Thursday, January 8, 2015

Gaertorin: Growing Up and Finding a Place

As a young boy, I enjoyed playing in the woods. My father, a retired soldier, encouraged me and taught me to hunt at an early age. He wanted me to become a soldier just like him. He rarely spoke of his time during the Chaos War, other than it made him the person he was.

I always loved those hunting trips with my father. One day while tracking a deer we encountered a pair of skeletons. Paralyzed with fear, my father told me to run. The last image I have of my father is him fighting the skeletons. I returned to my mother broken up, and relayed the story. Several neighbors teamed up to dispatch the skeletons if they were still around, retrieve my father's body, and provide a proper burial. I even saw a couple of nobles and generals at his funeral. What had he done to cause them to show up at his funeral?

After the funeral, I could not bring myself to hunt again, and the thought of being in the army was too overwhelming. How could I possibly follow in his footsteps? I continued to live with my mother for the next few years helping around the house, and performing odd jobs for neighbors and friends.

When I was older, I decided I needed to make a life for myself. I ventured off on my own with only a few belongings. While in the woods one night, I felt a presence unlike anything I knew. I packed up my belongings and started walking. I do not know why I went the direction I did, nor did I know where I was going. Early the next morning I found myself in a small town facing a temple to Habbakuk. Sure, I knew who the gods were, but I had never worshiped any of them.

However, I felt an urging to go inside, so I did. When I entered an older priest inquired if I needed any help. I told him my story of how I came to be here, and I saw understanding in his face. He explained that the presence and urging was Habbakuk directing me to the temple. We talked at length about Habbukuk and what he represents. I was intrigued, and asked to stay at the temple. I offered to work for my room and board. The priest warned me that the work would be hard. I was raised having to do many chores, so I told the priest that I could handle a little hard work. Little did I know that for the next three years my days would be filled with cleaning, serving, praying, and more cleaning. In that time I came to know Habbakuk better and even became a priest myself. During this time, I came to accept that death is a part of life, and that my father's death was natural. However, I came to abhor the undead that slaughtered my father, and they are certainly not a natural part of this world.

Many of the other priests would go out looking for new converts and believers, but I never did that. How could I convince someone to start worshiping Habbakuk, when it took his presence to convince me. Besides, I am the son of a soldier, who would listen to me talk the praises of a god that supports a natural cycle of life and death.

Two years later, the War of Souls came to our kingdom. The king implored all who were able-bodied to help. I offered my services as a healer and priest, nothing more. During this time, I provided rites and healing to many soldiers. I became friends with the scouts, as they all seemed to worship Habbakuk. After one particularly bad battle, the captain was short on scouts, and looking for anyone to help. One of the scouts must have mentioned my father's background to him, and my hunting trips. I refused at first pleading that I was a priest and not a soldier. The commander told me that he just wanted me to scout for him, not to fight for him. He badly needed a scouting report, and there was no one else with the skills.

I went on the scouting mission, and while I did not run into anything bad, I found that I could balance my priestly duties with the scouting. I spoke to my captain about going out more and more with the scouting parties. While I always attempt to avoid fighting it is not always possible. I had finally found my place. I spoke with the patriarch of Habbakuk about this and he told me that not all priests serve in a temple. I should serve in the manner that I was called.

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