For all the futures left behind,
in the name of one we chase.
New Readers Consider: The Story So Far: Book II
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There is a saying, that blood buys time. Not an overly kind sentiment, but true, by most historic record. An enemy beaten bloody, will lay down, and stop fighting. One way or another. A conqueror successfully defied, will give pause. Insure victory in the next contest. Millions dead. Well, that might just buy generations of tentative peace.
The blood of a forsaken heir, decades. That of innocents and malcontents. A few years. The blood of a wedding night, and a child, a few more. The death of twelve souls; a Queen, a Council Mage, and an adorned knight, slow the inevitable crawl of bureaucracy. Slow, but not stop.
Prophecy has divided twins. Changed them into women of night and day. Worry and disquiet driven a further wedge, and distance between them. Fate still spirals around the Ashtons, but blood, has bought time. Even if all the world feels a gnawing call. An urgency, like time is running out.
Five years have passed. Tiny Avrale remains isolated from the wider world. No direct communication with Mordove. Limited trade as caravan masters think twice before intruding on uncertain grounds. A Court Mage, still stands in the long and now mysterious absence of her mentor. The center cannot hold. The world itches to move on.
In such perilous times, it would be far too easy to declare Avrale in violation of treaty. Sacrifice her in appeasement of Osyrae’s hunger for conquest. The Council, is after all, dedicated to peace, not war. No one is sure what kind of escalation would finally cross an ever rising threshold for intervention. For in truth, if one discounts the unproven, they have not openly broken the treaty.
Forces are shifting. Bandits plague lands that have always been quiet. An Archdruid moves like a dignitary. The Storm Queen has closed her borders, as an impossible tree can be seen to rises above southern horizons. Nohlend denies being under siege by Sylvan forces. The free cities have fallen. Refugees from the north, perilously cross deep ocean lanes to seek, shelter in Carth, and spill over into Wesrook.
Yet life, indifferent to the shadows of a war that never quite comes, carries on. What can three gifted souls do, in the face of armies, dragons, and prophecies that offer no answers. Only beg terrifying questions.