Here are the words of Grimbrand, called the General for my love of military traditions and due to the inspiration that I draw from famous men of history. I stands at 5'11 and am pale; with piercing ice-blue eyes. My blonde hair is kept short. I doesn't know what became of my father, but my mother was ritualistically slain. It is that final memory of her hanging body that drives my to better myself, and the world.
Grimbrand met the lovely lady Athalein during his first job as a bodyguard. She is a little older than him, by a few years, but she was impressed by the diligence at which he did his job. Though her parents would be distressed to know that she would speak to such a rough young man, she saw good in him - and offered to help him within reason, whenever he asked. Taken aback by such an offer from such a fair lady, Grimbrand happily accepted.
Reflections on your mother
Reflections on your mother.
Mother, why did it have to end that way? You were always so supporting, so kind - I remember how you would always push me ever harder, to overcome my mind, body, and spirit. Sometimes, for the briefest of moments, I would hate you so much for that. Yet after that brief sentiment subsided, I would have an equal and opposite reaction and feel so warm. You didn't push me out of malice, or contempt; you pushed me because you loved me, and you knew the crushing weight of destiny was on my shoulders. I remember when I first started rudimentary tutelage in the art of swordsmanship, under one of Dad's old comrades. He was a brute of a man, Old Aldrick, and sometimes he'd be rough on me too. If I was too slow to counter, or if I hesitated when on the offense - he'd give me a quick rap above the head. That look in your eyes, sadness? Despair? I often wondered at that tender age why you didn't rebuke him, or tell him to be more gentle. I could tell it hurt you. It's taken some time for me to figure it out, but I think I finally have.
Nothing good in this world comes easy, such is the unfortunate condition of all that lives - perhaps it is the price for corporeal form? Everything must be bought with pain. It is through suffering and pain that we carve out our own sense of character, and of our own self-worth. It tests our resolve, so that we do what we must - instead of what doing that which is expedient. That is why though I can barely stand to recall you, after what had happened, I know that I must. While I'll never forget your eyes… those same eyes that I see in the mirror every morning - I can never forget the sight that I awoke to that day. It gives me resolve. The pain I feel every time I make that recollection drives me to try even harder. You'd want me to persevere, even if it hurts - especially when it hurts. I love you Mom, Resquiescat in Pace, for only the dead can ever know peace.
Reflections on your father
Reflections on your Father:
Father, what ever became of you? I remember when I was young, you were always a bit distant. Cold even - in contrast to the warmth of Mother. Though not always so, I recall to this day - not long before you went off to war - you sat next to me and shared with me a horn of ale, chilled from the cold winter air. "Son," you said, "life is treacherous, and the roads we take are often dark and obscure our view of what is ahead of us. No man truly ever knows where he is going. Live well, but never forget to keep your bearings and always do your duty… " at this he had gone into a story about a skirmish, during one of his first campaigns, during the Winter War against an orc tribe, that had been pushed east by a civil war. As a young boy, I was riveted.
"So you see, son. Even though our sentry relief had never shown up - we stayed at our post. Cold, hungry, and unsure of what had happened to our replacements. It turned out, of course, that they'd been ambushed and butchered. However, because were there at that precise time and place we heard the cries of a young woman. Of course, young men are loathe to leave a woman to the depredations of orc, or beast - though to what extent there is a difference betwixt the two, I cannot say.
Sneaking out, quiet and slow, we had found the orcs rear guard. So I sent out "Ogre-Face" Ogmund to get reinforcements and we routed the orcs - taken by surprise from the rear, the main war-band fell apart and was sent to the four winds! And that young woman, whose cries had roused us from our despair and into action? That was your mother, so you see - the Gods love a man who does his duty."
First time in the Town
First time in the Town
It was after that terrible night. I had spent two days walking. At one point in my sojourn I passed by an elf arguing vehemently with a dwarf, but otherwise it had been an uneventful journey. I had recalled that his uncle used to live in Town and was eager to find him - some anchor to hold me into port, someone I could trust. However, upon reaching town on one sunny afternoon I had found that his shop was closed up.
"Excuse me, sir", I had asked an old man milling about in the street "per chance do thee know what has become of the man who used to own this store?" The old man has pondered on it for a moment, as if traversing back in time in his mind.
"Armin Adalholz? No! Adalherz, right?" He answered finally.
"Yes kind sir, what happened to him? He's mine own uncle and I've traveled far to see him"
At this, the old man had frowned "Sir Adalherz ran into a bit of trouble. Apparently there was a disagreement between a lady of the court and some vagabond. When the man smacked her, your uncle interjected himself into the dispute on her behalf. A long story, short - that roguish fellow died in the gutters of the street, trying desperately to keep his intestines from spilling out and crying out to his mother for help. A sad sight to see, my boy, a sad sight indeed. However, it t'wasn't as sad as the day that Sir Adalherz' home caught fire, nary a fortnight later. Some say he escaped, some say he died - all that is truly known is that amidst the ashes lay several bodies, all burnt to a crisp. Some lay strewn about, others appeared to have sought to inflict mortal blows upon one another - even as the house burned about them. What is curious is that it seemed to be several men on either side. Still though, he was declared dead and posthumously knighted for helping that young lady, who claimed that she was being extorted by that ne'er-do-well."
This of course caused me yet more grief, even though it had been years since I had seen Uncle Armin, I could still recall his big bushy beard and his kind blue eyes - the same eyes as my father. I had thanked the man and set off randomly in search of something - I didn't rightly know what. That is when I saw a beautiful young lady, whom I know as Athalein - though it would be another week before fate would let us meet again, I was immediately entranced by the grace at which she moved and her voice as she chatted with another lady. Pangs of hunger, however, drew me back down to earth and I made haste for a tavern seeking shelter for the fast approaching night.
Message to Advisor
Dear Athalein, I was attacked tonight on my way to the tavern! A roguish rapscallion tried to liberate me of my hard-earned coin! Needless to say I refused to surrender my gold unto him, as he did not earn it, nor deserve it. The gent then proceeded to attack me, carrying out his promise to enact violence. I managed to dodge him blow however, thanks to my many hours honing my reflexes, and planted my blade square in his chest. I managed to cut through muscle and sinew, however my sword got stuck rather tightly. It took such an effort to extricate mine own blade that his body was horribly mangled in the process, as I had to plant a boot on his throat and heave with all of my might. Upon release however, there was a horrible crack and a crunching noise and his vertebrae were broken. I've never killed a man before, but I had had no choice.
I learned a lot though, and took what little coin he had carried. I wonder whether it was avarice, or necessity that had driven him to a life of banditry.
Meeting the townsfolk
Meeting the townsfolk has been a most interesting time. Most people seem rather apathetic to myself, which I can certainly understand - however, after the last few years people have started to open up to me. What I have discovered is that everyone has their own story. From the tragic shield master, to the tavern-keep. Most people seem to be rather neutral, but among them are many who either very noble of heart and others whose hearts are blackened by greed, hatred, avarice, and lust.
It seems to me that humanity is rather peculiar, really. We all believe seem to believe in innate goodness, and no matter our creed we all like to believe ourselves to be the epitome of that very good. Well, perhaps not all of course. Some men are either wise enough, or honest enough to know that they fall short of this ideal - whether there really is such a thing, or not is entirely besides the point. So long as mankind continues to live, they will typically seek that which is for their own self-interest. However, so long as the collective ideal of good remains, they shall seek to fulfill those self-interests in ways that most closely align to the collective's conception of what the ideal self is. And where that is not possible, they will seek to either rationalize their way into the parameters of the ideal self, or even bend the bounds of that very same conception.
Consider the be baker, he does not bake his bread out of an altruistic wish to feed the masses, but when he talks about his vocation that is exactly how he will frame it. On the other hand, consider the highwayman, he'll either rationalize to himself that the noble's gold is indeed stolen through taxation, and thus cannot truly be stolen back - thus bending the collective's ideal self - or he'll say that what he does is for his family, this casting himself as an anti-hero. Rare is it that there is a man, or woman with the sheer force of will to forsake the ideal all-together and admit that they do it for self-gain. Paradoxically, these same people who are more real about the nature of their individual selves, are still at the same time less real to the rest of the world. For their intentions are unintelligible to those who believe in the absolute goodness of mankind. To them, the idea of a man killing simply because he likes it, or for a living seems ludicrous, instead they prefer to think about ulterior motives and in doing so try to fit them into their own subjective ideas of how a human can and shall act.
Finding a job
Finding a job was rather easy for me. Having worked on a farm my whole life, I had grown strong from the healthy food and endless work that needed tending. My rudimentary training as a lad had given me the basics of combat skills, which I had honed upon reaching town. My days shepherding sheep also gave me an eye for detail and the patience of a saint. So it was that I had a skillset that was congruent with the needs of one who might require guards. Though I am yet of low station in the world, I have found regular employment guarding the Town Hall, where the local magistrate collects the taxes and many important men and women idle away their days in the business of running the town, or exchange barbs in heated debate. This has earned me enough coin, thankfully, to expand my skills further - so perhaps one day soon I can venture out and find something more fulfilling to do, so that my dear parents - wherever they may be - can look down on me with pride.