Argus sits in his little nook, a small room within the guild hall, tucked away along the water level. Maybe it was the calm waters, or the damp smell of the rocks, but he found this place most at home. He finishes cleaning his pistol, beginning to reassemble it, A trickling memory of a much darker time slips into his mind.
A small boy, covering his pale hair with a rough cloth hood, slips down an alley, with an angry food vendor shouting not far away. He hides behind some boxes, taking desperate bites of a small loaf of bread, the first food he has had in days. He pauses his feasting, gripping his head as a sharp ringing strikes through is mind, hundreds of voices, feelings, screams of long dead citizens. None louder that the screams of his mother and sister, its been a week since the attack, but he still feels the flames on his skin, the smoke in his nose, their screams in his mind.
Argus clears his throat, shaking the thought from his mind, moving quietly to insure none spot him, slipping into his small boat. He begins to paddle, slipping out through the seaside caves that breaks out from the guild hall. It was a long ride to his own ship, destination was Cantha, rumors had sparked up recently, rumors all too familiar.
The small boy, shoves the last of the bread in his face before running, the vendor finally spotting him, shouting and cursing as they give chase.
“Little Rat!” The man shouts, raising a menacing rolling pin above his head, but that would be the least of the child’s problems. The boy runs out from the alley, running headfirst into the crowd of tall rough looking adults. Each of them bore a mark on their person, a white rat. At first he was relived, sure these grown ups would protect him, or help him. Instead the Baker looks to them in fear, before scampering off, and the boy foolishly looks up to thank his saviors, only to recive a boot, to the gut.
“Out of our way you little shit!”
Lost in thought a moment, Argus pulls his boat into the harbor, slipping the gold to his old friend, the harbor master to keep it safe a few days while he was away. Now came the longer trip, a larger but faster boat, but still…plenty of time to reflect. He climbs on board and moves to his private cabin, and soon the Devil’s Gamble was on its way. Owning a legitimate shipping company had its advantages, clean books, easy money, and a great place to give former criminals a new start.
The boy gripped his stomach, writhing in pain as the gaggle of criminals laugh at their antics, leaving him there to suffer. He recovers and slinks away, too dangerous to try and steal more food. He peeks down the alley he had been using as his hide away, only to find those same criminals riffling through what little he had, a few family trinkets and his stuffed snake teddy. Part of him thought to rush in, attack them, taking your things back… but his fear too hold. And as they turned to spot him, he did only what he could, he ran.
As he ran, and cried, the clouds began to turn, the rain beginning to fall, and before he knew it, he was standing in the graveyard. Standing frozen in fear, in confusion, in sorrow, at the mausoleum bearing his name, Ebonglen.
The seas were calm, the world seemed to be calmer these last few months, almost unsettlingly so. Argus looks through the reports of a strange, unsettling pressure slipping around the lower districts of Cantha, he had seen reports like this while they were dealing with the void, but chalked them up to that. But seeing it again, in the slums and lower residentials, it was too tempting to ignore.
It took all his little arms could give, but he pulled the tombs door open, and pushed it closed, the lock falling into place. He was trapped, but at least it was dry, and warm from the rain. The names on the coffins, still freshly done, the smell of the funeral flowers hadn’t faded just yet. He stares for what feels like hours, his mother, his father, brothers, sister, and lastly…him. He stared at this name, on his grave, a small heart in the middle, and the mark of Kormier, the goddess who “blessed” him. She was a goddess of truth, knowledge, but not of life, not of protecting his family. He was angry, he was scared and alone, and for some reason, it wasn’t as dark as it should be. He looks to a small mirror hanging the tomb, a tradition in their family, to look at oneself among the dead, to hope to see those who have passed behind you. Fear struck him, as he looked to his own, bright, glowing, green eyes. And the fear didn’t fade, as he did indeed see a figure, an old man, seen in portraits in their home, his great great great grandfather Argus “Black Snake” Ebonglen.
Cantha was in sight, it had been many hours, his mind swirling with memories, pain, and confusion, things he hadn’t felt in years. He moves his hand to his belt, feeling over this baubles, trinkets and trophies from his past victories, pausing at the ring. The rune carved ring, his first proper act of necromancy, used to quiet the voices and emotional barrage from the living and the dead.
Days pass, with only the ghost of his ancestor to talk with, the days were a blur, trapped and malnorished, he wasn’t long for this world. One day, the sun shined through the bars of the tomb, as the lock was pried open from the outside. A tall man, dressed in dirty fineries, steps down with a familiar group of ruffians.
“Im tellin ya boss, there’s nothin in here, these rich pricks didn’t have anything buried with them.” One of the goons speaks “I don’t care, our lookout said he saw someone running around in the rain near the base, and I wanna know….who…” the boss pauses.
Sitting in the center of the room, sits a nameless boy, stark white hair, hands and face covered in blood, and surrounded by rats. The men approach slowly, the unsettling energy leaking out from around the child. He slowly turns his head, the bright glowing eyes pirecing through the hearts of the lesser criminals.
The boss steps forward, squatting down and looking over the boy “Well, looks like we found our little ghost, you look almost as bad as these rats smell..” he chuckles, unphased by the sight, a glimmer in his silver eyes. “Come with me little lad, ive got big plans for you…”
The small boy looked up in a blank stare, taking the mans hand, walking along unblinking as they exit the tomb. “What’s your name little lad..?” There was a pause, before a hoarse voice whispered out “A…Arg..Argus…”
“Argus ey, whispering little Argus, hiding in the graveyard….Gravewhisper, that would be a fantastic name…” he grins, taking a cloth and wiping the childs face “Argus Gravewhisper, you’ve got the instincts of a survivor little ghost, I’ve got a young lad nearby who could use a small little shadow to work around here, but you and me…ill be taking care of you…” The man stands tall, walking away a bit, only for Argus to instinctively cling to his leg. “Hmhm…good, you’re learning fast… I’ll be your teacher, and make sure you never go hungry again…”
“Lets go Argus, ah, manners is something ill have to teach you…” He kneels down, and spoke his name, a name that would haunt the boy for all his life, even to this day, the man who owns his soul. “My name, is Barnibus Roads… but you can call me…Father..”
The ship pulls into Canthan docks, and Argus slips off the ship before Customs arrives to inspect. His mask’s unique ability to change and allow him to alter his form to an extent as he slips through the crowds made this much easier. He moves into the lower districts, closing his eyes, feeling the energies of the city, something that tormented him so long ago now. He follows it to the slums, peering around, before noticing a pair of eyes, trying their best to be hidden. And to most, they were, but to someone trained nearly all his life, and giving off enough energy to practically be a bonfire, he marked them right away.
He turns away, casually keeping his back to them, fiddling with his ring, forming a plan “Alright…lets play..”