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Queen Nivin stands on the mountain whose top has been flattened by the old Gods and thinks of all that her blood has brought and wrought. The tradition of matricide, each Princess taking the old Queen’s life,  in a generations old ritual to prove her strength and worth to a people who live in a climate so unforgiving that their Queen must be stronger, harder, colder than the blue ice itself. She thinks of daughters raised without fathers, for the Princesses of Ascial’s hearts are for Ascial alone. She thinks of the dras vere that runs strong in her veins, vere that she cloaks herself in now trying to draw comfort from the cooling dark. She thinks of the ras vere also in her blood that shouldn’t be and knows that in her is something new.

She turns to her father kneeling in front of her and imagines his blood rushing under his warm skin, blood she must spill to set her people free. He faces her, this father she has just met, and she sees only resignation, love and pride and she weeps tears of fire trying not to buckle under the weight of what must be done.

“Below as above,” her father says starting what she cannot.

“Of the land.”

“Of the sea.”

“Above as below.”

“Neither dead or alive.”

And with one swift motion Nivin opens her father’s throat.

“For the rest of time,” Nivin says rocking him to his eternal sleep.

Though she had thought herself strong enough to bear this final pain, to do anything to save her people, her soul breaks into pieces and in the silence of the shattering Nivin gathers all dras, shadow and shade and reaches up with everything that she has become and pulls the sun from the sky.

Wild laughter fills the air followed by words that chill even the simplest of creatures.

“It’s Drasbaine’s time now. Play my children.”