n a time of wizards and kings, one name stood above the rest. He was Montechristien Groeneveldt.
He had been weak. He had been a failure. But beyond darkness, beyond damnation, beyond all suffering and all sorrow, he found the jewel of the philosophers. He found the pure magic of the cintamani — of the alchemic gold.
From that point forward his power was limitless. He bound the Devil, shattered suicide’s son, and took wickedness as his bride. He grew butterflies on trees and timed out life with flowers. He broke the world and sewed it up again. And as the time of his death approached his children came to his Castle to dispose of the matter of their legacy.
Violet, his eldest and most dear, who had betrayed him before she was even half-grown.
Francescu, the deathless sorcerer, who had turned his back on the affairs of the world.
Manfred, the fallen knight, whose strength was legend and whose spear was magic’s bane.
Tomas the cruel, who had looked in his tenth year upon the face of God.
Christine, the mad sorceress, who wandered the world in her living house.
Sophie the skinchanger, soulless and Devil-tainted, and once the one Montechristien had loved best.
Elisabet, the Devil’s child, a creature as much of shadow as of life.
When Montechristien stumbled towards the grave at last, the talents of his children turned against their siblings, every hand against the other, and the halls of his Castle Groeneveldt ran with blood.