Prologue: Rooting in Broken Earth

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“Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse, they do. Everyone has plans but no one can really predict the future, especially these days. There are a lot of high and mighty fools out there who think they can control the world but of course they can’t” Luphera told the man across the table from her.

She was dressed in a long white dress and petticoat. It was an oddly conservative outfit for the consort and information dealer.

“Seems to me like the powerful are at least very skilled at keeping themselves on top, even if they obviously aren’t very good at running anything. I’m a prime example of this, myself,” the Governor remarked with a self-depreciating chuckle.

The two of them were by themselves in a small room off to the side of the Governor’s mansion in the center of Daggerpoint. They were seated across from each other at a table and the morning sunlight poured into the room from a large window.

“Rulers and authorities come and go all the time. Most of them rarely leave much of a mark on the world before they’re usurped by someone else ruthless, cunning, and equally replaceable,” Luphera told him after taking a leisurely sip of wine.

“No, that’s just not true. Even terrible rulers leave an impression, sometimes more so than good ones. Take a look at the state of the world around us! Who is to blame for all the wars, violence, and poverty if not some godsforsaken king somewhere,” the Governor replied.

“Who knows? I was just recently reminded that the world is a much larger place than people realize, and most of it has never been seen by human eyes,” the woman commented. “We’ve lived on this continent for hundreds of years but we never truly conquered it. Travel any direction but East and soon enough civilization just stops. To the West are the great empty plains, to the North lie dark frozen forests, and to the South grow the steaming jungles. We have no idea how large this continent even is!”

“The lesson on geography is interesting but I believe you’re talking about Herad’s new pet,” the older man said with a frown of distaste.

“It would be a very foolish mistake to think of Blacknail as anyone’s pet. Meeting him was very eye opening, in more ways than one,” Luphera replied as she smirked smugly.

The Governor just rolled his eyes and poured himself another glass of wine.
“If you’re trying to shock an old man then you’re going to have to try much harder, Luphera. The rite of Beldeva was quite popular among the cult of Tera-Nan when I was young, you know,” he told his drinking companion.

“Hmmm, how intriguing, but I believe we’ve gotten off topic. I was talking about how the schemes of men and women are doomed to failure,” Luphera responded.

“And I was disagreeing with you. I take it this isn’t a completely philosophical argument, though? ” the man remarked.

“No, it definitely isn’t. Now that spring has come and the roads have opened people have began leaving the city. Just this morning Herad and her band headed back South for instance,” the woman explained.

“Ah yes, the Black Snake goes to rejoin the rest of her forces and prepare for the coming storm. My own investigations, as undoubtedly have yours, have revealed that there are significant forces set against them. Thus, her ambitions seem doomed and I suppose that’s an example of plans going awry,” the Governor remarked with a frown.

The older man then took a deep drink of wine and sighed in fatigue.

“I just wish my own fate wasn’t so tightly entwined with hers. If Herad falls and Werrick succeeds in unifying the rest of the bands then he won’t have much use for me. The city doesn’t need a neutral mediator if it has a king,” he added.

Luphera smiled reassuringly at the man. She was rather fond of him after all. Without him and the deal he’d made with the outlaw bands so many years ago there would be no Daggerpoint, and he was one of the more interesting conversationalists around.

“I was actually thinking of the exact opposite. Werrick’s mysterious backers are powerful and have obviously made some very long term plans for all of us. Undoubtedly, they think they’ve accounted for everything but they haven’t. The world is wider than they know and Herad could surprise them,” she countered.

“So they’ll try again. Even if the Wolf somehow gets himself killed I’m sure they could find a replacement. That mercenary band of Zelena’s was quite the shock. These people aren’t fooling around; Herad is simply outmatched in this fight. I fear we will all soon be under someone’s boot,” he replied bitterly.

“You might be right. Things change and it may soon be time for the North to have a ruler. Herad certainly seems to be the underdog here,” Luphera replied as she turned and gazed thoughtfully out the window.

A second later she turned back to her companion.

“The North is not so easily predicted though, and lately things have been… stranger than ever. I’ve recently expanded the scope of the information I collect, and what I’ve received so far paints a messy picture indeed,” she told him.

“Like what?” the Governor asked in surprise.

“Things have begun to change. The outlaw bands have done as they pleased for years now but that time may be over. The smaller more isolated groups have started to disappear; something is preying on them. There are more and more reports of mutant and beast sightings, and just yesterday I got news of brazen attacks and thefts along the southern road by goblins. That hasn’t happened in over a hundred years! After turning on itself for so long, I fear humanity has begun to lose its grip on the North completely,” she replied darkly.

“Surely, you’re exaggerating?” the startled older man asked.

“No, as much as we both detest the very idea, a king may be exactly what we need. It is possible that even in victory our would be puppet masters may win themselves nothing.”



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27 Comments
  • ClearMadness
    August 7, 2016

    So for those of you are wondering why this is a prologue, it’s because it leads in the next big arc of the story now that Daggerpoint is over. I’ll soon be organizing all my chapters into loose books.

  • lorcogoth
    August 7, 2016

    were would the books be available once they are released?

    • ClearMadness
      August 7, 2016

      Well I’m sticking to e-books for now, so all the major places like amazon.

  • wabbitking
    August 7, 2016

    why do I have the feeling that the goblins she’s talking about are blacknails friends

    • b
      August 8, 2016

      It would be an amazing chapter in which blacknail’s party gets ambushed by them and he goes all mother hen on them.

      “youss not throwing spearss rights! Get backs up theress and do it again!”

    • Melancholy
      August 8, 2016

      Hahah I was thinking that too! I think this prologue is leading right up to that. A monster army controlled by blacknail I think

      • ClearMadness
        August 8, 2016

        …but why would Blacknail need an army?

        • disaster
          August 9, 2016

          because herad told him to get one?

        • Evergreen
          August 15, 2016

          because i want it? Well, my opinions are irrelevant anyway but it would really seem interesting to have a group of goblins lead by Blacknail in Herad’s group. Thinking of all the conquest Blacknail could do with the group really excites me.

    • Tolack
      August 25, 2016

      I completely agree. Blacknail taught them well, and hopefully well enough that they’ll remember their training when they run into him in the future.

  • ManicPanic
    August 8, 2016

    So much win! So when is the mext book gonna be released?

    • ClearMadness
      August 8, 2016

      Right now I’m writing Playing with Fire which is a new arc that takes place after Written in Blood. Once I’m done that I’ll start writing the next book.

  • disaster
    August 9, 2016

    i see blacknails goblins are putting their training to work

  • Grey Martin
    September 6, 2016

    Tremendous. Just finished the entirety of what you have written so far.

    The most throughly enjoyable fantasy I have read in a long time.

    You have a natural talent, sir or madam, and it is a gift you use well.

    • ClearMadness
      September 6, 2016

      Thank you. It’s always nice to hear from my readers. It makes me want to write a little bit more.

  • Selihg
    September 9, 2016

    I just finish the last book and i love this story and it’s quality
    So thanks !!

  • Orrie
    September 17, 2016

    If you’re wondering why your votes on TopWebFiction are slipping, it might have something to do with posting less than one non-Patreon chapter a month. Just saying.

    Love the story, very imaginative. But if you’re going to update weekly or bi-weekly and then change that, it might be wise to warn your readers else you lose them. If you did and I missed it, mea culpa, and apologies.

    • ClearMadness
      September 17, 2016

      I’m still releasing weekly. I have never released less than a chapter a week since I started.

      • Kellie
        September 28, 2016

        I haven’t seen anything new in a while. I am using the mobile site. Maybe there is an issue with that site not uploading the updates?

        • ClearMadness
          September 28, 2016

          The newest content actually takes place at a earlier time. Look for Playing with Fire in book one, its the latest stuff I uploaded. The next chapter I post will be for book 3 though.

  • disastermaster
    September 26, 2016

    all hail king blacknail

    • ClearMadness
      September 26, 2016

      I don’t get it. 😐

  • Sigismund
    October 22, 2016

    “It was an oddly conservatively outfit” conservative?

  • Steve
    March 1, 2017

    One small complaint about the previous book: How would they have found so many people willing to die in a city like Daggerpoint? Even if most of the people there aren’t all that bright, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what it means if you’re on the front lines of a meat grinder fight like that and getting paid afterward. I know that there is the bias towards assuming that you are special and will survive anything, but in a situation like that it seems like untrained thugs would have broken with a fraction of the losses Herad’s band inflicted.

    • Wabbitking
      March 1, 2017

      Maybe they got paid some upfront and where promised a even larger payout when the battle was won throw enough money in someone’s nose and you’ll be surprised people will do.

  • Warren peace
    March 22, 2017

    I have to disagree with the notion that short epilogues/prologues are necessary. I think the BN-centric chapters are sufficiently lengthy that longer and more detailed “bookends” actually add a lot to the story, and take nothing from it. It’s a GOOD thing to take an extended break from the main story, and helps a reader maintain perspective, while preventing them from losing interest. Honestly how can an author who loves cliffhangers so much not take advantage here too, while furthering their worldbuilding at the same time?

  • Donna (Granny)
    November 13, 2017

    I’m new to the series and really enjoyed the first two books. I’m curious, how do you keep up? Writing your story must be time and attention consuming. The additional work of responding to fans and critics must cause you burn excessive amounts of Elixer. Keep up the good work!

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