Seasons of War

by Lyoko Native

Book 1: Summer

Episode 1: It Begins

The city was in chaos.

Buildings had fallen onto people, crushing their bones, ending their lives. Women, children, animals; the dark elves were indiscriminate with their death-dealing. The men who tried to fight died horribly, and those who ran were caught under flaming pillars and broken statues. The earth itself trembled in fear, for the Matron would have no mercy on Lyoko. No, not even the world itself could stand in her way.

He felt the weight of her foot on his chest, choking him. He saw six corpses next to him, but he had no strength left to identify them. He felt life fleeing his body as he looked his murderer dead in the eyes. They were yellow, cold but blazing, cruel and unfeeling. How could anyone have such horrible eyes?

Jeremie awoke in a cold sweat, and he reached for his spectacles. He was not a big believer in 'signs' but it seemed the gods were trying to tell him something. He lit a candle and entered his mother's study, locating the Book of Dreams. He could only find abstract explanations, all dealing with his inner self. And nothing explaining the detailed, individual corpses made any sense. They called it 'a killer of happiness.' But everything in the dream had killed happiness. Why were these six strangers significant?

Jeremie closed the book and sighed. A dark elf had destroyed the city of Lyoko. What had that meant? He sighed, and he returned to bed. The dream came again, but more vivid. He saw the skyline of the city, could hear the people next to him shouting, and though he could find six distinct voices, he could not hear words. He watched as a fiery cannonball struck the castle, and he trembled as the earthquake started. He, too, started shouting, but he didn't know what he shouted.

He rolled out of bed, hitting the floor hard. He shook his head and pulled himself up as his father, Michael, ran into his bedchamber. "Jeremie, are you alright?" He asked, helping his son up off the floor, and handing him his spectacles. "By the gods, son, you gave me a fright and a half."

"I'm fine, Dad." Jeremie said, pulling himself up off the floor. Was it morning already? Yes, that was the sun's warmth coming in the dirty window. "I just… had a nightmare." He said.

"A nightmare, you say?" Michael said, directing his son to his study. "We should analyze it."

Jeremie rolled his eyes. "I already tried earlier. It was deer shit." He explained, but his father stood firm. Jeremie sighed, and he pulled a chair over to his father's desk as he pulled out his own copy of the Book of Dreams. "It starts out with the Lyoko skyline. Then we're attacked by a Matron. A dark elf, as it was. She… set the city on fire; burned the whole town. Buildings were falling, and people were dying. I saw six people. No one I'd ever seen before. They were dead, beside me. She almost killed me, too, before I woke up." He sighed. "The Book of Dreams says that it is subconscious. But I don't know. It feels personal. It felt real." He looked at his father, who had stopped searching through the pages of the Book of Dreams.

Michael turned his chair and faced his son. "Did you hear anything? See anything else? Did these people—corpses—did they say anything to you?" He asked.

Jeremie was confused. "No. They didn't. They were dead. They were screaming, but… I couldn't understand them. I couldn't understand myself." He sighed. "Why are you so interested? It was just a dream."

"Dreams have power, my son. More power than anyone wants to admit. If you would listen to your dreams, Jeremie, you would know this." Michael sighed. "There is porridge on the table. Go to the monastery after breakfast and find an enchiridion on the Warrior's final prophecy." He asked, and Jeremie stood. He dressed in his white shirt and his dark blue pants, lacing his boots tightly. He threw his mother's book back over his shoulder.

Jeremie and his father lived in an apartment in the bustling city of Lyoko, called Capital Lyoko for obvious reasons. The building was owned by the Ishiyama family. The Ishiyamas were wealthy merchants, with history in the faraway land of Nippon. They were strange, but only because their culture was so dramatically different.

The apartment was in a richer part of town, where scholars and other people lived, along with many wealthy dwarven traders. It was near the merchants' stalls. Wealthy merchants lived near the docks, nobles lived near the castle, artisans and shopkeepers lived west of the scholars. The common rabble and most of the elves lived in squalor near the city gates. Elves really had the worst of it, residing in slums. Lucky ones lived with humans as servants.

The monastery was near the Grimoire Academy. This was perhaps to entice many of the wealthy magicians to join on as priests. Jeremie walked on the cobblestone streets, waving at people he knew, most of them merchants too busy to notice him. Few people weren't too busy to notice him. He entered the monastery, lighting a candle in honor of his mother at the base of the statue to Pluto. Then, he greeted the monks, and found Brother Solaris, master of the archives. "Greetings, Brother Solaris." He said, smiling at the monk.

Brother Solaris looked up, and he smiled at the teenager. "Jeremie Belpois! My, it has been ages since I saw you here." He grabbed Jeremie's shoulders in a friendly way. "How may I help you today, my son?" He asked.

"My dad asked me to find an enchiridion on the final prophecy of the Warrior." Jeremie explained. "He told me to look here. You wouldn't happen to have one, would you?" He asked.

Brother Solaris seemed confused. "An enchiridion on the final prophecy of the Warrior? Gods above, child, why on earth would he need a book like that?" The monk asked. "It is well known that the Warrior prophesized many things, but his final prophecy was… strange. No one pays it much heed."

"I'm just the messenger, Brother," Jeremie sighed.

He thought for a moment, and then waved Jeremie along. "Follow me. I think I have just what you need." The monk and the teenager moved quickly through the monastery, and into a tiny room that was not well lit. Brother Solaris pulled an ancient-looking tome off a high shelf. "This is a collection of all the prophecies of the Warrior. Read them, and you will know why we do no pay his final prophecy much attention. It is utter nonsense, child."

Jeremie thanked the monk and left the monastery. He opened the enchiridion and studied the prophecies. He remembered learning about some of them—he predicted the Lyoko victory in the Great Colony war. He predicted a sudden flood of elven refugees before that, coming from the Surface War between the elves. That was almost two hundred years ago, though. Jeremie turned to his final prophecy. It mentioned a vile darkness, and no rain, only cold snow and ice until the sun cast the darkness away. He mentioned seven people, but not by name like in other prophecies. He called these people Heroes, far greater than the Warrior Himself had been. He called them the Wise Man, the Fair, the Colonist, the Mercenary, the Vanguard, the Scout and the Outcast. Who were those people? Why were they important?

Brother Solaris had been correct after all. The Warrior's final prophecy did not make much sense. Especially not when compared to his distinct prophecies earlier, and when one took into account his mental instability near his death.

Jeremie was so absorbed in his book that he didn't see a girl standing right in front of him, and they walked right into each other. He looked up over the edge of the tome and saw green eyes staring back at him. He took a step back and looked face-to-face with a wild elf. Her hair was pink, like roses, and her face and arms were decorated with light pink markings. She wore a loose magenta vest and matching miniskirt, with bandages wrapped up her legs. "Ir abelas," She apologized in her native tongue, and she walked around him. He watched her leave, and something inside of him told him to go after her.

But he didn't. He let her go.

Jeremie returned to the apartment, and he gave his father the enchiridion. "Thank you," He said, and he opened to the pages about the final prophecy. "Yes, it as I suspected." Michael said, studying the pages. "You have been chosen, my son. Be proud." Michael smiled, and he presented the book back to him. Jeremie was obviously confused.

"Dad, I don't know what you're talking about." Jeremie said.

"How can you not know? You read the prophecy, didn't you?" Michael asked. Jeremie nodded, and Michael explained, "Your dream matches the prophecy in the enchiridion. You have been chosen to be one of the Heroes!"

Jeremie laughed. "You're crazy." He said. Michael rolled his eyes.

As daytime started to fade, Ulrich Stern met up with Odd Della-Robbia in the gymnasium for combat practice. As he entered, Odd nearly pinned him to a target with an arrow. "Odd! Watch it!" Ulrich shouted. The half-elf shrugged, laughing. Ulrich rolled his eyes. They'd known each other since they were three, and were the best of best friends. This meant they knew how to push each other's buttons.

"What's the word, hummingbird?" Odd asked as Ulrich threw his bag down on the floor. He let loose another arrow, and it landed perfectly in the bull's eye. He straightened his purple vest, and dusted his purple pants. He wore tall purple boots, and tall metal gauntlets with sharp claws. Ulrich had opted not to wear his typical Eastern finery, and instead wore simple white robes. He had a black belt wrapped around his waist. He began practicing his martial arts, dubbed Pencak Silat, on a dummy made of straw.

Ulrich rolled his eyes. "My parents are still trying to get me to decide on a suitor," He complained, "The worst part is that they're pushing me towards Sissi Delmas!" He shouted.

Odd shook his head. "By Venus's sanctified tits, can't your parents see you're hopelessly in love with Yumi Ishiyama?" He teased.

Ulrich kicked the dummy so hard it was sent flying into the wall and then spun around to face his friend of thirteen years. "I am not in love with Yumi!" He shouted, and Odd raised his hands. "And even if I was, our families are economic rivals!" He admitted off-handedly.

Odd cupped his hands and fluttered his eyes. "Just like Romulus and Julia!" He cooed.

Ulrich rolled his eyes again before trying to fix the dummy. "Those idiots knew each other for a week," He mocked.

Odd snickered. "Time never stopped anyone before," He muttered. He prepared an arrow, and let it loose. It struck the exact same place, slicing the first arrow down the middle. Odd saw this and cheered. "Suck my dick, Sparrow Cloak!" He shouted.

"Odd, put it away," A feminine voice called. The boys turned to see Yumi Ishiyama standing in the doorway. She wore her white robes too, and her black belt. She smiled as she approached them. Odd rolled his eyes. "Ulrich, are you ready to take me on?" She asked, cocksure.

Ulrich smirked. "I'm always ready." He taunted. The two fighters prepared, and they began to spar. Yumi bowed, and then the fight was on. There were punches and kicks, and Yumi flipped up into the air. "That was pretty good, for a beginner." Ulrich taunted. Yumi responded by kicking him in the face. Then, she easily pinned him. They blushed, and stood when Odd started cheering.

"You got beat up by a girl!" Odd laughed, and Ulrich grabbed his shoe and threw it, nearly hitting Odd's head. "Hey, watch it! Someone could get seriously hurt."

Ulrich's eyebrow twitched, but he took a deep breath and looked at Yumi. "Hey, what took you so long?"

"Don't be childish, Ulrich. I was just running behind." Yumi sighed. "I stopped to talk to William and Princess Laura. She'd finished her studies at the Academy and was headed back to the castle." She shook her head. "She said something strange, too; something about a prophecy being fulfilled. That girl is stranger than Odd." She teased.

"No one," Ulrich laughed, "is stranger than Odd."

"Papa, I'm not joking! I saw it!" Princess Laura Gauthier pleaded with the King. The King shook his head. "Papa, I looked into the pool and I saw ash, and smoke, and fire!" Laura followed her father through the castle. "We're going to be attacked! Papa! We must prepare!"

The King finally stopped avoiding her. "Laura, we are not going to be attacked! We have repaired relations with Nippon and are not under threat of colonization. The wilder elves have quietly resigned to nomadic lifestyles and those in our cities are converts and productive citizens. The drow have been dormant for a century at least, now." He crossed his arms. "There is the occasional raid by orcs, but that is nothing our Rangers and soldiers cannot handle."

Laura shook her head. "What if you're wrong? I divined the future, Papa! We are in terrible danger!"

"Laura, I have had enough of this nonsense!" The King shouted. "We are not in danger! Now leave me in peace." He closed the door to his bedchambers.

Laura huffed and pushed a blond hair from her face. She wore a light blue sleeveless shirt, a silver belt with pearls, dark blue pants and boots. Her armlets were silver, and she had white-gold bracelets on. Without her navy hood pulled up, you could see the pearls in her ears. Laura turned and stomped away, furious at her father for his disbelief. He had never trusted her magic, for he believed it came from what he called 'mistakes of the Dreamers.' In more technical terms, he meant 'demons.' So he dismissed all of her predictions, even though many had come true.

The princess stormed into the library, where she startled William Dendar, her personal bodyguard. William was a dark elf, or a drow, but other than his mischievous nature, he didn't much act like a dark elf. He was a genuinely happy person. His skin was ashen, and his hair blue-black. His eyes were red like the fire of the Brazier. He wore commissioned white armor, light but protective. He also wielded a Zweihänder, a sword tracing its origins to Deutschland, in the north. "By the blood of the Creation Father, princess, you gave me quite a scare!" William laughed.

Laura threw up her hands. "He didn't believe me! Can you believe that? I told him of the divination and he refused it!" She tore at her hair.

William tried to help. "Maybe it won't come true. You said it yourself; the future is never certain." He offered.

She shook her head. "No. This was too vivid to be a false vision. Too many people were dead. The fire was too hot. No, this is going to happen." She looked up at him in determination. "We should go to the monastery and ask if they have any prophecies that match the vision I divined."

When the sun had vanished for the evening, Laura and William snuck out of the castle and found their way to the monastery. Laura looked for the master of the archives, Brother Solaris. "Brother, I am looking for a book or a scroll or something that divines Capital Lyoko's doom by fire." She declared, approaching the monk.

Brother Solaris seemed confused. "There seems to be quite a bit of interest in that prophecy as of late. I apologize, my princess, but there is only one enchiridion on that prophecy, and it has already been borrowed."

Laura narrowed her eyes. "Already borrowed by whom?"

Dhaune, a slave to House Kenval, looked nervously at the sleeping Matron. For one hundred years, Xana Kenval had slumbered, waiting for the chance to strike. Sinae had spoken—tonight was the night. Dhaune raised her arm to her mouth and bit her own wrist open, being allowed no dagger, and when she tasted the copper and iron of her blood, she held it to the Matron's lips.

Seven drops of Dhaune's blood slid into Xana's mouth. The Matron's yellow eyes opened, and color returned to her blue-black cheeks. She sat up, ran her fingers through her white hair, and noticed Dhaune. "Fetch me my dressings, slave. The ones gathered from that wilder witch—you know the ones that look like they are from the surface?" Dhaune was surprised to be in the presence of the one and only Xana. Dhaune was but an ugly child in her presence. She had ashen skin, but it was blotched white in some places on her face, and her eyes were green and accented her golden hair, both traits suggesting she had wilder blood. Perhaps, she noted bitterly, this was why Sinae had chosen her. Xana stood, and Dhaune rushed to gather the robes. Dhaune dressed the Matron, and then she brushed her hair. "Tell me, slave; what day is today?"

Dhaune struggled. "Today is the eleventh day of Matrinalis, in the eighth year of the Guardian." It was Sunday, Justinian 11th, 5:08 Guardian. She scolded herself for not just say that. Xana didn't seem to notice, which was a blessing.

"An entire age has passed. By the Destruction Mother, I slumbered for one hundred years." Xana walked over to the steps and looked out over her city, looking at the dark elves as they scurried about to make the city presentable. "How long before we make our move against the surface? Are the soldiers and magicians prepared?" She asked.

"Overseer Sinae said that we are at your disposal." Dhaune said.

Xana smiled her evil smile and summoned her necklace. It was carved with the Eye of Xana, symbol of House Kenval. She put it on, and it turned from coal black to teal blue. "That is excellent news. Then we shall begin our movement tonight. Will you join me, slave?" She asked.

Dhaune smiled wide. "It would be my honor, Matron Mother."

A/N: Okay, before you say, "You said you weren't going to put up much Code Lyoko stuff anymore," yeah, I remember saying that. But I also lie a lot. So there. Also, let me clear some things up. The elven language and the dates come from Thedas, the setting of Dragon Age (However, the 6th and 8th months are switched. Matrinalis is the sixth month, common Justinian, and the 8th month is Ferventis, common August.). However, the drow names come from the Forgotten Realms. The human gods are obviously Roman.