It's late spring about 210 years before H.E (human era), Tortall does not exist as a nation, it is one of many states, left over from the fall of a large empire, held together by mutual consent of lords to belay war with each other and keep trade open. Tortall is the largest and most powerful of the statesl. Immortals have not yet been banished from the living realms and run free alongside humans, sometimes for the good, often for the worse. This is the story of the formation of a nation and those who struggled to make such a feet possible.
Brennawynn peered out across the forest below her. A hunting party had just gone out in pursuit of centaurs that had moved into the forest knowing well that they would not be accepted. She was always worried for her father when he went out on these rides. He was a knight, as noble and strong as any, but even though he had all of the training and dealt with the immortals on a regular basis she couldn't stop herself from worrying when he had to deal with something more cunning, like centaurs.
Knowing that the party would be gone for a long time on their hunt she left the tower wall with a sigh to find something to take her mind off of her father. She headed for the practice fields were the pages and squires would surely be training. Her younger brother was a page and her eldest a squire, she often watched them train, watching the repetitive exercises helped her calm down and think clearly about things.
When she got to the practice area she leaned against the fence adjacent to the archery field. She noticed that many squires who had been missing for a time were back. Many knights had been called to travel with a group of delegates to negotiate with leaders from several neighboring fiefs that had begun to question the pact that had been established to keep peace between them. The knights had gone along in case violence erupted. They were lucky this time, the treaty still held, but it was becoming apparent that the peace was not going to last much longer.
She cleared he mind of any thoughts of war and tried to focus on less heavy subjects. She let her mind drift and before she knew the pages were heading for the bath house. As they passed the fence one of the squires stopped in front of her
"Is it really very becoming for a lady such as your self to hanging around the practice fields?" the squire asked with a grin. Evelyn rested her chin on the palms of her hands and replied,"Oh? It's not as if I'm out on the courts swinging around a sword. What may I ask is undignified about leaning against a fence daydreaming on such a lovely spring day?" The squire leaned in a little closer and glanced around with a exaggerated looked of concern on his face, "Well, Lady Brennawynn, I didn't want to say anything around the other men, but I wouldn't want any of them to corrupt your precious, innocent mind. It concerns me greatly."
Brennawynn smiled widely, her green eyes dancing with amusement, "Are you talking of beasts or men?" she asked. His eyes met hers and he replied wickedly, "Men are beasts, my dear." With that he turned and headed towards the bath house with the rest of the pages and squires. Brennawynn watched him go, he was tall and lean but fit. His eyes were sapphire blue and hair was black and long, tied back into a short horse-tail. She sighed, she preferred his hair short. As soon as all the prospective knights were gone she turned to go back to the manor, maybe the hunting party would be back by now.
That evening dinner was served in the great hall to all the presiding nobles as usual, but today a number of diplomats and knights who normally did not join the court for supper were present were present as well. They were seated at the head table with her uncle Aland, the Duke of Tortall, seated in the middle of the great table. They were dressed in their finest but the demeanor about them was not of prosperity. When everyone was settle down Aland rose and led them in the god's prayers. Brennawynn looked up briefly during the prayers and saw that all of the men at the at the main table had their heads bowed solemnly their hands clasped tightly together, they looked more serious than anyone in the hall. She had seen this look before, her aunt Lorelle had a young son who became very ill two years ago during a wave of sickness. Healand (healer) Marianna had done everything she could, but nothing helped. After they had learned that there was no more she could do Lorelle ran to her son's room, Brennawynn followed but did not go in the room. Lorelle kneeled by her son's bed, her head bowed against the blankets her hands clasped together tightly, lips moving in prayer, tears streaming down her face. Brennawynn had never seen anyone show such strong emotion, but it was one of last resort. Her son died only two days later. Brennawynn saw the same look on the faces of the men. They knew that nothing they did would make the situation better, but they hoped and prayed with all their being that maybe things would look up.
"So mote it be."
The hall echoed with the many voices. Dinner had begun, servants entered with plates of food and pitchers of wine, the people relaxed, and they began to eat, chat and laugh. Brennawynn would have loved to join in on the conversations and jokes, but she couldn't take her mind of off the men at the main table, they had been across the borders and knew the full situation. She looked over at them. They looked as serious as when they walked in but know their heads were bent in towards each other and they were talking in low voices. Vexed that she couldn't hear what they were saying Brennawynn leaned back on her chair and closed her eyes. She took deep breaths and cleared her mind of all the noise around her and focused on the main table.
"I don't think there's a thing were can do about this, my lord," said a clear, young voice, "sure, we can slow it down, but sooner or later it will all take the same path."
"Well, yes," another voice replied, "but surely it's worth trying again?"
"I don't know," yet another new voice added, "we've had two excursions like this that amounted to nothing, I agree with Goldenlake on this. Discussion will only postpone things, but in the end it all turns out the same."
"I don't disagree with you, but---."
Brenna's listening was cut of by a sudden pain in her side. She looked over and saw her sister looking at her sternly.
"That hurt you know," Brenna replied.
"I know. That was the point," her sister replied, "but it was the only way I could get you out of your daydream. Anyway, there's a letter for you."
Her sister pointed behind her and she turned around. A servant was standing there holding a folded piece of paper in his hand. Brenna accepted the letter sheepishly, and as soon as the servant was gone she opened it just enough so that no one else could see it and read it. She turned towards the main table where her dad was sitting and grinned devilishly at him; he always knew when she was listening in on his conversations.
First part done =) I'm trying to keep as close to "fact" as possible as far as gods, fiefs and tortallan history goes, but with a lot of my own stuff put into the mix. It may have mistakes, but that's why I'm writing to try and learn from my mistakes.