Gradd of Dark Ages
(let us make note that 'Astrid' means 'Divine Strength' in the Welsh tongue; it is a girls name)
*A parchment scroll is delivered to the doorstep of one, Mrs. Vireyda NoName-Caliburn, who resides in the village of Rucesion.*
To my beloved wife, Vireyda,
I thank my God always concerning you, for the grace of Deoch, which was given me in his name. I have written you these letters of my life for the sole purpose that you could finally understand and accept me as the man that I am. For that is all I am, a humble man with nothing more to offer you than my own life in offering of my love for you. For it is boundless and without limits. Not even all of Temuair could hold within it my love for you! So let me begin my story for you, so that you may know the man.
The night was fraught with perils, as they usually were in Astrid. As the rains came pouring down, seemingly endless, I sat upon the ground, holding tight to me my mother, as if to keep her safe. Her palid features now cold and pale. My mother, my dear mother, she was dead. And I had murdered her. Or did I? At the time, I had no sense over my own life. Nothing came true to me anymore. My dreams all but shattered. All life was but an illusion, a trick of the gods, to toy with my life for their own fun (of course, I was ignorant of what the gods were about at the time). Or so I had thought. But perhaps this is getting ahead of the story, my wife. Perhaps I should start from the beginning, so that you may gain a better understanding of the man you married...
I was born a bastard in Soumi, during the Summer before Deoch 14, as the child of Fiona Caliburn. A Priestess of the Deoch Temple, and devote follower. She was a loving and kind-hearted mother, but not afraid to discipline me when I did something wrong. She spent most of her time out of the home, tending to her duties as a Priestess of the Faith, usually leaving me home alone. I understood well my mother's intentions for leaving me home, I felt she was trying to wean me, to make me grow dependent only on myself and nobody else. And each morning, she would leave me a note telling me what my duties were for the day before I could do anything of my own. Though, at the time, I felt she neglected me and wanted to rid of me so that she could go about her daily business. But to this day, I will always love my mother and think otherwise of how she raised me.
I had aspired to be many great thing; a poet; a writer of the romantics and tales of adventure; a jester and a fool before a King. Or more commonly known as a Bard. At times, while my mother was away, I would skip my chores and sit beneath the tree outside our home and just dream away the day. I was a rather aloof young boy, never to be one to play with the other children. Though quite often, I would find myself along side Bertil, our local Fae. Listening to her babble on about Faeries and the Aisling Spark. This so intrigued me. However, let us begin when the disaster struck.
My father: there is not much for me to say about him. For I never knew the man! For sixteen Deochs of my life, I never heard anything about him, even when I constantly bothered my mother to tell me of him. She seemed to sadden each time I brought the subject up. And I knew not why. But upon my sixteenth Deoch as a boy, I finally met the man who dared to call me his son.
The night it happened was a typical night at my home. Though the weather was blustery. My mother had just finished with dinner, and we sat at the table eating whole-heartedly. She talked about her day at the temple, and told me many of her adventurer pain. My world felt shattered at what I had just done. My eyes rolled open only to find myself staring into the eyes of my mother. Tears rolled down my eyes at my realization of it all. I got up onto my knees, ignoring the pouring rains and thunder crackling. I untied my mother, then brought her close to me, cuddling her head in my lab, and kissing her face as I cried.
She knew she was dying, the man had beaten her to badly, and she had no power of mind to summon any spells. It chilled me to hold her cold, bloodied body. She was dying too slowly, and I saw the pain in her eyes. Oh, the anguish and sorrow. In one night my life was changed; my mother taken from me, and my father found out to be an animal. I slowly drew up the dagger I found on my father, showing it to my mother who merely nodded lightly. I shut my eyes tight, and thrust the blade into her chest. She died almost instantly, thank Deoch. I cried, shaking my fist to the skies. Screaming in anger to the gods up above who let my mother be murdered.
The rest of that night was but a blur to me. The next thing I remembered was waking up just outside of Mileth, in the East Woodlands, with my father's dagger in my hand, and my tattered clothes on me. A man stood over me, staring down into my eyes. He introduced himself as Riyle. Then proceeded to make sure that I was all right. After much time, he asked me if I was heading to the Temple of Choosing. I knew what that was, from my mother's tales. And after a moment, I nodded my head in confirmation. He bade me to follow him, and thus I did.
As we entered, I saw a beautiful lady, her red hair long and wavy. I could not help but blush as I stared into her pretty face. She spoke in a warm voice, asking me if I was ready to take the Trial. I nodded timidly, and a flash of light flickered about me. I found myself in a new room, and proceeded to walk into the next. Riyle at my back, telling me that he'd be next to me all the way. I felt pain like no other creep into my body, but I did not fall back. Riyle continued to whisper words of encouragement to me as I heard words coming to my mind. I knew my path. And I would not be detoured. A Warrior I would be, a conqueror and a mighty man. I did not want events to conquer others as it did me the night before, so thus I would be the conqueror before the evil could make its threat. I was brought before the mighty Ceannladair. He spoke to me with a booming voice, asking me if this was my chosen path. And again, I nodded timidly, before he spoke to Riyle. I was a Warrior.
From then on, Riyle taught me the ways of the Warrior. Honor is the most important thing for a warrior; as honor will lead to glory, he said. And I believed him. I listened to every word he spoke, and lived by them from that day on. Eventually, I had grown an 'amnesia' of that fateful night in Astrid. But I seemingly found myself always hunting within Astrid's bounds. And always I felt compelled or called to go there. From then on, I looked to the future and fought bravely for my mother, always. Fighting in her honor, until the day I met you.
Ah, the memories of you. When you came upon me for the first time, it was on my way to Astrid. It was love at first sight, and yet I could not discern my feelings for you. You were a wild cat, but the smile on your face warmed me from within. And as we talked to each other, the more I found myself falling in love with you. You were everything I had dreamed of as a boy, in those days of dreaming beneath that old Oak Tree. And the spark in your eyes reminded me of that Spark I saw in my mother's eyes whenever she would come home.
My wife, this is the story to how I became an Aisling Warrior with the Spark. The more fear ye hold me in, the safer ye are. I never want what happened to my mother to happen to you. And I promise you that when we have children, I shall always be there to help you raise them. I honor and worship you over all, even over Deoch. Perhaps how I became an Acolyte of Deoch is for another story. So I shall save that for some other time. And perhaps I shall speak of Astrid in more detail as well. My lady of Astrid.
With all of my love,
Gradd Caliburn, your Saint of Astrid.