The War Eternal recap books 1-3

My name is Eskara Helsene. Eska, to my friends. I was born in the forest village of Keshin, in the lands of Orran. My parents were nobody of note, an herb gatherer and a basket weaver, but in me two ancient bloodlines converged to produce a powerful Sourcerer. When I was six years old, the recruiters came and took me away. I was not given a choice.

I spent the next decade at the Orran Academy of Magic. I met my best friend, Josef, there, and together we survived. The tutors trained me to use my magic, but they also conditioned me to be a weapon the Orran Empire could use against its enemies. And then there was my childhood hero and serial arsehole, the Iron Legion. He experimented on Josef and I, injected us with crushed Sources, awakened an innate Necromancy in me.

When I was sixteen, the Orran-Terrelan war came to a head. A final battle. Josef and I were sent to the front lines. We lost. The Orran Empire was destroyed, and we were captured and sent to the Pit, an underground prison.

In the Pit, the overseer tried to break my will, and the foremen tried to break my body. We mined, we ate gruel, and I nurtured my grudges. I found new allies down there; Hardt and Isen, stalwart brothers, and Tamura, the crazy old Aspect. I also met Ssserakis, an ancient horror from the Other World, the living incarnation of fear. It possessed me, living inside my shadow and my mind until I could find a way to send it home.

Then Josef betrayed me to the overseer. They broke him, and then used him to break me. They failed. I hatched an escape plan and took Hardt, Isen, and Tamura with me. I left Josef behind. We tunnelled into a buried Djinn city (you may remember the Djinn and Rand are our gods, though most of them are dead and I pray they stay that way). Isen and I became very close, which is a nice way of saying we had messy, painful sex.

We were just a breath from the surface when Josef caught up with us, determined to drag me back to the overseer. He killed Isen. I swallowed a Chronomancy Source I had found, forced Josef to surrender or watch me die from Source rejection. The magic aged me a decade in the space of a minute, but Josef surrendered. I left him for dead there, and along with Hardt and Tamura, finally escaped the Pit.

We fled, the Terrelan hounds on our heels. It soon became obvious to me I was carrying Isen’s child. We met a thief named Imiko; she stole from me then beat the snot out of me. I hated her, but we quickly became the closest of friends. She snuck us aboard the flying city of Ro’shan where Mezula, the last of the Rand presided.

It was on Ro’shan where I met Silva, daughter and Aspect of the Rand, and the love of my life. I gave birth to my first daughter, Kento, and I was so certain I wasn’t ready to raise her. Silva helped find a family to adopt her, and I never saw my daughter again.

I took a job working for the Rand, exploring old ruins to find ancient magical artifacts. On one of those explorations, I came close to death. I stood at the centre of an Arcstorm, and my body absorbed it, became one with it. It rages within me still, an innate Arcmancy. That brush with death brought new perspective, and when I returned to Ro’shan I tried to find Kento. Silva and Mezula were the ones to inform me that Kento had died just a week after I gave her up.

Mezula gave me a new job then, to board the flying city of Do’shan and kill the last remaining Djinn. She sent Silva with me. I took my friends, too. Do’shan revealed many truths to me. I learned that Sources, the gemstones that grant Sourcerers our magic, are the crystal coffins left behind when one of the Rand or Djinn die. Yes, we Sourcerers fuelled our magic by ingesting dead gods. I also discovered the gods are intrinsically linked by the laws of the world. When a Rand dies, so too does a Djinn, and vice versa. And that the Aspects of the Rand, like Silva, were created to circumvent that rule. That was when I realised Silva had been sent to Do’shan to die in Mezula’s place when I killed the Djinn.

I refused to fight the Djinn, refused to be the cause of Silva’s death. Silva attacked on her own and I tried to stop it. We fought. I killed her. It was an accident, one that haunts me still. I went a little mad then, attacked the Djinn. All my fury was wasted against the resilience of a god.

The Djinn offered me power in return for its freedom. We struck three deals. First for magic, then for knowledge, and finally to raise a city from the ground to serve as the seat of an empire I sought to build.

I left the Djinn behind and started building my queendom. I learned that Josef was still alive and being held captive by that unrelenting shit, the Iron Legion. I also learned that the Emperor of Terrelan was aiding the Iron Legion and was raising an army to attack my queendom.

With Ssserakis’ help, I raised my own army of monsters from the Other World, and marched to meet the Terrelan empire. We fought. I lost, was captured, marched in chains to the capital city of Terrelan. There, the Emperor of Terrelan tortured me for months, trying to drag all his screams out of me, trying to get me to take my own life. He even took my left arm. He broke me, drove me mad.

I reconnected with Ssserakis in that dungeon, and we became closer than ever. Together, we broke out. I was crazed and used my innate Necromancy to create a plague of undeath that consumed the capital city. As the city burned, I assaulted the palace, murdered the Terrelan emperor and ended his entire bloodline. I brought the empire to an end in one night.

I returned to my own queendom, and on the way, I met a bard. We spent a night together. Nine months later, my second daughter, Sirileth, was born.

That simpering sweat stain, the Iron Legion was still alive and sent me a message, threatening everything I had built if I didn’t go to him. He still had Josef, too, so I went. I left my queendom and my daughter in the care of Imiko.

I was unprepared and the Iron Legion, long may he rot, captured me. His experiments on Josef and me as children were attempts to turn us into vessels to resurrect our dead gods. It worked. The Iron Legion used us to bring a Rand and a Djinn back to life. Then he begged a boon from the resurrected gods, to unwind the unnatural ageing Chronomancy had inflicted upon him. The gods remade his body, and in that moment of weakness, we attacked the bastard.

With Ssserakis and Josef helping me, I forced the Iron Legion to use too much magic. His body couldn’t handle the strain and he broke down, rejected his Sources. The resulting explosion of wild magic tore a scar in reality. Josef protected me, took the brunt of the magical blast, and his body was warped by the power.

I had been through so much, but I still had one job left. Ssserakis needed to be sent home, to battle against an ancient enemy in the Other World. I opened a portal to the Other World and took my own life to free Ssserakis from its prison inside of me.

Hardt had followed me. He found me and brought me back to life. I hated him a little for that. We rescued a couple of children, Tris and Vi, the Iron Legion had been experimenting on, and I adopted them to raise as my own.

With all my old enemies destroyed and Ssserakis sent back to the Other World, I returned to my queendom to rule, and to raise Sirileth as best I could.

Sins of the Mother (Book 4 of The War Eternal) is coming 3rd May 2022.