I slip into Saul’s office, the door had been left ajar. Saul’s attention is focused on his books as I keep to the shadows and creep up behind him. I reach for his pouch, when Saul clears his throat.
“How’s my sneaky little goblin, today?”
I sigh. I enjoy letting Saul think he’s still got the upper hand.
“I miss the old days Uncle Saul. You taking me in off the streets, training me, me coming back with a loaf of bread and a coin purse. Whatever happened?”
Saul turns from his books.
“Sophia… I’d been telling you that you need to train with weapons to defend yourself but you wouldn’t listen. You ran away in a panic the first time I tried to give you a dagger. It wasn’t until you got caught by a couple of Zincher’s men that you changed your mind.”
I turn and cover my face with both hands as tears suddenly fall, remembering the men, the short sword, the rough hands ripping at my clothes, the dirty fingers clutching at my pale skin…
“A few days after we found you in the alley, I suggested training you again. This time when I gave you the dagger instead of the fear and loathing you’d had the first time, there was something different in your expression, a craving or lust in your eyes. I told myself I was imagining it and we started training. A month or two later, you left never to return. Word on the street came that one of Zincher’s men had been found dead in an alley, castrated and a bloody dagger in his back. It wasn’t long after that when I decided I needed to change my line of work.”
He moves forward and reaches a hand out to comfort me. I give a jump when his hand touches my shoulder and bat it away as I turn, with the other hand I wipe away the tears.
“It was a rhetorical question Saul.”
I run past Saul, out the door of his office, I’m heading for the main exit of the Golden Goblin when I crash into someone dressed in red, who just came around the corner. I reach around their waist as I fall and turn pulling them on top of me to stop them from hurting themselves. I brace myself with my other arm as I fall but an elbow still catches me in the gut and knocks the wind out of me. My vision goes black for a second or two and I’m having trouble catching my breath.
“Are you ok, Sophia?”
I hear a beautiful melodic voice as I open my eyes. Amaya is lying on top of me, still held tightly to me with my arm around her waist.
“You’re …”, You’re hot, I think to myself, “You’re ok?”
“I was more worried about you, your eyes seemed unfocused for a minute, your makeup is running and your eyes are a bit puffy.”
“I’m …”, I’m still trying to regain my breath and take in another deep breath, “Honestly, I’m fine. Your perfume is lovely, you really must come with me shopping sometime. I’m not good at those sorts of things.”
“So, um. You think its safe for us to get up now?”
I relunctantly slide my hand across her back and let her get up. She offers her hand and helps me up as well.
She grabs my hand and pulls me after her. We go down to the storage rooms and she takes a lantern from the bottom of the stairs and puts it close by on a table. She pulls out a chair for me to sit and then she hurriedly grabs a satchel by the wall and sits facing me. She pulls out a cloth and a makeup kit and starts wiping my face and redoing my makeup. She explains to me the proper technique of what she’s doing, what colors work well with my eyes and hair including both my brunette wig and my natural blond hair. I guess my wig got disadjusted in the fall.
“You’re a … northern, right? I mean you have a somewhat exotic look, not quite Chelaxian.”
“Yes, I’m from around Magnimar in Varisia, more than 500 miles north of here.”
“I’m a native Wiscrani”, I hesitate, “Thanks for all your help. I never really had anyone to explain these things to me. I most grew up in the streets with Saul looking out for me.”
“You never knew your family?”
“Um, well I did”, I look down and wring my hands.
I kind of ran away when I was able to. I was born into the Wiscrani nobility, I’m sure some of the nobility pays but lip service to Asmodeus, but my parents are among the faithful. I remember when I was young and my mother was pregnant with my brother. I came to her room late at night after I’d had a… night terror. My mother was lying in her bed and there was blood all over. There was this small misshapen form on the bed in front of her with horns, claws and a tail.
‘Kill it! That beast clawed its way out of me. Take the dagger from my nighttable.’
I looked around at the creature, at my mother, at the blood and finally looked towards the nighttable, I ran, picked up the dagger and came back towards the creature. I looked hesitantly back at my mother.
‘Kill it before it finishes me off. You don’t want mother dear to die, do you dearest?’
So I looked back at the creature, it seemed so small and helpless. I couldn’t imagine it being able to hurt anyone.
‘Kill it now’, my mother ordered.
So I plunged the dagger in again and again to my mother’s encouragement. Then she burst out in laughter as did my father who had appeared unnoticed at the doorway.
‘Dearest, meet your little brother’, and then she gestured to the small dead bloody creature that was lying on her bed.
“I realized then that she’d given birth to a … to a tiefling baby.”
Tears fill my eyes once more and Amaya wraps her arms around me. Later that day, she redid my makeup for a second time.