[i]“The first thing I remember is the sound of prayer and hymn…And though I can’t remember the exact words or line, it brings me comfort to know that prayer and hymn will be the last thing I hear. All comes full circle, by His will.”[/i]
Valbrand grew up within the grey, bare and fortress-like walls of the great monastery of Tuath, the beating yet faltering heart of the faith for the lands surrounding its bleak buildings, and for most of his life, he knew no place but its familiar corridors and dark vaults, its high rooftops and the hills and valleys that surrounded it. He had no mother, yet dozens of brothers of all ages, some young, young enough to have only recently joined the monastery, some ancient, their beards tinged with gray and white and their skin like parchment. His father was the leader of the monastery, though that title did not mean what it meant to most children. It was a term of respect, more than endearment, of obedience and distance, more so than lineage and bloodline. Relations were distant, disciplined, cast through the filter and lens of religious fraternity and deference…Valbrand was the child of them all, but if anything, he was a son of the monastery itself more than any specific person within it.
The future Blade Knight was a quiet, respectful child during most of his early years, complaining little of the chores and the silence, taking to his limited duties and lessons with a singular focus, learning the words to prayer and hymn quickly, taking their messages to heart first and later learning to recognize them within the books and scrolls of the monastery library. He grew quickly, in faith, learning and stature, a youth that sprouted like a young tree, sharing his time between his education, the chores demanded of him and the playing with the few children that joined the monastery, from nearby nobles, or the village close by. Something of a playmate, but always different and distant at the same time, raised in a world that wasn’t entirely comparable to theirs. Ahead in some ways, behind in so many others. He met … during this time, remembering him a little fondly…But distance has changed the memory, making truth hard to discern. It’s a distant memory, a face he can barely remember. So many others passed after. Children and men, coming to study the truth…But in the end, they could all leave…And he remained.
Around the time where Valbrand grew from child nearer to man, it became clear that the life of the monastery would not sate him indefinitely. He had no talent for the craftsmanship and meditative work of the monks, the copying and placement of magnificently drawn reliefs in text. As he grew older, a passion came over the usually stern and solid child, a kind of call to action that grew hard to control by men used to their religious peace. Punishment proved an inefficient tool to quell the young man’s passion, as it often involved more of the long, boring stretches of self-reflection, reading of texts and time alone. It was set to create a tension that ran deep, as Valbrand was stubborn, passionate, filled with zeal but not cut out for life at the monastery. He lacked purpose and a release for his more passionate side.
It was luck or perhaps destiny that one of the brothers, come a few years before from the capital, had been a Blade knight, having laid his sword aside after a lifetime of service. He recognized the capacity for conflict in Valbrand, taking the young man under his wing while relentlessly lobbying the young man to be transferred to the order of the Blade Knights, housed in another part of the monastery.
Being moved from one order to another was a massive change for Valbrand, from the insular monks to the equally private order of blades meant a change of world, despite their living under the same large roof. Still, the military discipline, the mixture of the martial and religious, it fit him like a glove and Valbrand took to it with the same passion that still burns in him today. He has recently completed his training, becoming a blade knight in truth and has been sent from the monastery to perform him service.
Comes from Gouvran