Asher Thorpe character page
Asher Thorpe grew up in a small but nice home in a village-like community on the edge of upper Darby. His parents had humble working class jobs, his father, Thurlow, was a member of the city guard posted in that area, and his mother, Sabina, when she wasn't tending her household duties, worked part time at the bakery down the street.
Asher grew up helping his mom around the house, as most young boys do, and had mock battles during his freetime with the other young neighborhood boys or ran errands for local craftsman. He also enjoyed whittling with a small, cherished folding knife given to him on his eighth birthday. This was much to the delight of his mother, who found it easy to start the home cooking fire (when it went out, which wasn't really all that often) with the thin, curled strips.
One day, an old oak in the village square lost a bough, and Asher helped Mr. Groveman to cut and remove the pieces. As a reward was allowed to keep a long, straight, stout branch and several smaller sticks (for whittling, of course). Asher worked a long time to smoothen and balance the long piece into a staff for walking and sparring.
Asher's father, Thurlow, being a guardsman, worked odd hours sometimes, but was home the rest of the time. The guard's post was nearby and almost never busy. He and some of the other guards spent a lot of time sparring young Asher with mock wooden swords and sticks, and later on Asher's fine oak staff. Asher was friends with all the guards, especially since he would often bring them lunch with perhaps a special treat of day-old baked goods packed by his mom. He was also a naturally funny and friendly kid, and frankly the guard post was quiet and not very busy. The lieutenant even let him sit on his horse a couple of times.
It soon became obvious that Asher would grow up to be like his dad and join the city guard. The lieutenant was kind enough to suggest that Asher attend school to learn to read and write, since that might help him later in the guard (one can never become an officer without knowing how to read and write). The fees were paid with money saved over the years and hidden in a little jar under the loose floorboard near the mantel, and Asher went to school to learn to read and write, count more than ten, and do sums. He wasn't the brightest student in the class, but also wasn't the dumbest.
At age sixteen, Asher went to the garrison to enlist as a guardsman and was accepted. He passed basic training with honors, and though he could handle the standard issue sword quite easily, he favored the non-standard staff for its offensive and defensive capabilities. He spent much of his advanced training time working on his staff technique and also designing a special, iron-shod staff for minimum weight, maximum strenth, and superior balance.
Asher served various posts in the guard throughout the city for six years, though rarely at the post near his parents home. He seldomly found himself in danger as a guardsman, though did get into enough fights, usually with other drunken guardsmen/comrads in taverns and pubs during the off-duty hours, to gain some ability and respect within the guard as a tough, willing and able brawler. He returned to visit his parents and old friends, now fellow guardsmen, as often as possible. His father eventually retired, and his old lieutenant friend died of natural causes. A letter from the lieutenant got Asher a commission, and much to his delight the 22-year old Asher found himself in charge of the familiar post at his family's neighborhood.
To make a long story short, Asher lived a relatively modest, if not slightly dull, life as lieutenant in charge of guard post 17. The most interesting part of his job was talking with travellers, finding where they were from and where they were going. He became friendly enough with some of the regular passers by to chat, exchange news, and hear about other places, including Istasbul and an unusual monestary on a hill above Darby. As the years passed by, he enjoyed his reasonably comfortable job, but also found himself dreaming about doing something else; not something extremely dangerous and adventuresome, but something different.
So it came to pass that after serving his post well for eighteen years, and being eligible to retire with a very modest pension at age forty, Lieutenant Thorpe decided to leave the service of the city guard, say goodbye to his 57-year old mom, now running the bakery, and his 58-year old dad, now playing checkers all day with Mr. Groveland outside of the general store, and venture to the strange monestary, of which he heard tales of rigorous country life working the soil and contemplating the natural world.
Asher managed to find the monestary using directions given by a pilgrim who passed his gate one day. He was granted audience and petitioned the abbot to let him join the brotherhood. He was accepted, and after two years of hard work and study as an initiate became (much to the surprise of some of the brothers, who thought the only reason Asher was accepted was because he donated his pension) Brother Asher.
Now Brother Asher has served for over ten years at the monestary, has learned much about planting, care, and use of herbs, and spent much time working the soil and tending the gardens. His dark hair is greying, now truly ash-like, and has receded past the point where it is necessary to shave the top of his head. He still keeps his beard neatly trimmed officer style. His only possessions, besides his robe, underwear, sandals, a small pouch for herbs and snacks in the field, and cherished folding pocket knife, now used for pruning instead of whittling, are his old chain shirt, sword, and iron-shod staff, kept in oiled leather bags under his cot. He has become a respected and trusted member of the monestary, and since he knows many travellers from his days at the guard post, is sometimes brought to the Abbot's office to meet and chat with visitors. It was on such an occasion, with a rather strange group of guests, that he received an unusual request from the abbot…