“My name is Jed Kleimes. No, you don’t know me and if you’re lucky, you never will have to. I wish I had some sad and woeful story of how I ended being the cutthroat that has you stuck and bleeding out like a pig but alas, my story is a simple one…”
“I was born here in Farholde, another poor and starving mouth within the Baron’s Orphanage. A cesspool of criminal activity and violence is what it was, it taught me how to survive. If you didn’t learn how to steal, how to push the weak ones around, you’d go hungry and cold. My friends, if you could call them that, they taught me how to survive. Stealing, fighting, it was a small thing when we were kids but as we got older, it became something more. We fought for territory, for piss-covered pieces of the earth that no one cared about. I killed kids younger than me because they would kill me, they would take my life. I don’t regret it and I’m not ashamed about it, it wasn’t like Mitra was shining down on us anyways….”
“Like all things though, they come to an end and this…this was no different. Too many fights, too many rivals, and the gang was torn apart by infighting and assassinations. I saw it coming so I got out of there, my friends had lost their sense of loyalty, their last shreds of dignity. I wandered for a long time, stealing and surviving where I could, until I came across an old woman deep within the cold forests. With eyes covered with cataracts, she caught me stealing her stew and demanded that I stay with her for the night and learn what the fates had in store with me. I was never one for tricks and cons but she offered a free meal and no fool walks away from that. Yet, as she performed these little rituals that I was sure were blasphemy to Mitra, I could see into the dark entrails of the rabbit she gutted something flash.”
“It was a path marked with gold and blood, fire burning on all sides. There were faces I didn’t know, places I’ve never heard of, and the roar of dragons all around. I followed down the path and a voice that was neither the woman’s nor mine spoke to me. It told me that I walked a line, bordering on a great reward and a great price. Left alone, I would die alone and hungry or perhaps rot in the dungeons of one of the prisons within Talingarde, but there was one who could lead me to the greatest ruin or treasure. I would know him by his eyes; crisp and blue, as well as the presence he held around him. When I awoke from my stupor, the woman was laying on her side and had left this mortal coil. Already the cold moved to claim over her. I grabbed what I could and left but no matter what I did, I could not forget that dream.”
“For a year, it plagued me and burned into all my thoughts. It was only when I was passing through Balentyne that I caught sight of the blue-eyed man who waited in the cold with a look of cold determination. It was just as my vision had shown me, this was the man who would destroy me or save me. I was always the gambling type and even though this man could be the death of me, I had long ago decided that the only true way to lose was to not play at all. I signed up with the military immediately and wormed my way onto the same squad as him. His name? Captain Seth Meridan.”
“I acted as his scout, his eyes and ears in the wilderness, and he fought with incredible ferocity against the bugbear horde. It was him that noticed the Lieutenant’s folly and attempt at glory and when he offered us the chance to desert, I followed him. I had not expected the paladins and the soldiers to arrive so quickly though, as I hid in the snow as the battle ended quickly. My leader was taken, chained and beaten, to Brandenscar. I thought the vision to be a lie now, a pointless hallucination. How wrong I was though.”
“Like the rest of you, I heard the rumors of the escaped prisoners from that terrible place and how when the bugbears charged through the Tower Balentyne, there were few in the way to stop them as if a massacre had already occurred. I knew it to be my friend Seth. So I’ve followed the trail of ruin behind them and now I’ve returned home to find that some “evil” stirs within the Byre. I know it is him and he is the key to my success. As for you….you must be a loyal soldier to have tried to kill me just for asking about him. So I offer you a quick death if you’ll tell me where he is…."