I lived without parents in the slums for several years, hiding during raids and staying with some of the families that survived the same raid in which my parents were killed. Through these years, the guardsmen of the city hunted the members of the cult that had raided our district, with a noticeable measure of success—despite the poor treatment of cross-racial marriages, there were still laws against what this cult did, and actions were being taken effectively and swiftly. Life was even harder than it had ever been, but hearing this news gave me hope that the man that killed my parents would pay for what he did.
With nothing better to do, I spent time emulating some of the things I had seen my father do. It was not much, but learning his fighting style helped me remember him and what he did, in addition to giving me a way to defend myself. I tried to did the same for my mother's swordfighting style, but I had seen her do substantially less fighting as a child, and I rarely seemed to make any real headway. I always kept my parents' weapons with me. Fathers' fistwraps were always wrapped around my own fists, and Mother's swords were always tied, however crudely, to my hip. I kept their most precious belongings in a sack. They may, perhaps, have fetched me a pretty coin with which to sustain myself, but that would be as awful as destroying a memory, which I simply couldn't do.
One day, as I was traveling about the city under my father's cloak, I was approached by a hulking figure, also under a cloak. He stared at my mother's magical sword,sheathed at my hip, then stared into my hood, which obscured my face. He nearly screamed at me, rage in his voice, demanding to know where I had gotten the sword. Staying silent, I turned my hip away, guarding the precious keepsake that my mother had so bravely wielded in the face of death.
In one swift motion, the massive elf threw off his cloak before tearing down my hood with such raw force that I staggered to keep my footing. He studied me, and I him. He was a monstrosity of an elf, not built like the others, with horribly butchered ears and scars marking nearly every bit of his oddly-toned skin I could see. His arms and legs were disfigured, perhaps from shattered bones that had never healed properly. He wore dark clothing that looked familiar to me, even though it was faded and worn.
While he stood there, dumbfounded, I slowly began to recognize him, and my eyes widened in shock. I had only seen him before as a whirling silhouette against the burning homes in the background, but I knew this man.
I knew him as the monster that had killed my parents.
When he reached for Mother's sword, I leapt back and screamed, “NO! No one may have this sword, least of all, you. You are a filthy monster, guilty of murder and near genocide. This is my mother's sword! I am the child whose parents you brutally murdered.”
After I said this, he snarled and lunged, knowing that he needed to finish the job he had unwittingly left incomplete. Imitating one of the attacks I'd seen my father do, I threw a kick to the side of his knee, unconsciously noting the sound of a crack as his weight shifted to his other side.
The ferocity he once had was now gone, no doubt drained by the fight that my parents put him through. He had no weapons, and was obviously weaker than last I had seen him. I dropped my belongings on the ground behind me, and gave this fight everything I had, using all the techniques I'd taught myself. As we fought in the middle of the city, a crowd formed around us, spectating as a half-breed in her teens faced off against a brute that dwarfed her. My kick had substantially weakened him, and I threw punches and kicks at his limbs where they seemed crooked. I took advantage of weak points, like the side he seemed to favor throughout the fight – no doubt another injury that my parents left for me to exploit – and after only a few attacks, he was staggering. I took out his other leg with a sweep I'd seen my father utilize many times, and he collapsed on the ground, wiping blood from his face. While he struggled to stand, I kicked him once in each shoulder, then grabbed his head and brought my knee up to his face.
My ceaseless barrage, driven by pain, anger, and a well-nursed desire for painful revenge brought so much suffering down on this pathetic excuse for an elf that he gave up on attempting to stand and curled up in a ball on the ground, mewling a feeble plea for mercy. Grimacing, I seethed, “I will say this slowly, so that your pathetic mind, so filled with hatred, can understand every word I say before I kill you. Did you have mercy on all the innocent people in the slums, torn from their homes and maimed? Did you have mercy on my mother when you sliced her head from her shoulders? Did you have mercy on my father when you cut him open like cattle at the slaughter?” I drew my mother's sword, slowly, with grim, unshakable purpose. “I know no mercy for the likes of you, monster.”
I raised my sword, intending to kill him the same way he killed both my parents, administering the same wounds that killed me inside, but he shrieked, “ WAIT! I never knew they had a child! I was...I was just following orders! I know how it feels to be a half-breed. I'm an abomination! My father was an orc, my mother an elf, I'm not even half human! I am a monster! I was hired by the Crimson Hand. Please spare me. I know your pain....”
“If all this is true, I only want to kill you more. A half-breed who works for a cult that murders half-breed and mixed families. You really are an abomination.” My free hand clenched itself into a fist as I continued, my voice issued behind teeth gritted with rage and malice, “You could never know the pain I felt that day as I WATCHED THEM DIE!” My mother's sword sliced ruthlessly across his torso, biting as deeply as possible, severing his twisted, revolting head from his crumpled body.
After his blood-curdling scream stopped reverberating, I raised my mother's sword, covered in her murderer's blood, high into the air and turned slowly to face every spectator that had seen me vanquish the monster that had haunted my dreams for six years. Authoritatively, I shouted, “This is what happens when you let bigotry and anger control your actions! I am half elf and half human and would not trade my troubled life for anything! My parents married because of a force stronger than politics or purity of blood! The married because, despite the torment they faced, they loved each other more than anything in the world! Before you murder a mixed couple, remember that your hatred will bring about your death! This abhorrent creature is an example of what will happen. All of you have been warned! I will forever be a champion of those who lose loved ones because they are a half-breed. Remember this face.” My eyes narrowed as my vision swept the crowd, staring at me in awe. “Remember this sword.”
Continue to Part Three
Continue to Part Three