Prologue

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James Vicente Riordan de'La'saiir had never felt the need for a cloak during the spring months at his family's home in the province of Leeaire. The sun rarely left the sky during this time, but only to allow the people below a lapsing eight hours to rest their minds and speak with their moon. Heat came easily in the southern provinces and Leeaire was only beaten as furthest south by the small state of Suin.

On this day, however, clouds darkened the sky to a near black early on. A chill dared to permeate their blessed spring air. It was as if the season had never changed. Winter became the jealous sister of spring and fought to steal her fame back.

Lady de'La'saiir was a well reputed and gentle woman, known for her generosity and perhaps her way of spoiling her only child, however. It took little pleading when the young James wished to play out in the courtyard that particular spring day, despite the early arrival of night. She did not, however, let him go without his lighter winter coat.

"It is Spring, Mother. Why must I wear a coat?" he had asked, his eighth-year mind still unable to grasp the climate change.

"There is a chill. You know we are going to the capital tomorrow. Last thing we need is for you to be ill when we visit the king."

"I shall not get ill, Mother. I simply shall not allow it."

"Is that so, little bird? Perhaps you can will away your grandfather's sickness as well." Lady de'La'saiir gave James's hair a slight tousle. "No, your cousins will surely want to play the entire time we are there. Your uncle Frederic would have me and your father's heads if you got Myrna and Mysa sick."
"What if I do not want to play with Myrna and Mysa?"

"Little Bird, we must all make sacrifices in order to make others happy. Your father is very good at it. Do you not want to be like your father?"

"I do. I only wish Uncle Frederic had a son for me to play with."

"Hopefully he will someday. If not, you best hope Uncle Fen does."

James did not rightly understand what his mother meant. Such conversation bored him, however, so he chose to allow his mother to become lost in her thoughts as he drew on his cloak and headed outside.

It was not that the boy did not enjoy going to visit his family. He loved them all of course. It was simply dull. James had been born the only boy of his generation of de'La'saiirs, the ruling family of the country of Tayle. His father was the youngest of four siblings. The oldest of King Brenneric's children was Frederic, first in line to the throne. Frederic and his wife had been "blessed" with a set of twin girls, Myrna and Mysa. The labor had been hard for their mother and eleven years later she had still never produced another child.

The second of the king's children was a girl named May. Being a woman of many charms, May never had any issue finding suitors. At the age of fifteen tales of her beauty were widely known and the heir to the throne of the neighboring country of Briena personally traveled to Tayle to ask for her hand. May was not often seen in Tayle, for she was soon to become the queen of Briena. Aunt May had refused to have children until her beauty started to spoil, vain as she was. She had only recently conceived her first child fifteen years later, much to the discrepancy of her entire kingdom.

The third child to King Brenneric arrived a year after the second. This was James's uncle Fenwick. Fen was the last to be married of the four children but likely the first to have a child. Marriage was not ideal to him and he put it off until the King forced it upon him. It is widely known that the number of bastards being produced from the castle walls tripled as soon as Prince Fen came of age. It is also widely know that marriage and his three legitimate daughters have not slowed those numbers.

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