Stamus Contra Malum: 1013 YE
Former Thrall turned Champion of Ammonar
Lawful Human Paladin of Ammonar
Plate Armor, Shield, Lance, Sword
The smith had been toiling at his forge all day when Damian arrived to pick up the nails. The Castilian of the temple had sent him to “fetch them” like he was an obedient dog sent to retrieve a stick. Damien had been working at the temple of the Sun God for about a year. He had made his way there after fleeing the orphanage he had been sentenced to after his parents had been killed by a band of drunken mercenaries. He remembers the day vividly.
Six drunken enforcers of the Jarl arrived demanding food and wine. His father told them to leave and they leader of the group responded by smashing a piece of crockery against his head. The situation turned violently ugly after that. They held Damien fast as they gutted his father, then tied him to a chair and forced him to watch as each took a turn with his mother before slitting her throat. They left him tied to the chair, as they fastened it to one of the horses and began dragging him across the field. The chair didn’t last long, and neither did Damian as the two bounced through the fields. The chair shattered against a tree ejecting Damian down an embankment where he tumbled over roots, rocks and briars mercifully coming to rest against an ancient oak. His head slammed against the trunk, the world spun violently and slowly faded to black.
He awoke on a ship in chains. He watched the Danelaw disappear behind them as an elderly woman tended to his injuries. He was bought and sold three times before ending up as the property of an evil man named Denaly. Denaly owned an orphanage which was a sad and miserable place. It was also Damien’s new home. The years crawled by and the abuses he and the other children suffered at the hands of the orphanage keepers was relentless. Beatings, forced labor, prostitution, and starvation were the daily routine. Through it all, he survived. He grew fast, the body of a child matured into a sturdy frame covered with a powerful build.
One night, as the master came through lashing out at the children and selecting those for the evening’s debauchery, he could stand it no more. He struck the master with a wooden slop bucket and bolted for the door. He made it to the street before a sharp blow to the back of his head brought him to his knees. His vision blurred and he felt himself falling. It was then that the vision came to him for the second time. The first was in the woods after striking the tree. He remembers laying on his back, and as the world turned to grey a figure stepped out of the sun and reached for him. This time the sun appeared in the night. A figure, bathed in light, knelt by him telling him to rise and meet his destiny. “As you command my lord,” he managed to squeak before blacking out.
Because of what had transpired in the street the orphanage was cleaned up, the proprietors arrested and flogged, and the children were made wards of the empire. Damian, who was twelve at the time, was given a job at the Temple of Ammonar as a stable boy and messenger. He performed his duties with zeal and efficiency, but he felt that he was destined for more. After all, Ammonar himself had told him to, rise and meet your destiny or fate or something along those lines, he told himself often.
The blacksmith had given him two sacks of nails. The one in his left hand were seconds, good for light work but not much else. When he got back to the temple the Castilian instructed him to hang a large metal sun above the entrance to his chambers. Damien tried to tell him that he had mixed up the bags of nails and was not sure of which nail to use, but the Castilian grew irritated and ordered him, “In the name of Ammonar,” to hang the symbol. Damien did as he was instructed.
A few days later Damien was leaving the Castilian’s office when a sudden gust of wind slammed the door behind him. His choice of nails was poor as the shock of the door closing and the inferior quality of the iron caused them to bend dumping the symbol on Damien’s head. As he lay on the floor, blood streaming down his face he saw, once again, a figure in a blinding light.
“Dedicate yourself to me Damien and I will guide you. You will lead my crusade, you Damien will be my Temple Knight!”
“Yes, my lord,” Damien gurgled as unconsciousness took hold.
When he awoke he told those who had gathered what Ammonar had told him. Damien was stunned when they began to laugh.
“The Gods don’t speak to mortal’s boy!” Chided one.
“Especially orphans who smell of horse dung!” spat another.
“Heresy boy! You speak heresy!” Barked a third.
The quips burned him like a flame, but he continued to espouse what he had heard. It took the high priest and the threat of cleansing by fire that finally silence him. I do dedicate myself to you Lord Ammonar, I will be your champion. I will not fail you! This oath he swore to himself as he was carted off to the infirmary.
As the years went by he became an accomplished horseman and would take any opportunity to learn the sword. He still professed to speak with Ammonar, but most ignored his claims, attributing it to mental illness. His destiny came calling one stormy day. The high priest, after a vocal tongue lashing by Damian following an incident where he had been thrown from a horse had enough of Damien’s “heresy,” and put him to the street. Damien was sixteen.
He fled to the woods. The winter was cruel that year and he was dying the slow death of starvation. He was chilled to the bone; each step was a struggle. He stumbled and fell. As he lay on the frozen ground, Ammonar came to him. The clouds parted slightly and a shaft of golden light shone upon his face as a figure, bathed in that light appeared before him.
Ivan, that was the name he gave to Damien, nursed him to health. When the spring thaws came Damian was ready to answer the call of the Sun God. Ivan was a hermit. He had also answered Ammonar’s call and after many years of doing the god’s just bidding he opted for seclusion instead of the constant jeers of those who just could not understand. It was Ivan who trained Damian in the words of Ammonar. It was Ivan who made Damian a deadly swordsman. It was Ivan who gifted Damien the skill of the lance. One night, as they sat around the fire, Ivan excused himself and returned with a trunk and something wrapped in oil cloth.
“This will serve you well Damien. Take my armor and be Ammonar’s light. Take my sword and be Ammonar’s justice. Take this lance and be Ammonar’s champion.” The old man motioned for Damien to kneel, and the young man did as he was instructed. Ivan drew a gleaming sword from its sheath and tapped Damien on each shoulder and his head with its pristine blade speaking these words, “In the name of Ammonar, the lightbringer, the law giver, the Lord of the Dawn, I dub thee Sir Damien, Knight of the Temple. As there can be only one, I pass on to you those powers bestowed upon me.” The elder man sheathed the sword and grasped Damien by the shoulders. A surge of energy coursed through him and he felt the fires of righteousness lite and burn hot within him. Damien thanked the old man as the two shared a flagon of wine.
Ivan passed during the night. Damien buried him under a large chestnut tree near the river. He saddled Maximus, a large white roan he had rescued from some undead two years prior, and headed out into the world. He was on a mission. Ammonar has commanded him to find and kill, the Demon.