AR 1209-04 Wolf's Background Story
With a thud, the old dwarf fell back a step, showing shock for the head butt he had just received. “We aint gots none of your money and we aint givin’ ya none of ours,” the young dwarf’s eyes were ablaze as he spat the words, “and if you ever touch Taby again, I’ll kill ya! I’ll kill ya and…and…and I’ll piss on your corpse!”
Regaining his composure, the old dwarf had a smirk on his face. “Lucky hit boy. I wasn’t expecting you to use your head. The problem with luck, though, it never lasts against true skill.”
It didn’t matter how angry he was, Wolf knew he couldn’t win this fight. Why the hell did Tabby have to choose him as a mark? Rat’s gonna be pissed and that means another night without food. As he glanced at his surroundings, he realized that their scuffle had started drawing a crowd. Food nothin’, definitely gonna beat the tar outta me for this one.
“Tell me something,” the old dwarf continued, “do you remember Rogi and Elda Axeforger? If I’m right, I believe I know your parents.”
Completely taken aback by the statement, Wolf’s rage began to subside. “Hah! I ain’t never had no father and the woman who bore me sold me for a flask of mead. Don’t go talkin’ bout things you know nothin’ about.”
“No, I’m almost certain that if I took you back to the keep, you’d remember everything. Your name wouldn’t happen to be –“
“Wolf! We gotta go now!” interrupted a young gnome. “The guards is almost here!” Wolf knew what getting caught by guards meant and, without further thought, immediately turned and ran. As he rounded the corner to a back alley, he heard the old dwarf call out to him, but the fear of being caught by the guards weighed heavier than any word he might have heard.
After dodging through back alleys and abandoned buildings, he set off towards the meeting point and found that Tabby and Sparrow were there waiting for him. After laughing about how they had gotten away, they decided that younger pair would attempt to find an easy mark and some food while Wolf reported in to Rat.
Wolf headed towards the bar where Rat always hung out, and had barely made it to the cellar before Rat started speaking.
“I already heard about your little incident. You know better than to draw attention to us, especially the attention of the guards…” “But he weren’t no ordinary guy, Rat. He caught Tabby ‘fore she had her hand on his purse. Ain’t no way –“ “So Tabby botched another job, did she? Guess we know what that means.” Rat’s lips curled into a wry grin.
“Er…it weren’t her fault. The guy…he used some kind of trickery or some’in. He ‘ad this weird stick what must have told ‘im she was there.”
“Yeah, and he kept tryin to distract me with talk of knowin’ my parents and stuff. Even talked about some kinda keep o’ some’in.”
“Take me to him.”
“What? But he ain’t nothin’ no more. Aint we s’posta –“
Leading Rat through town, Wolf couldn’t help but wonder why Rat even cared. It wasn’t like he ever cared about the mark before, especially if it resulted in failure. Something didn’t sit right with Wolf, and Rat wasn’t talking. They found the old dwarf talking to merchants in the same area the fight had taken place, and for the first time ever, Wolf saw Rats eyes go big as he exclaimed “We’re going to talk to the master.”
Back at headquarters, Wolf stood outside the room where Rat was talking to the master, trying to eavesdrop for any clue as to what was happening, and only barely being able to make out Rat’s side of the conversation. After what seemed like an age, the masters voice rung out “I SAID TAKE CARE OF IT!” Rat exited the room with a long face, “Go and get the others; we’re calling it early today.”
Sparrow and Tabby had managed to find themselves some stale bread, and offered a portion to Wolf as he came trotting down the street. Wolf explained everything he had witnessed and that they all needed to get back to the abandoned house they called home. They were shocked to find Rat had made a fancy dinner of stew by the time they arrived. He explained that the master had a very special job for them in the morning, so they would all need a hearty meal and a good night’s sleep.
The kids did as they were told, happy to not be punished for the failure earlier that day, but Wolf couldn’t help question just what it was about the old dwarf that had spooked Rat so. As he fell asleep, he wondered if the special job might just be to kill the geezer off. He hadn’t ever killed before and he wasn’t too sure he liked the idea.
Wolf was startled awake by the sound of a scream. He immediately jumped from his bed in time to see Rat rush to Tabby’s cot, the glint of something shining in the dim light of a candle, and then watched in horror as her body fell lifeless to the floor. In a panic, he rushed to Sparrow, only to find him, face frozen in terror, covered in a pool of sticky, warm fluid. Rat, having noticed that Wolf wasn’t in his cot anymore, turned to him, tears flowing down his face.
“Master says you have to die. Master says you’re too much of a problem”
But Master took us in. He said he’d protect us, said we were family. As the words caught in his throat, Wolf could only stare as Rat crept ever closer.
“Master says I get to live if you die. Master says you never should have found that old bastard. Master says old dwarf will spoil his plans; that he’ll get you to fink on him if you know the truth.”
Wolf barely heard the words when the weight of the day came crashing down on him: the betrayal by the man he had considered his father; the fact that he had been lied to about his real parents; the friends he had just shared a meal with lying dead mere inches from him. And then Rat lunged…
He doesn’t remember the knife slicing through his cheek as he dodged Rat’s blow.
He doesn’t remember grappling with Rat for the knife, or the shock on Rat’s face as it stuck into his gut.
He doesn’t remember holding Rat down, or the feel of the knife as it plunged, repeatedly into Rat’s chest.
He doesn’t remember trying to escape from the nightmare of that night, which corners he turned as he ran, and the exhaustion he felt causing him to pass out in the middle of the street.
The only memory Wolf does have is the peaceful sound of a woman’s voice whispering in his ear, “You’re safe now” while a feeling of calm washed over him.
Wolf woke in the temple of Sif in the care of a young, cute human girl. Upon seeing him stir, she smiled and exclaimed “Oh wonderful, your finally waking up. Let me get high priestess Gallemore.” Before Wolf had the chance to respond, she ran out the door. While taking in his surroundings, he sat up and a dull ache spread across his body, helping to shake the cobwebs from his mind. He couldn’t remember how he had gotten here, or even where here was.
A lady dressed in robes entered the room and noticed Wolf trying to stretch the stiffness out of his arms. “I see your getting your wits about you. Excellent. I have seen you around the market time to time, you and your two friends. We just found them and a known thief dead. It seems someone wants you and your group dead. You are welcome to stay as long as you need too.”
The mention of his friends immediately brought the events of that night back into focus. Tabby and Sparrow were dead, Rat had killed them, and he had done it at the order of the master. Unable to hold back the flood of emotions, tears began to pour down his face. The sharp pain they caused when reaching the wound on his cheek was paled by the pain he felt from not being able to protect his friends.
Over the next few days, Wolf distracted himself with chores around the temple. Through brief discussions, he learned that the dead thief was actually Rat, he was not the only refugee at the temple, and if he was interested, a number of the individuals in the temple were willing to help him learn basic combat skills. Not wanting to ever lose anyone important to him again, Wolf accepted their offer and began his mornings with staff and wooden sword practice.
After three weeks watching Wolf work out, high priestess Gallemore took him aside, “You handle yourself very well in the practices. I have a proposition for you that will get you out of town and away from the ones trying to kill you still. There is a school for kids that show promise to teach them to not only protect themselves but others who are weaker and cannot protect themselves. If you are interested, there is a local family in town who sponsors one child every two years and so far has found no one to sponsor for this coming school year. You would leave for the school in two weeks. They also have three children who will be attending the same school with you. If you want you would be safe as well living at their home. I could take you over there later in a closed Rickshaw so there is no chance of being seen and bringing danger to the family. Though, they also work out and could probably handle those who are looking for you. What do you say? Want to go to school? Want to get a chance to meet the other kids who will also be at the school?”
Wolf, shocked at such an offer, accepted with a nod.
A couple of days later, high priestess Gallemore took him to the family home. They arrived to find the kids playing outside and a lady mending clothes sitting in the shade. He was quickly introduced to Kara who sent him off to play with Rissa and Yari while she spoke privately with the priestess. Rissa and Yari did the rest of the introductions to the other kids. Wolf felt at ease quickly with the kids as they accepted him readily making it seem normal to have an extra kid added to the household.
The kids decided he should share a room with Yari, and found a small bed to add to the room from the spares throughout the house. The adults did not press Wolf for any information, accepting that when it was time, he would share. The younger kids asked now and then about where he came from, but the older kids shifted the conversion to something else having been trained to not press the kids that were the special candidates for the school.
Wolf learned that there even though there was three full meals a day, if he even looked hungry, more food was made available to him. It took him about a week to adjust to not stuffing extra bread in his pockets just from habit. In the meantime, no one make any comment about it when they noticed him doing it.
He was shy around the kids parents, but Wolf quickly took a strong liking to Eliza, the halfling cook. She always made sure he had a treat if he stopped by the kitchen.
Different clothes and other needed items kept appearing throughout the two weeks. They normally fit, and if not, would soon disappear and more would appear that were the correct size. By the time two weeks had gone by, Wolf had three sets of clean clothes and night gear, along with a pack to hold it all in. With the kids almost always taking excited about school, Wolf found he was getting excited to join them at school. Though still a bit apprehensive of if he would meet his parents there and what would they be like. Would they still want him? Could he still go to school?