Rise of the Runelords: Arbiters of Change
Thomas, the Dog of Sartor
At around 5' 8" and only 180 lbs, Thomas is not a very imposing fellow, but his sharp eyes belie his intelligence.
He wears a cloak with a patch or tear that has a story of every place he’s ever been or wants to go. He is not tall, though not necessarily short either, and he is of average weight. In fact, you might say he is most extraordinarily ordinary. He has brown hair, hazel eyes, and a tanned and weathered complexion. He probably has one or two daggers on his person, though you wouldn’t think it to look at him, or you probably would. And he carries with him his walking staff. Slung over his shoulder is an old and worn pack that carries rations, tools, camping equipment, and a journal. His hair is dirty and long and his clothes bear the stains of travel.
Sartor is a mining village at the base of a small mountain range; it lacks all the charm of home, but makes up for it with hard working people trying to survive. Thomas was born the son of a miner and a butcher’s daughter. Unfortunately the two were unwed at the time as the butcher wanted his daughter to have nothing to do with the miner, however, love being what it is, and hormones what they are, conspired against the butcher’s wishes. In the end Thomas was born, but sadly his mother died in the process. He was born a bastard and without a mother all at once. The butcher denied any claim to him, and up until the day the old pig chucker died swore his daughter was pure and died from a fever. Thomas then was taken in by his father, but the life of a miner is no life for a child- even more so when the child is seen as an outcast, an orphan. His father did right by him though, and for a time was able to provide for him. The boy became quite good at navigating the tunnels and since he was small enough, he could squeeze into places the other men couldn’t. It’s not as though his father wanted him there, but foreman took pity on Thomas and offered the boy a copper a week to run water to the miners and explore the odd branch in the cavern/mine system. In that time, he learned how to read and write enough to take messages and notes for the foreman as well as helped the foreman with the bookkeeping. A lot of responsibility for a boy of only 8 or 9.
The cave in occurred when the boy was 11. Thomas had been out running an errand for the foreman, something inconsequential, when he felt the earth shake beneath his feet. From the other side of the village, he could see a great cloud of dust billowing up and out from the mine. He ran to the mine, but it was already too late. Some 40 men died in the cave in and while some might have closed the mine down, it was the lifeblood of the village, so the lord of that region had it reopened. Meanwhile, Thomas was an orphan. He didn’t have time to suffer the feelings of losing his father, the new Foreman wanted nothing to do with him and as he was a bastard, most everyone else wanted nothing to do with him as well. He was forced to beg or steal as there were no orphan houses there and he lived mostly on the edge of town. He learned quickly enough when the Baker threw the bread out and he was never caught going through the larders of the taverns. By the time he was 13 he could pick almost any lock in the village, as crude as they were and he had discovered a new way to pass the time.
The new foreman and other wealthier members of the village, owned books. Not for reading, but for showing off when they invited others over as a means of bragging about their wealth and intelligence. As such they never really noticed when one went missing for a time. Thomas spent the next several years “borrowing” books while surviving as the dog of sartor. He enjoyed the histories the most, tales of adventure and great deeds done by his ancestors. He read of temples and castles that had been lost to the ages. He would explore the caverns and pretend he was exploring an old dungeon and looking for treasure. While the village people and other children would taunt him and make fun of him, calling him stray, mutt, dog, and other ‘fun’ nicknames, he would be dreaming of adventure. Unfortunately he spent too much of his time with his head in the clouds and wound up getting caught with a book by one of the guard. He was filthy and homeless, so it was fairly obvious that he shouldn’t have it, and after a quick round of questioning, they discovered that he had indeed stolen it.
It was about the time that he was being hauled off to the magistrate that something inside clicked. He didn’t have to stay in Sartor, he could leave. He had nothing to lose by staying and everything to gain. The guard was wondering what was for dinner and so wasn’t expecting Thomas to suddenly knee him in the groin and take off running.
Thomas headed out onto the road, running as fast as he could, none chased after him, but he never looked back. At the first hamlet he found he stole a cloak and some food, setting off while the owners were none the wiser. And after 2 days of travel, he finally stopped to consider what he had done. Seventeen years old and alone in the countryside. He wasn’t a tanner’s son, nor was he a farmer’s boy, but he had read enough tales to know how to gauge the direction he was headed and how long his supplies would last.
He made his way to the city, there it was easier to survive under the radar, with more people living there, he had more opportunities available to him. He still looked and smelled like a beggar, but at least he wasn’t alone. He lived there for a few years, reading and stealing. When he got caught, he escaped in some fashion or another and moved on to the next city or village. Occasionally he would encounter other travelers, and he would tell them stories in exchange for sharing their fire and food. In time he realized he could survive a bit more easily by telling stories than by breaking into peoples homes. (He still did though for the books, at least in those cities and villages without libraries). But he became a wandering historian, his travels were determined by the books he read, sometimes going so far out of his way just to see the lands and ruins he had read about.
He has since in the past few months, made his home in Sandpoint. He began work with the city’s waste management working for a copper a day or less getting by on scraps and generosity. That is, until the day he met with a trio of intrepid adventurers.