This is the prologue and first chapter to the book I am writing, which is currently referred to as "The Cereldia Project" (not final Title). Please comment your thoughts and opinions on what you see of my writing here, as well as any critiques you may have. Prologue: Cereldia (Sereldia) Somewhere, on a different plain of existence, there lies another world very similar to ours. In it, there exists great nations with greatly detailed and intricate histories that none, not even the most wise or edified know all of, but many suspect there is much more to them than is known, just as in our world. Great empires have risen and fallen. Many different peoples have prospered and despaired, just as we have. This other world has great and bountiful natural beauty, only being rivaled by the world that we call our home. This world also has great diversity just as ours does, with peoples of very different backgrounds and beliefs call this world home. This is just the beginning of all there is of this magnificent other world, known as Cereldia. Although Cereldia is quite similar to our world, it is bound to an extraordinarily different set of laws and realms of possibility. This is highlighted by one major thing. This world contains magic, of the literal kind, the kind spoken of in fairy tales and legends in our world, the kind that we only dream of it. Those who devoted their lives to the study and practice of magic became known as mages. There are also those who are greatly adept with the art of magic became known as archmages. Then there were those mages who are known for their great wisdom and bravery, along with awesome amounts of power and skill are granted the title of Sage. These mages did many great deeds for the peoples of Cereldia, but many of them soon began to realize that if mages cooperated with each other, that deeds of much greater magnitude could be accomplished. Those who realized this began forming alliances, coalitions, and guilds of mages, of which the term guild would later be coined as their official classification. These mages then accomplished even greater feats than they had before, attracting the attention of the feudal lords who ruled the land. One of these lords realized that magic could be used as a great and powerful weapon in both military and political matters. He soon added a magical division to his army, of which the other lords, whom soon followed suit, leading to a magical arms race. This soon got out of hand, as the lords were putting massive amounts of resources into this magical arms race, and because of that, commoners suffered and grew restless day by day. Out of fear that there would soon be a rebellion, The Seven lords of Cereldia called the summit of the year 336, including all of the lords, their more influential vassals at the time and many of the sages of the time. They all knew that this arms race needed to stop in order to prevent revolutions from starting throughout Cereldia, so they all agreed that the magical divisions of the militaries of each nation needed to be cut to bring upon the return of order. They also found that the magical world needed to have a governing body to regulate it before things got out of control once more. The Lords wished for magic to be regulated and governed by individual nations, but the sages pointed out that what attempt that had been previously made had failed miserably up to that point, and wished for a single international organization to regulate magic. While the lords saw the point of the sages, they still wanted to have an influence in the magical world, as magic was vital to their very way of life, and made this point clear to the sages. The sages responded by allowing the individual nations to regulate to a certain point, but under the proposed "Magic Council". They also said that each nation would have to house outposts and a regional HQ for the Magic Council. The lords agreed upon the plan, but asked who would be on this Magic Council. They were given the response that seven sages would preside over the magic council, with one sage coming from each nation. The lords temporarily objected, protective of power as they were, but soon caved in to completed proposition of the sages. Soon after this summit, the magical divisions of each nation’s military were cut, and the Magic Council was formed, restoring the stability of Cereldia once again. Chapter 1: The Tragedy of Sakura Our tale starts centuries later, in the small village of Sakura, known as the town of blossoms, with a fifteen year old girl with beautiful flowing, golden blonde hair and soft, hazel eyes by the name of Haru Runeflow. Haru lived a typical village life with her mother and stepfather and was considered one of the prize of the village, with many suitors looking to take her as their bride. The people of the village nearly always greeted her with a smile, kindness, and often gave her gifts for no apparent reason. She also had an older brother of the age of 17, Kinzo, with black hair and strange red eyes, although they used to be a bright green, before he had fought in the lord’s army, where he had been discharged for a strange reason that was unbeknownst to Haru. She and her older brother, her Onii-san, (as is custom to call an older sibling in the Kojima region, in which the village of Sakura is located) had a close bond since their early youth, he was a kind, gentle and caring older brother towards Haru. He played with her often, and looked after her, especially since their mother had to do work outside the home to support them without their father there. After their mother married the man who was now their stepfather, at the age of 9, Haru queried her parents about her real father. Her stepfather then lashed out in a fit of rage and went to hit Haru, but Kinzo stepped in and took the hit from their stepfather in order to protect Haru. Their stepfather demanded Kinzo to get out of the way, but Kinzo refused and asked to take Haru’s punishment for her. Their stepfather had clearly favored Kinzo from the day they met him, although his reasoning was never made clear, making this choice difficult for him. In the end he decided it was best to only give Kinzo an easy beating, giving Haru somewhat of a deterrent from bringing up their real father once again. Other than this, and a few other remote incidents, they all lived a happy and peaceful life as a family, until one fateful day that is. Haru had been tasked with collecting leaves for medicine from the Grand Sakura Tree on Mount Tsuneo for the day, and was to return soon after nightfall. She did as she was tasked, but when she returned to the village that night, an unspeakable sight met her eyes. The cold, dead bodies of villagers littered the streets with blood having soaked the ground as if it were a deluge of rain. She quickly sprinted to her family’s house and flung open the door, only to behold a disturbing sight, deeply to her dread. She saw her dear brother Kinzo standing in the center of the room, covered in blood, with the dead bodies of their mother and stepfather at his feet. She looked at her beloved older brother in disbelief, thinking her dear brother could not have been the one who had done such a heinous crime. “Who committed this atrocity? Why couldn’t Kinzo have stopped them with how strong he was? It must have been the deed of a great evil!” she thought. Then Kinzo looked Haru in the eyes and said, “I know what you’re thinking, and you’re wrong, I am the one who has murdered the entirety of our beloved village.” “N-no!” yelled Haru, “You’re lying!”, but deep down inside of her heart, she knew he spoke the truth. “Why would you do such a thing?” she asked, weeping. “I had to liberate you, in order for you to find your true destiny and save you from ignorance.” Kinzo stated. “What do you mean?” lamented Haru. “Go and seek the truth behind our real father, the truth behind these eyes, and once you awaken the powers of this truth, search for me and decide whether you wish to kill me or not. If you search for before awakening this power, this truth, I won’t hesitate to kill you.” spoke Kinzo, with The Yin and Yang appearing in his eyes, striking fear into Haru. “You Bastard!” wailed Haru. “You shall find your true path soon enough, dear sister, I must go now, you must search for this truth for everyone, or otherwise, all of their deaths would have been in vain.” Kinzo said, then disappearing, leaving Haru alone in the lonely, dark emptiness of what had been their family’s home. She cried at her parents’ side until she fell unconscious with exhaustion. She awoke the next day hoping to see that all of these events had been nothing but a horrid dream, but she discovered that were reality. Clueless of what to do next, she decided that she should at least give her parents a proper burial. She spent the entire day giving death rites to her mother and stepfather, although she was no priestess. The next day she buried them under the cherry blossom tree that her mother used to take her to on spring afternoons when she was a child and sing to her, feeling the nice breeze of spring, watching the blossoms fly through the air for what seemed like forever. She laid a bouquet of white lilies and cherry blossoms from what was once the Sakura florist on her parents’ grave. She then headed back to town to figure out what to do with herself, she couldn’t just stay in Sakura without losing her sanity out of grief and loneliness. She resolved to the home of the village elder, where she knew there were maps of the entire region, as the elder needed to go to regional councils regularly to represent the village of Sakura. On the map she found easiest to understand, she found the center of trade within the region, Tahara, and decided that she would travel there first, as there would be many economic opportunities there, and she could begin trying to find out about her blood father from there. She continued on to gather supplies for the journey to Tahara throughout the day, for she had decided that she was departing from the village at dawn the next morning.