“You should have the honors, brother.”
The man in a strange silvery metallic and flexible suit nodded. There was only a slight hesitation before the man gathered his resolve and approached the button which would start this wondrous tower they had built over an entire lifetime of hard work and dedication.
There were many that looked on in rapt attention. The excitement of the countless mass of people watching from below could be felt even from where he was at the top of the tower. He could feel their desire and their hope.
Of course, turning on all the functions of the tower wasn’t as simple as pressing a single button – this was more of a formality. The tower was already powered, and most of its functions were active. However, this button would turn on the most important part of the tower. The function which would allow all the energy of the earth to pierce that unknowable and unreachable sky.
“Here I go…” the man mumbled to himself before pushing the button.
Nothing… no, everything turned on just as expected.
The tower thrummed and hummed as the energy built up within. All could feel the shaking of the earth, and a magnificent aura poured forth into the tower rising towards the top. The energy was immense and overawed everyone who witnessed this moment.
It gathered at the very top, building a pressure that could crush the very stars, and then it shot upwards into space like an endless stream.
“Strange… why can I hear the sound of singing? What beautiful voices…”
Yes, I remember now. The chorus of a legion. The beginning of the end. Black wings, dark hearts… the voices became a crescendo and then despair…
A quiet fell upon the earth as all eyes looked on with wonder, mesmerized by what they saw. They couldn’t even voice words of horror or screams of terror.
They died in droves without even knowing what was happening, so transfixed they were by that beautiful sky.
And the world that I loved, all that I loved, was gone just like a dream.
Aleksandros grew up well enough, and his parents showered him with love despite his inability to respond to that love. Though his parents found him to be strange and his actions to be unnatural for a young child, they did their best to understand his temperament.
For the most part, their young child did not act as a normal child should. He never cried or complained, and there was never so much as a smile that graced his face. He didn’t laugh or play like the other children, and in his eyes shone a solemn intelligence that did not fit his age.
Nevertheless, this did not deter his parents from their affection towards him.
I suppose I should feel guilty, but I must keep up my guard. Regardless of their love and kindness, it is only a fleeting thing.
This was all the consideration that Aleksandros could give them. He knew that it was only a matter of time, that eventually his cursed fate would ruin the peace and serenity of this household.
One might think themselves lucky to be born into a noble house, and Aleksandros’ parents were nobles of some fame within the Alsworn Kingdom. Their territory was of moderate size and wealth, enough to give any a luxurious and comfortable life.
While Aleksandros had only been alive for a few years, it was enough for him to learn a few things in passing. Being that he had been too young, it wasn’t easy for him to learn anything of importance about the state of the world he had been born into.
However, once he was able to walk, he would attempt to learn whatever he could. Books were difficult to come by, due to his small size and it wasn’t as if he could just ask for them. It was only recently that he was able to acquire a few in secret and glean some information from them.
Being only at the age of five, it would be strange for a child to be seen reading historical texts and other such informative works. He was especially interested in the state of the current world he was in and how much time had passed since his last reincarnation. It was difficult to ascertain how much time had passed and how developed the world might be.
Thankfully, his parents being nobles had a rather large library. Unfortunately, it was difficult for him to openly access the books in the library and he had to act in secret which limited how much he could learn in a short period of time. It didn’t help that he was constantly followed around by maids and his own personal servant, Brock.
“Young master, it is time for noon meal. After your meal, you will receive instruction in basic reading and writing as well as basic arithmetic. Your parents have spent quite a considerable sum in hiring a respectable teacher. You must show diligence in your studies!” A male servant that appeared to be approaching middle age, called out to Aleksandros with some urgency.
He was wearing a traditional butler outfit and had a certain reserved and dignified air about him. This was none other than Aleksandros’ personal servant, Brock. He was an average-looking man who was well learned among the servants and had been beside Aleksandros since his birth, having taken care of many of his needs.
Aleksandros showed little emotion in response to Brock, but he was sighing deeply in his mind as he continued to reflect on the lack of knowledge available to him. He had to pretend that he was an ignorant child in most things and couldn’t show his true intelligence.
Despite holding back, he was already considered to be somewhat of a genius because of how fast those around him perceived his learning ability was. Of course, the truth was, he was already much better educated than any other. He had only just begun his education in this lifetime and so had to be careful in how much progress he showed. Of course his knowledge of the current world he was in was limited so there was some use in the education he was receiving.
Other than this, he was also quite frustrated by how underdeveloped the current world seemed to be. In his original lifetime, his world had been much more advanced technologically than this one. In the reincarnations that he lived, he never retained his former memories while he was living those lives so the lack of amenities wasn’t an issue. With his memories somehow being retained this time around, it was a nuisance. Although, he had to admit that the existence of magic within the world brought its own flair and usefulness. He felt it still couldn’t compare with the luxuries afforded through technological advancement though.
I suppose I shouldn’t complain too much. My family’s castle is considered to be luxurious for this time period, and it’s not as if I lack for any of my basic needs. Much better than being born into poverty, but how long will this truly last?
“Young master, are you listening? Your parents are waiting for you in the dining hall.”
Brock was impatiently motioning for Aleksandros to follow him. He could only lament the fact that his young master was such a strange child. He still cared deeply for him, having helped raise him since he was only a baby. He also found pride in how intelligent his young master was and could foresee a truly wondrous future for him.
Ah, if only his personality was just a bit more normal.
“Let’s go.” Said Aleksandros emotionlessly.
The young boy of five sauntered towards the dining hall seemingly without a care in the world. However, in truth, his mind never grew careless as he continued to remain vigilant for the future he knew would undoubtedly come.
The hallways of the castle were decorated in a very flamboyant manner with many gilded decorations and impressive-looking displays. Everything was neatly organized and diligently cleaned; nothing was out of place.
The stone floor that resembled a type of marble was covered in impressive and expensive-looking rugs. Much wealth must have gone into the construction of such a large and architecturally impressive castle. On the outside, the castle appeared a formidable fortress, but from within it resembled an opulent palace.
Most of the castle had been designed and later redesigned by several ancestors of the family over a long period of time. This showed the extensive roots that Aleksandros’s current family had within the kingdom.
Throughout the hallway at set intervals, one could even see paintings of these ancestors spanning back many generations.
“Aleksandros, you must strive to be more like your ancestors. They were brave and formidable nobles who brought immense wealth to our house. Do not forget the great responsibility that rests on your shoulders. You are the future of our house.”
Noticing Aleksandros’s passing glances at the paintings of his ancestors, Brock once again reminded him of his solemn duty as the heir while bearing a look of respect and admiration towards these formidable and influential ancestors.
As usual, Aleksandros kept silent. He felt no need to comment on Brock’s lecturing. This was all taken in stride by Brock who was well aware of the boy’s temperament.
As they entered the dining hall, his noble father, the Duke of Ianice, was already seated at the head of the table and his mother was seated at his side. They smiled when they saw their beloved son enter. The maids and servants were busily preparing the hall for the meal, and there were other members of the Ianice family seated around the table. These were relatives that were not in the direct line of inheritance as well as some of the nobles under his father.
Many greeted him as he entered, despite him being such a young child. He was the heir to the dukedom, and there was proper protocol which needed to be observed, regardless of age. This seemed to be a grand occasion of some kind, but Aleksandros wasn’t sure exactly what was going on.
Normally, there wouldn’t be such a fuss for just a noon meal.
“Father, this son has arrived. I hope your day has been pleasant.” Aleksandros said in practically a whisper. He was extremely articulate for a five-year-old.
His father happily nodded his head, “What an intelligent son I have! Truly the pride of this family!”
Many around the table smiled at his words and added on their own words of praise towards him. The Ianice family was something of a peculiar noble family in that its members were of a much more kind and caring disposition than that of other noble families.
It was rare that each of its members were rather close and had excellent relationships with each other. There was none of the backbiting and political intrigue that plagued many of the other powerful noble families that existed within their world.
“Father, may I ask what is the grand occasion?” Aleksandros asked while taking his seat.
His mother turned to him and laughed, it was a pleasant sounding laugh that matched his mother’s beauty and charm, “You are surprisingly talkative today, my son.”
Both his parents were exceptionally good-looking. His mother had long blonde hair that flowed down her back like a gentle stream. His father especially loved her hair, and she kept it well maintained. Her eyes were sparkling sapphires that shone with a love of life and a certain charismatic glow that had gained the adoration of countless admirers. Her skin was of a light and creamy complexion without scar or blemish.
His father, on the other hand, was much more rough-looking but still ruggedly handsome. He was an exceptionally fit man and a powerful swordsman in his own right. He was one of the greatest swordsmen in the kingdom and had won many a duel and competition. He had a majestic presence that inspired fear and awe in many a foe and ally alike.
They were the golden couple of the kingdom and one of the pillars that kept it together.
“Well, normally speaking, the news we have to share would not necessarily be one for celebration. However, it has been a long time since our country has been involved in any conflicts, and as you know, the republic and some of the outlying kingdoms have been causing trouble for us as of late. We just reached an accord with the Asparian Empire and are finally going to get some payback on all of those scum. There’s going to be war!”
Aleksandros’s father slammed the table in excitement and loud murmurs spread throughout the dining hall. Most of the nobles and family members present were excited and looking forward to the conflict.
However, there was one who was not expressing any sign of excitement or expectation. The young Aleksandros’s expression was completely devoid of any emotion.
Looks like it has begun.