Hillbilly Hikari
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Prologue - The Gathering - WIP
After everything that has happened, I'm not even sure where to start my story. At the beginning seems like the most obvious place, but you have to understand, the beginning is almost 500 years ago. Maybe even longer. You see, the world isn't anything like it used to be. History books tell us about how the world was split into seven inhabitable continents and that there were billions of people all over the planet. That's not how things are anymore. During the 23rd century on Earth, things were terrible. Pollution had gotten so terrible that many countries were simply uninhabitable. The United States of America and the country of Mexico had become complete wastelands of empty cities, abandoned farms, and bodies of polluted sludge for water. Supposedly most of the citizens of those countries had migrated to Canada or South America; but with political histories being what they are, no one will admit that their ancestry could be from that side of the world anymore.

It always shocked me how bad things were back then. How the people allowed themselves to be ruled and dominated by the leaders of the time and allowed the world to become what it is now. The entirety of the world's population now lives in what used to be Europe or at least a major portion of it. The rest of the planet is deserted deadlands; it just never recovered from the pollution levels and the wars. Now we use only renewable resources for power: water, salt, wind, and solar power. Steam and coal are the primary go-to power sources everywhere. I guess that's how it used to be hundreds of years ago until people found faster energy sources with worse side effects; so I'm not sure if we've simply regressed as a people or learned from mistakes and taken the better actions.

While we have a working government, not everyone is happy with it. But I suppose that is to be expected. Jobs are pretty much the same as they've always been; they've just been adapted to the world as it is now. We still have doctors, teachers, scientists, and the like. We even have new jobs for the world...the most exotic being the Ronin. Boiled down to their simplest form, they are freelance fighters, everyone out for themselves. Sometimes they band together in a group but it never lasts long. They lives to fight and adventure. As so many cultures died out long ago, they alone study and retain the knowledge of histories fighting styles, wars, strategies, and such. Most people ignore them or are frightened of them. I know I always was. But now they're being killed off, so they're even more dangerous than ever before.

I will admit I don't know much more than that of the world now. And I learned all of it in school. Mostly because my life is very sheltered, other than the occasional trips to town or school, I've lived almost the entirety of my life on my Aunt and Uncle's farm. Until now, I've never been into a city, dealt with the government, had any friends, or even owned a dress. I've always been hidden away from everyone and I never knew why. Not until now. Now everything is different. I have responsibilities now that completely overshadow everything I ever had to do on the farm. I still haven't decided if this is better or worse.

So now, let me tell you my story.

My name is Kaliwen. (Liesel?)

And I am the Ronin Lodestar.