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Red's Journal, Preview
Name's Red. At least that's what they all call me. I never had a proper name. Nor a proper father. Not that I could blame him. My mother was such a simpering little git, always tugging at Saul Venkaskerkin's coattails at the Golden Goblin. "Oh, Mr. Venkaskerkin, can I get that for you, sir?" "Oh, Mr. Venkaskerkin, is your food to your liking?" "Oh, Mr. Venkaskerkin, let me send someone up to warm your bed for you." Maybe I'd think better of my mother if I hadn't hated Saul so much. Probably not, though. Life is hard. If you don't fight for what little you have, you end up with nothing. I learned that so many times over I might as well have it tattooed across my petite little a**.
Saul was a number. His first thought on having a bright-eyed, pigtailed, cute little red-headed halfing girl born right in his casino in Riddleport? "I'd better teach her to pick pockets!" I thought it was all fun and games. Until the first time a patron broke my cheekbone, choked me, and threatened to cut my eye out. And instead of defending me, like I knew he HAD to because I was young and naive and stupid, Saul reassured the patron that it had to have been my mother who taught me that. And right there, on a busy night, in the middle of a busy floor, he had her dragged out, stripped naked, and beaten bloody, almost to death.
That's when I learned to hate humans.
But I was a little girl, a helpless halfling destined to die another unsolved murder in a filthy gutter of Riddleport. Until She found me, huddled, sobbing on the street, freezing and starving after yet another harebrained scheme of Saul's had gone wrong. I just didn't have the thief in me. I was terrible at it. And Saul didn't care, and kept sending me out anyway. I figure he figured if I got killed doing his dirty work, it wouldn't cause him no mind. But She saw something different. Shorafa Pamodae, High Priestess of Calistria and the most beautiful woman I've ever laid eyes on. She came to me, sobbing and oblivious in my misery, and asked a stupid question: "Has someone wronged you, child?"
"You're damned right he has!"
I was never the most politic of halflings. Saul always said I had the beauty of an angel, and the mouth and manners of a sailor.
Whatever I said was enuogh for Shorafa. She took me in. Taught me where to hide daggers. Where to stick 'em in a man if he got too fresh. Where to stick 'em to make a man tell you what you needed to know. She tried to teach me more about Calistria, and what she does and all that, but I'm even worse at religion than I am at stealing. But I learned that I'm really, really good at stabbing men. Human men. Unfortunately, by the time I felt I was good enough to take out Saul, some adventurers had done me the favor.
I decided I liked adventurers.
And thus my career began. And every damned adventuring group wants me to be their sneakthief. Because I'm a halfling. And I use daggers. So I've taken to wearing a bright red cape to go with my bright red hair to make it really clear I'm not hiding from anyone, got it? I'm right up there in front, stabbing them. I'm an anomaly. Which is probably why I ended up with THIS lot.
Our party "wizard" is a tengu necromancer named Blackwing, who'd probably be a much better wizard if he spent half as much time studying as he does preening, hiding shiny things, or looking at the "pretty bird" in the mirror.
The brains of our party is Eyra. She's never told me what she is, with her red hair and golden eyes and her "affinity for flame", but she reminds me so much of Shorafa she makes my heart ache to be back in Riddleport again. And that's just crazy talk. But she's got a nose for dusty books, and ancient ruins, and places where things need killin' and treasure needs lootin'. She's the one who's got us halfway across the world (me, at least. I never ask my friends where they come from. The past is painful. For all of us. Just in different ways).
And my favorite party member is
irony Davelek, our human male sneakthief! I think I haven't killed him yet for that reason alone! Everyone watches me, waiting to see when I'm going to sneak off and steal something, and they're so busy looking at my big brown eyes and my fiery red hair and my cute little dimples they don't notice Davelek loading our wagon with their entire house of goods. Davelek's just more proof that you have to judge people on who they are, not what they are. Still hate human men, though. Just not Davelek.