A curse. A word I often heard growing up. I would hear it used most in two contexts. First, I was cursed. I had been cursed at birth by the Abyss. I was cursed with being what my people call a cindersoul. My parents were firesouls. But because of my “curse”, I was different. From them, my siblings, my neighbors, everyone in our village. And because of my curse, they were cursed. Cursed with an imperfect child. Cursed with the burden of raising a monstrosity. But for them, dealing with the curse was easy. It never has been for me.

My parents decided when I turned two, that the curse was too much to bear. It was time to remove it. And by remove it, I mean me. From their home, their town, their lives. So I was given away. On the first day of the second year of my life I handed to man and woman I had never seen before. They looked like me. I had never seen another who looked like me before. They took me away, to a strange place in the mountains. There we lived amongst a strange people. They were all very small, but also very large. They were all covered in hair. And they all liked fire. It wasn't until several years later that what had taken place was finally explained to me. I was given to a distant cousin of my fathers, who was also a cindersoul. He too had been cursed. And he has find a wife who was also cinder. They lived their lives together as cursed people. And the small, hairy folk were dwarves. They were very found of both fire and cindersouls, because of our affinity towards fire. Which proved quite helpful alongside the dwarven love of the forge. My cousin, or father, whichever I suppose, was quite adept has maintaining the massive forging facilities in the dwarven mountain communities. We are good with fire. Not much of shocker there.

I would like to say my new parents instilled me with the belief that my curse was actually a blessing. They truly believed it. About themselves and me. But it never has been that simple for me. Do I consider it the same awful thing that my birth parents do? No, not at all. But I also don't look at it as a gift. Well, at least not entirely. I'm beginning to wonder though. In the dwarven village, I was always accepted as a child because I was fun to play with. We could run around and burn things for at least make people think we were. Got me in a lot of trouble. But at least the others liked me. When I turned 12, I started helping my father in the forge. I did that until the age of 18. The day I turned 18, I learned something very valuable about myself. I had been sent to a neighboring village to help with some of their equipment. I was on my way back, when I was stopped in the road by the three dwarves I hadn't seen before. They demanded I give them any money I had. I ask why. Three axes were pointed at me. I considered giving them the little bit of silver I had, but I needed it. Soon I would be sent to run a forge in a new village. I needed my money. I said no. As they moved to attack, I remembered something my father had taught me. My body flared up and fire jumped from me. My uncle said I could do this once, and it would render attacks useless. I was almost as stunned as they were. This made the dwarves very mad. But I was already running back toward the village, yelling for help. The town guard heard me and came down the road. They fought the three off, killing one. Another was wounded, but the last escaped. It was that day that one of the local warriors offered to teach me to protect myself.

At first Olaf, one of the local dwarf soldiers simply taught me to defend myself. He was very intrigued when I showed him how I had escaped from the bandits. He decided it was time to try something new. Our meetings stopped being just about me protecting myself. It was time to learn to fight back. And not even just to fight back, but to actually be able to fight. He wanted me to join the local militia that patrolled the area. I agreed. It gave me purpose. Olaf said he want to introduce me to someone the next village over. The next day we visited the house of a good friend of his. A dwarf he simply called Red. Red had been in the military and had even risen far enough to command a small garrison at one time. Olaf believed I could be of more use in battle than just fighting. Red slowly started explaining what it meant to be a commander, a leader. To not only fight myself, but how to direct others to help them in battle. Years past. I became a regular part of the local militia patrols. Eventually, they put me in charge of a small platoon of dwarves. But I was concerned. Training and teaching were one thing, but I had no real experience. Sure, I had defeated or captured small bands of bandits in the area. But I wanted more. I wanted to see what I could truly accomplish. So on my 22nd birthday, I gathered Olaf, Red and my father together. I explained that I wanted to see more of the world. Do more with talents and abilities. Much to my surprise, none of them were surprised. They all knew one day I would want to experience more. They all agreed I was old enough and had the experience necessary to go out on my own. Olaf’s only advice was to make sure I wasn’t on my own long. My skills would be best used in a group. My father said not to be afraid of what I was. He warned that many would look down on me for being a cindersoul. Some would even dislike for being a genasi period, no matter the kind. And lastly, Red advised me to always look after my comrades. I would be much stronger and get much farther with friends, friends that I could trust and help.

They all recommended I go to the city of Sandpoint. There was going to be a festival there soon, and it might be a good place to start my adventures. With the festival I would be able to find others who were also looking for adventure to travel with. So to Sandpoint I went. I arrived in the town a few days before the festival and got a room at a local inn. It was the first time I had been around so many people. So many kinds of people. There were dwarves, elves, humans, tieflings, everything. I had not seen many of these kinds of people before. And they hadn’t seen someone like me either. It was obvious I was genasi. But the looks told me they weren’t sure what kind. Occasionally, someone with more knowledge of elementals and the chaos would get a look on their face that told me they knew I was cindersoul. Thankfully, most of the trouble was restricted to glares and stares. So I set out to find new things, new people, maybe a new life.

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