Twelve thousand miles away from Birmisia and the rest of the huge continent of Mallon, on the other side of the world, was the much smaller continent of Sumir. Thousands of years earlier, it had been the home of the ancient civilizations of Zur, Argrathia, Ballar, and Donnata. Now it was home to the powerful kingdoms of Mirsanna, Bordonia, and most powerful of all, the United Kingdom of Greater Brechalon.
Nineteen year old Brech Prince Clitus sat in his office, carefully examining a map of the northern third of Sumir, which included the land of Freedonia, which was both in theory and in fact a vassal state of Brechalon. His finger traced a line from Bangdorf to the industrial cities of Butzbach and Hagerforte to the coastal cities of Friedaport and Eineburgh. He frowned.
“And these acts… these bombings are politically motivated?” he asked. “You’re sure of it?”
“Yes, Your Highness,” said a man in a dark suit and dark glasses, seated across from him. “They are political and they are organized. These aren’t random events. They’re designed to destabilize Brech power in Freedonia.”
“What is the Prime Minister doing about it?”
“He’s… he’s still waiting for guidance from the King.”
Clitus rolled his eyes. “And my father has nothing to offer.”
“He’s not concerned. He calls them ‘isolated events by a few ne’er-do-wells.’”
“What about my brother?”
“I doubt the Crown Prince knows anything about what’s going on in Freedonia, or elsewhere outside either Sinceree Palace or Madame Fleurchaud’s establishment.”
The prince closed his eyes and rubbed his temple.
“And what about Madame Fleurchaud’s?”
“Are there loose ends to be attended to there, Mr. Meanie?”
“It’s an open secret that your brother is a regular there, but as of yet, none of his… um, companions have come up pregnant.”
“That’s something, at least,” said Clitus. “I feel like I should celebrate.”
“What do you want me to do, Your Highness?”
“About my brother—nothing. Keep an eye on things in Freedonia. Do we have any magic assets we could use?”
“Not much. I have a few people in the War Ministry, but we used to count on the Zenith.”
“Yes, well they’re gone and they’re not coming back.” He sighed. “We may need to build something like the Zenith for ourselves. One thing that we will make clear from the very beginning though, is that they are to stay as far away from the Birmisian Sorceress as possible.”
“I could locate one or two high-level wizards that could start such an organization. Your Highness could write to Lord Dechantagne. He could let her know that we’re no threat to her—it would help recruiting if we were proactive there.”
“Yes. I’ll write him,” said Clitus. “I’ll also go see his cousin. She can guarantee that our message gets to the Drache Girl’s ear.”