• emoryjglass


KANDRISEV, 2A213-2A230

Civil war rages in the black-blooded nation of Kandrisev. Its citizens grow restless. They demand their voices be heard. These are their stories laid out in thirty-three tales of war.

THE Warrior sat alone by the fireside, winding a hempen cord around a simple silver ring. Occasionally, she strung up a painted clay bead so it hung inside the ring. As she worked, she tried to remember each face.

Her brother's was freshest in her mind. He'd died only a few weeks ago on a raid in southern Sosna Chonok. Blue Army sympathisers caught him in his temple with a slingshot. The crack of his skull as he crumpled still rang in the Warrior’s ears.

She strung another bead.

Last winter, the Ninefold Goddess brought Duska and Nivak swift slumber during an ambush at Hrukchik Pass. Six arrows, twelve wounds. Even now the Warrior felt their warm black blood pouring out. To try and revive them was folly. They died beneath her hands.

She strung two beads.

More faintly, she recalled Zerhei: swept away by the Voyarmak River as they marched for Hrukchik Pass. No one realised he was missing until the morning after he perished. A week later, the Warrior found his bloated corpse washed up on the riverbank.

She strung another bead.

She had grown up with Valya and Ksevanya—they weren’t so hard to remember. When they were killed, a shard of her own soul shattered. A hillwalker trampled Valya at the Battle of Losevka Field. Ksevanya, run through with a pike when their war party charged the blue bastards head-on. Their bodies were too mangled to burn on a pyre. Still, the Warrior smelled sweet grass and sweeter flesh burning; she had set the entire field aflame to make sure their souls found their way home.

She strung two beads.

Vakrik's broken head haunted her dreams nightly. Just days after the war party first journeyed north, a band of Rosehearts attacked along the road to Igna. They split her husband’s skull with a club. In return, the Warrior gave them no quarter.

She strung another bead.

Winding the cord a final time around the silver ring, she closed her eyes to remember the faintest face of all.

The Warrior did not witness her daughter's death. Nezhdoya hunters abducted her years ago while she played by the river near their winter camp. The rest of the clan clung to hope that she had been delivered to safe pastures. Something deep within the Warrior's bones ached so bitterly she knew no one would ever see her again.

The Warrior knotted the cord and clutched the grieving wheel close to her heart, saying their names aloud. "Vorez. Duska. Nivak. Zerhei. Valya. Ksevanya. Vakrik. Movanya."

The fire crackled. She stared into it, hoping to glimpse their souls.

No queen deserved to win this war. Blood dark as Void and black as tar stained every belligerent hand.

The Warrior closed her eyes. Softly, she whispered, "May our shattered souls entwine in the Vast Spiral and know each other again."

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