Born to King John XVII, Hope did not get standard princess treatment. Yes, she was locked away in a tower, and yes, there was the standard moat of flaming lava, but unlike all the other spoiled brats, she didn't get a dragon. Hope Rexian had to make do with a demon. And this particular demon couldn't even breathe fire! Simply pathetic job done by the cosmos. Hope may have gotten the valiant-knight-who-happens-to-be-called-Prince-Charming-riding-in-and-killing-guardian-on-noble-steed treatment, but some things just won't do. You can't just mess with tradition like that!
If you were to wander the Spiked Sea today this is one of the movers and shakers you might meet.
"Aye, there be a lot of dwarves 'round these parts now'a'days. Why? 'Cause that Groggar kicked 'em out of their caves. Groggar the Genius they call him. Them dwarves now hate his guts, which is a lot o' hate for a race that they used to call 'infeior.'"
-Old Gerald, man in the pub.
They had laughed at him in the past, and the press nicknamed him the Admiral, but when the global temperature rose by five degrees, and the waves swept in and drowned the cities, it was his turn to laugh.
"I am not an ambitious man. I am a farmer, like many of you I am glad to say. And like you my pride does suffer because of my role, for it is farmers that make our empire great, I know this and you know this, only our great and illustrious leaders are in the dark, but if you make me Tribune I assure you I will let them know!"
Maric Ameus addressing crowds in the capital
Everybody who visited his island knew not to get on the wrong side of Big Red. From a distance you might mistake him for a reddish sandbank for a few seconds, until you saw him raise one or more of his tentacles and glare at you with one of his cartwheel sized eyes…
Queen Yocasta was until recently, the very capable if autocratic ruler of Valermoore, but recently, she has changed. She is allways seen with a young woman, always wearing a heavy veil and gloves, who never speaks or moves. She claims that she is her daughter,Princess Chrysta, but a faint noxious smell comes from the veiled woman…
Darkness nested in the woman’s heart
And her husband found that the Dark Face lingered there
So he took her to a pit of fire
And he cast her in.
-Twenty-Ninth Explanation, Sun’s Sword 5:8, The Book of Two Faces
As far as everyone knows, the Maze has always been there; the strange pair of gates set in the side of a mountain a common feature in every painting of the area, no matter how ancient. One white, one red, nobody knows what they're made of but they resist any attempt to damage them; they’re always slightly cool to the touch no matter the weather, they have a very reflective surface, and if you look at them in a bright light, sometimes it looks as if they glow on their own.
The important thing is what’s on the other side of them, of course. The Maze itself is a strange place where the normal rules are suspended, and its own set takes their place. It’s a place filled with puzzles and riddles, monsters and traps; it’s always consistent with itself in any single run but is never the same two times around, and sometimes you could swear it has a sadistic streak, delighting in tricking the unwary adventurer.
It is a dangerous place, as so many people will rush to tell you; most people who go in never come out, and even those who do usually end up scarred for life. They also bring out with them enormous piles of riches, which is why people keep going in anyway.