Commentary VI:5

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The Ripples of Change

There were a lot of things that pulled me back and forth on this plot line, that I stumbled into unwitting. As with Liora, it was a disruption that did not fit my plans, or rather my vision of them. In truth, as it all shakes out, it fit better. Liora’s path, her character, past and struggles. These proto-assassins are the sort of thing her mother was before she was rescued. The sort of thing that might have been made of her along the way to ‘fix’ her in the eyes of others, before she could have been converted to a soldier of the other side.

Her stakes, and position in all this. That this subplot would make the future for her more interesting – in a bit of an ‘ancient proverb’ sense of the word – was hard to deny. Its one of those things. If you let the rules of a world push events as they might imply, they can lead you places you didn’t know you wanted to go. Sometimes even kicking and screaming.

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Chapter VI:5

Do not press through,
until the waters are still,
do not press through,
or what you wish to save,
you will undo,

Oh beautiful prince,
why did you not listen to me?
Oh poor broken man,
this is what you now,
must be,

Oh perhaps the witch might fix you,
but only if as she.

– Notebooks of S.C. Lowes, 450 E.R.

The Wake

Estae 33rd, 1 S.R.

“Let me, get this straight,” a man in the robes of a high cleric, said behind a desk. “You… have happened to acquire around a dozen Assassins, and their ill-bred children. All plucked by chance, from Westend, up north in the Ascension. Then, rather than hand them over to local authorities, you have brought to my shore, on Palentian soil. As if… all of this was not enough, you have the sheer gall, to imply we should… take them in… to be… what? White women, and paladins? Even the women, paladins? On the precedent that some… fool council of seven down in Southern Palentine, gave you the rank. That… somehow explains, how a bunch of fallen women have any business…”

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Commentary VI:4

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Right Has Left Us

The aphorism of two wrongs do not make a right is particularly painful in the context that only wrongs remain. As we step into the realm then of moral relativism, it is worth considering the perspective of those who have, and will bear the brunt.

Ascension society is rigid, and pragmatic in many ways, though pragmatism becomes suspect in great iniquities. One struggle, in a runaway patriarchy is simple survival for women. Presuming standard convention of highly pious men, wanting pure virgin women for wives, who live to an even higher standard of piety than themselves, and an economy that leaves few niches for women to self support, the trap is set.

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Index: Book VI

For those lost,
may they yet be found.

Note: Covers for books IV, V, & VI, TBD and will be placeholders. Alas cover art is a time intensive process, but I’ve been working on an improved art pipeline for a while.

⁃ ◇ ❖ ◇ ⁃

The world of Thaea is stumbling towards war, though those once unimagined, seem most urgent to come. 

When signs pointed north, fickle fate dragged a family farther east. When dragons intervened, theirs power were laid humble. When the Avatar spoke, he named a Sister, and a Brother. A great cycle is carrying a journey back towards the setting Sun, if the winds will carry them.

In the west, Nohlend has fallen into open conflict with Sylvans, and begs aid from all who will come. Rumors circle of Red Sails on the North Sea, threatening to block vital trade. Rebellion, and schemers yet lurk in the east, as a dead woman, emerges from the south.

Time itself lays fractured, as the Council devolves into futile bickering. The shadow of Osyrae yet looms, and their part in growing conflicts cannot be safely ignored, any longer.

The Age of Stormfall has only just begun, and a prophecy never clear, looms ever closer. A fate twins swore to cheat, may have already been swindled, and the death of gods, may only herald a call for new contenders, to an ancient struggle, for fate itself.

Pieces are missing in a puzzle, and the best place to hide a thing everyone seeks, remains in plain sight.

⁃ ◇ ❖ ◇ ⁃

  1. The Turning Wheel
  2. Insoluble Iniquity
  3. What Winds Might Carry Us
  4. Exile or Service

Chapter VI:4

Obedience is life, evergreen the cry of tyrants.
Does it matter by sharp blade, or cold heart?
To be left to wolves, or lose their heads.
Thieves of life work in myriad device;
– sharp blades, and blunt arms
– poisons, and vitriol
– abandonment, and exile
What then is to be done,
with that we cannot mend?

– The Red Texts, circa 230 E.R.

Exile or Service

Wren stood before a woman in white, spattered with red, his staff in hand, a dead man beside them. He looked down upon her, torn by every possibility he could imagine. All the thing best left unseen, that might lead to that moment. Standing there he felt the staff in his hand could tell him, like a warning. Not one against, but that all things were flawed. A useless warning, really. He knew that more than well enough standing there. He wished he wasn’t, and yet, he would not make that wish. Had he, the warning would have come sooner.

“My Lord,” the woman said. “I’m sorry I’ve failed. I meant to strike the red harlot, that threatened him… but… is she yours?”

“I’m not your lord,” Wren said with restrained venom, but a clenched jaw. He knelt down, and reached for her cheek, but it was covered in two veils. He pulled them away, and she averted her gaze. His gentle grasp turned her face back by the chin, and then the cheek as he first meant to. He felt wrong, even for this, but how could he think of doing what might be needed, and never have looked in her eyes.

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Commentary VI:3

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We Might be Missing Some Cabbages

“The time has come”, the Walrus said, “To talk of many things: Of shoes – and ships – and sealing wax – Of cabbages – and kings– And why the sea is boiling hot – And whether pigs have wings.”

Through the Looking-Glass

The allusions were not all intentional, and it was not till I was staring at a line about wax seals that I realized how peculiar the association might be. Indeed I’ve been spending a bit of time pondering a story that fills a bit of the niche of several books in our world, that we soon after reference. The dark conclusion to the above frivolous rhyming perhaps no less apt to the uncomfortable end of the sequence. Much has uselessly been made of the gobbling up of the oysters, and all it could mean.

I do question the light opening of my verses however, against how the chapter ends. Yet there is some darkness still inherent here, between the lines. The hopelessness and sympathy, the perhaps ready, casual tone of asking if death has come to call. The at once ageless and timeless wait the woman has endured. There is something hidden between the weeks here. Two cracks at the same moment in different tone, by the same fictional author.

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Chapter VI:3

A mouse scurried from an old stilled clock,
quick past the whiskers of a cat in shock,
there up the hem of an old black frock,
and out the low neck, midst silver locks.

A woman turned her eyes from the briny sea,
there a visitor come, she did not believe,
she’d counted days that had passed her by,
by the ticking of a clock, then stopped nearby.

How long have you waited, you precious dear?
How long been left, to such fear?

I do not know, the woman replied,
it all fell away, when you arrived.
Are you death, at last come to call?

Nay, I’ve stayed his hand, until the fall.

Then what is it, you might want with me?

I’ve a plan to share, if you might believe.

– The Mouse, the Witch, and the Window, 421 E.R.

What Winds Might Carry Us

“I’ve been telling you,” Mara said as she sat down with the last plate she was serving. “These stories we keep hearing, the fights the men have been getting in. It started with that Deadwater we hit, and no one could agree on the day.”

Ambrush didn’t look pleased. Orwell looked if anything amused, and started on his soup.

“I can confirm,” Katrisha offered. “There was never a King Theador in Avrale, and the Sisterhood stands protected. By King John’s decree, and cosigned in my hand.”

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