Halfling brawler with a con artist background
The grossly obese man waddled his way through the market with his family in tow, sweating profusely even in the early morning chill. There was nothing ostentatious about Jeremon at all, but he was obviously wealthy all the same. One had only to look at his wife, a lovely young slip of a girl half his age and no doubt a quarter his weight. People whispered at their wedding that she would not last long underneath that massive bulk, but 10 years and several children later there were whispers of a different sort.
After sampling some of the diverse foodstuffs available, Jeremon paused in front of an elaborate stall selling perfumed candles and sweetmeats. His brief talk with the androgynous vendor ended in a handshake accompanied by the glint of metal. Gold. The grey eyes watching from afar narrowed then hardened as Jeremon bade farewell to his family. It was time. He nudged his companion then hesitated briefly as he saw one of the kids was still following his father. Acceptable collateral damage he decided and casually began to follow his large and unmistakable target.
Several minutes later the street was clear enough for him to make his move. He silently rushed forward drawing a wickedly curved dagger from his sleeve and striking with it in the same motion. Pain. Excruciating pain. He had been stopped in his tracks with his arm caught in a vice like grip and his balls in a vice. Looking down he saw the kid! Only it wasn’t a kid’s face grinning up at him. His last thought was Holy Ilmater the bloody halfling has spikes all over his gloves, before realizing the implications for his manhood and sagging down far enough for the halfling to connect with a brutal headbutt.
His companion was moving as soon as he saw there was trouble, but his vision of the fight was blocked by his partner’s frame. He arrived just in time to see the headbutt and felt his stomach turn to lead as he recognized the halfling. “Shortsha…” he involuntarily let out in surprise before trailing away in a groan as his family jewels suffered a similar fate and he was dragged to his knees with the insistent pressure. The halfling caught sight of his face and registered what was said at the same time, and the gleeful expression quickly turned to one of confusion.
“Cotter! What in Avandra’s name are you doing here?” he blurted out.
“I was just uh taking on another quick job for the extra coin. You know how I …” Cotter replied but was angrily interrupted.
“Since when do we work for scum such as this?” the halfling demanded as he gave a desultory kick to an already gravely damaged sensitive area. The fallen assassin did not even stir though.
Cotter began to feel faint. “Can you at least let me go first?” he pleaded.
Jeremon who had been studying the assassin suddenly spoke up. “You were right Eddwood, they couldn’t resist the bait. I think I might double your normal fee for this, you’re obviously well worth it”. He pointed at Cotter “But I’m confused, do you know this man?”
“Never seen him before … uh never seen him here in town before I mean. We met on the road didn’t we Cotter?” Eddwood innocently replied as he let go of Cotter.
“The road. Yes that’s right. On the road it was sir” Cotter confirmed as he gingerly stood up and surreptitiously checked he was still whole.
“I can vouch for him. Taking money to be a lookout for a job he knew nothing about was daft though even for him” clarified Eddwood.
“Hmm. And what did he call you? Short something or other?” Jeremon pondered aloud.
A deathly quiet fell on the scene. Eddwood glared up at Cotter until he got the hint and bravely mustered “I called him Shortshit sir. Just a small insult between friends right … uh Shortshit”.
“Hah you must be a good friend to get away with that knowing his temper” replied Jeremon as Eddwood’s glare intensified. “Anyway I would have sworn it sounded more like …” His eyes met those of Eddwood who had glanced his way and widened. “Shortshanks” he finished. “You! You’re the infamous Shortshanks! I can’t believe I was stupid enough to … how much have you stolen from me already?”
Eddwood half heartedly replied “Don’t be ridiculous. Do I look like a thief to you?” He sighed. “Don’t answer that”. Frantically he began to think.
The whistle of the town watch pierced the resulting silence, and the heavy tread of their boots could be heard coming closer. Eddwood knew his best option was to stop Jeremon talking, but he didn’t have the heart for it and besides there were probably people watching he reasoned. He looked up at Jeremon whose face he noticed had gone very pale as he too had come to a similar conclusion.
Sighing again he held out his hand. “Give me all the money you have on you. All of it” he demanded. Seeing the outrage warring with relief on Jeremon’s face he stubbornly insisted “I’m not stealing it. I don’t steal from those who accept my normal services. Well not normally anyway. Consider it a final payment for all services rendered and you did say I would be paid double”.
Jeremon reluctantly handed over his large coin pouch, and after a stare from Eddwood the smaller gem pouch too. “You do know that I’m going to tell the guards everything” he mumbled under his breath, but Eddwood Shortshanks had already gone.
1 month, 3 horses and 5 towns later Eddwood’s money had run out but he was fairly certain he was no longer being chased. He reflected on the demise of his most successful venture to date. He had genuinely planned on going straight and for a while had done reasonably good business as a security consultant. Rich people worried about their money would ask him to investigate their current security measures, point out the weaknesses and for further fees implement the improvements required. After a while he diversified into physical security and discreet bodyguard services. But a bigger rival in all senses of the word had muscled in on his business, and after several major clients had defected and other potential clients had paid for his consultation then promptly turned to his rival to implement Eddwood’s recommendations, he decided to get even.
So he paid return visits to some clients this time under the cover of darkness. Using the information he had gathered from his consultations he was easily able to bypass much of their security and steal more money than he ever made legitimately. Who says that crime doesn’t pay. His business prospered once more though of the people he employed, only two others including Cotter knew about the “nighttime services”. Then to have it all come crashing down due to rotten luck was galling to say the least.
Perhaps it was time he laid low for a while. Hah what was he thinking? Perhaps it was time to start something completely different…