This is from a military fantasy story currently in progress. It’s set in the same world as Tabat, although it does not take place in that city, and is referenced in two other works (“Love’s Footsteps” and The Beasts of Tabat.) I hope you enjoy it:
You cannot smell the roses in the hours before dawn. It is only when sunlight touches the vast blossoms, each as large as a human head, that crowd the tallest branches of the Hedge, that the petals loosen. The perfume seeps out into the air then, first as a hint of sweetness, then stronger.
By midmorning, the smell is so intoxicating that approaching enemies lay down their arms and sit, staring into the air, nostrils flared, breathing, smelling. It grows heavier and heavier throughout all the day, and only begins to ebb when the sun completely slips below the ocean horizon to the west. The Hedge borders the Rose Kingdom on three sides, and on the west is that blue line.
This is what has protected the Rose Kingdom for three handfuls of centuries, years and years of peace and protection engendered by a great ancient enchantment whose details are still argued.
But pieces of that enchantment still linger and are renewed each year when a child is given up to the Hedge to become a Knight of the Rose.
When Jordan’s mother gave him up to the Gardeners, he was four years old. He knew this because much of it been made of his fourth birthday. He was given cake and a folded paper boat of his very own. And most preciously a caress from his mother, which was a rare thing indeed.