There were several written records detailing life before Eden's intra-planetary fissure. However, the start of history, as it was taught to the younger generations, began after the splitting of the planet. Neither knew how it happened nor how the halves didn't drift apart in space during the forty centuries that passed after the event, but by the means of something both miraculous and not fully understood, Eden's halves eventually rejoined. Unfortunately, though, the people could not do the same. Over four thousand years of separation had yielded two human populations that were so different, some scholars dared to venture and say they were two entirely different species.
Different languages, customs, and morals made it difficult for the two nations to relate with one another. But even more so, two different types of governments made it impossible for the two nations to unify as one: a body of elected representatives governed Stevaryt, while a single king ruled Lowferdun. To make matters worse, the king of Lowferdun erected a barrier that prevented any Stevarites to cross over to his land unless they pledged both their allegiance and lives to the king, which most Stevarites were unwilling to do. And though Lowferdunians could cross over to the neighboring land, many of them didn't want to, claiming Lowferdun was a nation far better and brighter than Stevaryt; and so, a deep hatred and bitterness developed in the hearts of the Stevarites toward the Lowferdunians. Time only fueled the dissension between the two nations, and ten centuries after Eden became whole again, Stevarites were forbidden to communicate with Lowferdunians; and Stevarite authorities immediately imprisoned any Lowferdunians who dared to cross the border. Lowferdunians who were unfortunate enough to fall into the hands of Stevarite citizens first were often bludgeoned to death.
This was the world into which Lael Traffigan, a Stevarite, was born.
Lael's family owned five acres of land alongside the Stevaryt-Lowferdun border. The border was marked on the most westerly side of her family's land by a clearing before disappearing into a neighboring forest on the eastern side of their property where it was marked by a river. From a young age, Lael and her siblings, Penley and Abigail, would play by the edge of the border, sometimes daring each other to try and run across the clearing to see who could get closest to Lowferdun. However, no matter how fast or long they would run, none of them could reach the end of the clearing. The first and only time they had asked their usually mild-mannered parents about it, they had been told, "It's the Lowferdun king's sorcery. Don't try to run across again," before being thoroughly spanked and forbidden from trying to run across again. Of course that didn't stop the Traffigan siblings from exploring the border as far as they could, but it did teach them never to mention Lowferdun to their parents again. And so the three of them grew up, living rather normal and insignificant lives save for the fact that they lived so close to Lowferdun.
But all of that changed one sunny, lonely summer's day:
Lael's older siblings had long since moved out of the house to begin careers of their own, so when she returned home for summer break from her first year at university, she was greeted only by her parents. Being that they worked all day, her parents would leave early in the morning, abandoning Lael at the house all by herself. Usually, during the summer months, Lael would have friends come over to catch up on life and relax, but as this was the summer in between first and second year, a majority of her friends had begun to look for internships. However, with a focus in the entertainment business, Lael didn't need to find an internship until the next summer.
So, she was left to her own devices.
At first, she was happy to have time to herself to sleep in as late as she wanted, stay up as late as she wanted, and nap as much as she wanted. However, one week of that was more than enough and now she found herself maddeningly bored. Therefore, on this fateful day, she decided to take a walk along the river where she and her siblings used to play just for old time's sake.
For over an hour, she walked through the shallowest part of the river, enjoying the refreshing coolness of the water on her feet in the muggy heat. Lael let her thoughts wander, reminiscing on the many memories she had in and by the river, laughing to herself a few times. She decided to stop walking after reaching a large tree stump. She took a seat on it and just soaked in the rays of sun that managed the get through the canopy above her with her eyes closed. For ten minutes, she just sat there with her head tilted back and her eyes closed. She might've stayed there for an hour if something hadn't startled her.
A sound similar to the rustling made by a deer running through the trees caused Lael's head to snap up and her eyes to fly open. Her heart was racing; in all their years playing by the border, she and her siblings never saw a living creature – no animals or birds – except for fireflies, on the other side. Still, she scanned the trees across the river, looking for the culprit of the sound. After a couple of minutes, she was ready to dismiss that sound as something she imagined, when she saw something that caused the hair to rise on the back her neck and goosebumps to form all over her body.
On the sandy shore across the river were a group of rocks that were purposefully organized in such a way that read, "Hello."
Lael stared at the word, her mouth dry and her heart pounding in her ears. She didn't know what to do at first. In all nineteen years of exploring the forest, she had never spotted any humans across the river. Immediately, naturally, she tried to come up with an explanation.
Maybe Penley left it there before he moved to freak me out… but then she remembered that her brother wouldn't be able to cross the border to Lowferdun even if he tried with all his might. Maybe the river isn't the border over here, then, she reasoned to herself. We never really verified it all the way up this far. She rolled up her pants and found the shallowest part of the river to wade across. But just as she had experienced numerous times in the past, at a certain point, though her feet continued to move, the ground beneath them did not allow her to continue forward.
She returned to her side of the shore before turning to face the, "Hello," again. A part of her was tempted to call out, "Is anyone there?" But her fear of actually hearing a voice respond trumped her curiosity. After debating for a few more minutes, she decided to right her own message back using the pebbles on her side: "Hi."
Then, without letting herself linger any longer she returned home.