(There’ll be an actual story out of this later. But, for now, have a c/p of a wall of text I ended up posting on Discord, because why not? [aka the author’s having a crappy day and likes validation])
And, it just so happens, he ends up in Han Sei. Now Han Sei’s a pirate port – think Tortuga and you’d not be far wrong – and there’re plenty of street kids and little thieves out there. And, once he’s spent all his money on a good knife, a good pair of boots, some boys clothes, some food, and a whole lot of bandages (yes, he’s bandage-binding, but it’s not as though he has much other choice), it doesn’t take him long to fall in with a gang and get to work.
So he lives on the streets and steals for what he needs and gets older and taller and quicker and better at spying out danger – and more and more convinced that, as soon as he can convince a priest he’s old enough, he’s going to go ask for that enchantment that makes your body how it’s supposed to be. Because it’s getting harder and harder to make people use the right words without punching them in the teeth, and everything feels awkward and wrong and like he’s wearing a skin that’s not his, and he’s pretty sure if he doesn’t get it sorted soon, he’ll end up doing something stupid even for him.
And at some point during those years, he makes his first kill. It’s not an accident, and it feels good to have that much power – and, after another few, he knows he’s good at it.
He makes a few rules for himself on who he will and won’t take contracts on, mind. But he does start taking contracts. Not in person, because who’ll trust a skinny underfed odd-eyed flat-chested girl who spends her whole time looking like she wants to rip your throat out, but through the kind of people who make that kind of connection happen between people who kill and people who want people dead.
(And, honestly? Even a teenager can be a contract killer. Everyone’s the same height and strength when they’re lying down asleep or drunk, after all)
He’s by no means the only killer in Han Sei. He’s not even one of the ones people know the names of. He’s just another blade in a city full of ’em.
But he learns fast.
And, soon enough, he hits old enough that, when he goes to the temple, the priest doesn’t turn him away at the door once they find out what he wants. Instead, they welcome him in – and, when they hear the way he talks about it, and see the look in his eyes, they forgo a fair amount of the usual ‘are you sure’-ing.
There’s a bath. A robe, soft and clean and the most expensive clothing he’s ever worn. Candles, and an altar, and a room that seems both close and homely and as open and wide as the sky. A drink that tastes of earth and herbs and blood and seawater, and makes the world blur and fall away. And then he wakes up in a bed, in a room that smells of clean linen and woodsmoke, and looks down at a body that, for the first time since he hit puberty, actually looks and feels right.
And, with a body that feels right, the world suddenly feels all too small. Or, at least, the portion of it he’s lived in until now does. So, once he’s spent the requisite week at the temple (because enchantments take it out of you, surprisingly), he spends his savings on a couple of new sets of clothes, a new pair of good seaboots and a duffel, walks down to the docks, and asks around until he finds a ship he likes the sound of.
That ship is the Crimson Arrow. She’s a pirate ship, unsurprisingly, though her captain’s a revolutionary from Sacaan who took a leave of absence to avoid the Regent having to deal with more trouble than she already was.
As, it turns out, is her quartermaster, though Sabbat won’t have all that many dealings with him until several years down the line.
Copyright © 2019 by Finn McLellan. All rights reserved.