Prologue

The year is 1309 ACW, After the Civil War. 1,500 years prior to the beginning of our story, Torahn was one nation, ruled by Clan Ys’teis. Torahn was a vibrant and artistic culture devoted to the Goddess Atana. The Goddess had three incarnations: the Maiden, the Warrior and the Mother. Each incarnation had a church devoted to her. The head of the Church of the Maiden and Mother was the Prei-Sarran, or High Priestess. The head of the Church of the Warrior was the Prei-Serren, or High Priest. Women had all the rights afforded to men under the law.
Around year 230 BCW, Before the Civil War, the Isemi began to arrive in the North Continent, making their way through The Kelepen to the wild grass fields of Torahn near the River Khaine. The Isemi were a dual-sexed race who nevertheless separated their genders into two. The kauon-nei were the warriors and the ouna-nae were the child bearers and homemakers. The Isemi worshipped a God of War, Poa. Their culture was dualistic and caste-based, designating power in the hands of the warrior caste, the kauon-nei, while relegating the ouna-nae caste to secondary status.
The Isemi and Torahni made contact around 215 BCW and made trade treaties between them. The cult of Poa came to Torahn by way of traders and merchants. It took hold in Torahn and grew to the second most powerful religion by 110 BCW. In 107 BCW, King Anelo Ys’teis converted to Poaism and elevated Poaism to a state religion, removing it from cult status.
In 87 BCW, Anelo’s heir, Maleik, made Poaism the state religion, igniting a vicious religious Civil War which effectively tore Torahn into two separate nations. Maleik and his family were ousted and made their way with their supporters to the southern tip of the continent, where they founded the Red Kingdom of South Torahn. Maleik, seeking to distance himself from the Ys’teis clan, changed his surname to his mother’s surname of Obeli, thus founding the House of Obeli.
Years of war followed, until North and South Torahn signed a peace treaty, ending the Civil War. Tover Ys’teis added a stipulation to the peace treaty, whereby the second born scion of the House of Ys’teis would marry the second born scion of the House of Obeli, forever uniting the houses in peace. Tover’s Stipulation fell out of use some 500 years later.
South Torahn remained close allies to the Isemi people, tied to them through trade and a common religion. War periodically broke out between North Torahn and the Isemi people along the border, with South Torahn remaining scrupulously neutral.
In the year 1299 ACW, plague broke out along the crowded, poverty-riddled neighborhoods of City Lae, the capital of South Torahn. The plague was carried on merchant ships to North Torahn, where it broke out five years later, in 1304 ACW. The plague finally burned itself out by 1309 ACW, after killing a great number of the population of North and South Torahn and the Isemi. The disease left both Torahns without adequate martial forces. North Torahn lost around 60 percent of their forces, while the South lost around 73 percent of their forces to the plague.
Recognizing that he could not possibly win a two-pronged war with the Isemi and South Torahn, King Roseir Ys’teis invoked Tover’s Stipulation once more as a requirement of peace between North and South Torahn. King Fael Dhin Obeli agreed to the stipulation. Thus, a marriage was arranged between the second born of House Ys’teis to the second born of House Obeli. It did not matter to the kings that their second born were both male. The arrangement was made without the consent of either men.
The story opens with each man informed of the betrothal.

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