Thy story is that of Aelfred (Ale-fred), presently self proclaimed, though destined to be the Savior of these great however injust lands, truly.
Contained herein pages rests the totality of life, from the beginning as far as thee can remember.
I, Aelfred the Savior, born of 16 season cycles past, open these chapters with a vow of righteous vengeance on the injustices of this world. I shall lay waste to all evil I encounter, bring light to moments of darkness, and stand strong as I may as a bastion of order in a sea of chaos. I declare that all those who oppose me stand only to defend their own selfish interests or misconstrued ideals that ultimately benefit Evil. Diligently, I shall strike them all down in time, whether physically or figuratively.
My mother, recently passed by means of this world's injustice, was a fair and loving half-elf of local renown. She was well-established as a resident of The Town, moved here years ago by my human father after his first campaign in a land I am too unfamiliar with. They settled into a residence on the outskirts, by a forest that reminded mother of her homeland. They thought it far enough away from the ne'er-do-wells of town that may harbor hatred for any race but humans themself. I fear that it was not enough. Whatever the reason for the scorching of my home, I hold no doubt my mother will be sorely missed by our friends within The Town when I deliver them the dreadful news.
May you rest in peace, for Mother, I swear revenge on your behalf.
I, apparent as a half-elf, am actually a quarter-elf by the logic of my mother and father's lineages. I understand little of familial traits, but it seems that certain elven traits, like my dully pointed ears, are much harder to remove from a bloodline once they have been introduced. I have begun to show many signs of my humanness in my young adult age, including recently budding facial and body hair. I hope with time and age, I will blend into human society better, and be passable as a mere human with odd ears.
Indeed, this should be manageable, as my most defining features are fairly average. My hair is a common earthly brown of length that just barely covers my ears. My eyes are a lighter brown, like that of scorched sand with specklings of copper coins. My skin is a light complexion akin to milk with exotic spices for a sweetened flavor.
As my mother always said, I have an "athletic'' build. Though my muscles are not particularly large, I am more fit and able-bodied than almost any other of my age. I often enjoyed climbing trees and scaling our house to sit on the wood slat roof when I was a child. In stature, I stand near the same height of a large workhorse, or about a head above that of a dairy cow's. All considered, I believe I have a healthy but exceptionally common appearance.
I know much for my young age, but am intelligent enough to know I know nothing at all yet. I am a learned reader, and have spent my recent years reading almost any script I can put my hands on. Theses of grand strategy, articles on siege mechanics, and excerpts of tactical maneuver recordings never fail to seize my interest. I enjoy imagining the great battles articulated within.
I have also spent as much time as possible talking to veterans, adventurers, and The Town guardsmen about their experiences when they give me the time of day. I understand well that their wisdom will prevent me from repeating their failures. I hope to use my collective knowledge to one day lead a growing host of great warriors in conquest of land I may call my own.
For now, I would term myself a well trained "bowman" and a sufficient long knife wielder, all thanks to my mother. Where she grew up, she had to live off the land on occasion. Despite our well-off state, mother insisted on the importance of my learning of hunting and skinning just as she did. At least once a fortnight she would take me into the forest with her and we would hunt a variety of wild game. Thank the heavens she did, for I will now use the skills of foraging, hunting, and skinning to survive and make a wage good enough to at least sustain myself. I hope I actually learned enough from her, but only time will tell.
In truth though, I want to learn the mythical art of a "spell-sword," and become sufficient with using magic to augment my capable combat abilities. Up till now, that has not been possible, as I have lacked a mentor in the magical arts.
My first significant order of business in my quest to create a new World Order will be to find this great magical mentor and apprentice under them, whether he or her. I will grow a network of contacts from the mentor's own contacts, and my growing magical abilities will no doubt be useful to royal courts across the land. By studying martial and magical arts diligently, continually growing my network of assets, and contracting myself and my work out under an apprenticeship that benefits my mentor financially, I suspect opportunities to collect power in all its forms will rapidly abound. Alliances will be made and alliances will be broken from these contacts, as long as they benefit me and do not create immutable enemies when broken.
A Sentimental Value
I have not seen my father in quite some time, and am not entirely all too sure of his exact whereabouts in life. As I understand from Mother, he is still on campaign.
I fear I'd barely recognize him were I to ever see him again. For this reason, I rescued his portrait during the razing of my familial home.
I will search for him when possible. I pray he is still of this realm with me.
As I was walking through the Town today, I was approached by two imposing guardsmen who demanded I come with them at once. I was obviously intimidated and frightened by this. I did not believe I had broken any laws or infringed on the rights of a wealthy landowner whilst conducting my trapping. Before I could voice my concerns another individual, behind my sight, placed a sack over my head and they bound my hands! As I was about to scream for help one of the guardsmen warned in a growling voice "Keep quiet or I'll do it for you!"
I was thrown in the back of a covered cart and moved down the Town streets for a brief period of time before they moved me into a building and I heard a door slam behind us. Through the burlap sack I heard them strike flames to light lanterns as they moved me further into the unknown location. With my whole body shaking in fear, they sat me in a chair. As I made out the sound of a chair in front of me being raked across the floor, I heard a gentle yet firm voice.
"I apologize that fate has brought us to meet under these circumstances, Aelfred."
The burlap sack was removed from my head and a guard unbound my hands. Immediately, I looked around at my surroundings. I was in a dark windowless room, minimally lit by a handful of lanterns. Behind me were two guards by the door we had entered, and directly beside me stood another.
Before me sat an unusually sturdy and tall human woman of likely but not more than twice my age. Her arm chair was as large and imposing as she was, near resembling the throne of a petty king. Her hair was a short and fiery red like that of autumn leaves. Her eyes, a vibrant contrasting green like that of spring grass after a refreshing rain. Her face was thin and feminine sculpted, with light but evident stress lines from years of constant concern. A barely perceivable scar of many years past ran fully along the right side of her face, from her chin to forehead. She wore traditional military dress with embroidered epaulettes designating her as some officer of caliber.
She continued speaking.
"I am Rageneida, Captain of the Guard of the Town. And you, Aelfred, are out of place."
Despite my bewilderment, I had regained most of my wits by this point. I simply returned her a most puzzled look for everything. Rageneida perceptively determined immediately what I was asking her.
"I served as a soldier under your father's leadership nearly a dozen years ago. I have been watching you for some time the last month. It was difficult to not notice you the moment you walked into Town. You both have the same eyes, did you know that?" I continued my puzzled look as she went on. "I have taken it upon myself to watch over you when possible. The moment I learned you were in town alone, I dispatched a detachment of men to check on your mother. Aelfred, you have my sincerest condolences."
Rageneida stood, and produced an odd lustrous token from a small pouch tied to her waist. Her height was so great that she would have to duck were the door any lower.
"Again, I am sorry we had to meet this way. The Guard is subject to political disputes and accusations of corruption just like any other government entity in the Town. I have taken these precautions today to avoid any possible accusations of favoritism. However, I wish not to speak with you about that."
Rageneida reached out her hand to give me the oddly shaped token. I accepted it, reaching out my own to feel the surprisingly hefty weight of the silver bauble, not much larger around than a chicken's egg. On both faces the octagonal token bore the visage of a rearing horned bull, trampling a lone wolf below and gutting a vulture above.
"Should you ever find yourself in need of my aid, present my seal to a local Town guard and they will escort you to me. A word of caution, my seal will only give you access to a meeting with me. I cannot directly help you out of trouble should you break any laws in my Town." I pocketed the seal, making a mental note of its immense importance.
Finally, I built the courage to speak.
"Thank you, Rageneida. You knew my father?!" I inquired enthusiastically. Rageneida smiled coyly, appearing to remember a sentimental moment from ages passed.
"Far too well once. But that is a story for another time. I must be going, for this Town will not protect itself."
Rageneida gestured her fingers to the 3 guards in the dimly lit room of the otherwise abandoned building, save for the two chairs of the meeting. Without a word they extinguished all the lanterns except one behind me, nearest the door. In a hasteful but deliberate parade each exited in single file. The door slammed shut.
Rageneida put a sizable but soft hand on my shoulder.
"Aelfred, be careful. This Town is full of danger if you go looking for it." She walked to the door. "Wait here for a moment before you leave. Also, be a dear and turn this lantern out, will you?" She winked as the door closed carefully behind her."
I sat in the darkness of the meeting room thinking hard about what had just transpired.
'The town guard was watching me?'
'Rageneida knew my father?'
'Are the politics of the Town really so severe as to warrant a cloak and dagger meeting??'
I determined that one thing was certain, and that was that this Captain Rageneida would no doubt prove an invaluable asset to me for years to come.
Message to Advisor
During my first day in town after my month long contract of labor I, wandered about with my hard earned wages. I learned more about the Town today than I have in the rest of my lifetime! I wandered the market, collecting reasonably priced and inevitably necessary adventurers gear. I visited every shop and landmark in town that would permit me through their doors. I found a cheap but supple pair of leather gloves in the market, I bought a sturdy pair of leather boots from the Cobbler, a firm yet reasonably priced metal helmet from the helm maker, and a bow and dagger from the local weapon smith. Essential tools of the trade for any ambitious individual suspecting they may be placing themself in a degree of danger soon.
I didn't spend my time and coin focusing on just material possessions either. I made sure to learn a few critical skills to benefit me as well. My first stop in bettering myself was the library, where I learned about just a handful of the many monsters and creatures of the land near and far.
Most concerning, I read of a phantom fungus that may be found in the dark forests. The Phantom Fungi is not a monster, but perhaps the most deadly invisible adversary of this realm. Breathing the spores will afflict a creature with an incurable bronchitis that leads to death if not treated. Much worse, only the dwarves of the east know the treatment method, and should one become afflicted, they have limited time to acquire such a lifelong treatment method from a Master Dwarf.
I also studied the underappreciated art of running today. No doubt, I will find myself running far and often. Such is the importance of saving ones hide in a pinch, I will likely seek to become a skilled expert in this endeavor before I purse much of anything else! What is a Ruler of Kings if they cannot even lead a valiant charge or a tactical withdraw? Likely trampled under the feet of one greater than they!
Of the second day, I was exhausted from the previous days' eventfulness. I sought out the Town Physician and rested under his care and pamperment to assure my good health for the future.
On the third day, that is of today, I spent all my time at the Town Body guild, training none other than my running! I made leaps and bounds in my efforts today, seeing my abilities improve near doubly over what I was capable of just two days ago. I suspect it will not take more than a few more days before I shall be able to brag myself a true expert in expedited foot travel endeavors.
Reflections On Your Mother
A strange woman appeared to me in my sleep tonight.
She encouraged me to write a "Reflection on my Mother."
My dearest mother, I do miss thee so. I miss the smell of your cooking in the morning. I miss the hugs you once gave so well. I wish I could wake from the life and find it just a nightmare.
May I relive my memories in the afterlife with you again someday.
Rest in peace Mother.
Message to Advisor
Kindest Captain Rageneida,
Oh my how quickly the time has passed. We close very near my 17th year of this plane. I am ashamed to admit I barely noticed how easily I lost track of Father Time.
Thus, also draws near the anniversary of my dearest Mother's death. May perhaps you can accompany me to her marker stone when the day comes? I have not been since it was set, and if I may confide in you, I do not yet think I have the soul to find her silence alone.
I find myself indisposed to ask another friend, for I have neglected to nurture a branch with any other. This past year I have buried myself deep within the halls of the Physical Development guild. I have been running, climbing, rolling, dodging, and jumping through every obstacle at every hour of every day, save only to consume thy nutrients and conduct thee required duty of slumber. Though I find myself so much more physically prepared than just a mere year ago, I likewise am no further from the demons of my past than when I started my rigorous training.
Maychance, I have been attempting to escape from the inavoidable?
I think this year I shall seek out a means to address thine tattered soul within.