[Prologue]

This is a story about choices.

Each and every choice we make greatly affects each event that will befall us next, or cancels out another respectively. Our choices are what define our future – no matter what people like to say about destiny; destiny can only determine the universal end of all things, and as we’re all headed that way, anyway, but what we can change is the way we get there. And so, this is a story of how one small choice, “left or right after the big tree?”, can change no little.

It’s also a story about people.

People who are ordinary. People who make mistakes. People who let their logical or illogical minds define them. People who, sometimes, are even presented with the same choices but walk down different paths. People that are courageous, kindhearted, generous, and who put others before themselves but are also selfish, afraid, greedy.

Finally, this is a story about perception; because just like how good our choices seem to others, people’s nature only depends on one’s point of view.

Our lives are defined by those three things, after all.

[Prologue]

Every part of the beginning of this story started with death: some inevitable, some unfair, and some that went unnoticed until it was but too late. But, as materials describing the woes of jealousy, fear, and war are an overused auxiliary, what you’re about to read starts smack dab in the middle. Besides, if one had to go back to the beginning and tell you everything, that would mean writing a hundred pages of something that you are just as easily going to find in Northland’s historical archives (also known as the Legend), and are more likely to use for a book report – but it is not a thing that one supposes you’d want to know in detail.

So instead, now you will be briefly introduced, in what will hopefully be a short overview, to how some parts of the story really started:

Decades before everything in the world took its place, a goddess gave her life to save her country.

At some point in time, much much later, a civil war inside Northland broke out – that is all that needs to be said of that beginning.

Twenty years later, sometime around the beginning of a September, a boy of the name Christopher Hawks (remember that name!) was discovered to be the holder of one of the Seven Stones of the Kisow.

The Kisow was the short name for the Sword of Kings. It was sword that traditionally gave its bearer the right to be King or Queen of The Northern Lands of Aurora, the only country on the West Arctic island of the Globe. For the twenty years following the war the Kisow had been sealed away in Northland, having lost all of its power. You should know that, as a sword by itself, it wasn’t very magical and it could have easily been used like any other normal weapon. Well, if it hadn’t been chained to a wall on Nose Crimsondawn, that is. The Kisow relied on seven Stones that were supposedly carved of pure, solid Ice Magic, and without them it was impossible to separate from the wall. All of the stones had been lost during that one war.

…Or at least the Stones were believed to be lost: it was rumored that five or six of them had been retrieved in the course of the years, but no one could be bothered to go and check. Not from the Unfrozen, anyway. It was a personal affair of “that Northland country”.

It was a ridiculous notion that one of those seven Stones would end up outside Northland: The Hunters or the gnomes would have caught whoever was trying to get it across. But the fact remained that one of those seven was in Chris’s possession (hopefully you didn’t forget him). Someone, somehow, had managed to make a pendant out of it, and it had ended up in the possession of Chris’s father, and later passed on to Chris himself.

So, in that particular September, Chris’s Stone was discovered by a Witch of the name Winter Icetorm, “the runaway” princess of Northland who had disappeared twenty years back. Winter had initially planned to simply requisite the Stone from him, but no thanks to Chris’s more personal feelings towards her, he somehow decided to convince her to allow him to accompany her to Nose Crimsondawn in Northland to “unlock” the Kisow.

Winter’s original plan had been as follows:

  • Place the seventh Stone in its respectful place in the Kisow’s handle, next to the other six;

  • Be the first one to take hold of the now “unlocked” sword, therefore automatically gaining some power over the Throne;

  • Challenge the current Queen of Northland to a duel;

  • Win;

  • Become the new Queen, respectively.

This very simple plan went horribly wrong when Chris, out of no more than chivalry, was the one who first placed his hands upon the unlocked Kisow. His intentions, as he later tried to explain countless times, were to catch the weapon and hand it over to Winter – you see, the Kisow was chained to a wall and upon being unlocked would fall right down into the hands of whomever was there to catch it. Chris’s own plan backfired on him when his simple actions made him King of Northland, or at least gave him the power to become King if he challenged the Queen and won.

At that time, the actual Queen of Northland – Nephrite – had found out about all of this. Having no intention of handing her Throne over to anybody, she sent a fleet of Hunters (Northland’s official police force) to capture Chris and Winter.

From nose Crimsondawn the two of them, accompanied by a nobleman male Witch carrying the name Christian White (also known as Ian) fled to the region of the werewolves: Fang. It didn’t do them much good, as two days later the Hunters caught up to them and, during a fierce chase through the woods of the forest Boreas, the Kisow shattered.

It was something no one ever thought possible, but the reason was quite simple: the Kisow possessed a certain amount of magic-cancelling abilities granted by the Stones that worked like a shield around the weapon and its bearer. The upside of this was that during battle, both the sword and its holder were protected from being frozen stiff by a Witch. The downside was that the magic only worked when the Kisow was in the hands of its bearer. During the battle in the woods, to his great misfortune, Chris made a wrong turn, slipped, and hit his head. When he came to, surprisingly with no more than a dizzy sensation, he found out (from Ian, who was hurling curses nearby) that the sword had flown out of its fingers, had been frozen mid-air by a passing spell and had crashed into a tree.

prologue illustjg

The shock of the sword – this particular sword – turning to a million pieces before their eyes slowed down the Hunters and gave Chris enough time to sweep out of the snow the only one of the Stones that hadn’t turned to ice (his own) and run back to the Border with Winter and Ian.

Having all of her initial plans ruined, Winter told Chris that it would be best if they lay low for a while until things in Northland cooled down. Then, when she’s made some sort of new plan, she would find him again and ask him to fight for the Crown on her stead. Until that time, Winter had said, she would not be in contact with him, and no, he wasn’t allowed to know where she would go. Ian, meanwhile, would return to his studies in the Crystal region (location: Northland) and would eventually be asked to help as well, again, if he wished – to which Ian had said that yes, he did.

This, as formerly stated, was part of the beginning.

The rest are the results. And as repetitions are a bore, the end may quite differ from the beginning. Or not. Life, unlike literature, cares not for bores in repetitions.

Find out yourselves.

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