The world is freezing. Once idyllic Elistar is cast into war and endless winter. Old kings and new are forced to put the bloodfeuds of the past behind them for the survival of all.
And high above, an evil beyond time stirs. "Sounds interesting!"
The road was composed of ribbons of starlight. It rose up away from the world into the vast emptiness beyond, ancient as the distant suns that cast it, winding out of sight in every direction through the darkness. The horse raced across the plane of the star system, sure of its direction, heading outward, away from the warmth and the light. There was only a single world in this system worth mentioning. Further out were dead worlds, small and frozen and dark, hidden from the sun's blessed light by...
The King of Auroth wept with his people. A cold wind blew off the sea, sweeping south through the city's wide, paved streets. It rattled windows and sent a shiver through the funeral procession winding its way through the city like a huge, multicolored serpent. Leiton Stromsaul, King Leiton now, watched over it from a vantage outside the city. He was surrounded by the mausoleums and tombs of generations of dead men. Kings and nobles, wealthy merchants and pious peasants, they were all interred in...
Two: Among Beggars and Thieves
Rhydan Ver Meldroc, King of Kennor, watched another snowfall and sank into dread. He stood inside the glass door of his rooms, watching the snow pile up on the balcony outside. Watching it bury his city and his kingdom in another blanket of frozen death. Almost daily for two weeks. Or was it longer? It was hard to tell. The cold never abated and the sky was constantly overcast. The days ran together, and the snow just kept falling. Some days it came light, a few flakes here and there, while other...
Kyse Firdsen was anxious. Naturally, he was always anxious, but today he was extra anxious. Today the Master was meeting with three kings. He wasn’t sure why the Master wanted him of all people, to attend the meeting. He wasn’t a member of the Apothecary. He wasn’t even a scholar. But what the Master wanted, the Master got. Kyse waited in the large, unnaturally smooth corridor outside the Master’s quarters, fidgeting with his hands and trying to look everywhere a...
Two men approached one another in a darkened forest clearing. The world around them was unfocused and blurry. It was cool, after full dark, and the clearing was silent. He looked down and saw nothing but the leaf-strewn ground. He had no body in this place, although it felt as real to him as the waking world.
“Ha’tar,” one of the men said, drawing Hyleth’s attention. “Where are we?”
Five: Free Will Sacrifice
Jal shivered and pulled his blanket tight against the cold. He stood out in the prison yard with a few dozen other inmates. The snow was nearly waist deep in places, collected by the ceaseless wind into drifts that looked like small, white waves on a frozen sea. Jal kept his distance from the other inmates, a motley collection of the worst human society had to offer. They were mostly gathered close to the prison walls were the worst of the wind was blocked by stone. Jal himself leaned against the cold ir...
Kyse shivered and inched closer to the campfire. He pulled his heavy cloak tighter around himself and whispered a prayer to Kina, that she find it in her heart to keep him from freezing to death. The cold was all around, like a pack of ravenous wolves in the night, kept at bay only by the meager light of the fire. It had a weight to it, oppressive and bitter. This unnatural cold seemed to him like a living thing, a malevolent force that sought only destruction. Opposite him the Master, E’eldr, was ...