[teaser 02] the collector’s lost things

The Holanian capital, Adria. Rei-Hai Shaw knew it like the back of his hand. For the Tower to mark the city as his next hunting ground was both fortune and cruelty. Two years had passed since he last walked the streets of his homeland; he’d been a shadow then too, lost amongst the crowds gathered for the royal wedding of heir apparent, Crown Prince Kiokharen. But this time, Rei was not here for a celebration.

            The Grand Cathedral of Nirhana stood nobly behind the castle proper. Secured within the gated domain of Upper Adria, it was not open to the general populace; the cathedral was the wedding chapel and worship venue of choice for the Holanian highborn. Rei had visited it a number of times in his youth—being the son of the reigning Swordmaster, Rei was privy to the inner circles of nobility. He was of age with the wayward Princess Amikharlia and had more or less grown up alongside the royal siblings. They’d often come to the cathedral to play, to see who could climb the highest up the ivy-coated walls. Rei always won.

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[teaser 01] the morning of

 

Ami watched the sun rise over the swell of mountains on the horizon. The golden arms of morning spread dawn’s embrace across the sleepy castle town below. The Holanian capital, Adria, would soon be waking. Her still-made feather bed beckoned, though she would not be joining it. The young princess sipped the wine left on the drawing table along with the remnants of her uneaten evening meal. The dark Bararnite vintage was a sharp assault so early in the morning but Ami welcomed the wetness on her tongue.

            It was the Day of Blessing—a humble day of virginal simplicity to be enjoyed in the presence of her betrothed. A day of tradition, of ceremony, of celebration—a day Ami would not see through to completion. Had it been Tallas, she would have endured. Tallas, heir to the neighbouring throne of Bararn, had been her promised one, not his snivelling, unctuous little brother, Reminas. Even before Tallas’s cruel and untimely death, Reminas always believed himself entitled to everything his older brother possessed—his titles, his birthrights, his armies. Now he had the impudence to name himself successor to the Holanian marriage alliance as well. But he would not have Ami. She would not be Reminas’s bride. He would not be her king.

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