Pheylan was born the son of a prostitute, in the lice-infested back room of
the Wooden Parrot in the wharf district of Tychuss. His father was likely
some drunken sailor or dock worker, but in that business in that part of town
no one keeps track or even cares.
The earliest years Pheylan can remember, were as a young child forced to
perform various cleaning and manual labor tasks in the Parrot for his scraps
of food and the chance to sleep in the shed. The only individual who ever even
bothered to speak to him, beyond the frequent kicks and orders to do this or
that, was Karr (the night bartender at the Parrot). Karr would occasionally
slip Pheylan a scrap of bread or just give Phelyan a wink and friendly smile
when he saw him. Pheylan knew he was the child of one of the prostitutes, but
he was never acknowledged by any of them, and so never really knew which of
them might be his mother until Mary became sick. Everyone knew when one of
the women got sick, because the word spread quickly through the staff and the
other employees began avoiding them. He knew, just like all of the others at
the Parrot, that she was sick. He also know that she would probably die, just
like most of the other women did. But this was just another meaningless bit
of information, until the day Karr told him to go see Mary on the second floor.
As he climbed the stairs to the second floor, he wondered why Mary would want
to see him. He was not normally allowed on the second floor during business
hours, and so knew something strange was going on. As he entered her room he
knew she would be dead soon, because of the death smell he recognized from when
he had cleaned up after the few other women had died. One of the other women,
a prostitute named Anne, was in the room sitting next to Mary, and motioned
Pheylan over next to her when she noticed him. Mary's eyes were closed and he
assumed her already dead, when all of a sudden her head turned towards him and
she stared straight at him. To this day, he will never forget what she said.
"I'm sorry, my son," she gasped with her last breath.
Anne explained that Mary was indeed his mother and had planned to save up and
leave the Parrot and take Phelyan with her, but she said "Life don't
always go as you plan it". She passed him a small plain leather disk on a
leather cord and hung it around his neck. "I ain't sure what it is,"
said Anne, "but your ma held it dear and woulda wanted you to have it."
After that, Pheylan found himself curiously untroubled by his mother's death
and resented himself for it. He knew he should feel some remorse at the death
of his mother, but he could not bring himself to grieve for the woman he never
knew. Regardless, he placed a great value on the leather necklace and was
never seen without it afterwards.
Life continued fairly much the same for a long time after that, with Pheylan
continuing to perform labor at the Parrot for bits of food and the occasional
chance to sleep inside the shed. Then one day when he was 12, when the scraps
had been particularly light, he was caught attempting to sneak into the kitchen
store room and was tossed out into the street at the whim of the owner (a
particularly gruff man known only as Hobb who seemed to like no one but his
money). Shortly after, Karr came outside and apologized to Phelyan but said
there was nothing he could do. He then gave Pheylan a copper (more money than
Pheylan had ever seen) and a piece of bread and told Pheylan to look for a man
named Jord at the docks who might be able to use Pheylan and provide some food
and shelter in return for work. Pheylan found tears coming to his eyes as he
thanked Karr and quickly turned away before he started crying in response to
the unexpected generosity.
As he began moving through the streets of Tychuss, he became lost and eventually
grew tired and curled up in an alley to sleep. The next thing he knew, he awoke
as someone was going through his pockets. Terrified, he pretended to still be
asleep as the large man with the dagger found and took his copper piece and his
remaining crust of bread. However, when the man reached for the leather cord
around Pheylan's neck, Pheylan could not control himself and threw himself past
the man and began running. Unfortunately, the larger man quickly caught him and
grabbed him. The last thing Pheylan remembers of that night was the man drawing
back his fist as he said, "You just may do, boy".
Then a little later he awoke in a foul-smelling, dank room and his hands were
tied. He heard some talking nearby and decided to pretend to be still unconscious,
but began slowly surveyed his surroundings. Through nearly closed eyes, he noticed
the large man who had robbed and hit him talking to an older man behind a rickety
wooden table with a few copper pieces and his leather necklace on it. The large
man said "You know he's worth more than that, you bastard." After a
second he continued, "He nearly fooled me... pretending to be asleep while
I rifled him, and then when I reached for that worthless necklace, quick as a cat
he shot past me and almost got away from me. He's got quick reflexes and some
smarts too." After a second, the older man began speaking and said "
Yes, I think you're right. Even now the lad is awake and listening to our every
word." The old man quickly dropped another two coppers on the table and
said "Now take that and go. I won't offer any more.". With that the
large man grabbed the copper off of the table and headed out the door, locking
it as he left. The old man looked closely towards where Pheylan was, and with a
large humorless smile said "Well, boy, it seems that I have purchased your
"You may call me Torvald," he continued, "and what is your name
boy?". Pheylan thought about refusing, and then seeing that it could do no
harm told him that his name was Pheylan. Then Torvald asked Pheylan about his
home and family, and Pheylan told everything including his eviction from the
Parrot. "From what my man just said, it seems you value this necklace very
highly. Sentimental value perhaps?" When Pheylan answered that it was,
Torvald told him that he could have it and some bread and water if he could escape
from the ropes tied around his wrists and ankles. After a few seconds of squirming,
Pheylan was able to escape his restraints. Torvald only smiled and congratulated
him, but as promised produced some bread, water, and most importantly gave Pheylan
back his necklace.
What followed was a blur as Pheylan looked back on it. Torvald explained in
depth the meaning of a man and his word and how that was the most powerful thing
in the world. In addition he explained that a man who broke his word was as
good as dead. Then he told Pheylan that an oath was required from him... an
oath of silence. This oath was to never reveal names, places, or any other
information learned from Torvald or any of his "associates". Then
Torvald informed Pheylan that if he did not swear this oath, Torvald would respect
his decision and his honor but would be forced to quickly and painlessly kill him.
Terrified but aware of the meaning of this oath, Pheylan swore the oath to Torvald,
meaning to hold himself to every word. Then his training began...
The next day, Torvald began playing games with Pheylan that he soon learned were
lessons. At times Torvald would instruct him in certain things like picking
pockets, hiding, sneaking, and a strange form of communicating with hand signals
and saying one thing while meaning another. At other times he would be sent with
other men and women to learn other skills like climbing walls, opening locks, and
some instruction on the use of a dagger. Regardless of his training, he was always
returned to the room with Torvald and slept on some straw in that room whenever the
lessons had finished.
Pheylan found himself enjoying the lessons, since they challenged him and most of
his instructors were kind to him and seemed to compliment his progress frequently.
When he wasn't "training", Torvald would talk to him of things, and then
smile and ruffle his hair and comment on his quick progress. Then finally the day
came when Pheylan turned 13 and was told he would have to make a choice.
With unaccustomed seriousness, Torvald explained to him that this was one of the
points in his life where he would have to make a decision that would impact the
rest of his life. Torvald explained to Pheylan that the time had come for the
choice which all men who take the oath of silence must make. He explained to him
that he would either swear an oath to the lia-kavair, or he would have to leave
the sewers and never return. He was also informed that even if he did not take
this oath, he would still be held to the oath of secrecy he had taken earlier and
his life would be forfeit if he broke that oath at any time. Pheylan had become
close to Torvald by this time and agreed to take an oath to the lia-kavair and
continue along the path of the thief.
Torvald took him to room filled with a circle of people in robes with hoods
obscuring their faces, and after escorting him to the center of the circle
turned and took his place among the circle and drew the hood of his robe over
his head and face. Not knowing what to expect next, Pheylan stood quietly within
the circle as instructed by Torvald. He was surprised when a woman's voice came
from one of the robes, and began to speak. "Who sponsors this boy into the
lia-kavair?" she said. Then Pheylan recognized the voice of Torvald as he
said, "I do.". Then the female voice spoke again. "Very well,
know that his life and your life are now joined, and his actions will reflect
upon you." This surprised Pheylan, and suddenly Pheylan knew that if he
betrayed the lia-kavair Torvald's life would be in jeopardy as well as his own.
Then the female voice spoke to him. "Pheylan, have you been informed in
the nature of the oath and the penalty for oath-breakers?" "I have,"
replied Pheylan. "Very well. If you are prepared to take the oath of the
lia-kavair, then begin" she said. Pheylan then recited the oath, word for
word as drilled into him by Torvald, ending it by making a small cut along his
palm with a dagger and squeezing a few drops of blood onto the blood stained spot
in the middle of the floor. "The oath is complete," said the woman.
"Welcome to the lia-kavair of Tychuss."
Then Pheylan began working and was allowed outside the sewers for the first
time since his capture. It started with small jobs working crowds in the
marketplace, initially acting as lookout for other cutpurses and then he began
cutting purses and stealing small items himself. Pheylan didn't mind stealing
from the wealthy and middle class people, because as Torvald explained it they
had more money then they knew what to do with. In addition, most of the money
they stole went directly back to the poor people as the thieves purchased food
and supplies in the districts where the rich and middle class would never go.
In this way, it seemed that what they did was essential to the survival of the
poor communities as well as their own. They never willingly hurt anyone,
preferring stealth and secrecy to direct conflict and hurt or killed only when
essential to their survival. Pheylan knew exactly what would happen to a thief
if he or she were caught, and knew that the prisons could kill as easily as the
noose and therefore it was a matter of fighting for survival.
Torvald admitted that some members of the lia-kavair did prey upon the poor,
but those actions were frowned upon and not condoned in any way. As Pheylan
spent more time working for Torvald, he came to realize that Torvald was a
man of some power within the lia-kavair. Soon Pheylan was also working with
other thieves in occasional small break-ins and robberies around Tychuss.
Then came the day of the change, when Pheylan was 14. It was to be a routine
job, climb to the second story, break into the house and steal anything small
and of value. Pheylan was to be the second man into the house and provide ears
and eyes inside the house for Rios (one of the best burglars in the business).
However shortly after entering the house, an alarm was raised from outside and
Pheylan glanced out the window from behind the curtain to see what the alarm
was. That's when he noticed a neighbor speaking to two members of the watch
and pointing to the window they had entered. He knew they were in trouble and
alerted Rios to the danger.
Rios suggested moving to the rooftops to gain some quick mobility, and led
the way to the roof. Then he took a running leap and jumped to the rooftop
of the next building. However, just as he was starting his jump, Rios hit a
loose roof tile and lost his balance, falling two stories to the alley below.
Pheylan looked down in fear at his friend, now unmoving and surrounded by city
guardsmen. At that moment, one of the guardsmen looked up and yelled "Hey,
there's another one". Panicked and fearing for his friend, Pheylan threw
the small bag of valuables they had stolen to the next rooftop and barely made
the jump to the other roof as well. By this time an alarm had arisen from the
guardsmen below. Pheylan became more panicked and began quickly crossing from
rooftop to rooftop, eventually gaining some distance from the pursuing guards.
Once he felt he had gained enough distance, he quickly climbed down to the
streets. As luck would have it, it was the Feast of Genin so losing the
remaining pursuit in the crowd was not too difficult. After ensuring that he
was no longer being chased or followed, he made his way back to Torvald's
When Pheylan arrived at Torvald's he immediately explained what had happened.
Torvald told Pheylan that he needed to escape the city until the search for him
was called off, and based upon the valuables they had stolen and whom they had
stolen them from it might be a while. Torvald also assured him that Rios
would keep his oath if he was still alive, and then he referred Pheylan to a
friend he trusted in Beloy and told Pheylan he would send word for him there
when it was safe for him to return. Then Torvald took the stolen items pulled
a chest from a concealed compartment in the back of the room. From it he
pulled the robes and holy symbol of a priest of Larani, and quickly informed
Pheylan that this disguise should help him escape the city. Finally, Torvald
pressed a few coins into Pheylan's hand and with a quick hug he told Pheylan it
was time to go and wished him luck.
After quickly changing into the disguise, Pheylan went back into the crowds
looking for an inconspicuous way out of Tychuss. By luck, Pheylan happened to
walk by a large tent fully loaded with food and drink. Since he was quite
hungry and thirsty, he casually walked in with a few others began to eat
and drink his fill, planning to also stash some food for the road. While he
was eating and drinking, a lord began to speak to the assembly and Pheylan
heard the lord mention a trip out of the city. Seeing this as his way out,
Pheylan quickly signed up, planning to use the trip to escape the city and
then ditch the group at the first opportunity and head to see Torvald's friend
in Beloy. Little did he know the food and drink was drugged, and he would next
wake having been dumped into the middle of the wild with a small group of