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This book describing the creation of the Gardens of Ysa looks largely unread; its binding still creaks when the book is opened.


The Gardens of Ysa by Odwald Bynothas

Chapter 3 - A Garden from the Ashes

The Great Cycle of fae magic had guided Seelie and Unseelie for centuries, since the very beginning of time, and despite occasional flashes of spontaneous conflict, the rise and fall of the great Courts was a peaceful, reliable pattern, as predictable as the natural cycles on which it is based. However, even as Mitharu's natural order sometimes suffers from aberration, so too did the way of the fae once fall into disorder and chaos. This was the Withering War.

The Withering War (God-Storm) was a fierce battle, one fought primarily between two men, two very extraordinary heroes: Ysa, of the Court of Summer, and Ohn, his rival, of the easterly Court of Winter. Enemies for ages, Ysa and Ohn has let their bitterness get the best of them, a very mortal perception that was no doubt a result of recent incursions into the faelands by alfar, Varani, and Almain. Many scholars contend that the rise of the young races in the west corresponds directly to a rise in fae violence, madness, and decay, but such theories cannot be proven due to the elusiveness of the subject.

Whatever their reasons, Ysa and Ohn were committed to their folly, and breaking from the Great Cycle they waged war on each other. This conflict left many fae warriors dead and many others questioning their role in the world, for the concept of the fae Telling purports that all fates are determined and all fae roles - or archetypes - are dictated by the natural order. The Withering War went against every expectation, and the fae are not known for their ability to adapt to change.

Following the battle, the victorious Ysa severed all ties with the Court of Winter, declaring a new kingdom in western Alfaria, a "civilized" empire to be known as the Great Kingdom of Summer. As his first act, the newly crowned High King established the great Houses of Ballads, Seasons, and Valor, institutions meant to create a fae identity that was unique to the Court of Summer and its subjects. Not longer would the Telling be shared between the forces of spring and autumn. The balance had shifted.

Filled with pride, Ysa set about creating a city that his counterparts in the Court of Winter would forever envy. For the site of his grand city he chose his own hollow, which sat atop a potent wellspring of fae energy known as the Font, believed by many scholars to be the source of the Court of Summer's magic. Gifted shapers from across the western faelands arrived to aid their new ruler in his quest. Together they fashioned a city inspired by the grasping towers and vaulted halls of mortal fortresses, and borne from the gardens where Ysa first discovered his role in the Telling.

When Ysa died and the his energy entered the Great Cycle, the sitting High Court named the city after him as a testament to his revolutionary lifetime. From that day forward it was the Gardens of Ysa.