Chronicles of a Malcontent: Chapter 1 - Origins
Date: Mon, August 09, 2004
Topic: Stories & Fiction
A journal entry of the self-styled "Malcontent" and his origins in the grand city of Niole Dra.
Chronicles of a Malcontent: Chapter 1 - Origins
Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.
This journal is to serve as a record of my travels and my experiences. I will put to paper the places I have visited and people I have met so that an accounting of these things can perhaps survive the passage of years. Who am I to be so presumptuous, to assume that my words and thoughts merit such preservation? I am no celebrated bard, nor am I a scholar of any import. My name is Krost….simply Krost. Once upon a time in a distant kingdom I did have a family and a surname, but it seems as if that was a lifetime ago. So, where do I begin my story? I suppose the land of my birth is as good a beginning as any.
Mother had succumbed to illness when I was still a small child and I posses only the faintest recollections of her. My father believes the illness was due to witchery, claiming an ancient curse was placed on her bloodline though he could never tell me by who or why. Whatever the cause of her death, this left my boorish father with the task of raising me, something he cared little to do. He is a distant cousin to the Viscount of Salinmoor, Cronin Secunforth III, and as such serves as the High Herald of the dreary province. So, we lived not in Salinmoor but maintained a small estate in Niole Dra so that father could attend all of the meetings of the Council for his lord.
Niole Dra is one of the most beautiful cities in all of Oerth. Located on the bank of the Sheldomar River, the capital of Keoland possesses a majestic architectural style of it’s own. Influenced by both the Oeridian and Suel migrants who settled the region long ago it is unlikely you will find a more breathtaking place made by the hands of men. It was there that I spent my youth.
I make no claims to being a paragon of goodly virtue as a child, quite the opposite in fact. Father was more concerned with the political machinations of the city than he was raising a child so I was often left to my own devices. My youthful ventures through Niole Dra introduced me to Evran Stoles, the man who would influence me through much of my younger years.
Evran was a former adventurer, at least he called himself such. He often told me fanciful tales of his journeys throughout the Flanaess. As a child I was enamored with his stories and imagined that I too would live such an exciting life. Evran had caught his leg in some intricate trap while exploring a far off dungeon, leaving it maimed and ending his adventuring career. The wealth he had amassed during his expeditions he had squandered on liquor and women, leaving him scratching out a meager existence as a petty thief on the streets of the capital.
I began assisting him with his larcenous pursuits, often playing the role of a lost and distressed child while he quietly and skillfully lifted the purses of my would be rescuers. We had several confidence scams we used as well. As I grew older we moved on to more profitable ventures however. Father’s position often granted us invitations to the social gatherings of the city’s elite, a situation both Evran and I decided to take full advantage of. I would go to these social affairs with father, casing the estates to determine their layout, where valuables were kept and get an idea of any defenses in place. Later on both Evran and I would return to rob them blind.
Oh what a life I lived then! My juvenile nature loved the thrill of what we were doing and while I did not need the money I craved the excitement of it all. I became well known in the social circles as a charming young man but my youthful arrogance craved acknowledgement for my shady deeds. I would drop clues about my roguish side to the daughters of nobility, seeking to steal from them their virtue much like I stole their parents jewels. The young ladies loved me, I was taboo, doing things that no well born person should do. As my reputation grew so did my ego.
Rumors of my misdeeds spread even further but that was all they were. Rumors. While my character was suspect, none could say with certainty that I was truly involved in such larcenous exploits. These rumors infuriated my father, especially when we were not invited to several elite functions. And so it became a game to me, I grew more daring and reckless as I continued my streak of burglaries, daring them to catch me. Well as they say, all good things must come to an end, and so did this.
I was barely over seventeen seasons old and an extravagant banquet was being held in honor of Duke Luschan who was visiting Niole Dra from the Gradsul Province. Father had wormed his way into an invitation for the grand affair and I, of course ensured that I went along with him. During the course of the banquet we were introduced to the illustrious duke. Luschan was speaking with father about the benefits of convincing Secunforth to make a personal appearance at the Council and that it could perhaps assist in matters pertaining to the Viscounty. I am at a loss to the finer points of the conversation however, because my attention was focused on one thing alone. Luschan’s beautiful daughter Ascella.
Few could match this young woman’s beauty and grace, she was perhaps a year older than me and I was stricken by her. The gentle curls of her golden hair, the serenity of her sky blue eyes and a smile as warm and comforting as a hearth fire. Yes, I didn’t stand a chance.
That night we talked, we danced and we laughed, but this fine lass was no stranger to the wily ways of would be suitors. Accustomed to the sweet words of young men in lust she deftly defended herself against all my advances. Unaccustomed to such things it only made me desire her more, but how would I win her heart?
It was her that initially touched upon the subject of the many rumors about my more shady side. With a wolfish grin I danced about the subject, giving only hints to whether or not there was truth to such talk. She pressed the issue and I knew, that like so many other sheltered young women, she too was thrilled by the prospects of a “dangerous” man. I continued playing my game, never confirming nor denying the myriad of rumors surrounding my secret activities and when the banquet was over I was sure that soon enough the beautiful Ascella would be mine.
We had promised to meet again before she and her father returned home to Gradsul and I set about the necessary tasks to ensure my conquest of that gorgeous creature.
Regrettably I cannot recall the name of the lout who’s estate hosted the banquet, I had long ago stopped caring about the boorish members of the council, but at the affair his wife wore one of the finest sapphire necklaces I had ever seen. Apparently a recent acquisition of hers she was quite flagrant at flaunting the bejeweled necklace to as many of the party goers as possible. That necklace would be my gift to Ascella when again we met. Not only would it confirm the rumors she had heard of me, it would also serve as a token of my devotion and the prize which I sought would be mine.
Finding Evran I told him the layout of the estate and what security precautions I had observed. He had reservations about such a high profile location but I ensured him that I was thorough in my inspection and was positive we could pull it off. Besides, I told him, now was a perfect time to act, many still left at the estate would have their minds clouded by the alcohol consumed during the revelry. An easy in and out.
I of course, was wrong.
I’ll never be positive that my downfall was due to pure bad luck on my part or if Ascella had spoken to her father about my rumored past. Either way I suppose it does not matter any more, instead of escaping with the necklace and spending the following night locked in the thankful embrace of Ascella, both Evran and I spent the night locked in shackles at the city jail.
Father was of course outraged by my arrest, it made him look quite the fool when word spread that his son was responsible for the thefts that had been occurring at the many estates of Niole Dra. He then committed an act that I could never forgive him for although I hold myself equally responsible for what happened next.
To save face he used his influence to paint Evran as the villain in all of this. I was simply a misguided young man coerced by the hardened criminal Evran to assist him in committing these awful burglaries. I was sickened by father’s lies, but even more so by my own silence through it all. I was promptly released, Evran however bore the full brunt of our misdeeds. I was never made aware of his fate but I assume he met with the gallows in the end. The burden of his death is one that I carry to this day, a sin I can never atone for. My dearest friend dead because of my inaction and cowardice.
Tired of my rebellious nature, and glad for any excuse to rid himself of me, father spoke with a visiting monk from the Barony of Dilwych. He had somehow convinced the man to take me with him back to his monastery and teach me the ways of his order. He thought perhaps the discipline of the brothers could straighten out this wayward child. I did not protest the arrangement, life as I knew it had forever changed for me in Niole Dra. I left with the monk a few short days later but first I paid a visit to Evran’s now abandoned hovel. Solemnly I retrieved his most prized possession, a wonderfully crafted rapier kept as a reminder of his glorious days of adventure. I have ever since carried the blade with me in my travels, a shameful token of my misdeed.
With a darkened heart I left the city of my birth.