[LINK] to OOC![LINK] Discord is the ultimate end of all impurity Men and women were crossing the streets of the grand city of Cataline that rose straight from the heart of the kingdom of Dovry. They were comfortable, well-fed, and marginally more wealthy than the rest of the cities in the kingdom, and, in truth, most of the ones outside it as well. Nearby, the countless songbirds of the forest surrounding Cataline were still singing, tittering, and trilling as they always did. The Crownsong still held his court, the doors of the Cataline Palace open to the common man and their grievances. The banners of Dovry and House Skynne that ruled it snapped in the wind. The inns rang with the raucous laughter of patrons. In every measure of the word, the day was quite ordinary to the sight of those that did not know better, but to those that did, there was nothing mundane about that day. Beneath the bowels of the great Cataline Palace of Dovry, her War Generals gathered, setting out plans not against Renala, but to seize all the power that they could for the Crownsong. In the outskirts of the city, thankfully kept from the eyes of most prying citizens of the place, camps were being struck up for soldiers that were preparing for the coming march. There were whispers in the taverns and amongst the livery. There were rumours in the marketplaces, hushed conversations between the commonfolk. There was one common thread: for the first time in 300 years, Dovry was about to enter a massive conflict. The fertile soils of the kingdom, guarded by the nigh-impassable Edge of the World to the north, were about to be sowed with the seeds of battle, and watered with the sweat and blood of men. It was certain beyond a reasonable doubt that before the war was over, the strains of the Song would be heard far and wide from both sides. Before the war was over, there would be much wailing and gnashing of teeth. As the sun fell from its high seat in the sky, and the silence of evenfall draped itself across the land, there was an unmistakable sinister chord that began to manifest in the Song. It was one of such magnitude that even those who did not know where to look, who did not possess the spark of power needed to mold the Song to their whims, could feel it. Yet their lack of ability merely made them incapable of fathoming it. The once-carefree citizens of the land's mightiest kingdom quivered in an inexplicable fear as they began to prepare their suppers and finished what remained to be done that day. In the palace, there was an unmistakable stench of wrongness that hung in the still air, just like the ghastly pale bars of the twilight sun's light. The unnaturally pale white beams that were supposed to be much like liquid brass were caught by the icy claymore that hung behind the golden throne. It danced across the blade, casting an eerily mesmerizing dance of lights and shadows across the entire throne room. The gilded doors swung open, and decked in royal robes with the sky-blue of house Skynne and the gold trim of Dovry, Feltaniel Skynne, Crownsong of Dovry, Great Lord of House Skynne, Lord of Cataline, Hand of Gold, and the Great Conductor's Voice, strode into the throne room. It was the only deserted part of the palace at this time of day, long after the king's Court had ceased, three hours after the morning zenithstime. Behind him entered the flustered Lord Courier and the Crownsong's newest, and oddly most influential adviser, Agnor. "Your Grace, the Swordsingers refuse to fight for Dovry " said the Lord Courier, panting. When he had received word of a response from the choirmaster, he had ridden all the way back to Cataline, driving his poor horse very nearly to its untimely death. Many a day on that long journey from the Edge of the World, he cursed his lack of an airship. All available airships were being conscripted into the Dovryn army, and even his tiny, minimal-crew courier ship was in one of the large fields near the southern border, awaiting whatever commands may come from Cataline. "Your Majesty, if I may--" said Agnor, his voice carrying the thick drawl characteristic of the more rural Soranin. "--the swordsingers entered into a treaty with you. They have been signed into your service in exchange for the stipend that you provide them for the maintenance of their order every year. Now, in your hour of greatest need against the Wolfsong, they refuse to aid you. This is a crime against the Crown, and against Dovry. This is treason!" The Crownsong hesitated for a moment, eyes clouding over in confusion, but the look was as fleeting as the memory of a hazy dream. "Yes. Treason. For this they must be gathered and executred. Gather the Sentinels" he yelled in a seemingly unenthusiastic manner at the Lord Courier. "I want every Swordsinger within the Cataline walls to be rounded up before the evening zenithstime" he continued, the apathy plain in his voice. It was almost as though the Crownsong was not entirely present in the room. The Lord Courier rushed out the room, face red from the exertion of running around all day. When he was gone, Agnor strode to the Crownsong and leaned in to whisper in his ear. "Your majesty, we must not execute them. I have a plan " The blank apathy in the Crownsong's eyes was wiped away by blazing anger, and then, something far more sinister. Behind him, black flames lapped at the sword made of ice. There were two kinds of people that were streaming in through the gates of the Citadel, one kind far more numerous, unfortunately, than the other. Needless to say, the Citadel, old as it was, was abuzz with activity and hushed whispers. No one was entirely sure what was going on, but the speculation was becoming more and more alarmist. The Choirmaster could do nothing but allow the Citadel to fester in the guesswork until he confirmed his suspicions. It was quickly becoming clear that what the first folk to arrive had said was indeed coming to pass. Just the previous day, one of the Order's only airships, an old rickety thing in such a state of disrepair for lack of funds to do anything substantial to help its problems, arrived from the Order's Southern Hold in Dovry. The Choirmaster had sent word to all the Holds the moment he turned away the Lord Courier, for he feared that there was Discord on the horizon, and misfortune for them all. "My Knights Swordsinger, and entrants to our noble Order, I fear the time has come for us to come together once more in the halls where we were all taught the ways of those that came before us. Renala has declared war on Dovry, and the Crownsong has demanded our aid in the war so that Dovry may win and wipe out House Lupendren once and for all. We are the defenders of Harmony. Our oaths bar us from partaking in the conflicts of nations. We are meant not as warriors to bring swift end to war. Our sworn duty is to act as emissaries, and, if need be, enforcers, of peace." There was but one messenger aboard the airship, one man to whom all the care that the vehicle's passengers could afford was given. He had but one duty, as soon as they landed and anchored, he ran for the Eyrie, denying all food, water, and board along the way. He bore dire news, not only for the Choirmaster, but for the Citadel, and their order as a whole. He ran like a man who was being chased by the black fires of Discord, terror quick upon his heels. The others he came with went directly to the infirmaries of the Citadel instead. In their wake, the smell of charred flesh lingered for days. "I fear that my refusal to participate in this bloodshed will bring terrible times for our noble cause. If Feltaniel Skynne is the man that I once knew, then we have nothing to fear. However, I am afraid that the Crownsong of Dovry has become the man I feared he would. We may need all our strength once more, and to this end, we need each and every one of you to return home. He will surely strike here, at the heart of our Order, and we cannot allow the Citadel, and with it, the Swordsingers, to fall. For who, then, shall defend the land from the tyranny of Discord?" When they were done talking, the Choirmaster dismissed the courier to the infirmary. He himself carried the stench of singed flesh, though his injury was less than apparent. As soon as he was gone, the Choirmaster called for the Band Conductors in a meeting of utmost urgency. It was one sealed to the Theatre of the Eyrie, well away from prying ears and eyes. Grim-faced and with a grave voice he faced the Band Conductors gathered before him, and said, "It has begun. Dunfe'er1 Silvaere has fallen." 1 - Dunfe'er, "The Fort of" in the old tongue, an honorary title given to all Holds of the Order other than the Citadel itself.