Is it possible to have so much family around yet still feel alone. We lived in a small town outside of the city on our own. And when I saw we, there’s a lot of we. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins…All together, but all separate. For the first few years that I can remember, I didn’t see my Dad very often. He was always off on adventures with his buddies as apparently he was wont to do even before he had met my mother. But staying at home just wasn’t his way. When he did come back, we would teach me what he could. His weapon of choice was the bow. Apparently he could be deadly from afar and just as deadly up close when the time called for it. Always in search for the big payday to move us into the upper echelons of the city. At least the merchant middle. While I didn’t see my other family too often, the only other kid my age was my cousin so we did get to play together once in a while. A good game of hide and seek was always good and I always seemed to win. It surely helped when I found a secret hiding place near our house. I little cave that was very easy to miss but I happened to stumble across it. Being an only child I was left to my own devices most of the time, especially being so far removed from the city. Once in a while I’d go with my mother into the city to do some trading and to buy what meager food we could. Mostly we caught our own food.
Eventually, the time apart took its toll on my parents marriage and they eventually split. I wanted to go with my father so he could teach me the ways of the bow more intently. And the extra time very much helped. With me in the picture more and wanting to learn after him, he decided to take a job with the local militia or military or something to teach their archers which left him plenty of time to also teach me as well as meet someone else eventually and get remarried. She was a pretty nice lady. I still see Mom from time to time but I’m not sure how long that will happen. I think she’s mad at me for going with Dad but I’m not sure if it’s because she cared or because she just wanted something Dad couldn’t have. But apparently, being tied down put my father on edge way too much. His drinking increased and being at home, even for training, just didn’t seem worth it any more. Lydia, my stepmom, had also had enough and had left in the night one night while he was out drinking. As soon as I was old enough, I took her cue and left as well. I was old enough and enough well known thanks to my father that I was able to go directly into a military unit as a solder archer. I was able to avoid him easily, even though he taught the archers. My superiors knew what was going on and he had been dismissed from his position. Nobody wants to learn from a drunk, no matter how good they used to be. I didn’t see a lot of action, although I was a part of a raiding party on a slave encampment. We were able to free the slaves and I had overheard one of them talking about someone with a scar on their face actually being able to get free and run away a LONG time ago. This old man and his story of times past. He’d been there a LONG time and said that this person was not of this place. Something more infernal, but still a good person. My curiosity about this person being able to run away as well as buck his heritage made me think that maybe they might be good for the soldier ranks. Clearly he’s mentally and physically strong enough to endure captivity and still escape. That’s someone we could use in the ranks. Securing the slave encampment was one of the last things I participated in before me enlistment ended.
After my enlistment, they gave me my father’s position of training new recruits in the ways of the bow. It was monotonous. Day in, day out. Eventually, I decided to go out on my own at night. Just a little sport shooting. For fun. Not of people. Just things. To test my skill and see if I could hit it. A sign from a 100 yards. An apple through a window. Ok, sometimes shooting at something that happened to scare the shit out of people probably wasn’t the best idea, but it was still nice to know they had no idea where it had come from. Apparently though, someone WAS watching me, unbeknownst to me. I was approached a few nights later by the thieves guild. It was additional income so I took it. it started off easy enough. I was the lookout during night heists from the rich people or from merchants who weren’t the nicest of people. As things went on and it got deeper, it devolved into stuff I was unwilling to do. I was tasked with taking out a merchant. Someone I remember dealing with as a kid. He was a nice man. Ran a nice shop and was always fair. But he had something they wanted. But that was a line I would not cross. I will not kill innocent people. Not in my city. I would punish those that treated my family crappy, or bad people in general who profited off the suffering of others, but not an innocent. I was cast out of the guild for that. Not that I minded at that point. That actually gave me the opportunity to know how some of the more unsavory thieves worked so I could follow them and remove them from the board. Bad people have no place in the world. Life is already tough enough as it is, even if those of higher station don’t deserve it, or could help out the lower class. Sometimes, it would seem like someone would beat me to the punch. I’d have eyes on someone and all of a sudden, they’d be down on the ground and all of their stuff would be missing when I checked them out. Not that I don’t mind the help but who the hell is taking out the people I planned on punishing?
While I was on one of my stakeouts of one of these unsavory thieves, I actually happened to see someone that I had heard about in the past on that last slave encampment raid. I saw someone with a scar on their face. and while he was doing a good job of hiding it under an eye patch, I could clearly see the scar and that he was hiding his inhumanity. You don’t get that color of skin around here that easily without sitting int he scorching sun all day. I followed him for a while instead and found out that he was a private investigator. Eventually I approached him and learned that his name was Mortdecai. I explained to him how I knew about him from the old man at the slave encampment. I saw how he snuck around at night too and asked if he also worked with the thieves guild, although clearly he was not one for hiding. More of an enforcer I would have though but no, he just worked as a PI. Not to mention there’s no hiding that huge friggin scythe on his back. Apparently the PI game paid pretty well, so in between working as an archery trainer, we also worked together on a few jobs, as well as him giving me some individual ones where I needed to do some tracking and just reporting things. I also accompanied him on some of his jobs that were just straight up in your face interrogations and had to put down someone sneaking up on him from behind. More than once. But I have no problems taking out someone who is about to try and take out someone I would call a friend. Eventually, this gig paid more than enough for me to live a decent living so I gave up the archery training. They weren’t too happy about it but I needed more freedom to do what I wanted. And working with Morty definitely qualified. We’ve been working together for a few months now, spending our down time drinking it up at the tavern and being entertained by a bard named Glim. He’s actually quite good at comedy. Always has the room laughing. Laughter at times like these are needed for everyone. I hope we have a nice Festival of Merchants. That always makes for a nice time….