Rising Thief, Chapter 1

If one were to listen closely this night, you could make out the slight sounds of bones clacking against each other and the occasional wet sniffle. A lump of flesh lay on the ground between two straw huts, bones bumping against each other as it shivered endlessly on the cold Frostburn’s night. Voices full of joy and laughter would also be heard that night, but from within the straw huts as families of those young and old sat together and ate their meal while joking and laughing.

The lump rolled over and with tiny hands covered their ears to try to drown out the sounds. This didn’t last long however, as the night’s viscous winds never ceased bringing a chill down to the very bones causing the child’s hands to return to a safe place between their thighs. Nights such as this were nights the child would never forget, no matter what other events they encountered, even those far more life threatening; these cold nights were among the most vivid memories.

This lump of flesh was a young orphaned boy, his parents long since dead from an attack by monstrous beasts. The land where his village sat was far from tame, between rival tribes striving for power and the fierce monstrous beasts; death was around every corner. Children such as him weren’t uncommon, what was uncommon was that he still lived after nearly six months.

It must be said that the fellow tribesman weren’t cruel, but neither were they full of charity. The boy was not apart of their clan and food was already a scarce resource. It was survival of the fittest, the strong ruled and the weak perished. His parents hadn’t been strong enough and he simply wasn’t worth their precious resources. Yet he still managed to live.

The village was a simple village, neither big nor small compared to the surrounding villages. Four large complexes existed surrounded by straw huts and a simple wooden wall around it. Each complex was of varying size with only a few buildings existing in each one. These were the homes of the four major clans within the village with their servants and general tribesmen living in the huts. Perhaps a thousand souls could fill up and live in the combined complexes, but as it stood the population of the village hadn’t exceeded even five hundred in decades. They were in decline.

The sun slowly rose, and with it finally came some warmth. The sounds of bones clacking and the pants of the child slowly began to fade into quieter sounds.