A young man's dark start to life in a cruel world of violence and magic.
It is the beatings that come to mind when I think of my beginnings. The sharp sting of the priest’s sticks, the crunching thud of the paladin’s fist. I made the mistake, only once, of not showing sufficient suffering and humility when being hit. Very rarely was there a reason other than malicious whim; I know that now. But a child can know no different.
They told me I was unwanted, left at the doorstep of the god of mercy by parents that will suffer everlasting torment for inflicting me upon these humble servants of. I remember kind words only from pilgrims and worshipers, inquiring into the nature of my many bruises and cuts. I never answered them truthfully, instead spewing forth tales of being saved from an evil, brutal life by the benevolence of the gods servant’s, who all the while paid careful attention to my words, making sure my story never deviated from the one given to me.
Those days are mostly a blur of repetition. My work would start before dawn, with a morning prayer, before scrubbing the marble floor of the vast chapel room under the silent, judgemental gaze of the massive, intricately detailed statues of Him, giant columns rising up with cold strength and grace. The priests had deemed me not worthy to clean the holy carvings; that job was left to the novices, for which I was silently thankful. I finish my duties in the great hall as quickly as I could to escape the stares. Then it was off to the stables and training yard behind the cathedral. The knights training in the yard would often beat me with their wooden training swords as I raked the sand and polished their weapons and armour. Some were crueller than others, tying me to the quintain, making passes at me with their lances. I never had the courage to watch the charge, but I could not block out the thundering hooves of the warhorses. They mounted knight would gallop past, the point of his lance whistling past my ear. The knights would fall into fits of laughter at my yelps of fear and soiled breeches.
One knight was especially cruel. His name was Matthias. Other than the head priest, Franco, his is the only name I can remember from that time. I am not sure why this is. Other than the nameless, faceless horde of pilgrims that would pass through the doors once a year to pardon themselves of all their selfish behaviour, they were the only ones who ever bothered to acknowledge my existence. I bore the brunt of these men’s base frustrations. I was the weakest.