J is for: Jhomal ab-Braetha, Agent of the Willow Court

“My name is Jhomal. For several years now, my life has not been my own.

I was once a petty thief, but I had dreams. I travelled, trying to keep ahead of any bad reputations. I changed my name more than once, for what little good it did me in the end.

When they caught me, I did not know my fate. I was in a foreign land with no one to vouch for me, save the ones that introduced me to my latest mark. As I waited for justice, I realised they were local thieves who had wanted rid of me, not benefactors for a job. No matter any more.

I waited, and waited. When I felt about to die of thirst, a waterskin was thrown into my cell. When I felt about to die of hunger, I awoke to a dish of gruel by the door. I had to fight the vermin for it.
This went on for a long time, long enough I forgot the passing of days.
I was on the edge of delirium when they came to hand me my justice. But it wasn’t what I had expected.

My mark was a wealthy merchant in the Willow Court, one of the many houses that the Wildfolk divide themselves into. He had seen potential in me, if only because I had almost gotten away with several of his possessions before his own personal army had found me.
He offered me a new job, a new life. Or slow and painful death. I had little choice.

I would be his agent in Queenstown. I understood quickly that many of the Courts had their own agents there, but that most were Wildfolk and thus lacking certain benefits that a canny master might employ.

I was tutored in new skills, which I was to learn quickly or suffer swift punishment. I learned that the gruel they gave me had been laced with an insidious substance, one that they would supply. If I ever ran out of the so called “honey nectar”, I would perish. Painfully. To prove the point, it was once withheld for a day. I would not wish the agony upon my worst enemies.

Or maybe on a select handful.

I was home in Queenstown, but with a different name, different priorities. I had to follow the will of the Willow in all things.
I had new training to fall back on in conversation, bargaining, etiquette, but also the sword, poisons, simple magical rituals and a deeper understanding of the silent craft of the thief, and of the assassin.

I’m not proud of the new life I was forced to lead, or of the things I was made to do.

I worry though. The pain from the honey nectar has not begun, and I haven’t had a sip today.”

Found among the effects of a prisoner due to be thrown into the Whorl, believed to be written whilst he was captive. No escape attempt recorded, no prisoner was executed. Unknown how this script arrived in his effects after it was written.

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