((5 Was a Bonus that I skipped. >.> Content warning on Number 4, abuse))


A flash of teeth. A smile without mirth. Only cruelty. The pleasure of taking the wings off butterflies.


Raz’as frowned as he let his trainer call up the scenes in his memory. They were sitting, in a plain, dark room, and his trainer was using something called…. Aether Recall? Or something. Something to do with the mind.


It was supposed to be something to help unlock his potential as… well, a dark knight. The black aether that he’d wielded hadn’t come easily, and even now he was having difficulty with it. So his trainer had proposed this.


He hadn’t warned him that it would be this uncomfortable. He’d rather go fight something… than go through this.


A spatter of blood. The smell of rotten food. The feeling of fingers being broken, one by one. Cold, beautiful blue eyes watching. The scent of fear.


He was supposed to stay still, meditate on the memories. What drove him. But this isn’t driving, this is just…. Fear.


“Can… can we stop?”


His trainer didn’t answer. Just silence, and the dark.


Pain, in every part of his body. Shame of his fear. Shame of his powerlessness. And that smile, with the cold blue eyes. Mocking. Hands on his throat.


“S-stop.” Raz’as shook as he flailed in the dark. This isn’t what… what was this? This isn’t something he wanted. Revulsion and fear filled him. Where was the door?


He couldn’t breathe. Scratching, clawing, needing AIR.


A laugh, and suddenly, air, sweet, painful air, and life filled his lungs.


The cold eyes smiled again. ‘Maybe next time.’


Terror took him, and the black aether responded. The dark around Raz’as surged into physical form, not that he could see it, but he could feel it. The aether tore through the room’s nearby wall,, light spilling suddenly into the darkened room.


“Well. That got a reaction.” His trainer huffed, as he opened the door just to the side of the hole. “Now you know.”



“So what’s an avatar?”


The kobold rolled his eyes. At least, Raz’as thought he rolled his eyes. Hard to tell behind that mask, and their eyes were somewhat glowing.


“Special, unique, amazing representation, our god made presentable, obvious, idol.”


“Oh. And that’s…. Titan? Didn’t he try to… enslave you… or your tribe?”


Raz’as scratched his head. The kobold sighed, as the adept long fingers pried searched for the book that Raz’as needed. Or was told to need. Apparently he had reading to do, his trainer told him. Which, in Raz’as mind, was completely unnecessary. But, then Trainer threatened him with three hundred laps around Ul’dah, in his underwear, if he’d rather not read. 


The small Miqo’te man had acquiesced after the thought of doing laps around the city nearly naked rendered him incoherent with terror.


And that’s when he’d seen a small, scruffy looking rock in the Kobold’s shop. An avatar of Titan, hmm?


The kobold snigggered. “That not Titan, false god, liar, tempter. The dreams of despairing, crazed, maddened Kobolds. Here is book. Please be going, no more questions, inquiries, thoughts.”


Raz’as took his book. Had he offended the Kobold somehow? Probably. Maybe it was the look on his face when he realized it was Titan, and not just a moss covered rock. 


But it did look like a moss covered rock….


“So, why the hell were you so bad at Thaumaturgy?”


Swing, block, slash, parry, thru- a mistep. “Hah! NO! You step HERE, not HERE, when thrusting. Lean in with your weight, boy.”


Another set of forms. Training. However, he had to maintain the dark, seething energy around the blade for as long as possible, the training dummy enchanted to withstand the worst what Raz’as could throw at the creation. And it made the most satisfying DING sound when he managed to hit it in just the right place, or particularly hard.


However, his Trainer decided to always ask the worst questions, or embarrassing questions now that he’d managed to maintain a flow, to try and break the rhythm. Each time he did, he had to answer the question. 


He’d nearly lost his sword in embarrassment when Trainer had asked, “Do you like men, women, both, neither?” 


He put it out of his mind, he didn’t want to think about the thirty to forty minutes he’d had to endure his Trainer’s stare to answer the question. It was almost worse than running or swimming in armor. At least he didn’t FEEL like this.


Right, the question. He paused in the flow, then looked at the massive Roegadyn.


“Well, uh. Hm. I…” How the hell did the Roe even know he was terrible at Thaumaturgy? Maybe it’d come up in their conversations at one point? It was a major point of embarrassment to him. 


“I don’t know. I couldn’t focus on the books. The incantations were always tough. I… I can’t speak right a lot of the time and… and…”


“You stammered.” Trainer pointed out.


“W-well, yeah.”


“You’ve got that mostly under control, now, though. Except when you’re nervous.”


Raz’as frowned. But he was always nervous. Mostly? 


Maybe when people were watching. He didn’t have anything to prove now. He wondered silently, breathing heavily in the armor, if he still could find the books he learned from. If this whole dark knight thing didn’t work out, well, it was clear that the aether DID respond to him. He wasn’t actually damaged… at least, not damaged in the way that he thought he had. HIs hands don’t tremble anymore. He’s only had a few bad days within the last year, where he couldn’t get out of bed or talk to people. 


“Not that I want to distract you from your studies, kid. You’re still a shit knight, and worse with that sword. BACK AT IT.”


The heavy plate hand slapped his back to stir him from his reverie, clanging hard against his own armor, nearly knocking him off his feet.


They’d almost been at this an hour… how many more horribly embarrassing questions was Trainer going to HAVE?!


Author Razas
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