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The Wizard's Box: A Tale From the Royal Road

19 pages15 minutes


What does one do with a wizard's discarded container of dubious functionality?

The Royal Road in the kingdom of Kesteva runs nearly 1,000 miles from the southeastern marchlands to the northwest coast. A tavern tale sometimes told by upperclass engineering students at the Royal University in Roxen starts with the proposition that the Road's meandering path was laid hundreds of years before Kesteva's founding by an off-course troll who was supposed to be delivering a wagonfull of spirits from the Parsian Mountains to a settlement on the Western Sea. The story is as funny, elaborate and off-color as the upperclassmen's imaginations allow, but the punchline is always that the rotue makes perfect sense from an engineering standpoint, which of course considers the wide variety of terrain the Road must cross as well as the locations of important towns and cities the engineers of old were charged to link.

Skara Station, tucked into the marchlands of southeast Kesteva, is one of dozens of waystations along that highway of merchants, pilgrims, princes and commoners. It is fully equipped with a customs house, inn, milestone, gardens, warehouses, plaza and Royal Guard garrison tower. Its namesake town has only a few hundred residents but is a proud city, one of the original founded on Aelfric and Aelin's march to the sea.

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