After the restoration of the nations by Isllel, the Twelve Kingdoms continued on in relative peace, with some renewed faith still integrated with the scientific advancements from the Gatanean occupation. Interest renewed in rediscovering a way down to the True Earth, led largely by those of Gateling blood, looking for a sense of belonging.
Meantime, rumblings were happening throughout the MultiWorlds, as the Father's footsteps began to shake the foundations of the pillars that kept His children from Him.
Queen Isobel III, the last of Deidre's line (and named for those Queens who suffered most greatly in their times), sanctioned an expedition of Gatelings to the True Earth, brokering a peace treaty with the Dwarves for safe passage by ceding to them the jewel in her crown which was said to be the heart of the fallen star, Aetalia.
Meantime, Ruthvyn of the Silver Hands, the immortal necromancer who had first joined with Damhain Leanblade during the Civil Wars, campaigned among the nascent separatists against Isobel's foolhearty mission. He declared the Queen unfit to govern, full of fancies and superstition, wasting away the nation's treasure on a fairy tale rather than shoring up defenses against the natural disasters besieging their small world each day. Ruthvyn won to his side the Ice Giants, thawing them from their slumber and flooding the continent. He even attempted to sway the last of the Titans, the mad Day to his side - and was for a time successful.
The Father's footsteps grew nearer, though, opening fissures in the earth and having whole mountains slide off the side of the world. Even Ruthvyn couldn't capture every corpse to reanimate it to his cause. While Isobel, now run off her throne and with a broken crown, joined with the last of the High King's steward, her own small group of handmaids, and the outcast Gatelings to journey to the center of the earth and past the brim of the world in search of a better place than she had known.
Above, Ruthvyn and his corpses dominated all. He gloated of his triumph to Day, who hearing the Father approaching, tried to warn Ruthvyn of what was to come if he did not cast down his crown. Ruthvyn, lord of the Dead, rebuked Day and placed himself upon the High King's throne - which once had belonged to the Titan. The Father drew near, towering over the shrinking world and blotting out the stars, and seeing him, Day began to laugh and laugh and laugh -
- which laughter joined with the Father's shook the world's foundation and everything, everything came tumbling down around the necromancer's ears, as the world itself collapsed. Day breathed his last, and was astounded to see the Night and Dusk and all his family awaiting him upon the Mountains of Morning. While Ruthvyn and those who clung to the surface of the world grew smaller and smaller until they were lost like atoms within the void of space.
And Isobel and her companions discovered, even as they toppled to the True Earth, that as soon as they touched that Eden land, that they were larger than the world they'd lived in - which now looked no bigger than an anthill, sinking quietly into the ground. And all around them, shaking their heads and blinking, were others who had found their way back to the True Earth. And beyond them, the Father with His visible heart and His wounded hand outstretched.
A stand alone-chapter, exclusively on Patreon. Set in the world of Arianja, a young man and a wild woman journey to the edge of the world.
Ages of the Twelve Kingdoms
Explore the Twelve Kingdoms
(c) Emily C. A. Snyder