Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended.

Summary: War is not for the faint of heart.

Author's Note: This is a prequel/prologue of a fic that will be posted in the Crossover section. Versus/Darker than Black. This can be read as a stand alone. This is being posted separately because I couldn't find a place for this in the beginnings of that fic, which is called, Porta Interpono. It has nothing to do with the Darker than Black storyline so it didn't fit in the Crossover section. Please be on the look out for Porta, as the first chapter should be posted within the next week.

Prolusio is Latin for, "Preliminary exercise, preclude".

Prolusio

Like any warrior worth his salt, or even a sportsman for that matter, he plays and replays battles that he has fought. In his mind, he looks back on those images and those fights and thinks of all the ways that he could have been better, ways he could have been faster and more effective. He is able to rethink those maneuvers that had not been necessary or had not been sufficient in the least. Not that he regrets, but there is always room for improvements in any of the moves that he had executed before. There was never a flawless fight because there were always those elements of surprise that made you lose yourself. For it is true, one could not change what has come to pass, but he is a firm believer in learning from it to the advantage of his future. Each battle won, each enemy vanquished, gave him the opportunity to improve. It was a way to better himself for the day that he would face an opponent he did not think he could win.

He has not always been the one to face off with, being as restricted as he has been throughout his life, but no longer. Now, it is he that stands at the forefront against those that would take what was rightfully his. So he is now the primary target to such attacks. One of them, he amends. With the direction of politics and the drop of the world's economy, it was only logical that war was upon them. The world outside the borders of his country was suffering because they lacked the integrity and advantage of the last living crystal. The resentment was thick in the air. The air that blew within the city was rife with the heaviness of that. It was now that they needed to prepare for the inevitable attacks that would occur on their lands soon. As the Prince, he needed to make sure that he protected his people in desperate times such as these. For it was his responsibility to do what could not be done and be placed with the burden of the actions he would no doubt be forced to make.

Admittedly, it was a lot of heavy responsibility to place on someone that was barely past his youth, but those in power learn very early on, that they do not have the luxury of being a child. He wonders at the illogical way that he has been raised to how royals should be raised. Besides the three friends that always accompanied him, he had no contact with the citizens of whom he was supposed to dedicate his life. There is no personal connection between him and his people and he certainly could never properly understand the hardships that befell them. All his life, he has only caught glimpses of the people through bulletproof glass like a spectacle on display. Most times he feels devoid of feeling, with no attachments to those not chosen to associate with him. How was he supposed to be expected to sacrifice his life when he was never given a chance to feel anything towards his subjects?

Not that the prospect of danger was not exciting. In a droll world where the next party was the sum of all entertainment, danger was decidedly refreshing. It is never fun to put on stuffy suits and make small talk with a bunch of diplomatic twits who would not even know how to function without servants, let alone know how to help him be a good leader. He has always hated those useless bureaucrats who do nothing but talk and boast of themselves all day long. When, years before, they had all taken a more hands on approach to how things were run. Those days when he had been a boy and vowed to never be helpless in the face of his enemies because those in charge were aggressive and had fiercely fought for what was theirs. Now, they had all gotten soft. Decrepit softness when they had played in the dirt to get where they were instead of fighting. For that was how he planned to win this upcoming war if he had to, to fight.

He wonders how it will all start, as he has wondered so many times before. Previous actions play through his mind as he thinks of what he plans to do in the future. The lone advantage that he has, is that they do not think him very clever. A point that he has always loathed, but finds the effectiveness of it too. It does not seem to matter what he said, they do not listen. His father merely waved him away and tolerated anything that he might suggest. All in a bid to protect him, he is told, but he does not believe that. His father was planning something and, believing him to be too young and inexperienced, had kept him in the dark. His father, had never seen him as anything but an incompetent boy because he had never trusted him. Especially when it was clear that his father was wrong. It almost made him think that the old man was purposely taunting him, needling him in order to provoke a suitable reaction.

His relationship with his father was not always so strained. It seemed that once he had reached a certain age that the changes had taken place. The deterioration had been slow and gradual, yet steady, until it was nonexistent. From his younger years, he can remember trips to the meadow in the countryside and the shadowy image of his father waiting there and calling to him. He can remember a time when he never doubted that his father loved him. It was not that way now. If not for those rare memories of affection, he would doubt his father's love for him at all. It goes back to the previous statement. Royals quickly outgrow childhood and innocence is a luxury they do not possess for long. He had been a rebellious and rambunctious child that has been formed to be a rebellious and reserved young man. At least the rebelliousness remained the same.

Ignis' approaching footsteps pierce through his awareness before the tapping sounds of his shoes echo in the vacant hallway outside. The sound is rushed and urgent and he can sense the anxiety in his closest friend's stride. Ignis is the one that always worries but this time, he can tell that the news is going to change his life. It is confirmed when a moment later, Ignis appears at his bedroom doorway with a grim look on his face.

The flickering cracks from the wood fireplace seem enhanced as Ignis stares at him while obviously trying to find a way to say what he has come here to say.

"It is four in the morning, Ignis," he comments with a slight glance of acknowledgment to his friend before he returns his gaze to the fire.

"There's been a murder," Ignis says hesitantly.

"I am not an investigator," he states. "Why do I need to know of one murder?"

"Noct, it's your father..."

"What about my father?" he asks, swiftly turning his stare back to Ignis.

"Your father...," Ignis gulps. "He's the one that's been murdered."

To Be Continued in Porta Interpono...