The War of Wishes

This is the story of Lyra and Avelyn, of love, bereavement, betrayal and war.

Years ago, and miles away, Nine Cities shone like jewels in the crown of this land. Before the Nowhere Emperor rolled the dice and broke the Empire, before the name Odreïn was but a dream of a dream, before Askor rose from ashes and rubble, fair Sçeard, greatest of the Nine, was a beacon to those who travelled, and all roads came to it. Grasped by mountains, it was home to a thousand thousands.

In these days, the arcane was a parlour trick, and true magic shaped the world into the image of civilisation. True magic raised bridges that span the sea, and towers pointing like fingers into the sky, and foundations for cities the size of kingdoms. In thin places you can feel it yet, but out of sight and reach even to the wisest of our Age.

Among the wise were two schools. The Wrights would draw forth great works, bringing into existence what never could have been. But the Binders sought only to describe and solidify what was. Both in their time produced great and terrible things alike, and both were feared and respected by the common folk.

Greatest of the Binders was Lyra, and Sçeard was her city. Her power held the mountain walls fast, and none could assail it. Her wife was Avelyn, a Wright in whose image the city was made, and whose songs of devotion and love of Lyra could make the entire city weep.

When the greatest army this world will ever see marched on the city, it took their power combined to halt the march. Skilled with a sword in equal measure to her magic, Lyra led the counterattack.

More people died in that battle than are alive today, and amongst them, Lyra.

Avelyn was stricken with grief, and Wrought a great and terrible Work, tearing down the walls between the places and denying the Raven Queen her due. None before had returned a soul to its body, and even in our Age, a lowly priest can do so, due to Avelyn. To Binders, this was a great horror.

Thus began the War of Wishes. Such a war cannot be described in histories, since it made its own history. Such a war cannot be remembered, even were there any alive left to remember it. Such a war can only be told in stories.

In the midst of it was Lyra. In her eyes, Avelyn’s Work was a great betrayal, and it tore her apart. Their love tainted with poison, she attempted even to return to death, only to discover she was Bound to this world, for in Avelyn’s grief she had endeavored that they not be separated again. Lyra raised eight great armies led by eight terrible Lieutenants and fought with the Binders against her wife.

Half an age later, Lyra’s armies had razed seven of the great Cities, and in their turn came to Sçeard, as all roads do. Her wife was in the city, and their love had been also, and this it held no place in Lyra’s torn heart. She allowed her protection to unbind, and the armies marched in unhindered, and the beacon shone no more.

Avelyn held hope in her heart, until the very end, when Lyra drove her black sword Nelitas into it, as the sky turned dark at noon. With her last breath, she uttered a curse, a final Word, that none would love Lyra again, or know her name, or see her face. Henceforth, she would be called Karita, and her presence would indeed be disaster.

All of this story is true. Some of it even happened.

The War of Wishes

The Broken Crown quarterto Ruadhan