Challenge #03061-H138: Of Monstrous Men

Ardin, after being cared for by the very residents he would've once killed, despite his now monstrous appearance, was given a chance to break the curse. He must now protect those he once would've killed. Save the lands from the true evil that sometimes came to harm them. In doing so, he may redeem himself. In doing so, he may regain the humanity he once lost in his adventures. He may learn to have compassion once more.

Reference story: -- Lessons

[AN: I have only just now realised that I changed the spelling of his name between tales. And even in tale. Yikes. Back to the original spelling in this one. Whoopsydoodle]

New Hope had a new guardian. He wore simple rags, and walked the borders of the haven for all of those with good alignment, but evil appearance. The outcast, the reviled, those who are frequently viewed as villains, or merely those who have been trying their hearts and souls away to be good and are tired of being viewed as evil anyway.

Some arrive under the escort of those who left to find others like them. Some arrive in the arms of others who just found them, and know where they will belong. Some flee there with whatever they could get along the way. Some come begging, not certain if the rumours are true. One came in a cage, carrying it all the way there because they could not break it or the lock. There is only one who looks like they belong there, but is certain they don't.

His name used to be Arden the Protector. He is still trying to decide what to call himself now, besides monster. He has no weapon and will not touch one. He only eats when it hurts too much not to. He sleeps when exhaustion forces it on him. Most of the time, he weeps. His self-appointed task is to guard New Hope until his curse is broken. He has become a nightmarish amalgam of all the monsters he has slain without due cause. He views every weapon he touches as 'soiled' but no effect passes in that way from him to a blade.

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