A/N: Not really a new novel; I don't know what this is, really, except a story that wants out, and has wanted it since I started working on the backstory of the Kingdoms. It's laid in between Golden Heresy and the trilogy starting with Royalty of Wind, and Fire, and Clay. It shouldn't really spoil either of them, though.
It's probably going to be very episodic, each chapter being complete in itself, with no very big overarching plot. I think. It'll be updated when and as I have time, though I certainly don't plan to leave it one chapter forever.
Any criticism and any suggestions are welcome.
Seeker For The Dream
Prologue: To Know
"King Deman dies in 188 OR, at the hand of an assassin. In the confusion that follows, Prince Ardian is crowned King and weds his second cousin Princess Tolania, to once again join the branches of the family together. They have triplet children—Princess Lena, Princess Emelmira, and Prince Julara—all gifted with Gust magic and powerful Destinies. They also have a sickly son, Prince Dorron, born with weak Azure magic, but he is groomed as a candidate for the throne in expectation of the triplets dying in the next war against the Dark. In the minor line: Princess Wenne becomes a priestess of Elle and does not wed. Prince Opollonth confesses that he believes there might still be important knowledge to be had in the northern Kingdoms conquered by the Dark, and goes on an expedition to find it. He does not return."
-From The Chronicle of Monarchs, scroll detailing the births, gifts, and fates of the royal line of Orlath from 1 to 451 OR.
"But why must you go, Brother?"
Opollonth smiled and ducked his head. "You know me best of all, Wen," he said softly, allowing a thread of laughter into his voice. What else would my sister expect to hear from me? "If I can't explain it to you, then I have not the words."
"I wish that you were staying."
Opollonth looked up swiftly. That was new. And so was his sister looking at him with such serious eyes, as though she had foreseen that he was about to commit a crime.
The gray of Elle suits her, Opollonth thought. It matches the solemnity of her eyes, though not the color of them. "Why, sister?"
Wenne glanced away from him. In the silence, there came shouts from the courtyard. Opollonth tilted his head, smiling. Those were the shouts of his brother's children, the triplets just nearing two years old now. They were beautiful children, gifted with powerful magic and strong Destinies. King Ardian of Orlath was furiously proud of them.
"I have foreseen that I will not bear a child," said Wenne, with such abruptness that Opollonth blinked. He fixed his eyes on her again, and found that she looked more tired than he had ever seen her.
"I thought that was only expected of you, as a priestess of Elle. The Goddess must come first," he said, quoting something she had often said since she took the gray, over the vociferous protests of their brother. "No family, nothing but devotion to your Lady. Has Ardian been after you again?"
Wenne shook her head. "The Goddess has granted me another vision, though," she said, and now her eyes had lost every trace of tiredness and burned into his face like the seaspray from the Lilitha Ocean. "She has shown me that none of our brother's children will sit the throne, either."
Opollonth shrugged. "They have their Destinies. If they die in the war against the Dark that is coming, then that is what must happen."
"But what happens if you do not come back from your journey, Brother?"
Opollonth laughed. "Why shouldn't I, Wen? I'm hardly going to be a wandering warrior-prince, like someone in the old tales. I am going to seek those old tales." He touched the bow that hung on his shoulder. "I'm only taking this at our most honored brother's insistence. I think that my quill will see more use than my arrows."
"Perhaps that would be true. But you are going north, my brother."
Opollonth snorted. "I highly doubt that I shall find the Courts of Rivendon and Arvenna so inhospitable."
"You're going further north than that, aren't you."
Opollonth opened his mouth to deny it, then closed it and shrugged. Wenne's words hadn't been a question.
"Let me try to convince you one more time to go west into Doralissa."
"They have many old tales, my brother."
"I've heard them all before." Opollonth shook his head when Wenne started to speak again. "Do not speak of some elven tale lying hidden in a corner of Doralissa. They do not interest me, and never have. I want to know about gryphons, and morning-fey." He touched his own pale hair. "I know more about elves and unicorns than my own mother's people, did you realize that? And I want to see a dragon."
"Because I want to."
Wenne sighed. "The Goddess would have tried to prevent your going if it was not your Destiny. I suppose that I must let you go, as well." She leaned forward, hands clasping his shoulders, and kissed him on both cheeks, then placed a hand over his heart, as if testing the beat. Opollonth met and held her gaze, certain that she would hear his heart beating strong and steady.
Wenne sighed again and took her hand away. "My blessing goes with you, my brother. Walk in Light, and in obedience to Destiny and the Cycle. The Fair One watch over you from the full moon, and the Forgiver of All Wrongs ward you from sin."
"Thank you, my sister." Opollonth bowed and turned from her, jogging towards the castle's gates. He had come by a back way to the Temple of Elle for a reason. King Ardian- Opollonth found it harder and harder to think of him as a brother, since he was so irrational- had tried to prevent his leaving. Opollonth had thought it prudent to avoid a final farewell.
He passed through the gates without trouble; there was an advantage after all to Ardian's insistence that family quarrels stay private. He stood beyond the guards for a moment, as they bade him good day in voices he hardly heard, and stared to the north, across the great gleaming expanse of the Corlirin Plains. Wind roared in the grasses, and at that moment Opollonth felt almost more akin to the moving air than to the earth beneath his feet, the element of his own magic.
I am going. Goddess ward me.
But his smile was sincere, and the prayer calm, not desperate, as he took his first steps forward. He knew he was walking to meet his Destiny.