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The Art of Paranoia

     I don’t remember my dad; he died when I was young, caught and killed by the Empire for smuggling mage children away before they could be trained as the Skuggor- elite warriors of the Emperor. These ‘elite warriors’ were mage children- those capable of magick- who were taken when they were young so they could, according to the government “be trained so they didn’t hurt the populace with their powers”. In reality they were made to go through rigorous and often humiliating training which was designed to break their spirits so they could be remolded into loyal warriors who would do anything for the Emperor.
     My father disagreed with that.
     What I actually remember of my father is faint, but my mother tells me I was the reason he started smuggling children out in the first place. When I was three years old my parents had bought some flowers for the inside of our house, an indulgence many couldn’t afford, and they caught me causing the hyssop to grow. They realized I was a nature mage, one of the rarest denominations and a very sought out one by the Empire. They were terrified out of their minds that the government was going to come and take away their little girl; so they hid my powers and made contacts within the magick community to help protect me. When they realized just how horrible magickals were treated, they were appalled. My father, who saw my face in every kidnapped or killed mage, had a special hatred for those of the government. He decided to start smuggling mage children out because he hoped if I ever got taken, someone would do the same to me. I was his inspiration. I was the reason he died.
     After my father’s death my mother, distraught but unwaveringly protective, had us moved every few years so no one would ever find me. She left everything behind for me: family, friends, her job, her security, her life. Every few years she’d do it, she’d leave and she made me leave with her. I’d have to leave everything behind, year after year. It was move, switch schools, make friends (fewer each move), get comfortable and happy, then leave, rinse and repeat, over and over again. I had no stability and no constant. I had no home; I hated her for that.
     Then when I was eight one of my few friends- after moving so often I found it hard to connect to others- was taken away by the Empire. He was a secret telepath and the only other person than my mother who knew I had magick. The last things he ever thought to me were “RUN! They know about you” and “No matter what you’ll always be my best friend”.

     I never saw him again.

     In the wake of Adrian’s kidnapping I never hated my mother for being protective, even if I felt she was overly so. After we moved once more, running from the Hunters (those hired by the Empire to hunt down mage children) my mother set up rules for me to live by so what happened with Adrian never happened again. I was terrified, so those rules became my gospel. They were the following:

   1. Never use magick out in the open or in front of anyone other than her (my mother).
   2. Never tell anyone I had magick or supported it in any way.
   3. Never tell anyone who my father was or what he did.
   4. Never befriend someone with magick.
   5. Never befriend those connected to the Empire.
 
  6. Never be suspicious.
    
7. Never get involved in the Empire.
   8. And the golden rule: Never risk my freedom.

     These rules that I live by, my Ten Commandments if you will, are the reason I'm alive today. They are the reason I'm not broken and enslaved to a puppet government at the whims of a madman. They are the reason I'm happy and free. They are the reason that now that I'm of age I have enough power to make a difference, to change the world.
     I will fight to make a difference, to change the world. No longer will those with magick have to fear. No longer will the people be oppressed. No longer will our liberties be taken.
     We will be free! We will succeed and we will thrive. We will topple the Empire, release the slaves, bring back magick, and live!
     My father started the fight, now I'm finishing it.




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