Mercenaries of Svith
An orphan from the streets of Dienthene, Llane’s parents both presumably died when he was very young. He only has the vaguest recollection of them and next to no hard informatinon. He suspects, without knowing quite why, that his mother died in childbirth or shortly thereafter. Although deaths are very much a mystery to him, it’s never been one he felt the need to solve — the harsh desert climate, scarcity of food and supplies, crime and abject poverty of Dienthene always seemed a sufficient explanation.
Dienthene is filthy, and, largely, so are the motives harbored by many of its residents. there’s little law to begin with and nobody to enforce it, anyhow. Men — and often enough women — of this place are always looking for a buck and a ticket out of town. Rapeller crews provide that opportunity, but it’s dangerous work. In the ruins, there are traps and pitfalls, chasms that need crossing so that rope bridges may be constructed. For dealing with those dangers, the rapeller mercs, of which Dienthene harbors so many, round up orphans to accompany them on their trips below the clouds. The kids get all the sorts of jobs you’d expect — sniffing out traps, creating diversions, crossing dangerous chasms and scaling walls.
It’s the kind of work that significantly shortens life expectancy. Many of the kids don’t make it past 12 or 13 years. The ones that do, however, are ready-made badasses by the time they hit 16 or 17 — the age that most refuse to continue working for food and meager shelter and begin expecting money as well. Given their skillsets, their demands carry weight. Many of them get the money they’re after by becoming full-fledged rapellers. Not many make it that far, though — maybe something like one in 50.
Llane’s story reads a bit differently than that of most who live through the ordeal. At the age of 17, he’s already been an honest-to-God member of a rapeller crew for several years. At 14, after serving several years as a conscript under the command of a bastard rapeller pirate captain — Blackledge — he rebelled and traveled on his own to Svith.
After a short stint as an artisan’s apprentice and some months as a mercenary, Llane caught on with a new crew, one of which he is a founding member. He and his companions, having completed several successful missions, feel their first big score is just over the next rise.