"….War is nothing but a crime we call victory, a murder made a hero. Society will never benefit from the horrors of the battlefield, no matter who the opponent. So what do we fight for? Pride? Honor? Freedom? Those are just false illusions that Man has created. It is impossible to 'win' a war without reddening your hands. Violence and murder are justified in war, and the 'heroes' revel in the illusions of Pride and Honor. Peace will never arise through such violent and unorthodox methods. War is an evil that turns humans into monsters fighting for their very survival. So how do you stop this demon called War? Change. Change is the only worthy opponent of War. In order for War to cease, Change must be the combatant. Without Change, a war could go on for twenty, thirty maybe even forty years; maybe forever. No one comes out of a war unscathed—there are no winners in War…."

Barrett shut the book; he'd done enough reading for now. He stared down at the small, leather bound book in his hand: Times of War by Reginald Bartoli. For someone who had been dead for nearly one hundred years, Reginald Bartoli was a good writer. One hundred years ago, the Withered War had wrecked havoc on the nation of Icaria. Reginald Bartoli was a soldier and chronicled the horrors of the war in this book. Barrett could relate to some of the scenes in the book to his life. Currently in Icaria, a new war was unfolding; one that literally came out of the blue. And he was right, nobody wins in war.

Barrett was sitting in a watch tower at the Bricket National Prison, home to the most notorious criminals in all of Icaria. He was watching the funeral service below, happening in the graveyard off to the side of the prison. There was a name for that little area—Sinner's Valley. All the worst criminals were buried there, although, Barrett was surprised that there was even a funeral service for such criminals. However, there were no tears or people dressed in black. All of the people attending the funeral were all high ranking government officials. With all the laughter and alcohol, it was more like a party than a funeral. Then again, it probably was a celebration.

The closed casket was set off to the side near the grave. The man in the casket was feared by both the public and the government. He was the leader of the renegade rebellion group Chronos Millennium, whose objective is to put an end to the war that was beginning. Of course, that wasn't such a bad thing, but there's a reason why the man—who wasn't really a man, the guy was only seventeen—was feared. He had already taken out many corrupt politicians who sought to start the war only to produce money for the dying country. The neighboring nation, The United Society of Regulus, had grown tired of being raided by the poor citizens of Icaria for food and clothes, so they began to fight back. Now scuffles have broken out in the border towns and talk of a war is growing. These scuffles have been going on for nearly twenty years; however the recent terrorist attack has started to get the word to spread, which brings us back to the Chronos Millennium leader, who died in that attack. Like the backwards nation it was, Icaria was elated to hear the news that the leader was dead. Whenever an enemy of the public is killed, people feel that the death was justified. Then again, any nation would think that.

Barrett grabbed his binoculars and watched as several of the government officials surrounded the casket. He was surprised the king didn't show up, then again, that man never leaves his throne.

"So here you are." A voice startled him. Barrett whirled around. The woman standing behind him was dressed in a white lab coat and with a blue t-shirt and tan short shorts with sneakers. She was tall with shoulder length brown hair and hazel eyes. She had the biggest smile on her face.

"I thought you were staying at the base." Barrett replied, turning back to stare at the funeral.

Karin shrugged. "I was, but everyone was busy, so I decided to come watch your funeral."

Barrett turned to her, with an annoyed look on his face. "How'd you get up here anyway?"

Karin beamed. "I'm not a martial arts master for nothing."

Barrett sighed. They were supposed to be staying under the radar. Finding some guards knocked unconscious at the most secure prison in the country was not inconspicuous. Of course, he had to knock out the guard that was already in the watch tower, but Barrett knocked him out with a sedative, so he'll basically be sleeping on the job.

Karin walked over and snatched the binoculars out of his hands and peered through them. The government officials were throwing the casket into the hole. "Interesting."

"I'm not exactly their best friend." Barrett said.

Karin smiled. "It's kind of creepy, watching your funeral even though you're not dead."

"Yeah, but it's better for the world to think I'm dead. It'll be easier to carry out our plans."

"But everyone thinks that Chronos Millennium split up since you're 'dead'" Karin said, air quoting 'dead'.

"Well, they'll be in for a surprise." Barrett smiled.

Suddenly there was gunfire.

Both Barrett and Karin dropped to the floor, covering their heads. When they realized that they weren't being shot at, they slowly lifted their heads to see what was going on. One of the government officials had pulled out a gun and was now shooting at the casket.

"Charming people." Karin muttered. "They really hated you."

Barrett frowned. "I definitely do not want a funeral when I die."

After the funeral, the government officials drank wine like it was the last thing on Earth. One guy even puked on Barrett's 'grave'.

"I just have a question." Karin said as they both watched the last of the government officials stagger away to their cars to head home. "Who was in the casket?"

"….I don't know."

"What do you mean you don't know?!" Karin shouted. Barrett shushed her.

"I don't know. That's why I wanted to come here, to catch a glimpse of the body. But they kept the casket closed the entire time."

"Makes sense, the body was burnt to a crisp in the attack." Karin replied.

"Exactly." Barrett stared at the ground. "Yet the body was identified to be Barrett Wyler, leader of Chronos Millennium."

"So….what do you think?"

"At first, I thought it would be just a victim that had died and the government used that as a cover up to tell the public that I died. People were beginning to panic about the war and all the deaths of the government officials; if they told the public I was dead it would at least ease them a little."

"At first? You mean that's not what happened?"

Barrett shook his head. "If it were really just an innocent victim, would the government officials go so far to shoot at the corpse?"

"Well, no, but it could just all be for show and prove to the public that you were alive."

Again, Barrett shook his head. "No, there were no cameras. Those officials really thought I was dead."

"But how did they know it was you?"

"Only the head and shoulders were burned on the corpse, so they were able to identify the fingerprints."


"Barrett Wyler's fingerprints."

Karin rubbed her forehead. "Why haven't you told any of us this?"

"I wanted to check the funeral out before telling you guys, but now that it's over, I have no other reason not to."

"….Why was only the top half of the body burned?"

"The body was on fire when they found it, but only the top half got burned….."

"There's more isn't there."

"The guy had a gunshot wound to the head."

Karin sighed and rubbed her temples. "You don't think it's…"

"No. It's definitely not that." Barrett replied, knowing what she was going to ask. The 'that' which Barrett is to is the Exousia Powers, more commonly known as Exousia. Exousia are strange powers that give a person the ability to control natural elements and objects. They say that to get these powers, you have to make a deal with the devil. Of course, that's not true. Barrett has Exousia powers and he would've remembered encountering the 'devil'. Exousia appear at random, and anybody can get them. Barrett ability allows him to disassemble objects and use them as projectiles, or rearrange an object and turn it into something else. He can turn a TV into a car or a sword into spoon. It was pretty neat. You can almost say he had telekinesis.

Barrett stood up. "Someone's coming down the pathway." That was another thing—he could sense movement within around two miles of him. He couldn't exactly see whatever it was, but he sensed it.

The person walking up the pathway had a brown cloak with the hood drawn and was carrying a bouquet of flowers. They were average height and seemed to be walking quickly.

"The guards actually let someone in?" Barrett muttered.

The person walked up to—of course—Barrett's grave. The small dirt mound had a stick with Barrett's name on it, although it was etched with insults and such. The person knelt down, and began to pray.

"Do you know who that is?" Karin whispered.

Barrett shrugged. "Not until I see the face."

The figure got up and began to walk away.

"I'm going down to talk to them." Karin got up.

"Wait, were supposed to be incognito, remember?"

"No, you are." Karin yanked her hand away. "Just stay here." She ran down the stairs.

Barrett whirled around and watched as Karin ran out of the tower and called after the person. The shrouded figure stopped and turned around as Karin ran up. Barrett grabbed the binoculars. Karin was pointing to the hood, and the person seemed hesitant and confused. She looked up at the watch tower and pointed at him. Karin seemed to quickly reply to that, but the girl seemed to be persistent. Karin turned around and motioned him to come down.

Barrett sighed. He had no choice now, the figure obviously wanted to talk to him.

"What is she doing here?!" Karin whispered harshly.

Barrett gripped the steering wheel of the jeep. They were in the front seat while the girl was in the back. She was staring out at the scenery to hear us. There wasn't much to look at though; outside of Bricket National Prison was just desert, but the girl seemed to be fascinated.

"This doesn't make any sense." Barrett stared at the girl through the rear view mirror. When she drew back her hood, Barrett didn't know what to do. He recognized the girl alright, and they didn't have a good history. The girl had long brown hair and deep green eyes, the same face that was going to be a next target for Chronos Millennium.

Araniah Alcott, one of the Twelve Titans. The war had only just begun, and people with Exousia powers were persuaded to come to the front lines to fight. In both countries, people with the powers were appearing and fighting on the battlefield. Of the Exousia fighters, there were twelve who were known to be the strongest, and dubbed the Twelve Titans. This girl was one of them—and since both countries were the enemy, that made her one. So why was she riding with us to the Chronos Millennium headquarters? Because she has amnesia; she can't remember anything, not even her own name.

"Thank you again for taking me!" Araniah hollered over the roar of the engine.

Karin turned around and gave a fake smile. He understood how she felt; he didn't know how to react either. This wouldn't be the first time they've encountered her. In fact, he knew right away that the other members weren't going to be happy with them…they'd lost a member to a battle before, and it was a battle with Araniah.

"What do we tell her?" Karin asked.

Barrett didn't reply. When he had gone to see Araniah, she had told them that she had woken up in the desert and began walking until she found the prison. She then saw a picture of Barrett Wyler on a 'Wanted' poster and recognized him—though she didn't know who he was or where she met him. She had gone to pay her respects. Although, when she saw Barrett, she immediately recognized him and began to freak out. They both had to calm her down and explain the situation. When it was all said and done she suddenly decided to tag along to go to the base.

It should be mentioned that Karin is the doctor for Chronos Millennium. She had done a quick analysis on Araniah and immediately diagnosed the amnesia—although there seemed to be no head injury. Barrett suspected Exousia powers to be involved, but it was too early to tell. He didn't know if he could trust her, knowing that her memories could come back any second, but just to be safe they were going to put her in a holding cell when they get back.

Barrett pressed the gas pedal a little harder, annoyed with the world and himself. Too many thoughts were swirling around in his head at the moment. Who was the corpse? What happened to Araniah? How did she end up in the desert?

He slowed down as the Chronos Millennium base came into view.

Just what was going on?