Serindar Brickback had a fairly generic past. He was born in a vale to two relatively poor parents who owned a farm. From a young age he was expected to help out; mending fences, milking their one decrepit cow, and reaping the wheat whenever harvest time came. Each year his father and mother earned just enough to keep the farm from being taken by the local lord. He expected he would be married off to one of the neighbor girls, settle down on a plot of land of his own, and walk the path of his father.
That didn’t happen.
When he was 22, Serindar’s hot head got the best of him when the local lord’s tax collector decided to teach the Brickback’s a lesson and tossed a torch onto a stack of wheat that was being prepared for the mill. He took a pitchfork and jabbed it into the side of the tax collector’s horse. He was aiming for the tax collector, but he wasn’t particularly good with his hands. That turned out to be a stroke of luck; instead of being killed in front of his parents, he was hauled away to serve the rest of his life in prison, repaying his debt to the realm.
He was transported hundreds of miles from his home, to work in a salt mine. He was given a daily quota – anything he brought in above his quota would go to releasing him from prison early. Serindar spent the next 12 years breaking his back in the mines, intending to escape from the hellish mines as quickly as possible. When he was sure he’d had enough, he petitioned the warden for release, only to find that the extra work had been converted to coin, and delivered to his family. They’d been given a choice: Keep the money, or apply it to their son’s sentence.
They chose to spend the money.
He spent another 5 years in the mine, letting his anger fester and grow while his family grew wealthier off his hard work. At the age of 39, he was released from prison, his debt to society paid, or so they said. He was given a dagger, a day’s wages, (3 silver pieces and 2 coppers) and a loaf of stale bread. Hundreds of miles away from home, having spent most of his adult life in prison, he was a free man without a direction.
He started to make his way home. At least, he thought he was. He wasn’t sure which direction he’d originally lived, and it had been so long that he could barely remember the name of the valley he’d lived in. The first night on the road, in his threadbare clothes, he ate the whole loaf of bread and used a rock for a pillow. He awoke in the morning shivering, with a man standing over him. The man was a bandit, and demanded that Serindar hand over all of his valuables, including the knife and whatever gold he might have on him.
Serindar was no stranger to bullies; you didn’t last in the salt mines without learning one important lesson: how to survive. The bandit was the first man that Serindar killed, but he wouldn’t be the last. Finally with a pair of boots on his feet, a few more coins in his pouch, and a better weapon, he felt ready to face the world. Taking a leaf out of the bandit’s book, he began his own con game, demanding tolls on roads, waylaying weak travelers, and taking their money for his own. He avoided the thorps and villages, preferring the company of the fireflies and the stars at night.
Of course, it couldn’t last. One day, he was bound to cross the wrong person, or the law would catch up with him again. His luck would have to run out, as it did for everyone.
And of course, it did.