Lars Von Kreig
Lars Von Krieg never knew his parents. Growing up in the temple of Hemidall of Leda’s largest city, his earliest memories were taking lessons from the clerics, stealing bits of food from the cooks, chasing stray cats from the temple yard, and pushing a broom as occasional punishment. When he got to the age of about seven, Lars gradually pieced together that he’d been abandoned at the temple by his mother as an infant. Eventually he understood the ramifications of this- he was definitely a bastard, and very probably the unintended consequence of the world’s oldest profession. No matter. Growing up in the temple, Lars had seen all manner of decrepitude. Homeless men often slept on piles of hay, with the indulgence of the stablemaster, and the clerics would often sit the local drunks down in a quiet room with a jug of water. When young Lars asked the clerics why they let these dirty and obscene creatures into the temple, the clerics told him that it was better that they swore and passed out under Hemidall’s roof than collapsing in their own filth in the streets.
Growing up, Lars often assumed that he would eventually become a cleric. Up until he was about thirteen he said things like “when I’m a cleric…” and such. Eventually, though, he was overtaken by wanderlust, boredom, and curiosity, and ran away from his adopted home. He didn’t have a clear reason, really. He was thirteen years old. He wandered for some time from town to town, washing dishes in taverns and sometimes stealing in order to survive. Most people didn’t give him any trouble, but one day a drunken man decided to have some fun with him. He was gathering dishes off the tables of an inn, and felt something soft and wet fall into his hair. He realized that it was a small hunk of bread, dripping with beer, and in the corner a red-nosed man was laughing at him. The main pulled off another bit of bread, soaked it in his drink, and flung it at the boy. The missile hit him on his lower neck, and fell inside his collar. The man whooped stupidly, drunk enough that such simple sport warranted such a guffaw. He slapped his knees and readied another.
Without thinking much, Lars took up a tankard, and smashed it into the drunk’s face. The entire common room seemed to stop, and stared at him. Lars withdrew the tankard, raised his arm, and hit the man again and again, until his face was a bloody mess. That night, the inn’s owner beat him severly, threw him onto the street, and told him never to return. Lars, weirdly, had enjoyed the experiece. He knew that the man had been an ass, that flicking food onto a serving boy was uncalled for. He tried to feel sorry, but didn’t. That night, he collapsed in a stable without asking the owner if he could stay. That morning, he found an old man standing above him, asking him how on earth he’d gotten so bloody, and why he was in his stable. Lars, not having enough energy to lie, told him the truth. The man hoisted him up- he was surprisingly strong for such an old, gray fellow, and told him to get cleaned up. The old man, as it turned out, was a retired paladin named Victor Von Krieg who now made his living as a blacksmith. Victor had, in his youth ridden on several missions in service of the Church of Hemidall. Victor had been to Lars’ temple before, and had passing familiarity with a few of the clerics who resided there. Victor attributed to providence the fact that Lars had ended up in his stable, and sent word to the major temple that their boy was safe. Lars exhibited a great deal of curiosity about the old man’s war career and weaponry, and Victor was happy to oblige him, ruminating fondly about when he’d faced down and slain an Orc cheiftan, about the time he and his company were outnumbered five to one by feral shifting wolf-people, and about adventuring in the Moratz Jungle and the Stormhammer Mountains. He taught Lars how to hold a sword, ride a horse and don armor. In return, Lars shoed and groomed horses, cleaned the stable, and learned to make simple things on the forge.
This continued for seven years until Lars, one day, found Victor slumped over a book. The old man died in his armchair, reading a historical account. It was up to Lars to arrange for burial, and to go through all of his things. As he cleaned out the old man’s desk, he found a curiously carved box. In it was a small amulet with a note. It read: “Lars- if you have found this, it means that I have rejoined Hemidall after a lifetime of service. Do what you will with the rest of my possessions, but it is very important that you have this. Victor.” Except for the amulet, Lars kept none of the old knight’s things. He did not know where to go for direction, but he knew that he was not destined to be a cleric. He would serve, yes, and aide others, yes, but he would do it with a sword in his hand and a horse beneath him, as old Victor did. Leaving his mentor behind, Lars returned to the city of his birth, finding the temple much the same as it was seven years before, and announced that he wished to become a paladin.
Lars is now twenty years old, an initiate paladin, and often hangs out in taverns hoping to find groups of trustworthy adventurers.