Second View: Once upon a time?
I don't remember all that much about my childhood. I know I was happy, and that my father and sister loved me very much. My memories of my mother are rather hazy. She was there, and then she was gone. Oakvale was a happy town, with kind neighbors and bustling commerce.
I remember the day when everything changed. That I remember quite well. It was my sister's birthday, and I was off to earn some gold pieces to buy her a present. I chased a bully away from a small boy that day, and I remember being acutely aware of my choices at that moment. I could have joined in the bullying, but my father always taught me to protect those weaker than me. Oh how those words would ring true throughout my life.
Then they came. The raiders. Evil bandits bent on death and destruction, and no one ? no matter how innocent ? would stand before them as they ripped through my humble town with their arrows and steel. I remember being terrified, the hamlet burning before my eyes, like some pre-cognizant vision of the Underworld. I looked for my sister and my mother, but the raiders had taken them. I was so small; nothing I could do would help them. Then I saw my father. He was still and lifeless on the ground near our once happy home. I wept over his body, not believing that my kind and good father was gone. Then a bandit gazed upon me. I was paralyzed with fear, and surely doomed as he raced towards me with drawn sword, arm raised for the killing blow. Then ? miraculously - I was saved. The man with the marked face had slaughtered the raider. Then he took my hand, leading me away from the only life I'd ever known?.
After that my life was no longer my own. I was taken to the Heroes Guild, and introduced to the Guild Master. From that point on, I was trained in the art of war. I would learn everything a hero needs to champion the innocent, and to take what the world of Albion had to offer. My roommate Whisper trained with me through much of my adolescent years, and we would come to face each other in the circle when we reached adulthood. I was taught to respect the riddle of steel, the stick I practiced with as a child replaced by mighty Broadswords, Battle Axes and Maces. I also learned the powers of Will at the Guild, and as my strength as a swordsman grew, so did my grasp over the source of magic.
By the time I was 18 years of age I'd earned the moniker of ?Chicken Chaser?, likely because of my guilty pleasure punting barnyard foul around the fields. Though humorous, few would laugh when they encountered me, my exploits having become known throughout the lands after I left the guild to make my mark on the world. They would clap for me when I entered town, and cheer me on in battle. Chicken Chaser gave way to Gladiator, and Ranger. As my renown grew, so did my legend.
Now I walk the wilds of Albion as a conqueror -- a creator, a savior, a friend, and an ally. I've seen sights that would make the average man's blood run cold. I have battled bandits, and felt the delicious bite of revenge coursing through me whenever I ran my cold steel through another evil raider. I've seen the Undead, rising from the ground beneath my feet. I've faced the wild Balverine - foul, scuttling beasts with slavering jaws and blood red eyes. I've been a protector, and a thief. A lover, a fighter, a gladiator?.a King.
I've walked through Headsman's Hill, and seen the cages that await the unfortunate. I've walked through Lynchfield Graveyard, and felt the chill wind on my neck. I've walked through the dark marshes, and faced what awaited me there. I've walked this world, to protect those who cannot protect themselves, always aware of the seductive whisper of evil that beckons me.
I've seen the Arena, and heard the bloodlust of the crowd. I've seen the innocent fall, and evil grow. I've seen blood, and pain. I've seen beauty as well, and kindness. But always there is the constant, sibilant voice of the wicked, inviting me to take the easy path. It will not win. It will not possess me.
I have seen what makes a hero, and what makes a coward. I will choose the path of a hero?.always.