1026 YD – October
Summer came early that year. October caved under a wave of heat which dried the land and ignited anxiety in its stewards. Oceans of crops and grassland folded back toward the earth, until the landscape was yellow once more; and then began the fires, few and small at the outset, but spreading and rising as the heat remained day by marching day.
The past months had seen no protrusions in the Duchess’ belly and tensions had risen as a result. It was not the first time he had been clung to, nor likely the last. Custodia Galluel had held his eye longer than necessary in recent Beran sessions, and his stomach shrunk at the thought. Vilsonius therefore took the fires as an opportunity to withdraw to Pends, which was choking in smoke from the flames consuming Archoak Forest.
__It was there that news came his wife had taken ill.
__ Vilsonius returned immediately to Seaton; anti-traders had issued threats over the past week, having discovered Galluel’s intention of making Seaton the new base for trade with Lenyol. Galluel and Custodin Màtac had negotiated a number of small-scale exchanges in recent years, and executed them quietly. Now Galluel was making this work known, an offer of hope, but outrage had spread in xenophobic minds.
__ By the time Vilsonius returned, Clarissa had succumbed to the poison, and died. He arranged her funeral and burned at the idiocy of her death: slain for a policy she mildly opposed. In response, Galluel recruited three hundred warriors to her army and sent them to fortify peace. A reward was offered for information leading to capture of the assassins.
__November came; the heat retreated. The warriors were tasked to assist in the clean-up.
__Word came from the capital that Vilsonius was to put his house in order, and ride north when an overseer had been found. He had at last been summoned.