A Chivalric (Mis)Adventure
"'Then who among us shall bear this missive to the King -- that his Light might save us in this, our darkest hour?' Asked the knights, despairing. 'The road is long and fraught with peril, with Daemons ahead and behind and upon either side, such that no man can neither enter nor escape this place. Surely, 'tis all for naught -- for any man who tries will surely die and be Accursed!' And each and all of them breathed a hopeless sigh, for not a one of the knights dared to take upon himself this impossible task.
Yet lo and behold, before their number, one stood -- not a knight, tested by battle, but a mere boy -- a page of the King, who bore neither blessing to shield him nor sword with which to smite his foes. Yet unarmed and unarmored, he alone stood where all men cowered and feared to rise.
'I will go,' he said -- and his eyes shone as brightly as a thousand Stars. 'For the strength of my arm is the weakest among us all, and will scarcely be missed, should I fail in this endeavor. But I'll wager my life that I'll not fail -- for the strength of my heart is second to none.'
And the knights cheered, and all of them gathered round to praise this boy, who would take upon himself the quest which none before him dared to venture. And they each took from themselves a gift, to help him on his way -- one his silvery mail, another a plumed helm, a third his sharp sword, and the last a sturdy shield to set before himself, that neither man nor Daemon could do him harm. And they asked of him his name, and he said that it was Julien, the King's page. And thenceforth they did swear that all men should know him as Ser Julien, bravest of the knights of Grayle."
"...Julian Baker?" The knight repeated, staring down at her with such an intense and suspicious expression that she probably should have been terrified. But she wasn't. Of course she wasn't -- because Julien was the name of the bravest of knights, and it was her name now.
Or, well... Julian. She couldn't just spell it the same way, obviously. If she did that, everybody reading the history books would get really confused.
"And you're sure that's not some kind of clever alias?"
"Ehehehe... Why would you think that, ser?" She asked, running a hand through her messy mop of blonde hair in a manner that could almost have been described as "nervous." Except she wasn't nervous at all. That twitching was just... anticipation! Excitement! Definitely not fear -- particularly not fear that she'd end up having her cover blown before she even made it through the gate. She really didn't want to have to walk all the way back across King's Bridge on an empty stomach... Particularly not when there wasn't much prospect of filling said stomach, either, unless she succeeded here.
...But when all else failed, she could only smile. And in the face of that stupefying, dopey grin, the supervisor eventually relented and allowed her through -- though not before repeatedly questioning her on who she was and where she came from, no matter how many times she gave him the same answers.
Name? Julian Baker!
Hailing from? The eastern border regions!
Which border? Eh, just pick one -- They're all kinda over there in that same general direction.
Family background? Obviously, the second son of a baker!
Could she bake? Of course not -- why do you think I'm here?
Why a knight specifically, though? Because I want to be a hero!
This rough exchange repeated itself at least five times before he just gave up, signed her in, and allowed her entrance.
And so it was that, on a cool and misty Grayle morning, bathed in the wispy fog that rose up from the Viridian River and blanketed King's Bridge, one small young "boy" successfully infiltrated the growing throng that entered into the castle's training grounds, and assembled themselves around the square foundation of a large and storied arena -- one in which they would all soon fight to secure the road to their dreams. And though that road would be long and fraught with peril...
Julian Baker would wager her life, as her namesake had done before her, that she could -- and would -- see it through to its end.