My name is Reaver and they say that I’m quite mad. Who are they? Why, the moral majority, of course. You might refer to them as civilized society. I call them the walking dead because they wander aimlessly through life without really being alive. My friends tell me that I’m quite sane.
What’s that? You can’t see them? Well of course not. They’re wraiths, ghosts, spirits, and phantoms…whatever you might wish to call them, only I can see them. They’re the reason that I am where I am today; locked up like a common criminal, condemned to death for what many would call an act of justice. They called it murder.
It all started when I left my home to purchase some delicious wine and scrumptious cheese from my good friend, Armand. You see, Armand is the finest cheese and wine-maker in all of Ashterah, and anyone who has never experienced either of these delicacies has not truly experienced life.
Throughout the years, my dear friend Armand has always been kind enough to extend to me the great courtesy of substantial discounts on all of my purchases.
Not that I’ve ever needed them, I’ve always been quite wealthy, you see. Nonetheless, I’ve always graciously accepted the discounts and I’ve NEVER had the audacity to insult dear Armand by asking the motive behind such generosity.
During the past several weeks of my internment, my confinement in this dank, putrescent tomb with no windows, I’ve oftentimes wish that I had.
Instead, I had to find out in the worst way possible.
When I’d finally arrived at Armand’s well-dressed shop on Sojourner’s Way, I was quite taken aback by the fact that a handwritten sign tacked to the door read: SORRY! WE’RE CLOSED! PLEASE COME BACK TOMORROW!
Well, let me tell you that I was very upset by this. It was mid-morning, after all, and I had intentionally skipped breakfast so that I could enjoy Armand’s gourmet treats in his open air café.
This did not bode well. I had to have that damned cheese and wine! I decided to go around to the back of the building and try the service entrance. To my great dismay, that door was closed and locked securely. I pounded on the door as hard as decorum would allow, calling out to my dear friend. “Armand! It’s me! Reaver! Open up!”
Alas, despite several minutes of knocking and calling, and a few nosy stares of passers-by, it was of no avail. This was not like Armand at all. Where was he? A sudden dread washed over me like a tidal wave. Was he ill? Had he been attacked by rogues on his way here? Oh, Blessed Adonai, was he dead? No! He can’t be! I had to stop thinking that way.
I suddenly remembered that Armand kept a small apartment above the shop that he’d rent out to visiting scholars and travelers every once in a while. Yes! He must have been too tired to travel home after a long day of toiling in his shop (he did indeed toil significantly every day) and spent the night in the upstairs apartment.
I looked up at the two story building and at those nearby. There was no discernible way to reach the second floor from the outside, and I didn’t have a key, so I decided to pick the lock with my dagger. The simple lock opened easily enough and I walked inside, carefully closing the door behind me as not to disturb my beloved friend in case he was still sleeping.
The moment I entered the shop, my senses were overwhelmed with the pleasant aromas of myriad fine cheeses and wines of varying ages and types. I spent quite a while sampling nearly all of them until my appetite was sated and then I decided to go upstairs to inform dear Armand of my visit and that I would be leaving a considerable amount of gold argents behind as payment for my meal.
I moved quickly up the narrow staircase and turned down the short hall to where the only room sat. To my horror, I immediately discovered my dear friend Armand entangled with my beautiful wife, Bridgette, like two trained cyclapes in some nightmare peep-show.
I don’t remember much after that. The only thing I recall is being drenched in blood and being led away by the King’s constabulary. Oh yes, I do remember the both of them screaming: “No! No! Please stop!”
They say that I was never married to Bridgette and that Armand was never my friend. They say that I’m not even a citizen of Ashterah. They have the temerity to call me mad.
Lies. Filthy, wretched lies.
So now here I sit. Dirty, blood-drenched and hungry. What I wouldn’t give for some of dear Armand’s wine and cheese right now.
What’s that Armand? Oh, Blessed Adonai! Look at all that wonderful food! Thank you, my friend. You’re too kind.