Talowdale is a poor peasant village on a main highway in the island kingdom of Verland. It is about to become swept up in world changing events.

The king of Verland is mostly a figurehead. This is not because he is some kind of constitutional monarch, but because he has little military strength. The various dukes, princes, and mesne lords who may have been granted land and title by the King in the past have discovered that the king does not have the power to divest them from their title for failure to pay tribute. As a result of this, Verland has become fractured under the control of various regional warlords who hold political power merely with force. Where the power of the king is felt, it is applied capriciously. The people do not look to authority for justice.

Wars rage across the land and the peasants are the ones that bear the costs. Regional warlords protect the people within their territory. However even strong warlords need conscripts to fill the battle lines and crops to feed the soldiers. A battle doesn’t need to be fought on the fields of a village for that village to be utterly decimated by war.

Magic is extremely rare in this world and almost always evil. The average person has no contact with magic in their lifetime and if they do it’s usually because they were killed by a magical monster. It’s not that the magical monsters are not out there, it’s just that humans and magical beasts don’t cross paths that frequently.

That is at least partly due to the fact that the citizens of Verland have no freedom of travel. The king may be weak, but one aspect of his power that reaches across the kingdom are the checkpoints where a traveler may not pass unless they have the proper documentation. This documentation is all but impossible to get without very powerful friends.

Still these are the facts of life of the average people of Verland. They know no other way of life and it does them little good to complain so they do not.