Undeath meant only that they could wait forever.
Everautumn is a realm beyond common reality and common knowledge. Where retching volcanoes, unrelenting heat and ashen forests canopied with tufts of flame dominate scarcely hospitable terrain. A realm in the midst of conflict spanning millennia.
Almi and Merill have died. Their hearts no longer beat in the fashion they once did. Extirpated and deposited in the harsh, lava-sown world of Everautumn, they now survive as something seated between elf and undead. For six years they have endured, because they trust he will come.
Accompanied by Descarta, the artificial weaveress; Elissa, the once-forgotten daughter; and Hafstagg, the paunchy warrior, Virgil has been sailing in search of a way to keep his promise to revive the elven twins. And he will stop at nothing to do so.
Everautumn plans to challenge that.
Following the near-catastrophe by his hands, Virgil and his cohorts have been exiled from the kingdom of Elusia. His incumbent elves, wards rescued a lifetime ago from the brink of death in a slovenly mackerel locker, have had their life chords mercilessly severed. It is a promise to revive them, to scour the corners of Grea Weralt looking for a way—any way—to use his artifice in alchemy and weaving to resurrect the twins that drives him forward. They’d always been so fiercely loyal, and he’d always pushed them aside. Never again.
He doesn’t travel alone, though. His once-queen and capable weaveress, Descarta acts as a stanchion. His daughter, Elissa, is there too; outright ignored for much of her life, it’s hard goings between the two of them. But both father and daughter do what little they can to develop a relationship. When a leviathan makes detritus of their vessel and strands them on an uncharted island, it’s a good enough reason to breathe more life into the bellows of the bond between father and daughter. It is there that they stumble upon the entrance to Cartesium, an antediluvian metropolis. The city is long-abandoned, but it is precisely the city they’ve been searching for, the city Virgil visited centuries ago when he first began his descent into villainy.
Finding themselves ensnared by an insidious trap, the cohorts are whisked away to the fire-kissed realm of Everautumn and swiftly embroiled in all the turmoil therein. Never content in moderation, upheaval continues to follow hot on their heels. Elissa vanishes alongside a legendary weaver whose motives are murky at best. Almi and Merill—those delightfully ebullient elves—finally chirp and purl into the forefront of the story. They seize the reigns with characteristic vigor and never relent. The twins rejoice, wallow in the smile-warm honey of triumph; for they have prevailed in his coming: their Virgil, their only one.
But they have not waited without consequence. Corrupted by undeath, damaged by six years apart from the man whose presence nurtures them as truly as their vitiated hearts, Almi and Merill have been soured. Still, they sing for him; they croon and lilt their singsong love as they always have, his precious passerine. By the rites they performed long ago and perpetually renew with every utterance of “Our Virgil”, they persist for him.
So it is that they walk merrily and yet not so merrily along the tumultuous path to find his daughter and brave the pernicious peregrination through Everautumn. An army of earthen beasts, a flowing baroque city of water elves, a cursed citadel of zombies, men like toads occupying a volcano-made-fortress with a thousand, thousand roosts and treachery, vile treachery, all pass under foot or wing before the end of their journey. All the while, the tragically demented sisters dodder uncertainly between jubilance and melancholy.
Carefully, ever so carefully, they’re pieced back together by those who care. By themselves, too, as they gently tuck pieces like porcelain back into place: perhaps a chip of an ear or nip of the knee. While doing so, they appreciate the favorably smooth surface and equally agreeable edges. Canted as they are, capricious as they are, Almi and Merill still maintain a keen penchant for detail. Those shards they handle are not replaced without first receiving a thorough thrice-over; their sight rolls along the rough yet toothsome edges and their fingers follow suit, absorbing memories conveniently forgotten or stashed under a mental bucket.
And so, at the end of their journey, when zombies and elves and all manner of creatures have fell to the twang of Merill’s bow or the bite of Almi’s many-fanged mace; when Elissa’s true identity as Queen of Everautumn and an author of time and reality is revealed, they find themselves whole again—as whole as sisters too often shattered can be.
Smiles press arrowheads into their cheeks, and for the first time in too long, the wake of their smiles are nothing more than that: clean, happy, content.
Tragedy,turmoil, tests of loyalty and strength. Well written plat and characters. Everything you need in a wonderful fantasy.
Virgil and Descarta are on a quest to restore life to Merrill and Almi, who are elven twins. Virgil has fire powers and Descarta’s are wind and water. We are only missing an earth element here. Elissa the daughter of Virgil and Merrill is on the expedition as well. My favorite characters are the elf twins.
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When not dutifully scrawling novels and the occasional article, Darrell can be found petting his wife or bathing with his frolicsome cat. They're both spry and easily beguiled by plastic springs, so he often confuses the two when typing his biographies in third-person.
If populating a map for military conquest, it would be accurate to neatly place his tiny walnut idol--artillery, maybe--somewhere in Toronto, Ontario. His ammunition would be writing, reading, gaming, slumbering and catting; not the naughty whipping sort but activities involving cats. Catting.