Spear, dagger, bow
Priest of Dibuuk
Everything before age 8 is a blur of red combined with overcast skies and washed out colors that only exist in winter. I remember huddling in shadowed alcoves eating refuse. I remember the smell the most. Shit, blood, urine, and sweat. Following me no matter where I hid. The docks provided the best cover, with the most overhang in the shipyard and odd twisted alleys perfect for packing a small tattered body away from the cold.
Life changed a few years later at about age 10, by this time I had shown my gall at being useful running messages between ships. Especially those slippery notes that needed a careful hand, a quiet tongue, and sometimes a knife. Who ever expects a child, no less a stupid Wild One to slip a knife between a pair of ribs? Acting out other’s petty vengeance was always a simple task.
I like to think that when I was around 12 I was adopted by a kindly man who saw a greater use for my untapped potential. A Wildling orphan running amuck within the docks of the empire, it was bound to be noticed at some point. A priest of the Order saw me for what I could be teaching me enough to rightly put food upon my plate. It was with this knowledge that he gave me the tales of what the nobility were cable of, how they lived, and the divine grace that they apparently held. I was too stubborn and thick skulled to learn the teachings of God, but some of it must have rubbed off on me somewhere.
I spent four years with the Acolyte learning to read, write and make candles for his extensive study of scripture within the vaults of his cathedral. I remember becoming strong from carrying stacks of books and scrolls up and down flights and flights of stairs. Was never brawny, but it kept me spry.
Eventually I became known, not well, but well enough that people would buy my candles, I had a few regulars. I was more interested in reading the translations of the folklore of my people. At that point I had only seen a few that looked like me with red eyes, sharp teeth, and burgundy highlighted black hair, coarse and never tidy.
On my 16th Birthday or there abouts my mentor’s intentions finally became known to me. For though my refuge was nice and comely, it never did take the glint of mania from eye. I am sure the Father knew that I would never be tamed, for my interest in the esoteric, folklore, weapons, and malicious herbs only grew with my slight education. I know now that this was what he was hoping for. He never liked that I could stand next to him and he would forget that I was there. It made pocketing the few coins he kept on him that much sweeter.
It was upon this day or perhaps a few days early or late I do not recall, I only truly remember how many winters I have survived, but I digress. It was upon a spring that friends of my tutor happened upon the cold expanse of his chapel. I had never seen such distressing colours. So used to the mottled browns and greys of my everyday attire. They were inexplicably loud, boisterous, filling the cold stone of our hearth with witty jabs and heartfelt laughter, that of which I had never heard. My teacher had never confided in me in the way he seemed to relax around this troupe.
I was inexplicably thrust upon them, though I must admit that church was no place for me.
This group of men and women were traveling entertainers, performing song, dance, tricks, stunts, or the like. We always seemed to stay with a friend for a few days swap news, swap coin, throw a show and move on, mostly at various churches or cathedrals. I started off as a stagehand moving props. Once they realized I was not an oaf I was slowly trained with each member. The ringmaster was a shrewd Jargian who kept everyone in line. He made sure to beat me thoroughly every morning in the sparring ring so that I would be able to reflect on my bruises throughout the day. He always had a sword nearby, but we always fought with staff or pole arms. His explanation being that my kind lacked the finesse to wield a beautiful weapon, I just assumed he was a prick who was afraid that I might trounce him with his own weapon.
Aishe, was one of two women in the group, I assumed her to be a slave by the chainless shackle she wore around her left ankle, but she never acknowledged or acted in any way that a slave might. She was mostly lip and swears, always cursing out the ringmaster in front of everyone, I often wondered if she was the one that actually held the group together. She spent most of her time preparing food for the rest of us, but on a few occasions she would tell fanciful tales about magic, beasts, and wild craft. I had to be especially careful while filching food from under her nose, for her beady eyes missed nothing. And it was more than once that before I could blink there would be a quivering blade sticking out from between my fingers. Blooming there like that of a nightshade kissing the moon.
The other woman another Jargian never gave me the courtesy of giving me her name, seeming to only notice me either when it suited her, or when she was training me in song, dance, and bow. Both imperials looked down upon the rest of us with an arrogance that I can only assume is bred into their nature.
The last member was Ahamad, a man with gold eyes and gold skin. He took a liking to me. For as we traveled he taught me how to track, ride, scout, and hunt. I liked him too, but he always seemed distant, like we would part soon. And unbeknownst to me that was to be the case. For with every circuit we made of the tour we drew farther and farther from the empire. Slowly climbing north to the outermost reaches of the empire. Where the coin was less and the customers even fewer. I did not recognize what was happening until perhaps it was too late. But there is no reason to complain about the past. During our time in the borderlands together I was required to use the skills that Ahamad had shown me more and more. While lessening my responsibilities within the troupe little by little. I became the one bringing back the game for all the members and be required to stray further and further from the group. As a test one frosty morning they all left before the sun rose, hiding their tracks and traveling before the dew had settled upon the grass. Leaving me only my bay, bow, spear, knife, the clothes on my back, and the blanket I was in. I never the less found them again to which the two imperials seemed mildly disappointed.
I found them sitting in an inn of a tiny village, the table closest to the hearth, drinking mulled wine to ward off the cold. Their boots were almost dry meaning they had arrived about an hour or two before I. It was here that my current life began. For as I began to sit down with them, Ringmaster Karl drew a dagger and was over the table faster than I thought him capable of moving. I was on the floor his hot breath in my face the dagger pressed to my neck, close enough that I could feel the nick of it’s edge against my adams apple. There was a slight commotion behind us, but the other patrons quieted quickly once the female Imperial showed them something from her satchel. To which they turned around grumbling. I glanced around quickly noticing that Ahamed and Aishe were both standing calmly not even attempting to come to my aid. Both distant, withdrawing as if they had seen this before. Karl brings my attention back to him and whispers in my ear, “there is no help for you there…. I need to know now where exactly do your loyalties lie?”
My response was immediate almost maniacal, “with the empire!” I respond.
“Correct,” he replies. “It would have been better if you had not found us, but no matter, we may use you now. You will stay in this town and do for this town what you have been doing for us this past year. You will have no friends, and your only affiliate, will be one that comes to you. Do not follow us for next time I see your face I will draw a red smile upon your neck that will leave you wondering as to how it got there. Go NOW you stupid dog, find your worthless kind, and learn from them how to be an animal again.”
With that he spit upon my face blinding me for the instant needed to knock me out cold. They must have dragged me outside, for I awoke in a gutter, my pockets empty. The only thing to my name was the dagger on my hip. The one used to stab sailors in the back oh those years ago. Having no money to buy food and no place to stay I retreated to the forest to make for myself the only livelihood left to me. Though I swore that if I were to meet Karl again I would be the one who opened his cheeks with my blade giving him a grin that would never leave his face no matter how hard he tried to wish it away.
Works as Scout