair, please!”

The Light Bringer let out a blithe laugh and obligingly ran a hand over her wild flaming curls, only succeeding in holding them down for a total of three seconds. “Sorry ‘bout that. Did I wake you up?”

“It was a long night,” he muttered crossly, trying to regain his composure.

“Seems like it,” she quipped, alighting on the ground and stepping over to her own leaf. “I’m kinda surprised you came,” she admitted frankly. “I spent half the day yesterday wondering if you really would and the other half trying to convince myself that you would. It made me dizzy!”

Coal was definitely not about to tell her about the warmth, so he said only, “I keep my word.”

Ember nodded approvingly and clasped her hands over her knees. “Good. I like that about you. Light Bringer boys are so wishy-washy, it’s frustrating. I may be impulsive but at least I stick with decisions once I’ve made them!”

He cracked a smile at that, and she fairly beamed. “I always feel extraordinarily accomplished whenever I manage to make you smile. You should really try it more often; it makes your face handsome.” As soon as the words flew out of her mouth her cheeks turned a rosy red. “I mean, not that you’re not handsome anyway— wait, I’m not implying— oh, merciful goodness!” She buried her head in her hands in mortification.

“I know what you mean; thank you,” he said, handing her a lifeline and mentally filing away the fact that she thought him handsome.

As the sun rose up over a baby blue sky, they talked of “ships and sealing wax, of cabbages and kings”, until Coal was forced to slip away with another promise of meeting at the same time the next morning.

The rest of the golden days of summer slipped by in a similar vein; the two had a routine now, and became good friends over the course of their sunrise tete-a-tetes.

One morning in mid-July, Coal was beginning to grow slightly concerned as he waited in his leaf-seat; the sun was rising, and Ember was several minutes late— and Ember was a surprisingly punctual sprite. He was just about to go looking for her when presently she came drifting down beside him, rather subdued. Her ever-present glow had faded, and her mouth curved downward in a frown— since when was Ember sad? In the month and a half that he’d known her, Coal had gotten a glimpse of a wide variety of emotions, but had never seen her in such a state— and he immediately decided that he didn’t like it.

“Sorry, I was at a Light Bringer meeting. They changed my shift,” she announced by way of greeting, drawing her knees up to her chest and resting her chin on them in a girlish manner. “My faction’s been moved to mid-afternoon. I never thought I’d be sad to lose the sunrise shift.”

What?” Coal threw her a disbelieving glance.

“It’s true.” She sighed deeply. “This means we won’t be able to watch sunrises together anymore. It’d be too suspicious for me to be up at sunrise when I don’t have to be for work.”

Coal struggled to keep his disappointment from showing on his face. “Is there another time we could meet?”

She lifted her head and cocked it slightly, looking very much like a curious puppy. “Well, I still go out at dusk. Do you ever venture out then?”

He frowned in thought. “Dusk for me is like dawn for you; it would be risky, but I’m willing to give it a try if that’s the only way we can still communicate.”

For the first time that morning, Ember smiled and a bit of her radiance returned. “And this is why you’re my best friend.”


            “The Rules have been ignored, Solara,” Lune, Prince of the Night, stated in concern, pacing back and forth across the throne room. His starlit royal robes trailed behind him as he walked.

Solara, Princess of the Dawn, merely sighed from her position seated in her sun throne. “Again? Who is committing the infraction this time?”

“A Light Bringer girl, and a Night Watcher boy. They have been meeting at sunrise each day for the past month, and have struck up a friendship.”

The Princess frowned and rose from her throne in all her regal splendor, her gown of sunbeams glimmering as she moved. “Yes, I believe I have seen them from time to time in my daily rounds. He has been most imprudent, breaking his curfew to see her. I confess I’m surprised to see it in one of your Watchers; they are usually eager to abide by the Rules.”

“Yes, but every once in awhile there is a streak of rebellion in one.”

“My Light Bringer doing this is not a surprise at all— she is known for her curiosity and impulsive nature. I have always kept an eye on her, for I have always had a feeling this day was coming.”

“Well, now that it has come, the question remains: What are we to do about this?”

Solara sighed. “We must handle it in the same way we have in the past. First, warnings from family and friends…”


            “Ember, we need to talk,” her oldest brother Inferno said firmly one late-July morning when she breezed down for breakfast in their large oak-tree-hole home. He stood stiffly against the doorframe, arms folded and brow furrowed. Their six other siblings watched this transpire with expressions ranging from ambivalent to intrigued.

Ember tried to shrug it off and flashed him a winning smile. “What about?”

Inferno was solemn. “Come outside to the top branch. This needs to be a private conversation.”

“Aw man,” one sibling scowled in disappointment, privately lamenting that he ‘never got to see the good stuff’.

Ember struggled to keep her expression from betraying the flurry of anxiety she felt as she followed her brother out of the hole and up to the very top of the tree. Inferno took a seat on the highest branch and gestured for her to sit beside him; she did so with an air of perfect unconcern. “What’s going on, Inferno?” she asked with a note of false cheerfulness in her voice.

He folded his arms and sent her an assessing gaze. “I was hoping you could tell me that.”

She let out a breezy, nervous laugh. “Okay, what’s up? You’ve never been this serious.”

He arched a fiery eyebrow at her. “I’ve never needed to be.”

Ember mimicked his brow-raising and used a half-sarcastic phrase that Coal had said dozens of times before: “Sounds ominous.”

“Ember, I’ve seen you sneaking out to the meadow at midnight. Midnight, Em! Are you an idiot?” Inferno was nothing if not blunt.

She jumped up and blurted out, “How did you?—” before catching her mistake and clamping her hands over her mouth with wide eyes.

“I knew it!” Inferno exclaimed, rising up and scowling at her with fire in his eyes. “You’ve met some Night Watcher guy, haven’t you?”

Ember lifted her chin, her own eyes alit with her fury. “It’s not like that, Inferno! Mercy, at least give me a little trust! And please, by all means, could you refrain from shouting this to the whole meadow?”

“What have you been doing at midnight, then?” he challenged, quieter but no less angered. “You’ve got no business being up and about at that hour!”

“I’ve been watching the stars! What’s so bad about that?”

“You— star watching?” He calmed down a bit. “Oh. So, there’s no Night Watcher?”

“Nope,” she lied, and was extremely proud of herself for being able to successfully conceal the truth for once.

“Oh,” he repeated, and gave her a funny look. “Well, it’s still past your curfew.”

“I know.”

“It’s still breaking the Rules.”

With a sigh, she said, “I know.”

All of the anger seemed to drain out of him, but he still looked wary. “Be careful, Em. I don’t want you getting in trouble.”

“I won’t.” She darted forward and gave him a tiny peck on the cheek. “But thanks anyway!” And with that, she soared away, with a mix of intense relief and foreboding stirring within her. She had been close— too close— to being caught. The happiness she had gained from Coal’s friendship had caused her to let her guard down, and she had very nearly paid the price. She would have to be more careful in concealment in the future…


            “Coal, what’s the matter with you, man?” his friend Shade asked him that very night, minutes after they had begun working with the nocturnal animals of the meadow. “You’re smiling way too much.”

“Am I?” The subconscious smile immediately dropped off the Night Watcher’s face as he worked to regain his standard unaffected expression. “Sorry.” He had spent the evening with Ember as per usual; she had forced him into dancing with fireflies, and although he would never admit it he had actually found it quite enjoyable. Even more fun than dancing was watching her dance; she pirouetted with grace and laughter and positively glowed (both literally and figuratively) as she did so, and the warmth filled Coal’s shadowy heart again. He was beginning to miss the light that was present whenever he was with Ember; suddenly, the darkness didn’t seem quite as friendly as usual.

Shade leaned against a tree trunk and regarded Coal quizzically. He was a tall and lanky character, with stringy ebony hair pulled back in a ponytail and a bowtie permanently affixed to his black dress shirt. Shade liked to dress in style— “for the ladies”— and was as smooth and collected as his name suggested.

The two Night Watchers were vastly different, in personality as well as appearance. Where Shade was mysterious and charismatic and moody, Coal was stoic and awkward and (another thing he would never admit) something of a romantic. Shade dressed nicely, while Coal was comfortable in a Mohawk, windbreaker, athletic pants, and black sneakers. And yet, somehow, the two had been brothers since the very beginning.

Since they enjoyed the privileges of the brotherly status, Shade now took advantage of it by remarking sardonically, “You’re in love, aren’t you? Man, I knew this day would come eventually. It’s about time! You finally noticed Leila, then?”

Coal grew very still. “I’m not in love,” he said quietly. “Not with Leila or— or with anyone else.”

Shade let out a laugh at that— he was one of the more outgoing Watchers and enjoyed a good laugh from time to time. “But you are, man! It’s so obvious! You were smiling just now— oh, and by the way, I did catch you singing the other day when you thought you were alone. Nice baritone.”

Coal clenched his jaw and silently vowed that that was the last time he would let Ember sing that stupid ditty around him again. Aloud he said only, “I didn’t realize smiling and singing were forbidden here.”

Shade’s mirth vanished. “They’re not, but… you’ve gotta be careful, man. You’re acting almost like… well, like one of them.”

He didn’t need to elaborate; Coal knew exactly who ‘them’ was. At least Shade hadn’t accused him of fraternizing with Light Bringers; he was close enough to the truth as it was.

Have I really changed that much, just from being friends with Ember? he wondered as he convinced an owl to “cut back on the rodent consumption, please”. I’ve let my guard down, and that’s not good. I’ve got to be more cautious from now on… but why is expressing my happiness such a bad thing?


            “The stars are so beautiful,” breathed Ember several hours later, as the two of them sat curled up in a daffodil’s petals and gazed up at the sky. “I wish they would come out in the daytime too.”

“If they did that, they wouldn’t have the same effect,” Coal pointed out matter-of-factly. “Darkness is needed in order to see the stars.”

Ember turned to him with a smile more gentle than any he’d ever seen on her face. “Then I really like the dark.”

“Am I included in that statement?” he grinned, ignoring the way his heartbeat quickened at the implications of what she was saying.

“Of course, you goose.” She rolled her golden eyes. “If I could, I would just stay here forever with you. Daylight’s lovely, but nighttime has a sense of mystery and depth and an ethereal beauty to it, and I’m starting to like it just a little bit more.”

“Do you mean that?”

“Yes.” She nodded empathetically.

“But— but you’re a Light Bringer.”

She let out a sigh. “Yeah, and I hate how conspicuous it makes me when I come out here in the middle of the night. In the day, you can hide in shadows easily, but I don’t have the same luxury. I… I sort of wish I was a Night Watcher…”

“…So we could be friends and not be secretive about it,” he finished.

“Exactly!” She returned her gaze to the stars.

Coal was silent for a moment, and Ember thought the conversation was over until he spoke up again, solemnly. “You don’t want to be a Night Watcher.”

Ember didn’t like being told what she did and didn’t want. She scowled at him. “And why not?”

“Our lives are dark and cold, Ember. We’re not unhappy, exactly, but there is no warmth and light in us. And… and we don’t realize what we’re missing until we meet someone like you…” His voice trailed off.

She stared at him with wide eyes. “You mean you’ve never felt joyful?”

He shook his head. “Not until I met you.”

“Coal, that’s horrible!”

With a shrug, he replied, “Horrible or not, it’s the way life is for us. But now… well, now I’m not satisfied with that life anymore.”

“What’re you saying?” she asked in trepidation.

He stunned her by reaching out and taking her hand in his. At her protest of, “No, I’ll burn you!”, he smiled ever so slightly and shook his head. “It wasn’t burning. It didn’t hurt; I just wasn’t used to the light and warmth.”

“Oh.” Her face flushed, and she looked down at their intertwined fingers, light and dark woven together, with a smile. “I like this.” She gazed up at him with an echo of a frown on her face. “You didn’t answer my question.”

“I need light,” he confessed with a shy smile. “I need you.”

Her eyes widened, and for a moment they simply stared at each other. She leaned in… he leaned in…


They both jerked back, and Ember yanked her hand out of his instinctively (noting how it suddenly felt empty). Hearts pounding wildly, they turned to face the intruder— and both nearly died then and there when they realized who was staring down at them.

Princess Solara herself hovered before them, radiant in all of her sunlit glory. And she was most definitely not pleased. “Ember,” came the frosty greeting.

“Your Highness!” the sprite gasped, remembering matters of convention enough to execute a quick and awkward curtsy.

The Princess lifted her chin and said, “I shall not ask what you are doing, for it is clear that you have not heeded the warning your brother gave you.”

Ember’s eyes widened. “You know about that?”

“I arranged it. And yes, before you ask, I know about everything else as well.” She surveyed the pair with critical eyes. “Did you really believe that we would not notice?”

Coal grimaced; “we” meant that Prince Lune knew as well. Great.

Other Night Watchers had seen the light and were gathering around, staring at Coal in horror and whispering frantically amongst themselves. He had never enjoyed attention, and shrank back under the weight of their gazes, wishing he could bury himself in the folds of the daffodil for forever.

“You two shall come with me immediately. We must discuss your blatant disregard of the Rules and the consequences to breaking them.”

Coal reached out in silent defiance and took Ember’s hand in his, squeezing it gently to offer her strength in solidarity. Solara chose not to comment and turned to fly up into the sky, a wordless signal for them to follow her. For an instant Coal wondered how he was going to manage this without flight, but he soon felt himself being lifted up into the sky by Ember, who still clung tightly to his hand. “You’re surprisingly lightweight,” she murmured, half afraid to speak any louder lest Solara hear them.

“I’m a shadow, remember?” he whispered back, grinning in spite of their grim circumstances because he was flying, actually flying!

“True.” Ember smiled, but it didn’t quite reach her eyes.

They soon arrived in the heavenly realms, where The Palace— home of the prince and princess— was located. Lowly Night Watchers and Light Bringers never ventured up here, so it was all the pair could do to stay focused on the meeting and not the breathtaking expanse of a cotton-candy sky surrounding them.

Prince Lune was waiting for them, grim and regal. Solara took her place at his left side and they both stared down at the two sprites with unforgiving eyes. “Why do you feel the need to disregard the Rules we have set in place?” Lune began with a frown.

“Why do you feel the need to have these stupid Rules to begin with?” Ember shot back, eyes flashing; Coal’s fingers intertwined with hers gave her courage.

The rulers exchanged a glance, having a wordless yet important conversation in a matter of seconds. “I suppose it is only fair that we explain our reasons,” Lune conceded.

“When Light Bringers and Night Watchers interact too much, they begin to fall in love with the opposite side,” Solara tried. “They grow restless in their own work, and want to become someone that they aren’t meant to be. We have witnessed it several times before. Life becomes too chaotic when this happens; we must maintain order. Each Light Bringer and Night Watcher has his or her place, and he or she must abide by it.”

“But it’s a terribly mundane existence,” argued Ember with as much politeness as she could muster. “Night Watchers don’t know warmth or laughter or joy or… or love… and we don’t know peace, or quiet, or mystery. How can we really be living if we’re only experiencing one half of life?”

“This is the way things have always been, since the dawn of time,” Solara snapped, although Lune seemed to be thinking her words over. “If you two want to keep your positions as Light Bringers and Night Watchers, you must agree to never interact with each other again. This is your final warning before punishment will be enforced.”

“But that’s the worst sort of punishment!” Ember cried. “Don’t you see that separating two who love each other is the most heinous thing you could possibly do?”

“Love?!” asked Coal incredulously, his dark cheeks turning even darker.

“Yeah.” She was sheepish and refused to meet his gaze. “Sorry to tell you like this, but I just now realized it myself.”

He glanced down at their hands. Light and dark. Opposites creating a beautiful contrast. “It’s okay. I love you too.”

They shared a brief and joyous smile before remembering their present company. He turned to face the royals and lifted his chin, asking bravely, “Is there any possible way that we won’t have to be separated?”

There was another silent conversation between Lune and Solara, and then the prince spoke up. “Perhaps, but you will have to make a sacrifice…”


            Ember awakened with a vicious headache.

It took her several seconds to realize where she was— in her beloved daffodil field— and several more seconds to realize that she was bigger than usual. A lot bigger.

She gasped and jumped to her feet, surveying her surroundings. It mortified her to know that she was inadvertently stepping on daffodils, and baffled her to see the nearby trees at such a wholly different angle. She felt like a giant, and that was not a very comfortable feeling at all. (Although her emerald green silk dress was rather cute, and much softer than grass…)

And speaking of the trees, there was a shadowy figure emerging from them, one that looked very much like—

She gasped again and could do nothing but stand rooted to the spot.

It was him!

But he had changed. His skin was not pitch black, but rather a dusty tan. His clothing remained the same, as did his hair, but his eyes were now an interesting shade of sapphire blue. And he was smiling— and running— and suddenly she was engulfed in a warm hug.

“It’s you,” he breathed into her hair— she figured it mustn’t be aflame anymore, or else he wouldn’t have been able to rest his chin on her head— and she smiled into his shoulder as she embraced him back. They stood there like that for several long moments, just drinking in the other’s presence.

“Um, Coal…” she began after a few moments of thought.

“Yes?” he asked, sounding happier than he’d been in… well, forever.

“I think we’re humans.”

“What?” He drew back and held her at arms’ length, regarding her quizzically before letting out a laugh. “Funny. I didn’t even notice.”

“So I guess I don’t look that bad, then?” she asked half-teasingly.

“No.” His grin was huge. “You look absolutely amazing. A little bit’s changed; your eyes are hazel, you’ve got freckles on your nose now, and you’ve got curly auburn hair. But you’re still you, and you’re still glowing.”

She smiled, but then suddenly remembered. “So… what now?”

“Now we get to start a life of our own,” he replied as he took her hand in his and they began to walk out of the daffodil field.

As they walked from the meadow to the city, from a secret friendship to a life together, Ember could’ve sworn she saw both the sun and the moon smiling down on them.


Y’all. I am rejoicing so much because I FINALLY FINISHED THIS!!! It took me all weekend, but it was so worth it! And now, back to working on Ignite. Hehe. ^-^ Have a lovely Sunday evening, everyone!

// reasons why you should join the Les Mis fandom //

When I was first introduced to Les Miserables by watching the movie in theatres in 2012, I didn’t like it very much.

I mean, it was well-done and all, but I had no prior knowledge of the storyline or characters, and all of the death seemed incredibly depressing and unnecessary. (I was just ecstatic that Wolverine had a good singing voice.) And, surprisingly enough, I didn’t even cry- while my friends who were better acquainted with the movie were sitting beside me sobbing. So, essentially, I watched it and then promptly moved on with my life.

But then, this May, a little flicker of interest grew in me when I saw some posts by Les Mis fans on social media, and I randomly decided to look into Les Mis again. So I did, and I figured that this period of interest would last about a week, maybe a month at most.

Well, I was wrong. I have affectionately dubbed this summer my “Les Mis summer”, because I ended up liking it a whole lot more than I had originally intended.

Last week, I began to think about how interesting it is that Les Mis has the whole package: a book, a musical, and a movie. What other fandom has three unique versions of its story and characters? (It can get rather confusing occasionally, when the movie and/or musical stray from the book, but it’s still awesome.) And then thinking on that made me realize that having three adaptations of a story gives it an advantage: even more reasons to love it!

And so, I came up with a list of, basically, reasons why Les Miserables is awesome.

But before I carry on with that list, I must explain some of the plot and characters, because some of you may not know much about it and thus my ramblings on how awesome the barricade boys are would be pointless.

The Basic Plot: Set against the backdrop of 19th century France, the story depicts a former convict’s road to redemption and struggle with running from his past, an inspector’s near-obsession with capturing the convict (who broke his parole so he could be free) and abiding by the law, the tragedies a young woman goes through in her efforts to care for her illegitimate daughter, the brokenness of the lives of the poor people of Paris, a girl’s descent into poverty and unrequited love, and a revolutionary group’s fight and sacrifice for for freedom.


Jean Valjean

my name is JEAN VALJEAN

(He is an entity of awesomeness.)

The main character of the story; an ex-convict who was imprisoned for 19 years for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his sister’s child. After his sentence, he leaves behind a life of hatred and deceit after a bishop shows him the meaning of grace. He breaks his parole and adopts pseudonyms to evade the police (such as Madeline and Fauchelevent), because he wants to be free from his past altogether (but it will inevitably catch up to him). He begins a new life and eventually becomes Cosette’s adopted father. He finds fulfillment in loving his adopted daughter and helping people who are in difficult situations, even when it means risking his own life and welfare. Valjean combines a convict’s street smarts with his newfound idealism and compassion. His whole life is a quest for redemption.



(Not quite as awesome as Valjean. But I am slightly biased, soooo…)

A police inspector who strictly believes in law and order and will stop at nothing to enforce France’s harsh penal codes. Javert is incapable of compassion or pity, and performs his work with such passion that he takes on a nearly animal quality when he is on the chase. He nurses an especially strong desire to recapture Valjean, whose escapes and prosperity he sees as an affront to justice. Ultimately, Javert is unable to say with certainty that Valjean deserves to be punished. This ambiguity undermines the system of belief on which Javert bases his life and forces him to choose between hypocrisy and honor.



(Yes, the “I Dreamed a Dream” girl.)

                 A working-class girl who leaves her hometown of Montreuil-sur-mer to seek her fortune in Paris. Fantine’s innocent affair with a dapper student named Tholomyès leaves her pregnant and abandoned. Although she is frail, she makes a Herculean effort to feed herself and her daughter, Cosette, who she eventually leaves with an innkeeper, Thénardier. Even as she descends into prostitution, she never stops caring for and dreaming of being reunited with Cosette. She represents the destruction that nineteenth-century French society cruelly wreaks on the less fortunate.

Cosette Fauchelevent

little lark

cosette now i remember

(She’s got a Cinderella-esque thing going on.)

                 Fantine’s daughter, who lives as Valjean’s adopted daughter after her mother dies. Cosette spends her childhood as a servant for the Thénardiers in Montfermeil, but even this awful experience does not make her hardened or cynical. Under the care of Valjean and the nuns of Petit-Picpus, Cosette ultimately blossoms into a beautiful, educated young woman. She finds fulfillment in her love for Marius. Cosette is innocent and docile, but her participation in Valjean’s many escapes from the law show that she also possesses intelligence and bravery.

The Thénardiers

the classy thenardiers

(Classy, right?)

Cruel, money-obsessed people who first appear as innkeepers and Cosette’s keepers (and abusers). They exhort money from whomever they can, in any way they can, and don’t care much about anything else- even their own children when they lose the inn and are forced to the streets of Paris. Thénardier is in charge of a gang called the Patron-Minette and has strong ties to the criminal underworld in Paris; their schemes range from robbery to fraud to murder. They are portrayed as the comic relief of the musical and movie, but truthfully no one really likes them.

Éponine Thénardier

young eponine

Les Miserables (2012) SAMANTHA BARKS as Eponine

eponine with a hat

(Aren’t her newsboy cap and barricade outfit darling? Also, she’s one of my favorites. More on that later.)

The Thénardiers’ eldest daughter; she was pretty and spoiled as a child, but as her family descended into poverty and crime her beauty waned and she became a girl of the streets- a gamine. She is rough and spirited, yet known as a shadow as she is good at slipping unnoticed around the Parisian streets. Her unrequited love for her friend Marius Pontmercy ultimately leads to her taking a bullet for him at the barricade and her death. “Her life was cold and dark, yet she was unafraid.” -Victor Hugo

Gavroche Thénardier


(Ahh, the cuteness! Gav is everyone’s favorite.)

The Thénardiers’ oldest son; Éponine’s younger brother. Gavroche is kicked out of the house at an early age and becomes a Parisian street urchin. He is a happy-go-lucky child who enjoys the small pleasures of life and demonstrates unusual generosity toward those even less fortunate than he is. (He’s a clever little fireball of sass and it’s awesome.) He is also fierce and brave, and plays a decisive role in the barricade even though he does not have a gun. Also his death is the most heartbreaking and the one where I did actually get teary-eyed in the movie theatre.

Marius Pontmercy

marius youre no longer a child

(Oh, Marius… *shakes head*)

A young and wealthy law student who is kind and innocent and honest and slightly unwise; when he first sees Cosette he falls madly in love and spends his days fawning over her like a lovesick puppy, much to his revolutionary friends’ disdain/amusement. Has to make the choice between fighting with his friends, Les Amis de l’ABC, on the barricades (even though he is a Bonapartist at heart) and Cosette; in the end, he unwittingly gets both although he loses his friends because he’s the only one who survives the barricades and AHH. Oblivious to Éponine’s affections until the very end; is sad that she died (as friends) but eventually marries Cosette.

Les Amis de l’ABC

Barricade Boys 1

(These are {a few of} the barricade boys, and they are awesome.)

the worlds favorite boy band

(See? :D)



(Isn’t he adorable? He’s another favorite. Again, more on that later.)

“The Chief”; he’s a law student and the leader of Les Amis de l’ABC, a group of students dedicated to bringing freedom to the downtrodden of Paris- even if that means fighting the National Guard for it. Described as an extremely handsome youth, passionate and eloquent, intelligent and courageous, but “capable of being terrible”. He doesn’t care about romantic relationships, preferring instead to have a wholehearted dedication to France and liberty. Thus, when Marius moons over Cosette, Enjolras gets really frustrated and reminds him of the higher calling of freedom. He does, however, truly care about Les Amis, even if he isn’t always good at showing it.



(He’s a bookworm and therefore a man after my own heart.)

“The Guide”; Enjolras’s best friend and right-hand man, who is the more rational one of the two and often curbs his friend’s passion into a logical decision. He is kindhearted and thoughtful and incredibly smart; he’s a medical student who represents the philosophy of the revolution.



(This is Courf’s derp face. Hehe.)

“The Centre”; a loyal, charismatic, warm-hearted student. He truly cares about his friends and has the sweetest brotherly relationship with Gavroche. He is witty and enjoys a good laugh (and flirtation), but when the time comes to fight he is serious and ready to face the enemy.



(Look at him! So amused by lovesick Marius. He’s one of us. xD)

He is a cynic by nature and has no interest in revolution but stays out of love for his friends, or more specifically, for his admiration and belief in Enjolras. He finds great enjoyment in poking fun at Marius and getting Enjolras riled up… and, unfortunately, drinking. Despite his cynicism, he eventually declares himself a believer in the Republic, and dies alongside Enjolras.

Jean Prouvaire “Jehan”


(He’s such a sweetheart!!!)

A romantic and a poet; he is quiet and shy, yet intrepid when the barricades arise. Also, he’s said to be the only barricade boy who is a Christian, which makes him even more endearing!



(He’s like, “what on earth is going on???” He gets that expression a lot, actually…)

A malade imaginaire student of medicine, yet described as the happiest of Les Amis. He cares very much about his friends (majorly their health) and his fiancée Musichetta. (In the movie, he looks perpetually confused and it’s hilarious.)

Lesgle “Bousset”


He’s the oldest member of the group, and considered perpetually unlucky, but retains his cheerful nature. He studies law and is good friends with Joly, and was the first of the Amis to meet Marius.



(Poor Bahorel got left out of the musical.)

A dandy, streett-fighter, and idler from a peasant background, who is known well around the student cafés of Paris. Has studied law for 11 years.



He’s a poor, orphaned fanmaker who taught himself how to read and write. He’s trustworthy and hardworking, and the only of the Amis who isn’t a student.


So now that you’ve been introduced to the characters and story, I shall proceed with the list (the original intention of this post, ha).

Reasons why you should join the Les Mis fandom:

1.) The story itself. The aspect of Grace vs Law, of true love (“to love another person is to see the face of God”), of social justice. Brilliant.

2.) The characters. Three-dimensional and each one interesting- even the “minor” characters such as the barricade boys.

3.) The MUSIC. Simply gorgeous and terribly catchy. And if you don’t like one actor’s rendition (*cough cough* Russell Crowe), there’s at least three different soundtracks out there- and that’s not even including the original French Broadway version!

4.) The Brick. There’s a reason the book is called that, y’know; it’s arguably the largest work of fiction ever. And I’m told that Hugo’s writing style is poignant yet hilarious (especially his chappie titles), which is a masterful combination. Sure, the Brick’s Marius and Éponine may not be quite as likable as their musical and movie counterparts, but they’re still awesome. And DETAILS ABOUT MY BARRICADE BABIES- I mean boys… I haven’t read it yet, but might attempt to tackle it next summer. We shall see!

4.) The historical aspect of it. 19th century France, during the French Revolution? Simply wonderful. And there was really a failed June Rebellion led by some schoolboys, really a little boy that died… *sobs*

5.) Is part of it depressing? PART, YOU SAY? *laughs sardonically* But hey, despite all the death and sadness in the story, we’re actually a pretty happy and hilarious fandom. (Read: Les Mis puns and headcanons and modern versions of the story.)

6.) And yes, there are some not-so-godly aspects of this tale, particularly in the movie/musical… And about half the fandom unfortunately likes to focus on that, for whatever reasons. But the other half of the fandom consists of fellow believers like you and I who prefer to focus on the beautiful things, the love and light amidst the darkness.

7.) Also I just really really really need someone to fangirl over this beautifulness with. ^-^


And now, I shall end with something completely sweet and adorable.

even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise

This is known around the fandom as “Enjonine”- Enjolras and Éponine. They don’t exactly interact in the actual story, but the idea of putting them together in a romantic relationship is simply adorable.

Éponine needs a man who’s stronger than Marius, yet is righteous and kind- to lift her up out of her broken life and show her the love she’s never known from anyone.

Enjolras needs someone to teach him how to love, but a weak and naïve girl wouldn’t do at all. Éponine would have been the perfect support behind him as he went into the fight for freedom. Also- she’s the one of very people he’s fighting for in the first place!

Their dynamic personalities would have blended well together, and they would’ve been Paris’s political power couple. And it would’ve been epicness.



enjonine sweetness

And so, on that adorable note, I shall end this post (which ended up being waaaay longer than I intended, my apologies) with one final thing: Join the Les Miserables fandom. We have revolutions and music and Gavroche. 😀

{love, Em}

power c

// if every girl could see her beauty, we would be an army //

Beau-ti-ful (adj): possessing qualities that give great pleasure or satisfaction to see, hear, think about, etc; delighting the senses or mind; excellent of its kind; wonderful.

This is not a cry for attention.

It is not a plea for compliments.

It is merely me stating a fact when I say that most of the time, I don’t think I am beautiful.

I tend to look in the mirror and harshly critique every flaw I see (and believe me, there are many). We all do it sometimes, ladies; don’t deny it. We nitpick and tear down every aspect of ourselves that we don’t quite like, out of sheer instinct. It’s an instantaneous reaction to seeing our own reflections.

Now, obviously, this isn’t the way to live, isn’t the way we should view ourselves.

So what do we do to combat our insecurities?

Women of the world have begun a movement of self-empowerment. They are defying the standards for beauty that society and media sets. These daring women say things like “Be your own kind of beautiful” and “Love yourself” and “Find acceptance in yourself”. And on the surface, that all sounds lovely, but they’re completely missing the point.

True beauty is not loving yourself. It is not from any sort of outward adornment, but it is also not from “finding yourself”.

Would you like to know where true beauty begins?

It starts in the heart. It starts with God.

Beauty doesn’t come from anything we have done for ourselves. We do not become beautiful; we simply are beautiful because God made us, and each of us are precious in His sight.

True beauty is being so in love with God that you don’t even care about whether or not you are what the world would call “beautiful”. True beauty is being confident in the fact that you are beautiful not from what you have made yourself to be, but from who God lovingly created you to be. True beauty is caring for others more than yourself.

No amount of encouraging platitudes on self-worth can help you when you don’t have the proper perspective. The fact of the matter is that you’ll never be happy with yourself as long as you’re looking at yourself to be perfect.

Yes, we will still have our days when we’re disgruntled with our appearances; we’re only human. But in those moments of self-degradation God whispers a reminder of the truth into our hearts:

Your beauty shouldn’t come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in My sight.

You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.

You are fearfully and wonderfully made, crafted in My image.

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears Me is to be praised.

Man looks at your outward appearance, but I look at the heart.

And then our perspectives are righted, and the world is sunny again.

From what I’ve observed, the most beautiful girls are the ones who are so wrapped up in the things of the Lord that they are oblivious to their own radiance. They are the girls with a smile and a kind word to everyone. They are the girls who live and love with reckless abandon. They are the girls who strive for His glory and not their own.

What if we all were girls like that? What if, in the midst of this self-worth movement, we encouraged others to look not within themselves but to the Lord for their security? I believe that, if we all had the proper perspective on beauty, we would be an army of truly confident girls and women.

A Note To Everyone:

You, my darling, are beautiful.

You don’t have to try.

You don’t have to listen to the lies society feeds.

You don’t even have to find yourself.

You simply are.

You can rest in the truth that you are made in His image.

You are loved and lovely in His sight.

So many days I listened to the voice inside my head

I never thought that I’d be someone who could be misled

I wanted the mirror to show me something I could not see

I needed explanations for expectations I could never reach

I know I’m not the only one who’s ever cried for help

And Jesus did for me what I could not do myself

He changed my life by changing my mind

He healed all that was broken inside

I’m loving what I can see with His spirit alive in me

I’m finding beauty for the first time

Looking through my Father’s eyes…

// Holly Starr, Through My Father’s Eyes //

{love, Em}