Eme is divided into five kingdoms, and every schoolchild can tell you where the five rulers hold council. The Opal Kingdom of scholars and priests, with their capital island of Emeyna; the fishers and sailors of the Lapis Kingdom, based in Reto; Boarri, the seat of the Jade Kingdom's farmers and animal handlers; the war-like Jasper Kingdom's white city Torili in the middle of the Usukon desert; frozen Qiyori, with its mages and jewelers, for the Quartz Kingdom. These women and men, these sages and priestesses and empresses and kings, do appear to hold all the trappings of power and revel in them, seeming to control the destinies of the entire planet between them all. Ask any common peasant or artisan or farmer, and he will recite the names of these most esteemed monarchs as those whose fingers pluck at the strings of fate.

Ask these leaders, however, and they will tell you quite a different story.

These exalted men and women know where the true seat of power is, and that while they may play at their decrees and their wars and their codes and their treaties, that is all they are doing: they are playing. Instead of these four figures of state, all of the affairs of Eme are really governed by three- more recently, four, but soon to be three, again- figures.

My name is Gabriel Norris, and I am one of those figures.

The only ones who know it are those in "power", and those in power. The advisers and councils of the figureheads, of course, do not know. If they did, it would be so easy to use it as blackmail, as fuel for a revolution; or would they even bother anymore, knowing that, in the end, what they did was worthless?

Why do any of us bother, though? Simply because I am one of those few who actually wields power in this world doesn't mean that I am any less susceptible to death. The murders of my two colleagues- let alone the hundreds of others slain in the past year- has proven this quite completely. If they didn't stand a chance, these who made their lives on war and battle, then I clearly won't. Not when she comes for me.

But I digress. That will be the final chapter, and this is only the introduction.

I am writing this in the hopes that someone else will find it, that someone else will know- because I know I am the next to die. And at her hands, no less...

My time is very limited, and my story is much too long. I already know that it will be biased; I am, after all, telling it from my point of view. While I regret that there will be holes in this story, or things pieced together from my research, it is unavoidable. The truth, or at least what I know of it, needs to be told.

Because maybe then the world can be saved.

But above all (and I cannot stress the importance of this enough), if you learn nothing else from my story, remember this: never trust the left-handed.