Fantasy. While Alain, his wife Autumn, and Basil meet with Princess Ariel Adams, an ancient evil awakens to wreak havoc on a divided Sept-Ternia. With fellow Triond author Jack Shepherd.

THRONE WARS 05

Fantasy. While Alain, his wife Autumn, and Basil meet with Princess Ariel Adams, an ancient evil awakens to wreak havoc on a divided Sept-Ternia. With fellow Triond author Jack Shepherd.

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Neptune was the blue-and-white City of Guilds on the eastern sea shore of Sept-Ternia’s one continent. Here a young person could learn any trade imaginable, from the noble and the practical to the unholy and debased. Thieves’ guilds, prostitutes’ guilds and gamblers’ guilds were only the three most obviously bad ones. There were whispered rumors among the general populace of guilds still darker in their designs on the body, soul and spirit, guilds devoted to the making of mind-altering drugs and to direct occult practices.

To the tax collectors, there was no such thing as a rumored guild. Everything under the sun could be licensed and sold here, so long as the guild doing business paid the low tax rate that John Trident charged. The religious guilds were an exception; since they gave freely of their services, they paid no tax save for the property they rented, and one of those guilds was the local Assembly of Light founded by Alain Harper. Under those conditions, the Assembly and the other religious guilds were left free to preach and to live as they pleased.

From time to time, the Undying Singer paid a visit to the tax collectors; they were his most reliable source of information on guild activity. And they certainly responded well to personal charm on the one hand and solid gold on the other.

Ancient Corinth on Old First Realm Earth must’ve been very much like this city, Alain mused as he walked with two companions up the winding road that led from the city square to the palace. “To corinthinize” was a byword even among the pagans of the time. We have many people here, relatively speaking, but they work against tremendous odds from within and without – again, just as in ancient Corinth.

“Surely you’re not going to make us walk all the way up this hill?” Basil complained good-naturedly. “They don’t nickname this road Dead Man’s Lane for nothing.”

“It’s certainly an effective defense against marauders by land,” the other companion remarked. “With all those lookout towers at every turn, a medieval army would do well to get halfway up before being slaughtered. Even fast cavalry wouldn’t stand much of a chance.”

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