The heir to the throne quits the capital, excluded from her father's politicking. Sympathetic company resides in the north; and so she retreats to the northern town of Lirna.

It is December, 1022 YD.

Princess Régan arrived at Lirna Palace in the evening, four days after departing the capital. The journey had been hot and rough, and she was relieved to be received by the Duchess in the outer gardens. The Princess alighted the carriage; the Duchess, Lady Ione, took the Princess' arm guided her inside, along a series of beautiful staircases, and into to the Dining Hall. It was cool, set with a fine meal, and free from servants.
   'Molan has been in Dara.' The Duchess was apologetic. 'I sent word when your messenger arrived yesterday; I had hoped he would be here to greet you. I expect he will return in the morning.'
   Régan nodded. 'I will save my explanations for when you are together.'
   Ione studied Régan's expression. 'You are welcome here as long as you wish.'
   'I thank you,' Régan smiled. 'I am afraid there is discord in the royal household.' She laughed mildly, then sighed quietly and looked her friend in the eye. 'I will not deceive you; it is likely I will be here quite some time.'
Régan woke with the sun, and set out to walk through her thoughts in the gardens.
   Lirna was a coastal town, and its palace took pride of place on the small cliffs above it. Régan found an iron seat which celebrated the views of the ocean and residents below. She settled against the cold metal, for the morning was hot already, and considered her situation yet again.
   She knew her people would never accept a trade with Miggest. The Custodians of its throne were tyrannical militarists; no natural scourge would move Lenyolites to compassion. Further, its drought would not stay neatly behind The Line. Already the rains had eluded the north of Lenyol; the business of preparing for a long dry spell would need to begin. For the entire journey she had pillaged her memory to find what could possibly entice her father to trade. She looked up at the palace, glistening in the morning sun. So fine compared to Offenure Castle.
   And suddenly insight struck.
   Decades of overheard conversations came to her in a flash; Offenure Castle was ancient and crumbling, the city crowded and in need of expansion. She knew what drove her father to trade: he planned to be the Custodin who modernised the capital. A new millennia, a new city. Màtac the Rejuvinator!
   Nascóir was a  mineral which set hard as stone when mixed with sand and water. Miggest was awash with it, while it could scarcely be found in Lenyol. The Custodin would need tons upon tons to achieve his vision.
   She found herself relinquishing some of her ire, for it was actually an admirable dream. However two facts remained: first, Lenyolites hated Miggestians; and second, if drought descended from the north and the masses found the price of the Custodin's project was their suffering, even starvation, there would be an uprising. The Iulithan Custodin had shouldered one in recent times; perhaps Màtac had forgotten how quickly an unhappy people can rebel.
   Yet Régan could not publicly decry her father. She was too little known amongst the nobility. And her father had done well to protect their interests, retaining their deep affection.
   As she sat in reflection, a Palomino horse dressed in royal colours approached the palace. Its rider noticed and recognised her, silhouetted as she was on the seat against the sky. The messenger dismounted and made her way quickly through the gardens. The Princess stood.
   'Your Highness,' the messenger bowed. 'I have come with an urgent message.'
   Princess Régan extended her hand for the envelope which was offered. It was fixed with her father's seal.
   'Thank you. The servants will take care of you and your mount.'
   Régan resumed her seat and broke the seal.

Those who betray the Throne
in exposing delicate matters
will be tried for treason
and executed.

She read the note several times, standing and pacing, embedding it in her memory. She then tore it into a hundred pieces and committed it to the sea.
   Heat like ice solidified her veins. Her projected future fissured.


Taken from Chapter Four: §4
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Published by F. T. Hall-Bowden