By Nikki Alfar
You must understand that all of this occurred some thirteen years ago, when I was young still and the Empire had but newly begun its campaign to rid the realm of the Wildness.
We were told—and not without foundation—that the Wild represented a threat to the ongoing unification of the realm, dispersed as they were throughout the lands, yet uncontrolled by any form of sanctioned governing body. Moreover, rumor had persisted over a course of decades that certain of the Great Families had been pursuing some sort of complex schema of interbreeding, intended to result in the birth of a child with unprecedented affinity for all aspects of the Wildness. It was therefore generally agreed that reining in the Wild, particularly among the Families, was not merely a judicious course, but a necessary one in order to ensure the continuance of the Empire. No one strongly objected, as I was far from the only one who had heard some story or knew someone who knew someone who had experienced some calamitous upheaval wrought by an untutored expression of the Wildness.