Set in the city of Harael, the first in a series based on the character Vincent Tucat.
Politicians are nothing more than a bunch of thieves and crooks, as everyone surely knows. Nowhere is this statement truer than in Harael. It's a city where citizens are taxed "protection money" by the thieves who rule it, where unauthorized crime is all but nonexistent, and where stealing jewel-encrusted valuables from opulent estates in the dead of night is more about political intrigue and the ability to control your environment than it is about monetary gain ...
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Scars. I shall talk about scars.
Err, write, I suppose ... not "talk" as such.
Damn, I've made a mess of the first page already. This is quite a bit harder than I thought.
When my father wished to "rough up a page" as he called it, he'd leap upon the very first thing he felt like talking about, moving from that subject to the story that he wished to tell. As a child, I didn't understand the need for that device, watching in boyish fascination as he put words to parchment with his cleverly wrought quill, periodically dipping his free hand into the large bowl of drying sand and scattering the fine mix of granules over the page.
While waiting for the ink of his words to mix with the sand - heating up and slowly etching the words forever on the fireproof pages of his journal - he would often attempt to teach me some small tidbit of his own writing process before beginning work on his next page.
Sometimes I listened in rapt attention, sometimes I found myself too enthralled by the wisps of smoke curling up from the page to hear a single word he spoke. I do recall him talking about beginning though - that moment when you first set out to put marks on a page, when you realize you have to get over the idea of a large, white sheet of nothing, just sitting there, mocking you.
I didn't quite understand what the big deal was at the time, the simple act of beginning to write. Sitting here now, in his chair, at his desk, I very quickly found myself in perfect understanding of what he tried to tell me that day. I've been sitting here for hours, several candles lit to keep me energized and awake, hand poised over the first page of parchment as if about to write something, yet dramatically failing to do so.
This is the first journal I've ever undertaken to write my- self, and so many things need to be considered. One thing I've learned from reading my father's eighteen journals, as well as the multitude of others that compose the family library, is that you cannot assume the person who picks up your tome knows everything that you do. You need to give details, pro- vide context for the story you're trying to tell.
Where might this book end up, after all? How much do I need to explain? Does it sit on a shelf beside dozens of other tales written by other Lords, or does it stand alone? Does the person reading it have the context of the other books I've written to lean on? Or has this, the first of my memoirs, been parted from its cousins lining the bookshelves of our family library?
Is it even being read by a fellow resident of my native city, Harael, someone already familiar with our way of life and our customs? Or has it fallen into the hands of a Lord from a far- away land, someone unfamiliar with Thieves' Rule or the nu- ances of our style of government?
As you stare at your empty page, all of these questions pile up at once, a hundred starving guests clamoring at the en- trance to a great feast, all leaping forward at once and in so doing preventing anyone at all from getting in.
Rather clever metaphor, that.
The only thing I can know for certain is that this book will never be cradled in the arms of a son or daughter of my own. One of the long-term consequences of rose blight, in addition to the patches of white scar tissue, is sterility. Mine shall be the last books ever to bear the proud mark of two cats, one blue and one white, sitting protectively back to back. Vincent Tucat, the very last Lord to wear the crest of my family's name, the many scars littering my body mutely testifying to that fact.
As I sat here pondering these things, father's words ran through my head. My attention fell upon the scar on the back of my right hand, and I realized how I must begin.
And so I begin with scars. I'm something of an expert, after all.