Book 1[edit | edit source]

  • .

"In the beginning, there were only the Gods.

Aeons untold passed as they drifted aimlessly through the Void, until they grew bored with this state of affairs. In their infinite wisdom they brought into existence Creation, but with Creation came discord. The Gods disagreed on the nature of things: some believed their children should be guided to greater things, while others believed that they must rule over the creatures they had made.”

“So, we are told, were born Good and Evil.”

“Ages passed in fruitless argument between them until finally a wager was agreed on: it would be the mortals that settled the matter, for strife between the gods would only result in the destruction of all. We know this wager as Fate, and thus Creation came to know war. Through the passing of the years grooves appeared in the workings of Fate, patterns repeated until they came into existence easier than not, and those grooves came to be called Roles. The Gods gifted these Roles with Names, and with those came power. We are all born free, but for every man and woman comes a time where a Choice must be made.”

“It is, we are told, the only choice that ever really matters.”

– First page of the Book of All Things Prologue

  • How many Praesi does it take to change a lantern’s wick?
    A legion to conquer all the candlemakers, a High Lord to sell the wicks down south and then we’re taxed for being in the dark.” – Overheard in a Laure tavernChapter 1: Knife

  • I see I’ll have to take drastic measures to ensure intelligent conversation around here.” Dread Empress Maledicta II, before having the tongues of the entire Imperial court ripped out – Chapter 3: Party
  • “A single strike parts a champion from a corpse.” – Praesi proverb – Chapter 7: Sword
  • Threats are useless unless you have previously committed the level of violence your are threatening to use. Make examples of the enemies you cannot control so those that you can will be cowed. This is the foundation of ruling.” – Extract from the personal memoirs of Dread Emperor Terribilis IIChapter 10: Menace
  • I’ll be honest, Chancellor – revenge is the motivation for over half the decrees I’ve made.” Dread Empress Sanguinia II, best known for outlawing cats and being taller than her – Chapter 17: Set
  • Who reigns up high?
    A dead man’s sigh
    What sleeps below?
    A crown of woe
    That is the Tower:
    Learn and cower.
    – Extract from ‘And So I Dreamt I Was Awake’, Sherehazad the Seer – Chapter 20: Rise
  • “Never back the Praesi in a corner, son. That’s when the devil-summoning starts, and it’s all downhill from there.” – King Jehan of Callow, addressing the future King Pater the Unheeding Chapter 26: Juniper’s Plan
  • “Our doctrine is one of cost-efficiency. Any officer who believes extermination of the enemy is a valid path to victory should immediately be demoted back to the ranks.” Marshal RankerChapter 28: Win Condition
  • .

“What say you, Empress of Praes?' Here you lie upon the blood-soaked ruins of your dominion, surrounded by the corpses of the legions that once swarmed over the world.  Hundreds of thousands dead for the sake of your wretched ambition, your mad design to bring to heel the kingdoms of man. In all the history of Creation no one woman has been so wicked as you, and I will have my answer.

Why, o Empress of Ruins?”

She shrugged.

“Why not?”

– Last lines of the “The Fall of Empress Triumphant, First and Only of Her Name” – Epilogue

Book 2[edit | edit source]

  • “You can’t drop a pin in Procer without hitting royalty.” – Eleusia Vokor, Nicaean ambassador to the Principate – Prologue
  • “I’ve been informed that the position of the King Under the Mountains is that ‘since only dwarves own property, only dwarves can be stolen from’. I’m afraid that if you insist on getting your family jewels back, my lord, we will have to buy them.” – Official state missive from Cygnus of Liesse, ambassador to the Kingdom Under – Chapter 1: Supply
  • “The closest equivalent I’ve found to the Imperial court is the act of shoving your hand in a bag that could be full of jewels but is, most of the time, full of razor blades.” – Extract from the personal memoirs of Dread Empress Maleficent II – Chapter 2: Demand
  • “The essence of sorcery is blasphemy. Through will and power, every mage usurps dominion over the laws of Creation from the gods Above and Below.” – Extract from “The Most Noble Art of Magic”, by Dread Emperor Sorcerous – Chapter 5: Recognition
  • “Always walk into traps. Evil is clever and patient and never as vulnerable as when it thinks it holds all the cards.” – Eudokia the Oft-Abducted, Basilea of Nicae – Chapter 7: Reception
  • “There’s nothing better in life than the look on your enemy’s face when they realize you’ve played them every step of the way. Why do you think I keep starting secret cabals trying to overthrow me?” – Dread Emperor Traitorous – Chapter 8: Reversal
  • “Note: those meddling heroes keep surviving getting thrown off cliffs. Must build taller ones in anticipation of the next encounter.” – Extract from the journal of Dread Emperor Malignant II – Chapter 11: Report
  • “There’s a very important difference between a nice man and a good one.” – King Jehan the Wise – Chapter 12: Reproval
  • “Thirty-one: use a sword fit for your height and built, not the largest chunk of metal you can find. It will both improve your life expectancy and save you a great many jokes about overcompensation.” – “Two Hundred Heroic Axioms”, unknown author – Heroic Interlude: Riposte
  • “In most histories of the Uncivil Wars, the Battle of Three Hills is but a footnote – especially given its proximity to the much more contentious Battle of Marchford. But for us, back then? Marchford might have been the crucible that forged us, but Three Hills lit the furnace.” – Extract from the personal memoirs of Lady Aisha Bishara – Chapter 18: Tinder
  • “We fought,
    across field and river,
    carrying the Tower’s writ
    to the foot of the Wall.
    We fought
    and did not grow old.”

– Spoken Kharsum verse attributed to Sharok the Blinded, chieftain of the Iron Bears (banned by Imperial decree) – Chapter 20: Ashes

  • “My mother used to tell me it gets worse before it gets better, but I’ve found it’s usually the other way around.” – Eudokia the Oft-Abducted, Basilea of Nicae – Chapter 24: Archer
  • “A villain should make plans with the understanding that everything you can conceive of going wrong will, and then a few others things too.” – Dread Empress Regalia – Chapter 26: Seek
  • “The Kharsum word for war is derived from the one used for a full cookpot. That tells you everything you need to know about how the Clans think of Creation.” – Extract from “Horrors and Wonders”, famed travelogue of Anabas the Ashuran – Interlude: Greenskins
  • “There’s a lot of people in the Fifteenth who remember Marchford as the day we proved we could spit in the eye of Hell and get away with it. For me, though? It was the first time I ever put on legionary armour with pride. In the end, I think that might have meant more.” – Extract from the “Forlorn Memoirs”, author unknown – Chapter 29: Stand
  • “Oh, give me a bloodthirsty, fire-and-brimstone conquering villain any day. It’s the schemers you have to watch out for.” – Queen Elizabeth Alban of Callow – Chapter 31: Sleight
  • “Of course I don’t step on people’s throats using my own heels. Have you seen how gorgeous these boots are? I’m not getting blood on these beauties: it takes at least two princes to get the right amount of skin, and duke leather just isn’t the same.” – Dread Emperor Nihilis I, the Tanner – Chapter 33: Clean-up
  • “The Praesi take on negotiations is to slam a severed head on the table and smile at your interlocutor until they reconsider their position.” – Prokopia Lakene, first Hierarch of the League of Free Cities – Chapter 34: Lesson
  • “you call me villain
    cast the word as you
    would a stone;
    seek to bury under
    scorn of herded
    multitude, and yet
    forget my Name:
    I am empress
    most dread,
    savage ruler of
    yet fiercer race;
    did you expect
    meekness of me?
    you call me villain
    speak it a curse
    as if Hells were
    grasping instead
    of grasped;
    as if I had knelt.
    you dare?
    I am tyrant,
    bringer of calamity;
    crowned and
    crowning glory
    of mine empire
    be fearful now
    tremble; for
    my reach is long
    my wrath is great
    patient but
    above or below
    and I will be

– Extract from the play “I, Triumphant”, author unknown, banned by decree of the Tower under Terribilis II – Chapter 36: Madman

  • “I don’t trust wizards. Every time I levy taxes on them, they try to get my political opponents to pull swords from stones.” – Attributed to Louis Merovins, seventh First Prince of Procer – Chapter 37: Apprentice
  • Maybe I won’t go to Heaven but you’ve never owned a pit full of man-eating tapirs so who’s the real loser here?” – Dread Empress Atrocious, best known for comprehensive tax reform and having been eaten by man-eating tapirs. They were later executed by her successor for treason after a lengthy trial. – Chapter 39: Countdown
  • … such wanton deviousness had been unseen since the days of Dread Emperor Traitorous, who famously passed for his own Chancellor through cunning use of a wig and a pair of cantaloupes…” – Extract from “The Most Illustrious Histories of the Inimitable Dread Empire of Praes”, volume IV – Chapter 41: Retrieve
  • “Sometimes you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs, executing the hens who laid them on trumped up charges and setting the most rebellious henhouse on fire as an example to the others.” – Dread Empress Maleficent II – Chapter 42: Flaw
  • “Does not show traditional heroic talent for forging strong friendships but considered a leader by her peers. Responds aggressively to threats. Displays continued recklessness and an aptitude for thinking on her feet. This agent recommends disposal before she can turn into a legitimate threat to the peace of the realm.” – Report ‘for the eyes of Lord Black only’, concerning the Imperial ward Catherine Foundling – Chapter 44: Victory
  • “Note: only offer the hero the chance to replace my right-hand man when my right-hand man is no longer in the room. Additional note:  find out estimated rebuilding cost for the summer palace.”

– Extract from the journal of Dread Emperor Malignant II – Chapter 46: Squire (Redux)

  • “The question of who the most vindictive people of Calernia are has long been debated. Some say it is the Arlesites, who will duel to the death over the use of the wrong adjective in a verse. Others say it is those of the Free Cities, where the moving of a border by half a mile will spawn a war lasting three generations. Others yet say it is the Praesi, who indulge in political assassination the way other nations enjoy a cup of good wine. I would humbly put forward, however, that the answer is the people of Callow. Steal an apple from a farmer of the Kingdom and fifty years later his grandson will find yours on the other side of the continent, sock him in the eye and take three apples back.” – Extract from “Horrors and Wonders”, famed travelogue of Anabas the Ashuran – Chapter 47: And Justice For All
  • “There’s a degree of argument among scholars as to whether the Liesse Rebellion was the underlying cause of the Uncivil Wars or the first of them. I was there, though, and I can tell you this: the seeds that were sown in Liesse are what we reaped in the years that followed.” – Extract from the personal memoirs of Lady Aisha Bishara – Chapter 49: Triumph
  • “Procerans have always been the villains in our plays, scheming Alamans and grasping Arlesites. Given our history this is understandable, my Strategos, but you and I know the truth of of it.  The Principate is the final line of defence between Calernia and Evil. Two millennia they have kept the Dead King on his shore of the northern lakes and even longer have they turned back the ratling plague, without aid or succour from the rest of the continent. When Procer fails, the light of civilization dims and the monsters all get a little closer to our homes.” – Eleusia Vokor, Nicean ambassador to the Principate – Interlude: Precipitation
  • “Your mistake, Queen of Blades, is in thinking that virtue is the province of Good. Every Tyrant who has ever claimed the Tower, every fool and every madman, had the seed of greatness in them. Courage, cleverness, ambition, will. We may lose our way, we may lose ourselves, but every time we get… a little closer. You think I am afraid of death? I am a droplet in the tide that will drown Creation. I take pride in this, even in my hour of failure. Empresses rise, Empresses fall. But the Tower?Oh, the Tower endures.”

– Last words of Dread Empress Regalia the First – Epilogue

Book 3[edit | edit source]

  • “Sixty-seven: putting an arrow in a villain during their monologue is a perfectly acceptable method of victory. Heroes believing otherwise do not get to retire.” – Two Hundred Heroic Axioms, unknown author – Heroic Interlude: Arraignment
  • “You can never have too many tiger pits, Chancellor. That’s the same lack of vision that has people say “that’s too large a field of energy to absorb” or “calling yourself a living god is blasphemy”.” – Dread Emperor Malignant III, before his death and second reign as Dread Emperor Revenant – Chapter 3: Demesne
  • “Look at how edible you are. You’re basically asking for it.” – Warlord Grog the King-Eater, addressing the king of Okoro during the sack of the same – Chapter 5: Beachhead
  • “One hundred and twelve: always be kind to any monster held in a cage by your nemesis. When it inevitably gets loose, it will remember the kindness and attempt to destroy the villain instead.” – “Two Hundred Heroic Axioms”, author unknown – Heroic Interlude: Appellant
  • “Gentlemen, there is no need to worry: our plan is flawless. The Emperor will never see it coming.” – Grandmaster Ouroboros of the Order of Unholy Obsidian, later revealed to have been Dread Emperor Traitorous all along – Chapter 9: More Lies
  • “It admittedly took me a few years to make my peace with the fact that Lady Foundling’s take on diplomacy is essentially to bring a bottle of cheap wine and a sword to the table, then remind the interlocutor that while the wine might be awful it is still arguably better than being stabbed.” – Extract from the personal memoirs of Lady Aisha Bishara – Chapter 12: Double Down
  • “Most live out their days on an isle of vapid ignorance, shying away from the dark and hungry waters that surround it. To seek power is to brave the tides, but one who does should not expect to see those shores again.” – Translation of the Kabbalis Book of Darkness, widely attributed to the young Dead King – Chapter 15: Bestowal – Chapter 15: Bestowal
  • “See, this is exactly the kind of trouble I’d be avoiding by mind controlling the entire world. You fools are making my point for me, can’t you see?” – Dread Emperor Imperious, shortly before being torn apart by an Ater mob – Chapter 16: Shambles
  • “Kingdoms don’t die on battlefields. They die in dark, quiet rooms where deals are made between those who should know better.” – King Edward Alban of Callow, best known for annexing the Kingdom of Liesse – Chapter 18: Crack
  • “In the aftermath of a rebellion do not execute merely those who rebelled. Remove those that remained uncommitted as well, for any power not bound to you is a threat.” – Extract from the personal journals of Dread Emperor Terribilis II – Chapter 19: Order (Redux)
  • “An alliance of victors is like a hearth in summer.” – Julienne Merovins, tenth First Princess of Procer – Chapter 20: Skew
  • “To conquer until all of Creation is desert or province: that is the ideal of Praes. Mock their failures if you must but do not ever forget their victories.” – King Albert Fairfax of Callow, the Thrice-Invaded – Chapter 21: Example
  • “We do not forget.” – Official motto of the House of Iarsmai – Chapter 22: Govern
  • “Morality is a force, not a law. Deviating from it has costs and benefits both – a ruler should weigh those when making a decision, and ignore the delusion of any position being inherently superior.” – Dread Emperor Benevolent – Villainous Interlude: Decorum
  • “Forty-nine: if any wizard over the age of fifty suddenly becomes evasive when asked about your parents, you may safely assume yourself to be either royalty or related to your archenemy in some way.” – “Two Hundred Heroic Axioms”, author unknown – Heroic Interlude: Injunction
  • “My dear Chancellor, I didn’t murder my entire family and use their blood to turn myself into an undead abomination to be told I couldn’t do things.” – Dread Emperor Revenant – Chapter 24: Vanguard
  • “When historians try to pin down Foundling’s methods they point to the Battle of the Camps or the Princes’ Graveyard, but those came later. After she’d learned her trade.  If you want to understand how she operated, look to the Battle of Four Armies and One – from the beginning to the end, she was playing an entirely different game from every other commander on the field.” – Extract from “A Commentary on the Uncivil Wars”, by Juniper of the Red Shields – Interlude: Commanders
  • “My dear friends, I have a confession to make. Some creative reframing of the truth may have taken place during the planning of this coup.” – Dread Emperor Traitorous, addressing the Order of the Unholy Obsidian upon successfully usurping the throne from himself – Chapter 31: High Noon
  • “Oh, on most days we lose. But once in a while, just once, it works. And those moments of perfect clarity where all the world is in the palm of your hand, a hundred thousand middling minds made into flawless assembly by your will? Those are worth all the rest.” – Dread Empress Regalia II – Chapter 32: Close
  • “We have grown to mock Tyrants for they are mad but that is a very dangerous thing. A madman thinks the world other than what it is, and in a mortal that is a harmless thing. Not so in one who moulds Creation to their will, as all Named do.” – King Edmund of Callow, the Inkhand – Villainous Interlude: Thunder
  • “The truth of monsters is that, in the end, they die. If they didn’t we would have to call them gods.” – Eudokia the Oft-Abducted, Basilea of Nicae – Villainous Interlude: Calamity III
  • “Tonight we must speak of Callow, that stubborn graveyard of empires. Princes and princesses of Procer, we must now admit this truth: we have lost an entire kingdom to peasants and bandits.” – Beginning of First Princess Éloïse of Aequitan’s speech to the Highest Assembly, on the subject of withdrawal from occupied Callow – Chapter 34: Talks
  • “It is impossible for the Empire to make an appreciable gain so long as this gain is a loss to every other nation on Calernia. To remedy this, we must discard the traditional lines of allying only to Evil polities and make it so that it is in the interest of other powers for us to rise.” – Extract from ‘The Death of the Age of Wonders’, a treatise by Dread Empress Malicia – Chapter 36: Malice
  • “It is said that the founding First Prince spoke of Procer as a great tower, every principality a stone raising it to ever greater heights. I have found the sentiment more poetic than accurate. Procer is no single tower but twenty-three of them, and their owners constantly steal each other’s stones to rise at the expense of the others.”-Extract from ‘The Labyrinth Empire, or, A Short History of Procer’, by Princess Eliza of Salamans – Chapter 38: Host
  • “It’s hard for people to understand what it means to have been part of the Fifteenth. We were farmboys and thieves, not people that were ever supposed to matter. Fodder for noose and ledger. But then she came along, and told us we were to be the doom of gods. Heavens forgive me, but I believed her then and believe her still.” – Extract from the ‘Forlorn Memoirs’, author unknown – Chapter 39: Exposition
  • “When approaching a siege, a general must draw distinction between tactical and strategic importance. The costs of a victory on the tactical theatre of a campaign may yield defeat on the strategic one.” – “Considerations on Warfare”, by Marshal Grem One-Eye – Chapter 40: Rising Action
  • “And so Maleficent said: ‘Though you be god I am Empress, crowned of dread, and by my hand comes your doom. Rage in vain, for from your bones will rise a great tower whose shadow will be cast upon all the world.’” – Extract from the Scroll of Chains, first of the Secret Histories of Praes – Chapter 45: Falling Action
  • “Here is the truth of our dreadful crown: to claim it a declaration of war on banality, on mediocrity. The banner of the enemy is apathy, the slow grind of the inevitable. Victor or ruin, every Tyrant that ever lived bet their madness against the bridle of the Heavens.” – Dread Empress Regalia II – Chapter 47: Offers
  • “It is ever the temptation of chroniclers to ascribe great failures to a single turning point, a flaw revealed or enemy virtue displayed. This simplification of history ignores the starker truth of all great enterprises, that in the end though all leaders are captains of a ship they rule neither wind nor tide. Failure and victory are the collection of choices small and great, shaped by perspectives of the myriad making them.” – Extract from ‘The Ruin of Empire, or, a Call to Reform of the Highest Assembly’, by Princess Eliza of Salamans – Chapter 51: Overlooked
  • “War is a breed of conflict decided by the allocation of resources. Through better apportionment a lesser nation can defeat a greater, but never if decision-making is of equal standing on both sides.” – Extract from “The Modern Legion”, a treatise by Marshal Ranker – Chapter 53: Manoeuvring
  • “I imagine the High Lords would be inclined to protest the mind control, if I hadn’t seized control of their minds, which just goes to show this was the right decision all along.” – Dread Emperor Imperious – Chapter 54: Wake
  • “And so Subira of the Sahelians slew Maleficent and said: ‘Emperor am I now, Sinister of name and deed. Let this be the truth of our empire, that iron ever sharpens iron ‘til the last cut is made.’” – Extract from the Scroll of Thrones, second of the Secret Histories of Praes – Chapter 58: Hard Measures
  • “Then let us be wicked,
    Let us be reddest ruin
    Rent, broken, crooked
    Black hearted and cruel
    Then let us be doom,
    To both friend and foe
    Fly banner of gloom
    We lowest of the low
    Rise, rise all ye villains
    You rogues and madmen
    Proudly claim the stage,
    Of this wondrous age
    We are not kind or just
    Deserving of any victory
    We are a thing of dust
    Promised only misery”
    So smile, Tyrants,
    And let us be wicked”

– Final monologue of “The Many Deaths of Traitorous”, a play on the reign of the Dread Emperor Traitorous – Villainous Interlude: Crescendo

  • “Victory is transient. To seek it is to remain so. I have seen the face of that which is eternal, and it stands beyond struggle.” – Translation of the Kabbalis Book of Darkness, widely attributed to the young Dead King – Chapter 60: Opening
  • “One hundred and eighty-seven: should one of your trusted companions be taken hostage at knife-point, check for the following features – cliff, moat, or any kind of sharp drop. Should one be nearby, you may assume the situation will solve itself momentarily.” – “Two Hundred Heroic Axioms”, author unknown – Chapter 62: Verse
  • “Rulers must exercise restraint. Every action ripples across Creation, bringing three unintended consequences for every one anticipated.” – Extract from the personal journals of Dread Emperor Terribilis II – Interlude: Liesse IV
  • “On the third month of the year I found myself on the outskirts of the city of Okoro, and stumbled upon one of the famous Praesi field rituals. The throats of ten and three men were slit on dusty ground, and from the lifeblood spilled the earth turned from yellow to black. Granted audience with the lord presiding, I asked him the meaning of the ceremony. ‘Everywhere men bleed,’ he told me. ‘In Praes we get the full worth of it.’” – Extract from “Horrors and Wonders”, famed travelogue of Anabas the Ashuran – Chapter 66: Refrain
  • “Change, my friend, is the admission that one falls short of perfection. A plebeian sort of doubt, best reserved for rulers who don’t make their enemies eat their own hands.” – Dread Emperor Revenant – Chapter 67: Middle Eight
  • “Thus the Gods granted us the first boon: as we live we will die, and in dying be granted our just deserts.” – The Book of All Things, fourth verse of the second hymn – Chapter 69: Swan Song
  • “Six wars I fought since my coronation, so hear me when I say this: war may be fought for righteous reasons, but no war can ever deserve that epithet.” – King Jehan the Wise, apocryphal last words – Chapter 70: Reverb
  • “You who pass this gate, know yourself beyond hope.”  – Written above the gates of Keter, earthly seat of the Dead KingEpilogue

Book 4[edit | edit source]

  • “If my allies were half as reliable as my enemies, I would have a different moniker.” – King Henry Fairfax, the Landless, upon being told of the Praesi invasion of Principate-occupied CallowPrologue
  • “Though official records state that the Principate fought a mere score civil wars, it should be noted that this does not include wars fought between less than five principalities. Should the definition be amended, Procer has on average fought a civil war every decade since the year of its founding. No single nation has ever spilled so much Proceran blood as the Principate itself.” – Extract from ‘The Labyrinth Empire, or, A Short History of Procer’, by Princess Eliza of Salamans – Interlude: Stairway
  • “In conclusion, the court recognizes the desertion of the sentient tiger army raised by Dread Emperor Sorcerous as sufficient precedent to rule that tapirs can, in fact, commit treason but that lack of sentience bars them from laying claim to the Tower by right of usurpation.” – Official transcript from the Trial of Unexpected Teeth, which resulted in the execution of the man-eating tapirs that devoured Dread Empress Atrocious – Chapter 2: Alarm
  • “I’m not saying all your closest friends are shapeshifting devils I sent to spy on you after having the originals murdered, but I’m certainly implying it very heavily.”​​​​​– Dread Emperor Traitorous, making small talk  ​​​​​– Chapter 4: Warpath
  • “Ruling is not unlike gardening, if all the weeds were heavily armed and plotting your demise.” – Dread Empress Prudence the First, the ‘Frequently Vanquished’ – Chapter 5: Interests
  • “Irritant’s Law: inevitable doom is a finite resource, and becomes mere doom when split between multiple heroic bands. Nemeses should never simultaneously engage a single villain.” – Extract from ‘The Axiom Appendix’, multiple contributors – Chapter 6: Hedges
  • “There is no absolute virtue to peace. To avoid war out of petty fear is the exact same moral failure as waging war in name of it.” – Clément Merovins, fourth First Prince of Procer – Interlude: Crusaders
  • “In a finite world, one’s gain (victory, large cave) inevitably means loss (dead female, enemy grows) for another. There can be no peace (looking away, knife already in a corpse) when the very nature of Creation is contest (not enough meat, talking).” – Extract from a theorized translation of ‘Remnant and Ruin’, one of the few goblin texts ever obtained – Chapter 12: Cambré
  • “Civilized men disapprove of murder, of course. Unless it involves banners and great numbers: then it becomes one’s patriotic duty.” – King Edmund of Callow, the Inkhand – Chapter 13: Élevé
  • “So spoke His Dread Majesty in the wake of battle, even as the High Lords praised him: ‘Speak not flattering untruths. Another such victory and I will rule an empire of ghosts.’” – Extract from ‘Commentaries on the Campaigns of Dread Emperor Terribilis the Second’ – Chapter 14: Arabesque
  • “The meaning of the exercise of war is the destruction of your foe’s ability to wage it. ‘Victory’ does not exist as an independent entity; it is merely the manifestation of the enemy’s defeat.” – Extract from ‘Considerations on Warfare’ by Marshal Grem One-EyeInterlude: Kaleidoscope III
  • “And so Dread Emperor Irritant addressed the heroes thus: Lo and behold, I fear not your burning Light, for I am already on fire.” – Extract from Volume IX of the official Imperial Chronicles – Interlude: Kaleidoscope IV
  • “To seek to ascertain the worth of even a single a soul through morality is to force unnecessary mysticism onto a simple matter. As in all things, supply and demand determine the price.” – Extract from “Bought and Sold”, a collection of the teachings of the Merchant Prince Irenos, founder of MercantisChapter 19: Recovery
  • “Proceran promises should be treated like stew: unless you know every ingredient, best not swallow.” – King Charles Fairfax of Callow, the Rightfully Wary – Chapter 20: Onset
  • “A war fought and won for the wrong reasons, under the wrong cause, can be a greater threat to the Praes than simple defeat. Maleficent the First spoke of villains raising their own gallows, but failed to add that the killing stroke in a hanging comes from the height of the drop.” – Extract from ‘The Death of the Age of Wonders’, a treatise by Dread Empress MaliciaChapter 22: Trip
  • “Red the flowers, red the crown
    Red this day of bleak renown
    How soon they forgot Eleanor
    Along every oath they swore
    Red the flowers, red the wreath
    Red the sword that left the sheath
    Now a king lies dead on the grass
    Taught the vows of princes pass
    Red the flowers, red the grave
    Red the biers of knights so brave
    They who thrice rode and died
    Under banners of olden pride
    Red the flowers, red the right
    Red the fires this day will light
    For every slight there is a price
    Ours will be long and paid twice.”

– ‘Red The Flowers’, a Callowan rebel song written in the wake of the Proceran occupation of Callow – Interlude: Red The Flowers

  • “Sing we of rage,
    In Tower and field
    Of this dying age
    That will not yield
    Sing we of steel,
    Forged in the east
    As turns the wheel
    And carrion feast
    Sing we of empire,
    For which we bled
    Of flickering fire
    Now all but dead
    Sing we of foe,
    Of victories won
    And that first woe
    Tyranny of the sun
    Sing we of ruin,
    As again we tread
    West, ever pursuing
    Fate writ in dread.”

– ‘The Tyranny of the Sun’, a Praesi song written in the latter stages of the Sixty Years War. Banned by decree of Dread Emperor Nihilis. – Interlude: Sing We Of Rage

  • “The moon rose, midnight eye
    Serenaded by the owl’s cry
    In Hannoven the arrows fly
    Hold the wall, lest dawn fail
    No southern song for your ear
    No pretty lass or merry cheer
    For you only night and spear
    Hold the wall, lest dawn fail
    Come rats and king of dead
    Legions dark, and darkly led
    What is a grave if not a bed?
    Hold the wall, lest dawn fail
    Quell the tremor in your hand
    Keep to no fear of the damned
    They came ere, and yet we stand

    So we’ll hold the wall,
    Lest dawn fail."

Lycaonese folk song, origins unknown, dated before annexation by the PrincipateInterlude: Lest Dawn Fail

  • “My dear Betrayer, I resent this accusation of selling you out to the heroes. No coin changed hands, it was really more of a bartering.” – Dread Emperor TraitorousChapter 25: Edge
  • “If war is to be understood as the pursuit of statecraft through violence, then the Principate is a failure as a nation: the Highest Assembly has proved chronically incapable of either agreeing on or seeing through a single ambition through the undertaking of warfare.” – Extract from ‘The Ruin of Empire, or, A Call to Reform of the Highest Assembly’ by Princess Eliza of Salamans – Chapter 26: Plunge
  • “The existence of death is the first lie we are taught. There is little difference between a corpse and a man, save the journey of the soul. They who learn to slip this noose find the threshold of apotheosis, for in the denial of passing they have taken themselves beyond the yoke of fate.” – Translation of the Kabbalis Book of Darkness, widely attributed to the young Dead KingChapter 27: Into Dusk
  • “An offer to ‘kneel or die’ would be insincere, Matrons. Deny me and your corpses will be made to kneel anyway, as I have a chorus of your children scream a cheerful tune.” – Dread Emperor Nihilis I, the Tanner, negotiating the end of the Fourth Goblin Rebellion – Chapter 28: Archaic
  • “Don’t be absurd, Black Knight. It would have been called treason if I’d lost – this is merely succession.” – Dread Emperor Vile the First – Chapter 29: Sixth
  • “And so Triumphant said: ‘Tremble, for I am not yet content.'” – Extract from the Scroll of Dominion, twenty-fourth of the Secret Histories of PraesChapter 33: Keter
  • “You could gather the stuff of all the Hells and still find less Evil within than lies in the soul of a single man. The worst monsters are always those that chose to be.” – King Edmund of Callow, the Inkhand – Chapter 34: Abyss
  • “Seventeen: always agree when offered to share in the rule of the world by a villain. The three to four heartbeats of sheer surprise that will earn you are a golden opportunity to kill them before it comes to a monologue.” – ‘Two Hundred Heroic Axioms’, author unknown – Chapter 35: Stroll
  • “Callowans as a people can be summed up by the fact that, before the Uncivil Wars had even come to a close, it’d become a common boast among the populace that the Black Queen had not even spent a sennight in Keter before having several counts of arson and murder to her name.” – Extract from the personal memoirs of Lady Aisha BisharaChapter 37: Offing
  • “It is said that on the eve of the Maddened Fields, the Tyrant Theodosius consulted with the many Delosi soothsayers among his host. He asked them if he would find victory or defeat, should he give battle at dawn as he intended. The Delosi squabbled among themselves for hours, until the eldest among them looked the Tyrant in the eyes and spoke his answer: Yes.” – Extract from ‘The Banquet of Follies, or, A Comprehensive History of the First League War’ by Prince Alexandre of Lyonis – Chapter 38: All According To (Redux)
  • “My dear prince, why would I settle for merely being on the right side of history when I could be on all sides of it instead?” – Extract from the minutes of the Conference of the Blessed Isle, between the Shining Prince Harry Alban and Dread Emperor TraitorousChapter 39: Hakram’s Plan
  • “A battle is, in my experience, a handful of hours where one of two generals proceeds to destroy his own army while the other simply happens to be there.” – Prince Fernando of Salamans – Chapter 40: Vivienne’s Plan
  • “Note: though ‘fell down the stairs’ is common fate for Praesi highborn, further study demonstrate this is not nearly as lethal as the records would imply. It took, on average, five repeats to reliably kill someone in this manner. The tiger pit remains most practical.” – Dread Emperor Malignant II, the Particularly Petty – Chapter 41: Akua’s Plan
  • “From the example of the claimant Desolate we can learn this: no scheme is so perfect that it is invulnerable to the utter idiocy of an opponent.” – Extract from an untitled historical commentary on the War of Thirteen Tyrants and One, by the Imperial Concubine Alaya of the Green Stretch – Chapter 44: Catherine’s Plan
  • “As the Bellerophans had not redrawn their war maps in over a century, their expedition against Penthes instead began with the sack of three outlying Delosi towns, one of which was walled and whose watchmen rebuffed the assault of the army. The Republic ultimately withdrew a month later after capturing a Stygian trade caravan carrying a handful Penthesian goods, announcing the unequivocal success of its punitive expedition to the great confusion of the Exarch of Penthes, who was still mustering her army over three hundred miles to the north.” – Extract from ‘A Pack of Squabbles, or, A History of Internal League Warfare’ by Prince Alexandre of Lyonis – Chapter 45: Ambush
  • “To declare an assertion of the People untrue is unlawful, even if it was retroactively asserted by vote to be untrue, at which point referring to it as either true or untrue is equally unlawful.” – Bellerophan formal codex of laws, circa 1321 A.D. – Chapter 46: Possibly A Plan
  • “A passable plan done in a day will nearly always beat an exquisite scheme requiring a month.” – Dread Empress Regalia II – Chapter 48: Shadows
  • “Forty-two: should a disagreement lead one of the party to leave, you should expect combat within the week as you will either be captured to be rescued by the departed or the opposite. Let it happen, as a common enemy will heal all internal disputes and you can share a good laugh over the corpse of your nemesis’ dead lieutenant.” – Two Hundred Heroic Axioms, author unknown – Chapter 49: Wrangle
  • “There is no poison more potent than hatred made silent.” – Arlesite saying – Chapter 50: Partings
  • “No, see, you’ll profit as well. All you need is to convince five others of contributing coin and when they do you’ll get a part of their own contribution. It’ll all work out, I promise.” – Dread Emperor Irritant, the Oddly Successful, convincing High Lords to invest in the construction of ritual pyramid outside Ater – Chapter 52: Finesse
  • “I am ever amused to hear men speak of senseless violence. What is violence, if not the failure of reason? One might as well bemoan the wetness of water.” – King Edmund of Callow, the Inkhand – Chapter 53: Gloom
  • “One hundred and ninety-three: should your nemesis offer you a wager, a truce or delay for the first time always accept it. Villains with a fated heroic match have reached the peak of their power, whereas you and your companions can only grow.” – “Two Hundred Heroic Axioms”, author unknown – Chapter 54: Scavenger
  • “Over the month I spent in Atalante I witnessed no fewer than two hundred debates take place under the gaze of the pale statues of the Temple of Manifold Truths, for the people of the city delight in such exercises of rhetoric as those of Stygia delight in bloodsport. The subjects varied from the purpose of mankind to the proper shape of apples, though the true wonder of the place was that I do not believe a single speaker left the Temple believing they had been wrong.” – Extract from ‘Horrors and Wonders’, famed travelogue of Anabas the Ashuran – Chapter 55: Outskirts
  • “Come now, my lords, you started this war knowing what I’m about.” – Dread Empress Massacre the First – Chapter 57: Betwixt
  • “May the Heavens strike me down if I lie. Again.” – Dread Emperor Abominable, the Thrice-Struck – Chapter 58: Quiet
  • “Note: bottling up the power of friendship cannot be achieved by bottling up friends. Must pursue further trials, perhaps prior liquefaction diluted the substance.” – Extract from the journal of Dread Emperor Malignant II – Chapter 59: Audience
  • “Of course I fear my friends. If they did not scare me, why befriend them at all?” – Dread Empress Prudence the First, the Frequently Vanquished — Interlude: Zwischenzug
  • “In the East they say that doubt is the death of men, but I have seen the end of the forking path and reply this: so is certainty, only for others.” – Theodore Langman, Wizard of the WestInterlude: Zwischenzug II
  • “A man could sift through all of Creation and never find so much as a speck of this elusive thing called the greater good. Like all the most dangerous altars, it is entirely of our own raising.” – King Edmund of Callow, the Inkhand — Interlude: Giuoco Pianissimio II
  • “I don’t care if they’ve been training, it’s only been two months. What could they possibly have learned that would threaten me?” – Dread Empress Sinistra IV, the Erroneous — Chapter 62: Impulse
  • “Blood sacrifice is such an ugly term. I prefer to think of it a ‘blood redistribution’, a thriving new form of Imperial enterprise.” – Dread Empress Sinistra II, the Coy — Chapter 63: Initiation
  • “‘lo and behold, I have brought peace to the Empire.” – Dread Empress Massacre, after ordering the Burning of Okoro – Chapter 65: Impact
  • “It is a small-minded man who needs a reason to create a ritual that would crash the moon into Creation.” – Dread Emperor Malignant III, before his death and second reign as Dread Emperor Revenant – Chapter 66: Tremors
  • “With great madness comes great possibility.” – Dread Emperor Malevolent I, the Unhallowed – Chapter 67: Breakthrough
  • “It is common practice among the lower classes of Praes, who lack surnames, to name their children after themselves in the hopes of confounding any devils coming to collect on debts.” – Extract from “Horrors and Wonders”, famed travelogue of Anabas the Ashuran – Interlude: Heretics
  • “And so Sinistra said: ‘What we cannot grow we will take by dread, and damnation on all who deny this.'” – Extract from the Scroll of Misfortunes, thirteenth of the Secret Histories of PraesInterlude: Dreadful
  • “There is greater power in severing than binding, in releasing than capturing. The most fundamental act of will is to cut.” – Translation from the Kabbalis Book of Darkness, widely attributed to the young Dead KingInterlude: Apostates
  • “It is a bitter truth that in trying to escape the flaws of our parents we inevitably inherit the worst of them.” – King Pater of Callow, the Unheeding – Interlude: Apogee
  • “Dearest Edda, beloved daughter. I would offer you words of wisdom or comfort, but after a lifetime of ink I find my hands have finally taken leave of me. I have written of good and evil for many years, seeking truths, but in the end I have no answers to offer. All I have, my heart, is a prayer. That you be kind. That you leave the world a little better than you found it and teach your children to do the same. And maybe, just maybe, one day we will be what we pretend we are.” – Last will and testament of King Edmund of Callow, the Inkhand – Interlude: Inheritance
  • “Obviously you can’t kill me now: your enmity is with the Dread Emperor of Praes, and I’ve already abdicated. I am now but a humble shoemaker, and what kind of hero slays a shoemaker?” – Dread Emperor Irritant, the Oddly Successful. Later noted to have made surprisingly nice shoes during his three abdications. – Chapter 68: Poised
  • “Traitorous’s Law: while redemption is the greatest victory one can achieve over a villain, to function it does require the villain to have at least a single redeemable quality.'Addendum: Yes, even if a Choir is involved.”

– Extract from ‘The Axiom Appendix’, multiple contributors – Chapter 69: Peerage

  • “Own what you are, no matter how ugly the face of it. No lies are ever more dangerous to a villain than those they tell themselves.” – Dread Emperor Benevolent – Chapter 70: The Calm Before
  • “A ruler must consider all necessary injuries before beginning to inflict them on an enemy, for through repeated opposition they will learn your virtues and your faults. Strike once, thoroughly.” – Extract from the treatise “On Rule”, author unknown (widely believed to be Prince Bastien of Arans) – Chapter 71: Ozone
  • “For though these armed men may carry banner and obey a prince, without justice they are only bandits.” – Extract from “The Faith of Crowns”, by Sister Salienta – Chapter 72: Outflow
  • “The rat it bites the rat
    On the tail, the tail, the tail
    The rat it does grow fat
    And swell, and swell, and swell
    But a rat will bite the rat
    On the tail, the tail, the tail
    So we’ll sing the chain again.”

– “Growing Horns”, a Lycaonese nursery rhyme – Chapter 73: Feeder Bands

  • “My husband thought himself a cynic for believing that men so often race towards the bottom of the barrel. I found it charmingly idealistic that he believed there was a bottom at all.” – Queen Yolanda of Callow, the Wicked (known as ‘the Stern’ in contemporary histories) – Chapter 74: Eyewall
  • “There is more power in blood spilled willingly than unwillingly. The latter is simply a great deal easier to obtain.” – Dread Emperor Sorcerous – Chapter 75: The Eye
  • “Quite literally not what I was aiming for, but I can work with this.”
  • – Dread Empress Regalia II, as her flying fortress began falling on Laure – Chapter 76: Storm Surge
  • “In trying to beat a fool at her own game, I have only made another.” – Theodosius the Unconquered, after the Maddened Fields (apocryphal) – Chapter 77: What Goes Around
  • "The finest summation of Traitorous’s reign I ever heard came from an illiterate peasant from the outskirts of Ater, who described it as follows: ‘Like watching a snake eat its own tail, only the tail was fake the snake was an angry badger and also you are poisoned.'”

– Introduction to ‘More Art Than Act’ by Hakim of Kahtan, the Haunted Scholar – Chapter 78: Comes Around

  • “Hubris and wearing a helmet are not mutually exclusive. Here, allow me to demonstrate.” – Dread Emperor Abominable, the Thrice-Struck – Chapter 79: As Above
  • “I speak today not for humble man-eating tapirs but instead for the most ambitious specimens their kind has ever known. Is it not the sacred duty of all Creation to seek to claim the Tower? How, then, could it have been a crime for these tapirs to follow this same dictate by devouring our late Emperor?” – From official transcript from the Trial of Unexpected Teeth, opening speech of the defence – Chapter 80: So Below
  • “Thus the Gods granted us the second boon: beyond the veil of death lies a land of always plenty, which will only be open to the just.” – The Book of All Things, fifth verse of the second hymn – Chapter 81: Only To The Just
  • “Now, luck it always turns. Nothing you can do about that. But that’s the trick, you see – wait long enough, and it turns all the way around.” – Dread Emperor Irritant I, the Oddly Successful – Chapter 82: Thrice Dead
  • “Only one kind of war is ever just, that which is waged on the Enemy.” – Extract from ‘ The Faith of Crowns’, by Sister Salienta – Interlude: Triptych
  • “By hook and crook we will all hang, High Lords, from a noose woven of our many loose ends. But cheer up: none are beyond salvation, not even the likes of us. Let us see, at long last, if we can turn back the tyranny of the sun.” – Extract from the coronation speech of Dread Emperor Benevolent the First – Epilogue

Book 5[edit | edit source]

  • “A horse and fall was all it took
    For every last to take the hook
    Now the kitchen’s full of cooks,
    And the pot it is boiling
    Crown of this, crown of that
    They all chase after the hat
    Princess said she has a right
    Princess said it’d be a fight
    So princesses are all aflight,
    And the pot it is boiling
    Crown of this, crown of that
    They all chase after the hat
    The wheel spins us all around
    Up and north, south and down
    Ebb or flow, we’ll still drown,
    And the pot it is boiling
    Crown of this, crown of that
    All of this for a hat,
    While the pot it is boiling.”

– “Too Many Cooks”, a Proceran folk song written and grown popular during the civil war – Prologue

  • “Everything happens for a reason, and this time the reason is that I godsdamned said so.” – Queen Elizabeth Alban of Callow – Chapter 2: Stirrings
  • “My son, I offer you the greatest gift a ruler can give another: a widely reviled predecessor.” – Extract from the infamous ‘Sensible Testament’ of Basilea Chrysanthe of Nicae – Chapter 3: Orison
  • “I see how it is. We agree to single combat and of course you can still use your enchanted sword, but I bring a single massive flying fortress and suddenly it’s ‘treachery’ and ‘against the spirit of the agreement’.” – Dread Emperor Perfidious – Chapter 4: Reconnoiter
  • “I inherited not an empire but a house on fire: fall in line, lest we all burn.” – First Princess Éloïse of Aequitan – Chapter 5: Consult
  • “The words of one sage are wisdom, the words of a hundred a riot.” – Atalantian saying – Chapter 6: Furor
  • “Fool me once and it’d best be fatal, for my reply certainly will be.” – Dread Emperor Vindictive II – Chapter 7: Fellowship
  • “A pleasant lie finds more ears than a sharp truth.” – Proceran saying – Chapter 8: Veracity
  • “No man is an island, Chancellor. We’ve tried the ritual, the result is mostly screams.” – Dread Emperor Malignant III – Chapter 9: Patient Knives
  • “The key to popular reign is to blame the previous ruler for your every blunder and claim ownership of their every success, while avoiding the opposite. As a sign of my abiding love for you, my son, I have simplified this process by leaving you to inherit only a large amount of blunders.” – Extract from the infamous ‘Sensible Testament’ of Basilea Chrysanthe of Nicae – Chapter 10: Capture
  • “A hundred battles, even victories, will always lose you the war.” – Theodosius the Unconquered, Tyrant of Helike – Chapter 11: Forced March
  • “After Isabella the Mad was appointed to the command of the hosts of Procer to turn back the forces of the Tyrant Theodosius, the First Prince asked of her when she expected the war to be brought to a successful conclusion. ‘It should take,’ she famously replied, ‘about a hundred battles.'” – Extract from ‘The Banquet of Follies, or, A Comprehensive History of the First League War’ by Prince Alexandre of Lyonis – Chapter 12: Relief
  • “Necessity’s children are sometimes clever but always bloody.” – Queen Yolanda of Callow, the Wicked (known as ‘the Stern’ in contemporary histories) – Interlude: Beheld I
  • “It is fortunate that virtue is its own reward, as it does not tend to accrue others.” – Theodore Langman, Wizard of the West – Chapter 13: Following
  • “The art of negotiation is, in essence, convincing the other side of the table that you are very reluctant to part with the house full of rats while they are in dire need of it.” – Prince Louis of Brabant, later eighth First Prince of Procer – Chapter 14: Expedience
  • “To two deaths we are born: the first in the flesh, the second in the memories of those left behind.” – Sherehazad the Seer, Taghreb poet – Chapter 15: Bereavement
  • “Let neither queen nor prince rule over our dominion: for while crowns may devour honour, one’s blood is not so easily gainsaid.” – Farah Isbili of the Pilgrim’s Blood, second Holy Seljun of Levant – Chapter 16: Adverse
  • “Trust in yourself and no other is violence upon all the world. Trust in others and not yourself is violence upon the soul.” – Eudokia the Oft-Abducted, Basilea of Nicae – Chapter 17: Cloaks
  • “Eighty-four: the only sensible solution to a maze is to not enter the maze.” – “Two Hundred Heroic Axioms”, author unknown – Interlude: Congregation I
  • “What do you mean, they ‘went around the maze’? Do you have any idea how much it cost us to build that?” – Dread Empress Malignant I – Interlude: Congregation II
  • “We sowers of ruin, straight-backed and proud,
    Told them arrant, and arrantly kept our vow:
    ‘No bargain is there, between hunter and flock;
    No peace between the rabbit and the hawk.’
    We sowers of ruin, reaped all that was sown,
    For as Mieza’s sons toppled our waning thrones,
    They arrant said: ‘no bargain now, o lords of war,
    For no peace can be, between spear and boar.’
    We sowers of ruin, the reapers that were reapt,
    Sing the elder song still, for we must not forget:
    No bargain is there, between hunter and flock,
    No peace can there be, between lash and orc.”

– “Ruin, Sown”, a spoken verse in Kharsum attributed to Yngvild Bittertongue, chieftess of the Red Shields – Interlude: Congregation III

  • “Some acts only have to be committed once to afterwards echo a threat in your every silence.” – Dread Empress Massacre the First – Chapter 18: Fable
  • “The evening before a battle is like an entire nation breathing in. Only morning will tell if what comes out is acclaim or lamentation.” – King Albert Fairfax of Callow, the Thrice-Invaded – Chapter 19: Precedent
  • “It is best to count one’s fingers after shaking hands with Praesi.” – Queen Rowena Alban of Callow – Chapter 20: Bearings
  • “One hundred sixty nine: any companion volunteering to stay behind and hold off a superior enemy will be guaranteed success, twice over if having already taken a mortal wound.” – “Two Hundred Heroic Axioms”, author unknown – Chapter 22: Standoffs
  • “The price of dominion is the halving of one’s grasp, for a ruler may hold a crown or hand but never both.” – Julienne Merovins, tenth First Princess of Procer – Chapter 23: Readjustment
  • “Wisdom is a tower built of failure and rue.” – Ashuran saying – Chapter 24: Theft
  • “And so the First Under the Night came across a portal where great danger might lurk, and upon witnessing it halted and sought the council of Sve Noc. ‘O Night,’ said the First, ‘what wisdom do you offer?’ And so the Young Night answered thus: ‘Try a foot first.'” – Extract from the ‘Parables of the Lost and Found’, disputed Firstborn religious text – Chapter 25: Dead Ends
  • “No plan is beyond dreading the sound of a match being struck.” – Dread Emperor Reprobate the First – Chapter 26: Civility
  • “You should listen to the devil on your shoulder, my friend. I had it nailed onto there for a reason.” – Dread Emperor Abominable, the Thrice-Struck – Chapter 27: Overtures
  • “Despise not the treacherous but instead the weak, for while both serve the same purpose where treachery requires skill and daring weakness requires only mediocrity.” – Dread Emperor Vile the First – Chapter 28: Acts
  • “My son, the Helikeans insist it is better to live a day as a lion than a hundred years as a sheep but as in so many things they are missing the point. Lions commonly live a decade and a half, sheep slightly less. It is not them you must emulate but instead the common tortoise, a wise creature that achieves very little but will do so for a very long time. This is the ideal state of politics.” – Extract from the infamous ‘Sensible Testament’ of Basilea Chrysanthe of Nicae – Chapter 29: Retrospect
  • “Just as planned.” – Inscription on the front gates of the mausoleum of Dread Emperor Traitorous – Chapter 30: Weaver; Woven
  • “In boldness find salvation, for stillness is the herald of death.” – Princess Beatriz of Salamans, most famous for turning her trial for high treason by the Highest Assembly into election to the office of First Princess – Chapter 31: Fall or Flight
  • “Note: investigation in why sharing a problem is said to halve it remain inconclusive. Perhaps more varied trials are needed, as the tiger always ends up killing both subjects no matter the order they’re put in the cage.” – Extract from the journal of Dread Emperor Malignant II – Interlude: West, Ever Pursuing
  • “The middle years of the Uncivil Wars can roughly be described as a series of conflicts fought to determine peace terms. The tragedy of those years, in retrospective, can be said that while the overwhelming majority of them desired peace no two Calernian powers could agree on what exactly the terms of it should be – and so to war they all went, convinced every step of the way that the others were at fault for it.” – Extract from the personal memoirs of Lady Aisha Bishara – Interlude: Graves We Have Yet To Fill
  • “War itself has no worth, as it is a temporary state. War ends, and therefore its fundamental purpose is to shape what comes after it. It then follows that a war fought without the ambition of a planned peace is inherently a mistake.” – Extract from the treatise “On Rule”, author unknown (widely believed to be Prince Bastien of Arans) – Interlude: Trust Is The Wager
  • “Oh no, please stop wrecking everything! Like that urn in the corner, with the djinn bound inside. No, the other one, with golden – oh, woeful day, this wanton destruction of priceless artefacts is so inconvenient to me personally and absolutely no one else.” – Dread Emperor Irritant I, ‘defending’ the palace of the High Lord of Aksum from heroes – Interlude: And Pay Your Toll
  • “What poison is to medicine, war is to empire: apportionment is the balance of life and death.” – Extract from ‘The Ruin of Empire, or, a Call to Reform of the Highest Assembly’, by Princess Eliza of Salamans – Interlude: When Iron Rests
  • “One hundred and twenty one: it can be wise to make a truce with a villain to deal with greater threat. Never forget, however, that fear does not make someone trustworthy. Merely afraid.” – “Two Hundred Heroic Axioms”, author unknown – Interlude: So We Shot Him
  • “And so Triumphant laughed, saying: ‘You spellsingers, wisdom of stars and weavers of fate, know now despair. I will break you so utterly even the remembrance of your wholeness will suffocate, and where rose your tall spires there be only the barren sea I made of your defiance.'” – Extract from the Scroll of Dominion, twenty-fourth of the Secret Histories of Praes Chapter 32: Woven; Weaver
  • “Ambition without principle is greed, principle without ambition is mediocrity.” – Clodomir Merovins, ninth First Prince of ProcerChapter 33: Concord
  • Never once have I betrayed, for such an act first requires the extension of trust.” – Dread Empress Foul II, the Forthright Chapter 34: Seven
  • “Forty-three: if your band is split during a harrowing test set by a villain or ambiguous entity, you may safely assume you will next be reunited in some sort of cell or unfolding sacrificial ritual.” – “Two Hundred Heroic Axioms”, author unknownChapter 35: Colloquy
  • “Peace is the killer of empire, for when strength is not spent outwards it is instead spent within.” – Ghislaine of Creusens, twelfth First Princess of Procer – Chapter 36: Bid
  • “To keep a friend, avoid sharing these three: coin, cup and crown.” – Nicaean saying – Chapter 37: Accessory
  • “For the left hand is strife and the right hand is ruin, and only one may be clasped. The worthy take, the worthy rise; all else is dust.” – Extract from the Tenets of Night – Chapter 38: Pinnacle
  • “Thirty-four: it is not graverobbing if it was your destiny to have that artefact, just proactive inheritance.” – “Two Hundred Heroic Axioms”, author unknown – Chapter 39: Looting
  • “The priests lie, my friend. A bargain with a devil does not pervert your meanings, or seek to twist your nature. Why would it need to, when the honest desires of men are already so wicked?” – Kayode Owusu, Warlock under Dread Emperors Vindictive I and Nihilis – Chapter 40: Entreaty
  • “It is the nature of gambling that the scope of one’s victory is proportionate to the scope of all others’ defeat. So is it with empire, and near as subordinate to chance.” – Dread Emperor Venal – Chapter 41: Ante
  • “The Lycaonese are a grim people though not without a dark sort of humour, as became evident when I was first told what a ‘northern burial’ is. The inhabitants of these parts do not bury their dead, for fear of the Kingdom of the Dead, instead burning their own and spreading the ashes on consecrated ground. What the locals refer to as one of their burials is, in truth, someone being eaten by ratlings from the Chain of Hunger.” – Extract from “Horrors and Wonders”, famed travelogue of Anabas the Ashuran – Chapter 42: Twined
  • “Habitually treacherous enemies are accomplices to their own destruction.” – King Henry Fairfax, the Landless – Chapter 43: Treachery
  • “Forgiveness is a scale balanced, nothing more and nothing less.” – King Edward Fairfax the Fifth, the Hardhand – Chapter 44: Small Slights
  • “Grudge is born of blood, carried by it and redressed through it. As they who came before me swore, I so swear: there will be no peace nor rest ‘til the Cradle is reclaimed.” – First Oath of the People, taken by all in the Duchy of Daoine at age seven – Chapter 45: Long Prices
  • “It is written that the Hidden Horror sent envoy to the Iron King Tancred, threatening that should he not strike the banners over Hannoven and open the gates the city would be stormed and burned to ash. So did Tancred Papenheim then send back a single torch, with on the side engraved three words: ‘if you can’.” – Extract from ‘Crowned In Iron’, a compendium of Lycaonese histories assembled by Prince Alexandre of Lyonis – Interlude: Repudiation
  • “We fight not only our own wars but those of our forebears and our children, for we inherit the wounds of those before us and pass our own to those that follow. And so, fools that we are, we keep trying to fill one grave by digging another.” – King Edmund of Callow, the Inkhand – Interlude: Renunciation
  • “Mastery is meekness, for it is the observation of what we are intended to hold. It is the art of the supplicant. Only through usurpation can understanding be reached, for anything less is servitude.” – Translation of the Kabbalis Book of Darkness, widely attributed to the young Dead King – Interlude: Repurpose
  • “Fate is not a bridle; it is an arrow in flight. No hand but your own can loose it, yet once loosed there can be no desisting from the path.” – Dread Empress Maleficent the First – Interlude: Reckoning
  • “At which point Lord Bujune and Lady Rania both accused the other of being the Emperor in disguise, and the meeting devolved into protracted argument until the final quarter hour had passed.” – Extract from the minutes of the fourth meeting of the Red Fox Conspiracy, as taken by the stenographer Shamna Mehere (later revealed to have been Dread Emperor Traitorous all along – Interlude: Reverberation
  • “One hundred and two: defeat is inevitable, yet it can be just as useful as a victory. Fate assures you at least one loss, so make sure it’s the right kind.” – “Two Hundred Heroic Axioms”, author unknown – Chapter 46: Abdication
  • “You who would be mighty, seek excellence in all things, for the conquest of eternity must be earned with every breath.” – Extract from the ‘Tenets Under Night’, Firstborn religious text – Chapter 47: Tenet
  • “Beware of deep passions, for great love may turn in hatred just as great.” – Hesperos the Tepid, Atalantian preacher – Chapter 48: Swan Song (Redux)
  • “They who first look at the sun will never see aught else.” – Helikean saying – Chapter 49: Cracked
  • “Blood freely spilled always offers greater power, for it carries the worth of both the blood and the choice.” – Extract from “The Most Noble Art of Magic”, by Dread Emperor Sorcerous – Chapter 50: Sunset
  • “Of all Praesi I trust least those who come bearing gifts.” – Queen Yolanda of Callow, the Wicked (known as ‘the Stern’ in contemporary histories) – Chapter 51: Twilight
  • “When a highborn is slain, look to who benefits and you will have learned what families the third party wants to incite strife between.” – Extract from ‘The Behaviours of Civil Conduct’, by High Lady Mchumba Sahelian – Interlude: Concourse I
  • “Thus the Gods granted us the third boon: no longer would scales close our eyes, obscuring knowledge of Good and Evil and preventing us from earning just deserts.” – The Book of All Things, sixth verse of the second hymn – Interlude: Concourse II
  • “All law is upheld through violence, but when violence itself becomes the law then only disorder can come of it. As prosperity requires order, to ensure prosperity a ruler must therefore suborn violence to law.” – Extract from the memoirs of Dread Emperor Terribilis II – Interlude: Concourse III
  • “A victor has a hundred friends, every last born yesterday.” – Helikean saying – Interlude: Concourse IV
  • “Diplomacy is war without all the clumsiness.” – First Princess Eugénie of Lange – Interlude: Concourse V
  • “Negotiation with your ruler, my lord, is like treading the edge of a hidden pit filled with man-eating tapirs. Unrelated, but before we further discuss taxation would you take a single step to the left?” – Dread Empress Atrocious – Chapter 52: Recovery
  • “Count them all, in the snow
    Red and gold and black as night
    Count them all, high and low
    Seven crowns broken by rite
    Brought they forth, in accord
    Peace, oaths and a sword.”

– Iserran children’s rhyme – Chapter 53: Avowed

  • “A house can be destroyed by a fortune spent and twenty years of exquisite scheming; or in less than an hour with a single well-thrown torch.” – Dread Empress Massacre – Chapter 54: Lustrate
  • “It is said that when his Chancellor told him the scheme to release a culling plague would cause rebellion, Dread Emperor Vile thoughtfully replied that should this be the case he could always release a second one.” – Introduction to ‘Thirteen and One’ by Hakim of Kahtan, the Haunted Scholar – Chapter 55: Renewal
  • “In winning a game one may only grasp lesser victory; only in setting the rules may greater victory be found, for one then transcends the possibility of loss.” – Extract from “Bought and Sold”, a collection of the teachings of the Merchant Prince Irenos, founder of Mercantis – Chapter 56: Reflections
  • “It was written in faraway Mieza that law is what separates men and beasts. We know better, in Praes: law is what separates the beasts wild and tame.” – Dread Emperor Terribilis I, the Lawgiver – Chapter 57: Hearing
  • “All are free, or none. Ye of this land, suffer no compromise in this.”– Inscription on the founding stele of Bellerophon – Chapter 58: Prolong
  • “To repudiate what lies at the heart of Praes – ambition, skill, learning – would be a mistake, yet to allow those traits to be principle rather than tool has been the mother of a great many dooms. The greatness of olden days must be put to modern purpose or see itself turn irrelevant to the lay of Creation.” – Extract from ‘The Death of the Age of Wonders’, a treatise by Dread Empress Malicia – Chapter 59: Review
  • “And after Okoro was taken its King Berengar Rohanon was dragged before the people in the place of Faded Jackals, where his hands were cut for having reached beyond his grasp and his head scalped for having dared to claim kingship over Praesi. His Dread Majesty ordered him driven into the Wasteland, bearing his hands around his neck and his scalp scribed with for all crusaders this warning: ‘There is only one crown east of the river Wasaliti, and once more will you be taught to dread it.’” – Extract from ‘Commentaries on the Campaigns of Dread Emperor Terribilis the Second’ – Chapter 60: Melancholy
  • “Zarei, of short stride
    saw the long’s pride
    and carved, laughing
    found them wanting:
    chased into shadow
    by one mighty blow.”

– Extract from the ‘Zarei Veste’, a Firstborn traditional epic – Chapter 61: Reformation

  • “Power is as wealth; that which is yours has always been snatched from another.” – Dread Emperor Venal – Chapter 62: Pledged
  • “Rebel prisoners, Black Knight? Ah, you must mean the fresh orc rations.” – Dread Emperor Foul I, the Frugal – Chapter 63: Draft
  • “Fifty-three: a trusted companion who, after a string of personal disappointments, begins to dress in darker colours should no longer be considered a trusted companion.” – “Two Hundred Heroic Axioms”, author unknown – Chapter 64: Breathe
  • “Note: while the assertion that one’s friends ‘are an anchor’ held up to examination, said individuals (either dead or alive) seem no more effective in that purpose than a stone anchor of the same weight. The popularity of the saying remains baffling.” – Extract from the journal of Dread Emperor Malignant II – Chapter 65: Convivial
  • “Trust given is a gift, costing only the giver. Trust earned is in balance, worth as much to earner as granter.” – King Edward Alban of Callow, best known for annexing the Kingdom of Liesse – Chapter 66: Silvered
  • “Without enemy, without backbone.” – Callowan saying – Chapter 67: Starlight
  • “A good liar finds every lie a fetter.” – Arlesite saying Chapter 68: Apropos
  • “Assertion that the end justifies the means in in truth embrace of the Heavens, for it is they who will decide the Last Dusk and so all justice then derives from them.” – Hektor the Ecclesiast, Atalante preacher – Chapter 69: Repute
  • “For light blinds just as surely as the dark, and hatred binds just as surely as love.” – Sherehazad the Seer, Taghreb poet – Chapter 70: Dawning
  • “I am told awe is made half of reverence and half of fear. Let us find out, knights of the Callow, if terror alone will be enough to teach it to the likes of you.” – Dread Emperor Nihilis I, the Tanner – Chapter 71: Verge
  • “There are only two sorts of freedom to be found in Praes: the tyrant’s freedom, and the freedom to do as the tyrant said.” – Extract from the memoirs of Hiram Banu, the Ninety-Year Chancellor – Interlude: Iron
  • “First, gifted:
    Iron to bind
    And rope to kill.”

– First of the three so-called ‘Mavian Entreaties’, found on raised stones across much of eastern and Procer – Interlude: Rope

  • “Fear not faith in the unworthy, for to be fooled is shame only on the undeserving.” – Extract from ‘The Faith of Crowns’, by Sister Salienta – Interlude: Candle
  • “Second, beholden:
    Candle to blind
    And harp to still.”

– Second of the three so-called ‘Mavian Entreaties – Interlude: Harp

  • “Here’s the only justice I care to bring across the Vales: a sword in a just hand.” – Queen Elizabeth Alban of Callow, the Queen of Blades – Interlude: Bone
  • “Third, taking:
    Bone to wind
    And mirror to fill.”

– Third of the three so-called ‘Mavian Entreaties’ – Interlude: Mirror

  • “There are some who will, for what was writ in this volume, call me traitor. Name me a hater of all that we are. But it is untrue. I weep at what we are for I see what we could be, what we tried to be until we lost our way: an empire unlike any other, where the law is just and measured and rule belongs not to one but many. It is not hatred of the patient, to despise the disease.” – Extract from the conclusion ‘The Ruin of Empire, or, a Call to Reform of the Highest Assembly’, by Princess Eliza of Salamans – Interlude: And Yet We Stand
  • “Reputation is as a wild horse; gone at a gallop and returned at a trot.” – Arlesite saying – Chapter 72: Rumours
  • “Poison is the weapon of the trade, knife the weapon of the intimate and sorcery the weapon of war. To use any for the improper purpose is the mark of inferior breeding, save if greater game is yet afoot.” – Extract from ‘The Behaviours of Civil Conduct’, by High Lady Mchumba Sahelian – Chapter 73: Discerning
  • “Trust not oaths: from a liar they are wind, from the true they are needless.” – Penthesian saying – Chapter 74: Partial
  • “I assure you, Chancellor, that with but a few words they’ll come around to agreeing with me. Almost like an incantation, really.” – Dread Emperor Imperious – Chapter 75: Analog
  • “Orphan am I, yet with many mothers and fathers. At once ruler and ruled, yet never only one.” – Famous Proceran riddle, referring to the city of Salia – Chapter 76: Procession
  • “Even the most skilled of liars are only ever wielding a lie. Truth is the superior artifice, for it will strike deeper than even the most perfect deception.” – Princess Beatriz of Salamans, later thirteenth First Princess of Procer – Chapter 77: Artless
  • “The great candour in ruling Praes is that, if you make a mistake, assassination attempts will follow. Unfortunately if you do not make a mistake assassination attempts will also follow, which admittedly makes it difficult to tell if a mistake was in fact made.” – Dread Emperor Pernicious, the Imperiled – Chapter 78: Trenchant
  • “The crocodiles in the pit ate the condemned too quickly when starved and only nibbled when well-fed, which is why we bespelled them to be always be hungry for a little more. Thankfully they do not wear clothes, and so can still be told apart from the rest of my court.” – Dread Emperor Perfidious – Chapter 79: Hitch
  • “My dear High Lords, there is nothing to fear. We might be losing the war against Callow yet there is an obvious remedy to this: this morning, I declared war on Ashur. I will be surrendering unconditionally as soon as they acknowledge this, which ought to take care of our Callowan troubles.” – Dread Emperor Irritant I, the Oddly Successful – Chapter 80: Descant
  • “To have faith is to believe there is a plan greater than your own. And so the dreadful crowned are faithless one and all, for what plans could ever be greater than our own?” – Dread Emperor Reprobate the First – Chapter 81: Devotional
  • “Trouble reveals either true friends or a corpse.” – Arlesite saying – Chapter 82: Delegations
  • “Diplomacy is half lies and half courtesies, which is to say it is entirely lies.” – King Alistair Fairfax, the Fox – Chapter 83: A Mould Unbroken
  • “A treaty is fooling all the people at the right time, an alliance is fooling the right people all the time. A war is when all the people are fools all the time.” – Prokopia Lekapene, first Hierarch of the League of Free Cities – Interlude: Rise, Rise
  • “In studying our histories I have cast aside old mistakes, instead embracing fresh and interesting ones.” – Dread Empress Atrocious, later devoured by man-eating tapirs – Interlude: All Ye Villains
  • “And so as night fell over the Blessed Isle, his Dread Majesty sent across the river the corpse of Prince Robert and the captured Princess Juliana, still bound in chains, for when released she had bit off the ear of the High Lord of Okoro. King Selwyn Fairfax rode halfway across the bridge, where he thus addressed His Dread Majesty: ‘You have fought this war grimly on the field and gallantly beyond. Would that you had been born west of the river, under a virtuous star.’ And so His Dread Majesty replied: ‘For having been born east of the river I became instead a man to pluck stars from the sky. Is that not a higher virtue?’” – Extract from ‘Commentaries on the Campaigns of Dread Emperor Terribilis the Second’ – Interlude: So Smile, Tyrants
  • “The source of might in an army is unity, not numbers. Therefore, the mightiest of all armies numbers a single soldier.” – Isabella the Mad, Proceran general – Interlude: And So Let Us Be
  • “Inexorable is the end of the journey; choose wisely how you spend your steps.” – Ashuran saying – Interlude: Wicked
  • “Fifth of all Choirs, sternest Judgement
    They who cannot abide the repugnant;
    None more farsighted than the Tribunal,
    And none as even-handed or as brutal.”

– Extract from the ‘Hymn of Hymns’, Atalantian sacred text (declared heresy in Procer and Callow) – Interlude: Suffer No Compromise In This

  • “Under pale moon,
    Across the snow
    As the dead croon
    And flies the crow
    Did we not lose,
    A hundred times?
    Did we not win,
    A hundred times?
    Our iron wrought,
    Saw use earnest
    It rusted not
    Left unburnished
    Did we not lose,
    A hundred times?
    Did we not win,
    A hundred times?

    We came and went,
    Unconquered few
    We Tyrant’s get,
    The tried and true
    Did we not lose,
    A hundred times?
    Did we not win,
    A hundred times?
    Weep not for us,
    For in the annals
    Our stele reads thus:
    A hundred battles
    For we did lose,
    A hundred times
    And we will win,
    A hundred times
    ‘till falls the age,
    And end the times!”

– “Dead In A Hundred Battles”, Helikean soldier’s song – Interlude: A Hundred Battles

  • “To concern yourself with wickedness and virtue is to raise partitions within your mind, expecting the world to heed them thereafter. There can be no sin, save for fettering.” – Translation of the Kabbalis Book of Darkness, widely attributed to the young Dead King – Chapter 84: Declaration
  • “Kill an enemy,
    Make another
    How dreadfully
    We do usher!
    Killed; enemy
    To another.”

–Extract from ‘And So I Dreamt I Was Awake’ by Sherehazad the Seer, Taghreb poet – Chapter 85: When It Rains

  • “The cruelty of a dilemma is not only in the choice itself; it lies also in the truth it reveals to you about yourself through the making of that choice.” – King Edmund of Callow, the Inkhand – Chapter 86: It Pours
  • “An enemy will remember you long after your dearest friends forget your face. Consider this, when you choose yours.” – Argea Theodosian, Sacker of Cities, Tyrant of Helike – Chapter 87: Connive
  • “Reputation is as rope: it can be either a lifeline or a noose.” – Eudokia the Oft-Abducted, Basilea of Nicae – Chapter 88: Testament
  • “Fifty-five: if your powers are lost, they will nearly always return greater than before so long as the appropriate moral lesson is learned. With kindness and humility comes overwhelming martial might.” – “Two Hundred Heroic Axioms”, author unknown – Chapter 89: Sing We Of Ruin
  • “And on the first day of the year four hundred and ninety-three after the Declaration did a stranger slay High Lord Baraka Sahelian in the streets of Wolof, and she did not flee. Instead she challenged the Sahelians in such a manner: ‘Come now, you who believe you might triumph over me, that I might teach you the error of your ways.’” – Extract from the Scroll of Dominion, twenty-fourth of the Secret Histories of Praes – Epilogue

Book 6[edit | edit source]

  • “And so Dread Emperor Heinous thus addressed his court: ‘Are we not rulers of devils and dead, princes among usurpers? Why then should we suffer another to call himself king of our demesne?’ All agreed in this, and so war was declared upon Keter.” – Extract from the Scroll of Vainglory, thirty-ninth of the Secret Histories of Praes (destroyed by order of Dread Empress Maleficent II, only partial texts remain) – Prologue
  • “In the conduct of war offence is commonly preferable to defence; for in attacking a general acts according to their own designs, while in defence they act according to the designs of the enemy.” – Extract from the ‘Ars Tactica’, famed military treatise of Dread Emperor Terribilis the First – Chapter 1: Recommence
  • “My lords and ladies, have I not always been a firm believer in second chances?” – Dread Empress Malevolent II, announcing her second (and penultimate) invasion of Callow – Chapter 2: Enlistment
  • “The tragedy of our time, of every time, is that while there is power in knowledge there can be just as much in ignorance.” – First Princess Eugénie of Lange – Chapter 3: Standard
  • “By my own hand I have made my enemies, and so own them just as a craftsman owns his craft.” – Dread Emperor Nihilis I, the Tanner – Chapter 4: Shadowed
  • “It which does not take the knife of mistake by the grip is destined to take it by the blade instead.” – Drow saying – Chapter 5: Expired
  • “Fairness is the refrain of the lazy, the inept, the heroic. Anyone unwilling to stack the deck and murder the judge to seize victory has no place wielding any real power.” – Dread Emperor Callous Chapter 6: Equivalent
  • “Friend and foe know a different man.” – Helikean saying Chapter 7: Approach
  • “Friendship is as a garden: taking years to flourish, unmade by a season’s negligence.” – Proceran saying Chapter 8: Stanchion
  • “As sage in Nicae is a fool in Stygia.” – Free Cities saying Chapter 9: Acceleration
  • “Men pray only to angels because their devils need no summons.” – King Edmund of Callow, the Inkhand Chapter 10: Reflections
  • “A dog to the brave, a wolf to the craven.” – Arlesite saying Chapter 11: Veer
  • “The enemy’s come to die on this field, my friends, for an awful prince and terrible pay. We, on the other hand, have come to die on this field for a terrible prince and awful pay. That the Heavens are on our side ought to be evident.” – Captain Thierry the Acerbic, addressing his company before the infamously bloody Battle of Motte-aux-Foins – Chapter 12: Contest
  • “Raise the price by a coin of gold and you make enemies; raise the price by a copper and you make losses. Profit lies in silver: moderation without timidity.” – Extract from ‘Discourse on Nature and Man’, by Merchant Princess Adorabella – Interlude: Truce
  • “The doom of carefully laid plans is two unfeeling sisters by the names of mishap and surprise.” – King Pater of Callow, the Unheeding – Interlude: Terms
  • “One must not look down on tricks that deceive only fools, my son, as the better part of the people of the world are patently foolish.” – Extract from the infamous ‘Sensible Testament’ of Basilea Chrysanthe of Nicae – Chapter 13: Ingress
  • “To boast of an opinion unchanged is to boast of wearing child’s clothing.” – Atalantian saying – Chapter 14: Audience
  • “A ruler should always join regicide plots: is the finest possible teacher for a locksmith not a thief?” – Dread Emperor Traitorous – Chapter 15: Machinations
  • “Biting the hand that feeds you is another way to feed.” – Dread Emperor Vindictive II – Chapter 16: Divine
  • “Crimes against a crown are treason, crimes by a crown are a reign.” – Dread Emperor Reprobate the First – Chapter 17: Felonious
  • “You bargained for my soul, dear devil, and that is what you received. Is it my fault you did not stipulate it was to be my original one?” – Dread Emperor Traitorous, trading the soul of a single gnat for infernal enlightenment – Chapter 18: Clout
  • “I’m afraid that that old saying about resting when you’re dead has proved overly optimistic, my good fellows.” – Dread Empress Malevolent III – Chapter 19: Spectral
  • “Fate is not the river but the fisherman: run wild as you will, it will reel you in before the end.” – Queen Edda Norland of Summerholm, shortly before the surrender of her crown to House Alban – Chapter 20: Hook
  • “Turn back, Emperor, for if you venture further west the sole stretch of land you’ll have of me will be six feet long and three feet deep.” – King Jehan the Wise, before the famous Battle of the Sparrows – Chapter 21: Line
  • “Know mercy for what it is: the plea of the ant to the boot.” – Queen Elizabeth Alban of Callow – Chapter 22: Sinker
  • “It takes two hands to clasp in peace, only one fist to strike in war.” – Taghreb saying – Interlude: Rogue
  • “The kindest mirror is an old friend, the cruellest an old foe.” – Callowan proverb – Interlude: Archer
  • “One hundred and twenty-five: under no circumstances should you trust anyone who has the title of chancellor, vizier or duke. While they will always be powerful and competent, keep in mind they will also inevitably turn out to be in some way treacherous.” – “Two Hundred Heroic Axioms”, author unknown – Interlude: Deadhand
  • “A problem that cannot be solved by brute strength can still be destroyed by it.” – Dread Empress Massacre – Interlude: Concert
  • “The finest exercise of war is to interrupt the enemy’s plan. Therefore, the general without a plan is also without peer.” – Isabella the Mad, Proceran general – Interlude: Threads
  • “The Vales we held with valour
    And swept clear the Wasaliti
    But spring returns the enemy
    As we grow old in armour.”

– Duncan Threefingers, Callowan poet – Interlude: Set Them Up

  • “The henhouse stands unlatched
    All within, by the fox snatched
    So here they go, once again
    Chasing a red tail into the glen
    But we know, oh we know,
    That in the woods, the fox is king
    Yes we know, oh we know
    That in the woods, the fox is king
    Run the hounds, rides the hunter
    His spear in hand, banner aflutter
    Charging that way, this one baying
    Trampling the paths, again raging

    But we know, oh we know,
    That in the woods, the fox is king
    Yes we know, oh we know
    That in the woods, the fox is king
    Over the hills, across the glade
    Where the sun rests in the shade
    He hides and waits, until the day
    When the hunts are chased away
    For we know, oh we know
    That in the woods, the fox is king
    Yes we know, oh we know
    That in the woods, the fox is king.”

– “The Fox in the Woods”, a Callowan rebel song from the latter years of the Proceran occupation – Interlude: Knock Them Down

  • “Giving battle is as being made to wed one of two ugly sisters– even if you get the prettier of the bargains to be had, it is still a dreadful affair all around.” – Princess Clothilde of Arans, the Cautious – Chapter 23: Repercussions
  • “Loyalty to an unworthy prince is treason against the Gods Above, for it places that prince before the teachings of the Heavens themselves.” – Extract from “The Faith of Crowns”, by Sister Salienta – Chapter 24: Like A Hanging Sword
  • “Though it is not poor advice that one should imitate excellence, one who follows this advice alone can only ever aspire to be an imitation of excellence.” – Extract from the treatise “On Rule”, author unknown (widely believed to be Prince Bastien of Arans) – Chapter 25: Sanitize
  • “Hold not even the least of the laws of men in contempt, for where their like is absent rule only the laws of beasts.” – Isocrates the Harsh, Atalante preacher – Chapter 26: Palaver
  • “When using tigers you don’t have enough time to gloat, when using rats you risk awkwardly running out of gloat before the end: true equilibrium is found in a pit of humble man-eating tapirs, beasts that have never once failed me.” – Dread Empress Atrocious, later devoured by man-eating tapirs – Chapter 27: Nigh
  • “Diplomacy is not an art of peace or a higher calling, it is the act of nations bartering what they disdain for what they desire.” – Magister Haides Katopodis the Elder of Stygia – Chapter 28: Contend
  • “The advantage of fair laws is not inherent but rather in the people’s appreciation of them. It is therefore just as useful to offer only the perception of fair laws, and easier to attain.” – Extract from the treatise “On Rule”, author unknown (widely believed to be Prince Bastien of Arans) – Chapter 29: Conviction
  • “Admittedly, it was my fault for not specifying the flying fortress had to be able to fly in directions other than up. Oh, it can fly down as well? Splendid. Guards, drag the Lord Warlock beneath my fortress. It’d be a shame not to use it at least once.” – Dread Emperor Inimical, the Miser – Chapter 30: Quarters
  • “The man who sleeps with virtue finds the bed has no room for a third.” – Proceran saying – Chapter 31: Pursuits
  • “Let priests offer forgiveness before the hanging, a queen can only afford it after.” – Queen Yolanda of Callow, the Wicked (known as ‘the Stern’ in contemporary histories) – Chapter 32: Convened
  • “Thirty-seven: theft in the service of Above is not a sin. It is, however, still a crime. Be discreet.” – “Two Hundred Heroic Axioms”, author unknown – Chapter 33: Convenience
  • “To offer forgiveness to the unrepentant is as the sheep embracing the wolf.” – Hektor the Ecclesiast, Atalante preacher – Interlude: Paragons
  • “For though the Gods Above laid down the path of righteousness for all to see, so did the Gods Below then lay down a hundred others that look just like it.” – Extract from the ‘Truths of the Shore’, a collection of the teachings of Arianna Galadon (considered holy text only in Procer) – Interlude: Epitomes
  • “If you want something done right, steal it from someone who did.” – Dread Emperor Malevolent I, the Unhallowed – Chapter 34: Quickening
  • “One who rears a tiger should not complain of stripes.” – Soninke saying – Chapter 35: Portents
  • “It is traditional to kill to preserve your secrets, but I have found it more efficient to instead kill everyone who would be offended by the revelation.” – Dread Empress Massacre – Chapter 36: Trepidation
  • “A man should beware of praying for justice when he truly wants vindication. He might just get what he asked for, and it is never a pretty thing when we all get exactly what we deserve.” – King Pater of Callow, the Unheeding – Chapter 37: Trying
  • “A diplomat without a general at his back is just a polite man no one heeds.” – Exarch Acantha of Penthes – Chapter 38: Tantamount
  • “A sinking ship knows no captain.” – Ashuran saying – Chapter 39: Transliteration
  • “A war is not always won with daring, but it is always lost without.” – Florianne Goethal, Princess of Brus – Chapter 40: Campaign
  • “The only thing more inconvenient than being part of an alliance is not being part of it.” – Prince Luis of Tenerife – Chapter 41: Coterie
  • “Do not look down on fear, my friend: it is the rare case of a voice in your head actually helpful to your survival.” – Dread Empress Prudence, the ‘Frequently Vanquished’ – Chapter 42: Castigation
  • “I have been assured that my enemies lie behind every shadow, which is why they will henceforth be illegal.” – Dread Empress Sinistra III – Chapter 43: Conclusions
  • “The highest form of victory is not mere triumph over another, but to use such a triumph as the foundation of your own. This way superiority is demonstrated not only over one defeated but also one victorious, proving your own cunning to be beyond both.” – Extract from ‘The Behaviours of Civil Conduct’, by High Lady Mchumba Sahelian – Interlude: Ebb
  • “I am only seen when blind
    And dawn always kills me
    My omens can be divined
    But my gifts are all empty.”

– Taghreb riddle – Chapter 44: Cliff

  • “- one might then wonder if a kingdom’s sufferance of a tyrant for a decade is not worth the inevitable successful uprising by an usurped relative and the golden age it will usher. Given the frequent petty cruelty and mediocrity of kings, might it not be worth inducing a great tyrant so that a great ruler will follow them?” – Extract from the controversial treatise ‘Ethics of Fate’ by Kalchas the Gadfly, Atalantian philosopher – Chapter 45: Progress
  • “I make it a habit to kill all the people at court who do not want to usurp me, as they are principled fellows and so eminently more dangerous than your average conspirators.” – Dread Emperor Iniquitous, First of the 'Mayfly Emperors' – Chapter 46: Vestibule
  • “And so Dread Emperor Irritant did shout thus: ‘Leave him to me!’ And then he did ignore the Knight Errant, and brawled with a common soldier instead, and triumphed over him.” – Extract from Volume IX of the Official Imperial Chronicles Interlude: Reprobates
  • “A plan of war is the inevitable victim of circumstance; methods of war are superior, for they are the mother of many a plan.” – Extract from the 'Ars Tactica', famed military treatise of Dread Emperor Terribilis the First Chapter 47: Methods
  • “Faith is not an act of surrender but of conquest, for doubt lies within us all.” – Daphne of the Homilies, best known for ending hereditary rule in Atalante Chapter 48: Hilltop
  • “There are two ways to interpret a prophecy: the way that spells your doom and the wrong on​​​​​​​e.”  – Dread Empress Dismal –​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ Chapter 49: Association
  • “Villains often try to get clever, to stump me with philosophical questions like ‘what is evil?’ To which I answer ‘generally, people asking me that question’, which somehow they never see coming.” – Aldred Alban of Callow, the Prince Errant – Chapter 50: Mores
  • “And so Maledicta said: ‘All the world had denied us, so let it all be damned and we with it. This wasteland of our own making, it will kill us or we will kill it.'” – Extract from the Scroll of Misfortunes, thirteenth of the Secret Histories of Praes – Chapter 51: Endwise
  • “Swift wars are long in the making.” – Stygian proverb – Chapter 52: Sortie
  • “War, that most glorious of horrors.” – Bastien De Hauteville, Proceran general Chapter 53: Joust
  • “That there is little reason to war should be no surprise, for war is never the choice of reasonable men.” – Basileus Stavros Trakas of Nicae Chapter 54: King’s Fianchetto
  • “Let there be no talk of mercy after the ram has touched the gate.” – Queen Elizabeth Alban of Callow – Chapter 55: Queen’s Pawn
  • “There is no such thing as an unusable army, only armies that are not properly used.” – Aretha the Raven, Nicaean general – Chapter 56: Repertoires
  • “Fear not defeat, for defeat is the mother of learning. Many a time will you be asked this question: are you worthy? Many a time will you have to deny it, until at last you do not.” – Extract from the Tenets Under the Night, Book of Losara – Chapter 57: Battery
  • “One can no more win a battle than one can ‘win’ a hurricane or a house fire. It can, at best, be a disaster withstood better than some others also suffering it.” – Dread Empress Sanguinara, the Shrewd – Chapter 58: Prophylaxis
  • “I fear our tyrant in the east, but dread I reserve alone for what staying on our knees would make of us.” – Queen Eleanor Fairfax, founder of the Fairfax dynasty – Interlude: Old Dogs
  • “Surprise is not a fixed quality. Yesterday’s coup is tomorrow’s blunder.” – Theodosius the Unconquered, Tyrant of Helike – Interlude: New Tricks
  • “Victory in war comes by three parts: fighting, diplomacy and strategy. No single third is sufficient to bring victory alone, and each is neglected at great peril.” – Extract from the ‘Ars Tactica’, famed military treatise of Dread Emperor Terribilis the First – Chapter 59: Materialism
  • “In war and politics, we are all as men sharing the same dark cave and stumbling along blindly. The keys to victory in either matter are patience and seeing just a little further ahead than your opponents.” – Luc Monseiller, thirty-second First Prince of Procer, largely remembered for the Great War that followed his assassination – Chapter 60: Zwischenschach
  • “Fear is the prerequisite to any genuine learning; anything that can be learnt without questioning the foundations of your world is essentially decorative.” – Dread Emperor Sorcerous – Chapter 61: Adouber
  • “Empires die to wars, emperors to knives.” – Free Cities saying – Chapter 62: Adjournment
  • “Seventy-four: if your lover does not have martial training have a rescue plan ready and waiting, as the eventual abduction by your nemesis is essentially inevitable.” – "Two Hundred Heroic Axioms", author unknown – Interlude: Theism
  • “There is a natural order to the world and the peoples of the world must reflect it through law. Should all serve as ordained by the Heavens, all of Creation will be as a garden without sin.” – Extract from ‘Ten Scales’, by Madrubal the Wise – Interlude: Ietsism
  • “Not quite what I imagine my father meant, when he said I should find a talent that would set me apart from my brothers.” – Basileus Ioannes Trakas of Nicae, the Patricide – Chapter 63: Dynamism
  • “To rule is to drag a lion by the whisker.” – Helikean saying – Chapter 64: Candidate Moves
  • “Victory lies in understanding the intentions of the enemy. Therefore, a general with no intentions cannot be beaten.” – Isabella the Mad, Proceran general – Chapter 65: Cross-Check
  • “I climbed the Tower at seventeen, Chancellor, and for ten years I have held it. So before you bare your knife at my back, ask yourself this – would you really be the first to try?” – Dread Emperor Nihilis I, the Tanner – Chapter 66: Blind Pigs
  • “Kill a man and they will call you a murderer. Kill a hundred and it is a massacre, slaughter a thousand and it will be war. But kill a hundred thousand, a million? That carnage is the sole province of gods. Ancient Keter revealed this truth for all to see: apotheosis is simply bloodshed beyond mortal ken.” – Kayode Owusu, Warlock under Dread Emperors Vindictive I and Nihilis Chapter 67: Isolani
  • “No matter how long you glare at the sun, it will not blink first.” – Taghreb saying – Chapter 68: Opposition
  • “Courage is not a virtue, is it a bridle forced onto fear.” – Stygian saying – Chapter 69: Book Draw
  • “Beware of they who laud war, for one who loves the locust cannot love the crop.” – Extract from the transcript of the 'Sermon Of The Shores', as spoken by sister Salienta -Chapter 70: Solved Game
  • “An enemy may suffer a hundred defeats yet avoid being defeated; seek not victories, only victory.” - Extract from the 'Ars Tactica', famed military treatise of Dread Emperor Terribilis the first - Chapter 71: Eschatology
  • “As the long summer dies the wolves will dance with the sons of the king, and though cities will fall in the end the only victor will be death.” – Extract from the prophetic ‘Book of Manifold Dooms’, by the Augur Kaspar Reitzenberg (widely considered useless, as it foretells events both past and future without drawing distinction) - Chapter 72: Omen
  • There’s nothing impressive about oracles, Chancellor. All that’s needed to foretell the future is a fool and a tiger pit.” – Dread Emperor Malignant III Chapter 73: Signs
  • “It is not the grand choices of our lives that determine who we are. It is the small acts of small days, the quiet kindnesses and cruelties, that shape us like a smith’s hammer. And when those grand choices come calling we are already formed, already shaped, and we understand that it was never really a choice at all.” – King Edmund of Callow, the Inkhand – Chapter 74: Herald
  • “My dear Chancellor, I am most disappointed in you. If she escapes the crocodiles before the rope snaps, then of course she will go free. What does it matter, that she will oppose us again? Only the fearful insist on winning every game of shatranj they play.” – Dread Emperor Malevolent I, the Unhallowed Chapter 75: Desolation
  • “Princes dream of victory, farmers dream of peace.” – Proceran saying – Chapter 76: Rapt
  • “I agree that outliving your enemies is the greatest of revenges, my friend, but we seem to have something of a philosophical difference about how that is to be achieved.” – Dread Empress Maledicta II – Chapter 77: Tribulation
  • “Honour is neither reputation nor law. It cannot be borrowed or bought, bent or bargained with, for it comes from a place that is beyond deception. Fidelity to virtue belongs only to yourself and the Gods, and needs no other witness.” – Extract from the book ‘Reflections’ by Farah Isbili, second Holy Seljun of Levant – Interlude: Blood
  • “I wrote this work because it is our habit as a people to ignore the worst of our history and gild its mediocrities, and to speak against this practice will see you castigated as unpatriotic. This is more than wrong, it is dangerous. We must not snuff out the lights of our common soul by placating the darkness, else what manner of a world are we laying the foundation for?” – Extract from the conclusion of ‘The Labyrinth Empire, or, A Short History of Procer’, by Princess Eliza of Salamans ­– Interlude: Song
  • “Hardship does not create valour any more than rivers create fish. It is simply a circumstance where the valorous reveal themselves, and it would be a mistake to believe that what misery or ruin unveil could not also be brought into the light by love or duty.” –  King Albert Fairfax of Callow, the Thrice-Invaded –  Interlude: Woeful
  • “Peace is death, stagnation of the soul. Peace is a child closing their eyes to the truth of the world: the great will partake of the small, until they falter and they too are partaken of. Strife is life and death, and there can be no more evil in embracing it than in the act of breathing.” – Extract from the ‘Tenets of Night’, ancient Firstborn religious text – Interlude: Sigil
  • “Fifty-seven: the greatest of powers is not an enchanted sword or cataclysmic spell, it is simply to be in the right place at precisely the right time.” – “Two Hundred Heroic Axioms”, author unknown Interlude: Kingdom
  • “To sacrifice is to embrace end for the sake of beginning.” – Daphne of the Homilies, best known for ending hereditary rule in Atalante – Interlude: Lost & Found
  • “The parity of light and darkness is a false perception. Light is transgressive, an imposition on the natural order, and so will always spend itself into nothingness. Be as the dark and you will be beyond struggle, ever returning when the flames die out.” – Translation of the Kabbalis Book of Darkness, widely attributed to the young Dead King – Chapter 78: Keter’s Due
  • “If you are to win the most then you must win always, else you will find a hundred more knives pointed at your back for every victory. This is both the promise of imperial greatness and the fate of imperial death.” – Extract from ‘The Behaviours of Civil Conduct’, by High Lady Mchumba Sahelian – Interlude: Flow
  • “And so Maleficent the Second said: ‘If I must burn half the realm to save the rest, then kneel before the empress of ashes.’” – Extract from the Scroll of Restoration, fortieth of the Secret Histories of Praes – Epilogue

Book 7[edit | edit source]

  • “Twenty-two: do not forget the rest of Creation in the pursuit of your nemesis. Small kindnesses are the seed of grand consequences. Evil stays, Good compounds.” – “Two Hundred Heroic Axioms”, unknown author Prologue
  • “The trick is to always invite an unrelated highborn idiot to every council. When you inevitably execute them, all the other highborn idiots will behave for the rest of the discussion.” – Dread Emperor Vindictive I – Chapter 1: Debut
  • “People are never easier to fool than when they believe they’re fooling you.” – King Alistair Fairfax, the Fox Chapter 2: Perplex
  • “I was privileged to receive audience with a shaman of the Red Shields clan, who after receiving gifts was willing to indulge a few of my questions. My attempts to understand the lay of her people’s statecraft, however, were met with a simple laugh and the quote of a Kharsum proverb that translates as such: ‘throw meat or be meat’.” – Extract from “Horrors And Wonders”, famed travelogue of Anabas the Ashuran – Chapter 3: Wage
  • “It is unseemly to poison an ally in the first month, wear white at an assassination or use the same curse more than once per decade. Fashions will change with year and season, but always these three will be a mark of crudeness.” – Extract from ‘The Behaviours of Civil Conduct’, by High Lady Mchumba Sahelian – Chapter 4: Stock
  • “The Heavens pick the victor, my friends, but the Hells detail the aftermath. How else can it be explained that when a battle is won we most commend the general – that is, the only man in the army that can be relied on not to have picked up a weapon?” – Captain Thierry the Acerbic, addressing his company before the Battle of the Twelve Routs – Chapter 5: Incursion
  • “And so a great host came to stand before the Sererian Walls, led by four kings and three queens who meant to raise Aslam Isbili as king over Wolof. Their envoys were scorned by High Lady Akua of the Sahelians, and so in great anger did they storm her walls. Seven times and one was the army driven back, broken by sorcery until corpses stood tall as hills. Only then did High Lady Akua answer the envoys, speaking thus: ‘Have you come to win a crown, or lose seven?’” – Extract from the Scroll of Ruin, twenty-fifth of the Secret Histories of Praes Chapter 6: Retaliation
  • “A journey ends with two strangers: time changes the hearth no less than the traveller.” – King Richard the Elder of Callow – Chapter 7: Expatriate
  • “Note: Cousin Onoko’s assertion that ‘blood is thicker than water’ was in fact correct, despite my initial assumption otherwise. Add in the silence that followed the experiment, and it can be considered an unequivocal success.” – Extract from the journal of Dread Emperor Malignant II – Chapter 8: Access
  • “Eighty-seven: the secret passage your nemesis will use to escape the fortress can be used to enter that same fortress. They never consider that, for some reason.” – “Two Hundred Heroic Axioms”, author unknown – Chapter 9: Vault
  • “Diplomacy is as sailing, catching the way the wind blows.” – Ashuran saying – Chapter 10: Parley
  • “Loyalty is not opposite of betrayal, but in truth adjacent: to truly place a person or principle above all others is to promise injury to a thousand others.” – Extract from the prisoner’s memoirs of Princess Eliza of Salamans – Chapter 11: Descent
  • “Terror is the hand that rips away the masks. What stays when it has stripped away all the civilized lies we tell ourselves is our truest face, ugly as it is.” – Alrich Fenne, first of the Iron Kings – Interlude: West I
  • “As a rule, principles are trouble. If you have them, unprincipled men will despise you. If you do not have them, principled men will despise you. My advice, my son, is therefore to choose terribly mediocre principles but keep to them religiously.” – Extract from the infamous ‘Sensible Testament’ of Basilea Chrysanthe of Nicae – Interlude: East I
  • “There are three decisions that can only be mistakes: trusting a peace in the Free Cities, intervening in an Alamans succession and campaigning in the Wasteland.” – Queen Matilda the Elder of Callow – Chapter 12: String
  • “To hold a strong defensive position is not enough. You must force the enemy to attack it, which is the difference between tactics and strategy.” – Extract from ‘Considerations on Warfare’ by Marshal Grem One-Eye – Chapter 13: Footing
  • “The right kind of defeat can be more useful than a victory.” – Dread Empress Prudence, the Frequently Vanquished – Chapter 14: Nock
  • “Only a child pretends there is value in defeat. Fool they who praise a bleeding wound.” – Dread Empress Massacre – Chapter 15: Pull
  • “You cannot flee from fate, it is the road beneath your feet.” – Levantine saying – Interlude: North I

Extra Chapters[edit | edit source]

  • “In its infancy, the Fifteenth was in the awkward position of being within spitting distance of the heart of the Empire without being part of it. Legate Juniper, ever brutally sardonic, pointed out that give how tall their manors stood, they had a better chance of landing the spit on us than us on them. History wasted no time in proving her correct.” – Extract from the personal memoirs of Lady Aisha Bishara – Conspiracy I
  • They call Ater the City of Gates and then forget to mention how often those are shut on people’s fingers.” – Dread Empress Regalia II – Conspiracy II
  • “This eye for an eye business is horridly proportional. I assure you, if I’m losing an eye then so is everyone else.” – Dread Empress Sanguinia II – Red Skies
  • “I stared into the abyss and found what stared back… wanting.” – Translation of the Kabbalis Book of Darkness, widely attributed to the young Dead King – Beast
  • “Refuge is not a city so much as it is a cluster of vagabonds, held together by awe of the Lady of the Lake. There are no laws here, save for her whims, and those she inflicts only rarely. The Kingdom Under seems to consider Refuge a protectorate, though they have no real presence on the premises, and I should not need to remind you of Lady Ranger’s infamous ties to the Calamities. The Consortium must tread lightly. This is the woman who once hunted the Wild Hunt for sport, and she has not grown meeker with the passing of years.” – Varrus Ipsimos, agent for the Consortium – Regard
  • “Authority is the lie we all agree on for fear of chaos.” – Dread Empress Maleficent II – Reign
  • “That slip of a girl from Rhenia is playing ruler, coming south with her pretty little army. I’ll have driven her out of Brus by winter, then we can turn our attentions to real threats like the Princess of Aisne.” – Extract from the correspondence of Prince Dagobert of Lange, dated four months before the fall of Lange – Crowned
  • “One hundred and forty-three: do not try to avert prophecy, fulfil prophecy or in any way tinker with prophecy. Swallowing poison will lead to a quicker death and less ironic horror inflicted upon Creation.” – “Two Hundred Heroic Axioms”, author unknown – Usurpation
  • “May you become the weakest link in the Chain of Hunger.” – Ancient Lycaonese curse – Warden I
  • “There’s only a thousand of them, I don’t care if they’re on a hill. This will be over by midday, Black Knight, mark my words.” – Dread Empress Sulphurous, the Technically Correct – Warden II
  • “Though goblins are the most secretive of all peoples, audiences with Matrons granted me some insight into their people. The Tribes have no true concept of war because there is no such thing as peace, to a goblin – only the temporary witholding of violence.” – Extract from “Horrors and Wonders”, famed travelogue of Anabas the Ashuran – Raid
  • “I do not fear wicked men, who know only cruelty and pain. The fear they inflict leashes them as well. But a decent man? Oh, there is no limit to the devilry a decent man will fall to, if he believes it necessary.” – King Edward III of Callow – Deadhand
  • “The most important part of any summary execution is to remember to have fun and be yourself.” – Dread Empress Malevolent II – Closure
  • “Even the kindest hero stands over a spreading graveyard.” – Theodore Langman, Wizard of the West – Dues
  • “The true tragedy of Evil is that it is not absolute. That even the worst of men can love their children, be moved to kindness. Damnation is earned piecemeal.” – King Edmund of Callow, the Inkhand – Background
  • “To follow a principle is to ascribe value to it, and value always has worth that can be quantified. Is to value quantifiable worth above all, therefore, not to follow the greatest of all principles?” – Extract from “Bought and Sold”, a collection of the teachings of the Merchant Prince Irenos, founder of Mercantis – Fletched
  • “No man in Creation is so dangerous as a well-meaning fool.” – Dread Empress Regalia II – Prodigy
  • “Heed my warning princes and princesses of Procer: for every empire laid low by Evil, a hundred were wrecked by mere greed and stupidity.” – Extract from ‘The Ruin of Empire, or, a Call to Reform of the Highest Assembly’, by Princess Eliza of Salamans – Hierarchy
  • “He who casts judgement will ever be judged in turn.” – Ashuran saying – Prosecution I
  • “Men often speak of justice as the middle way, the compromise, but that is the guise of lesser evils. Justice is to uphold that which is right, and there is no place for compromise in this.” – King Jehan the Wise of Callow – Prosecution II
  • “Ruling is to promise a man a boat and his brother the river while owning neither.” – Kind Edmund of Callow, the Inkhand – Court I
  • “Salvation is ever an act of violence, be it within or without.” – Dread Emperor Reprobate the First – Court II
  • “Power is a blanket that never covers quite as much as you need it to.” – Queen Matilda the Elder of Callow – Court III
  • “There is enough room to fit the entire span of Creation between the Heavens and the mouths of priests.” – Antoine Merovins, twenty-second First Prince of Procer – Fatalism I
  • “What is it if not sorcery, that I can tax a single belltower in Salia and set half a dozen cities ablaze?” – First Princess Anaïs of Cantal, referring to the incident that began the First Liturgical War. Later became the Proceran shorthand of ‘Salian belltower’, referring to a small act carrying disastrous consequences. – Fatalism II
  • “I fear the man of one book, even if that book is about the pastoral habits of the common Callowan cow. Have you ever looked into the eyes of a cow? They are a depthless abyss of cold nihilism.” – King Edward V of Callow, the Sufficiently Paranoid – Fatalism III
  • “Alas, though your jest was cutting this axe is even sharper.” – Dread Emperor Vindictive — Ye Mighty
  • “Of all Choirs, beware of Mercy
    The hand so patient and kindly
    Of any sacrament, it is the last
    And ever the most harshly cast.”

– Extract from the ‘Hymn of Hymns’, Atalantian sacred text (declared heresy in Procer and Callow) – Peregrine I

  • “Peace is not a right, it is the privilege of those who have toiled to break the back of war.” – King Albert Fairfax of Callow, the Thrice-Invaded – Peregrine II
  • “Pilgrim of grey;
    Fleet-foot, dusk-clad, the wanderer,
    His stride rebellion and stirring ember
    In his grasp the light of a morning star
    Tattered his throne, tattered his war.”

– Extract from the ‘Anthem of Smoke’, widely considered the founding epic of the Dominion of Levant – Peregrine III

  • “Justice is not the end of a road, the closing of a tale. One cannot be just, one can only act justly: it is a struggle from cradle to grave, not a prize seized and kept.” – Daphne of the Homilies, best known for ending hereditary rule in Atalante – Peregrine IV
  • “Courage and cowardice fill the same grave, but earn different eulogy.” – Lycaonese saying – Inexorable
  • “It was then I understood: it is a fundamental flaw in Creation that other people can disagree with me, and I must fix that mistake.” – Dread Emperor Imperious – Peers
  • “Courage is what’s left when the rest is gone.” – Albrecht Papenheim, the Lone Sentinel – Miraculous
  • “In declaring all that is not Good to be Evil, one surrenders the better part of the world to the Enemy.” – Theodore Langman, Wizard of the West – Seed I
  • “Patience is the art through which rivers shatter mountains.” – Solon of Many Decrees, founder of the Secretariat – Seed II
  • “Forty-one: should personalities among your band be clashing overmuch, consider leading the band into grave peril. Either friendship or a corpse will ensue, which remedies the issue either way.” – “Two Hundred Heroic Axioms”, author unknown – Winter I
  • “Good for a day, a man. For a year, a priest. For a decade, a Chosen. For a lifetime, a fable.” – Alamans saying – Winter II
  • “Good Gods, man, you can’t simply fire arrows at them. You have to let them finish the monologue first, otherwise it’s simply unsporting.” – Aldred Alban of Callow, the Prince Errant – Winter III
  • “One must admire the thriftiness of Callowan war-making, given the cost of arming bold orphans with enchanted swords compared to that of crafting undead plagues and flying fortresses. They even get to reuse the sword, most the time, if rarely the orphan.” – Dread Empress Prudence, the Frequently Vanquished – Winter IV
  • “Regrets will find you on their own, but redemption must be sought.” – Hektor the Ecclesiast, Atalante preacher – Kingfisher I
  • “A wise man fears heroes not for their nature but for what they were made to fight.” – King Edward III of Callow, the Fratricide – Kingfisher II
  • “Where there is cause for wonder, there is cause for fear. Only through faith and rectitude can the Talent be mastered instead of master.” – Jaquinus the Elder, Proceran monk and scholar – Charlatan I
  • “To be a mage is to seek to master yourself so that through this you might master the world around you.” – Extract from “The Most Noble Art of Magic”, by Dread Emperor Sorcerous – Charlatan II
  • “Beware of they who speak of doing good without speaking of those whose good they seek.” – Theodore Langman, Wizard of the West – Charlatan III
  • “We like to tell each other devils are the true face of wickedness, for it makes evil into a monster we can vanquish. A sword cannot settle the banal cruelties decent folk inflict on each other, you see, though these do more evil in a day than a flock of devils in a year.” – King Edmund of Callow, the Inkhand Charlatan IV
  • “Fate is as a towering tree: we see only the branches and the leaves, never guessing at the roots that tangle us all together.” – Eudokia the Oft-Abducted, Basilea of Nicae Five Stories
  • “It would be a curse to be born Good. If virtue were easy, if doing right was painless, Creation would have no meaning: what worth is there in a trial that does not try you? – Extract from the ‘Truths of the Shore’, a collection of the teachings of Arianna Galadon (considered holy text only in Procer) – Malanza
  • “Hate, earnest hate, requires understanding of yourself and your enemy. Anyone can despise a scarecrow of their own making, but to truly loathe another you must first recognize in them some part of yourself that you deeply detest.” – Extract from ‘The Covenant of Iron’, a philosophical text by Dread Empress Foul II – Disjunction
  • “You who name yourselves Titans desecrate what the word once meant. You make yourselves petty tyrants over children and break bones for hollow works, greedy as the wyrms we overthrew. Are you not ashamed at what we are become?” – Antigone Strides-Ever-Unyielding, Amphore for the Chorus of the Gentle Hand – Colossal I
  • “Why should the world balk at returning what it cost us to break its chains? It is not tyranny to receive our due, only the achievement of balance. There can be no shame in this, only in allowing empty charity to stand in the way of what can still be done.” – Kreios Maker-Of-Riddles, Amphore for the Sublime Auspice Colossal II
  • “The reed survives the storm, but only in the shadow of the oak.” – Proceran saying – Grand
  • “To know one thing perfectly is to know all the world.” – Extract from “Ten Sun”, famous swordsmanship manual of Saint Felipe the Duellist Beatification I
  • “To fear death is to grant it power over you. To welcome it as an old friend is to escape the shackles forced on you at birth.” – Irmingard Fenne, the Bloody Sword – Beatification II

Excerpted Works[edit | edit source]

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