In my land, there are five schools of magic, called the Universities. When magic manifests during the teen years, that child must pledge to a University or face persecution and imprisonment. For the first five years a student studies the manipulation of magic energy and the disciplines of their chosen school. One basic concept of magic that we learn is that magical energy (known as mana) is not infinite, and intense and dangerous training is necessary for a magic user to increase their pool of mana. I belong to the University of Altheda, named after the founder of healing and protection magic. In addition to spell shields and mending, we students known as Clerics go through a training regiment similar to a militia's. We wield maces instead of blades, and we wear a red article of clothing with white accessories. Clerics are the last line of defense, and we are trained to never fight with animosity or anger.
And that is how I failed.
A magical artifact from the Vaults was stolen by a powerful Conjurer, and my team was tasked to retrieve it. This was led by Clara Cornette, famed warrior and my dearest childhood friend. Our party chased the enemies east for weeks, all the way to the Frostface Mountains. We must've fell far behind, for there was a trap set that we fell right into. (Violence and gore warning)
Ten there were, some with bows, some with spells, and some with blades. The arrows and spells came first killing Leif, our tracker, instantly. We through up our shields and marched forth, killing the archers and spellcasters. The fighters were taken care of just as quick, and we came upon the Conjurer, demanding the artifact. "Oh, do you mean this?" he yelled, and with a thrust to the sky the glowing orb that was stolen created a portal behind us, and charging from it at full speed was a Minotaur.
Clara and I dove out of the way, but its horn impaled two others. One man remained on its horn and the Minotaur ripped him off, separating shoulder from body. The other man fell off and continued to fight. I ran to the armless man and began mending his arm back together. I heard the carnage behind while I worked, and halfway though the mend the Minotaur tossed me aside and stomped on the man's head. So I ran to the next injured. Broken ribs, lower jaw unhinged. I set the jaw back in place fine, but the ribs were so shattered it took all my concentration just to find each shard of bone. Before I could heal the damage to his lungs, Clara shouted a warning, but the beast was on me again. The man with the injured lung rose with his sword to challenge it, but was swatted away easily by the Minotaur's backhand, snapping his neck in the strike. The beast turned to face me and tossed me again, this time into the face of a boulder, knocking me unconscious.
All seven of our party was dead, save for Clara and myself. My mana was drained, and when I finally came to my senses I was too late. I found Clara lying in a pool of her blood, armor broken and punctured around her frame. It took everything I had left just to crawl to Clara. I moved her head to my lap and I held her, unable to do anything. "It's injured," she said, speaking of the beast. "I took one of its hands, and cut it's legs pretty bad..." She turned her head towards a clearing that had a nearly solid red trail in the dirt leaving out location. I couldn't much focus on that, though, I was more worried about her state. Mana gone, supplies nowhere to be found in the carnage, and the friend that I loved dying in my arms. I was useless. Her last words were "Grayson...it's not...your..." And she was no more.
Then the rage crept in, giving me new found energy. I grabbed my mace and followed the beast's blood trail through the woods. I caught up with it and the Conjurer, and I lunged like a wild animal. I dodged it's first swing, and connected my mace head with it's knee, shattering it. After that I swung it upwards as hard as I could, connecting to it's jaw. The Minotaur huffed and headbutted me between it's horns, knocking me off my feet while dropping to it's good knee. It then charged a punch at me, but thankfully the beast was too dumb to realize that it was the handless arm. I place my mace in the path of his nub, gripping the handle with dear life, and the beast howled in pain when it connected, reeling back. I aimed a point on my mace, and I swung at the beast's neck, now eye level while on its knee. I connected, and went through the jugular. I swung again and again in the same spot, making the gash bigger and breaking the fingers of its good had when it tried to stop me. I stepped around it to face the Conjurer, letting it squirm and bleed to death.
He was weakened himself to his own surprise, probably due to summoning the portal earlier. As I approached he drew a dagger, which I swatted away with my own hand. I heard him cry "mercy!" as I brought my mace upon his head. Over and over again, until nothing but shoulders and meat remained.
And the I dropped to my knees, and cried.
I remained at that very spot for what seemed like days, unmoving. I didn't want to go back, not alone, not after this failure. So I grabbed the orb, channeled what magic I had into it and summoned a portal. Where would I go? I wondered. Anywhere but here, I decided, and stepped through.
And here I am.