Chapter III:42

It begins with a pitiful cry of despair,
not the prideful voice of the grand,
a plea for mercy never answered,
then those downtrodden stand,

the threat of pain and death fades,
if obedience is met all the same,
the cowed become dangerous,
when a king snuffs hope’s flame.

– Conquerors Folly, circa 80 B.E.

Defiance

Vernum 6th, 1 S.R.

A guard entered the common room, looked between two siblings finishing breakfast, and bore no mind to a woman in the corner, getting a drink. “You’ve a visitor,” he said to no one in particular. “I’m not exactly sure you’re allowed visitors — all things considered — but… Well, she was rather insistent she’s family. Forgive me though, I thought your names were Ashton, not Grey. Mother’s side I suppose.”

“Technically, no,” Katrisha offered. “My sister and I were adopted by the Court Mage of Avrale, which makes us, sort of family to almost anyone named Grey.”

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Chapter III:41

The means shall never match the ends,
a complacent world only stirs ambition,
lambs at peace invite the wolves of war,
the conquers one day shall fall, it’s sure,

what we intend may bear fruit this day,
but fields not left fallow shall wither away,
a once hearty grain for years, blight strains,
the convenient path, always comes again.

– Consequences, 312 E.R.

The Failures of Gods

The Lost Winter, some would call it, though others persisted it was Summer, Fall, or Spring. There were months of each that never were, or were, for some. A year gone almost before it began, or that felt like it would never end. The bakers still woke, and made their bread. Servants still shined shoes, and sorted beds. Kings sat upon their thrones, and a Council bickered, and made moves for power.

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Commentary III:38

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At Last We Meet, but Are You Him?

This week’s chapter was made a bit more difficult due to writing through the delirium, and quasi-conscious state induced by the worst flu I’ve had in at least 20 years, and the commentary has been delayed by me playing some catchup on next week, which is likely to prove difficult, as conflicts threaten to come to a head.

Surprisingly little new here… to me. Theseus, though he was once long ago simply “Moria” (which is an intentional muddling of Moire†) is a very old character in my intentions. He came into the thought process of the world barely after the the White Lady (Navi,) and honestly maybe even shortly before. Soon after he was tangled up with Laurel and the dark-companion problem. Laurel was nudged into astronomy by the ghost, as he tried to run away from his past of being pressured into prophecy. No, I never claimed Theseus is nice exactly. This got a scattering of hints perhaps too subtle to notice in Book I.

† Apparently I need to go back and fix the first mention ever in book 1 that I ‘correctly’ wrote as Moire. Truly, I am human.

Theseus gets his name from the Theseus paradox which is descriptive of how he became what he is. There is a bit attributed to him, that I’m no longer actually sure made it into an opening after all. Something to the effect of: “My eyes failed me, I adapted. My ears went deaf, I adapted. My memory faded, I adapted. My flesh failed, I barely noticed.” The legends say he went on to teach his class as a ghost, and sometimes the legends are true.

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A Tale of Two Poems

More trouble in pairs today.  Chapter 5 currently is waffling somewhere between the titles of The Circle and Archtangent (yes thats not a misspelling, not arc, but arch.)  I’m just not sure if it’s too esoteric.  Any way, exploring each of these tones and titles, and too much noodling around has produced two poems this week I must pick between.  I’m sure I’ll work either over further.  Thoughts?

 

That an Ashton always returns, marks many an ancient stone,
though not a one were older, than a grave so far from home,
of what that weathered vigil speaks, little more can be known,
a name long washed away, counts of days by time forlorn,

oh a king bore such a name, there born of broad forest land,
tales place his end far north, in a brave and final stand,
oh an Ashton always returns, and so it was there he fell,
not on southern tower mount, but near soil freshly tilled,

oh what could this reminder promise, those passed yet fulfill,
oh how doth an Ashton return, when buried ‘pon Broken Hill,
some say the grave is of a Queen, that humble weary plot,
some say a ghost doth wander, so answers her sworn lot.

– Collected Folklore, Book III, Mercu Peregrine
A line that is straight and doth not cross,
masters claim may touch a circle but once,
such minds enlightened by Aclaedian reason,
presume the fallacy of domains flat and even,

oh march unerring ahead ‘pon a worldly globe,
let not ocean nor mountain force thy to roam,
walk straight and narrow this true noble path,
there come again to thy beginning at last,

oh look out there from whence you did start,
imagine straight lines from the surface to part,
see the paradox is not but faulty perspective,
the tangent the circle all together connected.

– The Circadian Path, 113 E.R.

The Story So Far: Book II

Haunted by prophecy since their youth, twin girls have grown into women of night and day.  Shaped in form as much as manner by the forces of their life and magic.  Yet they share still that same emerald gaze.  That same face, seen across the span of ages, by prophets clear eyed, and mad.  That one has taken the mantle of silver hair.  The other battled ancient spirits.  These things cannot answer the question of who is the second born, and first to die.

Years have passed since the Mage Council demanded Laurel’s return to Mordove.  Years in which what was to be a brief absence, has become unreasonably long.  The Council offers no explanation, and instead asks ever more challenging questions.  Thinly veiled threats surrounding Avrale’s dangerous position of having killed – a possibly rogue – Council Mage.  While the nations standing leadership has launched counter claims over likely involvement in a plot to assassinate the immediate heads of state.  That claimed prominent members of the court.

Troubled, and restless Kiannae returned to her life in the wilds, to help heal the blighted Evergrove of Niven and Napir.  Returning with caution to places she seemingly challenged the very nature of, and fought a terrifying thing of nightmare.  Her love, and elemental-ghost Taloe, ever at her side.  She is sent home by a young man she once fancied, as word reaches her of curious moves within the Druid order.

Katrisha has stood in absentia as Court Mage in her mentor’s extended absence.  A woman in open defiance of convention.  Rebellious against the Clarion morals twisted to bringing dark days on the kingdom.  Politics have moved, shift still, and have cost her more in the intervening years.  Yet in her intrepid way she has soldiered on, grabbing any fleeting moment of love she might, in a life that seems determined to leave her nothing permanent.  Her controversial appointment cannot hold.

The young Wren has woken up from several years perhaps a bit too happy, to find himself suddenly alone by his own making, and uncertain what future he wants.  His dubious powers remain just below the surface, but in peace have not bothered him further.  As the shifting hands of fate draw his sisters east, he must wrestle with a fear that his impulse to follow, will lead him into dire straights, and test powers he does not know, or understand.

Commentary I:7

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A Ghost of a Chance

This is one of the few places where my memory gets pretty fuzzy about the evolution of the story.  I feel like most of Chapter 7 goes back to the original draft, whatever little adjustments happened over time.  The one section I am fairly sure came in just a little later was about Alara.  I’d really have to backtrack and search old copies to be sure though, and the earliest copies I still have easily acessible contain the scene.

The character of Alara had appeared it my musings well before this section was written.  She has long had a strange relationship with the tale of Sylvia Grey, though the details shifted over time, and this is perhaps the first time the handmaid was given a name.  It is even possible I am wrong, and this section was always here.  O&E can be sneaky on me like that.  I certainly know the impetus of this scene, as I think back on the evolution of my long term plans.  Characters we have not yet met, casting long shadows.

Ghosts also entered into the world at this point, and I decided on their nature.  I won’t say much about that nature, but they are certainly not the ghost of Harry Potter.  More mysterious, and more like our own world except that verification has proven much less elusive.  No one really knows what or why they are, or how they work.  Why mages seem to be the ones to leave them.

The Tale of Tethis is also very old, rooted in the first draft.  A bit of a dark tale for a bedtime story, but it played nicely with the ghosts of the day, and served it’s larger picture well.  With time it all came together, how it works, and underpinnings of the world are shared.  The mysteries of prophecies, ghosts, curses, and mages.

Chapter 20

What begins poorly,
likely ends the same,
be wary the hasty course,
navigating uncharted seas,

for adversaries may yet lurk,
ever just beyond your view,
there patiently wait to strike,
and fragile plans undo.

– Palentian Proverb, circa 500 B.E.

Follies End

Lauer 30th, 650 E.R.

She was a golden haired woman, likely well into her forties but it was hard to tell with a strong gift like hers.  She wore her robe rather low in front, and tied quite tightly about her figure. The kind of thing that might have gone without note, if not for so much about her manner that seemed quite precise, and purposeful, and then there was the weather.  She had an imperious quality to her really, yet it seemed more curious than judgemental. “You, are a lot more trouble to find than I would have expected.”

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