Ah yes. Yes. I do remember now, how it all started. I suppose it was not so long ago, really, though it feels long. I was different then; young still, though I fancied myself a proper Rat, and hopeful of my prospects as a physician. My wild days, when I thought the world could be understood only through experience, and sought understanding in whatever dark corner I found it. A fine time for me, discovering the depths of my capabilities and limitations both. A time when unexpected friendships were forged and lurking enemies confronted. A time of terrible trials and thrilling triumphs. But there is plenty to tell, and we’ll never begin if I don’t get on with how it started. Yes, yes. It started, you see, with a card.
This was just a little while after I had first moved to Korvosa, you recall. Skelt—that’s—you remember my niece, don’t you? Dark coat, squeaky voice? Anyway, Skelt had already been in and out the stockades, laying low at old Eries Yelloweyes’ house for days. Though she was cleared of the murder, there were still many in the city ready to skin her on sight. I knew Gaedren Lamm was behind her framing. Nasty old bugger. One of the worst examples of a Human male I’ve ever encountered. No way to prove it though, and nothing more to go on than the word of a dead fisherman. I was lost, wandering the streets of a strange city with little more than a name and a bad reputation.
Then the card came. Cleverly slipped between the teeth of my most recent patient. Part of a Harrow deck. The Sickness. Someone in this foreign land knew me better than I liked. With the prospect of meeting others in pursuit of Lamm, however, I had no choice but to follow the instructions scrawled on the card’s back.
I did not arrive unprepared, however. I knew Bryndol would not do for such a clandestine meeting. Ah, I’m getting ahead of myself. Bryndol was my public face at the time, my doctor’s face. I did not want to risk sullying that identity with whatever business I was about to get involved with. So when the half-elf with that slab of metal he called a sword and the giant green-skinned holy man stood in Zellara‘s parlor asking who I was, I needed a name fast. I mumbled something indistinct in the hopes they would soon forget—Terrence or Terrez I think—and so they knew me for the time. This was Sav, of course. Yes, I know you’ve heard all about Sav, but believe me when I tell you the man was nothing like that. He was much worse. And Shakro? Let’s just say it’s all true. But at the time they were as strange to me as the harrower who came to join us.
Zellara told quite the tale. She had even more reason to hate Lamm than I did. I gathered the others had similar experiences with that low-down-solly-sop-son-of-a-Chel. Ah-hem. Sorry. The memory gets my blood up. Yes we all had reason to hate him, though it seemed the grievances of the others were mature and refined through years of seething, while my problem with the man was still fresh, could still be set right. This alone was cause enough for me to join their personal crusade against Lamm, but Zellara gave strong portents for our venture. It’s funny now, to think how easily I trusted her. The words she spoke seemed like Desna’s own, however, and I took the dead woman at her word.
Well after forging our little pact and signing on the dotted line Sav presented us—yeah, no one tells you that bastard is a stickler for paperwork—we went off to confront Gaedren at the hideout Zellara had discovered. It was a warehouse of sorts, built out over the Jeggare like the dozens of others that line West Dock. Lamm had it staffed by his personal army of street children. Some sort of fish processing. All I remember is it stunk worse than the Gray District after a summer’s worth of rain.
There was the usual sort of sneaking and plotting—I won’t bore you with the details—before Sav and Shakro, accounting themselves worthy fighters, bravely decided to burst through the front door. No, even as strangers I had no reason to doubt their skill at arms. That hunk of sword Sav carried around was the sort of thing that got you into tavern fights with sailors looking to show off, then got you back out of them if you were any good. And need I say anything about a priest who’s taken to wearing armor under his habit? While they busied themselves with the inevitable chaos that tends to result from marching unannounced through the main entrance of a crime den, I determined to ensure Lamm would not escape in the confusion. I found my way ‘round the back of the warehouse, ditched my gear, got up to one of my—ah-hem—usual tricks, and tried to scout the remainder of the place. I, ah, don’t remember precisely what happened but I know I was the first in the room with that vile excuse for a human called Gaedren Lamm. Sufficiently explicit screams brought my two belligerent companions running. They did their thing with commendable gusto, once again buying me time to become Terrace again. Sav even did me the great service of suffering severe bites from a pet crocodile Lamm apparently kept close at hand. It wasn’t until I inspected his injuries that I realized exactly what sort of creature had mauled the corpses that had been pinned on Skelt. Though Shakro was overeager to cast his wonderful beautiful lovely healing magic bestowed by the grace of his perfect gracious benevolent Sarenrae, I sought some way to use these wounds as evidence for Skelt‘s case. I ran back to the city streets, hoping to track down a guard to bare witness and later testify on the matter of the bites, but just when it seemed my problems might be solved, the whole city went to hell. Apparently dead kings deserve more attention than dead dockworkers, and the guard was too preoccupied with scurrying around like blind mice to address our little incident. Sav got his healing, I lost my evidence, and to make things even better the spider venom in my veins was rapidly sapping my strength. Oh, did I mention the spiders? Yes, things were looking very bad indeed, and all that was before we found Zellara’s mouldering head in a box in Lamm‘s bedroom. Looking back, I should have known then and there to drop my business and get out of Korvosa before things really started getting dangerous. Honestly, I probably did know. But I did not leave when I should have. I stuck around and, well, we’ll get to the rest. All I’ll say now is that, in that stinking warehouse on the river, inspecting the recently long deceased head of our only contact in the rotting hideout of a degenerate criminal, with revolution threatening to erupt in the streets around us, I felt something that would drive me forward into the greatest adventure of my life. More than fear or desperation, more than vindication or relief, I was, as ever, compelled by an exceptionally unhealthy dose of curiosity.