Submitted by Dubin
There once was an elven butcherer named Hart les Kil'ur who also worked as a cook for the king of Doumd Cyt'ie, not-so-venerable King Ytsalot. As the king liked exotic dishes, he would order his cooks to create the most creative meal they'd ever served, with the penalty of death for failure. Hart les learned many recipes from such meat cooks as Saad Istik and Haites Ani Muhls, so he had a never-ending supply of ways to torture animals who were being prepared for a feast.
One day, the king decided he'd like a boar dish. Not just any boar dish, though; he wanted a wild boar poached from the Elsfaren forest. Many soldiers died trying to catch one of said boars, and many more died trying to drag its unconscious body out. At long last, though, the boar was ready to be tortur-errh, cooked. Hart les had an especially cruel way to prepare the pig for this dish called Iron Maiden, after the similar torture device: he would hammer nails into a large pot and put the boar into it before lighting the fire. As the hog raced around the pot trying to escape, it would cut itself on the nails, trickling its blood down to be mixed into gravy. The dastardly deed provided cheap entertainment for the cooks, especially when a scalding herb broth was poured in during the cooking, which stopped as soon as the boar was dead. People who tried the dish said that the blood gravy tasted delicious and the tender pork strips were scrumptious. However, as Hart was preparing to ready the boar for the pot, a monk happened to pass into town. This monk wasn't in any temple, so he had controversial views. Nevertheless, he decided to preach to the king and his royal cook:
"These ways of killing to make a living are immoral. Cease these practices at once or face the wrath of kamma."
"S'yeah, right," retorted Kil'ur. "The only wrath that anyone needs to fear is that of the gods."
"I'm warning you now," said the monk, "so that you may yet have a chance to reform your ways. If you do not chose to, then so sealed is your fate."
After having the monk humiliatingly kicked out of the town, the king ordered the dish to be prepared. As Hart les was heating the pot, though, he suddenly screamed and fell to the ground twitching. When he recovered, he said that he saw what it was like to be prepared for an Iron Maiden, and vowed never to harm or eat another animal again. Naturally, the king was outraged, so he fired Kil'ur and had Saad Istik prepare the dish.
The king found it delicious, but no one else at the dinner table dared to have any boar, for fear of what happened to the king's former elven cook.
Later that night, the king settled down to sleep. As he drifted off into Maeve's dream world, he found himself in King Elsfar's forests...
Dubin, the human myrmidon, walked around the woods looking for something to kill. He needed one more before his guildmaster would allow him to reach the next level in skills. Finally, he found a wild boar. "Good," he said to himself. "This'll net me enough practice to advance." And so, drawing out his chinese broadsword and silver sword of the titans, he loosed an acid blast on the boar before proceeding to slaughter it.
In the middle of the night, the servants in the castle woke up to the loud screams of King Ytsalot. They rushed to his room to see his body convulsing as though it were being slashed at by a pair of swords, with occasional blasts of acid thrown in. He kept saying, "No! Stop! It's so painful! Stop it, please! I'm begging you!"
It was a long battle, but the boar was finally showing signs of slowing down, as was his kraken. Finally, Dubin saw an opening, and plunged his broadsword into the heart of the beast...
The king let out a final death cry before his body settled down. A portal opened up as the king's soul was sucked into the abyss.
King Ytsalot's death was shrouded in mystery. Many thought it was just a matter of coincidence with Maeve giving him a far-too-intense nightmare, but some thought that the spirit of the boar he ate extracted its revenge by letting the king see what it was like to be brutally massacred.
The next day, they found the corpse of Saad Istik, who appeared to have died the same way.
Many years passed. Maeve was destroyed and split into Mahrina and Mahxissa, and Dubin was killed quietly in a dark alley by a gang of thieves before being reborn as the hat-wearing Battle Mage we know and love today. Over in Doumd Cyt'ie, the vegetarian mode of living was adopted by a handful of villagers from each generation, who also spent their money buying animals doomed for slaughter and freeing them. On one of Dubin's trips out of his Plane of Isolation to check up on current events in Tharel, his hat was complaining about his lack of killing.
"Aw, come on! Even Black Mage got to burn down an orphanage! Why can't I even murder one demonic monster?"
"Killing is immoral, no matter whose life is taken. As such, we shall refrain from it as much as we can."
"But come on! Evil penetrates the land, corrupting the balance! What wrong will I do in trying to balance it out?"
"There are other ways of reaching equilibrium than mercilessly eliminating the scourge of the world."
"Oh please, you're just saying that because the Buddha is with you. If the Phoob was still within, you wouldn't have any objection to me smiting down a pit demon."
And so they argued for hours. Finally, Dubin broke down and let his hat have his way. Sprouting two white, gloved hands, the hat set to work creating a thunderstorm.
"Yippee! Now then, to pick a target!" he said delightfully as he summoned up a map of Tharel.
"Hmm...too populated...too popular...key point in pentagram formation for trapping Ytrewtsu when he goes mad with the power granted by the Rod of Destruction...ah, here we go. A nice, isolated little town full of immoral animal-murderers whose just desserts haven't been served yet."
And with that, he set about conjuring up a massive thunderbolt.
The orc named Axil walked into the town center of Doumd and made this proclamation to the town:
"Men, women, children, hear my call! At this moment, many hunters, trappers, and poachers, along with 5 adventurers sent by the cruel Valerie and Rovlan, are coming to this location to hunt out and exterminate the shadow panthers in an obscure, widely unkown section of the Shadow Grove that leads to this town. These harmless creatures have defended this town for years, slaughtering bandits and invading orc armies with their etheral spikes and razor-spin metamorphasis. Who here shall aid me in protecting these defenseless animals?"
Naturally, only the 20 animal protectors of that generation stepped forward.
"They're crazy!" one cynic scoffed. "Who would be insane enough to take on 5 adventurers?!?!"
Similar comments arose from the crowd, but the defenders marched heedlessly on into the thick of the Shadow Grove.
Overhead, storm clouds began to gather, thunder coursing through them.
It was a long and arduous battle, despite the aid of the valiant shadow panthers, whose natural immunity to melee weapons and attacks to their outer shell made them perfect for soaking up damage at the frontline, but finally Axil and the villagers managed to defeat the hunters, trappers, and poachers, and send the adventurers packing. Satisfied that they defended the defenders of their town, they started walking back and made it out of the forest just before the panthers were about to pounce on them.
They were shocked to find, however, that the town had been crushed by rocks apparently struck down from the nearby mountain by an extremely large bolt of thunder. "It is fortunate that we chose to aid the Shadows so that we avoided this unfortunate fate, but what shall we do now?" asked one of the concerned vegetarians.
"What do we do?" replied Axil. "Simple. We grieve for the lost, but let go, as attachment only leads to more grief. We march onward into the world outside of this forest and make a home in the great city of Naerlan."
"But Great Venerable One, who shall we worship? What shall we practice?"
"We shall merely practice that which has always been just and true: right action, right intention, right mindfulness, and...something something."
The villagers were elated and gleefully followed the wise orcish warrior into the forest. Unfortunately, all the townsfolk were killed by adventurers searching for the High Tower.
"Man, you should've seen the way those villagers looked when the big bolt first struck the mountainside!"
"Dwell not on past actions; concentrate on the present."
And with that, Dubin opened another portal back into his Plane of Isolation to delve deeper within himself, which, of course, closed with another resounding *PLOP*.
"Finally," said Denias. "Now I can have some temporary reprieve from that blasted hat."
At that point, a human myrmidon stepped in.
"Don't you want a quest?" asked the elven questmaster.
Upon hearing that he did, Denias promptly sent him to neutralize one of the shadow panthers in the obscure, widely unkown section of the Shadow Grove that led to the late Doumd Cyt'ie.
The myrmidon turned white as a sheet and ran with his (figurative) tail between his legs upon seeing the panthers gather for a strike.