Chapter One

A stadium. A Colosseum. It stands, surrounded by seats, empty apart from a crowd of twelve, watching the meleé.

A man stands on one end, a man stands on the other. One, with a look of anger, shows his staff, the other, with a look of pain and grief, takes out his knife.

They look pretty gruesome, don't they? They look like they're going to fight to the death. That's because they are.

The two charge at each other. The man with a knife strikes, only to be blocked by the stern one. The man with the staff gives a quick blow to the gut, and beats him.

Who am I? Well, I'm not the one losing, I can tell you that. That man killed many. A wanted criminal, he came to our temple for refuge. We wouldn't give it. He deserves a lot of things...

When the man with the staff is finished with him, he opens his stance, and prays to his god, Danwe. The man, beaten and dying, begs for mercy. Lightning comes forth from the sky, splitting it in two. All that is left of the criminal is a pile of burnt bones...

And that man over there? The man with the staff? The man who always knows what to do, and does it? The man who never loses his cool, the abbot of this temple? What, are you kidding? There's no way that's me.
The abbot, whose countenance has not changed, walks over to a small young male who doesn't look like the others. He is a Changeling. He is...well, me.

The abbot picks up a staff from the side of the wall, and hands it to the Changeling. He put his arm on his student's shoulder.

"Now it's your turn. Make me proud."

"Mom. I'm going to become a priest."

Dishes crashed.

I should've known not to give it to her straight. But I had practiced in my room all of last night! I didn't know any other way..

"A priest? For who?"

"Danwe, Who else?"

She sighed. "You're just like your father. Worshipping that god as if he was the answer to all?"

"Well, isn't he? You worship him too, you know!" I laughed.

"Well, who am I, to decide your destiny? That is for the gods and you to decide. But what happens if this is not your calling?"

My mom always worried. The things she worried would happen, however, never did. When things like this happened, I always was sure to listen to what she said, and know that I didn't have to worry about that happening...

"It is, Mother."

"When are you leaving?"

"Tomorrow."

She stood there. She looked like she was about to cry. And she only cries when something really bothers her.

"Well? Say something!"

She breathed in. Deep.

"Your father left me to find his true place in the world," She put her hand on my shoulder.

"Now it's your turn. Make me proud."

I walk slowly out into the stadium. I kind of had to, 'cause I think my robe was a little too long... When I get to the centre, there is complete silence.

"OKAY! SEND ME YOUR BEST!"

Out of the other side came a man in red hair, another criminal. He takes out his knife, and doesn't even wait for me! He charges right at me!

I follow the motions. I say a quick prayer. This is my final test. And I have it in the bag.

Once we reached each other, the criminal makes the first move. A slash. Copying my teacher, I block it with my staff. Then, I decide to use some magic!

"Command! I command you to lie down!"

Succumbing to the spell, the man lies down, as if he were bowing to me.

Yeah, I have this in the bag.

"...And why do you want to be a priest for Danwe?" The abbot sat in a chair, holding a staff.

"Because I want to bring justice to the world."

The abbot got up from his chair, and walked toward me. I felt out of place, because I was the only changeling in the room.

"And just what is...justice?"

I had never thought about it before. What is justice? How does one go about bringing it? All that I knew was that once justice was served, all that was left was good. Good, and only good.

"...Justice is a way to bring purity. It exterminates all evil."

The abbot looks at me right in the eye.

"...And can you...exterminate...evil?"

I was ready.

"Yes."

"Than bow to me, as a monk..."

The changeling laid down, bowing to the abbot.

Yeah, I had this in the bag.

I toss the evil man across the room. I walk over to him, and toss him in the other direction. When he tries to get back up, I won't let him.

"You're an evil man!" I say. "All evil should die!" I speak what I had been taught.

"Finish him, my student!" My teacher was a man of action, he wouldn't beat around the bush.

"Why did you kill those people?! You're a killer! Look at yourself! Why?!"

What happened only a month ago returns to my memory.

"P...Please..."

"Mom! I'm home! They gave me a week off. And soon, I'll take my final test! I'm going to make you proud very soon! I'll be the priest I've been training to be for so many years! Mom? Where are you? Upstairs? Mom? Mom?"

I looked everywhere. The last place I looked was the kitchen. That's where I found her.

Where I found her body.

"Mom? Mommy? Mommy?!"I fell to the ground, I held her in my arms, and I let the tears flow...

And in the next room, I found the black soul that had done the evil deed.

"Guh!" He woke up with a jerk. "What?! She lived alone!"

I was so angry, the magic I had been trained to contain unleashed.

"WHY DID YOU KILL HER?! YOU'RE A KILLER! LOOK AT YOURSELF! WHY?!"

The pain he experienced should not be repeated.

"P...Please..."

"Finish him! Kill him! End his existence! Use the Weapon of the gods!" The abbot leaps from his seat, and runs to me.

"...I won't kill you," I have undergone a revelation. The same revelation I had the same night only weeks before.

"What are you talking about? This is a test, yes, but he is a real man! He really killed a dozen people not four days ago!" The teacher has come to me, to chew me out. "This is what you've been taught to do! All your magic...all your training...!"

I close my eyes. "I won't do it."

I closed my eyes. "I won't do it."

"Th...thank you! Oh, thank you! Thank you..." The rat of a man just sat on the ground and cried...

"But only if you promise to change your life! Forever! I don't care how you do it, just never give the pain you have given tonight!"

My magic began to unfold again...

"Okay! I promise!" Tears streaming down his face, he ran from the house, into the night...

That is when I went back into the kitchen, and held her body close to mine.

For the last time.

"I won't do it."

"Then I will." The abbot holds out his staff, and a bolt of lightning once again comes down and strikes the evil man.

He didn't even get a chance to scream. I look down. I hate to see the man die, and I hate to know what would happen next...

"Blasphemer! Why did you not smite the evil?!"

I stand silent. What could I say? That I am rejecting years of training, years of learning?

"You were taught to exterminate all evil. That means kill them! Do you realize what this means? You are not a monk, not a priest. The almighty Danwe has shunned you. Why did you not kill the evil?"

"It's not right!"

"It is justice!"

"The man-"

"Was evil to the bone!"

"And now he can never be good!"

The abbot bursts with taunting laughter. "You can not turn evil into good. That would imply good can turn into evil!"

"It can!"

"You dare!"

"I've seen it. If you want to, just look inside yourselves."

The abbot stands speechless. His eyes narrowed.

"...Get out."

I just stand there. Numb. Confused. Horrified.

The abbot came closer. "...If I...ever...see you again..." He paused. It took me a few seconds to realize that he knew that I could transform into anything I desired. "...And I know it's you...I will kill you." I was about to burst into tears. How was this happening?

"Run."

And so I did.

Who am I?

I am not a monk, not a priest. The vows I took: chastity, humility, to give up my riches...do not mean anything now...I am a runaway who is very glad that he is a Changeling...

I'm only twenty, and now I am on the run for my life. Without even really noticing, I instantly take on a human form, for I know I am now a wanted man.

Who am I?

I am a wandering nomad, searching for a new purpose, a fate no man my age should have to endure. Without love, without hope, without family, all I can do is to move on, and strive to attain what I have lost.

And into the horizon I walk on, only with a small bag, a staff, and the clothes on my back to call my own.

Who am I?

I am Washucktah.

This is my story.