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The War Turns Cold

J.D. LaFrance

Drem left his book in the hands of two men, neither of whom he knew or knew
if he could trust. But he was a wanted man and he was wanted dead, because with
him gone the war would end. So he left his book and his hope in Avra, with two
perfect strangers, to go kill himself.


Drem had powers stronger than any anyone had ever seen. He had a way
with trickery, illusion, and manipulation. They called it magic but he didn’t use any
wands or spells or incantations. It was just Drem and his words and his ability to use
light to fool the minds of much simpler folk. Or so he thought. He was young and still
didn’t understand his full strength, so he didn’t have a word for what he did. He was
strong and determined and out for revenge, so if magic was what they wanted to call
it, then magic was what he did.


Drem’s death was long and oftentimes painful, but it was absolute.


His first stop was Eremus. He kept to the shadows and he kept out of sight.


“Did you hear?” Drem whispered from his hiding places.
“He died...”
“He’s dead...”
“They killed him...”


They would turn and look, not knowing where it came from but believing they
overheard the truth. Drem traveled the desert, city by city, village to village, until he
was satisfied he had died in Eremus.


He crossed the new river into Truncatis. Shadows were easier to come by
here.


“He’s dead,” Drem rejoiced from his darkness until he was happy he had died
in Truncatis too.


The house he built for his brother was doing a better job than he could have
hoped. It kept him fed and educated, but most importantly it kept him safe.
His brother was getting big and pushing thirty. Drem just checked in from a
distance, his brother didn’t need him there to cause trouble when he clearly wasn’t
needed. Drem left without a word.


Drem climbed the mountains into Culmen. His biggest challenge and still the
hardest nation to convince.


“He’s dead...”
“We’ve won...”
“Have you heard?”


His rumors were plenty and varied. His time was long and exhausting. But
once the President Varo announced his death as fact Drem knew his mission was
over.


Drem avoided Lignum. They would never be convinced. He knew that. Even if
he threw his cold and bloodied body before the pulpit during their ceremony of the
sun, they still wouldn’t believe it. The Lignumians knew his tricks and they could see
through them.


He couldn’t reach Glacialis. The Deadlands didn’t welcome him anymore and
it would be impossible to stay out of sight on a boat. So he just had to hope the news
would spread.


Drem traveled back to Avra.


Twenty years since he left his book. Twenty years it took him to die. Now he
was back to finish what he began.


“Gork, I am your one and future God,” Drem said to the man who owned his
book. The man read it but didn’t fully understand its meaning and significance. “You
must spread my word. You must build me a following.”


The man turned and looked. And turned and looked. But Drem was nowhere.

The war has been gone from Avra for years. The streets of Ager have been
rebuilt and were busy with market stalls and shoppers again. But Drem was hidden
well and even though his voice boomed from all sides, Gork was the only one who
could hear him.


“Gather your friends and family. Gather your neighbors. Gather your town.
And bring my book. Preach my word and show them the truth. Do as I ask and you
will be rewarded. Do as I ask and I will not fail you.”


Truth is a relative concept. And all it took was one miracle, one trick, to get
them to see the truth. Drem’s truth. And to believe what he had written in his book.


It spread through Ager. It spread through Avra. And, soon, it spread through
the world.