Prologue : The Ice Man The snow fell all around, the stone bridge being covered in the fluffy white rug that the sky created. The stone bridge, also known as the Talion bridge, was the longest bridge in all of Troth. It connected Ebernore with Harwick, and was at least a day and a half journey on foot. How and when it was constructed was a solid mystery, one nobody knew the answer to. It went through water and over land. On either side of the bridge there were four buildings: the garrison for the soldiers on guard, the armory, the food hall, and the toward. The tower was used by archers and scouts alike. Whoever built the bridge intended for things to be fair. Ebernore and Harwick were separated by a large lake, which had long flowing connections or rivers and streams breaking out from it. If an army wanted to cross, they had to take a fleet of boats, or walk across the bridge. The bridge saved the most preparation and money. Hooves made prints in the fresh, falling snow as multiple horses led the way for footmen down the bridge, towards the East. The men had been moving for eight hours now, and already found their spirits sullen and dry. The last thing any man wanted was to escort a diplomat into enemy territory in the freezing cold snow. General Groma Wintersun rode up front, leading the army. His armor was red and gold, and his helmet had a red plume on the top. His shield was strung around his back, and his long sword at his hip. The forty year old man grumbled internally as he counted the time he saw his breath as he inhaled and exhaled. It wasn't unusual for him to be out and about, but he hated escort missions in the snow. Groma felt his blood freezing and his toes cracking. He laughed at the thought of being bed ridden and hanging his toes on his mantle as a memento. He shook his head lightly, but quickly and abruptly stopped his horse as he came to a large lump of snow in the middle of the bridge. The snow around it was red. A pool of red snow.Groma raised his frozen, gauntleted hand up to signal for everyone else to stop moving. As his horse came to a stop, he carefully hopped off of the horse back and slowly walked over to the lump in the snow. He slowly drew his sword and pressed it against the large lump of snow. He felt flesh under there, that was one thing that was for sure. The general sheathed his sword and knelt down beside the snow. He started to brush it off, revealing the emblem of the Catrina house, a well known military force in Harwick. It was on the back of a dark green, blood stained cape. He turned the body over to reveal a very dead knight, with large stab holes all through his armor, with frozen and dried blood all over it. "What do you suspect happened?" Groma's Lieutenant, Henessey Croner, had gotten off his horse and stood behind his general. The sudden voice that broke his focus startled Groma, but he quickly found his voice. "I'm thinking that another family had attacked this position on the bridge." Groma hated when he was right. But, he very much was right. Suddenly, an orange ball of fire flew up in the distance. An arrow of fire. This must be the work of the Dragonbone house. "Wait here, Henessey." The Dragonbone family was known for fire, explosives and all manner of heat attacks. Groma was absolutely positive that it was them as soon as he saw multiple light up the distance. Groma kept walking, then suddenly the whole bridge began to lightly shake. The only thing theatrical about the shaking was the large explosion of fire that was to be seen off in the distance. There clearly was a battle going on that they could do nothing about. Groma didn't need to walk any further to know that a portion of the bridge just got blown off. This would never have happened if the King of Old were still alive. The general shook his head as he turned back on his heel. When he returned, he was greeted by steel on steel. Dragonbone soldiers had set up a trap. They were holding on to the side of the bridge, and as soon as they were alerted of the Wintersun presence, they had rose up and attacked. The attack started with the slitting of throats, then when the Wintersun army found out that there were attackers, they drew their weapons. Henessey had dropped his two handed bastard sword over the bridge by accident, due to the lack of rails. He grabbed one of the opposing soldiers by the helmet and threw him right off the edge. "Aye! You can get my sword while yer down there!" There was only one thing that Groma could do. He grabbed his sword, and grabbed his shield. A weapon in each fist, he approached the field of battle. His shield was out in front of him, and his sword above his head. Blood gushed from the wound he just made, a gash right across the back of a helmetless grunt. Groma kicked the man in the back of the leg, causing him to fall to his knees. Raising his sword once more, he took the enemies' head clean off. Groma turned around to find a man almost face to face with him, his ax above his head as he screamed bloody murder. Thinking quickly, the general had to thrust his sword forward, jabbing straight through his attacker. He pulled his sword back and brought his shield across the face of the now dying man. The snow was beginning to get heavier. The almost fog like substance in the air made it hard to see who was in front of you, making it difficult for Lord Wintersun to tell his men from enemy. This was one of the worst feelings he had ever had in all of his years in combat. His arm rang as a hammer crashed down on his shield. Dropping his shield, he took his sword in both hands, despite one hand being limp, and slashed his sword upright in front of him, cutting through the fog. He heard the bastard scream as he felt his sword cut through butter. Groma heard the blood splatter and two pieces of body hit the ground. here's hoping that it was a Dragonbone member, and not his own. The forty nine year old general Groma Wintersun found himself falling over the edge, his helmet falling off and his sword hitting the bridge. He rolled backwards over the edge of the bridge as the large horse drawn wagon holding the diplomat in it rushed past him, just nearly hitting him. With his good hand, Groma held on to the iced over bridge. This is not good. At all. Back on top of the bridge, Henessey was holding his own fairly well. He stole an iron short sword out of a soldier's scabbard and sliced his throat open in one swift movement, then moved towards the middle of the bridge. Henessey was quite the rogue back in the days of the Stolis War, when [supposedly] orcs raided the land. Henessey specialized in small arms combat, but was normally stuck using large weapons as ordered by the king. He was a fair 5'5 in height, weighed only one hundred pounds, shaved off all his hair and kept his brown beard braided down the chin. He wasn't suited for large weaponry. He felt he was best with small weapons. Henessey watched as the carriage holding the diplomat raged down the bridge, hitting multiple people, both Dragonbone and Wintersun. This was not good. Nobody could see who they were attacking. Things were looking horrible at the moment. Orbs of light started to appear from the North. A flank?! Henessey prepared himself for the blast of fire, until he saw him. Young Keilla Wintersun on his horse, swinging his sword at the Dragonbone. Followed by his was his brother, and their sister, and their father, and at least twenty more Wintersun men. On horseback they swung their swords and shot their arrows, picking off the Dragonbone bastards. "Good to see you, boy." Henessey attempted to catch his breath. Keilla jumped off his horse and sheathed his sword. "We have been tailing you since you left. We expected that you'd need back up somewhere down the road." "Aye. I recognize this technique. It's called the Ice man. They trick you into thinking there was an attack earlier, but they are waiting off on the side. Then the bastards attack when it's most convenient for them." "Huh. You couldn't have said anything, Henessey?" Keilla shook his head as he walked towards where his uncle groma's sword was. "You don't understand boy...We were ready for it." The lad walked to both edges of the bridge and peered over. No sign of his uncle. "I see my uncle's sword. But no Uncle Groma. Where is he?" "I'm sure he is just regrouping with the men. He will be fine." Chapter One: Seed of a KingIt had been fifteen years since Lord Kremlin Wintersun had died in the field of battle. Kremlin's will handed down the throne of the house to Keille Wintersun, the oldest of his three boys. The lord of the house of Wintersun had been the ruler of the kingdom since Kremlin was in power. That was tradition. shameful enough, Keille had declined the crown and passed it down to his brother, whom was the next in line. It was passed down the the potentially tyrannical Kellie Wintersun, who hadn't been using the crown very much since then. Keille paced back and fourth in his large library, his golden cape flowing behind him as he walked. His fingers rubbed his chin in thought. Tonight was the night where they celebrated his father, and his uncle Groma, two great men. His Uncle Groma was lost in battle seventeen years ago, during an attack at the Talion bridge. All they found was his sword, and then nothing else. Others say that he fought bravely. Others say that he jumped over the edge of the bridge in order to escape the attack. Keille refused to believe that his uncle would do something like that. The houselord looked at the large banners bearing the family W on the wall. He wanted to do something revolving around family to commemorate his family members. Maybe through a ball? The Gorrels were married into the family through a distant cousin, meaning that he'd have to feed toe Gorrels too. One Gorrel normally equaled to a hundred extra coming with them. Word had already spread that the lord was already planning a family gathering of sorts. Members had already started to get ready, members from outside of the halls had started to hitch up a wagon. There was a high demand for Keille to get this perfectly. The lord groaned as he sat down at his wooden desk. He rested his elbows on the desk and rested his forehead in his palms. Okay, let's just say I go with a ball. Can I find a band of musicians in such a short time to play? How about food? can I feed almost the entire kingdom? I really need a second opinion on this. I wonder if my brother will allow me to borrow the advice of his advisers. The Lord of the House was in charge of a lot of things. First off, his main responsibility was his house, his family members, and keeping everything in tact. The king made sure that all of his corner, and more if he had taken it over, ran well, whereas a houselord took care of simply his house and family. Lord Wintersun was technically a king in his own way. King of the Wintersuns really rang in Keille's ears, but he did not want to be known as a king. Being a Lord was enough for keilla, he already felt like there was more weight on his shoulders than he could handle. Stepping down was not an option, however. He had nobody he saw as a worthy heir.