At the end of Dar 2: Set’s Dream, Dar Tania cradles a young Ana on her lap. The dragons can sense an aura of destiny about the child. At that time, they could not have foreseen the powerful love and one-sided rivalry that Ana would develop for Dar. Considering Dar her big sister, Ana grows up hero worshipping her… and determined to impress her. This desire to earn Dar’s regard drives Ana to recreate, to the extent possible, Dar’s life. Like Dar, Ana is pulled out of the River when she is 19.
The Morbatten Empire and the dragons it serves view Time as a flowing river of fire. This metaphor is both symbolic and real. Throughout my writing, various characters are able to step out of Time’s flow. If they worship Tiamat, when they exit the River, they see a flowing torrent of energy, a cascade of flames, and the desires of those others standing out of the river. I commissioned this art from Darko to help visualize what the characters are trying to describe to those of us still trapped in time’s flow. This panel shows the Present (center). Dar has lifted Ana out of the poison and murder of our world where Time is so insidious it kills us moment by lethal moment. Dar is pointing to Ana’s destiny. Ana is looking back at the moment she realized she wanted to be just like Dar.
The first time anyone exits the River, they see the stealthiness of death. Motes of energy and matter disintegrate visibly from their skin and hair and drift downstream, to the Future. Ana is so excited to finally see and capture this ability that her thoughts are on that first moment when Dar went from someone she looked up to, to the goddess Ana worships her as. In the Present (center), Dar is holding a bloodstone named The Imperial. This was the first bloodstone. It was enchanted by the Court of Patriarchs to rechannel the dominion of Necromancy to whoever is controlling the stone to any necromantic being or power within line of sight. The racy Ana can see it, but she is fascinated with the past and needs to learn to let go; the past cannot be changed and too much time spent there – when out of the River – can be just as lethal as aging.
Dar is pointing to Ana’s future as if to say, “See? You will one day battle as Tiamat’s high priestess. You shall wield my sword, Morbattania, and carry The Imperial against the hellhounds of the Jade God. It will take Ana almost 300 years to realize this vision and another two thousands years to see the outcome of her confronting the Jade God. Ana is a legendary character in my writing. As the high priestess of the Temple At Bloodstone, she reigns like a goddess amongst mortals. Like Dar Tania, she defies the god emperor’s orders to bear children with heroes. Rather than doing so with those ordered, she flaunts it and chooses all. Her seductive style is almost as reknowned as is her temper and power. With Ana, all is fire and flames.
Also shown in this picture is a concept referred to by the priestesses as “goddess armor.” This armor manifests by faith and revelation to protect the Tiamat’s chosen. While Ana could wear armor, and most of Tiamat’s priestesses do, Ana’s faith is certain and her covenant with Tiamat absolute. The hellhound striking her leg causes the armor to manifest to protect against the specific attack. It makes Ana fall back. In her left hand, she holds the divine symbol of Tiamat and readies to strike with Morbattania and Tiamat’s fury.