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Posted: Nov 2 2016, 12:17 PM
Twas the life in the plush regions of the northern Italian Peninsula, he was the last of four brothers born to a mixed family… yet he was the light in his Mother’s eyes, the murmur of her heart. And she had named him, Palomedes… Alas, no one spoke of the years before Piacenza… no one spoke of the events before his birth… before their new home… only what lie ahead under the auspices of Rome.
But life could not be hidden forever…. For the invaders came, and knocked upon the gates of Rome herself… and in answer, many answered to protect their homes. But one of those answering the call was a Sarakenoi warrior, born in the sands of the southern Mediterranean Sea, who fought valiantly against the invaders, not only for Rome, but for his family’s freedom… In his homeland, his name was Ahmred, but the Roman called him Calistophedes; a mounted warrior skilled in dealing death to the enemy… and with him rode three sons… each with the skill of the father. But at home, remained the wife of Calistophedes, Syrilla, the daughter of a Roman merchant, and his youngest son, a child named Palomedes.
In one last battle against the invading Huns, just north of the Po River, Calistophedes heart went awry when the throes of battle took his three older sons, and he sustained a mortal wound to the chest…
As the Huns were defeated north of the Po River, the wounded warrior and the bodies of his three sons returned home. And as his mother wept grieviously, Palomedes, now at age 10, a simple page to the Roman General of the northern region, now held his father in his arms, watching the life flow from his wounds. Though wounds of victory, the young Palomedes found no solace with such a prize. And though the General ensured Calistophedes’ sole heir the meager spoils of war awarded by parental efforts in battle, it meant nothing to the lad. And Death would once again spread its ugly wings as he watched his mother die from influenza only months after losing his father and three brothers.
Evenings were long… and lonely in the General’s tents… though lavish as they were, it was not his home… and the General, despite his pleasantness toward the boy, found no solace in the large man’s kindness. In those long nights, Palomedes remembered his father’s stories of Constantinople, the sands of his homeland, and the stories of Britannia… that land of barbarians that Rome could not defeat… the will of the people that never faltered despite the oppression Rome imposed.
He remembered the paternal stories about a man, larger than life, about Artorius Castus, or Arthur…part Roman, part Briton… part of a legacy that was Britannia… that Roman Commander and his Sarmatian Knights, the sword he wielded named Excalibur, which protected the man, the deeds he and his Knights accomplished, and the victories they tallied together.
Under the care of the Roman General, Palomedes had old Saracen tutors to teach him the best of his father’s world… and Roman tutors to further his education and skills of combat. But Palomedes felt that his father could not be wrong about Arthur, his motives, and his heart… and the goodness that flowed from it. So in honor of his father, Palomedes beseeched his General to grant his first assignment to the Isle of Britannia… to follow the infamous Sarmatians across the breadth of the Roman Empire.
Against all better faux-parental judgement, the Roman General, as a military commander, fulfilled the lad’s odd request, with one simple caveat – the lad would first return to the land of his people, to experience their ways, and their style of combat. The General then assigned a Saracen mentor, and protector, for the lad… then made arrangements for his arduous passage to his homeland… and upon completion of his training, to the far-flung province of Britannia, the land of blue demons.
So the young lad, at the young age of near 12, was sent to the lands of the Saracen…