The Obsidian Crown
To all whom it may concern, I have begun to feel my age more and more each day. I can see death on the horizon, waiting to take me to whatever place I have earned for myself. I fear death will take me before I reach home, and I have resolved myself to pass on with no regrets. So I have begun to briefly catalogue my life, both my mistakes and accomplishments. For any who find this in my tent after I have passed on, I ask you do not pity me. For though my life is full of sadness and regret, I have lived a full life, and I would never trade in any of it.
It all started, I suppose, when I was born. I wasn’t born into noble lineage, infact my parents were both just a couple of farmers, scrounging around each year to earn just enough to feed themselves and myself. Everyone around me expected nothing more than for me to become a farmer as well. After all, my father was a farmer, my grandfather was a farmer, and even my great grandfather spent his entire life tilling the fields. But I grew up with ambition. I wanted to be something bigger than just a farmer, I wanted to be… something. I honestly didn’t know what I wanted with life, but I knew it wasn’t what I currently had. No adults believed in me though, even my own parents would always tell me about how I would never be able to get farther in life. A peasant will never become anything more than a peasant. My dreams would likely have been crushed during my childhood if it hadn’t been for the children around me. I was a natural leader, even then, and whenever we played the children always wanted me for their team because of how I won every game I participated in. They always called me smart, and said childish things about how if I tried at it I could easily become something big. So I decided I would wait until the opportunity presented itself. Something that would allow me to become the big thing I knew I was destined for. And that was how my childhood passed.
I eventually came across the one thing I knew would get me to the places above where I was. It was the army, when they came across town recruiting anyone who was fit to join, most men hid, unable to bear with the thought of leaving their families for what was potentially going to be the rest of their short lives. My family demanded I do the same, they wouldn’t have me leaving off on some fools errand to die a nameless death. They said if I went then I had no place to return too. I left without ever looking back. In some ways I think my parents had helped me. With no place to return to, I was left with only going forward. We were sent marching after some neighboring countries army, whom had just declared war upon our own country. After a quick rundown I was much too scrawny to battle on the front lines, so they gave me the position of runner, taking instructions from the front lines back to the command tent. I knew my current contribution to the force was small but I bide my time until I saw an opportunity to enter a position of leadership. I was identified for my seemingly constant supply of energy, and how thoughtful I was outside of battle. So they promoted me to leader of a squad of soldiers. Of course I may talk about this in only a few sentences, but I would love to remark that just getting to this position took me years of effort and challenge to achieve. Now, I was squad leader, and our armies general had thrown us into battle against the main force of the enemy army, we were vastly outgunned, and it seemed inevitable that we would all be wiped out. Despite this our foolish general demanded we keep fighting, unwilling to accept retreating even if the alternative meant every one of his soldiers deaths. I was angry at him, but I kept behind him at all times, unwilling to rebel even against the most suicidal of orders. As I was coming back from a particularly gruesome engagement between my unit and a force of cavalry of the enemies I was approached by a figure in a cloak. He spoke honeyed words of my abilities in battle, and encouraged me to take charge of even more than what I had been given. With a final movement he handed me a walking stick, seemingly ordinary, and when questioned to it’s importance, the hooded man simply grinned and disappeared with a flick of his hand. Now quite confused, I continued to the generals tent, wishing to inform him of our units losses when I came across a scene of complete chaos. Everyone was running around with scrolls, and people were barking orders but nobody was listening. The only thing I could gain from the chaos was that the general was killed, and some hooded man had done it. I could feel my hands trembling around my newly gained walking stick, and I slowly walked forward, jumping onto the nearest table and stamping my staff onto the ground before bellowing a single word. “QUIET!” I yelled. I still find it amazing my voice boomed over the entire command tents noises, and in a single instant everyone else was quiet, watching me stand over them with curiosity in their eyes. I suddenly felt a bit sheepish having every eye on me, but I knew I couldn’t show it. So without a single moment’s hesitation I began barking out commands, and organizing the commanders around me. Spectacularly enough they all began to listen. As I look back upon that moment, I think what they needed right then was for someone to fill the role that had suddenly become vacant, and lucky me, I was the closest thing to a leader they saw.at that moment. I wasn’t able to retreat out forces, to many units had already been committed to battle against the enemy. But for some reason the walking stick I used seemed to invigorate me as I moved. I issued orders to the army, and before long reports began coming back of unprecedented success on the battlefield. We began winning on all fronts, and in one short night I had turned the battle into our favor. The day after we received news of the enemy retreating. With this single battle, the enemies main force had been forced to retreat and we had won the war. I returned to the countries capital as a hero. Everyone loved me, and I was given a my own house near the main building, I had become an advisor to the king himself. I had finally become something big.
My life during peacetime was one of great happiness. I had met my love, surprisingly enough in a brothel owner. Ruth, she was a smart woman, with strong opinions. She didn’t like me for my new found status, she liked me for me, and I loved her for it. Only about 6 months after we met, we married, lovingly producing a single child, a baby boy. I raised him with thoughts of glory and valor. From the minute he could walk, I knew that he would become the strongest, smartest man I had ever met. These were some of the most magical years of my life, I had an amazing life. But what happened next was inevitable. The Orcs to the east were beginning to mass beside our borders, and the king needed me to help repel their invasion. I was a good soldier, and I become general of the main army in charge of repelling the Orcs advance. But instead of joining the army alone, I had with me my son, John, who wanted to become a man of my station the same way I had, by climbing up the ranks.
So began the great Orc wars. I lead the main army against the incursion of green skins, and as I had in the previous campaign I found great success. I repelled attack after attack, and the times were going well for me. My men had become battle hardened veterans to combat, able to strike down countless Orcs before sucummbing to their own wounds. John was climbing his way steadily up the ranks until near the end of the campaign he became one of my military advisors, proving to be about as successful at battle tactics as I had. It all changed when the Orcs identified me as a main target. One day, I was patrolling the front lines with my battle advisors when we were ambushed by a contingent of Orcs given the exact orders to take me out. I probably would have died if it weren’t for my battle advisers, each of them took a stand to defend me, and each one of them died at the hands of the Orcs. Only when I had managed to kill the last attacker was I fully aware of our losses. Every one of my dearest friends had died, and John, he had been killed as well. It’s hard writing about what I did after that. But lets just say that I disappeared from the army for two days, and that the bodies of my son, and friends, are buried on top of a tall hill, with only a single buried sword to mark their graves. When I returned to my army I found it in shambles, the Orcs had attack during my absence, and with no one to command them they had fallen into chaos. I tried to take command after that, but rather than be allowed a chance to bring my army back from the abyss, I was taken in chains to the capital city. I was brought before a judge who declared me guilty of abandoning my post and condemning hundreds of men to die. The answer of this crime would be death. With only a few days I had fallen from the greatest hero in the kingdom to someone hated by all. I was once again, only just a peasant. ‘
As my death day came closer I was approached by a man who called himself Mortlock, he offered me a chance to live. If I was to join his sons army as an advisor, trained him to become the general he needed to be. Then I would be given full pardon for all of my crimes. But I was also left with an ultimatum, if given the chance I would have to sacrifice myself to save Daniels life, for it was only thanks to him I still had a life. So I accepted, and with further ado I was sent to train a young runt who had been charged with commanding a few thousand men. I had a great many adventures with him and the soldiers I familiarized myself with, but it is growing late, and I must get some rest. So that story is for another time.’