Within Nasskaris there are many nobles; some of them aloof and disdainful of the common citizens and serfs, others more friendly, open and sympathetic to listening to the woes brought before them. But amidst them, there were few more diverse than the family that bore Ramza. The telling of this tale though goes back further, to his parents. One, an elf maiden of almost two-hundred years, warm and kind to the people beholden to her, the other a human lad barely out of his teens, cold and aloof. Their marriage was not one of love or passion, but rather of necessity and politics, seeking to bridge the strife between the elf and human lands.
It was an uneasy truce, and though the couple kept up the appearance that all was well with them, there were often arguments behind closed doors--that the maiden was too forgiving of wrongs, that she did not have the strength of will to make hard decisions, or that the lad, no a virile young man, was as cool as ice and as hard as a rock with no passion or sympathy for anyone but his own poltiical gain and the stability of his domain, preferring what was politically correct over what was just.
It was no wonder, then, that they seldom bedded together, and oftimes they would part ways for a time, the man following his own pursuits among the wenches that filled the taverns and streetwalkers that prowled the streets at night, for he was a man, and as such had needs that were only rarely fulfilled by his wife. He barely made effort at keeping these visits from her knowledge, and few lacked the knowing of his infidelity, though none dared to speak it to her aloud.
It smote her heart and angered her to see him like this, but there was no one she could confide in, having left her own ancestral lands and people to dwell among his. And so she was left distraught and lonely. Time passed, yet finally she made a friend; a half-orc guardsman. The guardsman was an old adventurer who now dwelt within the lord's house for he had long since stopped his wanderings out in the wide world and now his heart longed for a place to call his own, a place to warm himself by a hearthfire without the need to prepare to journey on the morrow. It was he who opened himself to the lady, and oftimes they were deep in conversation of his past deeds, and her own rulings among her own people.
Not much time passed before they fell from enjoying each other's company into a calm acceptance of one another, and shared pleasure in each other's flesh and warmth as well. From this union was born Ramza, though the lord took the babe to be his own son, born from the few times he had bedded his lady, and none disagreed with him for his wrath could be most terrible.
And so Ramza grew, and was trained in letters, figuring, weapons, and magic as any of the nobility should be. Yet there was always an air about him, as though he had a purpose greater than the cold keep within which he dwelled. Time passed and he reached his majority, and then struck out on his own for a time. It was during this wandering that he found his true calling, enacting good upon an unjust and cruel world where people could not defend themselves. It always brought a smile to his face and warmed his heart when he heard the thanks of the common folk after an unsuccessful orc raid and the like.
It was on his travels that he encountered another paladin, Mylla. They both traveled together, fitting well together. Their talk was comfortable, and a camaraderie grew between them. So much so that a deep respect for each other grew between them. Their relationship never went deeper than the clasping of hands or a hug after a nearly mortal situation, at least physically, but together they travelled for a long time and he learned of her just as she learned of him.
She told him of the ship from which she hailed, the Sasskiana, and of the wonders she had seen aboard it. She had bid them goodbye for a time, but soon was the promised time when they would once more dock into a port town in this plane, and she had decided to rejoin them once more. Ramza wished he might join her, but he knew that he had pressing matters to, that he must prepare to become the heir to his father's house.
Finally, the time was coming when they would have to part ways, he to his noble house, and she back to the ship. She agreed to accompany him to his home, for he wished to introduce her to his mother, and she agreed before they set out towards his ancestral home. But all was not as it seemed.
When they reached his home, something was amiss. Blood covered the stone floors and bodies lay strewn upon the cobbles, guards and soldiers he had grown up with, and even serving folk. Rushing into the keep with sword in hand and Mylla at his side, he found his father kneeling atop the body of a recently-slain guardsman, breath ragged and slowly dying of the dozens of wounds received that should have already put him down. A single word snarled at his son passed his lips. "Bastard!" There was so much venom and hate in the word that Ramza reeled back, almost as though it were a blow that might bring him to his knees, but before he could speak a syllable, his father expired, dead at his feet.
A noise reached them, a whimper of fear, and he and Mylla found one survivor, a goat girl who tended one of the flocks upon the property. She relayed to him what had happened, that the old half-orc had finally succumbed to a disease, and only afterwards his lady Mother had divulged to her lord of Ramza's parentage and her own betrayal. She had been the first he had killed in his rage, before going on to slaughter every other person in the keep he could find, continuing to fight on despite the wounds he took from a dozen slashes. She had escaped only because of her quick feet and small form, allowing her to hide in a cupboard and watch helplessly at the rampage.
It smote his heart to hear of it, and more to hear of his mother's act of betrayal. She had spoken of it only after the old guardsman had left this world so that her love would not have to suffer even if the truth were let out. He knew that his father had sired a dozen bastards out in the nearby town at the foot of the keep, and that each one was as conniving and scheming as the next, ready to snatch any advantage possible. And he, who had previously been the rightful heir to his father's land, was in no better position than the others to take possession of the keep and surrounding lands.
And so he left with Mylla. Her words could not lift his dour mood. Finally she was brought to shouting telling him to snap out of it. He lifted heavy eyes to her, red with unshed tears, and begged her to allow him to rejoin her on the ship, for there was nothing left to him here. She argued with him, telling him he should stay and see the keep was properly tended, but he knew in his heart that he had no will to do so, and that he could do no more here in his father's lands. Finally she acquiesed, and took him to see the captain when the ship made land.
It took time, but finally he was accepted into the ship's retinue, to help as he could, and so he joined her crew.
Mylla is a secondary character who's attempting to be the master physician, though she's one level shy of the skill requirements.