I would like to tell you a story.

More than that, I would like to invite you to come along with me in exploration of a story-the story of a people and a place, in an ocean far away from us here, called Mercanthia.

This place, this Mercanthia, as it is known by those who live there, is a land surrounded by water and touched by Magic. The water, as far as anyone knows, has always been there, but the coming of Magic, though many years ago now, was a much more recent occurrence, and it transformed the simple Mercanthian way of life into something much more complex. For our purpose here, a formerly plain and provincial story became, as I hope you will agree, an epic tale of generations driven by power and ambition and, truly, in their best moments, by love and compassion as well. At the coming, which serves as the beginning of our narrative, there on Winter’s Rise all those years past, Mercanthians from across the land were gifted, indiscriminately, with strength and ability above that of mere human potential (above that even of pure animal potential) while so many others (no less worthy and some, you will discover, remarkably more so) were left completely and unfortunately normal. In the years that have followed, from the canid of the North to the felid on the East and the West to the altogether untouched everywhere, all of Mercanthia has struggled to live under the new way of life wrought by the uninvited introduction of Magic. So, still today, Mercanthia remains a land surrounded by water as it learns to exist as one touched by Magic.

And, now, you and I, as those who share a love of yarn and tale, shall become travelers of a sort to this faraway place-sharing in their toil and grief as well as their joy and triumph. If you can bear with me, I shall do my best to tell you this story in the way of them to whom it belongs and to remove myself as much as possible from its telling, so that, together, we might, for a time, transport ourselves through some magic of our own making, that we can, together, visit Mercanthia.