Hey all, so instead of really grabbing out an excerpt from my novel, pasting away and letting you work out what's going on, I decided to give a bit better insight of what's in store - it does give away the plotline a little, but it makes no move to solve any of the conflicts that abound in it. I don't have a title as of yet, neither are my names set in stone; most are working names - and I haven't completed the writing of the entire thing, I just am quite sure of the basic outline and how solutions will arise. I am hopeful to see if anyone enjoys and/or is interested in reading bits and pieces of it proper from what you gather in the setting outline; I am more than happy to post bits of my writing (not too much, it needs a fair bit of editing!), though I'd rather give everyone a better idea of my concept. I am aiming for brutal, political and epic fantasy elements within the story - 'brutal' as the details are realistic, logical, and major characters that are loved can die or suffer; 'political' as the intrigue of court plays a massive part in the settling of the plotline; 'epic' as I haven't forgotten fantasy elements: you'll get your magic, mythical beasts, quests, powerful main characters and the like, just not as much of it as I know some may prefer (and there's nothing wrong with that!). Lastly, you may take anything out of my ideas as you'd like, but please don't copy+paste everything I've worked out! * So, the setting goes a little something like this: Three huge nations lie in harmony to one another, distanced and peaceful on their borders as it has been for thousands of years. This allows small evolutionary changes to creep through each of their peoples, though their inhabitants are all fundamentally human. Each nation is broken into a few (usually four) states, and therein lies the compulsory squabbling and warring between each other over land and titles, as it has been for ages. One massive capital city sits in the middle of the first nation, the cornerstone of each state within. As you would expect, the supreme ruler of the nation (abiding in this huge central city) would have to be chosen from one of the states each time the previous dies - leading to massive political struggles. Non-human races and wholly hostile humans (who have the good grace to live far enough away) are shunned and unwanted in these three major nations. So, throw in a dying leader of that nation with the big central capital – that one’s called Lakora – to begin the story. Then add the second nation from the east – this one’s named Rhoden – full of physically stronger and more loyal humans (through that age-old evolution process) exacting revenge against this Lakora (oh yes, there’s a good juicy reason why so, hinted in even the prologue) by bringing their army to the fore. Lakora has a bitter civil war in amongst a giant army massing at their gates for the first time in millennia, and there's your recipe for disaster. Throw in a young adult (not teenage - young adult) protagonist who controlled the first of Lakora’s cities that Rhoden knocked aside, one who had seen them fight and realises that his nation would be doomed even without civil war occurring – Lakora’s army in full force would never be able to match them. Lastly, the third nation, Sarmana, refuses to send troops north to aid either side – an interesting dilemma as the victor of the Lakora-Rhoden war could mass combined forces and very well take down the southern nation in its neutrality. Is it simply a ploy of their own malicious agenda? So, to band together his nation and repel Rhoden, to enlist a new leader quickly that is favourable to his outcome, Markus - a ‘lowly’ Commander of a border city - will need to go to extraordinary lengths. He must ally with the horrendous Insect Men from the deep south to fight for his nation, but what do they expect in return? He must find a suitable candidate for supreme leader whilst fighting off the corrupt Prince Farlor and nobles from the other states taking the throne themselves. But perhaps most importantly, he must stop Rhoden’s influential leader, Lady Allisa, as it becomes apparent that she may possess some limited abilities of the old gods - magic - and necromancy at that, her art growing off the war itself. A venture to the northern, barren wastes of ice and the last known place of the ancient magicians may hold the key; but most likely more questions that must be answered. To top it off, as with (almost) any medieval fantasy plotter, there's an unknown supreme evil badguy (why is he ‘evil’? Oh, that’s a doozy, no spoilers…) who is lightly nudging along the wars of the nations, using their bloodlust for its own ends. In short, Markus has his work cut out for him.