Behind the scenes: Why Friendship is Greater Than Alliance


Fletcher Blackwell and Ace Berny were best friends, despite being apart in age. Perhaps it had something to do with their shared responsibility of being the eldest in their families, the heir to their family name, or simply that when they played the game “If I ruled the world…” they never meant it as an anecdote spun out of their creative brains. Ace Berny was the loyal, level-headed council that the witty, charismatic ruler without the crown Fletcher Blackwell needed. Fletcher was a trustworthy ally who understood and embodied Ace’s family values like his own. Growing up, they were essentially two peas in a pod.

While Ace had a fair amount of time preparing for his responsibilities before it was passed down to him, Fletcher had no such luxury. In a highly uncertain environment where the Hillwoods were sweeping away as much land as they could, the poor were pushing back, he was shoved to the forefront after his father passed away, unexpectedly. A teenager, enjoying his youth, turned to an adult with far more responsibilities than his fragile shoulders could handle overnight. With the support of his best friend, Ace Berny, Fletcher Blackwell settled into his role that he was totally unprepared for. So, when Ace Berny acquired his family business, Fletcher returned the favour by boosting Berny & Co. with investments with his now stable business.

The game of “If I ruled the world…” was within an arm’s reach for both Ace and Fletcher. The economy of Sitciny relied heavily on the production of non-mineral products that EDGE Group could provide and on the heavy machinery that Berny & Co. could give to aid the development of the city. The government was pushing for their growth, and people held their breath to see which friend would step on others’ shoulders to gain absolute power over Sitciny’s economy.

Wits won over the power struggle. Fletcher and Ace understood and embraced the secret the other old families had forgotten. Together, they could rule the economy. What were they to do with absolute power anyway if there was no one to share that joy with? The young men joined their forces. Blackwell family’s affluence with Berny family’s manpower. Fletcher’s brain with Ace’s loyalty. They swept through the city together as allies instead of as foes as the people expected. “If I ruled the world…” turned from a game to reality. Hillwoods and the other old families, except the Kings, were put on the back-burner, as Fletcher and Ace took total control of the economy.

Always in sync, always looking out for each other’s best interest. Not only did the Blackwell and Berny family flourish, but the people of Sitciny caught a break at last. No one was at each other’s throats. Now on the top, neither Fletcher nor Ace cared much for making people on whatever side of the city suffer just to maintain the status quo. To do that, there were other ways that did not include cruelty. More opportunities opened, everyone in the city saw improvement in their conditions, and as a result, the duo earned the love and respect of the people.

The only chink in the armour was the deal with Colt Hayes. Though the poor tried to elevate their situation, no one was daring enough to go to the heart of the city and target the man who changed the tide. When the deviation from the status quo became too noticeable and given Colt’s violent history, Ace Berny and Fletcher’s younger brother Bryan tried to warn him. However, Fletcher always admired talent above all else, and cruelly turning away someone in need, he considered beneath himself. Even if it was someone like Colt, the infamous thief. That was the first time an open disagreement rose between the two best friends. Fletcher hoped Colt would fail on his end of the deal signed in their contract but found himself a new business partner.

Just like that, Fletcher Blackwell had planted the seed to what was to come. A force that would undo the empire of mutual trust, admiration, and unattainable riches Fletcher and Ace had spent years building.

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