Childhood I would say my childhood was fairly uneventful, but I do not have that luxury. Nevertheless, shall we begin. I had the usual: mother, father, pet plant... oh wait, that is not what you would class as a pet. Mother was one of the main clerics at our small town of Dawnfall, serving in Silvanus’ name, while my father passed upon my 9th name day. Our town was essentially a refuge for anyone with magical attributes that would otherwise have landed them with an execution and “early retirement”. My mother was one of these such casters. After failing to heal one of the of mage hunter corps, that would later pursue both her and me for it, her talents were exposed, and she was hunted with ferocity of a hundred men. She escaped vaguely unscathed, but it was at that point that she would realise she was with child. Within the safety of Dawnfall, with many magical and non-magical beings all either pursued for a different reason, or just refraining from the path of the magistrate. It was not until my 9th birthday that life began to take a turn for the worst. My father passed away due to cackle fever. I was a fool to think that was the worst that could happen. A mere few weeks after his passing, Dawnfall came under attack from the same forces that hunted us for nearly a decade. The mage hunter received word of our existence and sent their best squadrons to decimate us. Dawnfall was razed to the ground and we tried to evacuate into the high forest. During the evacuation, half of our population was either imprisoned or slaughtered. The few remaining casters fell back to for a defence to allow me and the other children to escape into the high forest. Upon reaching the edge of the forest I turned to the most horrific sight. The resident wizard, my mother and a handful of adepts and militia held a line against the hunters for no more than a few minutes. As the mages arcane barrier fell to the onslaught of bolts, my mother screamed in pain as she called for divine intervention, however it came too late for her. As she concluded her prayer, so to her life was concluded as the arch hunters bolt pierced through the back of her neck, lodging itself inside her throat and out the other side. I watched as she choked on her own blood, gargling and spluttering as her hand outstretched towards me, all I saw was a mild teal coloured light permeate the air in front of her. Before I knew it, all I could believe to be a divine protective wall of plant life grew in front of me, shielding my escape from the chase of the mage hunters. As the plants grew thicker and faster, encompassing the entire eastern border of the forest, I lost sight as my mother collapsed to the ground in a pool of crimson. Upon entering the forest, I realised I had been caught by a slayers blade, I felt myself begin to feel sapped of energy, weak due to the blood loss. Now I was in trouble, but I felt nothing, no remorse, no joy, no anger, just emptiness. A void filled my soul and I gave up. At least the plants could feed from me. I collapsed to the soft mossy earth as I embraced death. Blindness After waking up in the forest, it appears as though the plants had other intentions. Instead of me saving them, they saved me. A conclave of treants (known as the weeping bark conclave), creatures of pure anima (primordial arcana) I thought to be no more than legend, had come to my aid, as well as some of my fellow refugees, this was surely divine intervention. Over the next seven years I began to train under the treants as a sort of apprentice under the circle of tree lords. I slowly became adept with the arts of the natural order, although I still harboured a form of resentment, it began to grow, slowly at first until it began to influence my work. Where I would create a tree from a mere seed, I would instead cause an unintentional infestation within a few days. When a swarm of spiders would hunt the resident wildlife, I would drive them off, but the attract them in greater numbers later on. I began to see the beauty in balance, how life could not exist without death. By my 15th name day, I was creating swarms of insects that could block the light from breaching the canopy, a gathering of locust that could destroy enemy farmland and if I chose, I could then terminate the very same swarm to rejuvenate the same or other dead earthen regions. What some called unnatural I saw as necessary, similar to death magic if you would believe it. Although, this did attract a lot of unwanted attention. Whilst on a recognisance mission to the outskirts of the high forest, I was confronted with an unruly sight. A group of mage hunters had begun beheading the fey saytrs that had crossed from their home plane for a short time. Their heads littered the ground and flowed like streams as they were ambushed by the stealthier of the corps. In a fit of rage, I shifted into my preferred form, the giant wolf spider. With all my anger I focused on summoning my arachnid brethren who aided me in overwhelming the corps. Although, it was what came next that changed my life forever. From the east came something certainly new, armoured war bears… war bears! With this ambush I saw swathes of my insect companions crushed beneath these trampling beasts, while I was caught across my face as a multitude of claws buried themselves deep into my eyes. Part of my skull caved in from the shear pressure. Upon retreating to the conclave, I noticed that the one who mounted the colossus was non other than the corps leader, Sin, a name I had heard too many times before. He was the man that slaughtered my village… murdered my mother. As I stumbled through the trees, I fell upon the realisation that despite reverting to my human form, I still could not see. All that presented itself was a never-ending voice, lifeless, empty. In a panic I began to flee, stumbling, falling through trees and wading through rivers until I reached a conclave. I ceased my frantic movement and noticed that I knew this terrain, in particular one tree, unique in its shape, spiky and unusually smooth. I then began to hone my new disability, training myself to use arcane spells and vibrations to locate both creatures and objects. Most of the arcana I perceived was taught to me by an ally of the conclave in the local gnome settlement. He had become my friend during my training, and he had a small family on the outskirts of the village. We would even practice using spells to improve the lives of the other residents. The regret This carried on for many years. Upon reaching my 25th name day, I had an unusual encounter with what was supposed to be a normal spirit. It was a phenomenon that I believe few to have experienced. It seemed that an unruly spirit had been performing yet another possession or haunting, the usual. Although, upon attempting my normal rituals to purify the land of the spirits presence, I found they had no effect on this gheist. A glowing outline of an unknown humanoid hovered in the void, invading my very vision, yet it was elegant and primal at the same time. They appeared war torn and exhausted, but full of redemption nevertheless. I do not understand it to the day, but it almost possessed me, inhabiting my body, probing my mind, yet I still had complete control. At night I would have night terrors of a war in a far-off world, unknown to me, featuring genocides and an apocalypse. The land was beautiful, filled with vast oceans, the highest peaks, but it had floating hedrons, forever rotating in their arcane existence. This world was not always like the nightmares. Despite this, I still awoke with night terrors, which affected my natural abilities. I could feel the emotions of someone else, something else. All my thought, feeling, memories were all thrown into a pool of others not my own. I would shift unwillingly, becoming chaotic and uncontrolled. It struck fear not only in others, but me as well. “waking” from a nightmare, I would find myself covered in blood, humanoid remains, animal furs, bones viscera, all from unknown origins. I would go into the nearby settlement and notice that someone did not come home that night, a butcher, baker, tax collector, housewife. I swore I would solve this killing spree and apprehend those responsible, but deep down I always knew it was me. I refused to see it, I kept it caged, supressing it with natural herbs to encourage a sometimes-docile state in myself, but it never worked. The night before my 30th name day was when it happened. I went too far. No not me, this thing, I could not have done this, I would never do this. He was my friend; we were like family. I awoke to find that my long-time friend and teacher Calybar had been slain in the night, torn to shreds. His house was covered in viscera, his bones had been crushed. Splinters lay lodged in the wall. His son was hiding under the floor boards the entire time, he tells of an evil so foul it would turn the stomach of even the most devout cleric. He wept as he spoke of the creams and the tearing of flesh, it was feral. The worst was yet to come, however, as I would soon find out that his father had named me the guardian of his bloodline. I was to care for his son, nurturing him in the conclave’s ideals, as his father had always admired our resolve. I took this hesitantly, fearing the worst. For a year I kept myself isolated, locked in a cage of sorts, never letting his son, Salryn see me for the monster I believed myself to be. I prevented some deaths, but it was this false sense of security that took me over the edge. On that fateful night, I fell asleep after a day of archery training with my adoptive son. He was training for the guard school of the conclave, always leaning towards ranged weapons rather than the typical magic and traps of a gnome. I was so proud of him… He would have made it so far, but fate intervened. I awoke in the morning to find him stripped of his flesh, down to the bones, he appeared to be dissolved, as if by acid. Puncture marks lined his remains, almost like bite marks, almost like that of a spider. I fell to the floor weeping, trying everything and anything I could to bring back my ward, my… son. I had killed my own son, my best friends’ child, my prodigy. I had stripped him of his flesh and left him a husk. I ran tests, experimented with untamed magic, even if it meant my own death, I would do anything to bring him back. After a year, I had preserved his body as best as I could. But it was too late. The people began to suspect. I had to leave. I vowed to resurrect him at any cost. Even if it would be to myself. I preserved the last drops of his blood in some tree sap, hardening it into an amber gem that would come to house the most precious thing in existence to me. I would do anything to protect that stone. I will fulfil my promise, I will bring him back.