Jimbotomy Northshire came back from the shore, a large fish in hand. Noboru, his white kitten, followed closely and eagerly, jumping at the fish that was well out of his reach. After returning to the cottage, Jim cut up a bit of the fish and put it in a bowl for Noboru, who started munching on it happily.
Jim then sat, cross-legged, in the middle of the small room and began to consider the teachings of what he had read that day. Darkness quickly enveloped him.
Jim turned around to face the ghostly specter of Seral. "You!" he shouted, in surprise.
"I gather you have some questions for me."
"Well, yes," Jim replied. "Who was my father? How do you know all this? What happened with my mother? Where did he go? I ..."
Seral smiled at Jim. "I will answer the easiest question first. I have spoken with your mother. She was quite easy to find. And she got your message."
Jim nodded. "Is she..."
"She is at peace," Seral continued. "She wanted you to know about your real father; it was something that she had been saving for the right time, but never got the chance to say. After all, you were only eight."
"Yes," Jim agreed, "I probably would not have understood."
"Shera's marriage to Boris was, as all were in your community, an arranged one. As with most arranged marriages, while there is the hope that love will eventually bloom, there was nothing in this case. Shera did not love Boris, nor did Boris love Shera."
"Two years into their marriage, and still childless, Shera sought the counsel of a priest in Moonbrook. The priest offered her guidance of little use, but as she walked out of the church, her eyes met with her one true love's. He was atop a warhorse, riding slowly through the town. A mighty paladin."
"When the paladin's eyes met Shera's, he knew also that he had found his true love. And so, they spent the night together in Moonbrook, where you were conceived."
"What happened to him?" Jim asked.
"The next morning, Shera panicked. She said that she was late getting back to her home with Boris, and turned to leave. The paladin stopped her, and, with a kiss, held her in his arms and said, 'Shera, you don't have to return, you know. You feel trapped in that life, but the trap is a fiction. You are free to choose.'"
Jim nodded and frowned.
"Shera did not," Seral continued, "trust her love, nor did she believe that she could be free of Boris and her arranged marriage. So the next day, she returned to the house in the Dagger Hills, but with you in her belly."
"Did she ever see him again?"
Seral nodded. "Twice. Each time he tried to convince her to taste her freedom and explore the world beyond Westfall, but each time Shera refused. The second time, she brought you to see him. He was so proud, and he gave you a blessing which you carry forward to this day, the blessing of the Light. But your father was a wandering paladin, and she never saw him again."
Jim nodded and then yelped in surprise. He woke up to find Noboru nibbling on his fingers, which still carried the odor of fresh fish. He picked the white kitten up, scratched his back, then returned to study the holy texts.