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About Order & Entropy

Book IBook I – (Index) Book IIBook II – (Index) Book IIIBook III – (Index)
Book IV – (Index) Book V – (Index) Book VI – (Index)
imageBook VII(Index)
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For centuries there has been a tenuous peace through the ruins of the Corinthian Empire. One bought with the blood of countless thousands, and floundering in the shadows of a cold war. A conflict fueled by magic, faith, and dragons. The memory of mages may be long, but time begets complacency, and ambition is a wolf ever circling at the door.
 
Three children are cast into the royal court of a small western kingdom. Avrale, a land ever caught between the true power brokers of their world. Yet the forces spiraling around the Ashton children hint at a larger picture. That nothing about them is at all ordinary. Even if all they want is to live their lives, and find their place, the world it seems has other plans. They will learn that gifts can be burdens, and great power is never without consequence.
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VII:2 – Eveningstars

Oh bright embers light the late summer night,
remind of a lost star our young memories belie,
what became of you oh herald of summer storms,
how now in your name the wrong month mourns,

for you will not shine first and last eveningstar,
your jewels strung too thin to light a sky so far,
your time is gone and only embers shower,
fleeting streaks of fire in twilight hours,

oh Jovan now takes your lofty wandering place,
cold distant father some years in evenings late,
we call your days autumn, at an Emperor’s word,
the true names of a season so rarely heard.

– Rhaea’s Reverie, 173 E.R.

Eveningstars

Jovan 11th, 1 S.R.

A gray haired, half blind hanan shook their head, and laid down a card as shutters rattled. The floorboards rumbled through a quaint but pleasant little hovel. Reverberating from a crack worse than the closest thunder, that seemed to roll on forever. “Can you eclipse The Sun, my guest?”

A man, himself gray haired and silver eyed, a bit weathered and ragged, but youthful of features shook his head. He lay down The Child from three in his hand. One face half masked, the other inverse held a fan over the same and yet opposite side. “You go first, dear Ryahanae.” He drew from the deck on his right.

Ryahanae’s pale eyes shimmered through a translucent lavender with a tilt of the head. “Dear? So you have warmed to me, Mr. Grey?” The Lovers were laid on the seer’s side before The Sun. Always so hard to tell which side was up. More rumbles shook the land, and a distant roar echoed down lanes of a city. Walls of stone like little canyons catching the sound.

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Commentary VII:1

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A Ring by Any Other Name

I’ll be brief on the topic of the Foreword, which is itself almost commentary in the voice of a narrator, that remains mostly detached otherwise. I have a complex relationship with these asides. I love them, but they are a little harder to edit, and against conventional marketing wisdom. Here one could argue that the chapter opening of VII:1 is stronger. Dialogue and crypts, dragons and psychopaths (well one is probably only a sociopath.) Then again the Foreword I intend to move ahead of the epigraph of I:1 for final publication, gives me what I consider the strong opening line of that book, and the series as a whole. It sets an expectation for what will take time to deliver.

Does it make people more likely to read a Foreword if it has a title? The Unfixed Clock is a happy accident. It was supposed to be a snide stab at the Council fumbling with fixing the calendar, and getting interrupted, but winds up beautifully self referential to the nature of no absolute reference frame. Cut was a line that was a bit out of place/too much.

Everything is relative. There is no frame of reference from which an iota of absolute truth may be discerned. One may try to play an honest broker of truth, but even a determination to facts, shows a bias against the comforting lies others tell themselves.

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The Storm Cycle: Book VII

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We do not always choose our moment.
We do not always author our fate.
Yet the chance to make it ours,
was always there to take.

⁃ ◇ ❖ ◇ ⁃

(Working Text)

When the Ashtons first left their cozy corner of the world, chasing a missing adoptive father — who always hated prophecy — no one expected what would follow. Least of all them, for they had been taught to ignore signs and portents. It wasn’t the first time otherwise good advice had caused them no end to trouble.

Besieged by bandits, a duke, elemental forces, and the ghosts of mad gods long thought myths, their best intentions have set fire to a world, wherever they tread. From shattering time beneath the streets of Mordove, to riding dragons across contested borders. Bargaining allegiance with a pirate Queen, and leaving frozen a goddess of the sea. They have revealed dire creatures, spies, plots, crimes against humanity, and unleashed an Assassin cult to walk a new holy path, though history warns it may end in monsters.

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VII:1 – Signets & Vows

Where amber light should break,
there in the east doth rise the sun,
O’ rise in pride bright Morningstar,
so herald the great coming one,

in glorious day be lost above,
in the eve put old Rhan to bed,
O’ rest not tireless dancer,
chase this day to its end.

– The Sun Chaser, 132 E.R.

Signets & Vows

A young man with warm, dark skin, and black ringlets of hair to his shoulders knelt in a crypt lit by spell-fire torches. His hand held up to the snout of a long white skull, much larger than him. Great onyx horns curled like a rams, anointed the long dead dragon’s head.

“Do you feel that?” asked a tall man pacing behind him. A fine long coat of blue with gold buttons swayed with the clack of his stride. The light of his own spire-fire flickered above his palm. Sputtered at sharp precise turns before a skull still much larger than him.

The boy was silent. Closed his golden eyes tight, feeling for something, and was struck with the back of a hand across his head. He winced, and tried not to tremble.

Everyone in the family feared his uncle, except the King. The King, found the monstrous fruit of his loins charming. He could be at times, when he wasn’t hitting, cutting, or grinning over a dead man’s body. Sometimes even when he was.

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VII:Forward – An Unfixed Clock

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We do not always choose our moment.
We do not always author our fate.
Yet the chance to make it ours,
was always there to take.

⁃ ◇ ❖ ◇ ⁃

Light — learned mages tell us — is the measure of all time. Yet light, incomprehensible in speed, has one. Does not move in straight lines, no matter how it tries. Nothing is flat. Not the world, nor the space between suns. The arcs of planets but byproducts of a sky itself warped. Bunched around us like lumps in a cheap bed-sac, that all tumble helpless into. Everything is relative.

Life as such does not move in neat orderly little blocks. These do not fall, one after the other in an expected chain, no matter how intuition tells us so. Now, is an illusion of pasts seen out of order. Even without prophecy, or the powers of gifted, the world always proceeded as it pleased. Like the intermittent falter in a fizzling spell. All but predictable precursors of the main break. If, one learned to read the signs. There is an order to the world, but it cares little for our preconceptions. Emergent behavior in resonant harmony and discord. Like music.

One need not the best schooling of Mordove to understand the principle. Rumor travels near faster than anything. One may slumber in the wrong bed, and by the time the sun rises, the whole town knows. All the indiscretions that only two — or three — could name, are speculated upon and decided as fact.  Sight unseen, though some might have liked to.

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Commentary VI:44

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Closing a Circle

Where does a circle start? Where does it end? Wherever one is, the begging is ahead, and the end behind. Was even one person surprised? Barring what was the intended ‘twist’ from the start. An extra knife of illegitimacy to twist in the wounds of a people who have stood apart through all the recorded ages of history.

We now arrive at the end of Book… VI. It was supposed to be the end of Book III, but then Mordove happened, and Corinthia, and Lycia. (Not in that order.) Then even VI ran long, because of the Ahashi, and Crown Jewel. Of course Book III was supposed to be II, before it split off a new II. I had some of this in mind before I dedicated myself to writing Book I, that became I & II, to ironically figure out where the heck the last book would be going. Now VII. So, while this is not the end, it is a milestone that is as exhausting as liberating.

O&E was not my first endeavor as a writer. Just the first that got through a book (let alone six,) but even so I did not start out thinking, “Let’s write a seven book epic.” I started out with the need to tell the tale of sweet poly-amorous Kat, who loves (almost) everyone, facing a world that would force her hand, and bring her great potential to bear as an agent of war. When all she wanted was to love, study, and tinker. Of her dear reserved twin, who though a force of nature, tended to be a loaner, dragged into a position where Queen or more was to be thrust upon her.

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VI:44 – The Roots of Mother Tree

I am her root and stem,
her flower and her seed,
every bowed branch reaching,
every leaf, river carried to the sea,

I am the light reflected,
the Sun ‘bove Mother Tree,
lands great roots did part,
form vale’s dark and deep,

there stood the son of Suns,
little boughs proud and tall,
there bore an elder meekly,
carried hither too an’ fro,

in her song they swayed,
in great shadowed shelter stayed,
and at her darkest side was found,
silver leaves her beauteous gown.

A daughter not of Sun,
so sired by the moon,
oh mother’s grand daughter,
bright glorious Leaune.

– A Hymn of Thaea, the Apocrypha

The Roots of Mother Tree

Everything was falling. Down. Down, down. Twisting round, and settled in a crash so soft as a feather, that shook the world beneath. That rippled water in a dance that shattered moonlight.

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Commentary VI:43

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Administering Restraint

I do try not to preach. Which is not the easiest thing when one was reared — nay — conceived to be a minister. Yes, actually. My origin story, or at least up to the point where everything went very sideways. Something about careful what you ask for, and be more specific. Words my wife and I independently wrote into our wedding vows. It really wasn’t that big a surprise.

I put a pin in something last commentary, and really it was maybe better placed there. I shy from calling my biblical influences out by verse often, because I’m not a christian author, and that is not the brand I would aim to foster. Something too disingenuously like an appeal to authority, that I do not recognize. I’m more oft coy about it instead.

I am religiously Agnostic. I place my faith in reason, but also that reason well applied, teaches it’s own limits. The abstract nature of knowledge itself. A ‘god’ that admits it’s own flaws (including perhaps existing, or not) would at least be a start.

I am however left with a lot of perspective on a work I view as an impactful historic piece of literature, which — as almost all human works — has serious problems. I mean talk about disappointing authors. What all this has to do with the chapter at hand… is not nothing, but would be hard to explain with any brevity.

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Commentary VI:42

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Continuity and Consequences

so in the ground they burrowed deep,
yet stones themselves the monsters eat,

The impetus of the epigraph was primarily the end of the chapter, and the Jaberwokcy of Through the Looking Glass, but a comparison to the sixth seal might be made. Which I did not know the number of until trying to find the context. There actually seem to be a few passages about calling for the hills to fall upon one. The imagery here is however a mix of ideas from within the world, but I will leave to speculation the internal meaning.

Lets put a pin till the next commentary in the fact that I dance around biblical influences at times. I have something I think to say about that, as I think ahead to commentary that needs to be written on other things.

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VI:43 – Scars Laid Bare

What justice is there that does not heal,
only vengeance’s cruel call at hand,
between bright day’s battles and toils,
and the night’s shadowed acts stand,

for proclamations in righteous words,
may shelter a corrupt ends device,
beware the false guides schemes,
a treacherous heart still knows right.

– The Apocrypha

Scars Laid Bare

Guards had weapons drawn on sight of prisoners approaching a captured logging village. Sharp growled words between guides and guards went on some time. Anik’ka got the last in, which seemed to her own surprise. Not without some final huffing from one of the guards, before he sheathed his blade.

There were few women amongst them, though by their reckoning there were likely fewer. Prisoners were led past a large fire hung over a stone. Up to a door of the houses Tepal made camp amongst, rather than reside within. Inside shackles were plucked up off a table they had been lain upon in a careless lump, and held out to each.

Liora gave a spiteful look to Katrisha, and put hers on first.

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