Pandragorn was a youth of Goldshire and nothing more. He was impressive in stature for one so young, true enough, and he had an aptitude for sport that elicited jealousy and praise in equal measure from his peers, but in no other way did he stand out from the crowd. Devout parents maintained that good behaviour was a duty, and not something to be rewarded, so he grew up helping where he could, but never drawing attention to his good deeds.
One day, midway through his fourteenth year, Pandragorn was returning from an errand; fetching some fresh fruit for a pie his mother was preparing. From the road he could see two children playing in a field and paused a while to watch. Their play was free and light and joyous and Pandragorn brushed aside his envy as he thought of the competitive games he now played.
About to move on, Pandragorn stopped and dropped the basket of fruit, overcome with a sudden, inexplicable panic. He looked back to the children. What was it? What had taken him so? The children were laughing still, the gentle breeze rustling the grass around them. There was nothing wrong with the scene, nothing to inspire fear and yet... there! Maybe two hundred metres east of the children, it couldn't have been more, a patch of black fur was parting the long grass. Pandragorn took flight across the field, and as he started running, so did the beast - a wolf. Attacks on humans were becoming more common now that the livestock was so well guarded and this wolf's intentions were of no doubt.
The race was on and Pandragorn realised he couldn't win. He'd angled his run to intercept the wolf just before it would reach the children, but the beast was swift and he wouldn't make it.
Still he ran. Faster than ever before he ran, strength he did not have pouring into his legs. Too far, too quick the wolf. The children were unaware, but their game took them away from the wolf, behind a tree. Yes! The extra distance, the detour, might be enough. Pandragorn's shoulder met the creature's woollen hide only meters from the children, crushing it against the tree and halting its run. And then, at last, came the fear. Now he had the wolf. Now he would have to fight it. It recovered quickly and pounced at its attacker. Its teeth found bare flesh in Pandragorn's thigh, but didn't gain purchase enough to claim the kill, just to fell its opponent.
Scrambling, rolling onto his back, against the tree for protection, Pandragorn found a fallen limb. It was rotten and weak, but it was the only weapon he had. The wolf pounced again, but this time against a target who was armed. The branch cracked against its head, stunning it and giving it pause. This was a young wolf, without a pack and now it faced a prey that could hurt it, it slinked back cautiously.
Pandragorn could not wait to see if it would flee, he grabbed his leg with his free hand and pulled it under him, willing the pain away. With surprising agility he clambered to his feet and took another swing. He hit firmly and the wolf fell to its side, motionless. Pandragorn fell to his knees next to it. Darting eyes found a fist-sized rock and seized it, raising it high above his head.
"No! NO! NO!"
It came from behind, the call, high pitched and frantic. The rock was already crashing through the air toward the wolf's skull. An explosion of burgundy and a gentle sobbing. Pandragorn looked round. There, behind him, was one of the children, a young girl with a hand full of grass and eyes full of tears.
"No, no. You... killed... the doggy" she whimpered, then, more fiercely "Bad man!" as she turned and ran, followed by her friend.
Pandragorn took an age to get to his feet. When he did he found he could do so without pain, and indeed his leg showed no sign of tooth or claw. The blood on him was thick, and he couldn't tell if any was his. Confused he headed home.
As he walked he felt the unfamiliar stirring of pride. Yes, why shouldn't he be proud? He had saved at least one child from the jaws of the wolf today. This was something to rejoice! The girl hadn't known, she was young, and as innocent as can be found in the land these days. He brightened as he walked, and practically ran the last few hundred metres of the trip.
Bursting through the door, smile beaming and spewing out words faster than they could be understood is how he met his mother. Her face was horrified, eyes running across his body, taking in the blood, the gore. He stopped talking abruptly as he met that gaze.
"Mother..." he started, but got no further. Eventually managing to calm his mother somewhat he was able to recount his tale. His mother wept, and upon his return from the fields Pandragorn's father beat him. It was the first and only time that Pandragorn was physically punished by his parents, and they did it out of love, of love and the fear of loss.
"Son" His father said, each word punctuated by the landing of a blow, or of a tear, "you call the guards, you hear me? You call the guards".
That night was a sleepless one, the pain of his punishment hurt his body, but more than that it hurt his soul. He was confused. He'd done the right thing, he knew that, but his parents? He had to clear his mind. Acting against his parents' shouted instructions, and thoroughly against his nature, he crept out that night and started walking until he found himself by the field. The roads weren't safe these days at night, so they were empty and he could be alone with his thoughts.
Or so he had believed. There was a man coming along the road. Pandragorn had no desire to explain to a guardsman what he was doing out alone at this time, so he hid himself behind a tree. The footsteps stopped the other side of the tree. There was a long sigh, then a voice,
"Well. You're too big and clumsy to be a highwayman, but a little too young to be a guard. Come out here so I can see you"
Pandragorn did as he was asked, and stepped into full view of the man. It wasn't a guard though. By the moonlight not much could be made of the figure, but he wore a tabbard with a rose crest, not that of the guards of Stormwind. The figure spoke again,
"So, what are you doing out here all by yourself then?"
A simple question, but the answer came flooding out of Pandragorn, and it started with a dropped basket of fruit.
When the tale was completed the stranger looked Pandragorn up and down, and he started to feel uneasy. He hadn't intended to tell this stranger so much, especially about his father, a good man, beating him.
"People won't always reward your kindness" the stranger said after a long pause then, after another, "but as the thought of reward does not prompt your actions, the lack of one should not dull your spirit."
"You say the wolf bit your leg?" Pandragorn nodded
"If you wish it, I would like to escort you to Northshire Abbey. I think there is an man there who would be very interested to hear of your story, and if he confirms what I believe to be true, there may yet be another group of people with whom you should meet. People who would be very proud of your actions here."
At this, the stranger's hand went, almost involuntarily to his chest, and the rose that was emblazoned there. Pandragorn didn't say a word, he nodded his head once and stared at the tabbard.
"I will inform your parents, naturally." said the stranger, and the two set off toward the abbey.
So this is Pandragorn, a simple paladin out to help people. No glorious battles with the scourge, no grand plan, no personal agenda. Just a devotion to the light and an oath to serve and protect the Order.
If someone wants to volunteer to be the stranger in Goldshire , I'll update this to include your name, and the story of my introduction to the guild will, at last, be complete.