I'm so in the mood to write fantasy, I can't possibly express it. (I'm on the up of my cycle right now. I've written 2,600 words today right after breakfast, and those were really good words, too. I'm maybe 3-4 away from wrapping up my current sci-fi project, too, which is shaping up really nicely).
The thing I always loved about epic fantasy was the pure butch masculinity of it all (that appealed to my teenage self, hormones and all). I'm pretty sure that my love for epic and sword and sorcery fantasy gave birth to me studying history, specifically military history. Hey, big battles, big ideas, and the highest stakes of all: life and death.
There are anecdotes in history that can inspire whole novels. Like this one, which I'm lifting from another page, because I can't find my own copy of this. Here's how these fit together - those words were borrowed from Genghis Khan (Khan of Khans) for Conan the Barbarian. Inspiration from history that turns into epic/S&S fantasy:
"One day in the pavilion at Karakorum he [Genghis Kahn] asked an officer of the Mongol guard what, in all the world, could bring the greatest happiness.
"The open steppe, a clear day, and a swift horse under you," responded the officer after a little thought, "and a falcon on your wrist to start up hares."
"Nay," responded the Kahn, "to crush your enemies, to see them fall at your feet -- to take their horses and goods and hear the lamentation of their women. That is best."
I mean, seriously? Whole gritty fantasy trilogy in this.
But I'm wrapping up my sci-fi first. Go shapechangers!