My name is Fable and I am a historian. The world as it was is no longer. I write this tale to inform people in the future of the events that took place here on this grassy plain. I write this tale based on observation and information from key players with a little of my own input. From what we scholars gather, around the year 2050 a nuclear war broke out on this planet. It’s hard to tell who fired the first shot for there is no written record or living person reliable enough to provide this information. There ,of course, have been many stories about this War. You may have guessed that these stories soon evolved into complete nonsense. Archeologists of our time have found the remains of very interesting technology. Steel frames made to seat a person, with wheels. We can assume that these creations were the means of transportation, but we are at a loss for how they powered the creation. There is very little literature left from the old world. A Bible survived the war and the remaining books are simply too fragile to be read. These two remaining books are kept safe by us scholars. There was one surviving globe, which we also keep.
As I said, there are many versions of the tale of this war and how we got here. It is said that the only survivors were found in North America, not including where Canada was, and South America. Approximately 95% of the world’s population had been wiped out, the remaining 5%were split in half. Half were in North America and the other half in South America. These two small groups began to repopulate the earth. Nature took its course as it does with everything else. As these groups started to grow, a leader arose in each the North and the South. Each king granted control of the land, or fiefs, to his most trusted advisors. Each fief had a castle, a church, a village, and farmland. There were, of course, classes of society. At the top were the nobles, bishops, and barons. Following this group were the knights and archers, after them came the business owners and farmers. Last were the peasants, also called surfs. In exchange for working the land and being servants, the surfs were given protection by the lord of the fief.
Things were going well until the number of people started to grow further as the people kept reproducing. Soon there were uprisings within each kingdom. Riots broke out all over the two kingdoms and soon there were seven kings from each the North and the South, each with their own land, servants and armies. A citizen from the north and from kingdom one was from Northone. A citizen from the south and from kingdom three was from Souththree. All the kingdoms followed suit. All anyone began to care about was land and which kingdom had the most. Education soon became a thing of the past, at least for the lower class people. The noble children still attended schools. Things were looking very bad for mankind. The peasants were forced to work the land, receiving little pay and having most of their crops taken from them. A war was raging throughout all the kingdoms. There were power struggles among all of the kings. This is where my tale begins.
The heat from the fire made General Traypack flinch as he walked by one of the many burning buildings of the south fief of Northfour. General Traypack had been instructed by his king to destroy the south fief of this sector. General Traypack was a Southonen.
The general was tired from the day’s effort of destroying the fief. He sat in his tent that had been erected after the fall of the fief. He was sitting on a tall chair, his face buried in his hands. “This war is going nowhere,” thought the General. No one had taken the chance of attacking the main fief of any of the kingdoms for fear of the large class of men. What was the point if both kingdoms lost the population of a fief? These little attacks here and there were all anyone was willing to risk. There was however one kingdom that had not participated in any part of the war. The kingdom was Northone. They called themselves freedom fighters. Opposing any involvement in the war, the freedom fighters only fought when they needed to protect their fiefs. Many attempts to weaken the freedom fighters had failed. No one was willing to risk a fight with them anymore.
A noise came from outside the tent. The general could hear a bell ringing. Someone was requesting entrance to his tent. He took a moment to collect himself, then looked up, dropping his hands so he would not look weak in front of his officer.
“Enter,” said Traypack, sitting up a little straighter in his chair. He could not afford to look worried or upset.
“Hello General,” said the man who entered the tent. He was a short man, his tunic was covered in blood and his chain mail was still on from the day’s fighting. He had a long cut that started at his forehead and ran down across his eye.
“What news do you bring?” asked the General.
“I bring a letter my General” said the officer. He handed the letter to his general then stepped back awaiting his dismissal.
“Thank you, officer. Now go have your eye looked at,” said Traypack.
To all generals in the south one armies,
You are to leave your post immediately. Pack up all your supplies and get your men ready to move out as soon as possible. I will be expecting you in the kingdom of Northone.
Months went by with no fighting between the kingdoms. The armies of each kingdom made their way to Northone. A meeting between all the kings was to take place in the meeting hall of the castle of Northone. All the kings sat at the round table placed in the center of the elaborate meeting hall.
“Honestly, he calls a meeting and makes us all wait! How dare he make us wait! We are kings! We are royalty!” said King Julian of Souththree. All the kings wore exquisite jewelry and crowns with rubies all around.
“Richard has always had a thing for dramatic entrances,” said King Edward. As he finished his sentence there was a loud bang. The large oak doors at the entrance of the hall slammed open and King Richard entered the room.
King Richard was wearing a large red robe, his gold crown sat on his head and his fingers were covered in rings. His scruffy beard and long curly hair covered most of his aged lined face.
“Good day, my fellow kings,” said Richard as he sat down in the remaining empty chair at the round table. His voice was loud and enthusiastic.
“Why the long wait? Why would you make your fellow kings wait on you?” asked King Julian with a smug tone. “And what, may I ask, is the point of this meeting?”
“My fellow kings,” said Richard ignoring King Julian’s rude remarks, “This war is going nowhere. We mount these pathetic little attacks on each other and no one is gaining any ground. We fight for control of all the lands. We fight so one of us can rule all the lands. I have a proposition for you gentlemen. Instead of all these meaningless losses of life, I propose a tournament. Each of us chooses our best fighter and whichever kingdom’s fighter wins, that kingdom will rule,” he paused a moment staring at each of his fellow kings in the eye, one by one. “Each match would take place at a different random location. The fight can be won by death or a fighter can yield,” he finished. The room fell silent. Each king was in deep thought, and made sure to keep an expressionless face. No one was quite ready to reveal his feelings on this position.
The tavern in the town of Northone was full of people. Many of the warriors who traveled from their home kingdoms were out tonight trying to have a good time. The atmosphere in the room was contagious. Everyone everywhere was talking, laughing and having a good time, playing cards and darts. Times of peace didn’t come by often and everyone was making the most of this precious occasion. A meeting to decide if a tournament that would end this worldwide war would occur was taking place at this very moment. This was the source of the wonderful mood fast spreading mood in the tavern. Everyone was having a good time except for the man in the back corner of the room.
The man was tall and lanky. He had a beard and long brown hair. He didn’t look like much of a fighter. His white peaceful eyes gave him a quality of calmness, the look of man you could trust with your life. Alexander Voltaire sat alone at the tavern tonight just as he had every night before this one. Tonight was especially entertaining. These men who called themselves warriors came into the tavern, had too much to drink, and for some unknown reason, thought they were “smooth” with the ladies. Alexander laughed a little as he saw yet another one of these men fail to impress a lady.
As Alexander looked away to take a drink, he heard a slap. One of the men had become frustrated and had begun to get physical with a small blonde girl.
“Ow! You’re hurting me!”cried the girl, as she attempted to break the big man’s grip on her.
“Why don’t you make this easy on yourself?” said the man with a greedy look in his eye. “Let’s go somewhere a little quieter, where you and I can be alone.”
“Let me go,” she yelled, again trying to break the man’s grip on her. Alexander had been watching this entire scene take place, and had simply had enough of this man’s actions. He rose from his chair and effortlessly made his way through the crowd. His movements flowed like water as he approached the bar, just as simply as he would have, had there been no crowd at all.
Many people jumped back, since it seemed as if Alexander had simply appeared out of thin air. Alexander may not have looked much like a fighter, but he was soon to prove otherwise.
“Let me go,” yelled the small girl again. Her voice was loud as it echoed in the small tavern. She was unaware that the crowd had formed a half circle around the three near the bar. She was unaware that she was the only person making any noise at all within the bar. Alexander closed his hand around the man’s thumb and pulled up hard, releasing his grip on the girl. He stepped between the pair and gave the man a little shove with his open palm. The man staggered back, grabbing onto the bar to stop himself from falling over.
“It’s okay,” said Alexander, turning to the girl, who gave him a quick nod of thanks and disappeared into the crowd.
“Now, that wasn’t very nice of you boy!” shouted the man, his words slurring a bit as he swayed on the spot.
“I think you’ve had a little too much to drink and I’ll have to ask you to leave,” said Alexander in a conversational voice. He was calm and collected, even though the man standing in front of him towered over him.
“Do you know who I am?” yelled the man in reply to Alexander’s request. His tone suggested that everyone in the world could recognize him from a mile away. “I am Borus! Commander of the Southtwo Armies!”
“No matter,” said Alexander dismissively. A smile broke out on his face as he said “I asked you once and I’ll ask you only once more. Please leave this bar.”
“You are unarmed!” yelled Borus, as he stepped back, pulling out a long sword. “So I’ll have to ask you to step aside. This young lady and I have things to do. Be smart little man and let it go. Stop trying to play the hero,” finished Borus swinging the sword wildly around. Alexander reached onto the bar and picked up a large metal spoon that had been used to serve soup.
“You are mistaken, commander. I am armed,” said Alexander ignoring the rest of Borus’s rant. Borus looked around at all the people; they had the same look on their faces as he did, a look of amusement. The people at the bar backed away even further, sensing that a battle was about to occur. Borus stepped forward slashing downward with his sword. He hit nothing but air. Alexander lunged forward and slid under the man, between his legs and he stood up behind him. He did this so fast, that it seemed to Borus that he had simply vanished.
“Behind you, Borus,” taunted Alexander. Borus turned to find Alexander behind him, the spoon held at a downward angle in a defensive stance. Alexander had changed. His eyes were no longer peaceful and warm. They now held a dangerously fixed and focused look.
Borus charged again. Alexander leaned away from the sword just enough for it to miss him. Borus continued to swing; Alexander easily deflected his wild and angry slashes. This man was being embarrassed. Borus soon became slow, his hard slashes became sluggish and nothing more than feeble.
Alexander stepped forward, leaning away from a slash of Borus’s sword and delivering a kick to Borus’s lead leg knee. A loud pop was heard and Borus dropped to his other knee. Before he could yell out in pain, Alexander had rammed the spoon into the larger man’s temple. Borus fell to the ground unconscious. The next moment a man entered into the cavern. The sound of the door slamming shut behind him was easily heard in the silent and shocked room.
“The tournament is a go!” he yelled throwing his hands into the air and jumping up and down in excitement. The room erupted with cheers. Everyone began to drink and soon sing in celebration of this joyous news. The unconscious man was left on the floor, unwanted and forgotten. Alexander made his way out of the tavern just as he had made his way up to the bar, silently and unnoticed. He wished he could stay and celebrate with his people at the bar, but if he did so he would be late for his appointment to see the king.
“Alexander, please enter,” said King Richard. Alexander entered into the king’s chamber. The chamber was large but simply decorated. A table stood in the middle of the room. Books piled high on top, rolls of parchment strewn across it. Bookshelves lined the walls with a gap for a small and simple bed in the corner for the King and his Queen to sleep.
Alexander dropped to his knee after closing the door to the chamber and awaited his next command from the king.
“Please stand my son,” Richard requested.
“Father, you know I must kneel before my King,’’ replied Alexander, keeping his head bowed low.
“Tonight I do not address you as your king, but as your father. Please remove your disguise so we may talk face to face,” requested Richard of his son. Alexander removed the brown wig and beard. He rubbed his short brown hair, trying to remove the flatness that the wig had caused and began to itch his face where the scratchy beard had been.
“Your turn father,” said the Prince, “I don’t know why you insist on impressing these power happy, foolish, half-witted men who call themselves kings and insist on people calling them royalty.”
“I wear this robe and these rings because I must. I do it not only to impress these ‘power happy, foolish, half-witted men’ as you call them, but also to try and give them a king they can relate to,” said the king.
“It is foolish to be something you’re not. Why change for these pigs? Why change for these blood thirsty animals?” Alexander questioned his father.
“Is it foolish, my son? Is it foolish to change so that these people can relate to me, so that they may find some common ground between you and them? I know you know this tactic quite well,” replied the King, glancing at the wig and fake beard, which now lay on the floor next to the Prince.
“If I went out as the people’s prince,they would treat me as a prince, not as one of them,” said Alexander.
“And if I approach these men who call themselves kings as a simple man, not a greedy showy half wit, they would treat me as a lesser man,” said the King, awaiting a reply from his son.
“Then they are ignorant,” said Alexander after a long moment. “Thinking that being showy and arrogant puts you above someone else is foolish,” said the Prince.
“Are the people you change for any different? They treat you as more of a man when you’re their prince. But when you like them, or appear to be like them, they treat you as a normal person,” the King finished again, waiting for a reply.
“These people are victims of a dark age!” yelled Alexander raising up and gesturing out the window toward the town of the Northone kingdom. “They have been taught that royalty is above them and that they are lesser beings. This is a thought put into their heads by these men who think they are above everyone else!” finished the Prince, his voice bouncing off the walls of the chamber.
“No matter, they are still no different!” yelled the King in reply. “We must rise out of this Dark Age and do what we have planned your whole life. I ask you tonight my son. Can you win this tournament? Can you bring this world out of this dark and troubled time? I have done my part! It it is time for you to do yours,” finished the King, his voice now bouncing off the walls just as his son’s had done before him.
“Father, this tournament has been my life! I have watched these people be pushed around! I have watched them be slaves to a king who does nothing in return for them! You have trained me since birth for this day! I will not fail you! Or them!” he finished again, gesturing out the window toward the town. Alexander grabbed his wig and beard and walked out of the chamber leaving his father to wipe the proud tears from his eyes.
The tournament was set to begin. Each fighter from the North was paired with the corresponding kingdom from the South. The matches began and after the first round, only fighters from the North remained in the tournament. The next two rounds went by quickly, and now only two fighters remained in the tournament. Alexander Voltaire of Northone would face Fredrick Landly from Northseven in the final round of the tournament for control of all the kingdoms.
Alexander, who was obviously the prince, had been wearing his wig and beard disguise throughout the tournament. The crowd around the grassy plain just outside the castle of Northone was enormous. Alexander, still in his disguise, stood facing his opponent; the wind was blowing the knee-high grass surrounding the two fighters. Alexander brought his hand up to his face and pulled off his wig, then his beard. He threw them both to the ground. The crowd drew a collective breath as they saw who had been fighting for the freedom fighters.
“I’ve been watching you freedom fighter, watching you walk through your opponents as if they weren’t even there and yet you spare their lives?” said Fredrick as if Alexander was still wearing the wig and beard. He wore a thick armored chest plate. He was short but his thick frame made for his loss in height. The brown tips of his long hair hung out of his helmet and down across his shoulders. His sword hung low off the belt of his armored pants.
“Their lives are not mine to take,” said Alexander in a light tone. He was wearing black cloth pants and a whiteV-neck T-shirt. A red sash was tied around his waist and in it rested his sword.
“I shall warn you now. I’m not as weak as those before me. I will not hesitate to end your life, freedom fighter,” said Fredrick raising his blade in front of his face and bowing to Alexander.
“And I will hesitate to end yours” replied Alexander returning the gesture to Fredrick.
“These kingdoms, they shall be mine to rule! Everything you freedom fighters have worked for will end with a strike of my sword,” yelled Fredrick all respect now thrown to the wind.
“We shall see,” replied Alexander in the same light tone.
“What do you say we make this a little more even?” said Fredrick as he stripped off the helmet, and armored chest plate. His brown cloth shirt was now the only thing protecting him from the tip of Alexander’s blade.
They charged at each other. They collided with a sound of steel on steel. Their swords were a blur of speed as each parried and struck at the other in turn. Their movements were as fluid as water moving from one cup to another. If the fate of 14 kingdoms, and a life were hung in the balance, this battle could be called beautiful and almost poetic. With a loud clash of steel on steel, the swords flew from their owners. They landed in the tall grass, and were now lost to the fighters.
The two men paused. Each man, breathing heavy with sweat dripping off his face, had sustained minor injuries. Alexander’s left shoulder had a gash and Fredrick’s right thigh was bloodied. They charged again, this time with no weapons.
Elbows, fists, and knees rammed into each other’s face and body. Alexander leaned away from a left hook and countered with a left, only to be hit with a left roundhouse kick to his face. Again Alexander leaned away from a hook, but this time he grabbed on to Fredrick’s arm and turned away, throwing him over his shoulder. Fredrick flew through the air, rolling back up to his feet. As he turned toward Alexander to mount an attack he found that Alexander had already closed the gap. Alexander was giving him no room to breathe, no time to recover or think. These two men continued to battle, the tide changing with every passing blow. Five minutes went by, then fifteen. Both men had become so tired that defense was pointless.
They were trading shots now. A right hook from Alexander was answered with a right hook from Fredrick. Each man was throwing everything he had at the other. Fredrick soon began to gain the upper hand. He saw an opening and slammed an elbow into Alexander’s head.
Everything began to shake and move out of focus after the elbow connected to Alexander’s head. He was seven now, in his mind’s eye, and his teacher had him in the corner, pressing him till he found a way out. He was 12, his arm was broken but his teacher wouldn’t let him quit, he had to keep fighting. He had always been told to find a way to win no matter how badly he was being beaten. He saw flashes of death in the battlefields and all the unneeded cruelty. He saw all the children who had died before they became men and all the men who had died before they could really start their lives.
Everything snapped back into focus. Alexander saw Fredrick’s next move before he executed it. He waited timing his next move perfectly. He leaned away just enough for the left hook to miss him, he could feel the air from the attack on his face. He ducked down dodging the right hook that followed and then rammed an uppercut into Fredrick’s chin. Fredrick was lifting from his feet as he was thrown backwards hitting the ground hard, unable to get up.
Alexander was poised over Fredrick, the killing blow in sight. He loaded up his right hand ready to make the final attack, but did not take it. He stopped and stood over his opponent.
“I have, since birth, been raised for this very moment in which I am living now, to win the tournament between the kingdoms and rule it as the king. You, my worthy opponent, have offered me a challenge and I have won. I will not take your life but I ask you, will you rule by my side?” said Alexander. Fredrick raised his hand up to Alexander, who helped him up to his feet.
It was clear to the crowd who had won and the people of Northone lost all self-control. They charged the field to be with their champion, to be with the champion of the people. A throne was brought out on the field and Alexander was helped onto it. Fredrick was standing next to him, supported by the people in the crowd.
“This war is now over!” cried Alexander over the grassy plain. “There will be no more fighting! We will now all live in peace. A people are not defined by how many wars they have won, or how much land they have conquered. It is defined by what good it has done for mankind. This dark age has finally come to an end.” He was lifted into the air by the people of Northone and carried off the battlefield to his castle.
My tale ends here. The battle that would determine the course this new world will take has been decided. The cruel world in which we lived in for so long has come to an end. The dark times of fear and the pointless ending of life ends now. It is time for us to turn the page and start a new chapter. A new age has begun, the age of King Alexander Voltaire.