1. Birth of a Thief
Not all criminals are orphans or come from a broken home. Devin was never abused, his parents were never drunk, and they didn’t use drugs either. They fed him, they treated him well, and they sent him to school so that he would learn something and be able to stand on his own two feet one trial. Nobody ever tried to murder them, and they didn’t die from a horrible disease either. On the contrary, they are still alive and well twenty-two arcs after Devin’s birth.
He is their only child. His parents wanted more children, but his mother was already almost forty when he was born, and it was just not meant to be. They weren’t rich, but they had their own little house in Andaris. His father, Daniel, was a labourer, and his mother, Emma, worked as a maid in the house of a judge. They were in love and happy.
Devin was an active child. He loved to sing and dance, and he had a gift for languages as well. Had his parents been richer, they would have hired tutors to foster his talents, but they didn’t have that kind of money. They occasionally allowed him visit their neighbour though. He owned an old, beat-up lute, and he would sometimes let Devin play on it if he helped him with the work around the house. Since an accident he had trouble walking.
One trial, when his parents and he were going for a walk together, Devin saw another lute in a shop window. It didn’t look anything like his neighbour’s. It was made of fine wood, and it was painted with beautiful ornaments He asked his parents if he could have it, but they said no. They couldn’t afford it. Instead they gave him a couple of coppers so that he would be able to buy sweets. He didn’t want sweets. He wanted the lute. It was all that he could think of.
A few trials later he was sitting at the side of the road, daydreaming, as he often did, when two of his classmates, Harry and Lily, walked his way. They asked him what was wrong, and when he complained about not having enough money, they asked him if he wanted to help him with a trick. They walked to a busy street. Harry told Devin to keep watch, and then he pointed at a woman that looked reasonably well off. Lily grinned, nodded and strolled in her direction. A few metres in front of her she pretended to have a fit. She was even vomiting and foaming at the mouth. Devin was quite impressed.
While the woman desperately called for a doctor to help the poor little girl, Harry quickly reached into her purse and removed a bag full of nels. Soon after that Lily recovered miraculously, and the three children ran as quickly as they could. Devin was upset at first of course because he wasn’t used to this way of life yet and his parents had always told him that stealing was wrong, but then Lily give him twenty golden nels, his share of the booty, and his eyes lit up. That was the money for the lute! He couldn’t believe it!
He immediately ran to the shop where he had seen it and bought it, and then he hid it under his bed. He only played it when his parents weren’t at home because he knew that they were going to ask him where he had gotten it from, suspect that he had done something illegal and take it away from him again. He didn't want them to take it away from him again.
2. All Good Things come to an End
Devin grew quite ambitious. He constantly developed new techniques and tried to perfect his tricks. He discovered that a mixture of mashed bananas, applesauce and different grains made a perfect vomit-substitute. Sometimes he hid a pouch filled with pig’s blood under his shirt and smashed it in front of his victims (usually riders or carriages) so that they would believe that they had hurt him and give him free stuff, and sometimes he just down somewhere, cried and claimed that he was looking for his mummy. The latter usually earned him a meal or a bunch of sweets.
He realized that hiding all the things that he had stolen or bought with stolen money under his bed would be a bad idea. Soon he hid things in the backyard or behind the things that stood on the shelf in the living room as well. His mother discovered that hiding place when she decided to clean the house and get rid of all the dust one trial. When his parents asked him where the money had come from, he claimed that he made music in a tavern after school and that he had hid the money because he wanted to buy them a gift.
He was already fourteen and sitting somewhere and crying for his mummy had stopped working some time ago, but his parents thought that he was too young to work in a tavern nevertheless. They were quite touched by his desire to buy them a gift though. After he had given the matter some thought, his father decided to see if he could find a job for him, and thus Devin started to work at a tailor’s every other trial after school, with the offer of an apprenticeship once he had graduated. It wasn’t too bad, everything considered, and he acquired the skills necessary to sew his own costumes, but the pay sucked.
On his way home he would sometimes visit The Crown and watch all the noble lords and ladies, and he began to study them, the way the talked, the way they acted, the way they dressed and the way they walked. He wanted more from life than to work the same job for decades and yet never be able to afford more than a little house in Andaris. He had no qualms about stealing anymore. In his opinion he was only transferring money, from them to him because he had more use for it than they did.
By the time that he was seventeen, he had made enough money to rent a small apartment above a scribe’s shop. His parents thought that he was a hard-working young man (which wasn’t exactly a lie, stealing was occasionally very hard work) and an upstanding member of society, and he persuaded them that he was old enough and responsible enough to live on his own. He still visited them regularly though. Despite the fact that they had very different outlooks on life, he loved them, and he thought that they deserved better as well.
All good things eventually come to an end though. Even as a boy Devin had had a penchant for dramatics, and his crimes didn’t go unnoticed. One evening two men visited him. They informed him that he had been intruding on their master’s turf, beat him within an inch of his life and took all his hard-earned money – and then they gave him the choice between working for their master and giving a share of his earnings to him or stopping to steal. Devin had absolutely no interest in working for the people that had beat him up. Instead he vowed to exact revenge on the master when he was old enough and strong enough to do so.
3. Branching Out
Devin did not stop stealing despite the fact that doing so had become much more dangerous for him. He had lost everything, and he had no interest in being poor again. He just became a lot more careful. Soon his purse was full of coins again. He had made more than three hundred golden nels, and he had even managed to steal a sword off a drunken warrior. It was about then that he realized that he needed to branch out if he really wanted to make it and become a master thief. Besides, he had grown bored of Rynmere. He already knew every tavern and every street. He wanted to travel and see the world and experience everything it had to offer!
He decided not to become a tailor’s apprentice – he’d never wanted to be one anyway - but travel north. His parents were quite sad to see him go, even when he told them that they had a famous university in Viden and that he might just enroll. It was around that time that the first of his false identities was born. As he boarded the ship to Viden, he became Devin Thorn, the merchant’s son. He had found out that there was a wealthy family that had the same name as his family in the Eastern Settlement. A member of a wealthy merchant family was much more likely to get what they wanted than a labourer’s son.
The next chapter of his life began in Ashan 718. Having grown tired of Viden, he booked passage to Scalvoris, an island full of strange plants and animals and nearly endless opportunities.