Landsoftheblacksea:Main Page/players/danithe thorne
A woman running from her past and perhaps seeking redemption.
Parents: Both deceased
Sibling: Vari (younger sister) deceased
She stared at her reflection in the mirror for a long time. The red hair would take some getting used to. The shorn locks of her previously long tresses less so, as that frequently just got in the way of her skills. No sign of her Da's dark hair now, the only part she truly inherited from him. Just as the freckles across her pale features came from her mother. Her hands were near as red as the hair stained from the dye. Somehow that seemed apt. She scrubbed the dye from her hands in the washbasin. At least that stain could be washed away...
Darithe Thorne was her name now. Once she had been Meav Delte, the daughter of a blacksmith in the town of Belies-ar-Weil, located mid-way along the coast of Athervon between Avis Inia, the seat of the Kingdom, to the North, and Avis Armois, the oldest and most far-flung of the Kingdom’s major cities, to the South. Her father was as dumb as the anvil he pounded everyday, but he was kind and had a ready smile, and was gentle with his young daughters Meav and her sister Vari. He did his best to support his two daughters on what little income he could make from shoeing horses and hammering out crude nails to build the rickety buildings in this poor section of town.
Their mother passed from a fever when Vari was five. Meav was three years older and did the best she could for her Da and young sister. She took care of them and when money was short she did what she had to for a few more coins to add to their larder. She helped in the smithy as much as she could and took care of delivering special orders for her Da. She found with a pretty smile she would sometimes even get tips, not much, but everything helped. She was poor but she was bright. She quickly picked up some smithing skills from her father and taught herself to read and write, which was rare for the people from her part of town.
Belis-ar-Weil was neither particularly large nor particularly small; but it held a strategic location at the mouth of the Aumine river, which carried the riches of the Kingdom’s interior to the sea, where it was then sent to either Avis Inia or Avis Armois for final destinations. Due to this vast amount of traffic in lucrative goods, the town had more than its fair share of criminal element, intent on skimming some of the proceeds for themselves. While there were a number of gangs that operated around the town, all paid their respects to the notorious Five Points Brotherhood. The Brotherhood was a huge network of Thieves that had bases over nearly the entire Kingdom – at least, that was what was said. Based out of the Capitol, The Brotherhood controlled virtually all the illegal traffic flowing on the land route between Avis Inia and Tras Veniri, and had a heavy hand in distribution to points beyond inside of Athervon. No one of sane mind crossed The Brotherhood – their operatives and informants were everywhere, and they did not hesitate to deal with problems that threatened their profitable position.
Meav had never planned to join them. To the contrary, she had always steered clear of the young gangs of new recruits, and ignored their catcalls, offers, and sometimes threats as she made her deliveries in town – that she could deal with. What really made her pick up her pace was the way one of the older members – a street captain known as Dregs – looked at her. He didn’t seem to be looking at the pretty young woman with leering eyes and lustful sneers like the others. No, Dregs always seemed to be assessing whether she might be useful to him, whether she could be an asset to his operation. His cold gaze watched her every time she passed, but he never said a thing – just gave a slight touch to his cap in greeting after their eyes met, and then turned back to his business.
She choked back a laugh thinking about it now.
She managed to keep things on an even keel until her 17th year. That was the year her Da passed – walking home at night after the neighborhood innkeeper had rewarded him with a few pints for some emergency repairs to some of his stable equipment, he must’ve never seen the horseman, riding at a full gallop along the dark road. She ran out at the sounds and screams to see him lying in the mud, blood beginning to form a small pool around him. The rider never stopped, disappearing into the darkness.
After Da was in the ground, she assessed the situation, and realized something had to give. She didn't see herself or Vari swinging a hammer to make a living. She retched at the thought of some of the things women did for coin near the docks – she would die before that became her fate. Then the faces of the gang captains came to her – that cold gaze, assessing her. Perhaps she could be of use to them.
She had no idea how to initiate a conversation about this, but her mind was made up. She walked directly up to Dregs through the crowd of his young proteges, the blood that was pounding in her ears drowning out their infantile suggestions and insults.
“I need some work.” She blurted it out without even knowing it. She held her breath waiting for him to speak.
For a moment, he didn’t – just looked at her again with the same cold eyes.
Finally, he spoke. “B’out time. Let’s get ya to Fergasse, see what he has fer ya.” His voice was rough, thin, fitting his grizzled appearance perfectly. She realized it was the first time she had ever heard it.
Fergasse was the local Master of The Brotherhood, overseeing their operations in the town. If he had ever been a working thief, there was no way to tell now – he was a very fat man, who spent more time overseeing account books than picking pockets. But he was the ordained boss for The Brotherhood in town, and he did not need to worry about his girth – there were plenty of fit gang members who would take care of any of Fergasse’s problems.
Dregs brought her to a warehouse by the docks, one she had always been warned to stay away from by Ma & Da. She had to pass by room after room of intimidating looking men, and one even patted her down and felt her up making sure she didn’t have a weapon. Finally she was in Fergasse’s “office”, a large room filled with boxes, bags, sacks, barrels, crates, chests, and every manner of thing used to transport goods – as well as piles and piles of leather-bound books: ship’s journals, logs, account books, inventory scrolls. Fergasse supervised a small army of men moving things in and out while another army was copying and modifying books, writing so fast they were sweating. Fergasse’s eye flicked to her after Dreg was able to whisper something in his ear, and he spat something back she didn’t hear, before he turned back to conducting the mayhem in the room.
Dreg took her back to her place and told her how it would work. She would start just doing "special deliveries" and watching for the town guard who's eyes were easily distracted by a lithe darkhaired lass. It was easy work for the most part, and she was good at it – folks knew her Da was gone, and men circled her like buzzards if she gave them the chance, wanting to be there when her finances or her will finally broke.
But those tasks weren't enough to support her and Vari; soon, she was pestering Dreg for bigger opportunity. Happy with her performance, he graduated her to more advanced work for the guild.
She took to the tasks like a bird to the air. It excited her. It gave her freedom from the drudgery of the smithy. And the coins to be had (earned?) were greater than she had ever seen. Though just eighteen by then, she quickly became a rising star in the guild. Soon enough, Dregs re-introduced her to Fergasse at the Bosses’ request. Fergasse wanted to have a look at this new recruit who was making him so much money.
As Fergasse spoke about the impression she had made, and that if she played her cards right she could have a bright future in The Brotherhood, she noticed a young man lounging back on a pile of grain sacks, staring at her with dark, hooded eyes. She had seen that stare before, but she was not that person anymore. She ignored the look, her lip curling into a mild sneer to express her disinterest.
After the meeting was over, she asked Dregs about the man. “Eh? On the sacks? Ach, thas Dany – Fergasse’s boyo. What ye’want wit him? Oh ya? Fancy’s ya does he? Well, ya be careful lass – that boyo’s got more problems than the Emperor of Jhon, he does – and he’ll make’em your problems if ya let ‘im. Best steer clear of ‘im, stay focused on yer work. He’s trouble if you like ‘im – but he’s also trouble if ya don’t, if ya take my meaning. Don’t make Fergasse choose between yas.”
She learned from others that Dany was an addict – he smoked the seeds from the Jhonian mazak plant, which generated the dark circles around his eyes and the vacant stare.
She heeded Dregs advice and made every attempt to avoid Dany. But to her dismay, Dany had other ideas. Apparently infatuated by her, he began hanging out in her neighborhood, repeatedly offering to buy her dinner, drinks, or to join him in a harmless smoke. She rebuffed him – gently, carefully, always saying that she had something to get done for his father. More than once she had to signal Dregs to intercept them and provide an escape. She began to stay away from the house more – Vari had enough money and was getting old enough to take care of herself and most of the chores at home while Meav earned their keep.
She used the time to hone her skills every day and the exciting life on the edge became like a drug to her. What started as a tactic to avoid Dany soon became a need to spend more and more time finding ways to complete the jobs allotted to her in the most impressive way possible. Vari was left to fend for herself as Meav was gone more and more, but Meav told herself Vari would have to learn to manage the home at some point, which assuaged her guilt at not being home with her sister.
One night, exhausted from nearly two solid days of casing a new ship that had arrived, she came home and found Vari in her bed – with Dany lying next to her. From the look of it, they had apparently been celebrating for days – there were clothes and half-eaten meals everywhere. The bitter-sweet smell of mazak hit her nostrils, and she noticed several pipes were strewn about, full of the dark tarry residue the drug leaves.
Meav was incensed – Vari had ruined everything! Now what was she going to do?
She carefully stepped over Dany and shook Vari, whispering for her to get up. But the girl remained prone, motionless. She shook harder, finally pulling her hard and flipping her over – to recoil in horror as the wide, sightless eyes of her sister stared back at her from dark hooded sockets, the open lips tinged blue.
Meav stumbled back against the wall, her heart pounding. She couldn’t think. This wasn’t supposed to happen.
She started as Dany mumbled something and rolled over onto one arm, lifting himself up on his elbow. His heavy-lidded eyes revealed he was still in the throes of the drug. He reached out to Vari, touching the dead girls arm. A minute later, a giggle erupted from him.
“I told…told you. You got to…to work up to…to it. Can’t be doing what I do. Sil…silly…girl.”
He flopped down, finally noticing Meav. “Oh…hey. You’re here. That’s great – I really was interested in you more anyway.” His eyes fluttered closed again, and he resumed gently snoring.
That day Meav picked up her Da's hammer for the last time in doing so ended her time in the guild, and guildmaster's son's life.
She looked once more in the mirror. Meav was dead, and Darithe reborn from her ashes. A dark phoenix for sure. She gathered her meager belongs and wrapped herself in her father oversized cloak and started outside. She glanced once more back at the smithy and then was gone. She walked on leaving the past behind.
A new town then, one where she is unknown. A place to disappear. The further from The Brotherhood, the better. Getting on a ship was too dangerous – The Brotherhood controlled the river and sea trade, she would be seen and her suspicious departure noted, if not prevented altogether. No, she had to leave by land.
In the dark of night, she stole down the South Road, which followed the coast all the way to Avis Armois. Far from the Capitol, perhaps there she could shake pursuit long enough to come up with a more long-term plan. The Mire Queen now beckoned to her which seemed appropriate somehow having become mired herself. As she walked she whispered a soft prayer (to whom she did not know) for forgiveness. But in her heart she knew forgiveness was reserved for those who deserved it.
The best steel doesn't always shine the brightest. Her da had taught her that and she thought of him as she walked south towards Avis Armois, the greatcloak wrapped around her due to the cool of the morn. She could still faintly smell him on it and those smells were comforting, almost as if he still embraced her in the folds of that big cloak. She breathed them in and smiled thinking of him, the pungent smell of the corrosive oils he used to clean his tools were there, and the pleasant smokey aroma of the coals of his forge still clung to the threads, and the musky smell of sweat after a good hard day of honest... She stopped abruptly and bit her lower lip. She sighed, the past is written. She could not change it no matter how much she wished to. But the future is a blank page. And that she could write.
She spotted a small family going in the opposite direction approaching, a young man, his pretty wife and two small girls tugging at their parent's cloaks. She smiled and nodded to them as their paths crossed. Her mind calling back memories of her own youth and her sister Vari. She turned and caught back up to the family offering them most of her fruit. It wouldn't last long and she knew she couldn't eat it all before it went bad. She kept a stem of grapes for herself and waved to them as they continued their journey farther away from her. She returned to the path she had chosen and walked on alone.