Bryan Finora was born on October 2nd to Willam and Emina Finora at their farmstead on the outskirts of Helvic. His parents were simple wheat farmers growing crops to sell in Helvic. Bryan's parents never had much, but they tried to live a good and quiet life.
Bryan grew up a small boy and when his sister Tania was born, he became her protector. Upon reaching eight years of age, he began to help his parents on the farm, his father always teaching him the benefits of a hard days work. He also taught Bryan that to enjoy the work he had because doing any job is important and no work is lower than any other.
When Bryan's father went to market in Helvic, Bryan would always want to tag along. He helped his father set up the stall and ran errands for the merchants. Sometimes he would get a copper or silver for his work and he always gave it to his father instead of keeping it for himself.
One day when Bryan was 10, the whole family went to Helvic for a day of shopping. Some mean children were teasing Tania and took her doll. Bryan, even though outnumbered and much smaller than they were came to her rescue and got her doll back, although getting the tar beat out of him in the process. A local priest of Heironeous named Beorgan Bluesword saw the scuffle and noted the boys inherent chivalry and honor in protecting his sister in the face of overwhelming odds. Beorgan was a Sergeant in the church hierarchy and was soon to be selected as the Commander of the Helvic temple. He approached Bryan and praised him for his good deed. Bryan thought Beorgan was a knight of the Lord of Helvic and felt very honored at the praise.
Beorgan asked Bryan if he could meet his parents. Bryan readily accepted and after Beorgan explained what happened they weren't upset over the bruises. Beorgan took Bryan's parents to lunch, but they steadfastly refused to let him pay. Beorgan found Bryan's parents to be very proud of their boy, but had no ambitions for him other than taking over the farm. Beorgan told them about Heironeous and how the church was looking for boys like Bryan who are honest, kind, and honorable to become warriors of the faith. Beorgan said he would teach Bryan how to fight, and one day he would be ordained a Brother of the church. Then Bryan could bring glory and honor to his family and the local region.
Bryan's parents were skeptical and also needed help on the farm. Beorgan understood this and said that Bryan would not have to stay at the temple all the time and he could come home almost every other day to help with the family farm. Beorgan worked very hard to convince Bryan's parents that this was in Bryan's and their own best interest. Beorgan also let them know that if Bryan chose to adventure, he could quite easily bring home wealth that would let them better live their lives.
Bryan's parents told Beorgan that they would think about it and would tell him within the week. Bryan could not stop thinking about one day becoming like Beorgan, a Priest of Heironeous, and bringing home money for his parents so they would not have to work so hard anymore. Bryan's sister thought it was very interesting and they played warriors with sticks very often after that. Bryan's parents talked about Bryan's future while he was out playing with his sister. They understood that Bryan was a fine boy and that he would grow up to be an even finer man. Bryan's father felt a great amount of pride that Bryan was be chosen among all of the other boys in town to become a warrior priest. They decided to let Bryan make his own choice.
On a trip to the market, Bryan's father talked with him and asked if he would like to join the priesthood. He explained that he was very proud and he didn't need to come home so often. He told Bryan that if he accepted, he was to study hard and listen to everything Beorgan said. He also told Bryan that he would be also happy if he decided to not join and help on the farm. Bryan quickly told his father that he wanted to be a priest and help others like he helps his sister. He wanted to be a protector for the town and become someone that they would be proud of. With tears in his eyes, Bryan's father hugged his son and took him to the church. At this time, the church was a simple extension of the town barracks. The church had little money and survived on donations and tithed pay from priests and warriors in the militia.
Beorgan was very pleased with Bryan's decision and accepted him into the priesthood as an acolyte. Bryan said goodbye to his father and started his new life. Bryan's father said he would be back with extra clothes and a little money. Beorgan showed him to a small room with a few other boys of different ages, all trying to become priests. They told him that the work was very hard and some people wash out and join the militia as warriors. Bryan made a promise to himself that he would pass any trials he was given and become a warrior priest.
The boys were the sons of local merchants, farmers, and miners. There were six in all, including Bryan. Bryan was the youngest, newest, and smallest of the group. The boys made him feel very welcome and were quick to get him prepared for life at the church. The boys names were Aaron, Derrik, Patrus, Sean, and Victor.
Life at the church was very hard but not much different than farming. He woke up before dawn and worked out. After breakfast, he performed chores until lunchtime. After lunch he cleaned the dishes and then had weapons practice until dinner. After dinner, he washed the dishes again and was taught to read by Beorgan until bedtime. This routine was repeated for many months. Bryan began to fill out and grow stronger over time. Bryan become very close friends with Sean because they were the closest in age. The first boy to quit was Patrus, but not due to any fault of his own. His father had an accident in the mines and needed time to rest, so Patrus quit to provide an income for his family.
When Bryan was able to return home, he was doted upon by his parents and challenged to a mock duel by his sister. He found out his sister was helping out in the fields and was become quite strong herself, even stronger than him! His skill was the only thing that kept him from being beaten. His sister learned a great deal from Bryan and through his dedication to help her, she decided from that moment that she wanted to become a warrior like her brother.
Bryan continued to work on his studies and after learning how to read, he was able to learn the scriptures and edicts of the church. He learned the code of chivalry, life with honor, and the glory of battle. He also learned of the great enmity with the church of Hextor, Heironious' brother. Bryan and Sean started to share their chores and worked together on their studies.
When both Aaron and Victor turned 18, they were given the final test of ascension into the ranks of Brothers. Each student is given a private personal test that takes them to the limit of their faith. If successful, that student then becomes a priest of Heironeous. After two weeks only Victor returned from his test alive. It was the first time Bryan truly understood that failure in a critical endeavor could mean death. Victor was ordained as a priest and he set out to the north to find adventure and glory.
Both Sean and Bryan performed their tests at the same time. Sean went northeast while Bryan went northwest. Bryan's task was to seek out a man named Erik "The Flame" Redstock and challenge him to a duel. If Bryan succeeded, then he was to bring proof of his deed. Bryan asked local villagers about him and learned that he was a retired warrior living alone in the hills. Traveling there took several days on foot, but Bryan was mentally preparing himself for his task.
When Bryan arrived, he discovered an old man of over 60 years chopping firewood outside a log cabin. He asked if "The Flame" lived nearby and the old man surprised him by saying that he hasn't been called that in a long time. Bryan was suddenly put in a dilemma. If he challenged this old man and hurt him, he would not be serving Heironeous, but his task was to challenge him. Bryan made his decision and told the old man that he was a Acolyte of Heironeous on his test and that he had to challenge him to a duel. The old man laughed very hard and long. He told Bryan to go home and grow up before he went around challenging anyone.
This nearly infuriated Bryan, but he kept his cool. Bryan told him to put his axe away and to get his armor and weapon and meet him on the field of battle. The old man almost doubled over in laughter seeing Bryan trying to give out orders and sound aggressive, but he said "Alright, give me a minute" and went inside his house.
He came out 10 minutes later wearing a suit of red fired chainmail with the livery of Heironeous and a beautifully crafted horseman's mace. The armor fit him perfectly and with it on, he suddenly looked thirty years younger. Bryan almost gave up, but took up his own horseman's mace and Shield and met him in a nearby clearing. Bryan charged the old man, but his great skill belied his age and he neatly sidestepped and gave Bryan a kick in the rear that sent him flying.
Bryan knew that he was facing a difficult and much more skilled opponent. He learned that when facing such an opponent, to look for an opening or weakness in his technique and exploit it. Bryan carefully circled the old man and watched for the right time. Bryan could see that the old man didn't always hold his weapon up and was very guarded about his right side. Bryan went in and tried to stay on his opponent's right side and attack his weapon arm. Bryan used his shield to his advantage to block the old man's attacks instead his mace to save his strength. The old man taunted Bryan telling him that he would fail, and that he did not have the skill to beat him. This time, Bryan did not lose his cool and slowly wore the old man down. After almost twenty minutes of attacking and retreating, the old man didn't move so fast, nor did he hold his weapon very strong. A final swing from Bryan disarmed the old man and the battle was over, but instead of asking for his surrender, Bryan handed his mace back to him. The old man saw Bryan for the chivalric warrior he was and accepted the mace with a smile and a pat on the back.
The old man invited Bryan to his home and let him take a rest and have a drink. The old man formally introduced himself as Knight Commander Erik Redstock of Heironeous. He told Bryan that he was waiting for someone to come and challenge him for a long time, but he felt that Commander Bluesword didn't think anyone was worthy enough. He told Bryan that he used to command the temple in Jurnre and retired here to live out the rest of his life in peace. Bryan's challenge was a welcome reprieve. Before Bryan left, Commander Redstock gave him his gloves as proof of his success. He also told Bryan to keep a level head in a fight and he will always succeed, even against insurmountable odds.
Bryan successfully came back and found that Sean had also returned triumphantly. They were ordained together as Brothers of Heironeous and they both decided to stay in Helvic and continue to serve Commander Bluesword to try to improve the temple and gain a stronger following in the town. Sean came up with the idea to challenge the warriors in town against the dwarves of Silverhold to a day of contests of arms, strength and endurance. It was a fine contest and it made the town a lot of money and brought many more people to the fold of Heironeous. It also created a strong bond between the priests of Heironeous, Moradin, and Clangeddin.
One dwarf that Bryan had the chance to face in the combat ring was a young warrior priest of Clangeddin named Hurgan Stoneblade. Hurgan and Bryan faced off in the early rounds and Hurgan's great strength caused Bryan to be defeated very quickly. After the contest, Bryan asked Hurgan to join him for a few drinks as a way to get to know the one who bested him so fast. Hurgan, never one to turn down a free drink, accepted and they spent the day drinking away, which in hand made Hurgan late and drunk for his next fight. (He still won...)
Bryan decided that he was going to start writing a journal to account for his adventures as soon as something interesting happened so that people could read about the adventures of a priest of Heironeous and perhaps persuade them to lead the life of an adventurer. Bryan left Helvic to walk to Heironeous' temple in Jurnre to see if there were any more things he could learn there. On the way he stopped at the home of Randamis Ambleer, a retired wizard/priest of Rudd. It was there Bryan started his life of adventure!