• (This was put in the wrong place moving it here. Sorry about the edginess.)
    Relin was born into a house divided. His mother had fallen in love with an elf sorcerer who had played around with her awhile before marrying a high born lady. His mother alone now and heavily pregnant refused to accept this betrayal and when Relin was born she resolved to make him a mage powerful enough to rival his father.

    As such he was raised strictly, his mother even scraping together enough coin to hire him a tutor to teach him the ways of a magic user. However Relin had little to no aptitude to be a mage. He could only sit still for a few minutes at a time before he would scamper off into the woods the meet up with his woodland friends. He was also never good with words growing stiff and awkward around people in general, it was only with animals that he found himself truly at ease.

    Frustration built up in his tutor and they began inflicting punishments on him for misbehaving. These started out small, at first he was barred from leaving the house during lessons or he’d get a light reminder slap across the knuckles if his concentration wandered during lectures. Over the years these punishments escalated; a switch, starvation, then solitary confinement. His mother did nothing about this, believing it was not only for his own good but for the good of the family.

    Finally it all came to a head in his 71st year after Relin had skipped yet another lecture to play with one of his oldest friends, a mutt named Bear. Bear was a large old dog with one eye that had gone completely blind, yet despite his years he still frolicked about like a dog half his age.

    When Relin eventually came home he was prepared to be met with anger and to receive a harsh punishment. Instead his teacher greeted him at the door with a smile and welcomed him in. They sat him down at the dinner table where a feast was laid out. Various vegetable dishes graced the table along with a stout loaf of bread and in the center was a pile of perfectly prepared slabs of meat. His mother stood behind him, her face pale.

    As he began to eat his teacher watched a slight smile on their face. After a while they spoke “You know the road to becoming a mage is long and winding. It is not an easy trail.“ They watched as Relin began cutting up his slab of meat. “As such, sacrifices are needed. You must be ruthless and cast away any unneeded baggage. Be it family, friends or even pets. Nothing can get in your way.” Relin stopped a bit of meat halfway to his mouth. On his plate the slab of meat was already partially gone. He looked at his teacher horror growing in his eyes. They merely smiled back continuing to delicately pick at their own slab of meat, the smile not quite reaching their eyes.
    Relin stumbled away from the table coughing and retching as he pulled open the front door and ran out into the night to find Bear. He did not return until a few days later alone, his eyes rimmed red from crying. There were no lessons that day.

    Seeing how effective this punishment was his teacher would no longer scold him, or put the switch to him. Instead they would just smile. They had given him a choice and if he decided to step out of line, well, then they weren’t responsible for what happened. This greatly impacted Relin as he had never seen these animals as pets, they were instead his dear friends. And so he drew into himself, putting up barriers becoming even less talkative. He began refusing food afraid of what or who it might contain. He would only eat what he himself cooked and only with materials that he had inspected personally.

    And yet still he watched as his companions dwindled from 9 to 6 to 4 to 3 to 1 until eventually none were left. And so his paranoia grew as his teacher watched on with a benign smile and his mother saw and did nothing.

    However despite finding Relin’s weakness, his teacher wasn’t getting the results they wanted. Though he now at least tried to focus on his studies he could make no headway. Simple spells would just fizzle out or just not work at all. Pride blinded his teacher and instead of accepting that he was simply not cut out to be a mage she stubbornly pushed and pushed until they finally broke him.

    That day, sick of the mental and physical torment Relin snapped yelling back at her one hand whipping out and angrily shoving all of the things off of her desk. Their eyes grow wide as they watch a crystal fall towards the ground and in a second their eyes flick to Relin and they let out a single word. “Run.” And as Relin turned, realizing what he’d done, the crystal struck the ground and there was a soft crunch. And then an explosion that blew Relin backwards and into a neighboring tree, knocking him unconscious.

    Relin was awakened by pain, the feeling bright and hot against his back. Groggily he reached behind him his fingers returning red and sticky. He blinked it for a moment, his eyes slightly unfocused before his brain kicked into gear and he staggered to his feet, his head snapping towards his home where he had lived for nigh on a century with his mother and tutor.

    It… was gone. Bits of the house lay scattered around the clearing but where the building had once stood there was now only blackened rubble. Ignoring his own pain he stumbled over to the wreckage digging around for someone, anyone that could have survived the conflagration. Nothing, there was nothing. He kept digging, refusing to give up. These were his family, the ones who had cared for him despite his inadequacies. It wasn’t their fault that he wasn’t a good mage it was his own, he simply hadn’t studied hard enough or put enough energy into it. Tears rolled down Relin’s face as he continued digging despite the fact that his hands were now bleeding and it felt as though his back would rip open from the strain.

    He would find them and then apologize for getting so angry. He- Relin’s thoughts broke off as he felt something that didn’t feel like charred wood. Desperately he dug revealing a stiff arm, the flesh charred to a crisp, raised in some sort of ward of preservation. He gagged, the smell of burnt flesh rising to his nostrils. He turned to one side his body convulsing as he vomited up what remained of his supper. It was only then, as he wiped the bile from his mouth that reality set in and he stood with a pained grunt.

    His family was gone. There was nothing here now but ashes and terrible memories. With that he turned away from the still cooling ashes and headed off into the forest, behind him faint wisps of smoke still rising into the air.

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