Parade of Planeswalkers | Aunt Ida
It wasn't just solitude that drove the old hermit insane, it was the morbid hexes of Aunt Ida.
Ida lived in a small settlement with her husband during the aftermath of the sylex blast that ended the Brother's War. Ida was a mage, and with the anti-magic sentiment in full swing, the climate of their small village was dangerous. The population knew Ida to be a woman of knowledge, wisdom, and empathy. But a few suspected that her ability to calm the minds of whoever would seek her wisdom were unnatural.
As the nights grew longer and the climate grew colder, food became scarce, even for a trapper as skilled as her husband Istvan. The village, too, grew colder and more harsh. It's people, once eager to lend a warm hearth to passers-by would latch their doors shut during night hours, and even in daylight the faces of the villagers were contorted into scowls. At least, they were towards Ida. Despite this chilling demeanor, missionaries of the anti-magic religion of the time found warmth in her village; warmth, and ears eager to hear about redemption.
Their stay grew longer than Ida thought comfortable. Suspected mages were openly questioned about their abilities. In town squares, impromptu inquisitions were held by the missionaries and a growing mob of zealots leeching onto them for food and a sense of righteousness. Ida openly ignored these inquisitions, but deep in her heart she knew their years of service to the town would buy them little reprieve from missionaries seeking more than recantation. They would seek to punish all mages for the crimes of the few powerful men who brought apocalypse to their lands.
Ida tried to fight propaganda with propaganda. She still had many friends in the village due to their long lives there, and she would feed them counter-propaganda; questions to ask during these inquisitions which grew more fanatical day by day. Her magical meditations and explorations, too, twisted into meddling hexes and addling curses which only helped her attempts to fracture the hold the missionaries had over the village.
Ida grew more rash in her attempts, and likewise earned the attentions of the missionaries. And like wood breaking under an axe, Ida's entire existence would change with the events of one night. Under a blood moon, the missionaries led their mob to the house of Ida and Istvan, to seek answers to the rumors of her 'addling the minds of villagers and poisoning them against righteousness.' Istvan would not let Ida go outside the house, for he knew if she was outside the hut's walls, she would be taken and made example of. The villagers waited hours before the first brazen youth threw his torch on the roof of the house. More followed. Surely the smoke would lure them out. It didn't.
"I have made our life here, and if we are to die, we are to die at home. Together." Istvan wheezed these words over the building smoke. Istvan sought a dignified death; a lover's death, and he would look it in the eye accepting this fate. Ida had no such epiphany. Her's was a bubbling hate; a hate that came to boil when she crushed the bone cameo Istvan carved for her, sending shards of bone into her hands...and igniting her Spark. With an echoing cackle, she defiantly called to the villagers a heinous curse: Until their dying days, may the villager's ears rot if they should hear the missionaries speak. In a plume of raven-black smoke, she dissapeared with her husband.
Ida crept as billowing smoke through the wood until she found an old woodsman's post deep in the woods by her village. There, in a haze of rage-fueled delerium, she wove spells over Istvan's body in order to heal him. She wove spells protecting Istvan from any harm that would befall him from man or beast. She did this first of love, then through some sort of sick revenge against those that would hurt them. Her magics poisoned Istavn's mind even while he lay unconscious.
Istvan awoke alone in an isolated cabin in the woods. Ida had left. It was not known why. For years since, Istvan would be known as a crazy hermit who sees his lost wife in every wandering face. Every face he rushes to greet and renew his marriage vows...with an axe.
[spoiler Aunt Ida]