Kilinan (prime)

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Kilinan E'Thrias

I was born in a land far from the realms of Elanthia. My father, a swordsman and blacksmith by trade, left his profession when he met my mother and moved to a small plot of land in the wilderness to live out the rest of his life in the peace and happiness he had finally found. I was born a few years later and grew to young adulthood under their proud guidance. My father taught me what he knew of the blacksmith's trade, as well as his skill in blade mother tempered these lessons with her own brand of profession; a caring heart and courteous mind. Then, in the summer of my 14th year, all that was changed forever.

My father and I were out in the fields, tilling and removing the rocks that would impede our summer planting. Our laughter drifted back to my mother, who would poke her head from the cottage we lived in every so often to smile and wave as she went about her own routines of the day. All at once, I felt a curious trembling in the earth under my feet and turned my eyes to my father, who obviously sensed it too. It wasn't simply my imagination. We both turned our eyes to the north, watching as a smudge of grey smoke snaked its way into view, the trembling becoming louder and more pronounced. My mother eventually appeared from the doorway of the cottage yet again, her face clouded with concern.

As the trembling became a low rumble, my father and I took to our heels as one, speeding our way back across the fields to our home, ushering my mother inside. Just as the door was shut, I cast a glance over my shoulder to see what was creating this eerie sound and feeling...and what I saw chilled my blood. Topping the north rise roughly a mile from where we stood, were no less than 30 dark-clad figures...all on horseback, their shouts echoing through the valley, weapons gleaming in the sun. No standard flew from their lance points and it was clear by their pace that they came not for glory or the honors of battle; they came only for blood.

After seeing my mother into the root cellar, her face ashen, both my father and I kissed her gently, whispering our love before he went to the mantle and brought down our blades, buckling them securely around our waists as the timbers of the cottage began to shake with the approach of the nameless warriors. My father said little, aside from reminding me to hold dear all he had taught me, never to lose sight of what I knew to be right and wrong. One lesson of his burned clearly in my mind at that moment, as I recall it now; the ideal that each time I drew my think not of what I was killing, but what I was allowing to live. With that thought alone, I drew my sword, slowly, from its scabbard...lifting it in a silent salute to the man whom I owed these values to. My father only smiled and lifted his blade in return. He knew, in that moment, he had taught his son well.

With that, we returned to the door of the cottage, my father yanking it open. The dark warriors were well-across our fields by this time...close enough that we could see the sunlight glinting from the buckles of their leather armor...hellbent on reaching the only structure they could see; our home. Raising our voices together in a battle cry, father and son went to meet them, our own blades held high. With all the dust, the cries of the dying and the flash of steel that followed, much of the rest is a blur to me, even today. The last thing I remember was unhorsing one of the raiders as I slashed in under his attack, then something heavy hit the back of my skull...and darkness swallowed me.

I awoke sometime later, although how long exactly it was impossible to tell. My hair was matted to the back of my head by my own blood...and the sickly-sweet, coppery stench of it was all around me, mingled with the scent of burning flesh and wood. Shoving off the body of the warrior I had slain, I got shakily to my feet...and beheld the nightmare scene which has haunted my dreams ever since. The raiders were gone...leaving behind only the bodies of the fallen and utter destruction in their wake. Our home lay in smoldering ruin, only one wall still standing...the rest collapsed and burnt beyond recognition. My sword clutched in numb fingers, I wandered the destruction...calling out time and again for my mother and father, but to no avail.

My father's body I found partially buried under no less than 6 of the dark warriors...testament to the sheer tenacity of his soldierly days. Although tears stung my eyes as I did so, I dug him free of the foul prison, proud in the fact that he had made these men pay dearly for their honor-less desires. My mother was no less tearful a reunion. She was still within the ruined hulk of our home, trapped in the root cellar as it was burned around her...but not a single dark form lay with her. For that reason alone, I gave thanks to the gods as I dug her body free. The last words she had known in this world had been those of my father and I... the last gesture felt, one given in love from the two men who meant most to her in life.

Buried as best I could, I sat there beside the graves for quite some time, grieving and wondering what was to come next. Where was I to go? What was I to do? I had no family...only my blade and my wits, but suddenly, that became enough. As the sun shattered the grey clouds above my head, I stood and drew my sword once more, lifting in it a silent farewell. I swore an oath to myself with that gesture; to always honor the memory of the two people who had given me this life...this purpose...this spirit. As long as I lived, no matter where I was to go, they would be with me every time my blade left its sheath. And, when my time comes to join them, they will know me in the same way...entering the afterlife with my blade held high and honor in my heart.