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7 years ago, when I first came to Hollowlyn, I wasn’t looking for the Dragoners. Like most Exims, I still thought it was nothing but an old myth, an interesting story to help children dream at night. When I was younger my mother had also told me the tale, but of course even back then, I hadn’t believed it. It was too silly, too impossible. I was only ten back then and was only looking for a way to get away from my past from myself. Like all places in Lower Exim, Hollowlyn was ravaged by the winds coming from the south and the raids that happened far too often for anyone to sleep well at night. Hollowlyn was crawling with disease and death, starvation and cruelty tainted it’s streets and alleys, it didn’t take too long for me to catch one of the rumored deadly disease.
When Eisenwald found me I was lying on the cold snow in the darkest corner of an alley, I was famished and barely conscious, I thought I was going to die. In fact I was halfway there already. All I had was a rucksack containing a sword to heavy for a boy my age to be carrying around.
Eisenwald looked like a noble, but he didn’t act like one, he picked me up from the streets and he assigned people to heal me. For 5 days I was in and out of consciousness, I had vivid nightmares I refused to speak about to anyone. The servants assigned to me were getting worried when I had fallen asleep on the 6th day and hadn’t woken up for hours straight. I slept through the 6th and the 7th most servants already thought me dead but Eisenwald wouldn’t give up on me. When I finally woke up on the 8th day I was in shocked and scared, it took 4 servants to restrain me. It took an hour to convince me I wasn’t dead, at first I was freaked but Eisenwald’s wife, Hannah she had a gift. Mrs. Hannah could speak to feelings, she could not choose to change your mood, but she could urge you to. After she entered the room, I was calm in minutes, she explained everything. Eisenwald had seen me a couple of days ago but wasn’t sure if I had a place already. When he saw me half-dead in the snow he took pity of me and decided to save my life.
“What’s your name, child?” Hannah had asked softly.
“Only Arlo, don’t you have another name child?” Her warm brown eyes had seemed to be alit with a gentle twinkling. “Don’t you have parents Arlo? Do you know where they are?” I remember he voice had been tinged with genuine worry.
“I do, they just…I just… I…they…I’m only…” I stumbled over my words trying to phrase them the right way.
“Well, Arlo if you can’t go back home to your own Mother, I’d rather you be my son than leave you out in the street. You can stay here as long as you’d like, You are not a slave here, you can leave any time you’d like. But until then consider me your Mother.” Her words had been tinted with soft compassion and true care. Kneeling beside my bed she’d wiped away the tears that had started to stream down my cheeks. Hannah had held me till I stopped shaking, I was already family to her. Too bad my old family hadn’t thought the same way. I’d never forget them, but I didn’t particularly enjoy remembering them. But it didn’t matter I was an Eisenwald. No matter where I came from, I was an Eisenwald. Back then I didn’t even know what that title even meant, or the secrets surrounding the family. Secrets or not I would have never turned my back on them, I would never have rejected Mr. Eisenwald and certainly not Hannah. I was family. I was theirs. They were mine. Only, they were Dragoners. Soon, so was I.