A World of Peace, A World of War
by Nightshade

Once, in the world of Mana, there was prosperity. Crops flourished, cities were places of great commerce and freedom, and there was a general sense of peace.

Then one day without warning, a black cloud appeared in the horizon. Some took this as an ill omen, a sign that the long peace and wealth was ending. Others, however, disagreed. They claimed that no one could take their possessions away from them. The majority of people however ignored both arguments, and continued to live their lives as they had always done, not looking at the slowly descending cloud.

Slowly the skies above Mana became darker, until one day the sun never shone. The cities stopped their business, the crops started to wither, and there was a general murmur of discord among all peoples. The black cloud was scorned, feared and hated -- though no one knew what its purpose was, nor who brought it.

The rulers of the eight tribes of Mana gathered, and it was decided that the cloud should be destroyed. However, four of the tribes rebelled the decision. Now split into two, Mana was dying. Light Mana wanted nothing more than to forge peace with whomever the cloud's creator was. Dark Mana wanted to destroy the cloud, and didn't care who created it.

Caught in the middle of this was Valencia, the Mana Tree. She mourned all suffering, and knew from whence the cloud came -- though the rulers would not listen to her. They believed her dumb and stupid, good only for ensuring the crops survived.

However, Valencia was not ignorant nor innocent. She watched and waited for the war which would decide the fate of all involved.

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