I am Arsenio.
My late father gave me the name before I was born.
He died a hero in the war, but he named me after the wise teacher of Rome, Arsenius the Great, who was the desert father of Christianity. He was known to say: "I have often been sorry for having spoken, but never for having held my tongue".
I have learned the basics of sorcery that hard-headed Christians disapproved of, but my mother taught me that although the Lord always favours and protects the ignorant and the lame but always uses the wise and able for His plans.
I do not talk much, but I gather knowledge anywhere and anytime I can. I have read rolls of scribes, studied with the wisest teachers my mother could afford.
She was a strong woman, my mother, God rest her soul, and left me too early, like my father, but now they are together in Heaven, watching over my path that they had chosen for me.
I always listened to my mother and my father - though I only had seen him twice in my life -, for they were wise and noble people, so I will be loyal to their teaching and do my best to make them proud up there.
I am only 16, but the destiny I was prepared for is to rule this land someday. While I was raised a Christian, my mother also taught me to respect others' beliefs as long as they cannot prey on the weak and unfortunate. I have studied with Druids and learned a lot from them; I knew some of the Elves and Dwarves. As my mother taught me, a great ruler of a nation is like the head of a body, where the body is the people. One would always make sure to keep the body healthy and safe, so should a King do the best to protect and care for his people.
"Serve before you rule!" my mother had said. "You have to know all sides of the dice to prevail."
I am young but a proud Paladin. I am known to some. With my sword and shield and my knowledge, I help where I can, when I can, but I also plan to find mates. Comrades, loyal soldiers whom with I can raise this land to peace and prosperity.
A Sentimental Value
Before I left my home, my father's house, my mother's home, I picked up the old shield and sword used to belong to my father when he was my age. I know he would be happy for me to have them.
The protector metal is lighter than what great warriors wield in war and a little smaller, too.
There is no paint on it, and only a crafted cross and partial skull figures. I know the cross represents the protection of our God; the skulls are to impress fear into the enemies souls in close combat while holding it up in defence so the weapon, on the other hand, can strike.
The sword is simple, also smaller and lighter than the one my father used in battle, but its double blades sharpened and could easily cut both ways held in one hand. The craft includes a scull on the handguard, too, making a great match to the shield.
The rest of the hilt is the grip wrapped with black leather, ending with an iron knob that helps with the perfect balance of the sharp two-sided blade with clear signs of age and wear.
The weapon wasn't made for big battles or fights against stronger foes. Still, its decoration, style and the way to wear it visibly may make bandits and thieves reconsider their intention upon encounter, and I could avoid bloodshed.
I bear my sword and shield with pride, for it was my father's and may protect me in this murderous world against those who want to rob, kill, and take.
The streets of the small town are a little muddy from the last rain. I'm out to encounter my Advisor, Cleona the Aristocrat.
After some meal, bath and nap in the tavern, I spent time in the pub with a few patrons and the wenches.
I'm only 16. I am not a boy anymore but not yet a man, so I have to impress pride and walk tall to show my surroundings that I mean business. I bought a couple of rounds of ale, and suddenly they all became familiar with me, even learning my name. Then it was easy to talk, and - although from drunks - I did achieve some respect within a short time there.
I learned a few things that I did not ask about, like there was some challenge, folks happily showed off their skills in, one drunken was yapping something about a Lady Fluke. My focus was on my mission, to find out more about Cleona. And I did.
They told me that she often visits the town's market, she likes to pick her own vegetables and fruits, even though she has servants in her house who could do that. She is never alone, having two formidable warrior soldiers on her side as guards making sure people around her keeping the necessary distance. While she is kind enough, she prefers to stay clear of the unwashed, unclean peasants. These are dark times. One can't know who has what.
I see the market. It wasn't hard to find; I just had to follow the sound of farmers and stand boys shouting out their goods to the townies. It's a pretty lively spot in the town. I see musicians, stage players, dancers, wine maids, and even a villages fool goofing around to the amusement of others.
I decided to find a reasonably quieter corner where I can see well what's going on. I left my shield in my room in the tavern, but I have my sword on my side. It's my right and duty to wear it to let the lookers know I have some weapon knowledge.
Waiting and being idle has never been among my strong skills, and there is no certainty that she will be here today, so I'll wait. I don't know where she lives, only that her estate is somewhere outside of the town.
I don't mind watching the people though. Living most of my life near a small village, a town like this, especially the market, is entertainingly busy.
I see a fire-breather man and another who is juggling things. There is also a woman selling potions as remedies for all kind of needs. There is an open pub some folks drink ale and wine, and there is a large woman wife rotating part of a boar over the fire. They are selling off well-cooked slices of it. I can smell the spiced meat from where I sit. Although I had a lovely meal at the tavern, it makes me crave for some. I have gold, but I won't eat. She could show up at any minute.
It's just a chance, though, because there is no guarantee she will come today, though I was told she comes here nearly daily. I have to see if the day is today. If not, I'll visit the blacksmith to see what he has.
Or perhaps I shouldn't. I know many things, thanks to my mother and the tutors she could afford for my studies, but the more I learn, the more I understand how little I know. I decide to stay and wait, and if she doesn't come, I will return tomorrow and try again.
While watching the people around me, my thoughts are chasing one another, things that I know, things that I remember, things that I hope for, things that I fear, and the lot. Some thoughts cheer me up, some drag me down, and while I sit here, that loop keeps repeating.
Then everything quiets down in my head as I spot a tall, well-dressed woman, as she is looking at the clothes, vegetables, fruits, various merchandise. She stops for a while to watch the stage play, then nodding to one of her guards, who then drops a few coins in the collection box before she keeps walking.
It is her. I know it. I feel a knot in my stomach. Is it because she looks so unattainable? Is it because of the two armed soldiers guarding her? Is it because I fear that she won't like me? I know I have to talk to the lady, so I pull myself together, stand up and start walking towards the woman.
When I get close enough, one of the guards notices me and clearly sees my intention and heading. Then he steps in front of me and stops me.
"Take the other path, lad!" He said in a stern voice, pointing me towards the other side of the market where all the others have been diverted as well.
I have no intention to do as he says.
"I am Arsenio the Paladin," I said proudly. "I must address Cleona the Aristocrat."
The guard is about to say something, and I can tell that he is about to force me to change my course.
"Let him aproach." The voice is coming from behind the soldier.
He wouldn't yield:
"He is armed, Ma'am," he replies.
"Let him aproach." She repeats it in a way that she wouldn't accept any further discussion about it.
While he keeps his eyes on me, he steps aside, and I walk closer to the Advisor.
"Arsenio the Paladin." She says with a soft and caring voice. She is older than me; then again, it's easy to be. "I was told you would seek me but I expected you at my estate. It's clever of you to find me here. It is no coincident, I wager."
"It is not. People like to talk when fresh ale is given to them."
"Isn't that the truth?" She steps closer, and I feel like she is examining my body and soul with her eyes. She smiles but says nothing about what she may have seen or learned by that. "You are wise for your age but we have a lot to talk about."
She gestures to me to walk with, continuing her journey on the market, looking through the goods at each stand. She hands me what she buys, and I hold them for her. I don't know if I should feel honoured or ashamed, but it doesn't matter because I need her more than she needs me. I am to be a king, and I have yet to achieve a lot before seeing a crown on my head.
I, Arsenio am proficient in the Skill known as Run.
Today, I have purchased one of the wooden abodes offered by the Town Builders. Outside the main door of my abode is a wooden plaque that reads, "The Home of Arsenio the Paladin".
Deity of Arsenio
God is everywhere; He is in everything and everyone. We are because He made us. We live because He deeds it, and we die when He calls it.
Faith and prayer are the way to ask and receive, but mind, God is not a genie. God listens and decided if He will help us or just let things play out.
God is not fair by what we know, but He is just by what was, what will be. Understanding God for us is like understanding Sahara for a grain of sand. Unachievable.
Worship of GOD
I am thy humble liegeman, and I follow thee and bow before thee.
God, gaze over my path and give me wisdom, raise me to be a king, help me build a strong nation to serve thee the way I serve thee.
Message to Advisor
To Cleona the Aristocrat
From Arsenio the Paladin
I've been training many for the last few days, but I've run out of gold. Have only 3 left. Nothing to find that pays well, and I cannot travel to other towns. I must search for a well-paying job or servitude for a while to make ends meet.
If you have any wisdom I have not learned yet, please tell me, for I am obliged.