Raimon de Baux
A nephew of the powerful Lords of Baux, Raimon grew up at Château Meyragues, his father's estate among the rolling hills of the Alpilles in Provence. Being the second son Raimon seemed pre-destined for a religious path among the clergy, but alas the young boy did not care much for Latin Rites or piety. Nor was he all that interested in warfare and combat. Instead the lad was always heard singing and making up songs, inspired by snippets he had heard from passing minstrels and troubadours.
When he was fourteen, his exasperated parents sent him to his uncle at the formidable Château des Baux to train with his cousins and become a man. While Raimon grew fond of his older cousin Adhemar and admired him greatly, he grew even fonder of the troubadours that often visited Des Baux where his aunt, the Countess held court. He acquired his own lyre and became quite proficient at it. The troubadours found him talented. His father tore at his hair in despair. When he ordered Raimon home, the boy did what every stroppy teenager across the centuries did: He rebelled and ran off.
A voyage to Spain
At least Raimon did not run off blindly into the world without a penny in his pocket. He took money, a change of clothes and his lyre and accompanied a group of wandering players and troubadours across the Pyrenées and onto a pilgrimage to the shrine of St.James at Santiago de Compostela. Young Raimon loved the road - the sights, the taverns, the drinks and the girls. Especially the girls. A teenage boy with good looks and a lyre could do well with them, a thousand years before Justin Bieber saw the light of the world.
Not keen on going home, where his irritated parents were waiting, Raimon stayed in Spain for some time and hung around the Kingdoms of Léon and Castile, finding some early fame. Alfonso IV. had just wrested Toledo from the Moors of Al-Andalus and Raimon was among those who travelled down to the city, where Arabs, Jews and Christians co-existed peacefully. He soaked up the ancient wisdom of the Moors, helped to translate documents and absorbed Moorish songs into his own music. He might have been happy forever in Toledo, but eventually his parents' messengers tracked him down and ordered him home on account of his father dying.
A Pilgrimage to Jerusalem
Maybe it was a ruse to begin with, maybe Dad recovered, but when Raimon finally came home to Meyragues, his father was up and about. And had decided that it was damn well time for Raimon to get married, settle down and stop that troubadouring nonsense. Luckily another chance of escape presented itself: Cousin Adhemar had decided to join the Lionheart in the Third Crusade. Since Raimon could not accompany him and the other knights on their voyage from Marseille, he opted for an overland journey to the Holy Land to visit him there.
Anything but to stay at home. He managed to wrangle an agreement with his parents, allowing him to undertake a pilgrimage to Jerusalem before coming home to settle down. So Raimon took his time, journeying along the coast to Genoa and onwards to Venice before catching a boat to Constantinople. Once again he lived on his music which had by now acquired an unique Moorish-influenced style. When he finally reached Acre and the Holy Land in summer 1192, it turned out that Adhemar had been badly injured in the Battle of Jaffa and Jerusalem was beyond reach in the Saracens' grasp.
However, the mighty warlord Saladin was generous in victory and allowed the knights of the ill-fated Third Crusade to undertake a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and fulfill their vows before going off home to Europe with their tails between their legs. Raimon accompanied Adhemar, still weak, on said pilgrimage to lay his own eyes on fabled Jerusalem and pray at the grave of Jesus Christ.
Strumming a lyre in Acre
Most knights departed along with the Lionheart, but Adhemar is still in Acre, recovering from his wounds. So Raimon has a perfect excuse to remain in Outremer as well, nursing his cousin, sponging off his food, while dodging his parents and their threat of marriage back home. There are pretty maidens to enchant in Acre, new music styles to learn and new songs to write.