Legends speak of a continent, in a time when people cashed with steel and fists, and when fighting was simple – meet, kill, or be killed. Though, this was only the view of those who had not truly experienced the heat of battle itself. The knowledge one false move could spell your doom, the knowledge that there’s always someone out there ready to kill you, the knowing that there’s a lot of people who probably could. But, the civilians saw no such activity – the four nations that made up the continent and their generals were far too wary to launch invasions, at the risk of endangering their country. The four nations were Friginidus, Destreyla, Noppin, and Ureop. The northern land, Friginidus, was a barren and bleak country. Though vast, much of the land was unsuitable for farming. The reason was that the temperature never rose above zero degrees. It was rare for it to even rose above minus ten. Yet, despite this, people moved the snow aside and farmed what land they could, for whatever they had seeds for. They built shelters for their crops and themselves, and refused to back down, having nowhere else to go. Their army, though not well-supplied, had been equipped with items forged from ores mined in the mountains, and coupled with being trained in such conditions; they were feared throughout the continent. To the east was Destreyla, a desert country, with small villages of stone houses and temporary tents scattered around the place. The inhabitant’s aims were simple – loot the caves and ruins for all they were worth. Whether the people doing so were state employees, treasure hunters or just desperate citizens, the caves that were bursting with highly-demanded ores and precious stones were always hosting one person or another. But, this was the government’s main source of income, they had to strike fear into the hearts of the spelunkers – thus, their army was truly recognised. Merciless and tactful, they would utilise their surroundings to gain an upper hand, or use tactics unseen by many before. Noppin was a collection of tropical islands in the sun-kissed South Sea, each ruled under one banner, and the main culture widespread. Though they did not export many things, they had no need to – the people lived peacefully, wiling the time away with their jobs or relaxing. Fish was plentiful and varied, and the climes allowed for a huge amount of edible and delicious plants to be grown. However, despite the laid-back lifestyle, many noble warriors trained in ancient sword techniques populated the islands, and would defend them with their lives. The western country was Ureop, a bustling country of commerce. Great cities covered the lands, surrounded by mighty stone walls. Inside was usually a scene typical of what many wanted to see – marketplaces abuzz with chatter, children playing without a care in the world, wives stopping to chat with each other… It seemed like a pleasant place. But the true side was never fully revealed – the slums. Many died of the pestilence or disease that ran rife through the part that was built with shoddily-constructed wooden bungalows, while others could not earn enough and had other consequences befall them. They often could not hold down a job and the ones they could usually put them in serious danger. No money meant starvation was often witnessed, or no winter clothes or house to keep warm… They would lose what little things they had. There was but one thing the countries had in common: Ralkin. Ralkin was the lifeblood of the lands – it made fires burn, flowers bloom; it was essentially the petrol that kept the car going. The flow of such energy was regulated by but a gem the size of a man’s fist in the grassy Centre Plains, and it was often fought over by battalions, while they altered the flow to cripple enemies and bolster themselves. It was a ruthless battle in which only the strongest could survive… ~ -Crinsond Palace archery range- A boy of sixteen held a bowstring taut in his fingers, the arrow notched. Prince David Johnson of Ureop was the sole single son of Frederick Johnson the Eighth, and as such, the heir to the throne. While his father was a figure that stood tall and powerful, David looked not even close to such a reputation. Though he was an inch or two higher than someone else would have considered average for his age, he had been born with a slim build – healthy, but nothing that would enable him to lift a broadsword comfortably. The light breezed ruffled his mid-length hair, a colour as black as naturally possible. Luckily, his chocolate-brown eyes were not obscured by this, and the arrow was let loose towards its intended target, though a look of frustration covered the heir’s face. “Good shot, your highness,” a passing knight commented, his helmet having been taken off due to the jousting tournament having reached its conclusion, “Your practice is paying off.” “Hardly, “came the disappointed-sounding answer, “I missed the centre.” “But sir you hit the ring round it, a feat most commendable” “But I could not hit the centre. An archer cannot afford to miss.” “Yes, sir.” With that remark, the knight trudged off, armour clanking with every movement. Clothed in an ensemble of a black t-shirt and trousers, David faced no such problems. He had had the sleeves on his shirt reduced to permit greater movement of his arms, so that he may have adjusted his aim in a more favourable fashion. Notching another arrow in the willow bow, the boy steadied himself, and set his sights upon the target. This talent is all well and good, but what use is it if I cannot fight, and if I am too busy to hunt?