The Edge of Empire
Una is soul-searching for a way to fuck over the "powers that be" without sacrificing his own soul in the process
Seriously, I don’t think I’ll ever get to this numbers stuff. Does anyone care?
The essence is this:
He got into his “rogue-like” role because of great acrobatics training from the troupe he knew, and because of his “topple the powers by any means necessary” attitude. I guess you could say he’s a Robin Hood with a potty mouth and far more city savvy than Robin Hood had. But he’s got a lot of bad shit making him more aggro than he’d like to be.
“Yeah, okay, so there’s always a reason, always a story, huh? I can’t just step off from the cycle of family life; I can’t say ‘no’ to a life stuck translating for the Royal family Hallow without a reason, huh? I’m halfling, not human. I don’t have this human need to repeat the destiny of the family over and over, forever and ever. But if you wanna try to figure me out, I guess we could say it started with my uncle Delar.
“I’m probably getting ostracized from the family just for telling this. Sure, we’re a good family entirely against the Netherese scum, growing on our countryside like a wart on a witch’s face. But God forbid we mention Uncle Delar! He just happened to speak Netherese miraculously well, right? And I’m sure he spent time in Sharian temples merely trying to understand the enemy, of course. No one condoned his actions, of course. But did anyone stop him? Did anyone know what he was really doing? He claimed to be a worshipper of Avandra, as if this mere fact makes him reasonable. As if religion itself isn’t simple an excuse for unspeakable actions: ‘Sorry, your highness. I know I killed the man, but Avandra has shown me the light. I am now whole and honorable, a positive, hardworking contribution to my village.’ Truth is, he was spotted more often in the temples of Shar than Avandra, anyhow. On the night of Unspeakable Suffering [Wayne, I’m in character going to refer to this event with the walling & prisoning of Wheloon as the Unspeakable Suffering; treating it sort of like “9/11”... it’s the verbiage all of local society uses to refer to the event], Delar was not at home. He was nowhere to be seen.
“But I’m not so sure this really explains my ‘questionable’ actions, recently. Would I like to catch Uncle Delar and question him with a blade pressing to his throat? Likely. But I ain’t gonna claim he’s responsible in any significant way for the Unspeakable Suffering. He was just a pawn. And I guess that’s the next topic, as you try to understand me. I’m not gonna be a pawn. I’m not gonna be Una Jorenssen, the fifth in the line of royal translators in po-dunk Wheloon. Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe if I were a shoemaker, never sniffing around the asses of royalty, I’d be happy in my meager role in this small town. But the asses of royalty I have done sniffed. They smell just as nasty as yours and mine. Worse, maybe… some of them are damned fat and can’t get to all the crevices that largess creates. And I dunno where I got it, but I’m a bit of a monkey. I used to climb the chimneys and run on the rooftops. So when I saw the traveling performers, I was curious. I didn’t want to be stuck for life hanging upside-down showing my hairy feet to gawking humans. But it was a chance to wander the lands a bit, get out of Wheloon.
“And small towns are no good for my favorite talent: wooing the women. Ya know, as I start to talk less about the crappy stuff, I gotta admit: I’m a bit of a ladies man, but mostly it’s the game and the sport of it. I can get them in the palm of my hand. Heck, it’s even fun to mess with the colleagues. I ain’t sayin’ I’m flirtin’ with ‘em. But given a good yarn, I can hold an audience. It’s the rush of knowing I got the crowd in the palm of my hands. And what I loved about that traveling group of performers, they weren’t bad folks, but they saw life as shades of grey. We practiced breaking tough locks, ‘all for the show’, so they said. It almost sorta scared me how easily it came. Quickly I was showing them how to break into any locks with more than 2 mechanisms. Hell, there was a gnome I started to teach the stuff.
“It was fun times, to be sure. And I guess everyone’s gotta do some bad to know what good really is. But I got too much of my mom in me. I know what’s right… and anything that ain’t helping folks is hurting them. The troupe didn’t do anything bad, nothing too serious. But they weren’t doing anything to spread goodness. This is why I was so upset with everyone about Uncle Delar: if you don’t do the right thing by bringing him down, you’re just helping lift him & his kind up. Hell, mom was the only one willing to out him, even if just in her mild way. She still thinks that anonymous tip will keep him out of a job for the family Hallow! I’m thinking she just gave him a promotion… except that I know they need to stay on the low-down about all this Netherese shit, so they couldn’t do it directly. No, I got no proof on this… but I can sense it.
“Anyway, when the Unspeakable Suffering came, somehow I was out of town. I hadn’t been with the troupe for a while, so I shoulda been in Wheloon with the family, but I wasn’t. Can’t remember why; I think I went to see Lorelyn from my troupe days, we still meet up at times to satisfy the itch, you know. Dad escaped, somehow. I think working diligently for royalty helped him after all. But only so much: seems he couldn’t argue to have mom released, as she got ensnared. Maybe this was Uncle’s doing, now that I think about it. And there was really only one noble, good woman, whom I admired too much to defile, in that performance troupe. What’s the luck that I come to find out she was in town visiting a relative. Lesl, I had really wanted to save her, and to save mom, of course. There was a great deal of scum that should have been imprisoned, to be sure. But what the fuck were they thinking?? Imprison a town?? Who’s the crook and who’s the innocent in this situation? I get what the ‘real royalty’
- you know, the Cormyr dynasty - is thinking… better safe than sorry. But scum aren’t born, they’re bred. And nothing to breed scum better than to capture good folks and force them on the same side with the bad guys. Sure, maybe I’m being too simplistic. I don’t think mom would work with the Netherese. But who knows? Maybe if she’s starving. I just hope to God that I don’t hear any horrible rumors about Einu Jorenssen down the road.
“OK, so when did I become the goody-two-shoes hunted by the gangsters? Well, I wouldn’t say the break-in was a complete success, but it wasn’t an abysmal failure, either. I got my connections. Brell, with the troupe, had some connections I thought I could trust. He said he was certain about the cell my mom was in, and I was pretty sure I could get to Lesl once inside. He also said that he was certain how to bust into and out of the prison. I gotta say, Brell coulda done worse: he did know how to break into the prison. The scheme worked flawlessly. And I bet if it were the right spot, I coulda bust out fairly easily, too. But after bouncing into the first cell, I couldn’t find anyone I knew.
“And that’s where Dositheus came in. I couldn’t believe this crazy bastard. Nekkid as a blue jay, he was. I mean, he had some crappy prison garb, but no weapons or nottin’. Then he starts trouncing further INTO the prison with me. It’s like, I just shout that I’m looking for my mom, and he’s my best comrade in arms all of the sudden. I wasn’t looking a gift horse in the mouth, and I sure as hell admire it, but what the fuck? So me & nekkid boy are bouncing through the prison (he’s somehow making MORE noise than me, despite his buck-dressed-ness) looking for everyone, and Brell sets like 1/4 of the place open. Dunno if he was just desperate to get to my mom, bless his heart, or didn’t really understand all the ‘prestidigitation’ stuff he was studying and something went ka-blooey.
“So all the scum start to run out of the place along with the innocents. I actually find myself a little glad to see the Cormyrian guards coming to capture the filth. But we’re still bouncing along. Never found mom or Lesl, but Dositheus says he saw someone that sounded an AWFUL LOT like my uncle doing some heinous things. Let me re-state, my uncle was IN THE PRISON, acting as a GUARD, if you can call it that. Yep, if Dositheus is right
- and I can imagine the guy being wrong, but not lying… break a man from prison and it’s like a friend for life - my uncle had more power than I ever would have given him credit. This Dositheus is really a sweetheart. I can’t imagine him as my wingman on a night at the tavern’s in a new town, but he’s got a heart of gold and a chest like a fucking brick house. So yeah, I’m pretty lucky to have met him around the same time we went on the lamb.”