29 September, 1999

A Blacksmith's Son

I grew up the son of a blacksmith, but I’ve always known that smithing was never to be my trade. My abilities laid elsewhere: I’d always been good at head games. Of course, I always knew that I’d never use my intellect to make a living – one had to be a noble for that sort of thing – but nevertheless I liked pretending that that is what I would be.

I lived in the royal city of Trieste, just south of the Grand Castle. In such a grand city, I could find a job doing anything, but I always kept the pretense that I would live by my head. Eventually, I started to believe my fantasy, and when I turned fourteen, I ran away from my home to live as a beggar. My brains certainly helped me there, since I could come up with some pretty elaborate schemes to make people feel sorry for me. One time, I acted as though I were a noble’s child – one family took me in for three weeks thinking that if they took care of me, my family would repay them generously. Needless to say, when they found out the truth, they made sure that I would never try that scheme again. My back is still scarred from that particular encounter.

Once, when I was sixteen, I tried to become a soldier in the army – I figured it would be an easy job since there hasn’t been war in Trieste since long before my grandparents were born, but apparently the army thought the same thing and so employed only the sons of the nobles. However, I was noticed by a Duke while I was being refused into the army. This Duke, Duke Derantuous, happened to overhear my especially witty remarks about the policy of the army. He immeadiately grabbed me and asked me some questions. I answered him truthfully, although it wasn’t because I was scared that I would rot in a dungeon; it was because he was a high official, and my opinion of the government at that point in time was very positive (if you exclude the army). Anyway, Duke Derantuous ended up offering me a job in the Grand Castle. In fact, my job was one of utmost importance: I was to become the Regal Overseer, and I was to oversee the King himself. When I asked what exactly this entailed, he refused to answer, saying that it was a very secretive job and I would have to accept before he explained. Well, being that I was sixteen, and also that I had been living in the streets for two years, I quickly accepted. He told me to report to the castle gates the next morning and went on his way. Little was I to know where this job would take me.

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