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Now it came to pass when Avram succeeded his father Buchan as King of Detina that those in the north would not accept his lordship, anointing his cousin, Grand Duke Geoffrey, as king in their lands. For Avram had declared even before old King Buchan died that he purposed freeing the serfs of Detina. The subtropic north was a land of broad estates, the nobles there taking the fruit of the labor of their fair-haired tenant farmers while returning unto the said serfs but a pittance. By contrast, merchants and smallholders filled the south: men who stood foursquare behind Avram.
Declaring he had inherited the whole of Detina from King Buchan, Avram would not suffer Geoffrey to rule unchallenged in the north, and sent armies dressed all in gray against him. Geoffrey, in his turn, raised hosts of his own, arraying them in blue made from the indigo much raised on northern estates that they might thus be distinguished from the southron men. Now Avram had the larger portion of the kingdom, and the wealthier, but Geoffrey's men were the bolder soldiers and, taken all in all, the better mages. And so the war raged for nigh unto three years, until Avram's general named Guildenstern moved against the northern army under Thraxton the Braggart, which held the town of Rising Rock close by Sentry Peak. . . .
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