Nicholas A. Rose has been an avid reader for most of his life and a writer for almost as long. He is the author of the ilvenworld novels and novellas.
He enjoys anything to do with the sea, the outdoors and mountains, all of which he finds inspirational, and the rather more sedentary pastimes of chess, photography, real ale, reading and, of course, writing.
Two rival claimants to the empty Markan Throne meet in battle. When Marcus Vintner defeats his cousin Branad, it seems the matter is settled. But Marcus is implicated in a murder and his claim to the throne is suspended.
Zenepha, an intelligent and literate sylph, is plunged into the depths of Markan politics when he is thrust, unwillingly, onto the throne.
Hingast, a third claimant, is also traveling to Marka, determined to press his claim and prepared to use force to get his way.
Marcus must prove his innocence before it is too late and the throne again falls into abeyance.
New enemies plot, old enemies wait, and only a sylph stands in their way.
Cleared of all wrongdoing, Marcus Vintner is eager to press his claim to the Markan Throne. But he must first convince the Senate that it is time to replace the sylph-emperor. Zenepha has however proved himself an excellent monarch and the Senate is reluctant to push him aside.
Sallis ti Ath lies seriously ill and only a touch-healer, usually the preserve of the wealthy, can save his life. But when Elvallon heals the sick boy, he reveals that Sallis is Gifted, one of the few born to touch the power that allows the universe to exist.
But the boy's skills turn out very different from anything Elvallon expected.
Markan Empire by Nicholas A. Rose (A Sample Taken from the Prologue of Markan Empire)
Mounted guardsmen rode down the line to break up a fight a little further along. One glanced at Silmarila; he eyed her walking staff and tried to see into the cowl of her cloak. Then he was past and she was forgotten.
Many fighting men eyed her walking staff with respect. They knew a quarterstaff when they saw one. She'd had no call for it on her journey, but these were troubled times.
"All right, that's enough!" One of the guardsmen tried to break the fight up. "Enough, or your time in Marka will be spent in a cell."
The queue surged forward before halting again after a few steps. Many were travel-worn family groups, drawn by the offer of free land. Some might even be farmers and their families.
Silmarila wondered how much "free" land was left and of what quality. Although for very different reasons, the rumors that lured these people were the same that brought her to Marka. She had no need of free land. She looked towards the city gates.
Marka had an emperor again.
Rumor that two claimants to the vacant Throne had been called to Marka caught her attention and stirred her to action a year before. She left her comfortable village to return home and hopefully reclaim her rightful place.
More rumors followed hard on the shirttails of the first. One claimant had defeated the other; one had murdered the other after the battle; a general had gone berserk and murdered both claimants... Silmarila could hardly wait to learn the truth.
There were always rumors, but these were many and too fast to be other than truth, even if embellished.
"Break it up, I'm telling you!" The scuffle had broken out again. "Any more and you're arrested. All of you!"
She was already on the road when she heard the whisper of a no longer vacant Throne. She had initially discounted what the rumor said; she had laughed at such a ridiculous notion. A sylph on the Throne? A sylph, ruling humans? But the nearer she came to Marka, the more persistent the tale and, now she was here, she had no alternative but to accept it as truth.
When stories of the siege reached her, she almost turned back. She had never flinched from advising it when necessary, but she hated war. All that suffering and pain and hunger and grief.
Then other stories came.
There was an ilven in Marka. She hadn't seen one of the sisters for, for... Well for longer than she cared to remember. But it was not the ilven who pulled her onward. There was also a young gwerin. A baby gwerin with no idea what was expected of her, alone and in need of schooling.
She shivered as the wind chewed through her cloak.
The city walls were more or less as she remembered them, with a repair needed here and there after last year's siege. Most buildings that poked their upper levels above the walls were different, but some familiar edifices loomed benignly toward her.
The only constant in life is change. She smiled as she recalled her tutor's words. Sometimes it came slowly and sometimes it seemed as though change had ground to a halt, only to rush forward like an avalanche in winter. It was inexorable, but blind and not all was for the better. She wished change would affect this damned wind. In early spring, the Markan winter clung tenaciously to its empire, spiting nature's attempts to drive it away.
She grimaced at the human remains hung in a cage above the gate, picked white by carrion and weather. The placard announced to the literate that these were some of the remains of Hingast, failed invader of Marka. He was not the first to fail to take the Jewel of the World and she doubted if he would be the last. Some rumors claimed Hingast was still alive.
She pushed the cowl of her cloak back to show her face to the guard at the gate. He gave her a once-over before nodding her through. He had no reason to deny her entry, even if he knew who and what she was. Especially if he knew. She passed through the gate and into the city.
She took a deep breath, she was home.
Though the trees that lined the center of the main road were new, the streets followed a familiar layout. The bustle of Marka at work was the same and she was certain of the way to the Imperial Palace.
Sylphs thronged the crowd, as numerous as ever. If any recognized what she was, they gave no sign of it, but Silmarila increased her pace anyway. She sensed the end of her journey while drinking Marka's sounds and scents, all so painfully familiar she knew she had missed them.
Another corner and she was there.
The Coronation Building was the same; she would be shocked if that had changed. She grimaced at the ugly warehouse, built a good time ago to judge from the state of it. That would never have been allowed in Emperor Evlander's day. She left Senate Square and the Imperial Palace was before her.