Chapter III:54

The Breath is Life, the wind that carries us,
The Blood the Sea, awaiting a storm to stir,
The Bones old Stone, ground by swirling sand,
The Soul Burns, as tender shoots reach for sun,

The Stillness is Life, a calm between intemperate rage,
The Heart the Watcher, counting out remaining days,
The Stone is the Grave, where all must return to dust,
The Fire Salvation, against the darkness that comes.

– Shamanistic Proverbs, 23 E.R.

The Breath of Life

Etore groaned as she was rolled over. She might have tensed at the sight of a dragon head, but muscles still in shock ignored even instinct. Wren was trying to help, but her jaw was faring better than the rest of her, and needed none. “I never thought I’d say it, but I hate being right.”

The dragon turned her gaze down. “Do you, little one? Who are you?”

“Etore bloody Lane,” she muttered. “Rightful heir of… oh who cares. You’ll either not believe it, and still keep us prisoner, or add it to the list of reasons, to keep us prisoner, am I right? Not always sure I believe it myself any way.”

The dragon laughed. “You’re almost as much fun as the silver one.”

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Chapter III:53

It’s not just a wait there in the wings,
all hustle to ready such glorious things,
gears all checked and ropes pulled tight,
oh soon the great reveal will take flight,

proud actors prance swagger and sing,
a show a distraction for that coming,
be it villain or hero’s victory assured,
they fall to a mightier foe yet unheard.

– In the Wings, circa 80 E.R.

The Heart Exposed

Katrisha stepped into a tent after a push at her shoulder. Kiannae and Liora were just behind. The disgruntled paladin turned to glare at Elise, who gave her a look that said they could start then, if she really wanted. Katrisha flopped down awkwardly on a pile of cushions, ill balanced from her hands still bound behind her back. Kiannae fared a little better, and Liora paced, before exhaustion won. She collapsed, and curled in her own corner.

“Well, as your stupid plans go…” Kiannae muttered.

“You, were the one who had to bring some prophetic dream into it.” Katrisha groaned, and convinced the landing would be soft enough flopped over. She tried to wedge one of the pillows between neck and shoulder.

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Chapter III: 52

She danced through summer field,
her true self in each sway reveled,
set the rules and made the peace,
one lost step, her honor released,

Rhaea, Rhaea, Queen of None,
for her, even the Fauns would run,
Rhaea, oh Rhaea, Queen of All,
for you, the high born would fall.

– Songs of the Sun, 32 E.R.

Summer’s Call

Kiannae stood behind herself, working to heal a horse’s fractured leg. The awareness of a spirit looming over her shoulder kept intruding around the edges.

“They didn’t even kill the horse,” she muttered to herself. Tranquilizers had taken it down, but the fall had still done some damage. They had tried to do the same with Liora but her mail had kept the darts shy of more than a scratch. Enough to make her a little groggy.

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Chapter III:51

What ally hath any king,
all around us hired hands,
some by golden splendor,
others promised fertile lands,

oh heavy hangs the crown,
upon each such ignoble brow,
there are but those we bought,
knees bent by sword brought.

– A King’s Company, 432 E.R.

Red Sky at Morning

“Zale?” Nanamni perked up sleepily from the couch. An array of game pieces still occupied the floor.

He was staring at the open front door. “Sorry,” he said, and closed it.

“Did you meet the man that was looking for you?” She sat up, stretched, and gave him a look she did most evenings. The sort of look that could make a man feel very good about himself, if he had any illusions it was truly about him.

Zale’s expression was much less begrudgingly pleased that moment than most. “What man?” he asked with a shift in tone.

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Chapter III:50

Will, is not but the immovable object, meeting the unstoppable force. The pressure of two opposed certainties against one another. We think one forward, and the other back, that one will inevitably win. Then you learn to walk along the boundary. There on all sides find but mirrors, reflecting the darkness, forever at our backs, and lies, ever at each hand. We are only running to, or straying from a center, that cannot hold.

– The Crimson Book, circa 230 E.R.

Constants there Beneath

Coria 22nd, 1 S.R.

Katrisha snapped shut a white tome, and added it to a bag, then picked up the last. It didn’t all fit. She was quite frustrated by the problem, puzzled more so. Two books were replacing one, but neither as large as the first, nor as large the one Kiannae had claimed in Mordove. She needed to be out of the room before noon, or the whole point of packing up would be moot.

A knock at the door distracted her, and she set aside Laurel’s notes to see who it was.

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Chapter III:49

I did not come in search of enemies,
but those I found knew only these.
To a conqueror those not yet cowed,
only bide their time to grow strong.
Every land I’ve not put first to the sword,
has made me wonder if they aren’t wrong.

– Writings of Emperor Corinth, circa 90 E.R.

Challenges at the Gate

Kiannae stood before a woman in red, each unflinching. Her own brown robe turned almost the color of dry blood in the final moments of sunset. The first who had stood in her way had been ignored, and walked around. The second was nearly as tall as her, and occupied the middle of the main door, an imposing presence boiling off her.

“Where is my sister?” Kiannae demanded.

“There are a great many Sisters here, you will need to be much more specific.”

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Chapter III:48

To say that beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, belies an understanding that it is not always seen, nor even unequivocally good. We find beauty in tragedy, the justice of comeuppance, and success of those downtrodden. Those that only grave inequity could have so disadvantaged in the start. I have struggled with this, that these great beauties require the ugliest parts of us.

– The Red Book, circa 240 E.R.

A Woman of Lycian Faith

Coria 19th, 1 S.R.

“I can’t believe you’re going. No, wait, yes I can.” Kiannae glared at her sister. “Bet you’ve been dreaming of the chance for ages. Don’t be stupid, we know, even Wren has told us they’re compromised.”

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