Joker (Prologue)

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        In a parallel universe where playing card hierarchies reign supreme, the lost land of Drac is in turmoil. Though quite small in its worldly makeup and fashion, its four corners have been at war for centuries. There are skyscrapers and trees that reach for the heavens in the urban and rural areas, while down below current inhabitants have seen nothing but rubble and ruin their entire lives. Trash lined many of the streets because dumps, dumpsters, and junkyards were overflowed. Store windows were either cracked or smashed to pieces completely, but store owners would just board them up and not pay to fix them due to the assumption that they would just get shattered again in a years time. Poor children would play on the piles of cement as if they were part of a playground, while those children with more money would ride their bikes over the tracks that military tanks had created on the muddy dirt roads. Other than the custom-made forts and barricades some civilians built around their homes, many people lived in houses that were not protected.

        It was only recently that the black Spades and green Clubs (the two kingdoms known as the Black Allies) teamed up against the blue Diamonds and red Hearts (the Red Allies), causing even more violence and damage. Each kingdom, referred to as a suit, is composed of one King, one Queen, one Jack (who is dubbed the “noblest noble of them all”), and several subjects. How is it decided who will be part of what suit? Well it’s simple: ancestral history. All subjects are born with their suit symbol imprinted on the back of their neck as a birthmark. Men have never been able to impregnate women of a different suit, so the mixing of suits has never been a problem. Also on the back of a subject’s neck is a number, between two and ten, that’s imprinted just below the suit symbol. The number, a rounded-up average of their parents’, is based off their ancestors’ loyalty to the Crown; knights and other lesser nobles are born with tens, while the lowest class citizens are born with twos. In all four suits, citizens must keep their hair short as to display their suit and number. The only people exempt from this law are members of the Royal Family who hold, or are in line for, one of the three major titles: King, Queen, or Jack. Babies imprinted with the three titles are only born every fifty-two years—presumably a child of the Jack, and very distant relatives (but relatives no less) of the King and the Queen. Because they are destined for greatness, these children are brought up as heirs in the confines of their suits’ respective castles.

        There is one ranking in society however that is often not talked about, and with good cause. In each suit there is one individual who is imprinted with an A, the symbol of the Ace. This individual is chosen by fate, and only those who are born immediately after the ace of their suit has died is eligible to be born with the A symbol. The Ace is considered to be the wild card of society, and is thus a societal outcast. Everyone knows who the ace of their suit is, as it is protocol for the parents of this newborn to make a note of it for the records. It is forbidden for the four aces of Drac to ever come together for reasons listed in each suit’s set of laws.

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