i_love_freddie: (Freddie)
[personal profile] i_love_freddie
To survive is just a basic human instinct. Nothing is too bad, too degrading or too difficult when there is no other option but death.

That was a lesson that Kane Theaza knew very well. It was something that he had learned from experience, and he had the scars to prove it.

He had grown up poverty-stricken in the slums of the city. His father was a drunk, who frequently inflicted violence upon his wife and children. His older brother was a bullying thug, and their mother was a prostitute who cared only for herself. Deep physical and emotional scars had been left by the abuse he suffered at their hands, but he had survived to take his revenge on those who had hurt him.

He coped by looking after his baby sister, protecting her from beatings, stealing food so she could eat. When she died of pneumonia at just six years old, it had almost destroyed him. But he had survived that too, because he knew that she would have wanted him to live. By sheer determination he had pushed his pain to the side and forced himself to somehow continue on without her.

With no reason to stay and endure the abuse, Kane ran from home. For a year he lived on the streets where only the strongest and smartest survived. He saw people dying from starvation, witnessed boys and girls no older than him doing anything necessary to stay alive. This hardened his heart and he felt no sympathy for the victims. After all, the most important thing was to survive.

He searched through rubbish for the smallest pieces of food. When there was nothing else, he trapped and ate rats. He drank rainwater. All the time, he didn’t even think about what he was doing. It just had to be done. Night after night of sleeping in the rain and the wind made him sick again, but he tried his best to fight it off, determined that he wouldn’t die on the streets like so many other children.

At the age of thirteen he was taken in by a thieving guild and actually had some measure of stability for the first time in his life. It did not come easily to him; he was mistrustful and hostile and struggled to relate to others. But Benny Theaza, a high-ranking assassin, took an interest in the near feral youth and took it upon himself to befriend Kane. With the aid of his mentor, Kane learned to use a range of weapons, to hide in the shadows, to pick locks and disarm traps. He got regular work, enough food and somewhere to live. The guild took care of their own. The key was to stay loyal, work hard and stay quiet.

Kane quickly came to see that the thieving world that he was part of was often harsh and cruel and dangerous, controlled by ruthless people who had little patience for those who could not stand the pace. Those who took chances usually ended up regretting it. But then it was a world that he was already used to. If his whole childhood had taught him only one thing, it was that one could only depend truly on himself if he wished to survive. Never did he want to be dependent on others, never would he allow himself to be in such a position.

A quick learner, he absorbed new skills quickly and was eager to know everything that he could. When finally his lust for adventure drove him to travel, he walked dangerous roads, explored long abandoned ruins, took up many deadly quests and challenges, fought monsters that made most men tremble with fear. All the time, he relied purely on his own skill to fight with the dual long swords, and whatever knowledge he picked up along the way.

He learned that fire was the easiest way to destroy the undead, that goblins and other humanoids were stupid and easily distracted, that it was best to destroy large groups of enemies from a distance where possible, how taking time to prepare could make all the difference between winning and losing.

He trusted his abilities to fight. But skill alone could never be enough. Knowledge was ultimately the key to surviving.

Taking the role of a mercenary-for-hire and making a living from adventuring was a dangerous profession to say the least. Many experienced youngsters went into it blindly - seeing it as a quick and easy way to fame and fortune, but for many it resulted only in their deaths. Many of the people who knew Kane said that the reckless, stubborn, quick-tempered young man would not last even a month on the road.

But he proved them all wrong.

His quick temper often caused more problems than it solved. His recklessness often got him into trouble. Many a time he rushed into battle without being properly prepared. Once he and his companions accidentally stumbled across a sleeping dragon, and the warrior – never one to back away from a battle - urged them to attack. They won, but it cost them dearly. Kane sustained a very bad wound to the arm in the battle and nearly lost it when infection set in. Another scar to add to his growing collection.

Above all else he enjoyed taking risks. Thrived on danger. He did not want to live a boring life. His view was simple: Everything died sooner or later, that was just how things were. The people who didn’t fall in battle were eventually taken down by age or illness or disease. No one mortal, however strong or clever; could possibly escape death forever. So was it not better, he always reasoned, to stand tall and look death in the face and accept that what is meant to be will be, rather than to spend one’s whole life trying to avoid the inevitable and not really live?

He had been beaten to within an inch of his life. He had watched the death of loved ones and been unable to help. He had experienced unbelievable hunger and thirst, had been forced to fight others for scraps of food. He had been made to witness rape and torture.

So what was there to fear from death?

As long as he lived, Kane's one goal was to make a name for himself. He used the gold collected from adventuring to build and fund a city orphanage, to try and prevent other children from suffering as he had. He did good deeds, he did bad deeds. Very few people ever managed to understand him - but his name was eventually known to most within the city. And he was confident that he would survive anything that the world had to throw at him. Because he had already seen the worse.

He was a fighter. He was a survivor.
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