It has been four hundred years since the Great Collision changed the face of Earena. Bards still tell tales of how the sky was split asunder, how the one moon became two, and how, after, the gods fell silent.
Forests turned to deserts, deserts submerged into the seas… But one thing still endured: the Aldersgate, the long line of curiously hardy alder trees growing from the northermost reaches of the Isles, to the southern tip of Soderon. Bards once told of the Aldersgate’s powers, that the trees healed a rift in the earth itself, that without it, not only would the sky and moons have split, but all of Earena, too.
But now, the world has changed. Songs of the old world have been forgotten and such stories of trees, of gods, and of magic, hold little clout in the age of steam, politics, and philosophy.
In Hartleigh, the capitol city of Queensland, Maelys I rules over a decadent court steeped in years of tradition and obsessed with new technologies. But on her shoulders lies the greatest of decisions, one that no cog or wheel can solve. In the years since the Great Collision, the birth of female children has continued to dwindle. Recent figures from the Crown indicate the amount less than two in ten. The situation is even more dire in the ruling classes, called the Alderclass, as rowdy nobles continue to hike dowries, and auction their daughters off to the highest bidders. This has caused more than a few skirmishes, and kept the queen’s knights busy on all fronts.
In an historically unpopular move, Maelys orders all Alderclass girls of marriageable age to be sent to Hartleigh Castle, for safe keeping.
When news of this decision reaches the Territories, followed by the appearance of the over zealous Order of the Oak–the messenger knights of the realm–all the hells break loose.
The Aldersgate is the story of Cora Grey and Brick Smithson, childhood friends born on opposite sides of class lines who on the eve of discovering their true feelings for one another, find themselves cast out into the dark, separated, their lives turned upside down.
It is the story of Emry Roy, a shy bard from the Isle of Mor who is assigned an apprenticeship in Barnet, only to find he is hated and ridiculed. But in a few short hours, he discovers that darker things lurk in the Territories than he ever imagined.
It is the story of Sylvan DeLoire, Queen Maelys’s high assassin and bastard nephew, caught between the woman he loves and cannot have and the duty he has sworn to uphold.
It is the story of the princess Ellinora, the reluctant heir to the throne. She is beset with visions, helped in no small part by her addiction to opiates, and slowly loses her ability to discern the real world from the imaginary, as she watches her aunt, the queen, struggle to keep the kingdom together.
There are others, too; Professor, the diminutive and brilliant resident inventor of Vell, who, try as she might, cannot escape her past; Sir Gawen, the famed knight, who may or may not be able to live up to the tales about him; Kaythra Bav, the abducted High Counselor of Hartleigh, and once the lover and confidante of the queen herself.
These strangers and friends come together and are cast apart, as they discover what is truly happening to their world, piece by piece. There are powers afoot like never before, whispering in the branches of the trees… But will they work together, or will it all fall apart?
That is the great question.