Over a hundred years ago, Agartes Allaicras, Hero of the Kag, helped form the city-states of Cael and Kiel, forged from previously-uninhabitable wilderness into bastions of culture and prosperity in Western Vir.
For his service to the Kag people, he was awarded power, prestige, and lands in the Kingdom of Hafod, where he and his young bride settled to raise their large family. Agartes' world turned from fighting tribes and monsters to long walks on his massive estate, surrounded by the laughter of children.
But there are no happily ever afters. In the battle for Northern Hafod against the Dageian Empire, Agartes paid the ultimate price.
In the silence that follows, only stories remain.
"He tried to remember what his mother’s hair smelled like, realized he couldn’t. He couldn’t even remember her face. He could still hear the laughter in the courtyard, could still remember the timbre in Aldeti’s viol and the way the candles flickered each time he kissed them good-night. One never forgets the taste of water or the smell of air. But water and air is...only water and air. He could remember the feel of his infant child in his arms twelve years ago, but could he hold on to everything for the rest of his life? They were all irrevocably behind him, now."
“When you reach my age, it’s sometimes hard to remember the shape of your life as it once was. Once, I carried that bedraggled rat on my shoulders, much like you do with your girl. I would take him to the beach before lunch-time and think that I would never tire of watching him squeal as the sand sinks around his toes, such precious toes. Now his squealing sounds like wheels in much need of oiling, and if they don’t grate my old bones, they make me snore. I don’t even want to think about what his toes might look like.”
“Sorrow,” she said with a smile, “is not always tragic.”
"Look at your daughter, he had told her once, during one of the many times she took the child to the palace to visit. See how her laughter makes you feel. If I could take that feeling and give it to people, I would not need a dragon, I think."