Winter seemed to come early in 1313, the year Aurora was born. For days that July, a mass of damp white flakes clung to treetops and roofs like snow.
Some thought perhaps it was the North Faerie’s doing. They were wrong.
In her day—which was a very long time ago indeed—the North Faerie had been known for wreaking havoc on the skies whenever she lost one of her infamous chess games. But she had died many decades before our story begins, mysteriously murdered in her own home. That’s why the White Throne, carved entirely from the tusks of narwhals, is now called the Red Throne; it’s covered in her blood.
Aurora knows the stories well—she’s read the entire 313-book collection of faerie histories in her grand library. Princesses have a great deal of time on their hands, after all. Especially princesses like Aurora, who have no sense of touch and no voice. These were tithed from her just months after her birth.
But it wasn’t snow that came down that summer, for it didn’t melt. And it wasn’t any faerie’s doing either. As everyone who was alive then and remains alive today remembers vividly, the ashes that rained over heads and homes and whole towns across the kingdom of Deluce had one very distinct quality: the acrid scent of spindle fire.