Lucia tapped a stack of papers. "You have all seen the papers and each of you has participated in discrete discussions concerning Magister Vult's plan for the Crusade, but this the first time we have been able to father together. Let me emphasize, gentlemen, that we here will decide the fate of millions of people—the fate of nations. The course of the Third Crusade will be determined by us, not on the battlefield but here, in this room, by those gathered here at my request." She looked at her son, the emperor, and added, "At our request."
Gyle wondered if she outranked him now, being a living saint. I bet he's wondering that too.
Lucia looked around the table. "I will clearly define the situation so that we are all of one understanding. Then we will agree the way ahead." She got to her feet and began to circle the table. Her voice became clear and emotionless: less saint and more angel of retribution.
"It will not have escaped your notice, gentleman, that the Golden age of Rondelmar has begun to dim." The emperor looked displeased at her words, but didn't interrupt. "Though outwardly it looks like we were never stronger, the purity at the heart of Rondelmar's rightful dominance of the world has beun to tarnish. Impurity has been allowed to enter this realm, by men who care more for gold than for love of Kore. The merchant cabals prosper, while we who love Kore and the emperor must struggle for what was once ours by right. A great evil was done, and it must be undone. The evil I refer to is, of course, the 'Leviatan Bridge' —that cursed creation of Antonin Meiros and his godless cronies." She slapped the table, suddenly angry. "when Kore made this land, he made two great continents, separated by vast oceans, and he commanded his sister Luna to make those waters impassable, so that East should never meet West. Learned, noble, enlightened West and base, depraved, idolatrous East should never meet, under Sun or Moon—so it was written.
Excerpted from Mage's Blood by David Hair. Copyright © 2013 by David Hair. Excerpted by permission of Jo Fletcher Books, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.