BLISS Volume 1
Prologue

Some decades ago, in a land with technological advances and ways of life similar to your own, there was a great country, an empire of sorts. This empire called itself Izora and was ruled by a long line of both illustrious and infamous monarchs. These monarchs, each and every one, were Faea, magic users, and, just as their citizens, they were all human. Thus, most of the lineage consisted of racist, egotistic megalomaniacs, just as humans usually are.

But Izora was, of course, not the only country in the land I am telling you about. Humans were not the only species of intelligent life, as much as many of them would wish to be. There were other species as well, and although I paint an unhappy picture of humans alone, these different species were not much different at all past body structure and appearance. They too were racist, egotistical, and haughty, if not more so than the humans. To make matters worse, the majority of the races were close enough to each other to interact and upset things.

Inevitably, that is exactly what happened, some decades ago in a land similar to your own. Some inexplicit event happened and a rift formed between the humans and the other races. Some think the humans were trying to expand and the races fought back and that's the problem. Others say it was meant to be that way. I'm no expert but I think the races were just itching to fight. Whatever the case may be, a war broke out between the humans and the Hitae, a race to the north in the mountains. They were birds, large and brawny, proud as could be. They took offense to nearly everything and were the ones to declare war. Even the Hitan scribes report that.

So, the humans and the bird beasts fought battle after bloody battle. The other races stayed out of it for the most part, until it was rumored that the southeast tribe of the Vishu Raowa were lending a hand to the humans. The Vishu denied this heatedly, but whether any claims were true or not the M'reth tribe of Raowa began a sort of civil war. I told you, they were all just itching to box each other across the ears. Quite painfully, to say the least, but I digress.

The southern Raowa were at odds with each other, the Hitae and humans wanted to kill, and the other nations just didn't know what to do. Whose side does a nation choose when it practically borders both?

It was at this time of peril that the western tribes of Raowa stepped in. They came from the Isles, from the island mountains and the marvelous city of Karem'ba, not to do battle but to negotiate and end the nonsense that was disrupting trade. What a simple reason to end such a conflict.

Not long after the Raowa of the Isles journeyed to the other side of the continent, the fighting stopped. They had first settled the dispute with the Hitae and Izora, since that had been the immediate cause for the trouble with the other Raowa tribes. Then the issues between the Vishu and M'reth were settled. Peace was restored, but not for long.

Queen Illia. Beautiful, elegant, brilliant - all those admirable traits one tends to find in a woman and hopes to find in a leader. She was everything to her people, everything to Izora. However, she was not alone as queen. Behind every good leader there is a loving spouse, and Illia was no exception. As she was everything to her country, her husband Davan was everything to her.

And he had been taken by the war.

Distraught, and with a young daughter to take care of - or rather, for her nurses to take care of - Illia became bitter. The war may have ended, but the lives that had been lost on both sides could never be regained. Illia vowed her revenge, as soon as her daughter would be old enough to take the throne should something happen to the queen.

A few years passed and while Izora and the rest of the land simmered in its peace, Illia simmered with hatred against the Hitae. Her hatred had soon encompassed all manner of "non-human" beings, including the Raowa of the Isles who had so easily come to aid her country, and the Kidari and Lanru, who had remained neutral. In her grief-stricken mind Illia blamed them all for her late husband's demise. She went crazy, saying the Hitae were an evil, blood-thirsty race, the Raowa were deliberately slow in their actions to restore peace, and she was angry that her neighbors the Kidari and Lanru could not see fit to defend her poor Davan.

As years went by and the crown princess grew older, her mother filled her head with these misgivings. The princess held the same ideas as her doting yet deranged mother, and planned with all her young heart and soul to avenge her father's death tenfold, for her mother's sake. As her twenty-first birthday neared, the princess was willing and more than ready to rule under her mother's watchful eye.

Surveillance and espionage were easy processes in this land, however, and not long after the peace began a ground of wealthy and intelligent individuals brought their powers together and formed the Zaru Nitowa. It was small in its beginning, but as it became more prestigious and powerful, its leaders became the leaders of the Raowa tribes, then the Kidari and Lanru nations, and finally the proud Hitae. Some prominent leaders in Izora's ports and border cities also joined - secretly, of course, so as not to alert the queen of what she would most assuredly call treason. The Zaru Nitowa now had its claws within Izora, and it was not soon to let go.

The closer the princess's birthday came, the more intense the wonderings about what Queen Illia would do. A month or so before the coronation ceremony, Illia rallied the troops and informed them of her plans to place them along the northern borders of Izora and begin the attack on the Hitae. This plan, and its possible outcome, was immediately disclosed to the Zaru Nitowa, which sent to Queen Illia a man by the name of Raphael Alrin. He was to consult with the queen and find some way to right the wrongs of the Hitae nation. One large problem the Zaru Nitowa unfortunately missed: Raphael Alrin was a Raowa, a non-human, and for Illia, an enemy.

No negotiations were held. Raphael was attacked an imprisoned for a week in the dungeon at Garis-thar, the capital of Izora and the location of the palace. In anger, Raphael, who was also a Fae - and quite powerful during one of his rages - destroyed the dungeon, slaughtered the queen, and reduced the palace to rubble.

Or so they say. It depends on who you hear it from. Supporters from either side with say the same thing in different tones. Enthusiasts for the queen will spit on the ground at your feet and possibly swear at you for bringing it up or playing dumb. For the Zaru Nitowa, it is somewhat the opposite. If you asked Raphael, he couldn't tell you because he was berserk at the time and knew nothing about what he had done. So what I've just told you is as close to the truth as you can get unless you talked to someone who was with Raphael and Illia at the time of her death. The problem there, though, is no one is thought to have survived - thought being the key word.

Illia's body and the bodies of most who were in the palace during its collapse were recovered. But one person was missing. Illia's daughter, the crown princess, was no where to be found, dead or alive. It was as though she had vanished, an idea fine and dandy with most. Not too many cared or even knew what she looked like. All they had to go by were the trademark blue eyes that her mother had inherited from many generations back. If the princess was Faea like her mother, she would most likely have the same eyes.

Oh yes, people searched, but not very hard. She was twenty-one at the time of her disappearance, by far old enough to turn herself in if she were alive and wished to. But as years passed and no blue-eyed woman showed up on the newly rebuilt palace steps claiming to be the long-lost princess, she was forgotten and life went on.

Besides, if rumors were true, she would have been just like her mother: cold and hateful toward the other races for the death of her father. Who would want that all over again?

xoxox

A/N: So, what do you think so far? Please let me know. I love to know what my readers are thinking. But don't bash me for grammar or anything. It is meant to be in a conversational tone. The entire story is. It's first-person. What else could the tone be?

-Kardin