Silverwing's introduction produces a broad range of responses from the villagers of Ravengro. Many look upon the young griffon with awe and wonder, while others are quite afright. Older children who have turned out to help their families - or who wanted to see the battle - are amazed by the creature. A few locals, including Councilwoman Faravon, find Silverwing rather adorable.
As Valeska moves to question the prisoner, she finds him unresponsive - literally. The orc shaman is yet unconscious, and his wounds remain unbandaged. He does not stand at the Boneyard's gates, he remains within its shadow. Untreated, he will likely die within a day or two.
Faun, hearing everyone's words, agrees with Kain, and Valeska.
"Wise words, Sir Kain. But do not be fooled. The desire for mutually beneficial peace is not the same thing as weakness. A decent militia or guard, as well as basic border protections are paramount, yes. But if there is a chance to reach understanding, and to broker an era of peace, isn't that worth trying?"
To the councilmembers she states, "I can also commit to staying here long-term, in which case a place to stay would be most welcome. If you'll allow it, I can assist with the repairs to the farmland, irrigation systems, and rebuilding, ensuring everything is done responsibly."
Valeska is appreciative of Faun's comments but, there are more interested concerns.
Faun, Chao... can either of you help me with the Orc? He's our only source of information, but he's unconscious and needs some care.
I am lacking in the healing arts. Please.
Faun silently turns to Valeska, her face neutral. Her eyes change their focus to Chao as he shrugs his shoulders and walks away. She returns her gaze to Valeska, then finally focuses on the unconscious orc shaman.
She first sits down on her knees, the orc on one side of her, and searches him as one searches an apprehended suspect; but she does so gently, carefully, respectfully.
Perception: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (18) + 9 = 27
After removing anything that they wouldn't want to leave on a hostile, setting them in a neat stack on her opposite side, she sighs, straightens her back and fixes her posture, and casts stabilize.
She looks back at Valeska. "He is no longer dying. He is stable. But he is by no means healed."
Aside from the shaman's battleaxe and sheaf of javelins, which were taken away from the orc as soon as he sheriff secured him, Faun removes his worn holy symbol, made from splintering wood, and a pair of scrolls folded up and tucked into an oblong pouch upon his belt. His iron breastplate and thick hide cloak are also removed for good measure.
Sarianna Vai and Zokar Elkarid both eagerly volunteer to put up the "heroes of Ravengro" in their respective establishments. Thus, you will not want for accommodations as long as you stay in the town. In the morning, Sheriff Caeller visits to call upon you.
"That shaman is awake," he states plainly. "He's right angry, but in no position to do anything about it. We've got him locked up at the jail. Even if any of us spoke the orcish tongue, I'd still ask you to lead the interrogation. I have more experience wrangling drunks than war prisoners."
|Arden Kain Brandt|
Very well then. We will see if any sort of peace can be made. As that would likely be the best course for your town. At least for the time.
once escorted to the prison, Kain introduces himself in orcish.
I am Arden Kain Brandt, the soldier that bested your leader. I will ask you this politely once. Was there any specific reason for your raid on this town, or was it merely the usual hunt for slaves, loot, and wanton destruction. And what clan do you hail from.
Shontar had decided to accept the town's offer to stay a while longer. His father didn't expect him back anytime soon and this was much more exciting than the diplomatic mission he was sent on. Chao agreed to anything as always.
They attended the questioning of the shaman, too.
"Any I am Shontar Hadove. You're only alive, because I focused my crossbow bolts on your brothers. They haven't been so lucky."
does he even understand common?
Valeska made certain to bring some food from the inn, nothing fancy but everything satisfying. Including some of that bread Ravengro was known for, eggs and cheese. The bread was still warm.
Are you hungry? You can eat as we... talk.
The shaman eyes Kain warily. He clearly understands the cavalier's words but remains mute for now. When Shontar speaks in Common Taldane, it is less clear whether the shaman understands; nevertheless, he offers the elf a sneer that broaches upon a growl.
After grabbing and devouring the food proffered by Valeska, the imprisoned shaman becomes more apt to speak.
"Strength is survival. This is truth. The strong will survive by taking what they want from those not strong enough to survive. As it is with the beasts, so it is with orc and man."
Assuming Kain translates...
We all revere and respect our own gods. What blessings were withheld? And, what did you wish to take?
Maybe there is a way to... share and stop the fighting, the killing. Do you have children?
EDIT: diplomacy, kept alive, fed: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (4) + 12 = 16
|Arden Kain Brandt|
Through further interrogation and translation, it becomes clear that the shaman interprets the warband's lack of victory as a sign of their gods' displeasure. As for what they sought - simply anything they could take.
<"All that you own is all that you can take and keep,"> the shaman declares between mouthfuls of food, many crumbs raining down as he speaks in his language. <"You think your pink-skin culture makes you strong? You think it will protect you? It was steel and fire that saved you, that you used to slay my kin.">
Valeska's suggestion to share elicits first confusion, then laughter from the prisoner.
<"The auroch doesn't share its hide and meat. The rock doesn't share its iron. These are things you must simply take!">
As for the question regarding children, he offers a proud, defiant smile and answers, <"Probably. I have had many women. I don't care what happens after.">
One small reminder from this pink-skin. Your warriors also had steel and fire. Think on that.
You will returned to your people in one of two ways. Either a symbol of their defeat or as a sign that the gods have shown you another way. Co-existence. You decide which is best for your lifespan.
Defeat or a sort of victory where you bring them prosperity.
She turns to walk toward the door.
Kain, don't kill him... Not yet.
Please translate everything, especially that last bit about not killing him... yet. And thank you, I'd like to learn their tongue, at least the basics of you would honor me. I couldn't do this without your help.
With that, she exits the building.
|Arden Kain Brandt|
Faun arranges for the iron breastplate to be brought to the Outside Inn. "For the sake of pragmatism, offer this breastplate to any of Ravengro's defenders. If none want it, however, I'd recommend mounting it behind the bar, over the hearth, or somewhere visible."
Faun sits at a table in the common room of the Inn and studies the scrolls taken from the orc shaman. If she doesn't immediately recognize the spells, she will spend some time trying to work it out herself.
Spellcraft: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (8) + 5 = 13
But her tired eyes make it impossible to focus. She decides it will be okay to take a shorter route, and starting at the apothecary, seeks someone who can assist her.
Shontar might be one of the oldest currently residing in the town, but this was all new to him. Maybe that's why father sent me on a diplomatic mission?
"Chao, get me my quill and some paper. I will notify father of our change of plans."
Later the day Shontar gave a letter to a young man with instructions where to bring it and an elven gold coin.
Understanding that some idea need time to simmer, Valeska gives the brutish shaman some time and space. She'll check on him the following day.
She does however, through others both friends and locals ensure he's both restrained and safe.
She will walk through the various areas of Ravengro, familiarizing herself with the place and people. Wherever she goes, shes happy to lend a helping hand if she can.
She does make a point of stopping at the inn and showing gratitude for the prisoner's breakfast. She even stops at the rival inn, checking the menagerie the men have chosen to enjoy.
Sasha, he constant companion is at her side or nearby, but not intrusive nor does he keep people away from her, unless they are truly threatening. As she approaches people, he instinctively falls back or moves wide allowing her proximity with others.
Eventually, as she meets the others throughout the day:
|Arden Kain Brandt|
Before leaving the orc, kain grunts. I agree with you some Orc, in this harsh world you cannot win unless another loses. You must take from the earth what you need. However, there is a difference between taking from the earth the bounty it gives, and taking from others which have already done the work. And even if it truly is the case as you say, then it is our imperative to always attempt to find a way to live that does not bend to that harsh reality. Cooperation among the sentient races can make use strong enough to challenge nature itself.
At Valeska's question Kain grunts, placing a hand on his hip.
Well, first the two most important aspects are supplies and drilling. A bit of physical training wouldn't hurt either. But I believe the easiest, and most effective way to help them would be to teach them to work as a coherent unit. I'd rather teach them how to ride, and the advantages of combat that comes with that. But we have neither the time nor funds for such a thing. I am going to discuss this with the mayor shortly if you would like to accompany me.
Away from the Orc, later that morning...
Valeska smiles at the invite. Would love to, wouldn't mind a better understanding.
But, let's not be so negative. Certainly, the town doesn't have unlimited funds, but that's not to say they don't have funds.
Let me take care of that piece and see what sort of war chest there is. If something cannot be done, they will let you know, don't limit yourself.
You two complement each other, sorry I wasn't closer to you in the skirmish... we might work well together.
"Valeska, is it, right? I'm not sure if we complement each other, but Chao seems to have my back and keeps the bad stuff away from me. I'm really only good at sniping. That's what I learned."
Shontar doesn't really know his role yet, but tries to listen in and usually throws in his two cents, however useless they may be.
"You talk lots. Too much." He looks for a surprised reaction, grinning if he finds it.
The morning finds a thin fog creeping up from the waterways bisecting the town, covering Ravengro like a gray blanket. However, the morning also finds a much friendlier crop of locals greeting you. Laborers and artisans tip their hats with deference as Valeska or Sibeesha pass. A few brave farmers walk up to Faun and ask if she might bless their crop fields. Children race by with sticks as hobby horses, pretending to be the cavalier Kain, running down orcs. One of the deputies, Miss Trestleblade, walks up to Shontar and asks, "Can I buy you and your quiet friend a drink later, Eagle-eye?"
This vein of optimism is a relief against the lingering smell of smoke and ash that clings thinly to the morning fog. The sounds of saws, adz, and other tools working at the ruined cottages crawl through the air. Councilman Hearthmount, bombastically front-and-center, leads the recovery - even if he offers only words rather than muscle, lamenting his "stricken back, injured in the battle" - and he eagerly agrees to meet with you later to discuss the town's future.
As you pitch in around the town, feel free to make appropriate skills checks. For example, Profession (Mercenary) for Kain to drill the militia.
Let's see if you can get creative with your skills.
My strength, she tries to explain in the Orc tongue.
linguistics, Orc: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (5) + 8 = 13
I took 4 points in Linguistics, but didn't pick languages for them... I can wait until next level to add Orc, or we can say she's picking it up. Strong/Strength were words he used a lot.
Valeska speaks to the town's leadership, regarding what resources are available. Supplies, materials, horses and gold to purchase what may be needed from neighboring settlements.
Otherwise, she organizes a show featuring The children that have helped their families. Singing and dancing. Brightening their day.
|Arden Kain Brandt|
Kain will take a look over any work horses the town has, trying to see if any of them would do for even scouting purposes. They don't need to be bred for battle to be useful in it as more than labor. If he finds any that could potentially be trained to work as a mount in any capacity he asks if he can work with the animal(s).
handle animal: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (8) + 9 = 17 to see if any could be trained to be used as scouts, if there are any.
After thanking them for the time, he goes to find Sheriff Hemlock.
Sheriff, could you do me the favor of rounding up the main stay of your militia here? I'd like to speak with the core of it, I understand not everyone that considers themselves a part of it can meet with me, as they are likely needed for labor in the rebuilding. But I promised to do what I could in instilling them with a bit more training and discipline at the towns request.
For now, we'll say you've picked up a bit of Orcish to understand general ideas. By next level, we can count you as passably fluent.
He speaks briefly in his own tongue before, presumably, repeating the question in Common Taldane for your benefit.
"My fate? Kill? Go free? Choose quick. I am bored."
The council members pass glances amongst each other when Valeska, in meeting with them, asks about the town's resources. Councilman Hearthmount, despite being their most senior member, is the worst at disguising his anxiety. In short order, though, they confess that Ravengro does not have much to work with.
"We have a small fund that was being collected to improve the town's defense," Hearthmount explains. "Although there was yet debate about whether to use it to construct watch towers or better outfit our deputies. I reason that most, if not all, of what has been saved will need to be poured into repairs, now."
The council also admits that they were counting on an influx of gold, from both visitors and locals, during the festivities that were to be held after the effigy burning, but this was of course dashed by the raid.
As Kain soon learns, by heads and hands, Valere is already the finest horse to be seen in Ravengro. There are far more mules and donkeys used as dray beasts, owing to their lesser cost and more staid personalities - being far less likely to be spooked by the myriad wolves and bogies that the locals dread upon the moors and in the woods. Most of the true horses, owned by the more successful farmers and prolific landowners, are hefty draft horses, well suited to pulling heavy plows across long swathes of field. There are only a few light horses, owned by ranchers and used to survey their herds.
"I can certainly promise my deputies will be in attendance. They could use some proper military training," the sheriff tells Kain. "I'm sure there will be more than a few locals who will flock to such training. Their anger is fresh, so they'll be drawn to vengeance rather than simply rebuilding."
The sheriff turns and looks out across some southern fields, although you cannot discern where, exactly, he affixes his eyes.
"We've had a number of vagabonds arrive on the fringes of town in the past few weeks. They come from tiny hamlets along the southern verge with Virlych. Most of them don't like talking about what drove them north, but I imagine it ain't too wholesome. Most locals are very suspicious of them, and that hasn't eased their process of fitting in. Some of them might be able bodied enough to be put to work as militia."
Shontar proclaimed he will go out, laying traps so that people will at least have something to eat, while they are doing repairs or undergo Kain's training.
"You are also welcome to join and learn."
Profession (Trapper): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (20) + 5 = 25
|Arden Kain Brandt|
That would be good. It may pose issues at first, but that should dissipate after they are exhausted together for a couple days. Also, you should see about getting a few light horses to be trained as mounts for scouts. Having one or two people constantly patrolling the town area would likely aid in having surprises like this reduced. If the manpower can be spared once things get back up and running. Also, can you tell me anything in regards to your supply lines? Does your town produce all it needs alone, or do you need trade from other towns? As he speaks Kain glances over to silverwing and Valere, who seem to have taken to the children brave enough to approach them.
With town leadership and party together.
Valeska gets a better understanding of the "budget" available, and considers the long list of things that need doing whether or not there is the financial resources to execute.
Perhaps it's best then to list all that needs be done, and prioritize the list. Then, we can see about what can be done while we wait for a response.
I cannot spare much, but might be able to donate to the cause until relief arrives.
If we need to purchase things from neighboring settlements, I'm happy to negotiate the best terms. I come from a family of merchants, so I do have experience in the matter.
Does Faun find someone to tell her what spells are on the scrolls?
Sorry, I missed this!
In conversation Valeska offers to take a look and after poring over them, identifies each scroll.
Can you think of any leverage we can use with the Shaman?
Working in tandem, Valeska and Faun discover that one scroll contains the spell sound burst, while the other contains summon monster II. These, coupled with the shaman's fine cloak, represent the few spoils of war the party recovered from the battle. The locals' efforts to save their neighbors' burning homes did not stop them from looting the fallen orcs, apparently, and there were few hide coin pouches or bits of jewelry to be found in the aftermath.
The local rabbits are no match for Shontar's traps, but of special note is the fox that he snares. A chicken with a bloody bite around its neck struts in circles around the trapped fox, cockily pecking at the orange critter. As best as Shontar and Chao can reason, this trap caught a fox in the process of snatching a farmer's chicken. If this scamp is a repeat offender, the locals will likely be happy to have this nuisance removed.
"The residents of Ravengro are quite self sufficient," Councilman Hearthmount boasts with a sweeping wave of his broad hand. "We supplement our wheat, barley, and corn with fish from the lake, and Jorfa can produce almost any tool or even weapon that we may need. What's more, our local apothecary, Miss Fallenbridge ensures that we have much-needed remedies."
"The Avanakis do import the odd item in their general store, such as that suit of armor they keep on display," Hearthmount adds, "But those are hardly essential to survival."
"Ravengro is actually the largest town for many leagues," Councilwoman Straelock replies to Valeska. "Tiny hamlets and isolated farmsteads dot the countryside south of here. They remain insular, though, and the skinflints would likely be reluctant to part with anything for a fair price."
The third council member present, Muricar, leans forward and extends his index finger to draw attention.
"There is the Silk Purse," he suggests. "We could see if Taigh and Yearburn can be persuaded to make a...contribution to the reconstruction efforts."
Valeska mostly listens and watches.
sense motive: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (2) + 8 = 10
What's the consensus regarding Miss Fallenbridge? Apothecaries are often a reclusive and misunderstood bunch.
People tend to be suspicious of what they don't understand. She strokes Sasha's nape, unconsciously.
A bit later, Silk Purse? My the hesitancy? You'll forgive us, we don't know the local history and... politics.
Please, how can we help? She smiles politely, genuinely interested.
diplomacy, +1 if already friendly/helpful: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (2) + 12 = 14
Valeska turns a patch of grass into a dance and play area for the children that are well behaved.
In sight of their working parents, she hopes to boost morale. She holds these sessions after midday and evening meals.
Making light of herself is all she can do when she missteps, hoping the laughter is infectious.
diplomacy, asking merchant to lend tables, chairs, simple refreshments: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (8) + 13 = 21
perf dance, group dances with kids: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (4) + 9 = 13
sleight of hand, magic tricks and games: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (14) + 8 = 22
"Well, Miss Fallenbridge has served the community for many years, providing a wide range of remedies and tinctures," Councilwoman Straelock replies pointedly. "Some folks spread rumors about her, but that's hardly unusual for our more busybody neighbors."
The two male council members present exchange nervous glances. Although they may have heard such rumors, their peer is eager to shut down any gossip that might supplant official business.
"Taigh and Yearburn are our two resident moneylenders," Hearthmount explains, changing the subject. "As you can imagine, farming is a tough business, even under the better of circumstances. Their business, the Silk Purse, provides loans to help locals keep their farms afloat during hard times in exchange for a percentage of their next season's income. The pair are fair if shrewd, but the amount of money our residents may need to recover from this attack could be more than they are willing to lend - at least at non-usurious rates."
Elsewhere in town, Valeska's efforts rapidly make up for the sharply abridged Burning Festival. The inn and tavern eagerly provide furnishings, and farmers on the southern side of town - whose land and animals went untouched during the raid - are cajoled into sharing with their less fortunate neighbors. This leads to public lunchtime repasts that offer a break from the combined efforts to both rebuild while also attending to the usual chores of the day.
The merchant's entertaining earns many smiles among not just the youngsters, but the adults as well. This also serves as a much-needed boon for the parents with children yet too young to help with the daily labors. With these young ones under Valeska's watchfulness, even if only for a time, it allows their parents and older siblings more time to attend to their chores unfettered.
It is not long before Councilman Muricar approaches you, hoping to speak with Kain and Valeska in particular, to speak about a rather "sensitive" matter.
Shontar proudly presents the fox his trap caught to the townsfolk, making sure everyone notices.
"Imagine how many chicken this one has snatched and would have snatched..." He tells them.
He then looks for someone able and willing to stuff the dead animal, making a great trophy to show off in one of the taverns. He'll offer good coin for this important task. To his mind this will boost morale dramatically.
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Kn Nature: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (20) + 9 = 29
Faunlara assists all the farmers in their fields, encouraging them to utilize this opportunity to maximize the efficiency of their irrigation systems. She also uses her wood shape spells to quickly provide sturdy frames and doors for those rebuilding their homes.
She listens attentively to the villagers, and converses with them too. Everything she does, she attempts to do so with kindness and patience. She truly does feel for their losses, even if she finds their superstitions a bit ridiculous.
She also employs her ant haul spells to assist the transport of wood and materials.
(For however many days go by where she's not called upon, she prepares the same spells each day)
Ant Haul x2
Wood Shape x3
The gatherings Valeska organized are inclusive, incorporating both townsfolk and team generosity, None are left out, unless by their own choosing.
She sends her own small magicks where appropriate, helping to mend simple items and manipulate or if reach items, like ropes through a pulley.
Agreeing to speak in confidence, she awaits Kain's response... though confident he's game.
|Arden Kain Brandt|
Your continuing efforts at both rebuilding the damaged half of town and also bolstering morale continue to thaw the Ravengro folks' icy attitude towards outsiders.
Faunlara's nigh-peerless knowledge of growth cycles and soil health leaves the farmers too awed to fall back on their old suspicions of fey beings. They heed her advice, even if they cannot foresee how it will benefit them in the long term, and despite the unease they still feel watching her "walking tree" working among them. Witnessing the elfin girl carrying loads that could burden even the brawniest of local men further impresses the residents.
An old farmer, his fields torched by the orcs, accepts Shontar's call for a taxidermist. He brings out some old family tools and sets about dusting off his skills, preparing the dead fox that he takes to calling "Chickentooth."
"It's downright astounding how much our folk have taken to you," Muricar confides in you. "That's why I think you might be the right men and women for the job.
"You've surely heard the talk around Zokar and Miss Vai's places - both old grumblers and the discontent of youth. Lots of locals aren't happy with the Palatinate in Tamrivena, and that's starting to bleed over onto my peers and I. The lovely Miss Faravan and even my old friend Vashian - Councilman Hearthmount - both dismiss their talk, but Miss Straelock and I see some merit to the calls for new blood."
Muricar inhales deeply and looks around before continuing.
"I know what most locals say of me, calling me a rake and a lecher. Perhaps I do have a fondness for comely forms, but I still possess a keen mind, and that extends to politicking. I've sent off a letter to the capital, to the Prince's court, asking to empower you in an official capacity on our behalf.
"Mayhaps I should have consulted you first, but I fear time is not on our side. Pharasma knows when the next orc raid or scourge of undead will fall upon us, and the old guard can do nothing to stop it. The long and short of it is, I have come to represent a growing portion of the town that would like to see you lead us."
"I agree," Faunlara speaks without emotion, "you should have consulted us. For I would have said no. I am a servant to the living world, plants, trees, sentient beings alike, which, I know, 'leaders' are called to be servants too. To lead others, in service to others. But I find that whenever an individual becomes a leader in an official capacity, it's not long before they spend more time behind doors than in the outdoors, where civilization and life exists."
Valeska is opening surprised. Faun, though your voice is even... perhaps we should not jump to conclusions. Let them explain, please.
I'm intrigued. How exactly can we help Ravengro?
And, should it be a council decision or left to the people? And, certainly at any rate and in any proposed form this may take - your guidance would be invaluable.
|Arden Kain Brandt|
Kain shakes his head, slightly taken aback.
Sir, I am a simple soldier, a mercenary, I have no right or even experience in leading a town. I offered you my help in training your militia, and giving insights I have learned through my time as a soldier.... but I fear I am not qualified for that which I believe you to be offering... He pauses for a moment, looking down in thought.
However, If it is as you say, and already in motion.. if the decision is agreed upon, I will do what I can for you and your town for a time.
Muricar turns a bright eye upon Valeska, finding her the most open to the notion at hand.
"The locals whom I represent - and I believe they, themselves, represent a decent majority of our residents - desire more direct action, and from people they can see. The Palatinate council in Tamrivena? They may as well be ghosts out of Virlych," the councilman says with a dismissive wave. "We speak of them in sometimes fearful, usually angry tones, and we ascribe any number of curses upon them, but ultimately they are a non-presence.
"I cannot foretell the response that may come from the prince's court, but I hope for more autonomy from the county capital. New faces with vigorous hearts could not only lionize the locals but also perhaps pry loose the prince's purse strings. With both the will and the way, we could reinvigorate Ravengro and the surrounding countryside. The rest of the council can be persuaded to support you, I'm certain, especially once the people, the real strength of Ravengro, are rallied to your side."
Muricar pauses to catch his breath, having invested much excitement into his proposition. He now turns his eye to Faunlara and considers her apprehensions.
"There are no castles or sprawling manors to hide within," he says, gesturing to the wide, rolling plains beyond. "Ours are simple folks, tied to the soil. If you can coax fertility and life from the land, well, that would be far more welcome than any noble bedecked in jewels."
When addressing Kain, Muricar stiffens his upper lip and offers a more steely gaze.
"Ours is not a peaceful county, haunted by both orc and the unquiet dead. We could also use the guidance of a good soldier, unafraid to stand against such horrors. Once more, there is leadership beyond that provided by a body upon a throne."
Laughing out loud, Shontar adds a comment of his own.
"Maybe we can ask Chao to be responsible for adhering law and order. He may not speak out loud, but he can be a real stickler for the letter of the law. A real pain in the ass. HAHA"
He gives his companion a pat on the back.
Chao, as always, says nothing, but throws Shontar an angry look.
Amused at the interplay, Valeska counters. Perhaps Chao can teach... inner peace, harmony and self-defense. It would help with morale and self esteem.
Then to the general discussion, It could work, but only if the majority wills it. And dissenters views are heard and acknowledged.
Surely, we can try.
I cannot speak for others, but I came here as a stop along a journey to find a better life for myself, if I can help others... that's all the better.