• Talia lives in a Holding on the outer each of Valdemar where the men have all the power and the women are subservient and seen as good only for domestic duties.
• Talia feels different and as if she does not belong in the holding and has no friends and is often harassed and ridiculed, so she escapes into her books.
• Once, when Talia is reading about Heralds and Companions, she is called to a meeting where she is told that she is of an age to marry and they give her a few choices.
• Talia's statement that she does not want to marry, but wants to be a Herald is meet with disapproval and outright anger, so Talia runs out of the Holding.
• While contemplating her fate and her wish to be a Herald, Talia hears bells and realizes a companion is arriving, so Talia leans...
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