Disclaimer: I do not own South Park or any character present in this story. They belong to their rightful owners, and I do not intend to use them for any kind of profit.

Notice: this is a rather short prologue chapter that provides some backgrounds of the fic, which is set in an AU. Although it's not terribly long, those who don't savor a chapter consisting solely of descriptions might want to jump to the next one, where the real story begins. I promise it WILL get more interesting as it progresses. Enjoy!

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Prologue: the Roaring Twenties

With the war to end all wars came the glorious days of America.

While the industries in the continental Europe were left in shambles and the power of the great empires across the Atlantic was in decline, the former English colonies in North America emerged as the industrial powerhouse for the world. The 1920s was the era of unprecedented economic growth and prosperity for most Americans. Where there's light, however, shadow comes along.

When the new Amendment to the Constitution prohibited manufacturing and selling alcohols, the U.S. government belatedly realized that the new law did nothing more than to move the alcohol-dealing businesses into the underground. As the lowlifes on the street sniffed at the smell of the increased profit for moonlighting, it didn't take long for the entire country to be engulfed in widespread, frequent, and everlasting turf wars between newly-emergent Mafias vying for the ultimate power to control the flow of money. The New York City, by the way, was no exception. In fact, it was an example of how far Mafia influence could go in a city.

By the time of the early 1920s, the city was in control of five different families, or clans, which engaged in illegal producing and selling of liquors and perhaps more importantly, doing dirty requests from people who wanted to make profit, receive protection, seek financial liquidation, or sometimes "silence" those they didn't like.

The largest and most powerful of them all, the DeLornes, consisted mainly of French descendants and their allies in the city who built a formidable empire all across Manhattan. Rumors had it that they were paid frequent visits from all kinds of politically influential figures, some of them hailing from the Capitol itself. Their leader who went by the name of the Mole was the person that everyone living in the city feared. Raised as an orphan, he quickly ascended the ladder of power within the clan and assumed the position of acting godfather when his processor was found dead in his room, but with no signs of struggle, illness, or poisoning. People suspected that the Mole himself was behind the strange death of the former godfather, but no one had the guts to put their theory in test. All of those who voiced the slightest doubt to the new leader's rule of the clan mysteriously disappeared never to be seen again. Holding fast to his position of power, the Mole became a ruthless ruler of Manhattan who didn't shy away from abusing and harassing people for their money and allegiance.

The foremost rivals of the DeLornes were the Marshes who controlled a large part of the Bronx, bordering Manhattan directly in southwest. Despite being the one of the most powerful Mafia lords in the city, Randall Marsh, the leader of the family, was actually received very well by the local residents under his family's control. The Marshes were well known for their lenient style of collecting dues and protection fees, and they enforced a strict 'hurt-no-civilians' rule in all of their operations. As a result, more and more locals at the borderline between Manhattan and the Bronx turned their back on the brutal DeLornes and defected to the other side. Rumors said that this aggravated the Mole beyond belief.

The Tuckers were in control of the area spanning through the whole Queens. Led by Craig Tucker, they tended to remain strictly neutral on most of the disputes between other clans. Although Craig had been close friends with Randall since they were very young, he distanced himself from the Marshes so as not to be dragged into unnecessary clashes of interests. The Tuckers and the Marshes, however, shared on thing in common: they only accepted Whites to their membership.

The Blacks, whose name adequately described their demographical characteristic, built their own reclusive community at Brooklyn. They rarely ventured outside their territory and were known for being overly protective of their borders. Token Black, their leader, was said to have a cozy relationship with Craig Tucker as well.

The weakest of the five families, the Petuskis, were once the only Mafia clan in the city that dominated the entire flow of cash, alcohols, and drugs within the city limit. When a series of power struggles weakened the clan after the untimely death of their godfather, however, the other clans united and staged a coup that dethroned the family. The Petuskis then fled the mainland and took refuge at distant Staten Island. Although their new leader worked his best to reclaim the glory that his family once commanded, they were becoming more and more irrelevant as time went by. They now operated as mercenaries who always stood with the highest bidder, not hesitating a single second to betray their allies when the situation turned negative.

Aside from a few physical clashes along the borderlines of their territory, the five clans maintained a delicate balance of power among themselves. No one family was powerful enough to topple all the other clans united. The situation had stayed that way for more than three years, and people had little reason to believe that it was going to change anytime soon.

Many residents at the Bronx, and certainly all those who have been living there for more than ten years, remembered a magnificent house that used to be at 609 Elm Street. Statues of angels and saints carved out of marbles were protruding out of the building's great, white walls. Surrounding the premise was a large and truly-magnificent-to-behold garden filled with exotic plants and a small fountain at the center of it. Not many people had the opportunity to venture into the house heavily guarded by men in black suit, heavily armed in machine guns and pistols. According to the lucky few that did, however, the inside of the house was actually better than it looked from the outside. Chandelier was hanging from the ceiling, and the hallway was romantically lit by hundreds of candles. Each room was adorned in different kinds of wallpapers that displayed flowers, constellations, and paintings by well-known artists. The dining room was so large that it could accommodate more than a hundred people at the same time, and the building was constantly occupied with dozens of butlers and maidens scurrying along busily as they prepared meals, did the laundry, and kept the place free of dirt. In other words, it was nothing short of a small palace. The building belonged to the Marshes, one of the Mafia families that ruled the city. No one very really doubted that it was going to be standing there for a very long time, generations after generations.

It was no wonder, therefore, that people were shocked to behold the scene that they had never expected to see. People gathered around the fence of the once beautiful place, now ablaze with fire. They could hear shouting voices and gunfire erupting from inside the building. When they saw a large number of cars parked just outside the house in a line, they finally came into a grab with the reality: the Marshes were hit by another group of Mafias. Judging from the model of the cars, they belonged to the DeLornes. A few police cars arrived at the scene after receiving a distress call, but no one dared to risk their lives by entering the premise that belonged to the Mafias. All they could do was watch as the house slowly turned into ashes.

August 4, 1924.

It was the day the Bronx lost the big, white building at 609 Elm Street.

It was the day the balance of power in the New York City collapsed.

It was the day the world of an eight-year-old boy named Stan Marsh turned upside down.

And it was the day this whole story began.

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A/N:

This is an experimental fic that deviates significantly from the usual fluffs. Rest assured: there is romance. It's a Style fic, after all. I'm getting the impression that this might be one of those unpopular fics that nobody really cares to read, but I'm more or less committed to finishing the story regardless of people's reactions. It would feature many of the recurring characters, and I'm trying to keep each character's distinguishing personalities and features as intact as possible.

As you may have noticed, English is not my first language. I was born—and still live—in a dirt-poor shithole far away from America and as a result didn't get an opportunity to be properly educated in the language. The so-called English teachers here cannot even order a Whopper with cheese meal by themselves. Bottom-line: incorrect grammars, overused phrases, limited vocabulary, and indeed, historical inaccuracies are to be expected. I'll do my best, however, to make each chapter of the fic as presentable as possible. Thank you, and please proceed to the next chapter, if you wouldn't mind. Any feedbacks and comments would be greatly appreciated, and I don't say this for just a procedural purpose.

Oh, by the way, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Let's hope the Mayans were wrong when making calendars.

Regards,

-Jack Colquitt.