Boobies and Dragons
I’m not what they had in mind. I can’t imagine this is the life intended for my people centuries ago. For a Vryloka I have a brighter spirit than most . At a young age my family and I fled away from our home, well my home, they had not had a home in a century. I never knew of the dominion my family once had but that was a thing of the past. I had one older brother not much older than I but, seeing as he took to his regality like a fish to sea we couldn’t be farther apart.
I remember when we were making our way to Calimport carrying all of our possessions in trunks and carts. Mother never could leave her collection of trinkets behind and my father would never let her. My mother and father held powerful positions in a prior life and tried to be regarded as such but, power is such a frail thing. The only thing my family tells me about our fall from grace is that there had been an act of treachery from those we once considered friends. A lesson I’ve learned over these years is that no matter how high your throne the seat can still be pulled out from under you.
When we reached the gates of Calimport my father fooled the guards into thinking that we were human nobles already in possession of property within the city. One guard was so swept up in the tale that he bowed until his nose reached the ground. Only one truly seemed curious in our random nobility. The rest took it as gospel and let us through. Once in the city I was amazed by how many people there were. Throughout all the traveling I never got to interact much with anyone. My brother was disgusted by all the paupers and dirty children and would insinuate that I had finally found my home. My parents found a small home by reluctantly trading some of my mother’s things. I couldn’t put my finger on it but the was an air of uneasiness that day.
My father found work as an advisor to a Chancellor so, it was imperative that our true identities remain clandestine. He had great people skills. The irony was not lost on us. He eventually worked his way up to a position of burgess. Recently local thieves began to cause more and more of a disturbance for my father and the people began to depend on him.
After a few months I took to the city rather well. Even finding a group of children to fall in with. They would make fun of my pale skin in which I would reply that everyone to the north had skin like mine and that it was not that unusual. A lie for all I knew. One of the children, a daughter of a dwarven blacksmith, would teach me her language during some of the summer days so that when the other kids would tease me we could speak without them knowing. The kids teased her as well since most of them hardly saw any of her kind. I would joke that she was lucky to have me. She always seemed to laugh everything I said off. We would always talk about exploring the world and how we would like to do some real traveling not just being carted off from place to place with our families. Once I got to know her over the course of a few years I revealed to her what I and my family really were yet, she didn’t even seem surprised and in fact, rather interested. She vowed to keep my secret and I knew her then as my only true friend.
It became quite difficult to keep up a refusal to dine with her family as by dwarven standards they made very lavish dinners. Lavish was something I was not used to as my family traditionally fed on the blood of live street animals. Luckily, Calimport had an abundance of stray cats and dogs that no one ever missed. I could never bear to tell the dwarf the source of my family’s meals.Though we ate well enough, my brother never seemed to have any appetite at all. I always felt the blood of animals satisfactory as it was all I ever knew. Eventually my brother broke out on his own to enjoy the city life after a few shut in years. He would occasionally go on a tryst or two with an assortment of fairly beautiful women. He would always give me advice on how to take women to bed though I felt I was rather young to hear such notions. I hadn’t seen much of him lately. Still, things were good it seemed.
A frigid winter evening I snuck out like I had many times before to meet the dwarven girl in the inner city for a midnight walk. After a while we noticed a dark figure in toe and began to walk briskly. We then ducked into an alley behind crates and barrels to throw off the trail of our spectre. The predator came into us with blades drawn, barely making a sound. As the shade drew nearer the girl gasped and while the assailant was distracted I grabbed one of his small daggers and squared off with the mugger. I’ve always found full blooded humans to be very clumsy, bumbling creatures and this assailant was no different. Tearing into his hamstring he screamed as I left him maimed and we fled. I was worried about my family at this moment as I felt that things had been building to this moment. I needed to check on them. I told the dwarf to not wait for me and to go home. She told me to be safe and that if we had not meet again she hoped that I would be able to explore the world some day.
I ran all the way back home as I lunged into the doorway not knowing the reasoning behind the recent encounter. I had left the dwarf as I could not be slowed down by anything at this moment. My house was the epitome of silence right before a loud crashing upstairs. As I arrived at the plateau of the steps I could see something was amiss. I walked into my parents’ room and both of their bodies lay across the bed. To this day I have never known a deeper sadness than that nite. I searched the room and their bodies for any clues. A note was left:
I hope you’ve all had your fill
For fattened monsters we’re sure to kill.
I was baffled. Nothing made sense. I searched the house for my brother to see if he was there or even alive. I entered his room and there was nothing. Then I heard a door slam in the cellar; secret storage where we kept the remainder of mother’s things. Creeping down the staircase I hear nothing but sobbin. As I hit the landing my eyes witnessed four young girls drenched in their own blood. They were emaciated and broken but still alive. I broke their chains but I could not usher them to safety as I was afraid of my own implications at the moment. I stole through a secret door climbing a ladder to the rooftop only to find my brother. He was so still I believed him frozen until he spoke. He kept saying that he deserved better and that he was meant for greater things. He shouted that father was a weak fool to accept a place amongst animals and that no amount of work this way could carry the family where it was destined to be. When I asked him if he knew what had happened to our parents he laughed. He said that they were so weak that they didn’t even realize they had been trapped since the moment we entered the city. My brother had sources that told him that on the very first day one of the guards had tipped off an opponent of the Chancellor my father first worked for. The opponent was simply known as the Official. This man had firm claws in the city and employed thieves and bandits from a group known as The Nites, to stalk us. The Nites were only strike when the time was right. Several women had disappeared after being seen with my brother the Official was going to blow the whistle on our identity and easily take a coveted position in the city hierarchy. The opponent of my father promised my brother amnesty and would from then on out be taken care of with high regard once more. I was disgusted and distraught. To this day I have never known such anger. I’ll never forget the last words my brother ever spoke to me, “Pathetic”. Apparently I wasn’t worth his time either and he disappeared. I could feel my blood to erupting out of my skin. I wanted revenge.
After leaving a note of my own departure on the dwarven girls doorstep I left the city and traveled from town to town. Something that I was all too happy never to have to do again but, I found my stride in it remembering that it was previously been all that I wanted. Though the experience I left in Calimport were etched in my mind as unhealed scars I found some merriment along the way and was once again fascinated by new experiences and wonder.
Even though I was reveling in all the novelty of the open world I could never truly live knowing that my brother was in Calimport beaming over what he did. I was never forthcoming about my identity and simply never stayed anywhere too long. I drew a black cloak and kept guard knowing that any danger may appear out of thin air. Whenever I needed to feed I stuck to the blood of animals. I could not bring myself to feed on any true unsuspecting, innocent as just was never my way.
Eventually I found it time to face my brother. The plot of taking lives as he had done to many others and inadvertently my own parents grew in my mind. I aimed to kill but first I needed an in.
Against my better judgment I decided to join the very assassins that ripped my family away from me, The Nites. Luckily, full humans live rather short lives, especially thieves. I was able to immerse myself into their rogue hood without much suspicion yet, there was still an a sense of uneasiness. I eventually was able to prod for information on the goings on of the man that ordered my family killed. The Official.
I arrived back at the hideout one nite only to be stunned by a rather older smelling man that had drawn a small dagger right over my kidney. He lead me by the neck to the center of the room. Even with the limp he had very little finesse for a man of this lifestyle. He spoke softly. Telling me he knew who and what I was and that I may have had the others fooled but not him. It was very clear to me who he was. The same man that had tried to kill me in the alley years ago.
He let me go and I prepared for a fight as he clung to his knife. He dropped it and uttered that he knew I was of a good conscience, as good as one of me can be anyway and that he meant no harm. Years ago he had joined The Nites in hopes to provide for his younger sister. His sister was always free spirited and loved being courted by wealthy men. She ended up disappearing one evening after going out with some perverted son of a burgess. A political official had charged The Nites to kill a certain Vrylokan burgess and his family who was rumored to be kidnapping women and draining them of their vitality. The official was to pay a hefty sum for the deed. This rogue would have done it for free in the hopes that perhaps his sister was still alive.
That nite after facing me and leaving him only maiming as well as freeing his sister from my cellar that evening, he knew that I was not the monster my brother was. He went to the dwarven girl for confirmation and she told him what she knew of me. He said that he would do all he could to help me avenge my parents’ deaths but could not blame The Nites for following orders. I accepted his help.
It turned out that the Official needed a job done and would only accept higher ranking members of The Nites to carry it out. The job was to be a fake ransom kidnapping in order to extort an opposing official out of clamoring for office. Then the official would stand up to the “criminal” that committed the kidnapping and bring the victim back to the opposing political family hardly harmed guaranteeing him a solidified seat on city council due to his theatric heroics. Instead he received a very unafraid and blistering, me. He did not recognize me at first but then once my eyes began to glow he knew exactly who I was and the fact that I was alive, a detail that my brother left out I’m sure shocked him. His begging met deaf ears as he screamed for his life. He did not want to be turned into one of “those things”. I assured him I had no intention of introducing him to any undeath. I bit his throat out of his neck with a violent ripping. I recoiled as the blood flowed through me like electricity. If not for my years of living among humans as equals without ever feeding there may have been no coming back from this enthrallment. But I was still me. A bit more me than I ever was.
When I calmed down I thanked my companion and bolted towards my brothers providence immediately with not one ounce of recourse. I began to feel a bit remorseful as I had never killed before but I remembered that my goal in my revenge was all that mattered.
I arrived to a heavily guarded mansion. Apparently my brother had not been seen in years and would only accept the occasional lady of the night to his door. With as much agility and silence as I could muster in what seemed like a limitless body I snuck to the master bedroom window. Stepping in like a ghost I crept around the shadows of the room. My senses had been highly focused and I remained unseen. I began to realize that nothing was happening; no noise, no movement, nothing. I walk towards the canopy of the bed to see my brother laying there. His eyes were wide open and lifeless as two naked women lay beside him silently. They each a grasps on two well tiny, well-crafted daggers that were plunged into my brother’s chest. I had been robbed of my revenge. Stolen of this moment. The only moment I had lived for up until then was gone. To this day I have never been so depressed.
Both women got up and wrapped themselves in the robes that lay beside them. They said they didn’t even know who sent them. Only that the party had been planning this event for several years. The party knew when I arrived in the city exactly what my actions were to be. One dug into her pocket and handed me a piece of paper with words that neither of them could decipher :
All the world to be explored
Live your life for something more
To this day I have never been so relieved and happy and the dwarven language never sounded so sweet.