Chapter Four: §4

December, 1022 YD
Lirna, Lenyol

Princess Régan arrived at Lirna Palace in the evening, four days after departing the capital. The journey had been hot and rough, and she was relieved to be received by the Duchess in the outer gardens. The Princess alighted the carriage; the Duchess, Lady Ione, took the Princess’ arm and guided her inside, along a series of beautiful staircases into to the Dining Hall. It was cool, set with a fine meal, and free from servants.

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Chapter Four: §3

(Continued)
Gesula, Lenyol

January drew to a close, and Kesia’s fifteenth birthday passed. Toran arrived one evening with a confusing account of the day’s events.
__The main text Toran laboured over was one of history—a dense volume written in an academic form of Gaeilge, made more difficult to decipher by its calligraphic script. It was, however, very beautiful. Writ on vellum, covered with gold-plated metal, and with ornately decorated borders, it seemed as ancient as the time it recorded: the era before the accession of the Dragon Monarchs, and the first century of their reign. It was his task to transcribe it onto parchment, translating what he could alongside. For weeks he copied the names of long-departed tribes, their territories, sacred places, and Chieftains; few dates accompanied these records, and their regions were unlisted. He constantly scoured the modern maps with faint hope of locating the areas mentioned—for the new tongue had given new names to these old places. His treasured bilingual dictionary was wearing from use. Yet his efforts were rewarded with insights into a forgotten time.

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Chapter Three: §2

(Continued)
Offenure Castle, Lenyol

‘Régan!’ Custodin Màtac opened his arms to the closing doors and smiled. ‘I am pleased you could join us.’
   The Princess stood stiffly by the entry to the Dining Hall. She pushed her lips into a smile and walked slowly to the dining table, mahogany gown draping behind. ‘Thank you for sending mother; I must be reminded to eat at times.’
   Bridget ducked her head, receiving her daughter’s gratitude with as much sincerity as was given, and took her seat. The Custodin and Princess did the same, and pleasantries were exchanged. Continue reading “Chapter Three: §2”

Chapter Three: The Castle §1

December – 1022 YD
Offenure Castle, Lenyol

‘Régan?’ Royal Consort Bridget called for her daughter. ‘Régan?’
    Princess Régan flinched, waving her lady’s maid to the doors. The servant went quickly to them, pressing her weight against the heavy oak, admitting herself to the hall. ‘Your Royal Highness,’ she curtseyed, ‘the Princess is a little indisposed, though she is pleased to receive—’ the Consort brushed past— ‘you.’ Crimson, the poor maid laboured with the handle to close the door.
   ‘I am bathing, Mother,’ the Princess stated, keeping her back turned. ‘Perhaps you could leave me in peace?’ Continue reading “Chapter Three: The Castle §1”

Chapter Two: §5

Spring – 1022 YD
Tenenum Temple, Miggest

The Duke of Edeen rewarded Sevína’s guidance with ample coin. She had relinquished her initial offence at offer of payment when news came that the drought was taking its first victims in the north. The gold she gave to Tenenum Temple, as protection for the adherents and children. Winter had brought little rain and crops continued to fail.
__Offerings came daily to the temples. Perhaps, as some whispered, penance was due for waning worship. The Black Dragon would accept their suffering as atonement, and deliver rain—in autumn—in winter—in spring? Continue reading “Chapter Two: §5”

Chapter Two: §4

Winter – 1022 YD
Gesula, Lenyol

Until winter, Kengar taught both girls the essentials of their trade. Mellena had less aptitude than Kesia, and less obeisance, and Kengar tended to teach them separately. Kesia eagerly learnt the history he taught her, while Mellena hungered for practical instruction, and he catered for both with the dedication he had promised. Once fortnightly he left the village, leaving them to be instructed by his wife. Tàvae enjoyed expanding on her husband’s tendency for overviews and summaries, and her fireside lessons were a welcome reprieve from the cold. Continue reading “Chapter Two: §4”

Chapter Two: §2

(Continued)
Gesula Forest, Lenyol

Kesia stood by Kengar at the edge of a large and perfect circle carved in the earth. In it stood a ring of large standing stones socked with moss, their diameter no less than thirty yards. Though Midsummer was past, the grass within the stones was thick and the earth moist.
   ‘What kind of secret is this?’ Kesia asked, stepping down the embankment with care. ‘It must be almost the size of the Claes!’
   ‘Not quite.’
   Kesia shivered at the energy vibrating between the stones. She followed her uncle’s lead and took to the ground in their centre with crossed legs. Continue reading “Chapter Two: §2”

Chapter Two: Beginning §1

January – 1022 YD
Gesula Temple, Lenyol

Months passed. Kesia stood nervously at the entrance of Gesula Temple clad in bronze ceremonial tunic and trousers. Beside her in identical garb were Lasair and Toran. A dragon of golden thread was embroidered both on their chests and the right leg of their trousers, the first coiled, the second stretched to the knee. Mellena was with them also but, unsure of etiquette, her mother had embroidered the same fabric with flowers instead.
   Priest Caleb ascended the hill near the temple carrying a basket of candles. He came upon the four youths and smiled. Inside, villagers and their parents smuggled excited waves. Continue reading “Chapter Two: Beginning §1”

Chapter One: §6


Spring – 1021 YD

Offenure, Lenyol

Brennan gave a servant’s tour of the castle, showing them through the labyrinth of kitchens, service passages, larders and keeps. His only reprieve from duty were the hours in the early evening, during which the Princess dined with her family. His position was a taxing one, he told them, rewarded by an untaxed wage. ‘Perhaps the only benefit of being a foreigner!’ He added quietly: ‘Many dislike my presence in the Princess’ retinue. Perhaps I was chosen for my origin; the Princess enjoys being contrary.’ Kesia smiled, suspecting even at her age that his appearance had been a prevailing factor. Continue reading “Chapter One: §6”