The Rod of Seven Parts
Connoisseur of Wine, Women, and Pipeweed - Bard
Linen (so-called because he spends so much time between a mattress and a comforter) is a spy who gathers information for the Priestess, though he is delusional about his importance to her cause. He believes that the Gods of Light saved him from suicide by drowning so that he could become a hero in their service. Though the information he has gathered until now has been of little use, he is now on the trail of rumors about a legendary artifact. In accordance with his belief that he is a high value target for enemies of the Priestess, Linen has adopted a double cover—he poses as a historian posing as a wandering minstrel.
I am the sixth son of noble high elves of Concord. When I was born, my father decided that I was not the product of fate. My mother and the family’s human servant disappeared soon after. My father spoiled me with everything short of love: as soon as I was old enough, I was handed a pipe and a pitcher and sent to libraries and brothels so that both my mind and body would be kept too busy to meddle in family affairs.
I developed a taste for the finest things from a very young age. By twenty-five I was already well-acquainted with every whore and innkeeper in Concord. My father was satisfied by my lecherous state, pleased that I had fulfilled my destiny as the blackest of sheep. As it was, he was happy to oblige when I asked for coin to leave Concord in search of still finer things.
I spent the next ten years as a connoisseur of all things pleasurable. My tongue learned the taste of every wine, my lungs the smoke of every pipeweed, my skin the touch of every kind of man and woman in the Empire. I was aboard a fishing vessel in the Pocket Bay when I learned of a pleasure both exotic and familiar: a high elf whore working at an expensive and exclusive cathouse in Shadow Port. Rather than spend the last of my father’s coin chartering a ship for the long journey back to Concord, I set sail for Shadow Port.
For a man of my inclinations, Shadow Port is heaven and hell on earth. It is an auction house for the depraved, where one can indulge in every fantasy. By the time I reached the brothel, I already reeked of wine and pipeweed. I awoke the following morning as if from a former life. As the haze cleared, my chest swelled with guilt. Regardless of whether or not I had actually done the unthinkable, my willingness—no, my desire—weighed heavily on me. I lost my appetite.
The following night, the first night I had spent sober in some time, I threw myself into the sea. Beneath the waves, I dreamt of my father and brothers going about their lives as if I had never been born. I saw how satisfied they would be to find my waterlogged corpse washed upon the shore. After I sank for an eternity, I felt as though I was being pulled skyward. “At last—the afterlife,” I thought. As I neared the water’s surface, I heard the most beautiful melody. Eager to see the face of the angel who had sung me up from the bottom of the sea, my eyelids parted from their heavy eternal sleep. I must have been a strange sight, a half-elf in soaked and rotting clothes caught in a Santa Cora fisherman’s net.