For a long time, we preyed on just enough travelers to keep us fed and clothed without being greedy.
But lately, the temptation to take more was always there.
And who better than to foment that temptation than the wandering bards and itinerant teachers who filled the heads of our younger members with grand ideals, tempting them to stray from our proven path.
And to think that we had been kind to them in their time of need.
My rule had been absolute. Take only the fat merchants, and then, only their purses and some of their goods. Take as little of their dignity as practical, lest they be motivated to do more than band together for protection.
Then we rescued that teacher from starvation.
And let him repay us in kind.
And now our youths are wondering if we have the right to prey on travelers. If we have the right to live as we have for decades.
The keys clicked constantly in the background, blending together to sound a little like the surf or a waterfall. Consistent white noise, almost hypnotic.
In the foreground, other things were happening. Some true, some not so true.
But always overlaid on the constant flow of keystrokes.
Fate brought us to this point. But fate can only go so far without overtly meddling. And fate never, despite all the rumors, never meddles. Meddling directly would be too clumsy. Fate prefers the elegant solutions, where a gentle nudge to a player’s destiny is all that is required. A gentle tug on their strings. Then let the players work it all out for themselves.
This may not be so simple.
Characters lay dying.
The keys continued to tap away, as story wrote over story and worlds collide.
Something pushed each one past their breaking point.
And their authors seemed unable to stop, pouring the words out in torrents, as if writing it all down was the only way to find out what would happen.
This wasn’t a life for just anyone, but it was a living at least. Rushing from town to town, job to job, identity to fresh identity. It takes a toll, and fairly rapidly.
Needing to always be careful to not let the current identity slip and reveal is hard enough. But it needs must be done. In every town I visit, there is someone who knows things, who is planning something, who may be susceptible to a delicate touch if the right weapon is available. I am the weapon. I am the light touch.
I am deployed to calm the waters and prevent the storm, to safeguard the peace.