Night loomed black and gloomy over the city of Thelsod. The workers and townspeople had long since returned to their homes to escape the torrential summer rainstorm. The streets were silent, with its only ambience the sound of raindrops pattering on the ground in unison, and the occasional thunderbolt that boomed across the sky, sending a flash of light and a mighty roar to those who looked upon it.
One such viewer was an 18-year old boy named Aoi, sitting underneath his family's backyard awning, watching as the downpour raged on. His silky black hair shone in the moonlight, bound up in a ponytail behind him, and he wore a deep, dark blue outfit, consisting of an open-buttoned jacket, jeans, and boots. His eyes gazed into the storm not with awe or reverence, but with an empty feeling of apathy. He recalled his lessons in the junior academy: for Thelsodians, the squalls were a gift of life, a sign of the gods watching over them from atop the mountain peaks in the distance. The gods were