There’s a thousand reasons I hate Mages.
One of which, they raped my childhood from me. When I was thirteen years old, a sect of Mages from the Academy of Des, known as The Crimson Order, abducted me and ripped my mind apart with magic; stripping away at me, layer by layer, seeking to uncover the possibility that somewhere, deep within my subconsciousness, I had heard my parents speak of Orb of Zhandul which was rumored to hold almost limitless god-like magical powers.
Day after day, they stripped away another layer of my mind. The sensation is similar to having your skin peeled away by a dull knife. Day after day, crying out for help – and all you get are shadowy figures hiding beneath their cloaks, chanting their magic, and ripping your mind apart. Day after day, month after month, year after year, for seven years.
For seven long years, I wondered why my mother, Yennica Whitefeather, one of the most powerful Mages, never found me, never rescued me.
For seven long years, I had those Mages of the Crimson Order rip my mind apart. I believe at some point they stopped caring about finding the Orb of Zhandul, and just didn’t know what to do with me – so I became their experiment, their plaything.
Once I was 20, and I could fight back – they knew they had to get rid of me. They took me and traded me in Namaer – where I was thrown into slavery. I was forced to work the kitchen – where, one day I recognized the distinct smell of Crularious – a plant used to slow down the bleeding. The Crimson Order had used it on me, when they cut me open, experimenting on me. It has a different effect when consumed; it poisons the blood stream when digested, causing grogginess. I watched as they crumbled it into a serving a food that was meant for “one of the gladiators of the ring.”
I managed to become one of the servers for the food that day; and saw that it was meant for one of the minotaurs – Taren Bloodhorn – as his final meal before the gladiator ring. I tried to warn him before he consumed the food about its contents, but I couldn’t reach him. So when he entered the ring, I could see that the poison was already taking effect. He was lucid, barely aware of his surroundings. So I did something that came from somewhere deep within me – I jumped the railing and yanked my chains with me, and stood next to him, and helped him. The crowd cheered at this unexpected turn of events, thrilled to see chaos among the guards who had tried to stop me.
In truth, I was ready to die.
I wanted to die.
I had no childhood. I had no good memories. I was a slave. Beaten.
I was ready to die. This was my way of fighting those that would suppress the wills of others.
Back to back, we fought round after round of charging minotaurs, until the crowd had become so enamored with effort to survive – that they roared our names. The King was forced to call an end to the fight, or face the possibility that he would lose favoritism with the people.
After being paraded around for several days, we were set free, but banned from returning to Namaer.
Taren swore a blood oath to me, that one day, he would repay saving my life. I told him, I had not wanted him to walk with me because of a Blood Oath. I had already been a slave, I knew what it was like, and I would wish it on no other.
Truth be told, the death wish that dwells within me, has long remained. Taren has repaid his Blood Oath to me more times than I can remember. Too many times, since our freedom, have I provoked a fight that I knew I could not win. Too many times to remember, it was Taren who showed up and saved me, time and time again.
It wasn’t until Taren nearly died for me, that I saw something I had never seen before.
Friendship. Love. Caring.
He was not with me because of the Blood Oath. He was with me because he was my friend.
My first, true, honest friend.
That moment changed my life forever.
But the one thing that has never – and perhaps never will change – is my hatred for The Mages.
Because as soon as the riddle was solved and the door opened, there was a row of undead archers…