Warning(s): Everything included in the rating applies to the level of violence, language, and adult content in this story. Proceed with caution if you are easily offended by violence or fairly descriptive depictions of adult relationships. This story is a story that will likely require a lot of patience, so if you don't have any, this story is not for you. Also, the first half of this story is pre-canon.

xl: This is probably going to be one of the only important author's note I am going to write you, so if you can read this one, you can definitely ignore the rest and we'll be a-okay. But seriously, let me tell you about the format I have going for this story:

1. Each chapter is comprised of 3 parts. The FIRST is something of an introduction. It's essentially worldbuilding and important to the story (though, it's a little more detailed as the story itself only contains necessary worldbuilding...I think.). Plus, I think it will be helpful to readers if they ever forget what something is. With my update schedule, you will. It's okay to ask these things too, of course. The SECOND part is the actual story content. This is divided into sub-parts, which would normally be separated by a line break, but I wanted to be fancy and put roman numerals in brackets. It was a stylistic choice. The THIRD part is an extra. It is a piece of the overarching puzzle told to you through other important characters' POV. There won't always be an extra at the end of each chapter. The same goes with introductions...I am eventually going to run out.

2. It sounds like a convoluted mess, but I promise I will to make it work.

3. I am sorry. Please be patient with me.

Moving on, this is my first Magi fanfiction and I am very nervous. I said I would never write one, but here we are. I also never said I would write a KouenOC one. And here we are.

I also want to apologize for the cliched arranged marriage set up. I am a complete sucker for these. I do hope that it's a little different than what you're used to reading, but I won't guarantee anything. I don't know what you've read.

I'm sorry for this as well, but characterization will likely be a bit rough at the start, but I will try my best to improve over the course of the story.

And if I haven't spooked you with all this nonsense, please enjoy.

ONE: Bone Dust

The Byzen Cluster

The Byzen Cluster was a group of six inhabited islands on the Byzen Ocean. Its six kingdoms were established to function with one another's aid, like a human body where each organ dealt with one important task. Communications and friendships between them were powerful, never wavering, but the arrival of a new player changed their dynamic forever.

Cluster Kingdoms introduced thus far: Ione, Baryon, Corrin, and Lorah.

The Kingdom of Ione

In the distant past, during a time of darkness for an enclave of warriors, a storyteller arrived to the dying home. Welcomed by the warriors, the storyteller immersed himself into their daily lives—experiencing their hardships as well as their happiness alongside them—until time called him to the next far off land on his journey. Wishing to repay them for their kindness, he had gathered them around a campfire each night and had told them stories of every country he had drifted through and had opened their eyes to the potential of finding another home to replace their own.

On the day of the storyteller's departure, the warriors gathered and determined that the best hope their tribe had to survive was to leave their home in search of another. The warriors dedicated many months, enduring the changing seasons and the misery of famine, to build long ships fit to carry them across the sea.

The warriors traveled long and far, navigating through frightening storms and artic temperatures until they came upon the coast of an island unlike theirs—a thriving chunk of vibrant forests, green meadows and hills, and soft, fertile earth. Unaware of the presence of native colonies, the warriors claimed the island as their own, certain that they had been guided to its sparkling shores by their gods, and they began a peaceful settlement along the beach while they took their time exploring the rest of the landmass.

However, the island's inhabitants emerged from their hidden kingdoms and several expressed their disapproval by taking up arms against them. Those seeking a peaceful resolution went to stand on the warriors' side, wishing to protect them. The islanders hit the warriors with savage tactics that resulted in several deaths. After the first slaughters, the warriors had accepted their challenge of war and pointed their weapons against the opposition. They fought until they had crushed every person that threatened the safety of their people.

After the warriors emerged from the war victorious, they drove through the rest of the island, conquering it section by section, decimating every new army to spring up against them. Once remnants conformed to their rule, the warrior tribe renamed the island, Ione, and established their queendom under the under the reign of Io, their chieftain.

The first queens of Ione gave their queendom the right to boast their strength after defending their home from many local invasions. Ione grew into the most powerful country within the Byzen Cluster, but its rise brought stronger nations onto their shores intent to destroy them, which heralded an age of bloody wars for the Ionian people. Ione stood strong, preserving through several attacks, but it eventually fell to the might of a foreign country. The Ionian people bided their time during their subjugation and gathered in secret under the leadership of their rightful queen until the right opportunity for them arrived to take back their country. They succeeded and a new warrior queen took the throne.

Following the incident, Ione learned peace through the next generations of monarchs, flourishing into a country famous for their metalwork and a knack for farming—their long history of war and powerful warriors became a part of their "barbaric" past.

When the last queen, Ingrid, took the throne, Ione was at its peak. It boasted good relations with the five neighboring countries inside the Byzen Cluster, a permanent position among the best blacksmithing businesses around the world, a formidable military, fertile farmland to feed their entire country with enough to spare for the harsh winter, a stable environment for its people, and a rich economy.

Shortly after the birth of her first child, Ingrid became ill and prone to hallucinations, making her unfit to rule. By order of the Ionian House of Nobles, her husband, Prince Hákon, was made King Regent to rule in place of his daughter, Asta, until she was old enough to take the throne.

As king, Hákon, who was of ambitious goals, disbanded the Ionian House of Nobles for the duration of his rule, and thus, his reign began, undisturbed and unopposed. Wishing to return to the root of their ancestors and reclaim the power their country once possessed, Hákon made sacrifices to encourage the growth of Ione's military. He invested the country's wealth into new weaponry smelted from expensive and powerful black metal heralded as unbreakable and into the creation of new armors and technology to aid in combat.

Hákon passed laws that required a ten-year military service from Ione's male denizens as means to begin expanding his army's numbers. Service was mandatory to boys of fifteen years, though it did not include the two years of compulsory training, and that there was no age cut off. Every man was required to serve with the exception of those that were able to afford the yearly deferment fee for the mandatory length of their service. Unable to pay the enormous sum in their deteriorating economy, Ione's citizens were forced to enroll.

By his third year in reign, Hákon doubled the compulsory service and drafted women into their ranks, requiring a year of training and a five-year term. Pregnant women and married women with children were excused from conscription, which resulted in a significant growth in birthrates before the year ended.

In his fourth year, Hákon scripted new laws that offered criminals the opportunity to serve a life sentence in the military instead of facing prison time or the death penalty. The act enraged the population.

On the fifth year, Hákon faced the Commoner's Revolt. The people's growing frustration with the economic failure, the abuse of power, and the lack of common resources under Hákon's reign reached its acme, escalating quickly. Hákon ignored the rebellion until it resulted in the kidnapping of his daughter. Hákon mobilized his own private army and overwhelmed the rebels, crushing their uprising to retrieve his daughter. It had only taken Hákon a carefully calculated plan and two days to set it up to instill new fear upon his people.

In the rebellion's aftermath, Hákon burned down the province where the revolt had gotten its start and it killed hundreds of innocent citizens. His rule was never questioned henceforth. The people decided it would be best to live miserably with the faint hope that their princess would make it all better when she took over.

Four years after the rebellion, poverty swept the land with the crown just as impoverished. The debt they accumulated went into strengthening Ione's defenses and towards the continued funding of all its military activity, not to the people, who were dying of starvation.

As the death toll rose, Hákon decided to remedy the famine. He ordered the wealthy to give up thirty percent of their yearly wages to the impoverished. Refusal meant death.

Entire families were slaughtered.

After sixteen years on the throne, Hákon had accomplished his goal. He made an army out of the country. The active military made up seventy percent of the population, nobility made up five, metalworkers and merchants made up six, and the impoverished made up nineteen. He created a nation of warriors and killed anyone that stood in his way.

However, it did not matter that Ione's military power rose or that it became the strongest kingdom in the Byzen Cluster because it turned into a country where only the wealthy could live comfortably. They regressed, embracing their savage roots by invading smaller kingdoms to pillage and destroy to keep themselves from drowning completely in debt. They lost several of their allies and many trading businesses in doing so. They became ostracized and hated, slandered as tyrannical barbarians without any regard for human life.

With the kingdom in staggering debt and an unsound mind, Hákon decided it was time to arrange a political marriage for his daughter, using his powerful army and his country's famed metalwork as a bargaining chip that had several foreign countries attempting to appeal to him, though one stood out among the rest: the Kou Empire.