The Second Great War, which rocked the world from 1885 to 1893 CR, brought the Empire of Metamor a desperate need for soldiers. Casualties were high in the trenches, and when drafting its own citizens proved insufficient to meet the demand, the army’s recruiters turned to immigrants from neighboring countries. For poor migrants from backwater communities, military service promised a fast track out of poverty, training in new skills, and the opportunity for Imperial citizenship.
Natasha Volkova was one such immigrant. On her eighteenth birthday, she walked out of her homeland of Vysehrad with nothing but the clothes on her back, two skins full of mountain spring water, and an old grain sack in place of a duffel bag. Desperate to escape from her drunken, abusive father, she left her ancestral village, walked to the nearest town on the Imperial side of the border, and signed up at the army recruiter’s office. She was tall and imposing, and a lifetime of farm labor had made her strong. She was trained as an infantry soldier and sent to Hevagne—the most grueling, deadly front in the war.
Five years later Natasha was discharged under mysterious circumstances, shortly before the end of the war. Her records showed that the discharge was honorable, but dark rumors surrounded her, and Natasha would not—or could not—talk about why.
Rather than return to rural poverty in Vysehrad, she made her way to Metamor City, half a continent away. She took a job as a guard with House Hassan, the greatest of Metamor’s noble houses, but she struggled to adapt to civilian life in this strange and foreign land. Plagued by nightmares from her horrific experiences in Hevagne, she has sought comfort in the arms of beautiful women … and when that doesn’t work, there is always alcohol. There are few supports available for a returning soldier, especially one who is both a commoner and a foreigner. Natasha wonders if she will ever know peace again … until an unlikely young noblewoman walks into her life…