Prologue of “Wings of Ash and Ember”

August 2, 2023

499 Years Ago

The first of the Gods to emerge from the earth was Eowyn.

She had been intricately formed from a single raindrop during a downpour, hair as red as flames licking up the side of her face. Her earth-brown silken skin shone with power and youth, and her brown eyes harbored wisdom and kindness that radiated out wherever she glanced. The elements had been her gift; tendrils of water surged at her fingertips, wind as strong as a hurricane rushed out of her mouth, and lightning bubbled deep within her chest.

The next god was Arthfael. In the forested lands, sunlight shone through the trees overhead and cast small diamonds of gold over the pine needles and dirt, and from one of those diamonds, Arthfael was born. His hair was so blond that it glowed in the dark, with near-white pieces streaking through it as if guided by a paintbrush. His gift was light-bringing; everything good on the earth was Arthfael.

With a wave of his hand, a crowd of sick would be immediately healed, and with a wink of his eye, a land of darkness would suddenly flood with piercing, shining light.

The two gods had risen to bring peace and calm to a land of barbarism and violence, all caused by a particular species—the drakons. Half-human, half-dragon, they had the ability to shift between both forms, whenever and wherever they wanted.

The drakons were unruled and ungoverned. With no one to control them or to teach them how to utilize their magic, they were barbarians in every sense of the word.

Being descendants of dragons, drakons naturally had a strong connection to the jewels buried deep in the earth. Driven by greed, humans would set traps for the drakons, in an attempt to force them into finding the diamonds entombed hundreds of feet below, hoping to make themselves filthy rich.

To retaliate, the drakons would leave their home and fly out west to the humans and shred them apart. While the drakons were immortal in the sense that they could not die from any natural causes, an outside force like traps covered in daggers nearly three feet long—precisely what the humans would set for them—could rid them of their life almost immediately.

So then came the two gods, who were also half-dragon, half-humans themselves, created to finally tame the drakons and transform them into beings of peace and love.

And what brought these saviors was nothing other than the first Blood Moon.

In an event that had never before occurred, the stars in the northern sky aligned to form the shape of a dragon’s head, the moon becoming the eye of the dragon. This phenomenon, its cause still unknown, awoke powers in the earth that had never been harvested there before. When the Blood Moon occurred, which happens only once every five hundred years, the gods were not only brought to be, but their magic was also at its strongest that night.

Now, most say that Eowyn and Arthfael were the only two gods that were meant to exist, and that what happened next was a mistake—an accident. A third god arose not long after they did. A god risen from ash. From bone. From the violence of past wars, from the buried bodies of all creatures. The god’s hair was as dark as the bottom of the sea, his eyes a blue so striking they could make any being fall to their knees. His power was one greater than the other two gods’ combined.

A god of death, he was. And his name was Icas.

But though Icas was made with some of the darkest magic to ever be possessed, his heart was that of light. He wanted nothing more than the drakons, who walked mindlessly on the earth, to be tamed and ensured a better future.

So Icas, alongside his brother and sister, did exactly that.

There were three separate islands that were to the east of the human lands, and only one was inhabited by the drakons. So the three Gods divided the drakon population into three, and each took a group to one of the islands.

Eowyn took charge of the northernmost land, Arthfael the middle, and Icas the southernmost. Using their magic, the three gods blessed the drakons in their designated land with their own magic so that their subjects could have a small portion of their power.

Eowyn’s drakons gained a drop of her elemental magic, and all developed her red hair while in their human form. When in dragon form, they were that same crimson red with blue-tinted scales running down their backs. Arthfael gave his subjects light magic, and they all were graced with his golden locks and green eyes. When dragons, they resembled a ball of light itself dancing gracefully through the air. And in the southernmost land, Icas granted his drakons with some of his dark magic, turning their hair as black as his and eyes nearly as blue. They were the color of the night in dragon form, nearly imperceptible unless the sun was out.

The three kingdoms, now united, were christened the nation of Draenga. Separately, the three kingdoms were named Halcyon, the elemental kingdom, Elysia, the light-bringer kingdom, and finally, Orendor, the death kingdom.

It was the beginning of something great.

The nation of Draenga soon was living in harmony. All drakons were now tame, living as civil beings. And while the humans to the west still craved riches and longed to force the drakons to hunt jewels, the incoming of the powerful gods had frightened them into submission.

This newfound peace in Draenga lasted nearly five hundred years… Until Icas decided what he had wasn’t enough.

He wanted more than a third of the drakon population. He wanted more than one piece of land. He wanted all of it. He knew he was more powerful than his brother and sister and believed he deserved more than them.

Without letting this become known to his brother and sister, Icas devised a plan. Using his magic, he would create two objects of such power that they could take down and control thousands—millions, if he desired so.

Using his dark, death-ridden magic as a lethal hand, Icas reached throughout the world and stole darkness out of every place that lacked light. The shade of a tree, the corner of a room, the hatred of a human, the anger of another drakon—whatever flourished in darkness, Icas utilized.

And soon, the Crown and Sword were born.

Two items, seemingly normal on the outside aside from being as black as obsidian and swallowing all traces of light, became the two deadliest and most powerful objects on the planet. And Icas wasn’t stupid in the slightest; he knew if someone else got their hands on his objects, they would use them against him. Therefore, he made it so that only he could wield them.

When used by him, they were the equivalent of a thousand armies with the best warriors and ammunition one could wish for. But if wielded by someone else, they were as useful as a kitchen knife and a plastic headpiece.

It was then Icas decided to start his reign. The first step was to rid the

drakons in Draenga of their magic and ability to shift into dragon form. Then, after they were weakened, he would cast a spell, forcing them all to worship him, and he would have everything he wanted.

His plan almost worked.

He was able to complete the first stage. Using the Crown and Sword, he left the subjects of all three kingdoms powerless and without their dragon forms. They were basically humans aside from some physical differences, such as pointed ears and their startling hair and eyes. But before he could force them all to kiss the ground he walked on, the other two drakon gods saw what he had done to their people and demanded him to stop. He’d been unable to take their power from them, as they were no ordinary drakons.

“I’m more powerful than both of you combined,” he’d told them. “Wait until next month for the next Blood Moon to occur when our magic is at its highest, and then we will settle this.”

And so they did. And when the moon rose on that day, and the stars were aligned yet again, the three gods went to war.

Eowyn and Arthfael together against Icas. Halcyon and Elysia’s armies against Orendor’s.

The warriors in Orendor’s army were without magic and power, just like the rest of the drakons; however, Icas was able to return both to his army just for the duration of the war. Halcyon and Elysia’s armies, not expecting this, were slaughtered and lost the battle almost immediately.

The three drakon Gods battled on their own relentlessly during the night of the Blood Moon, but as soon as the sun began to rise, their magic inevitably revered back to its usual strength. The Gods returned to their human forms, in pain, exhausted and injured.

“We will fight until we die,” Eowyn had told Icas, her voice ragged and tired as she clutched at a wound on her side. “You will never take control of these creatures. You will never have that power over them.”

Icas had grinned a sickly sweet smile at her, oozing with venom as he used his last ounce of strength to command the Crown to appear atop his head and the Sword to be clutched in his calloused hand.

“I somehow knew you’d say that,” he replied, the three of them still circling each other. “So I waited to bring out the best for last.”

He poised the Sword directly at his brother and sister, readying it to strike them with a blast of magic so powerful it could flatten any mountain and drain any sea. The opposing god and goddess looked at each other and gripped each other’s hand, making a silent pact to never allow Icas to have the power he wanted.

Together they rallied up their magic, so pure and thunderous, and as their power shot out at Icas, a beam of darkness soared from the tip of his Sword. The two opposite powers, light against necromancy, pushed on each other with such force that the grounds before the gods erupted in a blast of white and black, so substantial that land from a thousand miles away trembled.

Icas had been blown into the sky and then hit the ground. Gasping for air, he glanced down at his hand. He no longer held the Sword. He raised his hand to touch his head, also bare of the Crown.

Seeing Eowyn and Arthfael close next to him, he smiled, his teeth now coated in his blood, for the two of them were dead. Their mouths parted and eyes wide, but seeing absolutely nothing. Their chests and stomachs were both blown from their bodies with blood and gore on the now-dead grass under them.

Icas glanced down at himself, taking in his wounds. His innards were splayed out across his skin, his heart, still pumping but barely, now visible in his torn open chest. Blood dripped from his mouth, and as he leaned back, he stared up at the sky, once blue but now death gray, ash falling onto his face like rainfall.

He was about to die. He knew it.

But still, the grin remained on his battered face. As odd as it may seem, Icas wasn’t troubled by his demise. Not at all.

For he had a plan. A plan he had devised long before this war. And as he took his last breath, his deceased brother and sister at his side, he felt a rush of thrill in his chest. Because his plan? It was prophecy now. And everyone knows prophecy always comes true.



Danielle Koziol has been an avid writer since she could hold a pencil. Currently, she’s 19 years old and aiming to traditionally publish her work in progress, a new adult romantasy novel, Wings of Ash and Ember. In addition, she’s presently pursuing a public relations and creative writing degree at university. When Danielle isn’t writing, she’s drinking chai, attending classes, reading fantasy or romance books, or spending time with her dog Ruby. To follow her writing and publishing journey, and to learn more about her book, follow her on Instagram and TikTok at @AuthorDanielleKoziol.


Featured image by Cassi Josh on Unsplash