Title: A Small Talk in the Rose Garden
Summary: After the end of the Zarosian-Kharidian War, an era comes to an end in the Empire.
The hottest hour of the day was almost over. Far beyond the walls of the Divine Palace the work that had not been ceased for midday went on, and those who had observed a siesta were returning to their tasks. Cartwheels rattled on flagstones while the cart-drivers cursed each other, and merchants declared the praise of their wares over the haggling of their customers.
Deep in the Palace gardens, sheltered by buildings on all four sides, the sound the city made was dimmed to a distant rush. In the maze of brightly tiled paths between the rose bushes even that was gone, and the air was heavy with the sweet smell of flowers and the buzz of bumblebees drunk on nectar.
Two figures were walking down a mosaicked path, side by side. The shorter one was a human, a white-haired old