Book of Days: December 14, Corner of Queen’s Strand

I grew up on a street in the dingiest corners of Queen’s Stand. I say it’s a street, for that was what they called all the little turns on the town, but it hardly counts as such. It was only three houses long, and narrow houses at that, no more than an alleyway turned and tucked in the worst part of the Stand.

There was myself and my family; Mrs. Vallie, who owned the herb shop and lived above it with her husband, who dried the plants in the little workroom; and Mr. Deon, who took the third house and was an odd a man as I’ve ever seen in all my life. He was tall and thin, pale as a ghost, with eyes that seemed to shine from a fire burning within. We children, of course, had all manner of stories about him, even that he was a vampire, though he moved about in the day and showed no weakness to holy symbols or garlic. My mother was horribly ashamed of the way we would all whisper when he walked by on his way to and from whatever business he had elsewhere in the town. She was so embarrassed she made certain to greet him kindly each and every time, though we knew she thought him as odd as we did.

Her politeness did not go unnoticed, however, nor did the fact she was raising three children on her own and from whatever she could make sewing charms into adventurers’ clothing. While Mr. Deon never made himself a proper introduction, keeping the distance of neighbours who know each other by face and name but nothing more, clients began to turn up at our stoop, there on his recommendation. 

These were not the clients my mother usually saw, those beginning adventurers who would move on to grander towns and greater pursuits, but those who had already reached those places, and yet returned, with orders for the more complicated symbols my mother hadn’t been required to stitch for years, as they had previously been far outside her clients’ budgets.

We began new stories then, about Mr. Deon, as of course we must. He would have been an adventurer himself, we reasoned, to know so many. This, of course, lead us to the fact he did not seem to enjoy life outside the city, nor, to be honest, even outside his door, and so we hit upon a different profession: that of sending adventurers to the places that needed them.

This was, for children who had grown up seeing all manner of adventurers and therefore quite gotten over the mystique of them, a far more thrilling idea. For how, especially when one lived in the smallest and dingiest street in all of the Stand, could one come across the information required to send people on their quests for fame, magic, and riches? And having such information, why would one not simply go to achieve such things themself, or at least to get a cut of the results? This was, to our already somewhat jaded minds, a far more interesting prospect.

And therefore, though we had lived on the street with Mr. Deon and whispered about him all our lives, for the first time we resolved to follow him when he left our tucked away street, to see if we were right.

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by | Dec 14, 2021