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Aurra Firegem of Alodra was generally considered the Queen of Kings, the first among equals in the Land We Know. It was Queen Aurra who found homes for the dependents of the Exiler and soon after that she called an emergency council of the Union of Kingdoms to discuss a breaking situation.

Attending the council from Hamar was King Arman Sunshield, Count Raddai Nerio, Countess Irus Nerio, and Baron Elketz Kadir. The Nath delegation was much diminished, only Baron Nahaliel Kerresh and Lady Ainia could attend, for the King remained in a crippled state and Count Zelus had been slain in battle. The land of Menkal remained occupied, but King Stronghammer came to the council, bringing Countez Berek Moriz and hez spouse Ichor Losna. The Queen's husband Evander was also present, as well as Countess Bronzesaber-Firegem and the Queen's son Bayard Firegem.

The Queen opened the council by announcing the news that had made her decide to call everyone back together. Emperor Abaddon, the incarnation of Belial, has opened hostilities once more, this time in the Sol system. But Abaddon has been captured once more, and hyz son Azibeel has been killed. This time, however, there will be no parley, no summit, and Abaddon is being carefully kept alive so that Belial cannot revert to his avatar at Palato and take possession of another yang. So hy is trapped at Sol.

Why cannot hy simply will his own death, mother? Bayard asked.

Baron Kadir replied, Yeshua said this is quite impossible, the psyche is held firm. Otherwise he would not have endured six hours of crucifixion.

The Queen continued. Lady Talishi has also told me that as a consequence of Belial violating the agreement, none of the other four elohim will contribute dark energy to create a fold-gate for Belial's ships. None can reach the Land We Know, whether to attack the Land directly, or to transit to Sol to aid Abaddon, nor can any orders emanate from Abaddon to make the attempt. The fold-door, the smaller wormhole from Palato to the Temple of Belial in the Saiph Republic, is also blocked, because El Shaddai and Bat-El have always had absolute control of the Land We Know. This essentially isolates Telan Blackseed. What resources he has here is all he has.

He has the dragon, King Brogan Stronghammer said. And as long as he does so, large armies cannot march against him. He can hold what he has.

Then our task is clear, declared King Sunshield. Kill the dragon.

The problem with that, Evander Firegem countered, is that the dragon is bound up with the promise of a second life for the humans native to the Land We Know, and a third life for the humans of the Sol system.

No one appointed Luzea Cedarbranch to speak for all humanity, and certainly Queen Firegem did not give her permission to do so, but she did pipe up just then, in her usual way, communicating only in verse:

There is a tradition for children in our oldest land:

A saint, or an elf, or perhaps just an ageless old man,

Is said to fly to every home on Earth in a single night

To bring gifts to children, but it is the parents all right?

Now picture the parents contriving to make it all so

That when the children grow older they never come to know

That it was all just a nice story, a little white lie.

Picture the children of the world rising up as one

To render this scheme of their parents finally undone,

And face the real world full of beauty and pain and truth

For it is time to wake up at last from the dreams of youth.

Aliwe spoke into the utter silence that followed, Forgive my beloved, yet I say she speaks for me. Let's kill Demonstroke and finally grow up.

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