Prologue – Flames of War: Calm before the Storm

Author's Note: As you all know, my usual fanfiction writing style is to start with a short prologue before an actual fanfic, by throwing the prologue out there, I can gauge the popularity and interest in the particular piece I'm doing, and make an educated guess into whether the fic is worth continuing. Usually my prologues are short, they are crappy, and they usually turn off readers and this one probably isn't any different. For those who don't judge stories by their prologues, I'm sure you'll enjoy the story... I hope... Without further ado...!

For the longest time in my life, I was alone... Misunderstood... Shunned by the very classmates I tried to get along with, living a cursed existence with nothing worth living for.

As an elementary school student, life was harsh for orphans, harsher for those who didn't fit in. Despite not being the class nuisance, it seemed just being alone was cause for endless bouts of bullying and teasing.

I hate it. Why can't it just end?

While there, one of the class monitors asked me to direct link with her at lunch. Figuring I had nothing to lose, I followed her. What happened next could be described as the best thing that happened to me... And the worst.

While hiding out in the library, she pulled out a direct link cable and asked me to plug it in, I did so of course, but not after quite a bit of persuasion on her end and hesitation on mine.

"I'm here to offer you an opportunity to leave this world behind. Would you follow me?" she said, sending me a suspicious program.

Thinking she was just sending me some kind of friendship application, I absentmindedly clicked "accept", my surroundings engulfed in a river of fire. The icon burning right in front of my eyes, I took a few scared glances at my surroundings burning brightly around me though I felt no heat.

As soon as the program installed, a phrase scrolled across my eyes, although my English wasn't that great, I got the general idea of what it was saying, " Welcome to the Accelerated World."

Bidding me farewell for the day, I was warned not to go onto the global network until I met her again the next day. No problems on that end, I never found the global net very appealing unless I wanted something.

Back to the orphanage it is then.

That night, I had the strangest dream, no, not a dream, a nightmare.

My father was a blacksmith, one of the last. He made novelty swords for shops and people who wanted to hang a real blade over their mantlepiece. He made them all, Iaito, Katana, Nodachi, Shinken... His works were all over his workshop and it was on one dark night, it happened.

Some burglars broke in, thinking of stealing the wares he kept in his workshop, my father liked to work late at night, and tried to fight them off. He was silenced that night, along with my mother and sister.

All of a sudden, the dream changed, with me standing in the middle of the workshop, crying over my father, begging him to wake up, clutching on to his favourite work.

The dream warped again, this time my family gone, but the blades all remained, stabbed into the ground like a tombstones in a graveyard, the workshop returned almost to its normal state.

Enough... Stop making me remember it...

With a scream, I fell to the ground clutching my head, cutting my arm on one of the blades, my blood flowing into the center of the room, and with a flash of bright light, the workshop vanished, only to be replaced by a desolate landscape, devoid of life, hope or reason.

Please... Let me wake up from this nightmare...! Somebody!

And with a start, I awoke, sweating and panting heavily.

Returning to school an hour earlier than normal, I was surprised to find my classmate there, leaning against the fence near the school gate.

"Judging by the look on your face, I'd say your ready."

And that is where my hell truly began.