The Path of Legends
An orphan pickpocket, hoarder with a penchant for mischief and 'useful' things.
Born on the outskirts of a densely populated city, a young female tiefling was judged and discarded. Her parents, a pair of miscreant half-demons, didn’t wish for the responsibilities that came with caring for a child. They lived as nomads and were passing through the city when Zha’nia, the Female Devil-Spawn Tiefling, gave birth to Eva. Conflicted with the responsibilities that came with raising an infant, the parents discarded their spawn to the streets, hoping she would die quickly and save them years of obligation.
Eva found herself cold and alone on the densely populated city streets. Without the development of her horns and the small nub that would eventually become her tail, she looked like any other infant. The men and women of the packed city streets passed her by without a care and she was left to her relative misery. For most of the late afternoon, the dirty stone streets were rife with the sound of her terrified sobbing. She came close to suffocating twice, but no one stopped for her. Everyone moved about their lives as if she didn’t exist. The guards would occasionally look in her direction, but it was none of their affair so they sat at their post and clocked out when requested.
When afternoon faded into night, her cries faded into choked sniffles. Not as many people filled the streets and the feeling of solitude and the chill all around her intensified. She was eventually found – by accident – when beggars started to sweep the streets, catching people as they left their jobs for a quick hand out. One beggar named, ‘Flinchy’ Felix was looking to poach on a drunk squire that was leaving the local tavern when he tripped on the raggedy thatch basket that Eva was left in. The initial irritation at the loss of his take, was replaced by horror when he realized what he had tripped over. Her condition, her misery, and her situation drew upon the sympathy deep within Felix’s heart – recalling years of familial nostalgia – and he took her under his wing, so to speak.
‘Flinchy’ Felix, as he was known to the common people, was a former guardsman. He had a wife and two small children – a girl and a boy – once upon a time. Their life was simple and joyous for a time, but Felix had a horrible addiction. He would gamble night after night with shady people and no matter how good he thought he was, he would ‘Flinch’ whenever he had a bad run. It was a huge tell that everyone took advantage of and before Felix knew it, he was up to his ears in gambling debts. This led to desperate measures, which led to taking bribes to help keep him above water. The bribes eventually grew so much in size and quantity that they were impossible to ignore. Thus, the City Guard kicked him out. For his crimes, he was dishonorably discharged from the City Guard and fined heavily. They sent him home in rags and left a great deal of shame to stain an otherwise stellar reputation. Later that week, a criminal that Felix could have stopped had he not taken a bribe before, was spotted leaving his house with a sack full of his family’s possessions. Felix worked his way into the creaky front door of his charming cottage, only to find his family murdered in a struggle of sorts, and all of his possessions gone. Now Felix was getting up in years and wasn’t as crafty as he used to be, but the shine in Eva’s little eyes filled a gaping hole that was left to fester in his heart.
The poor of the city were numerous. They wallowed in the streets of the ‘lesser’ districts due to the hyperbolic distribution of wealth, but the majority of them were not interested in caring for a baby or stepping out of their way to care for another. Being charitable or kind to anyone, was just another vulnerability or weakness; it was a disadvantage that no poor man, woman or child could afford. The lifespan of the poverty stricken people usually lasted as long as they could provide for themselves and those who could not provide for themselves often died where they slept and were removed by necessity whenever higher income individuals felt like disposing of them. That was why most of the shadows chose to continue lurking out of sight and out of mind when Felix was so keen to take care of the little tiefling.
Felix, defying the normal standards for a beggar, did what he could to help her. He gave Eva what scraps he could afford to give her and helped her find clothes when she needed them. He helped her learn to fend for herself and steal when she needed to steal. He even gave her his old guard whistle to signal him if she was ever in trouble. He did his best to help Eva, but he was not without his own realistic abrasiveness. From an early age, the young tiefling was expected to help find her own food and when she couldn’t find anything for herself, she would go hungry. She was taught to be quiet when guards were near, to steal from those that didn’t need the excess and to use her abnormal sight to find things that Felix had trouble finding in the dark. She was taught time and time again to take things if she needed them and to use her instincts to guide her when common sense just would not do it. The most important lesson she ever learned was something that several of the urchins liked to say as they ran away from her. It was an odd saying, but something that made sense to her after a while; “you don’t have to outrun the guards; you just have to outrun your friends.”
Other than that though, her life proceeded normally for a street urchin. She was only caught in the act once or twice and she was only caught by the City Guards once out of those two times. However, that incident in particular, earned her a reputation and a fist sized brand on her back just underneath the top of her right shoulder blade. She was always considered below everyone else due to her race. The variety of responses that her race inspired in other people spanned from: “oh my, what is that fiendish thing?!” to things like, “get your demon filth off our streets.” There were other less, ‘inspired’ nicknames, but she had trouble remembering them and even if she did, they weren’t very pleasant. After she was caught by the City Guard though, she had to try three times as hard not to get caught. She would be questioned everywhere she went and accused of crimes even if she was noticed just walking down the street in the daylight. Even on days that she walked the streets to enjoy the sun were frowned upon and scorned. Of course, she would steal from her accusers anyway to show they weren’t lying, but she would beat around the bush and just try to elude answers that she couldn’t convincingly fib her way out of. Then, if the guards ever caught on, she would push past them and jump to the rooftops.
During her early years and after Felix passed away, she often asked who her parents were and wondered why people called her a demon, and what a demon was. She eventually learned though, that it didn’t really matter. What was, was. And in the end, knowing what or who she was didn’t really effect who she was at the time. The only ‘downside’ to her heritage was that she didn’t age as quickly. Felix died at around the age of sixty due to a menagerie of health issues and her ‘friends’ didn’t make it past a certain age either. She seemed to be fine surviving on less than they did, but that didn’t stop her from feeling bad when she lost someone. Who else would take the blame for her capers if there wasn’t anyone else around?
The most notable of these deceased comrades, aside from Felix, were two kids that she met when she was around 30. She was still learning how to survive and was building up valuable tools of the trade when she ran across these two doddering boys. One was a bit large to be as young as he was; his name was Evers and he was a young half-orc. The other one, who stood by him like a whimpering dog, was a human named Evan. He had little to nothing to say most of the time and relied on Evers to find food for the both of them. The young female tiefling didn’t really understand the relationship, because she was taught that self-sufficiency was the key to a long life, but their abnormality fed her curious impulses. She was out on a patrol of the easier parts of town when she met them, waddling out of a nearby inn with pockets full of bread and meat.
Their skill was mediocre and she could smell the food from the other side of the street which meant, it was only a matter of time before they were caught. The tiefling sighed a little to herself and scurried up a nearby wall. Then, once she found a suitable perch, she grabbed a small pebble off of the balcony floor and threw it in their direction. The half-orc seemed to ignore it, but the waif looked up at her and tugged a little at the half-orc’s tunic. The tiefling was waving frantically toward the alley and just before she could successfully get the point across to them, the Guards caught on and gave chase.
The orc and the waif took off quickly and proved to be pretty fast, but it was clear that they were in a losing battle. The fiend-born stared at the layout from above and although she held little stock in the two criminals running for their lives, they had food. They had food and if she helped them, maybe she would get some. Thus she decided to delay a few of the guards by tripping them up and giving Evan and Evers a decent amount of time to run away. It was difficult and she was almost caught a few times, but eventually they were safe in an abandoned building on the poorest side of town.
She didn’t ask, but it was clear by her expectant glance, that she wanted payment for her assistance. Evan and Evers stared at her for a few minutes and exchanged glances. Evers wasn’t particularly keen on the idea, but Evan looked up at him with big glinting blue eyes. Grunting his disappointment, Evers finally handed over a large chicken leg and a few loaves of bread. They were dirty, but the little tiefling hadn’t eaten in half a day so it didn’t matter. She learned to take what she could get.
The three of them sat for hours in the abandoned building doing nothing but eating and talking in hushed tones. Normally she didn’t like staying in one place for very long, but having people to talk to often helped her to keep time on days that seemed to last longer than normal. She didn’t know much about these two, but there was a mutual respect among pickpockets and thieves in town. Plus, she wanted to know why they traveled together; why a half-orc would look after a human. After a decent back and forth, they asked her for her name and she hesitated, not knowing what to say. Even Felix hadn’t thought of a suitable name for her. He would often resort to saying ‘Girl, Little One, or Gem,’ because they were easier. That, and attaching a name to someone gave them another form of vulnerability. A name implies reputation, it implies certain expectations and in some cases it can even be harmful to someone’s health if the wrong people knew it. There was comfort in a name though, a comfort that the tiefling had not truly experienced.
A few moments of awkward silence passed between them until Evan chimed in. “Eva!” he said as if it were an epiphany. He threw his arms up in mock celebration with a look of excitement that the tiefling though impossible for the little boy. Evers looked at him with a grimace, but Evan smiled. The tiefling smiled back and thought about the name, tossing it back and forth in her mind. It was short, sweet, and suited her quite nicely. She nodded with approval and laughed at Evers’ disdainful grunt.
Over the next few years, the three of them had a wonderful time with one another. Eva began to learn that having a group of people to back you up wasn’t so bad. They would distract the guards and she would sneak in and grab valuables before they even knew that she was there. It was an amazing time of fun, laughter and excitement, but it didn’t last forever. When Evers reached his thirtieth year, he passed away from a bolt shot straight into his chest from a Guard’s Crossbow. His ward, Evan, was arrested and taken into custody leaving Eva alone once more to roam the city streets.
It was painful sometimes to say goodbye, but after a while she just stopped caring. Her everyday started to shift more towards herself and in time she became something of a recluse. She still wandered the streets and stole things, but she relied on the cover of night and the height of rooftops to mask her approach. She started gathering random nick-knacks to build a collection, because ‘things’ started to matter more to her than people. It wasn’t that people didn’t matter, but that ‘things’ lasted a lot longer than people did. She started to see people as more of a means to an end and less as friends. There were some that she regarded above others, but they were few and far between.
This began the somewhat daily life for the tiefling thief named Eva. That was, until she hit the age of 51; not that she actually knew what age she was. She was traveling through one of the richer districts of town when she noticed an odd sort of human like creature putting on a show with a horse and wagon. At first she didn’t seem like much, but Eva’s curiosity burned like the fire in this ‘human’s’ hair. That, and the horrible way the woman was treated by the crowd reminded Eva of the way that people usually treated her.
Eva stayed and watched for a little while and came to like the strange creature and her show. It was at that time that she started to realize how uninteresting town life had become. She was stealing stuff that she’d seen frequently and none of it was unique and exciting. Here was someone and something that she had never seen before. The romance of a life beyond the city walls and loot that defied anything she could perceive was enough for Eva to join the crowd and petition the strange flame haired woman to join her traveling show.