Day 2: Aberrant
The voice rang through his head as he went through his forms. Raz’as slashed to the right, then swept the greatsword up, beginning the flow that he’d been taught, striking the dummy and following through with each hit. The wooden practice dummy wasn’t offering much retaliation, which was something of a relief to Raz’as, for today. The critical eye of his trainer watching. He’d been at this almost all day, but his trainer was looking for something, something he was missing.
“Pathetic! Can’t even gather the Aether correctly. He’s been a waste of food and what’s worse, a waste of my time.”
He gritted his teeth, and continued the form. A sweeping slash of 180 degrees, and then leading into a heavy overhead strike a. But each time the voice rang through his head. The sword was light in his hands, despite weighing over ten ponzes, including the hilt. He was stronger than his size showed. The swings became harder, more vicious.
“One last chance. If he can do what I need, then the whelp can stay. Otherwise, he’s out. Tomorrow. I’ve been too kind, too generous with you and him already.”
Harder. His breathing became heavy as something broke inside him, continuing the form. A lunging stab, a twisting parry, then a shredding upward slice as he turned the blade up, going into a brief squat and springing upward, only to turn the blade in midair and slam it down.
“He is aberrant to my designs. I, as the Prophet and the Master, banish this one from the safety of our enclave, and salvation under the Mother Crystal and the Twelve. His name is stricken from us, and none within the enclave shall remember him, as he is nothing henceforth. My will be done.”
He went through the form again. Slice, stab, slash, parry, upward slice, sweeping strike. Again, again, as the hurt flowed through him.
“Now!” The voice of his trainer rang out, interrupting the forms Raz’as was going through, and he reacted instinctively. He flowed from the form in to a horizontal slash, but trailing the blade was smoke and darkness, a shadow given physicality, leaping out from the blade and tearing at the very air itself.
The training dummy that Raz’as had been practicing on fell over, wooden pieces smoking from the strange energy that. The Miqo’te blinked, then… laughed. And smiled. Aether, not any that he was used to or knew before, but he’d just manipulated Aether.
Maybe he wasn’t what the Prophet said he was, after all.
Day 3: Scale
“You want me to fight…. That thing.”
The oversized Malboro splashed in the water, leafy green vines swirling and splashing about, seeking morsels to put into it’s massive maw. A small frog wasn’t quite quick enough to escape the questing tendrils, and with a chomp, gulp and a small burp, the frog was gone, deep within the strange… stomach? Digestive juices? Whatever. Of the Malboro.
Raz’as wrinkled his nose as he stared at the creature, high above the swampy pool.. “It smells terrible. And it’s at least…. Ten feet taller than me!” The Miqo’te stared at his trainer, who he only knew as Trainer. The massive Roegadyn clad in plate just grinned at him. “Kid, gonna tell you something.”
He knelt to get eye to eye with Raz’as. “You’re likely always going to be fighting people and things bigger than you. You’re tiny. You’re just slightly taller than a tall Lalafel. Do they complain when they have to fight something bigger than them? Not usually, because everyone is bigger than them. Yet they keep fighting. So stop your whining and get to it, kid.”
A sudden boot to his backside and surprised yelp rushed out of him as Raz’as found himself tumbling down the cliff and into the brackish water. Sputtering the foul water out, Raz’as staggered to his feet. Clearing his vision, he saw that the Marlboro was already snaking its way to him, great maw and foul breath pouring from it.
Drawing his greatsword, he hacked at the questing tendrils coming towards him, the creature groaning in anticipation of its next meal, then squealing in a bit of pain from the sword slicing through its appendages.
Raz’as was doing his best to hold in the bile that was threatening to come up. Between the thing’s rotten breath and the brackish swamp water, his stomach was rebelling horrifically. The sheer size and smell of the creature made him want to run away, and he now remembered why people laughed when he was taking the job to slay the Malboro that was befouling the nearby lake. It was simply just a disgusting monster, and it had to be done.
His mind occupied by trying to keep the smell and his stomach at bay, the rest of his body fell into the rhythm that his trainer had drilled into him. Brutality and mayhem. Daring not to open his mouth for fear of losing any food he had in his stomach, Raz’as gritted his teeth and let the anger guide his sword, and fear his steps. Reddish black aether licked at the edge of the blade as Raz’as swung again and again. The twisting vines attempted to snare Raz’as’ limbs, but to no avail, as he dodged and wove and swung the greatsword through the muck and plant and water.
The Marlboro tried to grasp the miqo’te in it’s maw when it’s tendrils were too shredded to continue, and Raz’as thrust the sword through the back of its head, and carved through the plantlike flesh of the beast. The head of the monster split open in wet gobs of gore, covering the tiny Miqo’te in moist, foul smelling entrails.
Raz’as promptly took a breath as the creature fell, and then his stomach heaved all of the contents of his stomach out.
After a few moments, he looked up to see his trainer, still laughing on the cliff face.
The little Miqo’te glared with as much fury as he could possibly muster in his slime covered face… which wasn’t actually much. “I hate you…. So much.”