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I - Fairytale

Princess Elizabeth Mari, eldest daughter of King Jon of House Rayvel, first of her name, heir to the throne of Galderia, was born during the warmest moon of the year 327. Three-hundred and twenty seven years had passed since the Great War tore humanity apart and forced it to rebuild itself from the ground up, but Elizabeth Mari didn’t learn about it until she reached her fortieth moon, in the midst of her third year of life. See, all the children of Galderia must learn about the War, however being that the princess was wide-eyed and unexposed to the horrors the world had to offer, it was described to her as a fairytale full of mythic winged beasts battling each other, in a story so black and white and good versus evil that her young mind could not comprehend that something so large could never be quite so simple, and she spent years of her life with this same illusion.

Despite this, in her seventh year of life, she learned the rest of the story, and heard its beginning in such detail that she would surely experience nightmares for months. After the Angels set off the bomb, they chained any surviving Demons to the ground, both to assure the creatures that they will never fly again and to give the humans the opportunity to decide their fate, perhaps in penance for destroying a multitude of towns neighboring the bomb sight. When the bomb went off, the leader of one of the nearby towns was in his hut registering a toddler into his population, one who refused to speak through her tears, although his men claimed it must be because she had narrowly escaped the grasp of a Demon. As the leader’s house was built more strongly than the rest, when the world exploded in a flash of light, his hut remained standing with only himself and the orphaned girl inside. As such, he chose to raise the child as his own, as he was never able to conceive any heirs.

Not wanting his daughter to grow up in a lonely world of rubble and ash, the leader vowed to build his city once again, even greater than before, dedicating the rest of his days to ensuring his daughter had a place in what little was left of the terrible world. As time passed, more and more nomadic peoples that stumbled upon the leader and his small village saw the old man’s determination, and being that it was the first spark of hope most had known in their entire lives, they gravitated toward him like moths to a flame. People who wandered into his growing village never left, and seeing as he was their source of happiness, no one ever opposed him as leader. When he was finally on his death bed, he appointed his daughter as the sole heir to his throne, which she gratefully accepted, vowing to continue his work as a just and strong ruler, and thus she spent the rest of her days turning the city into a kingdom and her hut into a castle. Some say she was the greatest leader there ever was, but then any leader before the Great War was lost to time, as was the First Queen’s name and the name of her righteous adoptive father. It was during the First Queen’s reign that the question of the Demons’ fates was brought into question for the first time, now that the humans had the time to worry about things besides food and shelter. The most popular option explored was to kill each and every one of the starved monsters where they stood, chained to the ground, however the First Queen declared that nothing of the sort would happen, and instead neglected to ever address the issue. She was a pacifist, most thought, although no reason for her decision was ever given beyond that. For centuries, every ruler in her lineage followed suit, and Galderia thrived as they ignored the presence of the desert to the West.

Once Elizabeth Mari heard the whole story, it most unexpectedly did not give her nightmares, but instead intrigued her more than any other lessons in her studies. So much, in fact, that the little princess spent more time in the tallest tower of the castle than anywhere else, as it was the only place in the entire Kingdom where one was able to gaze upon the seemingly endless field of bodies. At this point, the Demons were so weak they were easy to mistake for corpses, but the golden sunlight glinting off of their glossy black wings was captivating enough that Elizabeth Mari’s innocent eyes couldn’t see the horror of it at all.

Unfortunately, at the end of the princess’ ninth year of life, a great famine struck the once prosperous kingdom of Galderia, thrusting it into economic collapse. In a last ditch effort to save his country, King Jon devised a plan. As his daughter was not yet of marriageable age and the sole heir to his throne, merging with a neighboring kingdom was not an option, so the king could see only one solution. He sent out an order for the Demons to be released from their chains and placed in new, portable ones that were blessed in order to inhibit their powers, and then they were to be sold as slaves. There were whispers on the streets, of course, not because anyone was opposed to enslaving the monsters, but because they had remained untouched for as long as humanity could remember.

Elizabeth Mari watched from the window in her favorite tower as they ripped confused Demons from their nearly permanent place in the ground, and she felt somewhat angry at her father for taking away her favorite view. A childish way to feel, undoubtedly, but a child is exactly what Elizabeth Mari was. She simply couldn’t understand that people were going hungry, nor could she understand that those Demons did not like their field. Everything was simple to her, but because she was not a spoiled child and taught from a young age to never act out, she never told her father how dearly she missed her view. Her father did tell her, however, that those Demons were the bad guys in the story, and they were evil. He explained that they’d walk among them now, but she must never get too close, and Princess Elizabeth Mari of House Rayvel, first of her name, and heir to Galderian throne, swore up and down she would always stay away.
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