When one thinks of a witch, they think of an evil being that uses evil magic.
In this case, while witches were treated as mere tools to be used, they are slightly different from the witches told in fairytales.
To learn magic in this world, a human must awaken their mana core and practice to control their mana flow. Mana is a source of energy, both internal and external, that exists in people, places and objects. It is connected to the elements and can be used to form magic. The vessel that contains mana is called the mana core. And because the mana core is part of the body, it has a limit to the amount of mana it can hold.
The color of a person's core will determine their future.
The darker color of core they awaken, the more mana it can store and the stronger spells they can use. One can not change the color of their mana core, as it is determined when they awaken. If they try to force their core to hold more mana than it can, then they will either damage it, or in the worst case, lose their life.
And then there are humans that awakened black cores. They were both respected and feared. Because a black core meant unlimited storage of mana.
With an infinite amount of access to mana, they could cast magic without being tired.
They were given the name 'Witch'.
Even so, Witches weren't hated. They needed the help of ordinary humans to survive through the 'consuming' and safely go through what's called the 2nd awakening. And in return, the Empires used these Witches to win wars and build Kingdoms. It was a relationship where both parties benefited.
However, this changed after a certain incident.
Inside the Imperial City where the previous Emperor had long fallen ill, and the Crown Prince has taken his father's place, a Witch was being restrained by two Imperial Knights.
"Child of the Black Witch, Aurora, do you know your crime?!"
Glaring at the once beautiful young woman kneeling before him in front of the throne, the 7th Emperor, Ellias Effira Di Epheria, frowned when he saw her suffering. Disheveled and dirty, she was no longer the beauty others envied nor yearned for. He could only endure and clench his fists as he yelled at her.
With an air of indifference as though she had long since given up on everything, she didn't avert her eyes from him. The pain on her shoulders from the Knights pressing her down made her flinch but she didn't make a single sound.
"My crime?" With a hoarse voice, she asked. "My crime is being born to heartless and selfish parents."
The nobles and other humans gasped at her reckless courage towards the highest authority in this Empire. Doesn't she know that this person holds her life in the palm of his hand? Doesn't she fear death?
The woman sitting next to the Emperor, Millianna Carna, smirked when she heard this. As the Empress, this was her first time interrogating someone in court. And this little slut in front of her was jumping in the fire on her own. Hiding her smile, she pretended to be furious.
"Impudent!" Empress Millianna pointed her finger at the young woman who was now kneeling in front of her. "How dare you, a Witch, speak to your Father in such a tone?!"
That's right. The previous Crown Prince, the Emperor, was her so-called 'Father'.
More than thirty years ago, her parents met and fell in love with each other after meeting at the Emperor's birthday party. Her Mother was a Witch, while her father was hailed as a hero. After making a contract with one of the four heavenly spirit beasts, the White Tiger, he was given the title Light Sage.
The two were met with opposition and scorn at every turn. People didn't believe that their hero would fall in love with a Witch, that even nobles treated as tools. Still, they overcame all obstacles and married each other. Soon after, they were able to peacefully welcome their first child.
Although they still had to deal with those who tried to split them apart, the three lived together happily for years 15 years.
Unfortunately, their peace didn't last long.
Unknown to them a deep and dark scheme was brewing. One day, apparently her Mother caught her husband cheating on her with Millianna, while spewing insults that he could never seriously fall in love with a Witch. He claimed that he only used her to strengthen the Empire and further increase the chances of Witches being born in his bloodline. Heartbroken and torn over his betrayal she seduced a powerful Mage into casting a forbidden spell by using her life as the medium.
Sacrificing her life, she cursed humans to be unable to use their mana core. Only those who awakened as a Witch will be able to use their mana.
Because of this, chaos ensued. Demonic beasts and the other species took this chance to attack humans. Hundreds and eventually thousands lost their lives. However, humans were able to overcome this. They realized even if they could not use their mana core directly, they still had the ability to make a contract with Spirit Beasts using an ancient summoning ritual. Using their contracted spirit beasts they defeated their enemies…but the lives lost could not be returned.
Aurora's Mother was then known as the Black Witch, who caused such a horrid incident.
Aurora stared at Millianna in disdain. She chuckled. "Father?" She wanted to say more, but what was the use? After being betrayed by her own kind, she found it was useless to struggle in vain.
"I have nothing more to say. Get it over with."
Nothing more to say? She had a lot more she wanted to say! She wanted to cry and scream at her parents. Why? Why? Why was it when they had loved each other so much, they could not trust each other? Was love so fickle? So easy to break and destroy?!
If so, she's glad she never married. She didn't want any part of it.
It's been 30 years since her birth. That's right, today was her 30th birthday. She spent more than half of it on the run.
With no place of hers to call home, she didn't have any attachments to anything or anyone. She lived a life of isolation.