Thomas Burkshire

Thomas was a bastard born to a human mother. His childhood involved caring for her almost as much as raising himself. She was ill with madness, and would rave about the devils around town watching her. She rarely left the house, and when she did the townsfolk would shutter their windows and mutter prayers to the gods. Eventually, the townsfolk became riled by a passing missionary from The Holy Empire that declared Thomas’ mother a witch. The townsfolk easily overpowered Thomas, and took his mother from him. He didn’t witness what happened next, as he was ushered away by the priest.

Thomas was sent to an orphanage of The Holy Empire, from which he promptly escaped. It took him only a week to realize that this was more of a labor camp than an orphanage, and there was no way he would ever be “adopted”. The folks that came around were picking children by the half-dozen, checking their teeth and squeezing their muscles. This was no orphanage, and Thomas was by no means muscular. He plotted and waited, then took the first opportunity to slip away.

Making his escape was simple, but he couldn’t shake the need for closure. He spent a few days in the alleyways and darker areas of town. Whatever he couldn’t beg off, he would steal. Traveling the streets quietly one night, he found his mother’s body hanging outside of town, a grim ward etched and nailed to her corpse as a warning against any who dared practice witchcraft. He knew his mother was mad, but he was only a teenager. Not knowing how to handle his grief, he returned to the orphanage that evening, unlocked all the doors and set fire to the building. So far as he was concerned, no one was harmed. Everyone was able to escape. Thomas watched from the distance, safe in the dark, as several small shadowy figures escaped the orphanage and ran to the treeline. Hearing footesteps behind him, he approached by a tall figure that smelled strongly of brimstone… on his shoulder sat a strange looking creature with wings. Even through the dim light of his darkvision, Thomas could not see the details of the cloaked figure. He reached a gloved hand out to Thomas, and the world went dark.

Thomas awoke in a barn, sleeping atop hay, the last thing he remembered was the figure whispering “Obsidian Bay…”. Coming to his senses and bringing about his memory, he realized that he had done a terrible thing the night before. He immediately gathered his surroundings, and headed off towards the center of town to admit his crimes. Being young and foolish, he knew he had to be truthful in order to clear his conscience. As he left the building, he came into the hustle and bustle of the town square. Dozens of people were gathered around an upraised stage, where a man in stockades was held fast with a sign around his neck. The sign had written in common “ARSONIST”. Seeing the man in the stockade, Thomas looked at him, confused. The madman met Thomas’ gaze and as they saw each other, the man’s face became very happy. He began to bleat out a hellish cackle and fight against his restraints, foaming at the mouth. The man was clearly mad…

As Thomas went to turn himself in, he saw posted on the board outside of the public office the notice for public trials and executions that day. The first and only name on that list was Reginald Cornfield, on trial for the burning of The Holy Empire’s sacred temple orphanage, as well as the kidnapping of well over 16 missing children. Thomas stared at the sign, befuddled. What the hell was happening here?

Attending the trial, Thomas watched as the madmen drooled and panted at the tribunal held to accuse him of his misdeeds. Everything they accused him of, he accepted eagerly. As if a dog begging for a treat, he pleaded for more and more than they listed off crime after crime, ending with a sentence of pity. Life imprisonment in the gallows, and no chance of ever seeing the light of day in society again.

Thomas was bent over this idea that he was not in trouble here. He was given a second chance and justice was served. A madman was off the streets, a slave based orphanage that preyed on the weak of mind and stole their children was destroyed. The children of which, managed to disappear off into their own adventures. Everything seemed to be alright in Thomas’ mind. Everything except his poor mother.

Thomas’ life became that of a life of crime in late teens. He was not very strong, but he had an influence about himself. He would use his guile and his speed to out maneuver the other street kids in a fight. Thomas gained a reputation for his foresight. One-on-one, Thomas knew where to place a hard part of his body into something soft on his opponent’s. It was a gift really, but to his enemies he became known as a “bastard” to fight. The name stuck, Thomas the Bastard.

Thomas got in with a gang in his early 20s, breaking and entering was their game. Thomas was good for second story work and lock picking. He always had the best of luck with his crews. Even if they all got pinched, Thomas would manage to get away. The sewers became a system of travel for him, and he spent a great deal of time in them. Down there, he made friends with many vagabonds and homeless living off of the waste of others. They regarded him as an equal, and he always spent time talking to them and learning about life on the street.

After several years of being a professional, homeless criminal, Thomas took a big job on. A pack of boys were hitting a noble estate while the family was out promoting some charity. The group was to sneak in, rob the place blind, and get out as soon as they could. Easy money, they said. They were very wrong.

The heist was a setup. Several of the group members died right away. Pressing forward and gaining entry to the estate, half the gang was crying out wounded in the field, incapacitated. Pressing forward, the gang fought well and hard within the estate. Eventually, they fell… The guards brought the ones who surrendered forward, Thomas amongst them. Brought forward into a chamber where a very wealthy looking elf sat in a large chair, they were only 3. The first two spat insults and curses at the Elf. Their words were short lived as the guards relieved them of their heads.

Thomas remained silent, and did not react to the deaths of his allies. The elf told Thomas that he was to speak word of this to the other thieves and brigands in town. To tell them that what happened here can happen to any of them, and that he was spared to warn the others of this place. Never should they come here again. Waving his hand in dismissal and turning away his gaze, the elf dismissed Thomas as his bodyguard smashed the hilt of his sword into the base of Thomas’ skull.

Thomas awoke in the gutter, bleeding from a head wound and swearing off crime entirely. He maintained his connections throughout the rest of his young-adult life, earning the respect of homeless and the wealthy alike. From the streets and of the streets, Thomas is a tough rat to hide from. Swearing never to burgle again, he set out on a new path.

Thomas packed up his meager belongings and hit the road, hitch-hiking his was to the place where he could start a new life, Obsidian Bay. The name still stung like a splinter in his brain all these years, to the point where he could no longer resist the urge to remove it.