Rise of the Runelords
Kalder is a halfling of slightly shorter than average height for his kind. He is very slim, with what appear to be disproportionately long limbs. His hair is dark and sticks up around his hat (which he customarily wears). He dresses nicely, although a keen eye will notice that the normally restrictive dress clothing has been modified to give him superior freedom of motion. He carries no visible weapons, but anyone who believes their eyes in that matter is a fool.
He carries himself with an air of slight arrogance. He always seems like he knows something nobody else has figured out yet. He is unlike other halflings in his tendency to draw attention to himself rather than slipping into the background. His arrogance is offset by the fact he never seems to take himself too seriously. He is easily irritated, but it’s hard to make him really angry.
I started my life born into a family of servants to the wealthy Korvosan, Lord Harstead. When I was two, we went out into a new settlement named Crosswind where my parents were pretty important figures in the community. They were still servants, but they represented Harstead, who was our chief financial backer. They were leaders in the town, and everyone respected us.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had an unusual ability. Any time I touch a book, a letter, or any other written document, I instantly know what it says, and could remember it perfectly, permanently. We learned about this ability in Crosswind, and soon everyone knew about it. I was a local celebrity.
I lived happily in Crosswind for 11 years. Several months after my 13th birthday, though, a tribe of Goblins launched a surprise raid on Crosswind. Although we beat them back that night, a lot of people died and about half the village burned to the ground. From that point on, goblins were our mortal enemies. Even I, a tiny 13 year old halfling, learned to use a knife and went out on patrol with the other men. I figured out that I had a certain skill at sneaking up behind the bastards and getting them from behind. My parents were horrified, but the other kids my age were fighting, and I refused to be kept at home.
After two years of fighting for survival, Harstead realized he was losing money, and he pulled his support. Crosswind was ruined. The whole town was furious, but without grain and weapons from Korvosa we had no chance of survival out in the wild.
I was only 15, but I decided that I had no interest in going back to Korvosa. I would just be some damned servant there. I had fought for Crosswind, my friends had died there, and now we were all told to go back home because some rich asshole didn’t want to spend a few more gold pieces? Fuck him. Plus, I was furious with my parents, who remained faithful servants and supported their “great master’s” decision.
I ran away in the night, and found myself wandering west. I ran into a group of wandering Varisians and thought that I had perhaps found a new home, but I was quickly frustrated and missed proper civilization. I guess they were alright though, because they taught me enough to live on my own in the wild for a while.
After leaving the Varisians, I wandered for a year-and-a-half. I stayed near settled areas when I could, and was sometimes able to sell some stuff for lodging and bread. I was pretty bad with even the smallest bow the Varisians had, just because I was so small, but I scraped by I guess. When I couldn’t sell my crappy game, I slept in unattended barns and stole what I wanted. I was unhappy and without purpose, but I got by.
Eventually, I found myself entering more settled lands in the west, under the vassalage of Magnimar. I drifted through civilization living on theft and charity until I realized I was turning 18 soon, and my life was a mess.
I ran into a nice guy on the road who said he knew a captain looking for a halfling to help store things in his ship’s hold. I decided to take the job, and followed the road to Sandpoint. I found that the town suited me well. Decent people, not too boring but not too busy either. Sort of like what Crosswind could have been. I was sad that I would be leaving it to go out on a boat soon.
Only days before I intended to depart for distant lands, a man approached me and offered me a few gold pieces if I could steal a copy of the ship’s logs for him. He told me that since I would be helping load the ship up it would be easy to slip out and grab the logs. He told me to look for them in the captain’s quarters. I was unclear why anyone would pay for that, but I agreed. It was simple enough for me to touch the logbook and absorb it.
I realized, though, that I didn’t want other people to know about my power. So I transcribed the book from memory, and told the mysterious man that I had stolen the log, copied it, and replaced it. He was initially angry, assuming that I had faked the log because I was too chicken to steal it, but later he was impressed, once he verified that the copy was genuine.
He offered me more gold if I was willing to do it again. First thing the next day I walked down to the shipyard and told my employer that I was quitting.
I became quite good at infiltrating ships, and began to figure out what the purpose of the theft was. I learned to carefully search for diaries, checkbooks, and anything else I could find that would give my client a competitive advantage. In oversea trade, I learned that knowledge is everything, and I was good at finding it. I felt good stealing from wealthy merchants and investors, because in my mind they all had Harstead’s face. I was also able to afford my new favorite thing, this brilliant little crossbow. It has some system in it that takes up the weight of the draw as I pull it back, so even I can load it easily, and I can fire it without being all wobbly from trying to hold the string tight. I even took a week off to go hunting with it to see how it was and it was so much better than that Varisian shortbow.
I also learned about a group known as the Sczarni, and became determined to find out more about them. My contact was clearly part of their organization, but I knew little else about it. I also knew, however, that people who got too curious tended to turn up dead, so I kept a low profile. Nevertheless, certain people seem to have heard of me, and occasionally they’ve tried to make my life difficult. So far they’ve mostly succeeded at making their own lives substantially shorter. I worry that I might have pissed off someone important, but I’m still alive so I’m probably okay.
I kept up the ship boarding scheme until a week ago, when I decided that I had done enough small time work. I’m not sure where I want to go next, but I feel like I deserve more than a few gold pieces every day or so for my unique skills. I’m ready to prove that I am more than a petty thief.