|A young Rose Thorne by William Kenney|
She had been faced with a constant stream of cruelty from potential guardians. Her maidenhead had been taken from her at a young age, before her thirteenth name-day if she recalled correctly, and as well she had been physically and verbally assaulted and otherwise abused. Many a step-parent, step-sibling or other keeper had mistreated her, or worse, when she’d been in their care, including the proprietor of the orphanage to whom she owed a special kind of payback!
Augustus by name, he was a well-connected man. He had frequently sent her off to someone who was unfit to mother or father her properly. More than a few times, when accosted by people who should have been protecting her, Rose had had to take matters into her own hands, especially when help from the Watch or city officials did not arrive in a timely manner. Afterwards, they always simply sent her back to the orphanage, too young to face any real charges, and never did they find any evidence of the ill-treatment she claimed—and this despite her obvious bruises. She had hated her time there and was preparing to run away from the orphanage once more when the half-elven and beautiful Marielle had stepped in, eliciting the young woman from Augustus, citing her looks and offering a favorable return on investment if Rose remained unscathed.
Marielle had taken her away from Augustus that summer and Rose began her life at the bordello. It was much improved when compared to the orphanage and her figure began to fill out into shapely proportions. Marielle, her Madam, assigned her a position after her fourteenth name-day as an errand girl at first. She would allot chores to Rose, having her handle everyday jobs, mostly involving washing and cleaning for the first half year of her stay as she acclimatized to their ways and procedures. Rose was both athletically built and pleasing to the eye for men who enjoyed the company of a female counterpart. This was a blessing in disguise to Marielle, as Rose was becoming extremely beautiful—more so than many of the other girls—and lending herself well to her approaching profession. Of course, those others couldn’t help but notice and often shunned her or otherwise mistreated her verbally.
Rose had an uncanny sleight of hand, as well as a silver tongue, both of which were a benediction and a curse. She could talk her way into and then out of trouble, though wise cracks were bountiful and often spoken at inopportune times. She was frequently scolded by her Madam for this particular habit, though Marielle had already guessed that the lectures would not arrest Rose’s loose lips.
Rose was also discovering a certain penchant and aptitude for thievery. The thrill of pilfering goods or coin made her heart race, and she could not stop herself. Theft was fast becoming her drug of choice. She showed a dual acuity of both mind and body that allowed her to accomplish the deeds without being detected a single time—at least by the Watch. She was particularly well accomplished at the art now, and that had attracted some unwanted attention from a certain group of organized crime persons in Oakhaven.
She’d been warned more than once about purloining goods—including the food she stole—and that if she continued, there would be consequences. But being the brash young soul Rose was, she did not take it seriously, nor did she believe that they would catch her. So, she continued to steal, food mostly, whenever she desired. She did not have much in the way of coin and certainly could not afford the prices of the merchants here in Oakhaven, who sold their goods at inflated cost. But that wasn’t the issue. Rose filched because she could and because she was good at it. And it didn’t hurt to have a full belly when going to the brothel in the morning, as Marielle soon had her toiling, putting her to task to complete many chores.
See you in Wothlondia! Cheers!
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Cover art on Distant Familiarity provided by William Kenney!
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