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    Demented
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Though not present in every chapter, this story will contain graphic violence and coerced sex/rape, some of which involves underaged characters. Keep this in mind before reading. 

MageCrafter - 1. Chapter 1

Kotik raced down the cobblestone street, nimbly avoiding the rain puddles that were building up as best as he could. He didn’t want to get any wetter than he already was. Each wayward splash of those puddles seemed to give him a fresh wave of cold that lanced through his entire body. Still despite the pelting rain and the thunder rumbling above him, he couldn’t help but feel somewhat happy about today.

His employer, a local Tavern owner in this small mining community, had found out that today was his thirteenth birthday. Most of the other adults avoided an unsupervised Lynxian youngster like himself, but the old man had taken a shine to him and his work ethic. Humans tended to be wary of demi humans in general. Gripes about how they lived unnatural lifespans or were too strong to be considered normal abound. Though humans bred like mad and populated much of the world, there was always a budding resentment in the background towards the demi human races.

Kotik didn’t get it as bad as some others however. He looked predominantly human, save for the rather long and thick tail coupled with fluffy feline ears that could almost be camouflaged into his almond colored hair. At least they would if they didn’t twitch around and draw attention to themselves so much. His eyes were the dead giveaway even if he managed to cover up the other non human features however. On a dark stormy night like this, his blue eyes practically glowed brighter than the gas lamps that lined the street.

It didn’t really strike Kotik as odd that there was nobody out on the streets at first. The rain was coming down in torrents after all, and his Lynxian set of ears were flattened against his scalp from how much they were getting bombarded. It muffled his hearing a bit from that pair, which made him have to rely on his human ears instead. Those were nowhere near as deft at monitoring their surroundings. Human ears were good for listening to grownups chat about their day while he wiped down the tables. His feline ears on top of his head didn’t understand languages for some reason. Though he could hear much farther into the distance with them, whatever discussion he picked up with them ended up sounding like gibberish till he got close enough for his second set of ears to hear it. He had no idea why that was the case.

Yet even with those sensitive ears being suppressed by the roar of the thunderstorm, he couldn’t help but feel like there were eyes on him. It was the same kind of feeling he got when he was hunting some particularly dangerous game in the forests nearby, and the creature had managed to spot him before he found them. That same prickling sensation at the back of his neck down to the base of his tail. If his tail fur wasn’t so drenched with rain he was positive it would have poofed out in mild alarm and agitation.

Something about the growing tension in the air was screaming at him to turn around and run away. Even as he got closer to the Tavern, he could feel a growing sense of dread emanating from the place, not the excited anticipation of a birthday party. The worst part was, Kotik had a sneaking suspicion he knew exactly what was behind that door. If this was what he thought it was, running away would be pointless.

Kotik’s body was shaking now as he stood in front of the Tavern door. The usual sounds of business that took place inside of the establishment could not be heard at all. It was eerily quiet. This could be the regular customers playing along with the owner, laying in wait to surprise him, but even at thirteen years of age he knew better than to expect that.

With a deep breath, he opened the door into the Tavern. Standing near the bar with his back facing the door was a frightfully tall man with green skin and a tailored black suit of such fine quality that it made the Lynxian’s eyes widen. The thick silken material the prim and proper attire was made from had a luster to it that spoke of its refined quality and craftsmanship, and the way it hung on the large muscular figures body said that it was tailor made to fit him. The man’s long dark grey hair was braided into a thick ponytail that was neatly tied off at the end with a simple black lace bow with gold trim.

The large man turned his neck in Kotiks direction, his thick neck muscles rippling beneath his perfectly expensive clothing. The lower tusks in his mouth, barely poking outside of his lips while curving upwards, along with his green skin spoke to his Orcish heritage. Some Orcs drank at the Tavern regularly, but they gave off a much different aura than this man. His eyes were intense, bordered with well earned wrinkles. Every ounce of this Orc exuded sophistication and education that was practically suffocating to the drenched lad.

“I didn’t think the old man could afford a Butler.”

For the life of him, Kotik didn’t know why he had said that. Perhaps it was just the absurdity of the situation that was getting to him, but whatever it was, it made those words slip out.

The green man's face betrayed a small smirk as he nodded toward the boy, “Very humorous Master Kotik. The Duke enjoys those with senses of humor, so it is pleasing to hear that you have the makings of one, at the very least.”

His voice was beyond deep. The Lynxian boy had never heard words spoken in such a low pitch before. Each syllable seemed to rival the very thunder outside.

“Your former employer is perfectly well in case you were worried.” He continued after a moment of awkward silence, “He was rather upset about our arrival, but he did ask us to wish you a happy birthday in his stead. He seems to be quite fond of you Master Kotik.”

Tears were slowly coming out of Kotik’s eyes now as he tried to keep his composure. He was so terrified right now, but he knew running wouldn’t do any good. This orc was a Butler. Though that title was used for simple servants in other lands and other kingdoms, in Silbel they were something far more than that. In some ways he’d have rather been facing down a score of guards than one of these men.

“What gave me away?” Kotik hated how his voice trembled as he stood shaking in the door, making an ever growing puddle of water beneath his bare feet as he tried not to do something stupid.

“I will be happy to discuss that topic with you over a meal.” He gestured over to a table that had a plate prepared for him. Kotik had to admit it looked good, but he was far too scared to get any closer to the Butler. It was everything he could do to just stand in place.

“You are not in trouble Master Kotik.” The man said in a more soothing voice. His expression was that of genuine empathy, which surprised the Lynxian. “I understand more than you may know how upsetting this meeting must be for you. However I do believe you knew one of us would be coming eventually.”

Kotik wiped his eyes with his damp sleeve, achieving nothing in the process as he replied ruefully. “Did you have to do this on my birthday? Could you not have waited to take my freedom away for another day?” He tried to make a joke out of it, but the way his voice hitched and choked betrayed the sincerity of the question.

Actually speaking those words made his body shake even more. He wanted to fight, he wanted to run away. Yet he knew doing either would be less than pointless. It would just put him in a worst predicament.

“You are handling this quite admirably young master.” The orc said, his tone sounding almost fatherly now. Kotik wished he didn’t sound like that. It would be so much easier if he were mean and nasty. Then he’d have something to strike out at. “Would you like me to dry your garments?”

Kotik gulped as he nodded silently. He couldn’t force out any more words as he tried to work up his nerve to walk across the room to that dreaded table. The orc gave a small nod and waved his gloved hand ever so slightly, just a brief gesture, and suddenly the puddle beneath his feet and the water clinging to his clothes and hair left his body and vanished into vapor in the room. He wasn’t cold and wet anymore, but his body was still trembling.

“How many are outside?” Kotik croaked out as he finally summoned the will to stumble forward. His tail was firmly between his legs and his feline ears were the flattest they had ever been. “I couldn’t tell, I just knew some people were out there watching me.”

“Approximately a dozen or so Maids.” The Butler responded matter of factly as he moved to help guide the trembling boy to the chair, “I’m impressed that you could tell they were there at all. I suppose that must have something to do with your race.”

“Somewhat.” The boy sat himself down into the chair, lacing his tail through an opening in the seat so he didn’t have to sit on it, before wrapping the long appendage down around one of the chair legs.

“This smells really good.” For some reason admitting this about his last free meal made his eyes well up again. He hated how much his lip was trembling as he buried his face in his hands for a moment. The Orc said nothing, merely standing there and letting Kotik process his emotions before he looked ready to continue. Even with how terrifying this situation was, a small part of him did appreciate how nice this man was being, all things considered.

“About a month ago,” The Orc began as Kotik finally summoned the energy to start eating, “We in Duke Bertolde’s estate picked up a rather large burst of magical energy towards one of our mines in the east not far from here.”

Kotik nodded, a look of resignation as well as recognition growing on his face even as he chewed the rather delectable hunk of meat in his mouth.

“Our Scouts found two ruffians of ill repute with quite a few serious injuries, some of which were nearly fatal. Beside them was what appeared to be what was left of a rotten wooden cart. I trust you know what I speak of.”

Kotik nodded. “They kidnapped me, and were trying to sell me as a slave.” For the first time a tone of anger and bitterness filled the boy's voice, replacing the fear he had been feeling earlier. He hated those men with every fiber of his being. If he could he would kill them slowly, ever so slowly for what happened. His expressive youthful face said this in spades as he glared down into the table.

“They tricked me.” Kotik continued, laughing with a dryness and a sullenness that sounded like an embittered middle aged man instead of a boy. “They told me they were adventurers. That they never had a party with a Lynxian before. Said they heard my kind were strong and fast and could climb trees faster than we can move on the ground. They buttered me up good with all their talk.”

The wooden table he was sitting at grew dark and slightly warped as the boy continued. The orc noted some sharp spines were starting to grow on the wood, poking upwards like needles as the table took on a more menacing appearance. Kotik didn’t seem to notice any of this as he continued to talk in that seething tone of voice.

“We bagged some monsters. Worked really well together even. I was able to play the distraction and even managed to stab a couple Howling Squirrels in the neck during a treetop fight. Got scratched up real bad in that one. The two guys, they offer me a potion to heal my wounds. My gullible ass takes it and bottoms it up without hesitation.”

By now, the chair and some of the wood planks of the floor were beginning to take on the blackened threatening appearance as he kept talking. The Orc did nothing, merely observing what was transpiring and monitoring the boy without interrupting him.

“The next thing I know I’m chained up to this damn Cart being pulled by two horses.” His voice shook with barely contained anger as his pupils became slitted, making the blue of his large irises stand out even more, “ They were mocking me. They thought it was so funny how easy it was to trick me. They were enjoying the fact that they were going to sell me to some mine and have me live the rest of my days under the ground breathing in who knows what. They even mocked my race, saying if they’re anything like me they must be all killed off by now with how stupid I was.”

A smile grew on the boy's face, a cold smile that conveyed his rage better than his scowl did before. “Then it happens. Suddenly my head is filled with all this information about the cart. At that moment; I knew what kind of wood the cart was made out of. I knew how old each tree the cart was made out of was. I knew where each of them were planted. To this day I still have a mental image of the people who made the cart. I’d probably recognize them if they walked down the street. Anything and everything having to do with that rolling hunk of wood filled my head like I had read an entire parchment about it.”

Kotik’s eyes turned up to the Orc now. Though his eyes were still watering, it didn’t diminish the frustration and anger his cat-like eyes conveyed.

“Then I found out I could do things with the wood. I could make it like new. I could rot it from the inside out. All manner of things. Before I knew what I was doing, I made the cart erupt with spikes of hardened wood all around me.”

Kotik looked away from the Butler as he gulped, “I’ve never seen so much blood. They wouldn’t stop screaming in pain.” The boy let out a shudder before continuing, “I rotted out the wood that was holding my chains in place and yanked it out.” He grinned again, “I swung that hunk of metal at that bastards head with everything I had. Let it keep going and wrap around the other guy's neck as well before I broke it off me with more wood. Before they could do anything, I made their cart rot to pieces and let their horses run off while I bolted into the woods. I never looked back.”

Kotik noticed what happened with the floor and furniture he was sitting on, and within seconds the formerly sinister looking wood was brought back to its original luster. He shook his head a bit to try and cool down and went back to eating.

“What really pisses me off about that whole ordeal is that, even as I ran away, I knew it wasn’t over. I’m a peasant that uses magic. I was looking over my shoulder for you guys for weeks after the fact. I’m surprised it took this long.”

There was a brief pause before Kotik continued, looking up at the orc with a calmer expression, “I’d like to ask.” He hesitated for a moment before he forced himself on, “How did I use magic without an item? I know that cart wasn’t a magic item. As far as I’m aware, it’s supposed to be impossible to cast without some kind of specially designed tool to funnel it through, like a wand or a book or whatever.”

The Orc nodded and smiled, “You are correct. Witches, Wizards, Sorcerers, Druids, any spell caster you can think of needs magical items to cast their spells. However I would like to pose a question to you.”

The boy tilted his head to the side in slight confusion, his feline ears twitching with apprehensive curiosity.

“Whom do you think makes those magic items?”

A look of pure befuddlement grew on Kotiks face as he thought about the question. “I never thought about it before. How would someone make magic items if you can’t use magic without those magic items.”

The Butler Orc’s smile broadened at the lad. Kotik couldn’t help but like the man's smile, he kind of reminded him of an uncle he never had.

“The answer to that question is in this very room. You are a very special lad Master Kotik. I would know because I am just like you in a fashion.”

The boy’s feline eyes widened as he looked up at the Butler, “Like me? How so?”

“Master Kotik, we are what this kingdom refers to as MageCrafters. We have dominion over very specific materials, and we can mold and shape those materials into what people call Magic Items. In truth, all Butlers and Maids in this country are MageCrafters. Within a few years, you’ll be in our ranks as well.”

The topic that Kotik had been dreading was starting to come to the forefront. However he was much calmer now that he had spoken with this wisened orc.

“Why is it that magic users have to be owned by the kingdom. Why do I have to be a slave just because I can do these things?”

For the first time, the Orc moved forward and knelt down in front of Kotik so that they were eye level with one another. His large hand rested on Kotik’s shoulder as he smiled warmly at him. The boy could feel an understanding in the man that made him feel better and more relaxed by the moment.

“Master Kotik, I’m sure you understand what some magic items are capable of, correct?”

The boy nodded as he kept eye contact with the orc.

“You must understand that you and I are capable of creating tools of great good as well as terrible evil. While a magic user can be stripped of his spell book or kept away from magic scrolls, all we need is just a small amount of our preferred material and we could potentially threaten kingdoms. If a Warlord or a cultist got ahold of you and got you to do what they wanted, they could outfit their entire army with magical weapons and armor in the best case scenario.”

He put his free hand to Kotik’s chest to emphasize his next point. “You, Master Kotik, are even more dangerous in some ways. You have dominion over wood, and even if that is constrained to only one variety of wood, which I suspect it isn’t, that is still a devastatingly versatile and abundant material. Just think about everything you know that is made out of wood, and realize you could make that thing into a conduit of magic with a specific spell in mind.”

Kotik took in a deep breath and let out a shuddering exhale. Though more than a few words of what the Orc said were outside of his understanding, he understood enough to know that his powers were very dangerous.

“Thank you for explaining this to me.” Kotik paused a moment before flashing the orc a wry smile, “You still ruined my birthday though.”

The Orc’s face spasmed with a barely contained smirk as he deeply chuckled at the boy's words. “The duke is going to like you a lot. Of that I am sure. Now, I sense that you have an appreciation of Irony, so I think now would be as good a time as any to break this news to you.”

Kotiks eyebrow went up slightly, “Can’t be worse than enslavement.”

A small glint of mischievousness twinkled in the Orc’s eyes before he spoke his next words.

“You are to be a gift for the Duke’s son on his Birthday tomorrow.”

The boy stared at the Butler in front of him with a blank expression before he spoke. He blinked several times, his lips thinning a little as he digested what the Orc said.

“I want my nice thoughts about you back.” Kotik stated flatly.

The Butler had to cover his mouth to stop himself from laughing out loud, and despite the deeply aggravating news, Kotik wasn’t that far behind him as he doubled over in a fit of giggles.He wanted to be mad at this Orc, but at this point he could either laugh or cry about his current lot in life. This felt nicer than the former did.

They didn’t say anything for a moment. They just let the mirth settle down as the boy calmed down again. He had been dreading this day ever since he ran away from that cart, but now that it was happening he was pretty much resigned to it. This was the law of the land, and from the sounds of it the Duke wasn’t a bad man. Him being told that he was a birthday present for some other boy on his birthday still irked him a lot. It was insult to injury on him losing his freedom.

“I can tell you are a wonderful lad.” The orc said, ruffling his almond color hair and tousling his cat ears a bit, “and you are handling this far better than any of us expected. None of us likes to bring this news to someone, especially one so young.”

He took the boy’s hand in a handshake, “My name is Sargis.”

“I would say it’s nice to meet you, but I’m not quite there yet Sargis. I do think we could get along though.”

“More than fair Master Kotik.” He paused a moment and gave the Lynxian another reassuring pat before he continued. “Now if you’re ready, we have something we must take care of before we leave this establishment.”

The lynxian’s body shivered with a fresh jolt of nervousness as the orc reached behind himself and presented a finely crafted leather collar with blue gemstones lining it at even intervals. In the middle was a large gem with the Crest of Duke Bertolde on it. It took the boy a moment to steady himself before he gave Sargis a nod of assent. He could feel his heart pounding terribly fast in his chest as the collar that radiated a light magical aura drew close to his throat. He squeezed his eyes shut as he felt it seal around him, shrinking slightly so it conformed to the shape of his neck perfectly. He could feel something like a ripple roll out of it and radiate out to all parts of his body from the tips of his Lynxian ears down to his toes. He didn’t feel any different, but he knew now that he was no longer a free person.

Part of him was waiting for the other shoe to drop, for the orc to start mocking him for being a fool like the two men had done before when they captured him. That didn’t happen however, the orc let him get his bearings and adjust to his new station in life. Surprisingly, the collar was barely noticeable on his throat. It fit him so well it did not draw attention to itself like he thought it would.

“Let us be off young man.” The orc waved his gloved hand, cleaning off the plate with a swish of his wrist and leaving it sparkling before making another motion in front of Kotik’s collar. The boy's eyes darted downwards and spotted a leash that had materialized between it and the man’s hand. His cheeks flushed with more than a little embarrassment at being led by one of those. “There shall be a carriage waiting for us outside. Once we are back at the estate we will get you situated and prepare you for your meeting with your new Master. Oh, and Kotik...”

“Yes sir?” The boy asked looking up at the much taller man beside him as he followed him to the door. He tried not to let shame get the better of him but it was quite difficult with the ever present leash in front of his eyes, held lightly in the Orc’s gloved grasp. Sargis looked down at the lad with a gleam in his eyes, that same slightly mischievous look from earlier.

“They did a splendid job on that collar, it looks quite charming on you. It really makes those eyes of yours stand out.”

Even as his face reddened further the boy let out a sigh, “You’ll have to forgive me not knowing how to respond to that sir.Though, I’m fairly certain my gut instinct of crawling in a hole somewhere to hide would not be the correct choice.”

Another laugh came from the Orc at that as he led the Lynxian out towards his new life.

Copyright © 2020 Demented; All Rights Reserved.
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This sheds a completely new light on the terms butlers and maids. Sargis seems alright considering what he does. So what is the son, a Marquess?

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Well done!!! Exceptionally well written,  great pacing, characters along with plot and theme. Looking forward to more and soon! 

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Wow this seems really interesting, I can't wait to see how Kotik's new life progresses! Can't wait to read the next chapter!

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A tremendously intriguing universe that you are creating, @Demented  I struggled whether to give a Heart or a Tear but ultimately went with a Tear because of Kotik losing his freedom (at least in his mind) & having to be led out of the tavern on a leash. I hope we learn why that was necessary.

Now, to meet his new owner, whom I hope will be good to hm. I am looking forward to more!

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This just screams how good it is. Love it, love it, love it.

Another awesome one to follow...

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Truly a different type of story.  An Interesting  start with unique characters.  

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Not gonna lie, you had me worried that Sargis would eat the boy or something. 😆

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35 minutes ago, Solus Magus said:

Not gonna lie, you had me worried that Sargis would eat the boy or something. 😆

Pretty sure cannibalism in stories is banned on this site lol. 

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