|“||We are beset by many dangers, and traitors multiply in the dark. It will not be so in the Mended Wood.||”|
Ember Falls: The Green Ember Book II is the second book in The Green Ember series. It was written by S. D. Smith and illustrated by Zach Franzen. It was published by Story Warren, LLC on September 13, 2016.
"The stage is set. It's war. Morbin Blackhawk, slaver and tyrant, threatens to destroy the rabbit resistance forever. Heather and Picket are two young rabbits improbably thrust into pivotal roles. The fragile alliance forged around the young heir seems certain to fail. Can Heather and Picket help rescue the cause from a certain, sudden defeat?
My Place Beside You
My Blood For Yours
Till The Green... Ember Falls"
An excerpt from The Wreck and Rise of Whitson Mariner.
Picket and Smalls, acting on Captain Frye's intelligence, scout out a mining camp where members of the Longtreader family are believed to be held captive. The camp proves to be deserted, and the pair are attacked by a trio of birds of prey. Through "blind, crazy luck" they succeed in killing two of them by bringing down a vacant barracks, while the third is killed by a barrage of fire arrows. These are provided by reinforcements led by Lord Victor Blackstar and Lord Captain Helmer, who are respectively hopeful and pessimistic about the rabbits' chances in a war against Morbin Blackhawk.
Some time later, Heather and Emma, both now acting members of Halfwind Citadel's medical team, pay a visit to Lord Ramnor. After Emma departs, Ramnor informs Heather that she will be assigned as medic to the Fowlers, the elite unit that Picket is part of under the leadership of Helmer. Meanwhile, in Morbin's lair, a recently enslaved doe named Sween struggles to keep from drawing attention to herself.
During a training session, Picket and his teammates fail to accomplish their objective due to the clumsiness of Heyward, whom Helmer promptly dismisses from the unit. After following the dejected buck to comfort him, and ends up running into Smalls, with the two walking together before being interrupted by Captain Frye.
At a meeting that includes Smalls, Wilfred Longtreader, Lords Ramnor, Blackstar, and Rake, Helmer, Picket, Heather, and Coleden and Heyna Blackstar, Frye reveals that an army is marching towards Halfwind from the southwest. To the shock of all, this force is made up of large rabbits marching beneath an unfamiliar banner.
After laying plans to warn the other secret citadels of their approach, Smalls is urged by the council to travel to a planned Citadel Congress at Kingston. With the entire group urging this action, Smalls reluctantly agrees to go, and then reveals a contingency plan for the feared event of his death.
Emma, as it turns out, is Smalls' younger sister, who was raised by Lord Rake from a young age and has no idea of her true identity, something Smalls insists upon keeping in place. As the meeting breaks up, Smalls speaks with Picket in private, and reveals that they've had news of another prison camp in the Shade Hills. Picket, desperate to see his family rescued, pleads with Smalls to act to free the camp despite all other councilors having urged Smalls not to do so. Smalls then makes a request of Picket, who goes and finds Heather worrying over both not telling Emma the truth about herself and the possibility of Smalls' death.
The next day, Heather visits briefly with Lord Ramnor while Picket spends some time with teammate Perkinson, son of the legendary Perkin One-Eye. The two later joined fellow Fowlers Jo Shanks and new recruit Cole Blackstar for a training session, only for a large force of wolves to attack the citadel. As the outnumbered rabbits desperately try to hold off the attack, Picket and Heather both go to Emma's defense. Heather then goes to find Lord Ramnor only to find him in his ready room with Perkinson, lying on the ground with a fatal wound.
Just as the rabbits are about to be slaughtered, the army reported by Captain Frye arrives and engages the wolves, saving the beleaguered forces of Halfwind. Picket and Heather then go to check on Emma again, and arrive just in time to see her saved by the actions of their old enemy Kyle. It is revealed that he is in fact Prince Kylen of Terralain, and that his father the king of Terralain is none other than King Jupiter's estranged older brother Bleston. The charismatic prince soon assumes command of Halfwind, claiming to be the rightful heir to the throne of Natalia and displaying possession of the Whitson Stone.
Bleston's reign sees some improvements to Halfwind, but also many harsh changes like decreased rations. The elderly rabbit Jone Wissel is also imprisoned for theft, but not before passing on her newly made tonic to Heather. Picket, uncomfortable with the new regime, makes plans to leave the citadel in secret only to be brought to a meeting with Bleston by Kylen and Bleston's advisor Tameth Seer. Bleston, having learned of Picket's discontent regarding the situation with his family, urges him to defy orders and take the Fowlers to liberate the prison camp.
When Picket approaches Captain Frye about his intended mission, the older officer dissuades him from his rebellious course. Upon realizing he may have encouraged Smalls to undertake a potentially fatal endeavor, Picket seeks out Heyward, now a Votary, in search of council. Meanwhile, Heather meets Kylen while on a walk, and the prince attempts to reconcile with her. The pair are then attacked by a wolf, whom Kylen manages to kill while suffering a grave injury. As Heather tends to the wounded prince, she speaks with Bleston and urges him to throw his support behind Smalls.
At an assembly in Leaper's Hall, Bleston announces his intention to unite his forces with the Resistance and accept Smalls as the rightful king of Natalia. The unified forces of Bleston and Halfwind are then alerted to an imminent attack on Cloud Mountain, and mobilize to go to the aid of the rabbits there. Before they can depart, a perimeter alarm is sounded, and the Fowlers and Heather go to investigate. They discover a badly wounded Wilfred, who delivers awful news: Smalls has been killed.
Grief-stricken, Heather sets out with Perkinson to reach Emma at Cloud Mountain, while the rest of the Fowlers take Wilfred back to Halfwind. Upon learning that Smalls attacked the prison camp, Picket admits to his manipulation of the prince. Wilfred prevents him from departing and reasons with him, helping him to see how much of the fault lies with himself and how much lay with Smalls' own rash decision. The Fowlers then leave to join the rest of the army, with Picket delivering the bad news to Helmer and Frye.
At Cloud Mountain, Perkinson and Heather part ways, and Heather informs Lord Rake of Smalls' fate, revealing Emma's secret in the process when her friend overhears their conversation. Sween, forced to serve during a war council in Morbin's lair, witnesses the death of the brash doe slave Melody. Picket and the other forces engage the advancing wolf army, only half of a truly massive force lying in wait for them, at Jupiter's Crossing.
Heather and Emma visit with Maggie Weaver, who reveals her part in Emma's being raised by Lord Rake and that Jupiter's wife, Lady Glen, is still alive. Picket's force retreats to Rockback Valley, where wolves and birds of prey press in on them.
Heather and Emma go to visit Lighthall, only to be confronted by a force of Terralains led by Bleston and Perkinson, who intend to turn Emma over to Morbin to secure a peace treaty. Realizing Perkinson is responsible for Lord Ramnor's death, Heather leads her friend in an attempt to escape.
Meanwhile, the failure of the Terralains to appear at the Battle of Rockback Valley leaves Picket's forces facing what appears to be certain doom. Heather and Emma, trying to find help, reach the Seven Standing Stones only to find Rake and his forces guarded by Terralains and Heather's treacherous uncle, Garten Longtreader.
As the rabbits in the valley launch a final charge, Heyward equips Picket with an invention he's developed: a glider cape. The invention allows a catapult propelled Picket to intervene in the Cloud Mountain situation, and he is able to dispatch both Bleston and Perkison.
After a conference with Garten, Emma allows him to leave, while promoting Picket to captain and charging him with overseeing the battle in place of the murdered Lord Rake. With the battle ended, Picket and the army pledge themselves to Emma, with Picket hanging the Green Ember-entrusted to him by Smalls-around her neck.
Heather, waking during the night, goes to the standing stones and learn that Emma has made a deal with Garten to turn herself over to Morbin in exchange for the safety of her people. Acting quickly, Heather takes the Green Ember from her and is carried off by a bird in her place. Picket, arriving in search of her, watches with Emma as the bird departs for the High Bleaks.
Brought before Morbin, Heather is soon identified, but the musings of the birds and Garten on her fate are interrupted by the singing of a slave, whose voice Heather recognizes.
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