Eritan tried to relax. It should have been easy, closed away in his private library as he was, reclining in a pillowed chair with his favorite history in hand. The Sword and the Flame, it read in silvery letters on the front: one of the most thorough accounts of the rise of the Letaalese Empire. Covered was everything from Pirinaan’s rise in the north, to the first battles against the Heartan overlords, to the first Emperor Eritan’s political maneuverings. Eritan liked those last the most, of course. His namesake had been a splendid ruler and a better politician; he himself did everything he could to emulate that first emperor of Letaal.
But things just weren’t cooperating. While Eritan the First had drawn allies to his side and conquered recalcitrant territories with the aid of Pirinaan’s priests, Eritan the Third was finding that process to be much more difficult, even with the expanded resources of an entire empire, rather than the limited power of Jinda. Instead of fighting against pliable peoples like those in Heart and Tuul and Icefall, he was stuck with the intractable Tin and the wild Roeteli. And of course the Nera Nashan to the north, who were now attacking any Letaalese who dared ride north from Barrier.Continue reading
The next chapter is here for all to read. This follows the second major character in All Flames Cast, the priest Harael.
The late evening spread out over the city of Letaal, trailing shadows over the streets of the Fourth Tier. Harael stared up at the slim slice of the setting sun, just visible over the wall far overhead outside of the Tenth Tier. Below him, he could just see the last light shining upon the uppermost spires of the Cathedral, three tiers down. It felt odd to be traveling so high in the city, but then, this night was not a normal night.
Harael smiled at the thought. No, the winter solstice was far from a usual night in Letaal. Here, in the seat of Imperial power—and the seat of Pirinism—displays of faith were common; only on this most holy of nights, however, did every citizen show his fidelity.
His blue robes swishing around his legs, arms folded into the sleeves, he nodded at the hawker pushing a cart past. A lantern, flickering fitfully in the balmy winter breeze, hung from an awning over his wares. The man beamed back at Harael, clearly overjoyed by the acknowledgement from such a high-ranking priest.