Young Garm was the third son of an minor noble. In accordance with custom, his oldest brother would inherit his father's lands; the second son had been equipped and given a sum of money to seek his own lands or make a living as as a mercenary; this left little for the third son. Garm was an insatiably curious child, forever asking questions far beyond his parents' abilities to answer, and before his tenth year had made himself irritating to his father and brothers by relentlessly questioning them on matters that interested him and rejecting with a snort expanations that seemed to him to be unconvincing. By the time Garm reached his teenage years he was a thorn in the side of his brothers and avoided by the farm-workers as his practice of scornfully pointing out to them inconsistencies and illogicalities in the practices and folk-wisdom handed down to them by parents and grandparents that they relied on to carry out their endless round of sowing and weeding and reaping. Their explanations that "It's always been done like this and it works" or "It was good enough for my grandad so it's good enough for me" were ridiculed by Garm until his father was obliged to forbid Garm from speaking to them.
One day, when his father travelled to nearby ____ to engage in some horse-trading - a hobby as well as a necessary part of retaining his position as a land-owning mounted knight - he chanced to meet a priest of Oghma and a short discussion convinced Garm's father that he had found a solution to the problem of his son's future. Accordingly in a few weeks Garm's house was visited by two monks, representatives of a branch of the church located some weeks' travel away, who interviewed the boy. When the monks left they took Garm with them.
Although at fifteen Garm was a little older than most boys entering the monastery Garm took to monastic life well, and he learned with enthusiasm to read and write. One of the brothers, Evrastis, took him under his wing and Garm, now known as Theophylact, showed aptitude for interpretation of the scriptures of Oghma and discussion of others' interpretations. Evrastis bore his unending questioning patiently and taught Theophylact the skills involved in researching the answer to a question, subjecting his answers to logical examination, and the wisdom of accepting that no-one could know everything. Theophylact soon outstripped Evrastis and could hold his own even with the monastery's abbot, Petunius. In fact Theophylact took delight in holding controversial interpretations and defending them against all comers, to such an extent that Petunius privately referred to him as potentially heretical and certainly a great nuisance. The other area in which Theophylact excelled was in the martial training all at the monastery underwent. This had been part of monastery life since the Time of Troubles and served a dual purpose as both physical exercise and preparation for defence of the monastery. Showy weapons and armour were frowned on, and their maintenance considered a distraction of effort, so simple clubs and maces and leatherwork-and-wicker shields were the the usual equipment. Theophylact went at his training with some verve, and again could hold his own against anyone else in the monastery including the head gardener Ovratius. In one especially heated debate with Petunius Theophylact took up the position that Oghma and Savras were aspects of the same deity and their separate identities minor accretions, persuading Petunius of its truth; he then, purely as an exercise, reversed his position and provided convincing arguments from well-regarded sources that they were clearly separate and distinct divine beings and that to hold any other position was absurd. This proved to be the last straw for Petunius. A few weeks later Petunius interrupted Theophylact at his work in the monastery gardens to tell him brusquely that Theophylact would learn more at a larger monastery some distance away, run by abbot Denderius, who was well-known as being of infinite patience and the custodian of a large library. Theophylact stood with head bowed and hands clasped respectfully, aware that this was a punishment and an opportunity both. Petunius ended by saying that Denderius's monastery was some two week's journey away, that he would be leaving the next day, and that food and a small sum of money for essentials would be provided. Returning to his cell at once, Theophylact began to mentally prepare for the journey. Dread and excitement at seeing new places mingled. The possibility of new belief frameworks to test and new ideas to expand his ideas and the boundaries of his beliefs were also exciting. He went over and over in his mind the rituals that formed the most basic outward signs of the existence of Oghma: the ability to request, and be loaned for a moment, the healing powers usually attributed to the god, and the ability to through an act of will project imbue his weapon with the power to strike down the eternal enemy, the undead.
With a mixture of emotions Theophylact rose at dawn the next day to begin his journey. Petunius had ordered him to report to the smithy as soon as he had finished his morning devotions, and then to the kitchens. At the smithy Lattio had set aside for him a fine mace rather than a crude club, and a round shield of flexible osiers. With a smile he also handed Theophylact a bundle and told him to unwrap it later. At the kitchens Ferratus had packed bread, cheese and a waterskin, and after checking the abbot was not around handed him a second package which contained an additional lump of cheese. Theophlact made his way to the gate, to see the abbot awaiting him; the abbot unsmilingly handed him a purse of coins and signalled that the gate be opened. As the door shut behind him Theophylact found himself alone. The previous evening he had covertly asked other brothers what they knew about the road, and had gleaned that hamlets, or at least isolated cottages, were a day or so's walk apart. The abbot had told him that Denderius's monastery was near the town of Harpst, directly along that road, and that no further instructions were neccessary. Once out of sight Theophylact unwrapped the smith's bundle, to reveal a short-sleeved leather jerkin lined with metal plates - a valuable armour indeed. Smiling to himself he walked on, and as the sun began to sink a cluster of houses came into sight. The rolling coutryside dotted with areas of forest and the occasional flock and its shepherd was pleasant and Theophylact was excited to visit a new place. Knocking at the first door he was welcomed in by a cottar. They exchanged their limited news, and then Theophylact shared his bread and cheese and his hosts shared their stew, and farmer, wife, children and Theophylact bedded down by the fire. In the morning, after sharing devotions and Theophylact, as requested, had blessed the family and their animals, he set off again. Nine days and nights passed in this way. Sometimes he stayed at a cottage, more or less welcomed by its occupants, sometimes requiring him to exercise some persuasion; twice at a hamlet, where there was an inn of an informal sort. One of these welcomed him in in exchange for shared devotions and some light theological discussion; the other required him to pay, and he opened the abbot's purse for the first time, and there was a degree of confusion when a traveller insisted that Theophylact was in fact a certain abbot Curtils and would not be gainsaid. On one day a heavy shower obliged him shelter in a nearby wood then hurry to make up time once the rain had passed, and on two occasions a passing carter offered him a lift and he passed a pleasant day riding in a cart rather than walking. Towards the end of the ninth day a peddler leading a laden mule approached from the opposite direction, and Theophylact, for conversation as much as information, asked for directions to the monastery at Harpst. The peddler gaped a moment, and then said "Surely you have heard of the calamity that befell them?"
Adversity - Fears