NG Human Sorceress
Maia’s story started before she was even born. Actually, it really begins with her mother and father; Astrid and Hadrian. Hadrian was always thought to be handsome, intelligent, and a smooth talker. Most people would think that traits like that would get you far in life. Normally they would, that is, if you were a half way decent person. Unfortunately Hadrian always harbored a side that was deeply twisted. For example, he preferred his women young, pretty, and obedient. Instead of a noble occupation, he used his talents to gain trade in the black market. His specialties included stolen goods and dark magical artifacts. For Hadrian did have spellcasting abilities. He just tried his best to keep information like that hidden. In the end, it helped his cause greatly.
Astrid fell in love with Hadrian the moment they met. Even though her family warned her that he wasn’t a good match (one, on account that he was over twice her age. Two, he kind of acted like a dirt bag when he thought no one was watching), she didn’t care. She ran off with him before she realized that Hadrian wasn’t as he seemed to be. Still, she certainly liked the money that he brought home at night. She soon learned to keep her mouth shut when she knew he was with someone else, and to endure the occasional thrashing. After all, there were times where he could be good to her. She even began to think that life wasn’t so bad. Unfortunately, Hadrian’s mood changed like the tide, and during a particularly low part of their relationship, Astrid did something monumentally stupid with hopes that Hadrian would finally commit to her. She let herself get pregnant and she wrote and told her parents about the baby.
::cue shotgun wedding::
Astrid put all of her hopes into her unborn baby. She thought that if she and Hadrian started a family that it could change him. She was hopeful during her pregnancy and she nearly burst with happiness when she held Maia for the first time. But eventually, that happiness wasn’t to last. Hadrian was up to his old habits, and soon Astrid’s love for Maia turned into resentment. Her love was reduced to cruelty.
Maia grew up never truly understanding why her parents weren’t kind to her. She would try to please them, but they would always find some way to criticize, as if no matter what she did, she would never make them happy. She grew up in a broken home filled with such harsh coldness it chilled her to the bone. She had the good sense to disappear when things took a turn for the worse. She hid when strange men would visit her father for their meetings, or when her parents would argue. She knew that those would be the worst of times.
However, there was one great joy in Maia’s life. It is when she got to visit Marm Smalls. Now Marm Smalls wasn’t really related to Maia by blood, but Maia would think of her as a grandmotherly figure. On the day they met, Maia was very little. The fighting had gotten particularly bad. Her mother was screaming about someone named Tiffany, or maybe it was Bridgette this time. Maia knew that her father was near his breaking point, and would soon silence her mother. So Maia left the house and started running just to escape it all. She ran until she thought her lungs would burst and her legs would give. She crumpled in a sobbing heap in front of Marm Smalls door. Marm Smalls was out tending her garden when she found little Maia. She gathered her up in her arms until Maia cried herself out, and then took her inside so that she could wash her face and get a bite to eat. Marm Smalls was unlike anything Maia had experienced. She was warm, and loving, and she smiled and laughed. Soon Maia would visit often, and Marm Smalls would show her all kinds of things. How to tend a garden, or dye wool using berries and flowers. How to cook delicious meals, or sing songs. She even helped Maia with her education, and even taught Maia Elven just because it was so beautiful a language. When Maia got older she began asking questions about why her parents were so hateful to her. Marm Smalls would usually give a sad smile and say that sometimes manure has to be laid down before a flower would bloom. Even though that manure is responsible for bringing that flower into the world, in the end, it is only manure.
Unfortunately sometimes happiness cannot last forever. For fate can be very cruel. As Maia went into the market one day, she was approached by a man dressed in black. Immediately she recognized him as one of her father’s associates. They had been in business for a long time, but for some reason they had a recent falling out. Maia could still remember that augment last week. Something about skimming off the top, whatever that meant. The man in black gave her a wicked smile, and held out a small parcel. “Allow me to make my apologies to your family. Here, give this to those you love as a token of my esteem.” And with that, he was gone. Maia, held the parcel for a moment, and thought about what the man said. Give it to those you love. Well she certainly didn’t love her parents. But she did love Marm Smalls. So figuring that it would be best to carry out his advice, she went to go pay her a visit.
Marm Smalls was certainly surprised when Maia brought her the gift, and equally delighted when she unwrapped the most beautiful jeweled hair comb she had ever seen. Many times she asked Maia where she got it. Maia simply replied that she got it from a man who wished to make amends. Maia fetched a brush and started to fix Marm Smalls graying hair. When she picked up the comb, she realized that it started to feel funny. It almost felt like it was vibrating slightly. Maia paid it no mind, figuring that she was merely excited to give Marm Smalls such a grand gift. Elated, she put the water on to boil, and started preparing supper.
After a delicious repast, Marm Smalls was knitting by the fireplace while Maia was practicing her figures, when a knock on the door sounded. Marm Smalls went to the door and the most beautiful woman greeted her on the other side. She demurely asked if she could be let in, for she had traveled very far, and was famished. Marm Smalls, never to turn anyone away, invited her in, and prepared her a plate of left overs. Maia studied the beautiful face for a time. While her mother was said to be lovely, this woman far exceeded her beauty. Her face was perfectly sculpted until Maia looked into her eyes. They were the coldest eyes that Maia had ever seen. They reminded her of her father’s eyes. Those eyes flicked around the room as if they were searching for something. It wasn’t until Marm Smalls turned around the fetch the plate, that the lady smiled a cruel smile. Before Maia could say anything, she noticed the comb in Marm Smalls hair began to glow.
“Ah, there you are my pretty,” the lady began to purr. Slowly she rose and lifted back her hood to reveal eyes that were so dark, you would get lost into them. Her face elongated beyond any human proportions, and thin horns slowly spiraled outward from her brow. Her mouth widened slightly to account for great rows of teeth. Her skin paled and yet glittered, as if she were kissed by starlight. She was terrifying, and yet beautiful still.
“How dare you wear what is rightfully mine. Surely you knew that you were not worthy of something so grand. I should kill you where you stand.
Maia suddenly ran in front of Marm Smalls with her small hands out in front of her. “No please, you have it wrong. I gave it to her. I thought that it would make her happy, and show how much I care for her. Please, if you are to take her life, take mine instead.
The demoness paused for a moment, and suddenly her demeanor changed. She softened and blew out a sigh. “If you are so brave to give your life for this woman, then you must love her very much.”
“Yes,” Maia exclaimed. “She is everything to me. So if I am the one to bring such misfortune upon us, then I shall pay the price.”
Maia was then met with that heartless smile, and a dark chuckle. “Then you are a fool. You were foolish to give her such a grand gift, and you are a fool to love her so deeply. For love shatters the strongest of hearts. So go out into the world, little one. Go out knowing that by your actions, this woman will die.”
The demoness’ strike was swift and true. Maia knew that Marm Smalls was dead before she hit the ground. With that the demoness slowly bent down and picked up the comb that was in Marm Smalls hair and left. Only her laughter rang in Maia’s ears.
The days that followed seemed like Maia was treading water, desperate to keep her head afloat lest she drown in her grief. She had caused the one person she loved to die. If it weren’t for her foolishness, she would have known that a gift like that was too good to be true. That the man in black knew that the demoness would be looking for it. And if she gave it to her parents, they were the ones that were destined to die. For it seemed like her father made some poor business decisions, and now he has cultivated some enemies. Soon her grief turned into bitter resentment. No longer would she try to please her parents, or wonder why they didn’t love her. She no longer cared for acceptance or approval. Eventually, as time passed, she grew to hate them.
Once again the hand of fate turns Maia’s world upside down. As she was going to market to get some supplies. She spotted a farm boy driving a small cart. He was driving reckless and laughing as if having the best of times. As she quickly got out of the way for fear of being run over, something caught her eye. A dog has been tied behind the cart, and was running for all it was worth, desperately trying to keep up. Suddenly, it tripped, but the boy paid it no mind. He continued driving the cart, dragging the poor beast behind it.
Something happened to Maia then. After all the pain, torment, and cruelty she suffered, she was not about to stand by a watch a defenseless animal suffer a terrible death at the hands of someone so callous. She could feel this wave building up inside of her. Of all the anger, and grief, and resentment she kept locked away deep inside, she let it bubble up to the surface. She could feel herself forming it into something tangible, and after a while she locked eyes onto the boy. She bore a hole in the back of his head with her gaze, and mentally pushed the dark energy forth. The boy was suddenly shoved off from his cart and went flying into the marsh several yards away. Without a driver, the horse came to a sudden stop, and Maia was able to rescue the now injured dog. She heard the cries of pain from the boy, but didn’t stop to help. She didn’t trust herself to render aid, at least not yet. She would inform someone of the crash when she got to town, and they could help the lad out. Considering how badly injured the dog was, she felt it was justified that he endure some injury as well.
As she was hurrying back into town, she took the time to assimilate what happened. She caused the boy to fly off his cart. She didn’t doubt it. Which would mean that she now has manifested magical abilities. But that was impossible, no one in her family could cast magic. Not a single wisp. And it was unusual that hers would manifest now. But then she thought of the emotion behind it, and what had recently happened to her. She poured forth a lot of energy in order to save the dog. But no, she thought to herself, saving the dog was the ultimate goal, but her method was destined to cause the boy harm. And what was worse, she rather liked it. That thought chilled her to the bone, and frightened her more than finding out that she was a spell caster. She decided that she needed guidance, and a way to refine her magic. So she went home, gathered her things, and left without saying a word.
Maia spent the next few years learning to hone and control her abilities at a nearby school of magic. While she learned how to control her abilities, she also learned how to control her bitter resentment for cruel and unsavory people. She knows she will always have a darker side that would like to inflict harm on those that truly deserve it. But she has seen how one can lose their control of their own darkness, and eventually that darkness can end up controlling you. Instead she focused on protecting those that needed protection, for ultimately it is what Marm Smalls would have wanted. Eventually she was able to focus on her work in Marm Smalls name, which led to the eventual return of her inherently sweet nature. Now she had a choice to make. She couldn’t very well go home considering she hasn’t contacted her parents in several years. She could set out on her own and see where she landed. Or she could join an established organization in which she could join the ranks and fight for the good of the country. The latter decision held the most appeal, and so she joined the local militia. And there is where Maia’s adventures truly began…