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There was once a time when peace reigned. Magic was common, and there was no such thing as war. Queen Retine of the Verla, and her advisor, Kashar, commanded the powers of the Serpents Tear and the Dragons Claw.

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There was once a time when peace reigned. Magic was common, and there was no such thing as war. Queen Retine of the Verla, and her advisor, Kashar, commanded the powers of the Serpents Tear and the Dragons Claw. With these powers, there was no homelessness, food was abundant, and no such things as rich or poor existed. Ten years after assuming the throne, a stranger came, garbed in outlandish clothes, and tried to steal the Serpents Tear. He was stopped and executed. Many others tried to take the Serpents Tear, and they all failed. Those in the palace were confused. The Serpents Tear kept everything safe. Why would someone want to steal it? Security had been increased on the royal family, in case any of them were kidnapped and tried to ransom them for the Serpents Tear. But they were all of them deceived. They were lulled into a false sense of security. One night after Kashar had finished her rounds, she was attacked and brutally murdered. The Dragons Claw was stolen. Destruction reigned across the eastern lands. Everyday, more reports came of the destruction. Villages destroyed, hundreds of thousands of people dead. ...read more.


Once it had been green and filled with avenues, and groves of fruitful trees, watered by streams that flowed from the mountains to a lake. But no green thing grew there now. The roads were paved with stone-flags, dark and hard: and beside their borders instead of trees, were long lines of pillars, some of marble, some of copper and of iron, joined by heavy chains. There were many houses, chambers, hall, and passages, cut and tunnelled back into the walls upon their inner side, so that all the open circle was overlooked by countless windows and dark doors. Thousand could live there, workers, servants, slaves, and warriors with a great store of arms. The plain, too, was bored and delved. Shafts were driven deep into the ground: their upper ends covered by low mounds and domes of stone, so that in the moonslight, the Ring of Orthasto looked like a graveyard of unquiet dead. For the ground trembled. The shafts ran down by many slopes and spiral staircases to caverns far under, treasuries, storehouses, armouries, smithies, and great furnaces. Iron wheels revolved there endlessly, and hammers thudded. At night, plumes of vapour steamed from the vents, lit from beneath with red light, or blue, or venomous green. ...read more.


And then the man beneath the hood, whoever it was, drew a long, slow, rattling breath, as though it was trying to suck something more than air from its surroundings, something intangible, like fear. In a burst of courage, Tursto leap forward and thrust his dagger towards the man, but the man dodged and drew his own dagger. He again thrust and was met with thin air. The next ten minutes were spent thrusting, parrying, and dodging the others dagger, until Tursto saw an opening. He smashed his dagger into the other mans chest and was rewarded with a blood coated dagger. But his own victory was soon diminished, as the other man had seen an opening for his own dagger. A burst of pain later found the enemy on the ground dead, and his dagger dug deep into Tursto's side. Tursto pulled out the dagger and pushed his shirt onto the wound to try to staunch the bloodflow. Tursto looked up and saw a small stone pedestal, upon it was a green silk cushion on which lay the Serpents Tear. He grabbed and ran out the door, calling for the fastest horse they had. Tursto rode for two days straight, not sleeping. He reached the palace, and ran straight to the Queen. He thrust the Serpents Tear into her hands, and collapsed at her feet, blood pooled around him, dead. ...read more.

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