This is a serialized story, Part 1 can be found here
Neither mud, nor dust, nor hardship could keep The Lady of Light away from her goal, and on a clear evening as the sun dipped below the forest canopy its last rays illuminated the Duchess’ triumphant face as she stood with her army beneath the eaves of The Castle of Bridges. Her scouts had tracked the fugitives to this outpost of The Empire and there was no doubt in her mind as to the loyalty of the Castle’s Keeper. A herald announced the Army of Vengeance’s terms; a figure appeared on the ramparts. I will speak with my sister alone, The Wandering Brother called, and the outer iron gate was opened. When they stood in the half light of the tower gate he produced two amulets. I relinquish my claim to the Imperial Line, he said as he pushed the objects into her hand, and I relinquish the claim of our youngest brother, as he his dead by your doing. I will keep your secret, and that of your son, if you leave this place immediately and in peace. My son? The Mother-Daughter of Emperors started as a figure emerged from the darkness, a man The Keeper of The Castle of Bridges had protected and sheltered for thirteen long years as insurance against the greed of the Imperial Family. I have your word?, she snapped. Her brother nodded and handed her a bundle of dusty clothing. Tell your army the loyal Keeper burned them as whore witches. Straightening herself for a final display of courage she solemnly pronounced her disdainful parting: Farewell then, my brother, I will never see you again. No, he said as he turned his back on The Golden Lady and signaled for the iron gates to be closed, you will not.