The new was silent and swift. I burned through the kingdom like wildfire in the form of hushed whispers between housewives trying to keep their days seem brighter with the daily gossip and men struggling to make time slip by faster as they worked their fingers to the bone in the fields. Within the time that it had taken the sun to rise from its nighttime slumber and to its highest point in the sky, the entire kingdom had heard of the grave, grave news. King Matthias II, ruler of the Land of Spades, had passed away in his sleep just the prior night. It was common knowledge the King suffered from some sort debilitating sickness that bared no name, no description in the medical textbooks, and no knowledge to even the best of physicians. It was only a matter of time before the timeworn king passed, though it still came as a shock when the sapphire bells held in the Time Mages' spire tolled their sad, sad news.

The deceased king was donned in robes of the most luxurious royal blue silks and lain in the bed of the finest of handcrafted boats filled to bursting with twilight roses; the national flower of the Land of Spades. The entire city stood vigil with sullen faces scarcely illuminated by the candles gripped in hand. They watched in reserved silence as the Time Mages lead their ruler through the canals of the capitol city and to the Azurite Sea that lay just beyond the city limits. When the shore of the sea had been reached, the boat was set aflame and pushed into the surf that would carry it too the vast openness that lay beyond where the king could rest in reserved peace in calm, cool waters of a brilliant blue shade.

"Well… that's another one come and gone…" A man observed, blinking his silver eyelashes over his frightfully red eyes. He flipped over onto his back and folded his arms behind his head though he rested on nothing, but the air above the grieving crowd.

"It seems like they die sooner and sooner these days." A younger boy with clear light eyes digressed as he stifled a yawn and joined his similarly dressed companion and turned to lie down on his belly. The old man with the frightful eyes looked idly towards the sky still streaked with the fading pinks and purples of the setting sun. "Who do you suppose will be next, Gilbert?" The boy asked his companion for the sake of asking as he watched the deceased king's lifeless body burn into ash and sink into the depths of the sea below.

"Beats me," Gilbert replied harshly. "How the hell am I supposed to know anyway? I'm a joker, Peter, not a fucking prophet." He huffed, closing his eyes and doing his best to ignore the small pest that served as his one and only companion.

"No need to get all twisted…" Peter muttered half to himself, puffing his cheeks, still rounded and chubby with perpetual youth, into a pout. Peter looked down into the crowd, to the faces flickering to the wavering shadows cast by the dancing flames of candles. Anyone of them… it could be anyone of them…. Though it was more probable that the high council would chose who they wished to take the now vacated throne. It would be the person who would benefit the council most by abiding to their wishes with little to no objection or protest. Peter couldn't even remember the last time a true king had sat on diamond and sapphire encrusted throne built for the king of Spades and he had been floating around unseen for a very long time. For the past century, the only ones that had sat in the highest place of power had been handpicked by the fat, greedy councilmen and not by the will of that land as it had been in times past. It seemed the land had lost its will; either that or its will had been crushed by the oppressive force that governed it.

"There's something strange in the air…" Gilbert suddenly mused aloud, his previously closed eyes opening to half-mast and gazing up to the swiftly darkening sky.

"What do you mean…?" Peter asked as he cocked on thick brow in question.

"I don't know," Gilbert replied, a twinge of frustration in his voice. "I don't know what it is, but something seems different. The scent of the air is different and it's not because of old king inferno down there." The silver haired man spoke as he jabbed a thumb back down to where the funeral boat was finally starting to collapse into the lapping waves.

Peter drew in a breath and tasted the air; trying to understand what different scent it was Gilbert was describing. Now that Gilbert had mentioned it, something did seem different. The scent that wafted on the breeze was clear and not muddled by the choking, smoggy scent it had been these 1past several decades. The air was crisp and calm and held a sort of hidden vigor that Peter had never sensed before. "You're right, but… but what does it mean?"

Gilbert's lips drew back over his sharp, pearly teeth in what must have been a mix between a sneer and a smirk. "It means, naïve little Peter, that things are going to get interesting; really, really interesting."

I am a despicable human being. I've started another fanfiction when I have already left so many unfinished! You are free to throw bricks at me if you wish for I am terrible.
But I couldn't resist! I have been secretly obsessing over the Arte Stella cardverse for quite sometime now and have wanted to write a story to go with it. This is just a prologue for now to see if anyone is interested in it.
I promise to try and work on my other stuff soon. I promise! I'm still have terrible writer's block with some of the stories and I only hope I get over it soon for the sake of my beloved readers.