Anos knows little of his history, though bits and pieces have been given to him through various sources over his life.
He knows he was born in Andaris to a woman named Hailey, though no last name was ever given. From all accounts the woman was alone in the city, destitute. The contractions started unexpectedly in the middle of the night and no one noticed her huddled on the street for several breaks. By the time they brought her in, she was barely conscious and bleeding heavily. She insisted they save her baby, but died before she could even see him.
For just over the next dozen arcs, Anos lived in the orphanage. Most of the time it wasn’t terrible; he was given a bed, some personal belongings and two meals a trial. Anos often fantasized about his father, picturing him arriving one trial in a fanfare of trumpets (of course he was major nobility), sweeping Anos up in his arms, having just discovered the location of his one, true son.
Needless to say that never happened.
Instead Anos had a typical childhood for the orphanage; he was shown to prospective parents many times, but the older he got, the fewer and fewer people were interested in him. It didn’t help that he grew remarkably fast for a boy of his age, and appeared to be fifteen at ten. His gangly limbs and terrible acne scared off many parents and he resigned himself to never having a family outside of orphanage.
The orphanage had its share of bullies. Three of the older boys liked to pick on the younger ones, forcing them to do their chores of sleep in their bed. The sobs of those chosen echoed at night, terrifying those who had yet to be taken.
It was one trial when offhand comments from one of his friends made Anos realize he was the same size as the bullies. Several trials comprised of moments of courage, followed by cowardice and self-loathing later, Anos forced himself to stand up to them. Knees shaking, he looked them in their eyes and told them to leave the younger kids alone.
He went to bed that night with bruises covering his body listening to the heavy breathing in his ear, trying to relax as his body cried out in pain. The next trial Anos forced himself to stand up again, and nearly died. He spent several trials in the infirmary, an itch beneath the surface of his skin nearly driving him mad with the need to stop the bullies. When at last he was released, Anos wasted no time trying to stop them.
They were more careful from then on- Anos appearing too often in the infirmary would raise too much suspicion. He was bruised, kicked, spit on and punched more times than he could count, but he didn’t stop trying. Several of the smaller kids attempted to fight back, Anos’s example empowering them, but things went even worse for them.
There was no happy ending for Anos, no moment where he broke through to the bullies and made them stop. The boys simply became too old for the orphanage and were kicked out onto the streets. The first few weeks after, all the boys walked on eggshells, the freedom unfamiliar and eerily relaxing.
Several of the larger boys attempted to start doing the same thing, but Anos crushed it before it began; his extreme size and willingness to fight meant not many wanted to tangle with him.
Anos discovered an owl’s nest about this time, and would creep up to the attic to watch them late at night. He saw the chicks crack their eggs and appear, their mother standing close by, guarding them from him with a fierce look in her eye. He found relaxation there, watching the animals live their life.
Half a dozen trials later, he saw a group of boys throwing rocks at a shape on the road, and when he investigated, he saw the body of the mother owl, two of her three chicks dead on the ground beside her. His rage was incredible, and he beat the boys soundly. He made his way up to the nest and found the last baby, somehow still alive. Over the next few arcs he raised the owl, training it and forming a close bond in secret, stealing away bits of his food when he could. Cassander, he called him, after the King who didn’t seem to care.
The last few arcs at the orphanage were filled with light and joy for Anos, and he watched as many of the bullied boys came out of their shells and began to excel at school and become social.
When he was fifteen, Anos was kicked out. He immediately joined Moseke’s Knights as a squire. Anos hated intimate physical touching with a passion, and during this time he made many acquaintances, but never had any romantic interests.
Their training was tough and he went to be more often than not with tired arms and legs, not to mention countless bruises. They were a small price to pay, and whnever Anos found it getting too much he would hide away with Cassander and just breathe. Most of his class loved the idea of swordfighting, but for some reason it never appealed to the otherwise stereotypical Anos. He had always preferred polearms, and loved the way the staff and the blade could both be used as weapons.
Anos, at age 18, was almost ready to become a Knight. His instructors were hopeful that he was prepared, and as the seasons passed he grew more and more antsy. Late in Vhalar, they sent Anos out on his first patrol with a Steward that had taken special notice of him, when the event that would change his life happened. Anos and the Steward were chasing a thief through an alley when the thief turned and threw a set of bolas at them. The two collapsed in a heap, Anos on top.
Inches from his face, eyes locked, Anos felt something rear up inside of him, and a vision took over. He saw through the Steward’s eyes as he slit a man’s throat in a dark alley, then the scene blurred and was replaced by another location, another corpse. Death after death, all committed with that man’s hands. His body and mind reacted before conscious thought could take over; Anos drew his dagger and slit his Steward’s throat.
The effect of the vision faded and realization crept over him, though curiously no regret.
Carefully, Anos stripped his Steward. The friendliness and camaraderie that he shared with the man was gone, shattered by the realization of what he had seen. His illusion of the inherent goodness of the Knights was gone, and with it any chance he had of joining the Knights. He didn’t question the truth of what he had seen for a moment- the scenes had been far too real. He donned the chain mail and pulled his livery on, discarding his Steward’s bloodstained garbs.
He ran faster than he ever had before, tearing back into the barracks. Thankfully, no one was around to question him as he threw his meager belongings in a bag, pausing briefly to grab Cassander. The grumpy owl hooted his impatience with Anos, but there was no time for that. Anos forced himself to a walk as he entered the stables and ordered a horse saddled and brought to him. As soon as he was out of sight of the headquarters, he leapt atop the animal and forced it to a run.
At the docks, he purchased travel on a ship that was leaving that break. He watched the city disappear in the background, thinking over what had happened. Somehow, he knew
what he could suddenly do, things that shouldn’t be possible.
For several trials, Anos stayed in his small room in the bow of the ship, puzzling over what he had seen. At last, Anos determined that he must be a mage- those were the only ones he had ever heard of who had power like he did.
After realizing that, self-loathing overwhelmed Anos at his actions. Late at night after far too many bottles of alcohol, Anos made a pact to Vhalar, Lord of Oaths. He would find out what he was, and he would control it. Never again would he use a blade. He sold off all his bladed weapons, refusing to use them, and purchased a staff. It was close to what he had trained with before, and he spent most of the time on the ship practicing with it. The men aboard the boat could tell he was a deserter, but Anos cared not. Let them judge him. He was moving on.