The Reason Why
My name is Romus. And when I was young, I got hurt. Badly. People were suspicious, and threw words at my parents, and accusations. They blamed my dad, saying that he had hurt me and he ended up being hanged. As neighbors and friends crowded around my crying mother, I was constricted with hate. All I could hear was my mother talking about how she couldn't believe that her own husband had done this. My hand still ached where she had cut it off.
Two weeks later, my beautiful monster of a mother married the richest man in town. My father had been a good man, and a just man. But he had not been a wealthy man. Even at the age of six, I knew what she had done and hated her for it. One year later, my wealthy new stepfather took me aside. I liked him actually. Tom simply had the misfortune to marry my mother. Tom Hevlen was also a good and just man, simply rich. And he risked it all to make my life better. Half a year ago, the priests of our village waved scented candles and holy charms over my stump, hoping that it would be regrown by Venlis, the god of medicine. It was not. So they shrugged and left. And for that I hated them, giving me false hope only to throw it away.
However, Tom gave me something different. He put in my left hand, a right hand made of Obsidian. He put it onto my stump, where it connected and formed into my right arm. Experimentally, I made a fist. The rock hand moved with it. Tom then gave me a white glove and instructed me to never unveil the hand. If anyone was to ask, Venlis had blessed you, he said. He then got off of one knee and walked back to my mother. I did not know at the time, but what he had given me was the magic of a witch, highly forbidden. But I did know that Tom had given me the best gift I could have possibly asked for.
Years passed, and I was fourteen years old. High School was not fun. My nick name was "White Hand" on the account that I always had that glove on. I was walking home one day when I heard a terrible howl of pain that filled the air. I immediately rushed towards it. I came by the sight right away. One of the lowly ones on the school popularity scale, Neil Drodis, was lying beaten in the middle of the road. Standing above him was Daniel Krachquin, the highest on the popularity scale and the largest bully. He was a very stereotypical bully also. He was a jock, his family was rich and he was perfect looking. In fact, his family was almost as rich as Tom, just not nearly as honorable as Tom was.
Once again, I felt that feeling of rage as I smashed my rock fist into Daniel's face. I assuredly broke his nose, and his face would never look the same. But I was scolded by the militia, school staff and my mother. She claimed he was a perfect child and that I should follow Daniel's example. I almost laughed at that. I was already a pariah, with pure white hair and a very tall and lanky frame. The incident with Daniel only furthered my status as a social pariah. The only comment Tom ever made was to tell me that I did the right thing.
But three years after that is when my story begins in earnest. I had just finished High School, to my relief, and needed to go somewhere for my future. So I decided on the one place that would accept me, even with my terrible past of punching out jerks. The War Academy. Don't worry; it is not a large school of sadists, just fighters. I rushed home on graduation day and found their acceptance letter in the mail. Though there was one odd thing inside it.
"Your new uniform will be arriving in two days." I read aloud to Tom. My mom had passed away a year ago. "On your first day, please start a fist fight with one other student." Tom looked rather surprised at this. But to me it made sense.
"Relax, Dad. It's probably just to test our fighting skills so far." I assured him. Tom had been my father for eleven years, so I had accepted him as family a long time ago.
"If you say so Romus. You're probably right." However, he still seemed displeased. "Just try not to hit with your right hand, okay. Even it up a bit." Tom wanted everything to be fair.
"Alright, I promise." I shrugged. For the next two days, I could barely contain my excitement. When my uniform finally arrived, I hurriedly tore the box open. To my surprise, what was underneath was not the shiny gold armor of the Guardians, nor the black robes of the Judges. What I found was the long red coat of a pirate, with gold colored buttons and a wide brimmed hat that covered my face. Also, there was a pair of tall black boots and a skull amulet. The uniform of a Hunter. But the Hunter clan had been shut down years ago. A note was included, which I read.
To cover any confusion, we would like to state that we are reinstating the Hunter Project. This time it will be a permanent fixture in the Academy. Please report to the War Academy in Klingsthom in one week.
So, I saddled up the horse and rode away into the great unknown. There was a five day ride to Klingsthom and I didn't have much time. I rode hard and fast, camping out at night. The only civilization I found on the way was a tiny town with no inn. I ended up sleeping on the roof above the stables, but it was preferable to sleeping in the woods again. The next morning I set off, with many disgruntled looks from the villagers. It was two days until I reached the gates, and I could see that the wait was huge in order to get in. In seemed like everyone in the region wanted to be in Klingsthom.I noticed that there was no one bringing a horse into the city, when I asked a passing boy about my age, he looked at me a bit strangely.
"You aren't from around her, are you? Klingsthom has the most ridiculously unsanitary stables known to man. Also, you can't bring horses into the city. So it's either a dead horse, or no horse." He explained. I shrugged to myself and hopped off. After grabbing my stuff, I slapped the horse on the side twice, not hard. The horse immediately began its journey home.
"I'm guessing you're rich, right? No other reason to pretty much throw away a perfectly good horse." He said to me. Once he looked me up and down, he also threw in, "A Hunter costume? Let me guess, you're a history freak, coming in for one of those weirdo conventions, right?"
"Actually, they're reinstating Hunters at the War Academy this year. And I may be rich, but even I'm not going to waste a horse like that. The horse is trained to go home when I want it too. It has an excellent memory." I retorted. The boy looked rather surprised.
"So, you're on your way to the War academy too? Well, I'm Vinke. I'm gonna be a judge." He said. I looked him up and down as well. He was dressed in the typical sort of farm boy slash poverty outfit. Simple cloth shirt and pants along with a functional hat. He wore no shoes, but he still had to be a pretty good fighter to have been accepted. Let me explain the classes really quick. A Judge is a master of ranged attacks and magic. A Guardian is essentially a human tank with a sword. And I, a Hunter, rely on agility, speed and mechanics to get the job done. It's strange for a farm boy to have knowledge of magic to any degree.
"So you know magic?" I asked a bit surprised myself. He nodded sheepishly.
"Yeah, but only one. Though, when the War Academy recruiters saw it, they thought I was good enough at magic to become really skilled with some teaching!" He says with no small amount of enthusiasm. Then it was his turn to look skeptical. "A rich boy like you knows mechanics?" He questioned.
Sure. I work on my dad's ranch a lot, so I learned the basic machinery sort of stuff. Here, I'll show you." I then pulled back my sleeve to show the compressed crossbow that I had attached to my forearm. It was a bit shorter than my forearm and couldn't shoot large bolts, but with poison it could be deadly. "I know ranged weapons are more of you Judges sort of thing, but this is more of a surprise attack than any sort of accuracy weapon. At close quarters this would be lethal if you didn't know it was there." I told Vinke. He seemed to nod in agreement.
"Hey, you want to room together? That way we can share the fee, you know?" He beamed. I grinned and responded.
"Sure, why not. Sounds like fun!" And that's how I made my first friend in the city of Klingsthom. Two hours later, me and Vinke were sitting at a table in a small inn titled The Inn. Obviously, it wasn't a particularly fancy place, but it's not like I required silk sheets or anything to prepare for harsh battle training. The inn keeper's daughter seemed to hate us though. Well, me at least. She appeared to be neutral towards Vinke, but how would I know? After we had eaten and found our room, Vinke and I fell asleep almost immediately. I barely saw what my room looked like before I was passed out on the bed.
The next morning, I was woken up by a stream of light somehow hitting me directly in the eyes from an almost closed window. As I sat up with pain in my eyes, I observed the room that would be my new home for a while. It had nothing in it, but one desk, one chair and two beds, all of which were made of the same type of wood. The rest of the room was just as dull.
"Vinke!" I shouted. I heard a shout and a tumbling noise from his side of the room. Looking over, I saw him stand from his spot on the floor, having fallen off his bed.
"What?" He mumbled sleepily.
"After school today, we need to decorate this room." I declared. "There is absolutely nothing in it!"
"OK, fine. May I sleep now?" He grunted. Checking the sun's position, I shook my head.
"Nah, school starts in thirty minutes." I told him. It took a few seconds for that to sink in, but when it did, we dashed into our uniforms and out the door. In the main area, we saw the innkeeper's daughter in an arm wrestling match with an older man, around his late thirties.
"Help, Innkeeper's daughter! We're in a hurry and we need food!" Vinke shouted in desperation. Wasting no time, she slammed the man's hand down and hurled two apples at us. I managed to catch mine in time, but Vinke was forced to catch his with his face. Twenty five minutes later, we were at the school gates just as it began to open.