Years have passed since the great miracle atop Mount Aida--a miracle known as the Covenant of Avelyn. Corona is a different place. Avelyn is about to be elevated to sainthood by the very church that once proclaimed him a heretic. And King Danube has asked Jilseponie Wyndon--the outlaw hero of the Demon War--to become his queen.Jilseponie is torn. She can never love any man as completely as she did the Ranger Elbryan, the father of the child she lost. But she cannot deny that she has feelings for the wise and kindly king. And she could do so much good at his side . . .Yet threat looms, one Jilseponie could never have anticipated. For the child that she lost never died--as she believes--but was stolen away by the queen of the elves. Raised in secret by the queen, he has grown to be a headstrong boy who shows every promise of being as skilled in the arts of combat as his father before him, and as powerful with the gemstone magic as his mother.They called him Aydrian.
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December 31, 2000
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Excerpt from Ascendance by R. A. Salvatore
PROLOGUE: GOD'S YEAR 839
SPRING CAME EARLY to the city of Palmaris, the northernmost great city of the kingdom of Honce-the-Bear. Meriwinkles and prinnycut tulips bloomed in brilliant purples and blues all along the banks of the great Masur Delaval, and the wind seemed constant and gentle from the southwest, hardly ever shifting around to bring a chill from the gloomy Gulf of Corona.
The city itself was quite lively, with folk out of doors in droves nearly every day, soaking in the sunshine. In truth, the world had shaken off the tragedies of the rosy plague of 827 to 834, a plague cured by a miracle at a shrine atop a faraway mountain, a miracle revealed to the world by the woman who now ruled as Baroness of Palmaris. Since Jilseponie Wyndon accepted the title, each year had seemed a bit brighter than the one before, as if all the world, natural and man-made, was reacting positively to her rule.
Palmaris had never known such prosperity and peace. The city's numbers had swelled during the last years of the plague, for Palmaris had served as the gateway to the northland and the miracle at Mount Aida, and many pilgrims stayed on in the city after their long return journey. Farmers had replaced those families decimated by the plague, cultivating new fields about the city for several miles to the north and west. Craftsmen, seeing an opportunity for a new and large market, had set up shops all along the well-ordered avenues, serving the needs of the thriving communities of both farmers and sailors. And under the guidance and tolerant example of Baroness Jilseponie and Abbot Braumin Herde of St. Precious Abbey, the population of dark-skinned southerners, the Behrenese, had thrived. That particular group had been hit especially hard by the plague, and then hit hard again by the hatred of the Brothers Repentant, a rebellious Abellican Church faction that blamed the heathen Behrenese for the rosy plague and incited the folk of Palmaris to retributive violence against them.