It happened when I was 17 years old.
My twin sister and I lived with our parents on a wheat farm. Farm life was all we know, just the simple life of sowing, harvesting, animal husbandry, and waiting out the cold winters. Our father taught us how to hunt and fight well enough to fend off wolves and other such threats to out animals, but not much else. It was peaceful existance.
Well..it WAS peaceful…
One day while I was tending to the horses, I heard Mother's terrible scream coming from the fields. I took off to see what was wrong, running blindly through the tall wheat. I came out on the other side and there, on the ground, was her limp, bloody body, torn apart. Father stood over her, holding a woodcutting axe defensively between him and her killers. My sister was there, wielding a pitchfork, terrified of the creatures before her.
Goblins…two of them. And a wolf, the largest I had ever seen. From its jaws, I saw the shredded remains of Mother's dress. In a rage, I grabbed the nearest thing I could use as a weapon: my father's scythe leaning against a fence post.
Wielding the scythe, I ran past Father and, with a roar, heaved the blade towards the nearest goblin. The tip entered the goblin's head, tearing it in half at the jaw. The body stood there without the top half of its head for a moment before collapsing. Father, concerned for my safety, turned his attention to me, and from the wolf, for a split second.
The wolf lunged, latched on to Father's throat, and ripped it out. As Father gasped and gurgled on the ground, the wolf turned to me, blood dripping from its maw.
"You're next, boy," it growled.
I froze. A worg?! Fear ran down my spine like an icy finger. There was no way I could kill this thing. I watched helplessly as Father twitched on the ground. We are all gonna die, I thought.
My sister's sudden scream snapped me out of my paralysis. The worg looked to her with sadistic glee as the other goblin knocked the pitchfork out of her hands. She backed up against a tree, cornered by the vicious little beast.
The worg barked an order in some foul language. The goblin nodded and advanced with his dagger. In a panic, my sister thrust her hands in front of her and screamed. Without warning, fire erupted from her outstretched hands. The goblin shrieked in pain as the flames consumed him. He fell to the ground, a burnt, twisted corpse. My sister looked at her hands with wonder.
The worg stared in disbelief. "A sorceress?!" it gasped.
I managed to look away from my sister to notice the worg's attention was on her. With a mighty swing, I brought the scythe down into the worg's skull. The blade went cleanly through, pinning the wolf to the ground, killing it instantly. The force of the blow splintered the shaft of the scythe. I tossed the now useless tool aside and rushed to Father's side, but he was already gone.
We buried our parents on a ridge overlooking the farm. Even though my sister and I were twins, I was born first, and custom dictated that I inherit the farm. But as I stood there, looking down at the farm where I had spent my entire life, I realized that I had lost my interest in that life. The look on my sister's face showed she felt the same. After all, she had discovered a power within her, and she wanted answers, answers a farm would never give.
A few weeks later, I sold the farm and all of the animals, except a pair of horses. I split the gold evenly with my sister, and with a final and heart-wrenching goodbye, we went our seperate ways. She headed to an arcane college in the East she heard about from some adventurers in town, where she hoped to further understand what was happening to her. I have not seen her since.
I, on the other hand, had other plans.
Every night, in my dreams, I relived that horrible day. And every night, it ignited a fire within me, a yearning to make sure that never happened to anyone ever again. The dreams always ended the same way: a mighty castle rising in the North, a bright light shining within. Feeling that this was a sign, I went north…
…and found the castle.
It was a school for paladins.
And I signed up.
I was the only person from a peasant upbringing enrolled in the training program. Most of the others came from wealthy families (compared to me, at least). Almost immediately, I was given the moniker Farmer by the other trainees. Whether they meant it in a light-hearted manner or not, I ignored the barbs. I was on a mission, and I could not care less what the other students thought of me.
I took to the program quickly, as I was already fit and lean from a life of toil. Though I learned to use a multitude of weapons, none of them felt quite right. I lost more sparring matches than I won, a fact my fellow students reminded me of often. Then, one day, I had an idea.
I went to the local weaponsmith and told him my idea. He was intrigued and agreed to do it for 320 gold pieces and it would be ready inside a month. It was a fair portion of my remaining funds from my sale of the farm, but I agreed. He took some quick measurments of my arms and sent me on my way.
And right on time, it was ready.
A scythe, reinforced for battle, exquisite filigree on the blade and shaft. It gleamed in the sunlight as he handed it to me. I grabbed the handles. It felt so natural, like an extension of myself.
"A weapon like that needs a name," the weaponsmith said. "It's your choice, of course, but if I may make a suggestion?"
"Please," I said, not taking my eyes off the polished blade.
"Harvester," he said with a grin.
"Harvester…" I repeated. "Yes…I like it."
The other students laughed as I brought my new weapon to practice that afternoon. "What are you going to do with THAT, Farmer?" they chided. "Harvest your foes like wheat?"
I let a sinister smile escape my lips as I stared at them, unblinking. "Yesssss," I hissed softly, staring into their eyes a little too long. It felt good to watch them squirm under my gaze.
With my new weapon, my fighting prowess quickly improved. It was not long before a new nickname started to rapidly replace "Farmer".
I liked that name. It brought to mind the exact image I wanted my foes to see before I cut them down. I realized then that I needed to look the part.
After I graduated a few years later, I purchased a black hooded robe to wear over my studded leather, as well as a black cloth mask. I looked in the mirror and saw the spectre of death looking back at me, my twisted smile hidden in the void where my face should be.
The others can be the shining light of hope that people expect paladins to be.
I will be a symbol of fear.
A visage of terror in those that harm the innocent.
Be careful what you sow, evil doers.
The Reaper comes for you…