Where were you born, and what was it like growing up there?
I was born in Minhaven, though it was somewhat smaller then. Fewer buildings, fewer people, and more dangerous. There was no Kinship yet…no law. That was part of what drew men there—the chance to begin a new life in a place too distant to attract the Sovereign’s eye. Most were honest folk pressed under hard circumstances. But some were running from justice they should have had to face. Though the streets were sometimes hazardous, the mountains were just as glorious back then as they are today. When I was not working, I spent much of my time learning their secrets.
How did the Kinship form?
Minhaven might well have remained a lawless place and descended into chaos over time. But as men dug their fortunes out of the mountains, a band of thieves from the west began to make Minhaven its favorite target. We suddenly had a common enemy that united us as a community. A small group of miners who had once been fighters came together to defend themselves and the other miners. More joined them, and the Kinship was born, though much has changed since those early days.
Do/did you have a close relationship with your family?
I confess that I do not remember my mother. She died of an illness when I was very young. I have some scattered, yet fond memory of my father, though he was also taken from us too early. My brother Grindan and I were left alone, and we became closer than most brothers could hope to be. We desperately needed each other, for we had no one else left. He took up my father’s trade as best he could so that we would not starve. When he became ill, I fell into despair, terrified of what might become of me. You understand, I was willing to do anything to keep him with me in this world. Anything at all. And I was too young to realize how dangerous that would prove to be.
Who is your enemy? What makes you enemies?
Braeden, the late Sovereign’s Chief Steward, is my greatest enemy who walks this earth. In my youth, he found my weakness and used it to betray me, and the world with me. He fed me to The Shadow—the greatest enemy of Aviad and all of humankind. That betrayal has left a wound on my soul that I fear shall never heal. I shall not forget his part in it.
What is your greatest fear? How did/will you overcome it?
My greatest fear is that I will lose hope. Without it, the Shadow’s gray veil which still clings to me like a shroud, will only grow stronger. Hope is what drives me to keep fighting, so that I can right the wrongs I’ve done…perhaps even find forgiveness in the end. If I lose hope, I will lose everything that I am, and every good I’ve done would be overturned by the man I would become.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned about life?
To live each moment as though there will not be another.
Who has been the greatest influence in your life? Why?
The men of the Kinship have been my greatest influence, from the time I joined as a wounded, yet ambitious young boy who just wanted to redeem himself. They helped me become more than my pain, and gave my life focus. Without that, no doubt I would have long ago descended into a darkness of the Shadow’s making.
What kind of clothing do you prefer to wear?
Simple trousers and a plain white tunic, though I spend most of my time in armor. It is so well worn that it fits me as comfortably as my own skin.
What was your greatest achievement?
Finally defeating the thieves of the western pass after so many years. Yet it was not my achievement alone, but that of the Kinship as a whole.
What do you regret most in your life? Why?
A group of monks once advised me to go home and sit by my ailing brother’s side, to spend whatever time with him Aviad might grant us. I did not listen, determined instead to change my brother’s fate of my own will. As much as I love my brother, and as much as it pains me to say it, I should have let him die. It would have been a kinder fate for all.
If you had one day left to live, what would you do with your last day?
I would strap on my armor and head into the mountains beyond Minhaven, much like I would any other day. There is no other place I would rather live, or die, than wrapped in the cold beauty of that place which I have known and loved since birth.