Snippet the almost-last, VERDICT OF HISTORY.

Bastard: dead. Now I just have to make all the lacings tight.

2456 AD
Bitterwater Sephiroth
(Salt Lake City)

The Supreme Archmage had sent the crystal phial of poison himself, using his own sorcery. Firebrand supposed that was supposed to be some kind of obscure honor. He didn’t particularly feel honored.

He held it up to the sun, almost if he hoped to see some way out in its moon-colored depths. There wasn’t one, needless to say. Only death, inexorable — and likely painful, as well. The Universal Dominion never saw the point in offering a quick and easy death when it could just as effectively make the choice be between a long, painful death, and a very long and horribly painful one.

It’s a funnier joke when it’s pulled on somebody else, Firebrand decided ruefully. If only that damned fool Peregrine hadn’t died! She understood what I was going to do here. And she understood I’d never try to take the Throne That Overlooks The World away from her.

Her replacement was blind, blind, blind. He wanted what was left of Deseret smashed, and he didn’t understand that the Dominion… even now, Firebrand shied away from even thinking something stronger than ‘would find that too tedious.’ The armies needed years to recover from their losses, losses incurred because the new Supreme Archmage wouldn’t stop directing the war from a thousand miles away. Even now they were out there, smashing where Firebrand would have squeezed.