Steel and mail and gilded crossbow
Feather of the ancient windbird
Wide as wonder, tall as starlight...
Chaos is a realm, as ever, divided against itself: but in manner most courteous, its disputes settled in a dance ancient, deadly, and serene. The illness rumored to afflict its King, His Majesty Swayvill I, may speed the steps, but it does not and should not affect the formalized, prescribed motions.
Just below the surface, the Houses and Guilds jockey for position and control. In the subtle manipulations of Sawall and the blunter strong-armings of the demon-born House Mandrake, in Hendrake's lingering bitterness over the death of its champion Borel and the whispers of treachery on the part of Chanicut's Duke, in Guildmistress Lady Avis' quiet and steady recruitment of weapons-crafters and in the slow increase of the outcaste ranks of Xenia, two things are always clear.
First, the prize is greater: Swayvill's very heirless Throne. Second, the Great War did not end with the treaty; what the children of Amber call the Patternfall War was no more than one more battle. So long as the two issues remain nearly separate, the dance will move as it always has. If they intertwine too deeply... then the dance of politics will become the dance of blades, and formality and courtesy and serenity all will dissolve in a rainbow of blood and fire as the Great War against Amber grows to encompass Civil War within Chaos itself.
There are not a few who belive that it is not a question of if, but of when.
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The quote at the head of this page is from "Elf Glade," by Meg Davis.