Sea of Madness
It seems it’s been a lifetime that I’ve been in these pits, but I know it’s only been a few years. I am a slave in Ishar. I fight in the gladiatorial arena for the entertainment of thousands. It’s a life I detest, and a life I am finally starting to think I can get away from.
My name is Erondor Quinn and I’m a half-elf from the north. My elven mother raised me in the forest city of Falharin. She had a relentless attraction to human men however, which is evidenced enough in my existence. I was not too old when she moved the two of us to a large human city nearby so she could indulge herself.
In Falharin I had met many travelers and merchants who were willing to tell me stories of the world outside the woods. Being in the big city though was something I was totally unprepared for, even with all the tales I had been told. I quickly learned that the only way I was going to survive was by learning all I could from the people around me.
I once spoke with a man who claims he has seen the Elemental Chaos and returned to tell the tale. I met a woman who told tales of dark, dank places far below the surface of our world where there exist all manner of unspeakable creatures like nothing else in existence. There were so many tales and stories to hear in the big city. I began to crave them.
I started working in one of the pubs my mother hung around in to meet men. I began by just cleaning tables, but one night the bard who was supposed to perform had gotten himself in a little trouble. Turns out he couldn’t hold his Dwarven Ale. So in desperation the barkeep let me get up on stage and tell tales and sing songs to entertain the crowd.
I don’t mind telling you that my first foray into performance was a bit shaky, but the barkeep was impressed nonetheless. He gave me the opportunity to keep performing during the less busy times of day, and even talked some of his other regular performers into teaching me a thing or two. Agreeing to perform regularly turned out to be my biggest mistake.
Garver Dunn is a name I will never forget. He was a song-spinner and tale-teller at the bar where I worked. He was not all that good, but good luck trying to convince him of that. As time wore on I started to make a bit of a name for myself among the regulars. Then one fateful day Garver went up to perform. Maybe he was sick, maybe he was hoarse from drinking and shouting, but his voice cracked and his singing was flat. I was cleaning tables and some of the regulars grabbed me, pushed Garver off his stool, and stuck me on the just-vacated seat. All the while they cheered my name and laughed at Garver while he picked himself off the floor. That was the beginning of the end.
Garver was rather upset over this recent development and decided to take action. He went to the city guard to inform them of a young half-elf orphan who was causing trouble at a bar. Then he came over to me to “deliver a message from the barkeep”. The message was that there were some really rough characters who like to dress as the city guard and storm into bars making wild accusations. “Don’t believe a word outta their mouths,” the message ended. You can tell where this is going. I got arrested and my mother was nowhere to be found when I needed her most.
Here is where the plot thickens though. Garvin didn’t know that the jailer was a rather unscrupulous individual who had made a deal with slave traders from Ishar. I guess the dungeons were big enough that every once in a while a person could be “misplaced” without drawing attention. While waiting in my holding cell Garvin visited me to gloat about how “no stinking half-breed would ever make a fool out of him again.” Then, rather than going to jail, I ended up in chains in a wagon bound for Ishar.
For the last few years now I’ve been living here in the pits. I can’t really imagine a worse place to be. Luckily with the tricks I learned on the streets combined with what must be some latent magical abilities from my elven heritage, I have been able to survive so far. Words and the powers of the arcane are my greatest weapons. Otherwise I spend my time speaking with all the slaves down here. They come from all over the world and I have learned so much about what lies beyond these dark, dreadful stone walls. I can’t help but always remain the collector of stories.
I would like to think that I never gave up hope for escape, but I think there have been many times I have faltered. Things lately have been different though. The tones in the others’ voices are changing. The sounds here are ones of hope, not ones of acquiescence. Soon we will take our freedom back by force. I can’t even think of what I would do. I haven’t allowed myself those kinds of thoughts in so long.