It’s been a while since I shared anything, and for that I am sorry. Anything I say would only be excuses, so instead I will just say I aim to do better. So to start, I thought I’d share something I’m working on right now. I’ve just started working on Sins of the Mother, book 4 of The War Eternal (hopefully coming 2022), and here is the prologue.
I was there when the Second Cataclysm changed our world forever. And what happened after it… well, that’s all on me, I suppose. It should come as no surprise to you that in the midst of those great events, I stood in the centre of the storm. Or perhaps, I was the storm. The world changed around me. I changed the world around me, because without that change, we would all have died. Then again, we might still. All things end. All life ends. But I will be damned before I go quietly!
I was there. Floating above it all. Watching the end play out. A plume of brilliant white fire against the grey sky. A spray of blood painting the dull ground crimson. Flesh erupting from the earth, crushing the rock around it, tearing down the sky. Monsters and horrors and creatures plucked straight from our nightmares. Terrans, pahht, even the garn had quit their ceaseless internal strife to die upon the battlefield. To face their end together. United. For the first time in history, united. But not by me.
I was there. I saw my friends fall, and knew I could do nothing for them. We all had our own parts to play, our own battles to fight. We all fought together, but also apart. Sourcery tore across the battlefield from a hundred different places, the combined might of our world brought together by an adversary none of us could hope to fight alone. It was a pitiful force left to us, but then that too is my fault. Lightning burst into life as a Sourcerer died in rejection. An Arcstorm wreaking havoc in both friendly and enemy lines all at once. The enemy pulled its flesh back from the storm, leaving smoldering chunks of itself behind, but it had flesh to spare. We did not.
My children fought their own battles, both those without and within. I had prepared them as much as I could, but it was not enough. It could never be enough. We can never prepare our children adequately for what the world will inevitably throw at them. Their lives deviate from ours in unfathomable ways and in the end all we can do is hope that the strength we have taught them is greater than the weaknesses we have inflicted upon them. My children fought their own battles. And I watched them fall.
A portal opened up nearby and a pahht Sourcerer leapt through, streaking past me. An Aeromancer at the height of their ability, with the power of flight at their command. Two Hellions caught sight of the pahht and dived after him, their wings beating hard. Perhaps I could have stopped them, saved him, but that was not my struggle. I was ignored, and there I hovered, gathering my strength. That’s not entirely true. My strength has always been close at hand. I was gathering my courage, waiting for my opening.
“I see it,” I said as our enemy finally revealed itself. The war went poorly for both sides. My forces were dying, crushed or worse beneath a monstrous foe they didn’t understand. Couldn’t hope to beat. Our enemy suffered too much damage. It could no longer hide itself away beneath the rock and earth. It had finally shown its true self. It had finally revealed its heart.
“I’m ready.” A lie, though spoken with the best of intents. We are never ready for the big events in our lives, and anyone who says differently is either a fool or a charlatan. The big events, the truly momentous occasions, sneak up on us like assassins in the night. You might plan and prepare, even steel yourself for the pain you know is to come, but you can never really be ready. We are all born into this world unprepared for the horrors of it and for the wonders of it, for the trials it places before us and the sacrifices it takes to survive them. We leave it the same way. I know. I speak from experience because I have already died once. I had no wish to go through it a second time. But the world does not care about our wishes.
I hung there for a few moments longer, searching the battle for any sign of those I loved. They were gone. All of them gone. Everyone I loved, fallen beneath the crushing mass of our enemy as it emerged from its hiding place. If only those I hated had gone the same way, but of course they all survived.
“I know!” I snapped. Time was not on my side. Not on our side. I was delaying, procrastinating, scared to meet my fate. And every moment I hesitated, more of us were lost. I was out of time. We were all out of time.
I closed my eyes, drew in a deep breath, and fell. Down towards the earth, towards the battlefield. My battlefield. My war. They called it that, the Corpse Queen’s war. What a load of shit! It wasn’t mine, it was ours, all of ours. It was the battle for everything. The Second Cataclysm. It was the end of everything. I didn’t start this war, and I didn’t fight it for myself. I fought it for them. For my friends and my family. For my children. I fought it for them. For all the people of Isha. For the terran people and the pahht, the garn and the mur, and all the others. Even the Damned and the ferals. I fought it for them. For all the people of both Ovaeris and Sevorai. I fought it for everyone. For everyone!
And I was going to die for them all too.