The War Over Peace

Chaos. A symphony of screams became just a dull roar underneath the piercing cry of metal on metal, blade against blade. Blood was everywhere, crimson being the only color distinguishable against the various shades of muddy brown that coated the entire battlefield. This was war, violent and senseless.

Arthur looked on from a distance, safely covered by the thick pine needles of the tree in which he sat. Two-hundred meters away he saw two more men fall, adding to the quickly rising number of casualties. A silent tear slid down Arthur's rigid face. His expression was impassive and his muscles were tensed like a scared animal, but Arthur was not scared. Hatred coursed through his veins, shone from his bright, emerald green eyes, and emanated from his very soul. It was not hate for any one person. This was hate for a the human condition in all its savagery. As Arthur brushed away some loose strand of sandy brown hair from his face, he thought back to a time of peace and prosperity.

The time hadn't been long ago. The Sirius kingdom was at its peak, and wealth flooded the city. At that time, Sirius was the closest thing to a utopia that there had ever been. The prosperous kingdom in the valley had been allied with a somewhat smaller kingdom on the nearby mountain of Dionysus - the kingdom of Timor. The people of Timor were very humble, and lived much more modest lives than the people of Sirius, though they got along without any problems. Then, suddenly, after over a century of friendship, things changed.

One day, the monarch of Timor, an old and wise ruler, paid a visit to the more glamorous ruler of Sirius. As always, King Francis, Sirius' pudgy ruler of twenty-plus years, spent his breath on grand boasts of riches and fortune, even at one point offering some to the smaller kingdom's ruler. That's when Kind William, Timor's greatest leader, told Francis something that would change both of their lives - and the lives of their people - forever.

"It does not matter how much gold you possess, or even how many jewels," King William smiled for a moment before continuing on quietly, "Timor holds the true secret of wealth, and therefore my kingdom is far richer than yours will ever be."

Francis' mouth dropped and his sky blue eyes turned fiery with outrage. How dare King William make such claims? Then, after a second of thought, the fire in King Francis' eyes turned to that of greed.

"Oh," he started dumbly, "I'm sure we could negotiate some trade for whatever wealth it is you think you have."

Then, thinking fast, he added, "Perhaps we could even help you. A bit of our vast treasure for a bit your measly lot. Helping among friends."

His smile grew wide and welcoming as King William's grey eyes, wise with age, searched Francis' face. He instantly regretted what he had revealed.

"This is something that cannot be shared," William went on slowly, "until it has first been learned."

With that the wise old king turned and elegantly walked away from King Francis, whose mouth was now gaping with shock. He hadn't heard anything after "...cannot be shared," and now he sat raging over his rejection. Then an idea popped into his devilish mind.. he would get his revenge, and his treasure.

That time seemed so long ago now. Two months to be exact., Arthur remembered. He was swiftly pulled from his trance a single shrill cry.

They had found it.

Arthur looked back on the scene of battle at the base of the mountain, only to find a gruesome sight. The people of the mountain, their soldiers and horses, lay dead on the field; now King Francis could get their treasure. The Stone of Wealth - a place of supposed tranquility, the stone was said to cover the greatest treasure that there had ever been. Now the king ordered a dozen of his men to lift it. They turned the stone over and found the ground beneath it to be bare, but on the underside of the stone was an inscription. "Peace on Earth" was all it said.

Realizing what he had done, Francis began to tremble with grief and with his shaking hands, he pulled a sword from his belt. He knew what he had done. Hundreds of his soldiers had fallen, and the entire army of Timor had been wiped out, including their king. Kind Francis held the point of the blade to his throat and Arthur turned away. Arthur didn't want to watch anymore. He needed to get away from this place that had once been so perfect, this place that now lay in shambles. All along Arthur had known the one thing that the people of Sirius had been too stupid to learn : total greed destroys, and it had done its job here.