AN: This is a total rewrite. I am very glad I never posted the first chapter because it was completely awful. I am now rewriting the story in an attempt to make it less clichéd and stop the characters from being complete Mary Sues/Gary Stus. I rewrote the prologue a bit longer, more informative, and in the writing style I use now.

Prologue

The year was 664 H.E. (Human Era), and Tortall had no ruler. Well, technically it did, but she was not legally old enough to inherit the throne, so a regent, her uncle, ruled for her. At sixteen, the heir was training in the martial arts, as one of five female squires currently in service to the crown (which created an odd problem, as there was no King or Queen to actually be in service to…) The Princess/uncrowned Queen tried very hard in her studies, knowing that she needed the respect of her people, skill, and knowledge to rule well.

A bit of necessary history follows; when the Princess was eight years old, her father, the King and her Uncle's wife both died of a mysterious illness of unknown origin. It appeared rarely, but had been seen before in relatively isolated cases. A year later, her mother, who was the regent then, was killed in an assassination attempt going after the entire royal family. The Queen had been a powerful mage and had killed the assassins, but died in the process. She had used all her reserves of magic as well as her life force to defend her daughter.

Her uncle was a good, if sad, man; the former king's younger brother who had always preferred books to royal duties. After the Queen's death, he became regent for his nine year old niece. The man turned out to have a talent for politics, surprising everyone, including himself, with his skill at negotiation. The Duke was very protective of his niece, his only remaining family, and did not want her to become a knight, but he understood the logic behind it.

As our story begins, the Princess was finishing her second year as a squire, and had just heard that the Spy Master had found evidence of a plot on her life.