Eastern Tide

Artist Ben Baldwin

The Aldabreshin Compass turns to its final point as the tide of events sweeps Kheda eastwards to bring him all the way home. He’s travelled incognito more than once to avoid curious eyes as he’s made deals with wizards that his culture would utterly condemn. As a result he’s learned that mages are men and women of good, bad and indifferent character just like his own people. They can make good and bad choices as they use their magical power, just as the warlords he deals with wield their military and political might.

He’s also gained a better understanding of the many and valid reasons the Aldabreshi have for hating magic. He’s seen it abused for personal aggrandizement and been caught up in the catastrophic results of magic wielded with the best of intentions but without any clear appreciation of the likely consequences. Mages can indeed be very dangerous to know. Thanks to them, dragons are threatening the Aldabreshin Archipelago once again.

Kheda alone has the knowledge and wizardly contacts to save the domains of warlords he doesn’t even know, of those he’s allied with, and of those he detests. Who will he choose to help? How will he help them? He has no authority travelling as a nameless slave. Reclaiming his rank would give him the power to act but would also make him the focus of keen attention. His old enemies have not forgotten why they want him dead. The danger that his dealings with wizards will be uncovered becomes all the more acute.

Moreover, he has to face the world he knew in the light of his new knowledge. How can he fulfil his responsibilities as a ruler, when his beliefs have changed so much? How can he fulfil his responsibilities as a father, when he has sacrificed his children’s happiness for the sake of his wider obligations? How can he return to a marriage of policy and expedience, when he loves another woman? What will he do if she refuses to return his love, now he has abandoned beliefs she still cherishes?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.