"I will not punish my listener with the details of my past life, nor excuse what I have done with tails of a sad childhood. That I am sure you can figure for yourself. No, the real story lies with the act itself.
"Long ago, maybe a decade now, I found myself in the thrall of another man. In return for life (which he offered me after I was caught stealing from him to survive) I would have to pull of one of the biggests heists of the century... so he said. Of course it was a failure, the plan was to steal from the wealthiest Lords of state which included alot of movement and much deliberation. There were many to be involved which is always a danger unto itself. More criminals, more room for a traitor. And there was a traitor within our midst.
"So there we were, all seven and twenty of us walking through the streets in the most casual demeanour dressed elegantly for the theatre, we were a most respectable bunch. As we entered the theatre, we were accepted with gracious humility and so sat down to watch. It was a most dull performance, I should afford nothing but ill news for it and as the play neared it's grateful end, that is when we were detained.
"For as we sat, each in rapture of the monotony, one by one we would briefly leave in the shadow of darkness and return. Nearby there were many large houses see, full of aristocrats and the like with more money than they knew how to spend. We felt obliged to guide these poor, poor people and so robbed them and stashed the spoils of our victory and it was the perfect alibi. However one man, we called AC, had told the police of our proceedings. With a witness, evidence through observation and the whereabout of the money, the police quickly drowned us in a tidal wave of rough justice.
"Thus we were carted off to prison, although the leader was never found. Many of us were hanged accordingly, those that pleaded there case well were sent back to the jails were we would spend our life in harsh confinement. again, I will not trouble you with the gritty details of the goings on of prison life but to say it was no happy time would be an understatement of the highest degree.
"Of course we would speak to doctors and discuss the problems each of us seemed to hold. Lectures were doled out in earnest, beatings favoured until one day, I saw a new officer who came to my prison. He would sit me at a table and he would talk to me. Nothing too serious, simple things that may intrigue an apparently common man as myself. But then he began asking me questions regarding one particular case that he never truly divulged to me. It seemed to be a fraudster and murderer. To this day the culprit was never found.
"When he had decided that I was in actual fact quite a reasonable being, he had me taken from the prisoner to help with another case of his. A long grisly string of murders that had occured right here in this very pub. The idea was that I provide my knowledge of criminals and organised crime, for at the time, the subtlety and sheer volume of deaths made it seem like a collaborative effort, and he in return would authorise an early release.
"But as time went by, his demeanour changed. Once he had been as sure of himself as a rock knows it is a rock and a tree a tree, but then once it turned out that this was one being... a different being, his mind became lost in the unfortunate happenings. He would theorise and ramble on and on about it."
"What were these theories?" Brakken asked with interest.
"long and numerous. Some where psychological ideas or the silliest of notions. He believed that nature had come to life with the coming of this demon... that if he could control himself he could thus control nature and in the end, his own fate and the fate of those surrounding himself. He believed that this demon is the embodiment of sin, but more importantly, the embodiment of the sin of the people that it was near. He said it would be grotesque with certain characteristics regarding vice. He researched all manner of the black arts in order to see if the demon had been conjured by somebody, as if one of us were a sorcerer or witch. In the end his labours were fruitless and brought him no closer to a conclusion. Not so long ago however, about the time you first came to this tavern actually, he spoke often about him being a savior of the people. He spoke fleetingly of a time when he was a man who seemed to possess a supernatural strength and power. He said he was majestic in his prime.
"And now he is gone and it was all for nothing," Whitely groaned.
"What you say truly helps me," Brakken promised, "I will use what I can, you will have your revenge, or be avenged."
"No, you do not understand. Ward was my one hope, now that he is dead, there is nobody to authorise an early release. Soon they will come for me and take me to prison. Or I could spend my life in running, yet what is a life that has no meaning but sheer survival. That is why man clings to God or the drink... for fulfilment," he stared sadly at the floor, "I will not sit in a cell or run in the gutters," he looked at Brakken with a fierce determination, "I will meet my fated redemption head on, or fail trying."
With that he left the room. Brakken sat for a moment in quiet contemplation before shaking himself and searching the room for aid.