Here it is! The sequel to Perpetuation.

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Prologue

She was surprised that no one had protested against her black breeches and violet silk shirt. The tunic she wore was made entirely of spun gold and covered in encrusted jewels. Looking one last time in the enormous mirror, she tried to find Alanna in the imperial stranger who stared back at her.

The stranger's face was pale, her aristocratic features sharpened by the red hair that had been ironed flat to form a sweep of coiled braids. Amethyst bobs twinkled in her earlobes, and an ember hung on a gold chain at her neck. She reached out to touch the stranger's reflection, when her old teacher's voice whispered softly,

"It's time, Lioness."

She took a deep breath, straightened her shoulders and didn't look back. Duke Gareth's reassuring and proud smile gladdened her. She knew that she would not be able to do this properly without his support. A sudden deafening excitement compelled her through the tall doors and into the silence.

Twelve years ago, ten-year-old Alanna of Trebond had often dreamed of being presented her shield in front of a hundred people. But never had she imagined, the thousands of faces that would come to witness the moment she'd be crowned Queen of Tortall.