Garven, Human, Fighter 1 / Rogue 1, LN
Hit dice: 2 (d6/d10)
Hit Points: 18
AC: 16 (+3 Dex, +3 Studded Leather)
Flat footed: 13, Touch 13
Fort 4 | Ref 5 | Will 0
Str 16 Dex 16 Con 12 Int 14 Wis 11 Cha 13
“Fuck.” The word escaped my lips in a ragged gasp; punctuated by a vicious fit of coughing. Everything hurt. Things hurt I didn’t even know could hurt. I took a ragged breath and was further assaulted by the cloying scent of shit, masked by the copper tang of blood, all layered beneath acrid smoke. I rolled to my side and vomited.
“Eloquent as ever.” I craned my head around to see a man slouched against the alley wall. His tabard had been white once but soot and blood had turned it a muddy grey-brown. Blood stained his lips and his square-jawed too-handsome face was mottled with blood and swollen bruises. His left arm cradled his abdomen and I could see streaks of brown intermingled with the red that pooled beneath him. I could hear faint sobbing as I staggered to my feet and I glanced at the wagon that brought us here. Half a dozen, small manacled forms sat in its bed. Wide, stark white eyes stared at me most in fear but I thought I could detect hope in a scant few.
Through the haze of smoke in the alley stalked visions of my own past. Visions of cold nights on the streets, of the cloying sense of fear that blanketed your every waking minute, of knives in the dark, of men in dark alleys with coin to spare, of the endless shivering of the City’s ash gray winter, and of the feel of cold steel as it entered flesh. I shook my head and the visions departed but I could still feel their claws in me; the certain knowledge of what survival had cost. I would not wish my past on my worst enemy. Okay, well maybe on that fucker; but at least my second-worst enemy.
“An adequate…”, the words were broken by jagged broken cough, “summary of the situation.” I rolled, staggered to my feet and lurched over, sliding to the ground next to him. I reached out and put a hand on his shoulder and was struck by familiarity of it all. Me and Xan sitting exhausted in an alley again. He met my gaze with a broken tooth smile.
“Godsdammit Xan, you were the pretty one.” I think the sound that came out of him was a laugh but it was hard to tell. He raised a shaking hand, the one not holding his guts in, and wagged a mail clad finger in my face.
“Watch the sacrilege.”
“Godless bastard.” We both fell silent. There were shouts in the distance. I flashed back to Baz’s apoplectic rage as I tossed the lantern into the warehouse. I supposed the bastard burning alive was asking for a bit too much. Xan coughed again, crimson smattering his lips and lower jaw. I felt something grow tight in my chest.
“This shit is backwards. I’m supposed to be the asshole dying in an alley. I worked hard for it.”
“Always had a high opinion of yourself Garven. Aspirations of greatness.” The voices grew closer and I could hear the anger in them. “Don’t have much time. You should go, get them to safety.”
“Should have told me to go fuck myself. You were out. Free.”
“No arguments from me. But I swore an oath.” He reached around his neck and grasped the sun emblem there. He gave it a sharp tug and the leather cord snapped.
“Don’t think His Bright and Shininess is all that invested in me.”
“Swore an oath with you first Gar.” He held the silver symbol out to me. “Take it. It’ll get you through Monastery gates. Children should be safe there. I could just make out the clomping of hobnailed boots amongst the shouts. Xander’s hand closed around the hilt of a sword and with a grimace of pain he pressed back against the wall using it as a support as he stood.
“What the holy fuck do you think you’re doing?” He took a staggering step towards the alley mouth.
“Buying you time.” He growled. “Get the kids out Gar. Put your feet on the road out of this stinking hole of a city.” He took another step and wavered before continuing. “You’re not nearly as terrible a person as you pretend to be. Be better.”
“Be better? Those really going to be your last words.”
“Go fuck yourself, Gar.”
“Love you too, Xan.” I didn’t waste time with further sentiment. I scrambled atop the wagon bench and grabbed the reins. As the wagon lurched forward I could hear Xan’s wordless shout and the ring of steel on steel.
“Children are dying."
Lull nodded. "That’s a succinct summary of humankind, I’d say. Who needs tomes and volumes of history? Children are dying. The injustices of the world hide in those three words.”
― Steven Erikson, Deadhouse Gates
Rescuing those children and Xander’s subsequent death during their liberation is the force that sent Garven out into the world. Despite the trials he has faced Garven still believes in innocence. The greatest crime, and the one he himself has always refused, is the destruction of that innocence. It is this belief that allowed his blood brother’s admonition to “Be better” take root. Garven has taken those words to heart but being better isn’t exactly a high mark and he has miles to go before anyone might call him a nice person. However, on most days he tries to be good…or at least less bad.
“A religion that teaches you God is something outside the world—something separate from everything you see, smell, taste, touch, and hear—is nothing but a cheap hustle.”
― Matthew Woodring Stover, Blade of Tyshalle
Growing up on the streets of the City, Garven has had to do some pretty terrible things to stay alive. This harsh upbringing has made him a consummate cynic. He does not view the gods or religion in high regard (though he still carries Xander’s holy symbol) though he will respect tangible power. It Garven’s belief that ultimate faith stems from the willingness to make a decision and act without wavering.
“I believe in justice, as long as I’m holding a knife at the throat of the judge.”
― Matthew Woodring Stover, Heroes Die
Garven has problems with authority, he has seen it abused on far too many occasions, and the notion of a just ruler is nothing more than a fairy tale used to inspire the obedience of the masses.
In the time since his escape from the City, Garven has been working odd jobs. Quick with his wits and quick with a blade Garven isn’t afraid of hard work. However, with rumors of sickness further to the east Garven has taken to the road working his way up along the coast. With trouble to the north Garven is looking to throw himself into the action and put the horrors of the past behind him.