The Jeweled Sword

The most beautiful roses have the sharpest thorns. Perhaps this is for the best, lest we heedlessly seize them.

--Zoraidia the Sage

She had been musing all day, never letting go of the gift she received that morning.

"To new beginnings." A short message to go with an object of such immense importance.

The Jeweled Sword. And it was hers now.

Reston House had held the blade for generations — longer than the feud between the Reston and Tenimir Houses existed. But this morning? They had simply handed over the artifact; never had she seen a more clear sign of submission.

They expected me to leave them be now, yes? This gesture would buy my favor? Let Reston House continue without me undercutting them with every move my craftmasons and merchants would make? Ha!

No... no, she would finish what she started, and leave Reston House in ruins. It is what her mother would have wanted. And her mother's father, and many other heads of Tenimir House before that.

Her messenger came to her door and was dismissed. She was too busy considering the gesture; truly, it was cowardice, and she respected them even less now, she decided.

It would be before daybreak before reality caught up with her; Reston House had made new allies.

By the end of the year, there would be no Tenimir House and the blade would return to Reston House.

They bought it back with a boat full of goods set for distant lands... enough to start over with.