Hello? I’m Jady, the prince’s sweetheart in the novel Rast. I assume you are all seeing my words by some unknown force of magic.
On my world, magic underlies almost everything. Sometimes benevolently, but often as an expression of hidden malevolence. No one can learn magic – it is a force of the world that few can control. If it were not for the Drogar, our sorcerer king, we would all be its playthings. The story of Rast that we tell depicts the peril ensuing when the magic overpowers and destroys the old Drogar, and the struggle of his heir, Prince Egon, to reassert control.
I will start by telling you a little about myself and my world. I inherited the duties of Guardian of the Silent Forest that stretches along the feet of the mountains toward the desert Skeletal. People call me the Soulingas as often as Jady. This name really means the descendants of Soule, but it’s applied to me because ever since my father and brothers were killed in battle in the forest I have been the last of the line.
Rast lies between the Foghead Mountains and the wide expanse of the Undulains that stretch seemingly forever eastwards, but actually as far as Easderly on the farther shore of the continent. Following the mountain chain south will take a traveller into unknown lands where Krachins have their nests – going north would take a venturous soul to the land of the North Folk, villianous people who act like mindless hoards under the influence of their Casket of Scrolls. The lands stretching west to the ocean are inhabited by our cousins the Mountlanders, dwellers in the crags, and the Fisher Folk living on the edge of the mighty ocean.
Three years ago, my family members were ambushed by Krachins and now lie restlessly in a tumulus beneath the bones of the enemies they tried to repel. If I have no powerful sons, the line of guardians will die out. As you will see in the story, my hope has always been to be the wife of Prince Egon, but the only son who can become his sorcerer heir must be born to a cousin, a princess of the royal family of Easderly. Everyone, even Egon, insists that I must be exiled to find a husband in a foreign land when Princess Agatha arrives.
Who could deny me the fury I feel as I ride eastwards across the Undulains? Egon would like to have been kinder, but beset by the rebellion of the magic and an invasion of the imperialist Offrangs in their iron galleys he has troubles enough. He even forgot to send an escort to guide the princess’s caravansi though the parched lands. I took it upon myself to supply that need – and to meet the haughty princess who seeks to replace me in his affections. Can it be that the scheming magic has decided to test who should bear Egon’s sons?