everything old is new again

A Short Piece of Fiction

A Short Piece of Fiction

I wrote this short piece a couple years back as a way to describe a character I played in Gemstone IV. While it’s a Mary Sue to some extent, but I’m nowhere near as vile a person as the character here. Explanations follow after the story.

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The evening mists rolled along the banks of the river as the man made his way across the bridge to Amaranth Gate. A small boy, no more than eight, trailed closely behind him, chomping on an apple.

“Mister? Are we almost there?” the boy asked between bites.

“Mm hmm,” murmured the man.

“Good! I want to tell Mirael about the big bear and leopard I saw!” He took another bite, juice dripping from his chin.

He stared at the boy and just shook his head. If not for his intercession, the boy would now be dead.

“Come along, your mother is waiting, I’m sure” he said dryly, the sarcasm in his voice lost on the child. He continued on his way across the bridge.

Glancing behind, he expected the boy to be behind him, only to discover the lad climbing the edge of the bridge railings and teetering precariously, oblivious to the dangers below. The Mistydeep River had a certain reputation, and deservedly so. It would hardly do for the child to be lost to its depths so close to the end of the journey.

Stepping forward, he grabbed the boy by the belt and swung him down off the railing. His eyes narrowed. “Didn’t your sense of adventure get you into deep enough trouble already today?” he asked, knowing the child simply had no sense of scale when it came to the wilds around the city.

“I’m sorry, Mister. I’ll be good.” The boy hung his head a moment before sneaking a look back at the man. A grin broke out across his face and the man just sighed as he turned back toward the gate. Traffic was still moving through it, so he was able to slip inside with the boy with nary a glance from the guards.

Moving quickly in a southerly direction, he guided the boy past Helgreth’s until they reached Gaeld Var. The night had fully arrived by this point, and moving quickly through Victory Court, he veered the boy to the docks.

“Umm, Mister? I don’t live down here. I live off Shimaerglin Way. By the Hall!” The boy stopped and pointed in a vaguely easterly direction.

“Yes, yes, I know. I was told to take you down here, though. Your mother was frantic and had people out looking for you everywhere. She’ll be there,” he lied to the boy. “Here, have another apple,” he said, reaching into his satchel and tossing one to the child. The boy’s face lit up as he snatched it from the air and took a big bite.

“Thanks, Mister!”

“Mmhmm.”

South of the Court, he guided the boy to the docks. The mists had grown thicker and a chill breeze added to the sense of danger that can only arise at night on the river. Stopping at the gangplank of a small river dhow, he turned and crouched down to talk to the boy, the lad’s back to the gangplank.

“Now, your mother will be here at any moment,” he began to say as he caught a movement behind the boy. Suddenly, there was a sudden quick flash of blue light, and the boy slumped in his arms, fast asleep. A burlap sack quickly came down over the boy, and the lithe half-krol holding it barked excitedly to himself.

“Ahh, glad t’see another fine one,” the krol said as he tossed a pouch of coins at the man. Catching it, the man shook the bag and nodded quickly, satisfied with its weight.

“Ah’ll be back in two weeks, iffen y’kin find another,” said the krol as he draped the sack across his shoulder and walked up the gangplank. Within minutes, the dhow was casting off its lines and speeding from sight into the mists.

Raevel turned and smiled thinly to himself. He’d have to tell the Guild that the child hadn’t made it. Again. Surely, at some point, that stupid woman would stop giving him these ludicrous child rescues, but for now, they certainly helped keep him in the lifestyle to which he’d been born.

He began to whistle a quiet song as he headed back up the docks into the city, one he’d learned as a child, himself, in Ta’Nalfein. Something about “‘Ware the Mists of Night” or some such.

Funny how that came back to him at a time like this.

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The character is an elven noble named Raevel Elesserios, whose family had fallen on hard times. At one time they were among the leading families of Ta’Nalfein, one of the five elven cities. Those days were past. As a result, Raevel had a huge sense of entitlement that was fun to play. He was also attempting to become the ruler of the underworld in Ta’Vaalor, another of the elven cities and where this story takes place.

Half-krolvin are half human/half humanoid canines with blue fur.

The Guild mentioned is the Adventurers Guild, an in-game organization you can accept missions from for extra experience and coin. One mission-type is a child rescue, where children are ludicrously found in extremely dangerous locations and you have to get them back home alive for the reward. Raevel always failed the missions intentionally, leaving the child at the docks of Ta’Vaalor and then going to hand in the mission unsuccessfully. This story was meant to be an  explanation of why I did that – he sold the child to slavers. Like I said, he was a vile person.

I have had thoughts on writing more of his story, but moving it into another setting. He’s one of the projects I have in my head.

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