Samuel Farmer, a tied off sack slung over his shoulder, walked the narrow path towards his home village. Ten years, it had been, since he had walked this same rutted road away from home never knowing how far he would go. He remembered that day vividly, his drunken father laying into the hide of his back with a knotted cord. His mother crying as blood dripped from her nose and his little sister, tears sliding down her cheeks, begging for her father to stop. He had been thirteen, and had decided that day, that he would not allow his lush of a father hurt any one ever again. But, he was a small child, even for his age, and his father had laughed in his face, turning from his mother, bringing the cord around and laying Samuel out onto the ground, the cord rising in falling, as spittle dripped from his father’s mouth.
After that brutal beating, the last ever from his father, Samuel had dragged himself further down the path. Slowly but surely, recovering enough to walk. Walk he did, out of the town, blood soaking his back, never to return until this moment. Ten years.
What a ten years it had been. It had been hard at first, begging along the sides of the road, scraping just enough coin to eat and sleep under a hedge for the night. For a long while that was his life, but he kept moving forward, looking for, yearning, searching for someone to train him. After six months, he had finally miraculously found himself across the eastern desert, in the city of Res Amalia, capital of Osmandias.
Their he begged, stole, and cheated to survive, taking a few beatings, but giving a few in return, learning the ways of the street. But, by happen stance, he was caught stealing from a temple that belongs to the strange island human that called themselves the Amada. Instead of punishing him, he was given mercy, and made to perform the duties of a trainee monk. Having seen the cloistered religious monks in the Esperian Kingdom, Samuel was extremely hesitant at his new turn of fortune. But, this temple turned out to be a different sort. Instead of heavy wool robe wearing friars spending hours studying over the sacred text, The Amada trained their bodies as living conduits to the elemental forces the prayed to. He learned their ways, and slowly mastered them. His very body, becoming a silent weapon.
After nine years, he bid his brothers goodbye, and travelled west, back across the desert, and finally onto this path, leading to his father’s farm. As he approached the sturdy fence, he notice a young dark haired woman tending vegetables nearby. She glanced up, her eyes barely making a short contact, and then looking back down at the garden. He had known that face, it was his . . .
“Ten years is a long time, brother.” The woman said, voice neutral, not betraying any surprise, as she continued to work with her hands.
“Rita” he said, more surprised than she appeared to be, “you have grown?”
A wry smile finally crossed her face that had let the slightest chuckle escape. “What was supposed to happen?” she asked, her voice taking a slight mocking tone “I was supposed to still be nine?”
Taken slightly aback from her joking tone, he recoiled. This was not how it was supposed to be. She was supposed to be angry or happy, not just neutral about his arrival. He looked around, swallowing hard, determined to continue on. “Look, Rita, I know I left, I abandoned Mother and you to our father, and their hasn’t been a moment that I have not wished to be back here to protect you two. I promise you, that he will never lay a hand on you again.”
She stood there, silent for a very long time, as if the words would not come to her. After what felt like an eternity, she reached out and hugged her brother quickly, before settling back on her heels. “Oh brother,” she said as sadness tinted her words. “It is hard to tell you this, but Mother passed two years back, the red fever. But, she had been happy, and it came on sudden and she did not suffer.”
She saw the sudden sadness in Samuel’s eyes, and then the look of concern that replaced it. “As for father.” She said “He has not been a threat since the day after you left. He had gotten extremely drunk when you ran away, stumbled into Huntro Miller’s bullpen. Received a good kick to his noggin. Now a days, he doesn’t say much. He moves around, and takes care of himself, as much as he can. But, his mind is that of a babe. I take care of him, and our farm. Have so since mother died and I was seventeen.”
Samuel, let the words settle over him. All he had worked for, his entire purpose, to grow strong enough to protect his family, it was for nothing.
Concern slowly creased her face “Do you wish to see him?”
“No” Samuel said morosely, “I do not wish that. I am sorry I left.”
“Don’t be, Sammy” Rita said, the childhood nickname stinging his heart, “He went after you the hardest, and mother always said she was happy you had gone. She liked to imagine all the adventures that you had, and she and I would make up stories late into the night. She missed you, but always hoped you had gone on to better things. And, as for me. I own the family farm, and make a good living doing it too. Father had always squandered our earnings on whiskey and gambling. I have been able to save. Even bought Freti Fernfeilds land last year. I have several workers who work the fields, and even a few suitors who are trying to impress me. I am doing alright. But, What of you. How are you Sammy? Where have you been?”
Samuel looked around, noticing for the first time how maintained the land looked. The fence he had been leaning on, once old and rotten, now was solid whitewash, new and sturdy. The crops growing in were organized and several people were tending them as he watched. He looked again at his sister, slight pride feeling his face. “I am great sister. If you have time, I will tell you a tale, like mother used to tell to you, but it will be true, and full of mystery.”
Rita smiled, taking her brothers hand as she started off toward the house. “I would love to hear it brother.”
So Samuel had finally come home and told his sister of his adventures with the Amada, his travels across the desert, begging on the street. The last ten years spilled forth. And she told him more of the farm, and of her life as a simple farmer.
But, he could not stay to long. The quick glimpses he caught, of a childlike creature with his father’s face unnerved him. His father, who spent time playing in the dirt and chasing the chickens in the yard, was at peace it seemed. The man, who had beaten him to the edge of his life, who was a constant for of anger. That man, had found a child’s innocent peace. Samuel had watched his father play, chasing a cat through the yard, barking like a dog, and his heart had sank. He realized then, that he had forgiven the man, and hoped the man remained as happy as he was right now, playing in the dirt.
A week later, Samuel left as suddenly as he had come back, knowing his sister would be ok, and he set out on the road. It was another long adventure, one that began with a chance meeting with an oddly dressed orc and a stern face elf. But, it was the beginning of his new family.