A/N: This story was written for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). It is complete and will be a stand alone with the possibility of a few one shots following it. Updates will be slow because it will be revised as it is being updated.

"Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage."
― Lao Tzu


The world lived in a state of fear. People were afraid to venture too far from the limits of the town and even the people within town were not safe. Strangers were not welcome within towns that were not their own nor were they to be trusted. Children were taught to protect themselves as soon as they were able to walk. Parents never left the town limits without a weapon for protection and even then they did not venture too far from home.

It wasn't wild animals that the people were afraid of. It was other people, people who caused the destruction to the world. There was once a time when it wasn't necessary to slip a knife into your boot or carry a quiver of bows upon your back. Once, people were able to interact with one another without worrying that they would be killed, once they were able to travel the world without fear, but that was a very long time ago. Such customs have vanished since the Debacle. Now, people live with fear and panic.

The Debacle was caused when every single government in the world fell apart. It started overseas in small, poor countries. They slowly collapsed and were overtaken by larger, more stable countries, but slowly these countries began to fail as well. There wasn't enough trading occurring between nations to replenish the goods that were being used. Countries began to break out into war over simple things such as bread or, according to rumors, things as small as a peanut. People scavenged whatever they were able to get. Cities became battlegrounds and remain, to this day, a place where only the brave go. People of small towns came together to share what little they had and created ways to supply what was necessary.

My family lived in one of these towns. I don't remember the Debacle for it occurred when my parents were just adolescents, but they often told stories of what happened and what life was like before the Debacle occurred and it is something that is impossible for me to imagine. To me, there wasn't any other way of life other than the one we lived at that moment. How could there be? The world was in ruins and there seemed to be no light at the end of the tunnel.

Everyone seems to have lost all hope and have just simply came to the conclusion that our life is what it is and that we have no way to change it. Rumors are swirling that people are beginning to come together overseas and try to fix what has been done, but I don't believe this. It seemed impossible because only a few of the living knew how the government was supposed to be run.

At least, that was what it was supposed to be like. Soon, I would find out that all of this is a lie, that everything I had ever been told was the complete opposite and that people who typically would not join together will do just that in the time of a crisis.

Everything was about to change.