The Ritual is about to begin.
Something that has not happened in a thousand years is happening.
You are going to the City. There is only one City. It is only said with a capital C. No one needs to bother saying the name of the City. It is the City.
Certain members of the Council are displeased with your family’s recent actions.
A bard is providing occasional comic relief; no one hired or invited him and his method of earning a living is unclear.
The High Priest is not to be trusted.
Someone is eating an apple mockingly.
There is one body of water. It is called the Sea. The Great Sea, if you are feeling fancy.
You live in a region with no major exports, no centralized government, no banking system, a mysteriously maintained network of roads, and little to no job training for anyone who is not a farmer.
You have red hair. You wear it in a braid. Your father was a simple man, and you don’t remember much about him – he died when you were so young – but you remember his strong hands, as he fished or carpentered or whatever it was that he used to do with them.
You’re going to have to hurry, or you’re going to miss the Fair – and you never miss the Fair.
There is trouble at the Citadel.
Your full name has at least one apostrophe in it.
It is the first page, and you are already late for something. Your mother affectionately chides you as you gulp down a few spoonfuls of porridge; she will be dead by page forty-two.
There are two religions in your entire universe. One is a thinly veiled version of Islam. It is only practiced by villains. The other is “being a Viking.” You are a Viking.
There are new ways in the land that threaten the Old Way. Your grandmother secretly practices the Old Way, as do all of the people of the hills.
The real trouble began the day you arrived at court. Every last nobleman hides a viper in his smile. How you long for the purity of life in your village, which is currently on fire or something.
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.