From Restov who comes from a well-to-do merchant family.
My earliest memories are of my parents: constant, steady, calm, caring, and firm. Their natural grace and bearing suited me well. I had my fair share of boyhood experiences and pushing the limits, but had clear sense of knowing right from wrong. My parents are possessed of an infinite amount of patience and self-control. In the 18 years or so that I was raised by them I never once saw them lose their temper or be hostile, either in our house or in any of their trading transactions. Now that I think of it, it is curious that no customer, trader, or merchant ever stayed angry or disturbed for long when dealing with my parents. They had way of interaction that immediately defused the situation and then business went on smoothly. This is one of the reasons they are so well thought of and viewed as reliable and fair.
It was when I was about 5 springs old that I realized I did not share my parent’s features, at least to the point that I asked why I was different. Perhaps my memory of that moment is muddled by time but suffice to say their expressions were singularly distinctive in a way that had not seen before. I don’t even know how to categorize it. Maybe their eyes opened just a touch wider and glinted a little, but it was fleeting, and sometimes I wonder if it is just the fanciful thoughts of a fond childhood. Their answer was, “It is so.” Some might find that lacking, evasive even, but it made complete sense to me, it was just the way of things and I believed I belonged nowhere else.
A short explanation about my day of birth, it being celebrated at the spring equinox for no other reason than my parents picked that day saying it was a day that was balanced between and day and night with longer days ahead and a profusion of growth to come.
When I was a bit older, they explained that I was an orphan and did not offer any additional information and I had no desire to inquire further. I don’t know what could be learned of my birth and becoming an orphan, and even if gaining such information is possible I don’t know what importance it would have and it would change nothing of my life as it has been lived.
Due to the nature of the family business (merchants), I was exposed to a wide variety of people, places, and cultures as well as some of the most fantastic stories and storytellers in all the kingdoms. Like most young men, I fed on the stories of the Heroes, fighting monsters and ne’er-do-wells, rescuing princesses, protecting people from evil creatures and finding fantastic treasures. I would spend hours acting out the role of the brave, strong, and just warrior, and many bruises and cuts were earned as a result of our full contact style of play as kids.
There were a couple of notable people who have stood out in my life. One particularly peculiar man, and one who has affected my outlook in life, was a family friend, Olban Cairnwright. Jeweler by day he had another aspect of him that was quite fascinating and a little intimidating. Olban claimed he could see the future and he had a curious way of describing things to come so that I actually felt like I was there as if they were happening. I am inclined to believe he was genuine since my parents never countered it, they being quite consistent in pointing out falsehoods, untruths, and misinformation. I think if Olban were a charlatan my parents would have rebuked him and he would not been welcome in our home.
There have been a few instances in my life where I have seen things that felt familiar. It’s like the replaying of a memory unfolding before me. Typically they are of trivial things, like the exchange of coin for goods with a particular vendor or customer, the way a bend in the road looks as Joolzy and I are travelling along, but nothing of particular import or significance. However, this has me ever looking towards the future. It’s there, waiting, so full of potential, like the night that turns to day and what lies ahead is open to discovery.
I was fortunate to travel on trading runs as it has helped broaden my knowledge of the world and it was one such run that forever altered my path, or at least set it in the direction it needed to go. When I was 12 springs old, least ways as I am told how many springs I have been in the world, I was sent as part of an escort for a particularly large exchange of goods. I was fair with the use of a sword and while maybe not a match for a full-grown man, at least I would not be so easy a prey.
My parents selected all the guards assigned to this detail personally, which was rare. There was one selected who at first glance seemed to me to be quite old, perhaps too old, but everyone was very respectful, as well they should have been, but he was treated with a near sense of reverence. Even my parents seemed to treat him as their superior. He moved in a way that belied his advanced years and to the studious it was clear he was no frail old man.
Curiously, nobody referred to him by any name. It was just Sir in the place of a name. That was more than an inquisitive young lad could take and during the trip I asked him if there was a name I could know to remember him by. I then immediately blurted out an apology for being so forward, that I meant no offense but only wanted to know the name of someone who clearly was important. He said names were not as important as deeds and while a man could run and hide from his name, he could not escape his deeds. I knew at that moment I wanted to be like him and would have followed him unto death because of what he said. Well, that and his mount. It was my first encounter with a creature like that. They were so finely attuned to each other, to the point of appearing to anticipate each other. Even now calling such a noble being, a horse, seems an insult. His mount’s name was Falanath, which means “Faithful.” When you looked at Falanath, he looked back. I knew I would have to find myself such a wonderful creature someday.
Over the course of 4 days I proceeded to pepper the gentleman with questions, and of which he answered all of them, save the one, his name. It was not given to me to know, nor did the others seem to know, but his name mattered not for I knew I would be like him and follow that ideal. After the goods delivery/exchange, he was set to depart, but not before reminding me that deeds mattered and he expected to hear of my deeds some future day and he would be honored to say he knew me. Can you imagine that!!!??? He would be honored to know me!!! I felt like I grew 10 times in stature that day and realized later that the fire placed in me made forget the pain of the loss of his company.
There is an additional matter, which though I have mulled over, it has not been overmuch for if it was meant to be so, then it was so. The gentleman gave me a leather belt that was better suited to hold my sword. It was masterfully crafted, and well used, which only reinforced my desire to serve this man for I felt like I was being charged by a King to faithfully execute a code of honor and bravery. Little did I know that something similar to that happened, though it was only upon returning home that the reality of it set in. I scarce removed the belt over the next fortnight, and only for a few moments at a time. When I returned home, I could not wait to see my parents as I had so much to tell them. I showed them the belt, and told them of the trip, meaning everything I could about my time with “Sir” since I didn’t recall much else. They humored me and my near breathless expositions and sat patiently and listened into the night. They commented to each other that I was growing into a fine young responsible man and they were proud of me. I felt that inwardly they were glad, possibly relieved, and even joyous for they both positively exuded a sense of something that felt like peace.
Two days after my return, my mother insisted I remove the belt, and clean and oil it so as to keep it in good condition for years to come. While cleaning it I realized that traced into the back/inner side of the belt was an inscription. It was very faint, faintly silver, like the sheen that a blade leaves on a sheath. I was afraid to wipe over it while cleaning for fear it would rub off, but after testing, and figuring it had made it all this time without fading, I discovered that it was permanent and even after years of use and cleaning, it never faded. It was an oath: By deeds I am known, loyal of spirit, body, and word. Strong in battle, deft in court, I serve as best as I may. Those words filled me, gave me purpose and direction.
When I reached 16 springs, I was sent off for formal martial training under the tutelage of a Cavalier. A gentleman by the name of Galan Altare. Galan, while not a friend of the family as such, he was neither a stranger to our table in recent years. Like my parents, he was of Elven blood. It was shortly after I discovered the belt inscription that he appeared and immediately entered into private talk with my parents for an entire morning. Not that there was anything unusual about private meetings, my parents had many, but there was no mistaking that Galan was a Cavalier, that he was there to talk about me, and he had more than a passing interest in my immediate future.
He seemed impressed by the belt, though for what reasons he never revealed. He told me that the inscription was part of an oath. After meeting with my parents, Galan informed me that 4 years hence I would enter Cavalier training under his tutelage. After completion of my training, I would choose an order. Before he could continue I blurted out, Order of the Dragon! The problem was I didn’t even know what Orders existed. Galan fixed his gaze on me, and it felt like something tickling at the edge of my mind. He asked what I knew of the Orders and of the inscription of the belt. I knew nothing of the Orders and only what I read of the inscription. He then informed me that the oath on the belt was in fact part of the oath of the Order of the Dragon. I can’t claim much knowledge of dragons, though what they represent has always appealed to me. Other than a few items in my parent’s possessions depicting dragons, dragons have mostly been the talk of tales and deeds in far off places.
At 16 I spent two years in training, and while it was hard, it was worth it, and I can say that of the tiredness and fatigue that came from a strenuous training regimen, it was a good tired. I returned home after two years away and spent the next year going on occasional missions with Galan and others, honing my skills and looking to earn the right to employ my skills. That opportunity finally arrived with the Charter from the Swordlords of Restov and Lord Surtova. Though the start was not without its wrinkles due to the tension between Herne and Fin, the party has since been focused on its tasks and carried them out well.
I have had no serious romantic involvement, and have been told I have an idealized view of women. They are not far wrong, and I understand that not all women live up to that standard. That however does not mean you treat them poorly. They deserve respect.