Once you have completed your training through the Vale of the Custodian and you have successfully achieved the final task you will be transported to a starting NPC city where you will begin your journeys.
While you take some time to acquaint yourself with your surroundings, also note the icon at the bottom right of your minimap. This icon will indicate the status of the area you are currently in.
A green icon displaying a white shield indicates a Safe Zone. In such areas you cannot harm or be harmed by other players under any circumstances. Also, if you spawn or dismount a steed in such an area you will be retain ownership rights on it for 2 minutes so that you can safely re-mount or despawn it. After these two minutes, however, the mount is free to be stolen so be wary!
All such courtesies are nonexistent once you leave the safe areas though. When exiting a safe area you will be notified by an onscreen message and the icon below your minimap will change into red with a white sword. In unprotected areas you can damage and be damaged by other players and their is no limit to the slaughter and mayhem that can occur here! There is also no law protecting your mount once you are off the saddle.