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Of the Red and the Gold

I was rather hoping that if I wrote a teaser for Venya’s story the rest would follow.  Doesn’t seem to be working so far, but for what it’s worth, here’s the teaser . . .  

– – – – – –

The Lady died nearly six hundred years ago, and has been consigned to the lone dark ever since.  It is said, though no one knows where the rumour started, that she will be released by one who is entitled to the red and the gold twice over.  This has generally been taken to indicate the child of two First Riders who are also flag captains, and has resulted, over the centuries, in a certain degree of pressure on such people to marry within their kind.

It can be done, but one is not enough.

First Riders and flag captains have come and gone, and their children have passed to Lord Rangar with swords in their hands and curses on their lips more times that history can relate.  As far as can be ascertained, it has made no difference to the plight of the Lady Waiting; her fruit, eaten by all who have taken the Last Oath, remains bitter; the lamps in Lord Rangar’s temples still burn with a steady green flame.

Two have tried, and two have failed.

Now a princeling of the Cohort has asked leave to go travelling, and has not returned.  His father is close to disinheriting him, yet the Prince his foster-brother seems unconcerned at the loss.  When M’lord Ursine, master herald of Tournai, sets out in search of the young man, he is grudgingly granted a minimal escort – the newest First Rider, a cadet who was foster-sister to the princeling, and a minstrel who was once the princeling’s tutor.

Three is well begun, but not enough to hurry to the task.

Their journey will take them beyond the Shap, beyond the plains, beyond even the mountains.  They will learn that the prince who wishes his foster-brother lost may have his interests more at heart than the master herald who wishes him found.  They will learn the identity of the old man scattering mysterious messages in their path.  And they will learn, at last, how a child born of the red and the gold twice over has power to stay the hand of Lord Rangar.

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