Couldn’t find a merchant willing to trade in the slums. Not too surprising, but forced me to go in to the wealthier markets. I despise going there. Already well-to-do shop owners still looking to drive my prices down. Lets them rape the town with their despicable markups, fuel their exorbitant lifestyles.
Took me nearly three hours to reach an acceptable price on my remaining meats and pelts.
Merchant’s landlord came in just as I was leaving; briefly overheard the start of an argument over the lease. No pleasantries, no compromise; only bickering, only money.
Such is the nature of the world when you measure your life in gold pieces. There is always a bigger fish throwing its weight around, claiming your prey for their own.
Drives my thoughts yet again to my father.
78 years he spent in that shop in Loudwater. From scraping by to living well. In those last few years, the merchant’s guilds in the area went through much upheaval. What were once age-old alliances and partnerships dissolved into smoldering grudges. New faces came into power, then were just as quickly replaced again.
But their fleeting nature didn’t lessen their impact on the city, its economy, and most importantly its people. One such man took over the deed to my father’s shop. Our previous owner was a jolly man; we got along well, and we had no issues paying his dues on time, every time.
This new owner was anything but jolly or amenable.
Soon after taking over our lease, he saw the marginal success the shop was having, and looked to take a bite of that for himself. In the span of a few months, our rent was raised ten-fold.
We could not pay such ridiculous rates; even if we could, I dare say we wouldn’t.
Weeks went by with heated debate escalating into fervent rage, though mostly from myself and the landowner.
My father remained calm, but never soft or weak. He would not back down. After one such blistering fight, my father suggested he and I get out of the city for a time. It was early Marpenoth, a good time to stock up on hides and furs for the winter.
It was on this trip he presented me with a new longbow – one he must have saved for months, perhaps years, to afford. It fired true then, as it still does today.
It would be one of the last gifts either of us would be able to afford for one another.
Upon our return, we found our shop in shambles.
Skins and armors strewn about, ripped to pieces. Tools scattered and broken. This was our eviction notice, or “repossession” as the landowner would inform us.
He took everything from us.
He took my father from me.
Forced to live in the poorest of slums yet again, it would be only a few months before my father was taken by illness. Disgusting living conditions, even for those of us who can survive in the woods for weeks, only breed filth and disease. Without our tools, our supplies, we were unable to recover quickly enough.
What contacts my father had made were no help – afraid of the new merchant leadership, afraid of how they’d be seen were they to associate with poor wretches like us.
Sickness ravages the slums regularly. Who knows which one of numerous diseases we caught that week. I came out alright; my father did not come out at all.
That was a month or so before my 103rd birthday, and it was then I turned my back on the society that had turned its back on my father. My bow was all I had left, so I struck out to do the only thing I knew how – to hunt. To survive.