Chapter VI:18

What choice have we, oh poor common men,
to the mines or lines, on us our lords depend,
what choice have the, oh daughters of whores,
a woman left to one means, to reap her reward,

oh what choice have we, but to stand proud and tall,
and bring an old embittered guard, to their final fall,
oh what choice have we, but to begin it all again,
to be the mighty, so conscript others, to our ends.

– The Turning of Lords, 23 E.R.

The Chosen and Choice

Dahlia had fallen behind, and Katrisha slowed to walk beside her.

“I’d been meaning to ask, but it kept slipping my mind. Her name is Rayna?”

“It’s how my mother would say rain, when the first came in wet months,” Dahlia offered. “A blessing, that comes to the dry land. Your brother was not pleased, I could tell, but did not speak his mind. He was not wrong, that I thought too of him. A reason it felt right, amongst others.”

“I’d thought perhaps you had taken it from the palentian Raegina, related to the word reign. For, she is like a lord. Still sounds a bit alike, rain and reign. Perhaps the wet months are the reign of rain.”

Dahlia didn’t quite laugh. A nervous little huff, but looked sadder.

“Are you alright?” Katrisha pressed.

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Commentary VI:16

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What Follows or Leads

Perhaps I should switch the above with the title of the chapter. Probably not. One might be too cute, but the other is too cute by half.

Trying something a little new, and writing commentary as I finish the first draft. Perhaps I should go all the way to jotting notes as I’m writhing these scenes. Let me admit something dorky. I tend to hear ‘up and Adam’ when people say this phrase, even now that I know better. There was a time I found it peculiar, but also bore it little mind. I could not attest when sense struck me on the point, because if I don’t stop to think, I still hear/think it that way. I’m sure enough repetition would fix it.

This opening is full of contrasts. Katrisha waking someone else up. Her adopting a chiding attitude towards Liora. I imagine, that intentionally or otherwise, Katrisha is leveraging one of her implied gifts in how she treats Liora here, who doesn’t need just a gentle hand. She would reject it, just as she does Katrisha trying to check her arm. At the same time Kat is Kat, and really that makes being chided by her when she’s right, sting more than anything.

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Commentary VI:15

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All Things are Relative

I suppose that is the theme, at least of this opening scene. One thing I’m not sure I’ve ever commented on is how I use the term god rather liberally, and abstractly. (Though I’m fairly sure I’ve commented on how little I gender the term.) In part because in the sense of our world that word can already be rather abstract. Even the bible occasionally speaks of angels as gods, or statues and the ideas they represent, while casting neither actual power or respect to them.

The Mage Kings rarely ascribed themselves to divinity in a linguistic sense, even if their keeps were often cathedrals, their demand for obeisance notable, and their powers at times truly vast to the point where one need question their definitions. Laset by far amongst the most powerful being we’ve encountered, rivaling perhaps the Avatar, but I imagine the two would have an utterly futile time fighting each other. Gods indeed.

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Chapter VI:15

The last word may be all you get,
when all else falls to bitter regret,
part on good terms such they are,
if one last barb, not quite too far,

a pence or a sov can never compare,
to leave an opponent stewing there,
walk away resolved for the morrow,
one more chance you might borrow.

– The Last Word, 517 E.R.

Parting Wagers

Rhaeus 3rd, 1 S.R.

“Oh poor Laset.” Rihonae frowned, stepped closer, and reached for a frozen face, turned aside in the moment of a blow. It was too cold to even get near. She withdrew the hand, and shook her head.

It had taken a dozen locals, a bunch of planks, and Rihonae herself to move the mass into the orrery chamber the prior evening. Even so, a few had gotten frostbite, and the chamber had grown a bit colder for its presence. It sat behind a throne, moved to the edge of the dais, and fit well enough. Rihonae glanced to Katrisha, who stood below the step up.

“Have you come to ask about leaving?” Rihonae offered with a dismissive wave. “You are free to go, if you can figure out how.” She stepped around, and sat with a petulant grimace. “It was nice, having a god at my side.”

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Chapter VI:14

What whispers in the dark,
those things we’d never do,
passing frightful impulse,
to our own selves untrue,

what lurks in the shadows,
fear of a fate at hands unclear,
where eyes flit ‘n heads turn,
oh there’s nothing there to fear,

it should give no quiet or respite,
only an ever sinking, seeping dread,
where one casts light into shadows,
and so learns, it was all in their head.

– The Lurker, 523 E.R.

The Sun, The Moon, and the Sea

It was snowing. That wasn’t right.

Katrisha saw her breath swirl around her. A twin the same height, and with the same dark hair stood across, already in a fighting stance. A broad shouldered, stocky man sat on a short fence at the edge of the training ring. It looked a bit bad for the railing.

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Chapter VI:13

Men say we all bleed, the same red blood,
yet learned ways would deny it is such,
what foolish notions fill our heads,
stories fit for children sent to bed,

something glimmers there within,
a gift of starlight, so wearying,
a promise gilded and forsook,
ever humbling the sanguin hook,

O’ tis mostly, that same crimson thread,
if one ignores an illness best to dread,
O’ what gifts to bring us to such loss,
all we are given, doth come at cost.

– A Cursed Gift, 112 E.R.

The Silver Thread

There were a great many gathered in the orrery chamber. Locals and pirates, Red Women and those in contrary white. All, called by a song that touched air and heart with an alluring, joyous melancholy. Some, were cautious to enter. Three siblings, and the company that followed more than most.

Sund was already below. He stood outside a ring of Singers, at the edge of the lowest tier, just below the two steps back up a dais. He glared at Laset. She bore this little if any mind, and circled Orwell in a beam of sunlight, stood before Rihonae’s throne. It did not seem the right time of day, for the angle of the beam shone down upon him, and yet to look around, it seemed it might be.

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Chapter VI:11

The second is born,
and the first to die,
over life and death,
of stars presides,

speak of the heir,
a Sylvan first born,
the one whom crown,
shall one day adorn,

fear for the schemes,
of a dragon who lies,
and the coming of age,
when men wail and cry…

– The Black Book, date unknown

The Measure of a Wyrm

It was a large round table, though there was a head, by virtue of a throne. At the left and right hand of a would be liege sat a dragonborn, and an elemental. An extra pair of eyes, peered out low over the plates, at the right of the white haired woman with silver eyes.

“Who’s the kid?” Ambrush asked of Katrisha as they filed down into the hall.

“At a guess, Mayari’s,” Katrisha offered. “Did no one mention him?”

“I think they were too busy arguing about geometry,” Etore interjected, “and who am I to ruin their ‘fun.’”

“A child that young, she’s over three centuries old, if she is who she claims…”

“Perhaps for once, immortality is what it’s cracked up to be?” Katrisha obliged.

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