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A Shaky Beginning

by sanamm


      Tinvor wasn't born evil – few truly are – he was simply a product of his unfortunate childhood. As the runt of a family that was just too big for their tiny shack in the outskirts of Meridell, every day was a struggle for simple necessities. He considered it a good day if he found a rotten tomato in the rubbish dump. His parents didn't even leave a note when they disappeared; they had given up on their lives and ran from too many hungry mouths. Everyone in the town knew what had happened to Tinvor, but no one truly cared enough to help him survive.

      Survival was everything – the only thing Tinvor truly owned was his own life, and he wanted the chance to make it worthwhile. His parents were no help with that, so he had to make it himself.

      He worked odd jobs and ran errands for people all around Meridell to together some money. Whatever the townspeople didn't want to do was left to Tinvor: they knew he would do anything that no one else was willing to get done, no matter how degrading, embarrassing, or dangerous. One day he was asked to bring a delivery to Darigan Citadel, a place that always floated ominously over the hills in the background of his life. Awful rumors kept most people away, but Tinvor wouldn't be intimidated. Reluctantly, he agreed – after all, he needed the money - and took a trip that would forever change his life.

      Darigan Citadel was nothing like Tinvor thought it would be. What was supposed to be a place of shadow and death was teeming with interesting people and abuzz with chatter (though admittedly, still full of shadows). The rumors had made it out to be a nightmare city where an evil minion was guaranteed to pop out and take your head with glee the moment any Neopian passed through the gates. Instead, Neopets were everywhere – almost all of them proudly dressed in rich silks of purple, black, and red – laughing, trading, and hanging out playing Cellblock. In fact, one of the best places in town was a toy store. How could a town with a toy store be threatening?!

      For the first time in his short, miserable life, Tin found himself enjoying one of his so-called "jobs." And even more alarmingly, he felt like he was home – a sensation that his life in Meridell had completely lacked. The idea of leaving this place made him gloomy, so he decided to stay the night there once his errand was complete.

      No one asked Tin why he was alone, no one pestered him about what he was doing, and no one mocked him and his puny, unkempt appearance here; they didn't care about who he was at all. He felt more free than ever before, unattached to the people around him. Confidence radiated from the rejuvenated Tinvor – no one knew that he couldn't afford to eat most nights, or that he would reduce himself to whatever you paid him for, or that his own parents had abandoned him without a word. He was just another visitor passing through. He began to dream of the dignified Bori he could become here – an all new way of life called out to him, one that allowed him to tramp on the ground beneath his feet without a care. Tinvor was reborn.

          Tinvor felt empowered in Darigan Citadel. The constants reminders of his old life – the helplessness, the hunger pains, and the stench of unwashed Bori – were all gone and as distant as his cowardly parents. He abandoned all thought of ever returning to Meridell and made the decision to stay permanently. He managed to get a job in the Citadel itself, cleaning Lord Darigan's chambers.

      The job was just a job for Tinvor: menial labor as a means to an end. It paid for the most delicious food he'd ever had, straight from Lord Darigan's kitchen, and it gave him his own room with a bed which was cloud nine compared to the hard ground or piles of trash he'd been known to rest in before. For the first time in his life, he wanted to do his job well, and his hard work didn't go unnoticed. He became a personal favorite of Lord Darigan. Darigan taught him to play Cellblock, and Tinvor used this to make an easy buck every night defeating other unfortunate gamblers. He was brilliant and rarely lost a game; when he did the loser still usually paid a hefty price. Tinvor was making a name for himself.

      During the next few months, Tin went from a quiet, scrappy little Bori to a figure of imposing stature, respected by those around him. He went from scrubbing floors to scrubbing heirlooms, and then to scrubbing armor and swords before the quartermaster realized his potential. Motivated to shed the years of his life spent in the muck, his advancement with weapons was unheard of. He transformed his pain, loneliness, and fear of abandonment into his strengths – all of the life he never got to live poured into his work and it paid off quickly. Having shown incredible feats of physical strength, intelligence and strategy through his superior Cellblock game, and a power to charm that no one couldn't resist, Tinvor became Lord Kass' second in command. At long last, Tin was not only in charge of his own life, but commanded over several hundred. He was powerful, strong, and cunning – all the things Meridellian people never believed pathetic little Tin could have been.

      But even though he was finally atop the world, floating high in the Citadel, comfortable in a tower that he owned, he couldn't shake the ghosts that haunted his memory. The images of his town, which was supposed to have been his home, appeared to him in every village he came across. He heard the echoes of the villager's laughter behind him whenever he ventured out into public, and always looked above the heads of the crowds in front of them for fear of sneering faces. He quickly began to resent Meridell and it's simple farm folk. Now that he knew he really did belong somewhere, they disgusted him – none of them deserved the sort of happiness he had found; none of them deserved what they had refused to give him. Tinvor wanted – needed – all of Meridell to suffer.

           As time progressed, Tinvor only became more and more consumed by rage. He became obsessed with proving to the people of Meridell who he had become and what he was capable of. Luckily for him, the Citadel was filled with like-minded Neopians who all shared his hatred and craved their own revenges since the war ended. Alongside Lord Kass, they amassed an army and imprisoned anyone who didn't share their narrow point of view. That signature charm that Tinvor had perfected in his years at the Citadel helped them collect their followers who fell into ranks readily, their eyes and hearts set on destroying Meridell.

      Revenge plagued and taunted Tinvor. It became his obsession – no matter how reputable Tin became, his past refused to leave him be. No matter how his army cheered for him, no matter how many Meridellian lives he destroyed, and no matter how unlike the dingy Bori he once was he became, he couldn't shake the weight of how he had been forced to survive in his youth. He knew that if he didn't take action and destroy all the demons that haunted him from sunny Meridell, he would descend into madness.

      Tinvor was ready. He was ready to show his past how great his present had become. He was ready to show the people he left behind so many years ago that he had always been destined for greatness. He could prove himself to them now – and even more importantly, grind them down into the dirt and reduce them to beggars like they had done to him. Oh, how he craved to hear their desperate pleas for just a little more food, please oh please, our great General Tinvor! Yes, they would beg him, and their cries would feed the hurt inside until it was satiated.

      At dawn, the handsome devil and his army marched out of Darigan and descended to the ground. Their thundering armor and vengeful cries made his heart race in a way he had never felt before – the sweet sound of justice sang to him from the darkness of the woods. Within twenty-four hours, the people of Meridell would know and fear Tinvor's name.

      The End.

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