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The age of humanity is over. There is nothing new to be said. Nothing more to be done. Their story is finished.
[TRANSCRIPT 1.1: A tape found in Illinois, circa 2040 A.C.E.]
[deep breaths, female voice]
I don't know who wrote those Words, and I really don't care to find out. He's likely dead by now anyway. I don't know what happened once people realized the true potency of these words, but the first thing they probably did was get scared. Who has that kind of power, you know? No one does-- no one should, anyway. And now there's this guy who can control the world with his words. That's more than enough to scare me, and I'm pretty sure I can speak for a lot of us who're left. I can hear them now: How could you do this to us?
[crash in the background, startled voices]
But I'm not supposed to be concerned with that. What I should be concerned with is controlling the damage those few simple words wrought. The others are trying to negate them nowthis
Iron Rose Chapter OneThis could very likely be a disaster.
Dmitri sighed and drew the heavy curtain back enough to look down at the city Pekka, his narrow, angled eyes studying the city, glinting in the light. His studious face drawn tight with anxiety. The city below was alight with torches, candles, and fires, far more than there should have been at this time of night. Sound and light alike danced over the tan stone that made up the buildings and cobbled streets of the capital of Illanen. He'd heard the murmurs and the panic as he'd run here from his home, and both were only growing. His gloved hands tightened on the windowsill and silk rasped against rough sandstone as he watched the streets below, which were filled with people talking about the castle and what had just happened in it.
How had they found out? It made no difference-- the word couldn't spread too fast. His people would make sure of that. The Keys were in control of things. And then the Te
standing on my own"Get up, you lazy girl," Taelynn's father said, leaning on the library table. "I have a job for you."
Taelynn closed her book quite deliberately and looked up. "What do you require, father?"
"You to get up, daughter," he said, frowning at her, "and to run an errand for me."
Taelynn bit her lip to stop herself from saying what she wanted. Instead, she stood up and bowed to her father. "What do you require, father?"
"Run these down to Tari," he told her, holding out a purse of letters, "and tell her I'm starting you in fighting lessons starting at weeks-end."
Taelynn froze. "No, father." She couldn't; she wouldn't. Fighting went against everything she stood for.
"What did you say?" Father's voice was low and dangerous now, a volcano ready to erupt.
"I said no, Father." Taelynn stood up straight now. "I won't run this errand, and I won't take fighting lessons." She clenched her fists. "I refuse."
Her father's face reddened in anger. "You are my daughter, Taelynn Lindsay al-Kofort. You wil
the broken illusion"You know," Light said idly, walking a pen through his fingers, "I used to think that people were basically good."
The man standing in front of him looked at him curiously and fearfully.
"Even when I was working as a thief, I truly believed that life would eventually turn out aright, things would get better, and I would be happy." Light sat on top of his desk, trademark black cap resting at an angle almost hiding his eyes. "Then I grew up. Then Illanen fell apart." He looked at the man, bright green eyes solemn. "Then I became Light."
"What does this have to do with me?" The man asked bluntly.
"Just thinking," Light said, getting down from the desk. "I'm sort of wondering why I had my agents capture you. After all, you unintentionally did me a great favor." He walked up to the larger man, unafraid and utterly confident. "Was it hard?"
The men didn't reply.
"Killing them. Was it hard? Did the five-year-old cry when she saw you, blades still wet from murdering her p
the living yearsRia pulled off her mottled green ranger's helmet with a sigh, revealing long blond hair and definite Ailran features. "Rav," she said quietly, "unarm. We're safe enough here."
Her bodyguard pulled off his helmet with a sigh. "As much as I love you, Ria," he said, looking around before leaning against a tree, "you're too rash. You still have a lot to learn."
"Yes," Ria said flatly. "I know, Sir Rivers." She pulled her sword out and looked at the blade for a little while, watching the light reflect off of it and into the grove of trees. "I thought this would be the greatest thing to have when I was small. It was all court parties and etiquette and lessons, and I saw the Knights practicing down in the courtyard and dreamed." She launched an attack against a nearby tree. When her sword was stuck in the bark at heart level, she sighed. "Now that I have it, it's because of and part of my worst nightmare."
"All we have to do is make it through this as best we can, Princess," Rav said, touchin
free and weightless"What do we do now?" The newly elected and crowned Queen of Illanen stared at the dragon in front of her, wishing he could answer her. "I'm sure a lot of humans are asking that question. We really don't have a unifying force anymore."
"Lots of Ailrans are asking themselves the same thing," Tari said, pushing branches away from her face and stepping into the clearing. "Not many humans would dare visit the Protector, Queen Kylin." She pet the dragon's muzzle with a slight affection. "Though I'm sure if he could speak to anyone but me, you'd have the answer to your questions."
"Really now?" Kylin said, looking at the dragon thoughtfully. "I'm not so naive as to belive we've wiped out the Ailrans completely, but one does have to wonder how many there are left. And what they're motivated to do against us."
The dragon snorted. "Rav, the Protector of the Ailrans, has spoken," Tari said dryly. "He thinks that they'll be going into hiding like we did to them in the early years. They aren't used
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