The midwife gave me to the temple when I was only a few hours old, telling the monk that my parents refused to raise a cursed child. They didn’t know how right they were. There was something very different about me, even if I wasn’t cursed, and as I grew, it started to show.

The other children in the temple of Ovos took on characteristics of the Amethyst Dragon who lived there as they progressed in the training the monks provided. I didn’t, my appearance became darker, and my nature mirrored it.

When I was a boy, I delighted in the death of little things, bugs, lizards, rodents, and even birds, when I could catch them. I was fascinated with how the light faded from their eyes and the sound of the last breath leaving their bodies. It invigorated me, knowing I could end it – I was in control of their life.

As we grew older and began weapon training in addition to our martial arts, the others took up swords, knives, shuriken, and crossbows. I took on the tetsubo and spent endless hours mastering it. A great weapon that lets me use it interchangeably in offense or defense. My reach with it let no one approach, and my ability to switch between wielding with hands, feet, or a combination of them made me a nightmare on the battlefield. Balancing it and climbing it like a tree to survey the field often allowed me to fish in troubled waters.

I smile, thinking about it. It is a brutish weapon that let me hear bones break when I didn’t pull my strikes – it still gives me a shiver of pleasure to remember inflicting that pain. A weapon that let me spatter blood across the field as I wrecked my fellow students and showed them their weaknesses.

But their pain was only physical, easily overcome, and nothing to the pain of rejection I would feel on Testing Day. Even though I was the head disciple of the temple, a warrior without peer within my generation, when I could not manifest the Dragon’s Breath, the masters turned their backs upon me, and I was cast from the temple.

I will be back! I will grow stronger than the masters and prove that I am worthy, even without the Dragon’s Breath. Death is a greater power and part of everything! Death is greater than any dragon – even Ovos expects to die!

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