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A note from Andur

Author's Comment:

If you find mistakes, pls tell, thx. I don't like mistakes.

Author's Comment:

I was asked about reading my work on other sites. The answer is simple:

Currently, I am not active in any other networks than royalroadl.com. Only here, I correct mistakes and errors.

If you read it anywhere else and have to pay for it, or have to deal with an annoying amount of advertisement, You Are Being Betrayed. You would do good if you make other people in that network aware of it. This is a free project of mine for the purpose of having fun. And if people try to make money with it, you shouldn't bother visiting their website.

I have no problem with translation and reposting of the story, as long as the person in question isn't doing it for money or stealing my identity.

The only one whom I actually allowed to have my work on his website is Armaell who invested the time to compile them into pdf.

(http://armaell-library.net/author/andur)

Books:

Until Death? http://royalroadl.com/fiction/629

Transcendence? http://royalroadl.com/fiction/1587

Beyond? http://royalroadl.com/fiction/2850

Coeus? http://royalroadl.com/fiction/4745

Court of Souls? http://royalroadl.com/fiction/6545

Agent of the Realm? http://royalroadl.com/fiction/7707

Law of Shadows http://royalroadl.com/fiction/9766

 

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The war didn’t erupt overnight. It was a slow, gradual process. The involved parties took one step at a time… until they realized that things had gotten out of hand and that there was no way of turning back.”

 

 

***Illum***

***Willow***

 

 

I land on Nova's office table. Normally, I wouldn't care about her peculiarities, but the fate of my people is in her hands. If Nova behaves strangely, though it’s hard to tell what counts as strange behaviour in her case, then I have to know what's going on.

Sitting in her office, staring off into nothingness for hours, that counts as strange behaviour in my book. “What are you doing?”

Nova closes her eyes slowly and opens them again, focusing her attention on me. “I was testing the new interface to Illum. I was working on it for a long time, but spending an hour here and there between other tasks didn’t get me far. After a few failures, I think that I finally got it running.”

“Interface?” I cringe. Yet another strange expression. Nova has a lot of those. Luckily, I remember that Nova already used the word to refer to the magical illusion which controls Illum. “I thought that your light-show-thingy is your interface to Illum. Why would you need another one?”

“An interface doesn't have to be seen by others. The new one is thought-controlled, allowing me to tap directly into the spell-ware. It’s much more efficient but needs a lot of foundations. It took time to make it work. By itself, it isn’t much different than the old one. But it allows me to program much faster, which gives me the ability to improve a lot of Illum’s functions. I can also add new ones which were out of my reach up until now.”

Okay… I must admit that I didn’t entirely understand that. What’s spell-ware? But the implications of the rest of her explanation are mind boggling. “I thought that Illum is a series of separate enchantments which are woven together. How can you control all of them at once with your mind? It feels like something only a god could do.”

“Gods have nothing to do with it. But it’s tricky. That’s why it took me so long. Maybe you should visit the university and learn the groundwork of enchanting. Without that, I am afraid that you wouldn’t understand a more detailed explanation anyway.” Nova tilts her head, looking at her desk. “Strange.”

“What?” I ask, anxious. Did something go wrong?

Nova’s expression turns worried. “I just noticed that I didn’t have any paperwork today. That’s why I invested the entire morning into my project. Normally, I am overwhelmed by reports and requests to solve all sorts of issues regarding Illum. There were just three or four reports which needed my attention. No requests at all.” She reaches for a small stack of documents and sorts through them. “Did the aide forget to deliver the documents? I will flay the skin off her flesh if that’s the case.”

That would be me!

I shudder and clear my throat. “Most of the issues which are brought to you require a final word from Illum’s ruler. They only arrive at your office because there is no precedent to draw upon, or because the involved parties absolutely refuse to accept the judge’s decision. They try to circumvent the judge by requesting the justice of the highest priority.” Illum’s society is still a developing thing, but at least we managed to sort out the basic things like law, military and property rights.

Nova looks at me. Her expression says that she has no idea what that has to do with her decreased work.

Rolling my eyes, I answer, “Yesterday, you executed someone in public for speaking against you. Now, most of the petitioners who persisted on your judgement are afraid of pressing their cases past Illum’s judicial court. They are afraid that you might deem it necessary to punish one side or the other harshly.”

The corners of Nova’s mouth pull down in silent frustration and she slams her fist onto the table. I almost fall, because the entire table shakes under the impact. Shit, I should have returned to human size.

“Damn it all! I should have found a reason to kill someone much earlier. Had I known that they were pestering me because of that… All that lost time,” She complains, clearly angry.

Catching myself, I try to sound as calm as possible. “The downside is that some people really started thinking that you are some kind of god. That might cause problems with other nations.”

Don’t worry about that. Our policies conflict with those of the large nations. The possibility that we have a positive relationship with all of them is non-existent. I can see us working together with the Alliance, the Orks and the Mirai. Maybe the Consortium... if some of their policies change. Though, that’s unlikely,” Nova answers and turns her attention inwards. “The war will take more and more of our enemy’s attention. Given time, Illum will quickly become a secondary target.”

A secondary target?” That’s not very reassuring.

Nova waves her hand through the air and summons a map of the world.

The orks are pressuring the Sociocrathy, but they will lose momentum. Their troops will be outmanoeuvred and picked off in small groups once they spread too thin. Without a large fleet of airships, they can’t fight the Sociocrathy’s army. Even with weapons which can take down an airship, it will turn into a stalemate.

She points at the area around the Eternal Battlefield. “The Alliance is pressing through the pass, but they face the same problem. The Empire is a larger piece than they can chew. If you want to conquer another nation, you need enough troops to occupy the enemy’s territory. At least for long enough to turn a sizeable part of the population to your cause, and that takes time. A lot of it.

Then there is the slave problem. The Empire is a moloch with more manpower than it could ever need. Were it only the slaves with collars, the Alliance could do something about it. But a large part of the Empire’s slaves are serfs without collars. They are so broken that they don’t even need to be collared. The fear of getting a collar is enough to hold them in check.”

Nova grimaces. “There are at least three or four slaves or serfs for every free man in the Empire.”

I pull my gaze away from the map. “You are clearly very well informed about the political situation.”

That’s true. However, for that very reason, Illum poses no immediate threat to any of the larger countries. We can’t occupy them, but we can cause material damage. That’s our insurance. Attacking us doesn’t gain them anything, but could probably result in them losing a lot. That’s why I call Illum a secondary target. They will try to take us out, but only if they think that they can do it without losses, or have the chance of gaining control over Illum. I have no doubt that they will try, so we have to show them that it isn’t worth the effort.

Someone knocks on the door.

Nova looks at me and then meaningfully at the ventilation shaft, so I fly back into the shaft and hide. From my hiding spot, I have the best view of the office, which allows me to snipe anyone who dares to try something against Nova.

Enter.

Janice enters the room. She stops upon seeing the tiara on Nova’s forehead. “It seems as if you took a liking in that thing.”

Nova smiles and shrugs, touching the tiara with her fingertips. “Illum’s population has grown considerably. I am not into jewelry, but I thought that I should at least present myself according to my status. It’s no good to be underestimated.”

I heard about your ‘judgement’ as your subjects call it. Sorry, but I don’t believe you. That barrette and the tattoo, then the ring on your finger and now the tiara. You are totally an accessory person.Janice points her finger at the various items, grinning widely.

She’s right. I watched Nova several times while she was admiring artefacts. There is no doubt that shiny things draw her attention.

Nova sighs. “Is there any particular reason for your presence?”

Janice takes the chair in front of Nova’s desk and sits down, crossing her legs. It’s about the little stunt which you pulled with Zane and his mother.

Nova furrows her forehead, trying to remember what she did. “Oh, that... What about it?”

Let’s just say that I am interested... and you know why.

My master waves her hand in a dismissing manner, giggling. “Don’t worry. I was just teasing them. The task of training trustworthy offspring is much too tedious for me. It takes decades and getting them isn’t a pleasant experience.

Sounds like Nova has experience. Ah, damn. If the reincarnation story is true, then she must have had hundreds of children. Isn’t it horrible to remember your lost ones each time you reincarnate? The thought isn’t comfortable.

Janice nods. But you admit that there are certain advantages to having children?

Nova squints her eyes at Janice and leans back. “I know that tone of yours. You want something from me.”

Janice wets her lips and leans forward. “Do you remember the details of our agreement? All you have to do is to play nice with your mother and do your best to get her better. If you do that, you have my full support.

Yes… I remember that.Nova purses her lips, trying to catch onto Janice’s game.

I think that it would be very helpful if your relationship with Zane was a little deeper than it’s now. You know, just to show your Mom that you are doing well. Living your life with a lover and children… that would show her that you are doing well. It’s important for her to know that her failure in protecting you wasn’t as grave as she thinks.

I cover my mouth with both hands and fight the urge to giggle. Judging by Nova’s expression, there is a distinct possibility that laughing right now would get me killed.

It takes several long seconds for Nova to reply. “I see.”

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Andur

  • Phantasm

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999999 @999999 ago

Thank you for the chapter 

Shance @Shance ago

Stupid excuse. Have children just to help a mother she doesn't know not feel as guilty? There are thousands of other ways, just force her to come to Illum and spend time with her, they haven't even met for fcks sake.

 

I just do not believe that being in a relationship and having a kid is = to happiness.

    Lorcogoth @Lorcogoth ago

    because her mother has been described as an "emotional wreck that will break down the moment she leaves the comfort of her own room".

    in other words someone who is long gone.

    Antice @Antice ago

    Bah. Granny just want some great grandkids. The mom angle is just a thinly veiled excuse for pressuring Nova into making some.

      callmesteve @callmesteve ago

      I have to agree. Either she gets something really useful out of this deal or she should tell her mom to go weave a basket. It feels too early in the story, Zane would have an aneurism, she hates the idea, and her "mom", who she never even knew, seems only marginally sane at this point. She can be perfectly happy without children, and should be able to show that to her mom.

      I'd also add that showing off children, when it's known that you were in the "oldest profession" (especially without choice) is NOT the way to go about that.

      In short, Janice is getting FAR too pushy. I would also prefer that if she gets turned down, that she does not immedeately try swapping the Pill for vitamins again (or equivalent). That was also deplorable, and I'd hate to see that show up again. It is not funny when  someone does something like that.

      Let's just say that my cousin would agree very strongly with that.

      Antice @Antice ago

      I feel bad for your cousin. Children can be a blessing like no other, but when they come at the wrong time and with the wrong partner... not so good. hopefully your cousin is able to deal gracefully with the situation?

      And yeah. It's a F*'ed up trope. It's simply just not funny at all, considering the potential outcome for a child that one isn't in a position to take proper care for. like when working 2 job's just to pay the bloody rent.

    Aapjuh @Aapjuh ago

    i agree its an excuse that a very looong shot, there are much better ways, like have nova visit and talk to her mother,

    show her that you have a husband and kids.. VS ..show that you are alive at all

ThyMrMan @ThyMrMan ago

Yeah, Janice would have to above and beyond to get Novs to agree to that.

gonflick
Premium

gonflick @gonflick ago

Sweet chapter hahaha married

CrimsonWarden @CrimsonWarden ago

I was wondering when you'd get back on mapping out the state of affairs. Glad to see that come back.

darkpoint @darkpoint ago

At the beginning I liked "Body and Soul" very much. But it has become bad and is getting worse.

Nova is (obviously) getting manipulated by Janice (it started, when Janice demanded from Joyce to call herself Nova), into marrying Zane and having children. All that for a mother, to which she has no real connection, to feel better for not being able to protect her child.

I really wish, Nova would kill or at least banish Janice from Illium for her audacity.

But we all know how it will end: Nova will marry Zane, share her power over Illium with him (and maybe even with some other people (his mother)), become pregnant, have some children, and have a HEA with her new family. Ugh. I will stop reading here and look for something better.

    Voltage @Voltage ago

    Here it is everyone. The facts that we all know, what's the point in reading a book when we have people like Darkpoint here to tell us exactly what happens next? Might as well quit reading because there's absolutely no chance that Andur will do something different with a MC with known physchotic tendencies.

    All jokes aside, thanks for the chapter. 

    lucifell @lucifell ago

    You really don't get the story anyway, so good riddance, hope you find something more kid friendly. Andur's stories are very much about the journey rather than the destination. We all know (for the most part) how most of the plot will go, but it's the interesting details that change from story to story that keep us coming back.

    Schmi @Schmi ago

    You will have a veeeeeerry hard time finding (m)any novels better than our Dear Andur's. 

    callmesteve @callmesteve ago

    Not sure how to comment on this thread. She's got mostly the same goals to fix it up for everyone, but I do worry about her mother's meddling. I sincerely hope Janice gets foiled. Perhaps with the fencing variety, but she seems like a good person otherwise.

    I do hope it ends differently. The family and happy ending are nice (I'll drop any author who kills off an MC or pulls what Paolini did in Inheritance, so maybe nice is not quite the right word.), but I feel that the characters need to choose for themselves for once without outside influence. Aside from Janice, it does look that way though, so I maintain hope.

Andur
Author

Andur @Andur ago

It's funny how everyone seems to know how it ends...

Sad thing is... had you paid attention to the details, you would already know that it ends quite differently this time.

    Mathi @Mathi ago

    regardless of "knowing" the destination of the story or not

    i usually try to refrain from thinking like the story will end like this! or next this or that will happen...

    i just read the story and at the end i might say ok, saw that coming. but thats ok and if i get suprised, than thats good as well.

    i quite like your storys so i hope you keep it up

    Schmi @Schmi ago

    Man, who cares where it ends?? (Darkpoint obviously) Just tag along for the ride, bro! (Insert rad surfer dude here)

    ScarletFlames255 @ScarletFlames255 ago

    It's fun to speculate, even more fun when you do something that's rather unexpected! The more we were not expecting it (while still keeping the suspense of disbelief at a reasonable level) the more fun we'll have. Until now I was never disappointed in your stories. And with your track record I believe I won't be in the future either.

     

    And for those who cry "It's the same story every time!" Go on, read the stories one after the other, but this tiem pay attention to the phases of the story (start, middle and end) as well as how the story lines tie together between works. You'll find that Andur could have just as well made it all into a single book if he bothered to write out the 'boring' parts of life when there's no strife or intrigue.

    Antice @Antice ago

    He probably came straight here from reading some of your other stories, like Coeus, or Beyond.

    Both were great stories only slightly spoiled by the endings being a bit too happily ever after. however, going by how most stories on RR never get an ending at all, it's much preferable that a story wraps up slightly spoiled by a pink fluffy ending rather than none. endings are bloody hard after all.

    Although, It wold be really funny if you make Nova's warmongering bite her in the ass in the end.

Mathi @Mathi ago

thanks for the chapter ^^

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