I sat there looking at the human across from me. A mere boy, pretending to be a man. I could see the arrogance in his eyes, a look that was all to familiar. I made a useless motion to wet my mouth, more muscle memory than conscious decision. "So run this by me again." The raspiness of my voice reminding me of my age. The tales of The Bloodied One. I want to know the truth about him." the man replied. The inner child in his voice was not as dead as he wished it to be. "So you went through all this trouble to find me, a frail old changeling in hopes of what? Hearing the stories anyone on the streets could tell you?" There went that motion with my mouth again, just as useless as the first time. "I've read all the stories of the Justicars. Most talk about the original four; Victor, Issac, Fallian, and Aurora but nothing more. However there are a few older stories that point at an unspoken fifth member, one who shunned the title and hid from the public eye." he snapped back. His determination was starting to irritate me. "Yes yes the Justicars! Everyone knew there were more than the original four. Even as skilled of warriors as they were they could not save a realm by their own strength. So what of it?" The retort was that of a grandfather snapping at a child. "I'm not talking about Olivander or Valaer. This fifth member was described as a deadly assassin. That when the diplomacy of the Justicars failed his shadows would envelope their enemies and they would be no more." It was becoming more and more obvious that this underling was not going to stop. "So you are implying that this illustrious fifth member of the Justicars was a deadly assassin so that must mean that he was without a doubt the Bloodied One that you speak of? Your idiocy has become taxing young one." I started to take my leave but as fate would have it some people just refuse to take no for an answer. "Please sir I beg you, I have been searching for the truth about the Bloodied One because I believe he served a much bigger purpose than just to terrify people and give a new boogeyman story for the children. I want to know the truth about him, I want everyone to know what he truly was." You had to give it to the kid on this one, he knew how to hook one's attention. Turning back I reassessed him. "And what makes you think I know more about this Bloodied One than some Joe Smuck on the street?" Without speaking the boy produced a small bronze badge. It was greatly worn by time and touch but the coat of arms on it was still visible to those who knew. House Deneith. The only other bit to the badge was a gouge in the metal across a single length of it. How this boy found it I would never know and my surprise at seeing it after so many years didn't go unnoticed. "This was yours once, wasn't it?" he asked. That damn kid, he had a terrible ability to pry and what made it worse was that it was working. Fighting back the desire to touch it I conceded. "Well you best get comfortable boy, your in for a long story." The look of success filled his expressions as he sat down. "So you did know the Bloodied One?" "Son I am the Bloodied One, or at least I used to be. Back when I used my birth given name, Vor." At my age it was hard to fight the blissful feeling of reminiscing but this however was one of those few time I accepted it with a little bit of joy. After a moment of silence I collected my thoughts and began. "To fully understand the Bloodied one as you desire let us start from the beginning. Long before I ever held a sword..." If I were to claim a place as my home town I would have to say Korth because it is where I spent a large part of my childhood. A massive jungle of concrete and life, even during the Last Great War That city was an epicenter in Khorvaire for great technology to be birthed and many a great hero to rise. It was also however a pit where many atrocities were committed and skeletons buried. At face value if you had the right blood, it was a haven to grow and prosper. However if you were one of the unlucky batch, like myself, Korth was a prison, threatening to erase an unlucky fellow should they ever try to reach up from the mud. Me being a changeling on one of the lowest social rungs on the social scale. I think the only ones really below me were warforged. In that city for as long as I can remember it was only ever me and my mother, Mia, and even though we had no home or friends and commonly went days at a time without a proper meal, things weren't really that bad. Hell considering the life I have lived I would still consider those the good days. The Days of peace in a world of war. Now I won't bore you with the mundane details but know this, everyone hated our kind, even changelings hate other changelings. We stole what was necessary to get by and commonly had to pick up and move for a bit or even lay low. With all things considered though having my mother, someone who cared made things much better than it seemed, even on the nights when we went hungry. I even recall times when I tried to play with other children similar in social status to me. It generally didn't end well because when your in a social pit it didn't matter if someone was above you by one rung or the whole damn ladder, they wanted to make sure that they were better than you and that you knew it. That usually led to me getting run off of play grounds, and in some cases if I was unlucky it would get more... violent to say the least. And before you ask yes I would run to my mother crying but honestly any child that age would do the same thing. Her being the mother that she was would coddle me and tell me stories of how I would change the world and people would regret the day that they looked down upon me with disdain. You know the typical shit people use to get your hopes up. And of course because I was a naive child it worked. You see the problem with times like that is that you have to rely on that one person to pick you up, dust you off, and set you straight. You have to rely on them always being there... Then finally the big day hit, and before you interrupt no it was not the day that I became a murderous sociopath, but rather the day that I turned 13. Why was that such a big deal? Well for homeless thieves who survived off of what they stole that meant I would finally learn the tricks of the trade. Yea I know not every 13 year old's idea of the greatest birthday gift but it meant that once I learned we would have the opportunity for twice as much food and hopefully half as many hungry nights. So yea a big day. Anyways my mother had been scoping out several places, waiting for the food to reach the end of its shelf life. Why the shelf life you ask? Its simple, we stole to survive, not to be assholes, so we took food that would have only been on the shelf for a day or two more so it wasn't like the store owner would lose out on tons of money. We needed them to stay in good business to ensure that we had a supply of food. We knew we were stealing from honest folk trying to make a living, hell some of them we had actually bought food from once or twice when my mother was able to take an odd job to make some coin. Yea the food we stole usually tasted like dirt sprinkle with shit but you get used to it when you've gone a week without eating. But on that big day she had finally decided to teach me her secrets of stealth and thievery and she had already scoped out the next place, Daylight Bakery on Crown street. As you have probably guessed we waited until dark. As I waited underneath the porch of the bakery I watched as magelight after magelight on the street near the shop go dark. My mother was like a cat, fluid and with purpose. It was actually really hard for me to follow her movements with my novice eyes. We never stole from the rich districts because the guards patrolling there were too tight of intervals and we never stole from poor town because that was just plain wrong. The middle class areas was where it was safest. As she finished the last couple magelights my eyes struggled to adjust as she appeared beside me. I jumped a little from it but that part to the fact that it was still had to watch my mother work and be this master sneak thief but yet be so gentle and kind. It made me question where she learned such talents, surely not from the streets. She was pretty handy with a knife too. I remember once when she protected us from a drunken orc, a few quick slashes and he was nothing more than a pile of meat. Look at me again, getting off topic. I'll try to keep that to a minimum, now where were we... Ah yes the break in. So that same knife I was telling you about well she stuck it into the lock of the door and with a few quick and unnaturally silent jiggles the handle turned. Before she opened the door and the adventure began she stole one last look at me, those silver eyes... Well she whispered for me to be quiet and follow her. When she opened the door I expected the usual squeak but its unnatural silence was yet another display of her amazing skill. As we moved in she closed the door and then began looking through the bread, trying to find the loaves that were just on the edge. My eyes however had caught a light coming from a back room, that and a bit of humming. After my eyes and ears adjusted I was able to conclude that it must have been the baker in the back burning the midnight oil. Then it hit me, the sweet aroma of a fresh honey loaf. Now I have to say after not eating for a couple of days controlling yourself around such a smell was nonexistent. I could also smell cinnamon, sugar, fresh flower, and yes even cheese. I had lost myself and became entranced by the smell. I made my way across the rickety floor with a large amount of luck, my mother too busy examining the bread on the shelves. When I was close enough I peered through the crack in the door and saw a fat man huddled over a small table, kneading bread while a few more glazed in a nearby oven. I leaned on the door more to get a better view but lost my footing, slipping and slammed the door open. The instantaneous fear was felt by both me and the baker as I scurried back and he threw that bread he was kneading up in the air. Before I could get up the fat man stepped out of his back room with a magelight floating at his shoulder and a large bread knife in his hand. Now the man was by no means impressive by sight, he was short and round enough to roll better than a wagon wheel but when you are 13, on the floor of a house that is not yours, and with the owner of said house looming over you with a large knife it takes all you have to not piss yourself in terror. Before either one of us could process what we saw my mother had already intercepted him with deadly silence. With her knife in hand and in a defensive stance between me and the baker she must have been something scary to look at. She was ready for bloodshed but what came next surprised us both. The fat man dropped the large bread knife and let it clatter to the floor and instead of being angry or scared he looked sad. He motioned for us to wait for a moment and let the mage light float in the air as he waddled back into his backroom. In those few moments I know my mother was torn between taking me and running or waiting to see what he was doing. I however was caught in a sense of awe. Just as quickly he disappeared the fat man returned with a fresh out of the oven loaf on a plate. As he waddled out my mother retook her stance which forced him to stop a few steps shy. He made up for that by setting the plate on the floor and sliding it across to us. Even though I had never tasted one at that point in my life I could tell the bread was baked with cinnamon and sugar. I instinctively reached out for the food but was stopped by my mother. After she had felt that I would not move and further she took her free hand and tore a small piece of the bread off and popped it into her mouth. I would later come to understand that she was checking for poison. After a couples of rounds of chewing she swallowed, paused then slid the plate over to me. Then as if all at once her defensive posture ended and we both tore into the bread. The baker stood a few steps over the entire time, with a look of joy over his face. Over another loaf of bread we had found out the baker's name to be Cameron and he offered my mother a job. His assistant had left to go fight in the war and Cameron couldn't keep up with the baking to keep the store full of merchandise. He asked my mother to assist him in baking at night and as payment he would give her two free loafs of bread a day plus coin for her work. He even offered the extra room up stairs to us. When my mother questioned him with why in relation to us being both changelings and thieves he replied, "Labels are society's way of limiting not the person in question but their view of the person. Only the labeled one defines their own limitations." After a little more conversing my mother had agreed to baking bread at night provided he leaves a list of what needs to be done but she turned down the free room. She still had deep rooted trust issues but who could blame her, the world was a cruel place. Reluctantly he agreed and gave her a key to the shop and another loaf of bread. After a shaking of hands we took our leave. It was obvious that my mother's mood had greatly improved because she was humming a melody that she used to use to sing me to sleep. Life finally let us have one for a change, or so we were led to believe. Before we had made it far several guards called out to us, demanding that we halt. My mother shoved the bread in my hand and told me to run to our spot and not stop. I didn't have much time to protest as the guards were closing in. I took off running because I was a weakling and a coward and did what my mother told me to. As I started running I stole a look back and saw that they had her surrounded with weapons drawn, it was unlike the guards to act so violently. After the longest run of my life I made it to our spot, a bridge on the north edge of town. The bridge was over a large water run off designed to prevent the city from flooding. In my hysterical state I barely avoided tumbling down the deep slope as I got under neath the bridge. I moved a stone aside to reveal our little cubby we had been living in. Then I hid. That hole was where I stayed, for a week. I ate half of the loaf of bread and only went out to piss and shit. I stayed in that hole for another five days. The other half of the loaf went bad.