A Shattered Beginning
I was ten years old when I ran away from home. It wasn't really a home though. My parents were, abusive. I won't go in to the details, but I didn't stand for it forever. I had lived in the Daisy Commonwealth before I traveled south, away from the horrific life my parents had for me.
I was lonely, starving, and weary when I met with the steep slopes of Raider's Peak. It was there, that a gruff and abrasive band of raider's found me and took me high in to the cave structures near the top of the peak. I was forced to work for them as a slave of sorts, cooking, cleaning, sharpening their weapons after every time they pillaged a nearby town.
However, it came to my surprise that they never violated my virginity. Maybe they were simply waiting until I was older, but I always gave them the benefit of the doubt when I heard their life stories. Every one of them used to be a successful man or woman, living happily in towns or in the big kingdoms spread across the continent. It was when business didn't go as planned, or misfortune turned its gaze upon them, or some other destructive force bind them, that caused them to turn to the life of pillaging and piracy.
They ended up being more of a family to me than my parents ever were. That's not to say they were a good influence on me, of course. But, I actually was okay with staying there and assisting them with my servitude, so long as they took care of me in return, and they did. It was a livable life, the life of a bandit. One that I no doubt would have picked up eventually myself if it wasn't for the man that showed up when I was thirteen years old, claiming to be the one to lead the raider's to riches never heard of. I remember his sly smile. I hated his smile.
"More possum roast?" I offered a fellow raider. Everyone was huddled by a blazing fire in the heart of the cave that was our home. We were dining on several different meats the hunter's had brought in.
"Oh I really shouldn't," he smacked his gut and shook his head.
"Nonsense! Raiding towns and villages is hard work isn't it? You have to keep your strength up!"
"Bah!" he bellowed, changing his mind. "Another pound or two, sure!"
"Excellent!" I hastily refilled his plate. "Here you go."
"My thanks, Tenshi," he took the plate back.
"Tenshi, your cooking gets better and better every day!" another raider called out.
"A toast!" the leader of our raider group, Grayl, raised his goblet high in the air. "To friendship, good fortune, and the continued accumulation of the riches we once so verily deserved!" Cheers bounced off of the cave walls. "Tomorrow night, we will strike again. A town to the northwest has been untouched by our liberation so far. It's time we made our first visit!"
"Let's do it!" Everyone was having such a good time. Until that man made his entrance, right then and there.
"Have you pitiful fools finished your incessant cheers?" a voice echoed from the mouth of the cave. Every one of us turned with hardened, furious faces at the single man standing in the middle of the cave entrance. "I've come to take command."
"BAHAHAHAHA!" the entire cave was in an uproar. Many who were standing fell on the ground they laughed so hard at the man's proclamation. Grayl chuckled as well and stepped forward toward the man.
"Who do you think you are, whelp?" he questioned the man as wrapped his fingers around the hilt of his axe hanging at his side.
"My name is Rayvelle," the man answered.
Rayvelle would end up being the worst influence my life ever experienced, as if a life with bandits and thugs wasn't bad enough. He was as manipulative as he was heartless. He cared not who he harmed, just so long as his will was made a reality. He always bore that sly smile, one that just made me want to smack it right off of his face. His eyes always pierced in to my body, and every time I felt insecure and violated when he gazed at me. If I could read his thoughts, I wager I would fine nothing but deceit and perverted intentions.
"Rayvelle?" Grayl repeated. "Well Rayvelle, I'll be the one to interview you for your job application." Grayl drew his axe and swiftly swung it toward Rayvelle. The sound of metal clashed as Rayvelle blocked his swing with a sword of his own. They stared each other down, holding their weapons strongly against each other. Thunderous cheers and battle shouts boomed against the cave walls. All of my fellow bandits shouted.
"Grah! Tear him apart!"
"Rip him to shreds!"
"Make him suffer!"
"Grr! Show this mongrel who the real boss is!"
"Throw his carcass down the peak for the wolves!"
Rayvelle grinned at Grayl. "Violence so soon? We only just started this interview!" he remarked.
"Hah!" Grayl spat. "Next question!" He twirled around and attacked his side. Rayvelle blocked and the metal clanged again. They traded attacks, blocking each blow they attempted on each other. Every time their weapons met, the clashing sound made the bandits cheer and shout. Raveylle came down at Grayl's head. Grayl turned his axe horizontally and blocked his strike. They held their position again.
"I heard your group was the most feared, hated, and ruthless on this peak," Rayvelle cocked his head slightly. "But if this is the best you can do then perhaps I've applied at the wrong corporation."
"Wrong answer!" Grayl roared. He slid his axe head toward the blade of his sword, catching it and bringing it down to the ground. Grayl elbowed him across the face and kicked the arm holding the sword next. Rayvelle let go of his sword momentarily and took the momentum he received from Grayl's blow, spun around and threw a small knife he had concealed under his forearm at Grayl's leg.
The throwing knife stuck in his leg. Grayl growled and stepped back in slight pain. Rayvelle rolled forward and retrieved his sword. He jabbed at Grayl, but Grayl knocked his blade to his side with his axe, reared his head back and smashed it against Rayvelle's head. The bandits watching the fight threw their hands up and cheered.
Rayvelle took three steps back and shook his head, dazed. Grayl let out a deep throated growl as he swung his axe at Rayvelle's head with full force. Rayvelle deflected his attack in to the air above his head, quickly cut a large gash in to Grayl's arm holding the axe, spun away and finally slashed his side as well. Grayl dropped his axe after feeling the pain in his arm. He bent down to try and pick up his axe with his other hand.
Rayvelle rolled back to back over Grayl, spun around and cut his arm clean off. Grayl roared in pain and fury, turned to Rayvelle and charged him. The shock of losing his arm, and his own raging fury blinded his ambitions. Without even realizing it, he ran directly in to Rayvelle's outstretched sword, impaling himself. He managed one last glare in to Rayvelle's eyes.
"Any more questions, boss?" Rayvelle cocked his head again and donned his typical smile. Grayl exhaled his final breath. Rayvelle pulled his sword out of his chest and he collapsed on the cave floor, his wounds oozing blood.
"Excellent," Rayvelle pulled out a cloth and wiped the blood off of his sword. "I believe your silence means I got the job."
I placed my hands over my mouth in shock. Grayl was a hardened fighter, but Rayvelle took him down with almost no trouble. Just like that, the leader of my bandit group, the one I considered more of a father than my real one, was dead. I shakily looked around at my family of ruffians. Every one of them was in as much shock as me. Many had their mouths wide open, others wide eyed. Their loud cheers and shouts had completely disappeared, and the cave was so quiet that we heard a single cricket faintly chirp from under a pebble.
Rayvelle turned to all of us, showing his disgusting smile. "Oh please," he gently shook his head. "Don't be so sentimental. Your leader dragged you along on raids that paid but a mere fraction of what I shall lead you toward. For you chose this life to get rich at the cost and despair of others, correct? So, I will be the one to bring you riches beyond your puny imaginations. Does um," he looked at Grayl's corpse, then quickly looked back at us. "Does anybody have an issue with that?"
Everyone was quiet. In the end, their occupations got the better of their sentimentality. Overnight, everyone, including me, accepted the promise of fortune and silently agreed to let Rayvelle become our new leader.