Foreword

Book2_NewFor those who believed themselves but consort to the hero,
only to find they might yet author their own fortune.

⁃ ◇ ❖ ◇ ⁃

Into every life there comes at least one moment that defines us.  A crystalline fragment of who we are, refracting a world in which we live.  We do not always chose this moment, but we always make it our own.  In the dead of a spring night, and the fifteenth year of her life, the girl Katrisha Ashton had such a moment.  There was not a thing humble about it.

Though she wore an enchanted robe to that fateful mountain, she knew it was a feeble excuse for protection.  It could not have saved her from a single misstep, and would only have served to slow her down.  She left it behind, and trusted her life to no more than skill, a clever plan, and absolute faith in her twin.  So it was that a young woman came to fight a dragon, naked, in the moonlight.

One could debate if any of Katrisha’s faith was misplaced.  By all reasonable measures the plan was working, until of course everything went completely wrong.  Then a brave, and daft young woman paid more attention to the fool who got in the way, than saving her own hide.

Before she flew from that cliff, Katrisha had two broken ribs, a serious case of whiplash, and had nearly lost consciousness.  What followed would almost destroy her twin.  The mocking voice of prophecy, and a soul rending pain that told Kiannae a very part of herself had died.  Her world crumbled in an instant, and nothing could matter any more.

Fleeing from such a fight was not truly in her nature.  It could not define her, though it would mark her as surely as any outcome.  Countless worlds in which she stood firm would have showed her true colors.  Yet she ran, and could never quite account for why.

Through all the innumerable permutations of fate, only one was found that could spare the life of all dear to her on that mountain.  Fates know, she tried.  There were worlds in which a midnight sun split the heavens, and ones where the dragon won.  There were worlds where only Kiannae stood by the end, and ones where only a single battered soldier was found to tell the bloody tale.  Yet in every version, the cost was too high.  Be it that night, or another.

Even a god can run out of time.  If that is even the word for it.  I have been told it is less like a matter of time, as moves.  That the game had played out, and that what was, would have to suffice.  That where so much nearly ended, was only the beginning.

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