They have sparked my imagination since I was a boy. They were shared with me via my mother through song or the tales my sister would tell me about her adventures. Arlwin’s were the ones I enjoyed the most. They were the most exciting thing in the mind of a small boy made of blown glass.
My mother was often sick, so I wasn’t alone during my days spent indoors. However, I longed for adventure. To be at my sister’s side and to meet those whom she would tell stories about. One individual whom she called a friend, Soletus’Sheldmartin, was my favorite to hear about. One might say I idolized him. The order he served; the Dias Brotherhood was out of some mythical tale.
A sheltered young boy such as I could only dream of being among those elves. My life was an estate house in the countryside of Summerset.
A single event changed my trajectory from one path to the next. And I, a boy of eight, saw the monument of the Dias Brotherhood monastery rising above the wall that protected the town.
A world, told through me from stories, became mine.
I wasn't excited about it at first. My circumstances that led me to the point weren’t of my choosing. I was far from home for the first time in my life. I was alone. My mother, who had been a pillar of my existence, was gone. My father didn’t want me. In boyish mind, I was nothing more than an orphan tossed to the gutter.
I ignored all the monks and priests trying to figure out what to do with my unexpected arrival and choose to cry. I only came with a note penned by my sister and that was soon carried off.
Then I was greeted by a familiar name greeted me. Through the tears I saw in front of me was a young man with eyes like two sunlit peridot and hair the color of a fox's coat. Mien introduced himself like he did her, soft like a breeze and unassuming for someone who was a force of nature. I met legend. Granted, that didn't complete abate my thought about being abandoned. Though being among those who I played as in my rooms helped.
It was decided that Mien would take care of me. And I learned that the stories weren’t like who he was in real life. I expected a mighty chanter and received an easily exasperated young man of an elf who was an anxious mess because I was the king’s son. If I died, it’ll be his head.
That didn’t stop him from being my teacher and taught me to read and write when no one seemed capable. He taught me songs and encouraged my want to perform in front of others. Whenever I was hurt or sick, he would work hard to keep me well. Usually, the one I would find sleeping on the floor beside me or in a chair waiting for me to awaken.
Though one might think it was obligation, but obligation doesn't make you hug someone. It doesn't make you worry yourself to an anxious mess in tears. It doesn't make you protective as a mother bear. And certainly, doesn't make you cry when you must give the boy you took in back to his family.
I love Mien very much. I probably wouldn’t be the man I am if not for him.
Yet this story isn’t just about him.
I can’t start with him. I have to start with my sister’s friend.
I expected to meet him, but I forgot that Mien and he were best friends. So, I got to see a lot of him. Master Sol stood like a giant in the literal of senses. I was a small boy. When we met, I called him by name and that confused him. However, he was easy to spot. Flaxen hair kept in a long-braided tail, dark eyes, and a voice that was both deep and warm.
I knew of his strength and his tenacity. I knew of his fighting prowls. What I didn’t know that he was a loving affectionate elf who became my big brother. He was my playmate, advice giver, and the one to encourage me to do things shouldn’t. He taught me how to be a monk because a chanter like me should be well-rounded. I became a scout because of him. Later I served under him. He was my second warder, and then my first warden. Then I became his equal.
Yet, this story isn’t just about him.
Mien and Master Sol introduced me to two other people of significant influence. Mien led me to Matron Kiao or Sister Kiao at the time. She would watch me from time to time. She filled my head with as much knowledge as she could. I might've lacked the ability to heal, but I could've become a physician with the amount of knowledge she and the infirmary staff taught me. She never wanted to treat me like I was her child, but failed as much as Mien did. She taught me how to use my voice as a chanter and how to treat a lady among several lessons a young prince needed to learn.
And then there was Sol's father, First Warden Oeric. He taught me skills so I wouldn't be a useless male nobling. He taught me things like making a campfire, how to determine the direction you were traveling regardless of the time of day, weather, or terrain. The constellations in the sky and he taught me to use the bow my sister gifted me for my birthday. He also taught me a very important lesson. One without words. That what you are doesn't define you.
So really, this story, no these stories are about them so I can write about myself. This has confused the archive staff because all they wanted was me to write something about myself. A typical thing they ask all Patriarch. You write something for the future. And certainly, I could spend paragraphs writing about me, the town, its current state, and a smattering of personal philosophical thought. However, all my life, I listened to stories. And I feel my story isn’t just about me.
I simply cannot begin where I showed up. No, I must start this tale at the point where it began. And it does with Mien and Master Sol decades ago.
That beginning is simply when they met.
-Patriarch Lord Theris’Heron