Part One: A Summons Extended

Dusk was falling swiftly when a lone rider wound their way down a twisting backwoods road towards a long, squat Inn with worn log walls and a thatched roof. A low palisade surrounded the structure, the gate of which was open and welcoming, as was the small trail of smoke rising from the building’s chimney. A faded sign at the palisade’s gate identified the place as the Weeping Willow Inn, aptly named as the namesake trees lined the roadside leading to its entrance, as well as about the palisade’s exterior. The soft gurgling of a nearby brook, as well as the multitude of chirping insects, lent the locale a sleepy facade and was a pleasing image to the weary traveller.

The Only One Worthy

Alessia watched from the balcony of the castle as the long column of victorious soldiers filed through the city gates far below. At their head, she knew, though she couldn’t see him clearly from her vigil, rode her brother, Marius.