Domeria - Falling Skies
A paladin of the Knights of Atreides, Maximus is sworn to help those in need and work for the common good. Though brash and overzealous at times, he has a good heart and deep loyalty to those who earn his trust.
Short black hair with moderate stubble neatly shaven covering his face showing the beginnings of a beard. He is not the handsome type of Paladin you would think of in legends of old; he is plain and unassuming. But his eyes are golden, a side effect of the Communion of the Repentant. He wears a basic tunic made of brown leathers of various shades overtop a chain mail vest. His pants are also a hybrid of leathers and chain mail. He carries a basic shield and sword.
Kind, Thoughtful, Gentle, Good Listener. Doesn’t judge until he knows as much as he can of the facts. Can be overly zealous at times, but he also doesn’t mind bending the rules if it’s for a good cause. Is trusting to a fault and sometimes a little gullible. Loyal to those who earn his trust. Can be brash when it comes to taking action. When he gets drunk, he gets very violent, which is one reason he tries to never drink.
As is common with many, Ben was a unknown, unloved child on the streets of Talmar scrapping together what he could to survive. As is also common, this brought him close to the criminal element and he fell in with bad crowds. He had mild success as a pick-pocket and thief, but wasn’t of any particular note in those skills. In his heart he knew that what he was doing was wrong and he wanted to make a break for it. But he continued filling his pocket with other people’s gold; it was easier at the time. Around 14, he was ""invited"" to join up with the Kelpac Guild, a notoriously violent group. One didn’t say no to them unless one had already made peace with the Gods.
He saw and did many things he regretted. But about 4 years after joining up, he met a young woman, fell in love and had a child with her. It was then that he not only began to be more concerned with changing his direction in life, but he also began to worry for the safety of his new family. His wife was also pressuring him to better himself and move away from the city to find honest work.
He eventually made the decision to do it and began preparations. But the Kelpac caught wind of it and didn’t take kindly to deserters, especially ones who knew as much as Ben about their operations. To teach him and any others thinking of deserting a lesson, they captured him and his family and planned to kill them all. But for the sport of it, they decided to make him choose between his wife and his son. They tossed him a small dagger and told him, ""Slit yer wifey’s throat, o’ ya son get’s it…"" Cruel smiles came over all the bandits present.
He had no idea what to do or where to go. He loved both of them so much. The men began yelling at him, pressuring him to make a decision, delighting at his look of terror. There was no escape. His wife was white and still; she made no communication to him. He knew she blamed him for it all. But he knew what had to be done. He gently drew back his wife’s head and quickly slipped the knife’s edge across her neck.
She fell, terror on her face, into his arms. She looked at him and grew cold and lifeless. The men around him laughed hysterically for several minutes as Ben sobbed over his wife’s corpse. All Ben could hear was the gurgling of his wife’s still body.
Just as the man with his son lifted the the sword to the child’s head, a silver beam of light broke through the roof and incinerated the bandit into chunks of flesh and bone. Ben’s son was immediately caught by a man clad in armor so clear and gleaming that one felt like they could see all truth reflected back at them.
With a single hand the Knight swung his two-handed sword at the villains, slicing them each cleanly in half; only a few who were close to the door escaped. The Knight looked at Ben and the body of his wife; he saw in Ben’s eyes what he had done. Ben looked at him, knowing that this was the end; he even wished for it. A fierce and angry frown came over the Knight’s face and he grabbed Ben by the throat, lifting him up against the wall. He peered deep into Ben’s eyes, examining his soul and judging his actions. Ben had never felt such an intimate connection to another person. He could hide nothing from the Knight; he didn’t even want to, he wanted the Knight to judge him and end his misery.
The knight lifted up his sword. Ben knew that he had been judged guilty, but he knew the verdict was appropriate. He prepared himself for what was to come. The knight swung his sword, but hit him with its flat. And then, blackness.
Ben awoke in chains. He was being pulled along in a cart by the Knight. ""What is going on? Where – Where am I,"" he asked. ""You are on the road to Atreidies Vigil,"" answered the Knight. ""But why,"" Ben asked in frustration, ""Why didn’t you kill me?""
""I saw on your soul what I once found on mine,"" said the old Knight. Now that his helmet was off, Ben could see that his hair was silvery gray, and his face was covered with a clean shaven beard. ""I will let my Brothers and Sisters decide if you are unworthy enough to join us."" Ben asked, ""Where is my son?""
Ben was eventually accepted into the Knights of Atreides, a secretive and secluded Paladin order. He apprenticed under the Knight, but was never allowed to fight. They told him that while he must practice fighting, he was in a period of his repentance that forbid any type of violence. He found out that the Order would give him the skills he needed to eventually make up for his life and for the murder of his wife.
He recently completed his spiritual training and underwent the Communion of the Repentant, which turned his eyes golden and bound him to the other Paladin of his order. His former name was forgotten and he was given a new name by his Master. All Paladins of Atreides are surnamed ""Strife"" to remind them that their lives will always be filled with conflict and sacrifice because of their former actions. It also serves to remind them they are connected to the others of the order in a way that trascends normal kinship. His new given name is taken from his Master, who was also called Maximus. Indeed, every new Knight takes on the name of their Master; this reminds all that the action of one Paladin affects the others.
Maximus has been charged with helping those in need, and going where he is needed. He has been taught that through self-sacrifice he can undo the damage he has done and is seeking his way in the world so that he can eventually face his son again.