Flashback The Start of Something

A young Roland takes his first steps into the family business.

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A lawless town of anarchists, built on the ruins of an ancient mining city. [Lore]

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The Start of Something

Postby Roland Eir on April 30th, 2013, 11:19 am


23rd of Winter, 496 AV

As the splintered door to the cramped little shop swung open on rusty hinges, Marcus Eir dropped a hand to the dagger on his belt. The lanky figure of his son slipped in, along with a breeze of chilling air. The boy had to work to force the door shut. With a raspy sigh, the man looked back to counting a disappointingly small pile of money on the counter in front of him. The boy gave him a glance and then started toward the rickety stairs that lead to the upper level. The first step had squeaked under his foot when his father called out "Boy." Hesitantly, Roland looked back toward his father. The man's eyes glowed from beneath ragged brows. The face was thin, hollow even, but not entirely cruel. A moment passed as the two simply looked at one another.

"Hear anything useful out there?" his father said finally, the words flowing smoothly from behind yellowed teeth. The boy shifted, unable to keep still.

"I dunno." he said softly. His eyes remained connected to those of his father. The man sat slouched behind the low counter of his shop. Behind him on the wall hung a variety of goods, ranging from crooked crossbows to rusty tin whistles that rattled when you blew them. Favoring himself an entrepreneur, his father had set up the shop a few years before Roland had been born. It had quickly lost its sheen, and the life of a businessman had not fit Marcus. The shop was little more than a front now for his real line of work.

With a snort, Roland's father's eyes drifted back down to the mizas he'd been counting out before. "You don't know. Sure." He sniffed at the air. "Sure. But that won't get you anywhere. Not in this town." His voice took on a lecturing tone, as if he were a professor standing before a hundred students."You've got to pay attention. Learn things. The more you know, the more opportunities you get. Opportunity means profit. Remember that, boy. And furthermore, the fact that you apparently didn't hear anything at all means you weren't paying attention, and that's just dangerous. Stupid, is what it is. And I didn't raise you stupid. Keep your ears open, and your eyes open, and your nose..." The lecture was quickly devolving into a ramble.

"Momma says you shouldn't drink so much." Roland said, guessing at the cause.

"Momma says a lot of things," his father said sagely. He then resumed his counting with a grumble, which Roland took as a sign that he could leave. The nine year old boy started up the stairs, each one creaking beneath his inconsiderable weight. The sound seemed to remind his father of something, and he called up after him: "The fella's are comin' round later, you make sure you're out of the way!" Roland didn't answer, he just continued up the steps.

The upper level was a crowded, two room affair. One was devoted to a table and chairs, a couple chests, and a bookcase that probably hadn't ever held an actual book. The second room, into which Roland headed, was taken up by a small bed his parents shared and his own small cot. In the corner was a small fireplace. Some cinders glowed diligently, but the fire itself had long since died. "Roli, is that you?" came a strained voice from the bed.

Propped up on some pillows his father described as "rather plush", though they were anything but, was Katherine Eir. In the dim glow from the fire, Roland's mother's face looked as it normally did. In truth, he knew, she was wan and sickly on account of her growing midsection. She was six months pregnant now, and Roland knew enough to know that meant life was going to get harder soon. One way or another. "Hullo mum," he mumbled, trudging over to her bedside.

"Don't you 'hullo mum' me mister, you know I don't stand for mumbling in this house." his mother teased, attempting to prompt a smile on his small round face.

"You haven't stood for much of anything recently." The corner of his mouth quavered as he attempted to stay straight faced.

"Ooh, it's a cheeky little scamp I've raised isn't it." A chuckle escaped her lips, though it quickly turned into a cough. She recovered quickly. Lines of worry creased on her forehead as she looked at her young son. She seemed about to say something, and Roland wondered at it, when the door downstairs clattered open. Boisterous voices filtered up the stairs. "Oh, that man..." Katherine frowned. "Close the door will you, I'd like to try and get some sleep tonight."

Obediently, Roland slid the door shut, but not until he had slipped out. His father, laughing, led a group of rowdy men up the stairs and into the worn chairs around the table.

Last edited by Roland Eir on July 19th, 2013, 7:13 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Roland Eir
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The Start of Something

Postby Roland Eir on May 2nd, 2013, 10:30 am

"...and the little petcher thought I had the money the whole time!" one of the men crowed. "He kept pestering me 'Please sir, please give it back!' and all the while Sten is cutting the purse off of his buddy from behind." One of the other men smiled and held out the money they'd gotten gleefully. Sten had always come across as slightly slow to Roland. His dumb smile was sparse, full of gaps from brawling too often. Somehow he had retained his skills in larceny, and so while he was no use in planning he was invaluable on the job.

"I'm surprised you two got away with that," Roland's father snorted. "You're lucky they didn't knife you, Rodeck." Rodeck shook his lean face.

"Nah, they were foreigners. Wouldn't know the blade from a hilt."

"Last I checked we don't meet here to swap stories." another man whistled past his impeccable teeth. Marcus nodded and stood.

"I've got a heist planned, boys. A good one, I hope, though the loot's a little speculative at this point." The others grumbled among themselves, Sten in confusion, the others in aggravation. "Now, now," chided Marcus. "Listen up. I know we aren't always lucky with our targets. But this time is different. This comes from Black."

"Black?" Sten slurred with a quizzical look. Rodeck leaned over and whispered to him while another man spoke up.

"Brius Black? The man's cracked." That gave everyone a laugh. Roland sat in the corner behind the bookcase. Brius' name was familiar to him, he worked at a dismal little hole in the wall bookstore. Marcus had taken him there once, and all Roland remembered was the smell of moldy pages and dust.

"Cracked or not, his information has always been good, so shut it." Marcus snapped, and the room fell silent. "Now this'll be easy if everyone does their part." He then outlined the plan, pointing out on a small map the location of the house in question, and everyone's job. Sten was to pick the lock on the door, Rodeck would sneak in and administer a sleeping potion to the guards drinks while the others cleared the second floor and Marcus found the target.

"That's all well and good, but who will keep watch? The whole plan revolves around making sure no one else comes along and spoils the fun."

"Sten can keep watch after he picks the lock, chances are we won't need him again."

"And what if we do? Besides, they'd see him before he saw them. It needs to be someone small, and quick."

"Well we don't have anyone like that, do we? In case you haven't noticed, we're all a bit preoccupied in this little plan of his anyway," the man with the impeccable teeth hissed. Roland peeked his head around the corner of the bookcase to get a better look around the table. Shadows grew under the men's eyes. Impeccable teeth man was picking at his pearly whites with his fingers, Rodeck shifted in his seat nervously, and Sten sat glumly, not entirely understanding the conversation. The light from the lamp at the center of the table flickered, sending the shadows wild. The last man, whose eyes reflected the light most keenly from behind a pair of cracked spectacles, glanced down and across the table. His bespectacled gaze met Roland's.

"He could keep watch." The entire table turned and looked at Roland. He sunk back into the corner of the room, wishing they'd turn away. "He's small enough, that's for petchin' sure." Marcus stood and strode round the table to Roland.

"Thought I told you to keep out of the way?" he grumbled, grabbing him roughly by the collar and yanking him up.

"I just wanted to hear what was goin' on, I didn't mean to be a bother or anything," Roland murmured. Marcus pushed him around the table and into the dim light.

"Well, maybe you will have a use in this after all," Rodeck said. "The man's right, he's small enough."

"The brat is small enough but he's got no experience." Marcus said.

"You've got to start somewhere," Sten said with a knowing nod. Marcus gave an exasperated sigh.

"The missus would kill me, I'd be better off getting caught on the job. She said so herself." Roland tugged on his father's sleeve.

"Momma says a lot of things," he whispered. His father gave a wry smirk.

"Heh. Maybe it's the rum talking, but I guess you're never too young to join the family business."

The meeting soon cleared out, with everyone heading off to their own homes. Marcus and Roland went into the room where his mother had somehow managed to drift off to sleep. "No need to tell her anything, y'hear?" Marcus said to his son with a wink. Now off to sleep with you. Big night tomorrow." Roland smiled, wrapping himself in his thin blanket and curling up next to the fire.

He'd never been on any sort of job with his father before, but he knew his way around town. Often, he and his friends would run about the streets--or the rooftops for that matter--playing games or looking for easy money. He'd picked a few unwary pockets before, at his friends' urging, and he thought he rather had a gift for it. As he drifted off to sleep, he looked forward to making his father proud.

Last edited by Roland Eir on July 19th, 2013, 9:12 am, edited 2 times in total.
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The Start of Something

Postby Roland Eir on July 17th, 2013, 7:00 am

With a click, the last tumbler fell into place and the door swung open silently on oiled hinges. Sten smiled and stepped back, unveiling the open portal like a farmer revealing his prized pig. The other men shuffled nervously, while the man with the impeccable teeth--Roland had learned his name was Kitch--drew his dagger and stepped forward. "Out of the way," he hissed while giving Sten a shove. His beady eyes gleamed in the sparse light as he peered into the darkened building.

The entry hall was sparsely furnished, with naught but a mildewed rug and a rack for hanging your hat. Immediately ahead the stout hallway forked. From one direction game the bawdy laughter of men who had too much to drink. Light from a hearth spilled dimly under the crack of the door, flickering. The other direction found the foot of a staircase, where a guard who was obviously supposed to be watching the door sat snoring. The wheezing breaths from his nose blew across a bushy mustache, which then tickled his lips, causing him to occasionally flinch in his sleep, giggling. "Nothing more than hired thugs," Kitch mumbled to Roland's father. Marcus nodded and gestured to Rodeck.

A determined look on his thin face, Rodeck crept up to the door. He lifted his spindly leg high over the threshold, taking extra care not to let his feet scuff anything. His foot came down without a sound, and he sighed. Then he was in the house, and Roland lost sight of him. Marcus turned to his boy. "Remember what I said. Once we're inside, you keep your eyes on the road. Keep your eyes open, and just as importantly your ears." He sniffed, eyeing the dark houses that surrounded them. "Most people who come by won't care either way, but if any of their fellows comes along..." A clatter from inside the house drew his attention away.

Kitch hissed a curse and switched the dagger from one hand to the other, eyes on the doorway. Sten gripped his cudgel tightly, huge knuckles white, his lazy eyes wide. A few moments passed, and then the laughter from inside resumed, uproarious. Roland looked from one man to another and saw the beads of sweat that dripped from their faces. One man's nose twitched incessantly, trying unconsciously to shake a drop from the end of the beak-like appendage. The man seemed to want to brush it away, but he would not release his half-drawn bow from his grip. The night was silent except for the sounds from within the home.

After what seemed like a lifetime, Rodeck suddenly popped up next to Sten. The men jumped, and Kitch nearly knifed him. "Watch it ya jumpy git!" Rodeck gasped, pushing the razor-sharp blade away. "Had to take the back exit," he explained quietly in Marcus's direction.

"Did you at least get your job done?" Roland's father asked sharply. His eyes, shadowed under his greasy hair, drifted from the still-open door to Rodeck and back again. The smaller man nodded eagerly.

"Give 'em a minute and they'll be sleepin' like infants." With that, Kitch swung the door shut and leaned his ear against it, waiting for the sounds inside to cease. The other men readied themselves, muffling their boots and equipment with bits of cloth to kill the noise. Roland eased himself into a crouch, leaning his backside against the stunted wall that bordered the small property.

His clothes were as dark as his father could find, and mud had been smeared on his round face to make him harder to spot. He had found the whole process to be uncomfortable but exhilarating nonetheless. Now he shivered against a cool breeze that brushed against him like a ghost. The thought sent a chill down his spine and he returned his attention to the men.

Kitch signaled Marcus and eased open the door. The sounds inside had silenced. Heavy snoring drifted through the halls of the house. Marcus grinned, all according to plan. As he turned away, Kitch grabbed his shirt and gestured with his blade at the guard snoozing on the stairs. Marcus rolled his eyes and mumbled something. With a grin Kitch crept into the house. "Make yourselves ready boys," Marcus said softly. "Anyone messes this up, I'll gut 'im myself." There was a short struggle inside as Kitch drove his dagger up through the guard's chin. Roland looked away, stifling a gasp. Sten swallowed apprehensively while the rest of the men smiled and swiftly but quietly poured into the building. Marcus stopped Sten and set him just inside the building. "Keep the door open a crack and watch my boy. If anything happens to him you're dead." With that, he turned, gave a wink to his son, and disappeared into the house.

Sten did as he was asked, and Roland turned toward the road. He could feel Sten's eyes on his back, and it made him agitated. The young boy didn't like the idea that he was being watched while he watched for others. It was too circular a concept, watching a watcher. Frowning, he shook himself and focused on his job. He wanted desperately to make his father proud, and he tried to follow his advice. His eyes snaked across the ground, moving from shadow to shadow, seeking out movement; his ears tuned in to the smallest sounds.

An ache settled in his knees and shoulders as he stayed still and bunched up. He shifted slightly, moving to one knee while still peering about the town. Occasionally shapes would emerge in the distance, others engaged in similar acts of thievery. These would quickly fade, off on their own business. Once a skittering sound drew his attention and he dropped, wide eyed and prone. His blue eyes sought out the source of the sound, eventually settling on a rat, cradling a tiny piece of rotten meat between its teeth. Its eyes gleamed, gazing right back at Roland. The eyes reminded him of Kitch's, and he desperately wanted to look away, yet the creature fixed his attention. They stayed there, eyes locked on one another, bodies frozen, until the ache returned to Roland's joints once more and he felt he had to move or he would die. Finally, heavy footfalls sounded on the cobbled street and drove the rodent away.

Roland quickly scanned the road for the owner of the footsteps and saw a man with a boiled-leather jerkin a size too small for him lumbering down the road. A sword was belted at his hip, and he carried a torch in one hand while trying to keep hold of a medium-sized keg of ale under the other arm. Roland shrank into the shadows, but it soon became obvious that the man was headed for the building in which Roland's father was currently practicing his trade.

The young boy scrambled on his hands and knees back to the door. "Sten!" he whispered urgently. Them man started and looked down at him.

"Oh! Boy! I was s'posed to watch you! Don't tell your da' I was being bad, I'll do better now, promise!" Roland tried to shush him and gestured wildly down the road. The big man squinted in the dark, but eventually found the glow of the torch. Understanding dawned on him. He babbled something to Roland and took off into the building, his heavy build causing the stairs to creak as he fumbled up them. Roland turned back, saw the man had stopped to adjust his hold on the keg, and swung the door shut behind him. It took him a few seconds to find the latch in the dark. The lock jammed briefly before sliding home with a snap.

Angry voices carried down the stairs, followed by a loud shushing noise. Rodeck led Sten down the stairs, carrying the big man's cudgel. The oaf's own hands were taken up by a large chest that he managed easily. Kitch followed, his jacket painted in red, and one by one the other few men came down after. Last of all came Marcus, who shoved a bloody sheet of parchment into his coat pocket. "Good work lad," he said softly, patting Roland's shoulder. The boy ignored the bloody stain left on his shirt, and watched his father shove his way to the front of the group, favoring his left leg. He motioned for the beak-nosed man to come forward and draw his bow.

Marcus unlocked the door as the man approached, arrow nocked. At his signal, Marcus flung open the door, revealing a startled man struggling to hold his keg of ale. Before he could shout, an arrow sprouted from his throat. The men hurried out, Roland running to catch up. They left the door open. As he passed the fallen guard, Roland felt an icy hand grip his ankle. He shouted in surprise and looked down. The man on the ground held him firm, fear in his eyes. He opened his mouth, struggling to speak, but nothing but a gory gurgle came from his pitiful throat. Wide-eyed Roland stared at this dying man, rooted to the spot by shock and the death-grip of this man he didn't know.

A shadow fell over them both, and strong arms wrapped around Roland. His father kicked the man's limb off of his boy, and he pulled Roland away. "Keep moving," he said simply. Roland dumbly followed his father, lost in his thoughts.

As the group shuffled triumphantly into the night, pride welled up in Roland--the satisfaction of doing a his job well and helping his father. The feeling stopped in his gut and tied a knot. It was strangled there by a sort of sickness, and the eyes of the dying man haunted his sleep for a month.

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Roland Eir
The Reluctant Thief
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The Start of Something

Postby Twister on December 13th, 2013, 8:38 pm

Grade on Hold.

I sent you a PM earlier about this as well; your Ledger is currently not up to date. When you return and sort this out, PM me and I'll get your grade posted. Until then, this placeholder will be sitting here.

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The Start of Something

Postby Anarkhos on July 15th, 2016, 12:04 am

Pc: Roland Eir

Skills: Observation-3


Entering the family business
Mamma says a lot of things
The cold grip of a dead man
Sten: A slow man indeed
Running with the big dogs

Though short, it still was a nice thread. I like it very much for it was highly entertaining. Keep up the good work, please remember to go back into the grade list and delete this thread from the list. If you have any questions, please feel free to pm me.
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