Once, not so very long ago, there was a knight. He was not your typical "armor shining so bright that the sun was blinded knight". This was a knight who had been through so many battles that what he was covered in what could barely be classified as armor. Every single inch was bent, battered, and cracked.
He was, however, very skilled at keeping that armor intact. No matter how many blows it suffered or how deadly those blows might have been, the armor still held. It had been repaired, refitted and rebuilt times beyond counting. He had even tried to re-polish it once or twice.
He never ventured far from the lands that he loved. The quiet rivers running swiftly through bright trees reaching for the heavens that were always so far away. The fields and rolling hills that traveled forever into the diminishing horizon. He had no desire to leave these places, the lands where his kith and kin dwelt. These were places that, though his ancestors had only dwelt there for a short time, were his. They were echoes of those land far across the sea that in ages past had harbored the fair elves and sturdy dwarves of legend. Lands where magic coursed through the air and powerful men called to the Elements for aid in times of great need. Lands where dragons had ruled the skies and wars were not fought for land or power, but for love, respect and, as odd as it may seem, to maintain the promise of a perfect world.
Not a perfect world according to some lunatics personal idea of perfection, but the personifications of honor, chivalry, and truth. A world where a man might own nothing but a small patch of land within a swamp. But to that man, the hut was a mighty keep which no foe could ever capture. A world where, no matter how rich or poor he might be, all a man could want was the love of a good woman, a warm hearth and fine meal, and a child or two to carry on his legacy.
The knight had fine friends and an amazing family. Friends that were always nearby with a kind word or a horn of mead when the day had been overwhelming or brutal. Family that never turned him away if he believed that he had failed or disappointed them.
He was not beautiful or charming by the common customs of the world through which he traveled. He was covered in the filth of the roads which he walked, the battles that he had fought. The stains and scratches which adorned his armor could never be removed, never be cleaned away. Many times had he endeavor to save the maidens fair trapped within their towers, guarded by another knight darker and fouler than he. Once in a great while, he might succeed for a time, releasing them from their torment. But, more often than he would admit, he failed.
Each time he succeeded, and even some of the times he failed, he was thanked. The thanks should have been enough. He knew he wasn't worthy of the praise. Only twice had the carapace that had weathered so many blows been breached, and only one of those two blows been truly deadly. Long years did those wounds take in healing, but the scars would ever remain.
Through all of these trials, not one single soul had ever once tried to look beneath the armor. Not one single person had dared to look beneath the broken, battered shield that had so often been lifted against the unyielding storm of the world. To see the little boy within the armor, trying to survive. The little boy who, despite the amazing friends and all-comforting family, was terrified of being alone. The little boy who went to sleep at night and remembered the lives he had endured in ages past. Of the women he had loved and lost. Of fire-hearted Takira, always ready to do battle at a moments notice. Of pure, innocent Arrianna, so full of light and joy. Of cold, cruel, calculating, perfect Aliisza, she of raven hair and dark disposition. Not one single being had tried to heal these wounds.
And all he desired was one who would take him despite these scars. Not to heal them, for many were too deep to ever fully fade, but to take them fully and love him despite of them. To make the pain slowly dissipate until it was little more than a memory. Though whosoever took this burden upon themselves would, and veritably must, accept that the memory of those three would never disappear. This was the curse the Gods had laid upon him, that he should remember those whom he had failed to save throughout the ages.
Now he waits for the Last Battle at the End of Days, when he might at last find peace for his misdeeds and stand beside the All-Father upon the Bifrost, defending the Realm Eternal from those who wish it harm and destruction. He waits for the return of the power of true magic. Of the return of Veloxium, the so-called Demon Dragon of the North, who was his friend and mount in times of war. Of the return of the mighty White Wolf Cirus, his counselor and companion in long nights beneath the ancient trees And to find peace in the arms of a woman who loves him not for his position, wealth, or power. But for the man that he is and the man that he tries to be.