THE LAND OF GURIEL was a beautiful land. Filled with lush fields of crops, seas and lakes teaming with all sorts of fish, vineyards that seemed to stretch on as far as they eye could see, and grand cities that stood like monuments of marble, the island Guriel was considered the pinnacle of greatness.

Like all great things, however, this was destined to end, and the land of Guriel did end in great fire and suffering. The island was actually a volcano, which, after being dormant for many years, suddenly erupted one day. The rumblings began early in the morning, and while the people felt fear, they did not know what was happening until it was too late. Those who escaped had no land to return to.

Thus did the people of Guriel turn to piracy and war. In their great trading ships, they robbed the others, the more fortunate. Armies were trained, and quickly were the smaller islands conquered. Lands that had once been at peace with Guriel became training grounds for the Guriel armies. Honest traders became hardened criminals, and the young were trained to kill.

Then, rumors began to float about of a great land, one larger than Guriel and more wealthy. Unlike all of the other places the Guriels had heard of, this one was not built on an island. The Guriels began to speak new words, words like "continent" and "mainland." True, they'd heard of such things before, but now they were a reality.

Now, the Guriels talked of Ysenv, the mysterious land that was not an island. Ysenv, according to the stories, was larger than Guriel, richer than Guriel, and much better defended than Guriel had been. The leader of the Guriel army, whose name was Zortin, set his sights on conquering this land of Ysenv.

Captain Leasur was given the incredibly important duty of sailing the fleet to Ysenv. There, they would learn of the powers of the Ysenv navy and army, and state their demands to the leaders, hoping to avoid a war. Captain Leasur could be very persuasive at times.

The leader of Ysenv was a woman. Her name was Preljne, and she had never heard of Guriel or their feared armies. Constantly challenged by others because of her gender, Preljne refused to allow herself to be frightened by threats of war. While she was as of yet unaware of the amassing just beyond the bounds of her country, she was confident that she could handle any situation with diplomatic skills, the help of the other nations that surrounded Ysenv, or, if worst came to worst, she could even arrange a marriage, as she was still single and virgin.

Thus does the story begin, with the ingredients for a storm already mixed. All that is needed for disaster is a single spark to ignite.