YES! IT'S RE-DONE! *so beautiful*


Prologue


I could introduce myself formally, but I don't see any reason why I should and spend the extra energy telling you who I really am as of the first sentence. You will know exactly who I am and what precisely I am speaking of sooner than you can expect from something like this. Go ahead; take a guess at what I am going to tell you. Go on.

What'd you guess? A person? Aliens? A cat? Hehe, humans are so narrow minded. You think that I'm talking about a person, a being, or something alive and breathing, but who ever said I was going to talk about any of those things – or, better yet, who said I was even going to talk about something that lives and breathes in the first place? You are the one thinking here.

Oh, a story, eh? Now there's a creative idea. A story of what? Love? Passion? Hunger and/or starvation? Don't you dare say 'hot pockets'.

A war? Hoho, noooow we're getting somewhere! *sigh* Alright, alright. Since you actually guessed something intelligent and slightly spot-on, I'll tell you a small fact about this mysterious narrator (myself).

No, I will not educate you with my name, where I come from, what I'm doing here, or why I am talking to you in the first place – which is . . . truly a good question: why do I bother to talk to people like you? As I have said before, humans are incredibly narrow-minded, slow thinkers, and quite stupid when I come to certain subjects.

Ah, I suspect that you've probably closed your browser window in anger now. If you haven't, dare I ask why? I've just insulted you, your race, your friends and family, called you stupid, said you're the densest people I've met in a long time –

Hehe, I'll tell you why: you may not be as bigoted as the rest of your kind. Caution: I said "may", as in "you may not account to be thoroughly included in such a percentage".

To continue on without all the rambling: the only thing I will tell you about me is that I've been through a lot, but to describe how much exactly, I leave up to those of you out there who can think. Yes, indeed, I most certainly am not going to tell you about something living and breathing this noxious gas called oxygen. Instead, I'm going to tell you about a war; thank you those of you out there that can think and come up with such a logical topic.

Yes, the concept of "war" may be a bit intangible and invisible to most of you. But to me, the "Art of War", I guess you would call it, is just as real as the people you interacted with today, as real as I am, as real as you yourself are. War can have feeling, emotion, it can feel pain, be torn apart by love – whether that love a romance or a bromance, again, something I leave to you to decide –, congregate on the hallucinations of the numbers of many, the list is endless, my dear audience. All of these things can be accepted and happen to war so long as the story is being told in the most exquisite way, one that amplifies these characteristics as clearly as a speaker does to a rock star, or lights to a magician.

Bahg, I've said much too much and probably bored you all to death: who wants to hear this old man's tale now? Certainly not you.

Wait – you do? *monotone* How surprisingly shocking. *sigh* Alright, you wish to hear the tale? Fine by me: I'm just an old man who loves to ramble rabble and insult to the highest degree ;)

I will tell you one thing more: I am indeed a part of this story, other than being the narrator. Though who I am exactly, you'll just have to wait and find out.

Now there – do you see those two boys coming down the sidewalk; one is walking another is frolicking and skipping with a cotton ball puppy at his side? Do you see the frolicking boy's neighbor trailing close behind them, arguing about something with the other boy? The young, white-haired boy is named Edel; the oldest boy, age fifteen, is _Sylar_; the puppy close to Edel's side is Alfalfa; and the middle-aged-boy, _Alrik_, is their neighbor.

Edel is like any little boy his age: curious, a bit annoying at times, cute, innocent. Alrik is an articulate young man of high ideals who never takes "no" for an answer whether he cares to know what you're talking about or not. Sylar could care absolutely less for knowledge of the world and all of its many puzzling peculiarities. Alfalfa, the puppy, is the pond's reflection of his young, stubborn master Sylar.

Twas here, on Giving Day, that I found these four: they came skipping along down the monotonous cobblestones, dodging in and out of people's ways as the general public readied their items to be piled into several hundreds of carts waiting to be hauled off to the northwest. I was sitting, minding my own business, writing a letter to my friend out on the brackish waves of the Sapphire Blue, when they came galumphing by. Alrik and Sylar were in some heated "discussion" as Edel trailed a few feet behind with Alfalfa stepping in beside him, carrying his stubby, feathered tail proudly.

"Why else would we give things to them?" Alrik insisted haughtily. Sylar rolled his eyes and scoffed as the thirteen-year-old went on, "If they don't give things to us in return, then 'thanking' them seems to be the only logical reasons for activities like this–"

"Then what could WE possibly be thanking them for?" Sylar butted in before Alrik had a chance to continue.

Edel piped up from his place in the back, "I think we're just being nice by giving them presents and things!" Alfalfa yipped in firm agreement like the faithful pawn he was as Edel's naïve smile grew like a sunflower.

"Yea," Sylar said, looking down upon a glowering Alrik. "What if we're just being nice to the Silver Brats?"

"That Kingdom," said a voice hardened with age; this is where I come into the story, "has never been made up of brats, young man." I looked up from my perch on a stool at an outdoor bar and turned around to face the three of them – plus the dog. I leaned back against the bar and said, "The Silver Kingdom is made of the richest people."

"But I thought the Silver Kingdom was the poorest of the Four Kingdoms, always has been." Alrik commented, his brow furrowed in a manner that clearly displayed that convoluted curiosity. "That's why we send them all these things, isn't it? We're pitying them."

I shook my head. "Kid, you've gotta lot to learn. First, you misunderstood what I said: yes, it is true that the Silver Kingdom is the poorest of the Four – moneywise. But they've got the richest character there is. And no, we do not give them things because we pity their economical state; we give as an apology."

"What could we possibly be apologizing for?" the red-head asked in the same tone Sylar had used earlier.

I shook my head again. "So much to learn." I sighed, looking up at the blue sky. "We're apologizing for a war we started and lost long ago, so long ago none of you had been born and I was a warped, cavorting youth."

"How could character serve one well in a battle?" This kid was smart – er.

"Kid, this war I am speaking of, if it was anything, was truly a battle of intellect's most distorted intelligence. Their strong character and quick minds pulled the Silver Kingdom out of the leech filled mud." I stood from my stool.

Alrik scoffed at me and stuck his paint-streaked nose in the air. "I've never ever heard of any war that the Golden Kingdom lost." he ridiculed, glaring me straight in the eye.

I sighed and said in a softer tone, "It's good you take pride in your Kingdom, young man. But in that war, the pride was taken out from under our feet like a broad handkerchief, waved in our faces again as the sour taste of defeat pooled under our tongues. You don't know that taste, but decrepit oldins' like me," I chuckled a bit and heaved my shoulders slightly, "we do."

I threw a coin at the bartender and turned to stride away. I reached about a hundred feet down the street and was about to walk into my shop when there was a tug on my sleeve. I turned to see Edel's pair of big violet eyes looking up at me; Alfalfa, beside him, was giving me the same, pleading look. Sylar and Alrik were running down the street towards us, yelling for him to come back. "Please, sir." he said, his voice flowing gently like the white cream of milk, "I've never heard that story before. Would you please tell it to me?"

"Edel, don't bother him." Sylar said, gently tugging his hand from my large, brown sleeve.

"It's alright young man." I said again. I turned to Edel and asked for his name.

Ha told me hers, Alrik's, and Sylar's. "Oh, and this is Alfalfa!" he piped up, holding the puppy up for me to see him clearly; he wagged his tail and let his jaws hang open in a welcoming pant.

"Well hello there, boy." I said with a grin, petting the Saluki on the head. "So you wanna hear of the war, do you Edel?" I asked, looking to him. He nodded vigorously, and I put my hands in my belt as I said, "Well, I dunno, it's a very serious story. There aren't a lot of funny things going on, and I'm sure you'd be bored."

"Please, sir!" Edel begged. "I promise I won't! I'll try to sit and listen just like Sylar and Alrik will!"

I gave him a small smile and held the door open for him. "After you, sir." I said with a great sweep of my arm.

"YAAAY! Story Time! Story Time!" he chanted merrily as both he and Alfalfa raced into my large shop.

"Edel!" Sylar raced after him to keep him under control. Alrik followed suit, standing tall and erect as a court Bishop.

My ragged old shop is nothing worth describing. All you need know about it is that I sell odds-and-ends my friend, who I've mentioned before, brings me from his adventures on the waves. The ones I find especially exceptional I always put in a sack for when Giving Day comes around, for what use do I have with trinkets these days? I had not yet deposited my goods and findings to some lucky cart yet, for I wish to avoid the crowds, being the ordinarily cranky old man that I have become.

There was an aged, corroded couch in the corner of the room upon which Alrik and Sylar took up residence. Edel and Alfalfa lay sprawled on the floor facing the grand, archaic, hickory rocking chair that slumped next to that crusty couch. I often sat upon said monstrosity of twigs, sticks, and wood to, well, pass the time when there were no customers abroad to take any peculiar, particular interests in.

Today I roosted in that chair, looking down upon my audience of four, half of which were using each other as pillows, as I filled my pipe with my favorite cherry-flavored tobacco and gave a few puffs. I gave the floor a small smile and began, looking to them each in turn, "Well, long ago there was one Kingdom."

"Only one?" Alrik asked, his brow wrinkled in that telltale way of his.

"Don't interrupt him!" Edel whispered just before he looked back to me, the 'ok' to continue.

"Thank you, little mister." I had said with a nod. "Now, this single Kingdom was composed of this entire land; its capital was here, in the Golden City. Back in those days, the Kingdom was ruled by a rather vicious tyrant, cruel and mean to all those under him. Now because the capital was all the way over here in the east, the people on the west side of the River Absalom declared themselves independent. And though it was a fairly big piece of land," I shook my head, "'twas completely barren and gray, the King didn't bother with trying to take it back. In fact, he was truly glad that it was gone." I took another couple of snuffs from my pipe, filling the room with cherry-scented, herbal aromas and sighed, leaning on the arm of my rocking chair. "That area became known as the Platinum Kingdom. They developed a strong monarchy, consisting of a King, Queen, Rook, Bishop, Knight, and four Pawns. The wastelands south of the Borcul Forest must've felt the same, for a couple years after, they too retreated from the Kingdom. They copied the Platinum Kingdom's government and became the Bronze Kingdom. The King, once again, did not feel the need to go after it, for what was a barren wasteland of scattered and calamitous catacombs to him?

"So now, all that was left of the once great Kingdom was what is today the Gold Kingdom and the Silver Kingdom. But no thing, good or bad seems to last forever, for the Silver Kingdom soon after demanded their independence as well. Now this one, the King reacted to. No one knows why, but for another unknown reason, he felt as if the Silver Kingdom, which had been established by then, should stay with him."

"Did he go mad?" Alrik asked. Wow, lookit that: he actually seems interested – for once.

I nodded. "Stark-raving. There were multiple battles, so many that the event could be classified under the title of 'war'."

"What happened after that? The Sliver Kingdom won, didn't it?" Edel asked, sitting up and bouncing on his knees excitedly.

"Of course it did, silly." Sylar said gently, ruffling his soft white braids. Edel giggled and rocked back onto his bottom, pulling Alfalfa's chubby shape into his lap.

I nodded. "The King was crushed, and soon after it was officially declared that they had lost: he'd committed suicide. The guy was a lunatic, what can I say?" I shrugged playfully as Edel giggled and Sylar laughed heartily.

But Alrik's serious tone quieted them immediately: "What does this even have to do with the war you spoke of earlier?" He jumped from the couch, crossed his arms, and said snootily as he reached the door to my tarnished shop, "If this is your story, old man, I have no further need to listen to it."

I knew behind my eyes: it was plain he wanted to stay and listen to the rest of what I would tell, just to see if there was something he could possibly gather out of all the old man's rambling and bickering within the complex folds of intelligence littering his large empty casket of a skull. His intentions for wanting to stay, I cannot say; maybe I was wrong all along and he truly wanted to leave; perhaps it was just my mind fooling my conscience into thinking that someone – hell with that, anyone want to stay and keep me, the dilapidated aged man, company. But for moment's sake, I pretended I didn't: I leaned further on the arm of my rocking chair, folding the stem of my pipe between my thin, creeping fingers, and said with raised brows and lightened tone, "You won't stay and listen to this lonely old man's story? Ah, I doubt that you candidly do, but humor me, won't you mister? Stay and listen to my tale?"

"Cummon, Alrik." Sylar said, getting comfortable on the couch.

"Yeah, Alrik. It's just starting to get interesting!" Edel cheered with a persuasive whimper from the dog in his lap.

Alrik turned and repeated, "Why bother telling us this story if it were not the tale you originally were speaking of?"

"Oh," I waved my hand nonchalantly and motioned with my pipe to the couch. "Take a seat and you'll soon find out."

Alrik gave me a doubting, suspicious look, but nevertheless walked towards the couch and took up his seat once more. I smiled at him and continued, "Now, since Alrik here insisted that I skip ahead, I will tell you the tale of King Alfred and King Feliciano."

Sylar butted in and asked, "Is he the same as Feli the Coward?"

I frowned – wait, I don't think it's proper to call it that. It was more of a cross between a frown and a scowl, a really deep, angry scowl – ah! We'll call it a 'scown', no? Yes, yes, that's it: I scowned before answering, "They are the same person. But the only reason that name exists in the first place is because King Alfred, the Golden King of that time, referred to him as such."

Alrik asked, "But I thought King Alfred was –"

"King Alfred," I said, using the same tone I had when I had first spoken to the out by the bar, "was a fool and a charlatan. He was a whole reason the war started."

Edel raised his hand, as if he were in a class of sorts. I nodded to him and he said, "I'm confuzzed." Yes, 'con-fuzz-ed' was the word he used.

"What are you 'confuzzed' about, Edel?" I asked, my voice back to normal.

"What war are we talking about now?" he asked with an inquisitive tilt of her head.

"Oh, well, I guess I should – you can put your hand down, Edel – I guess I should start from the point right before the war started, eh?"

The three nodded. I cleared my throat and recited, "Alright now, no questions, no interruptions, agreed?"

"Agreed." "Yeah." "Dupdup." Alrik, Sylar, and Edel chorused.

"Alright then, here we go . . ." I cleared my throat and began my tale, not as that of a list of points to be made, but of a real fairy-tale. The memories flashed before my eyes clearly enough as long forgotten scenes and moments came flooding back to me.

"The North King burst through . . ."


That last sentence continues on into chappy 2 . . .

Alrik: Ladonia

Edel: Kugelmugel

Sylar: Molossia

Alfalfa: Molossia's dog

You'll find out who the mysterious narrator is if you stick around to the end of the fic :O

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