Gary was usually not this greedy. But presented with the flawless opportunity to advance his position, it was hard to say no. And the opportunity was flawless. All he had to do was provide a little information, harmless information, and the rewards would be beyond his dreams.
His dreams weren’t all that impressive, so that was going to be an easy target to meet.
Or it would have been, if things hadn’t changed so much overnight.
Yesterday, it was just a little harmless information.
Today, it is treason to even speak to the enemy.
And Gary’s dreams were doomed to remain unfulfilled.
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.