Black Thorn Resistance/ The Cost of Security

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This is a creative work set in the world of Elanthia, attributed to its original author(s). It does not necessarily represent the official lore of GemStone IV.

Title: Rooster's Rest- The Cost of Security

Author: The Black Thorn Resistance

Note: This is a propaganda piece.

The Cost of Security

"Rooster" as generated by MidJourney. Image created by midjourney by player of dendum uploaded by player of dendum.

“But it's not fair! Spark is only a little older and I want to go as well!”

A young boy was arguing with an older woman probably no older than her 20’s herself, a hard life and the attack by Talador had aged her prematurely and left her with a limp she had no business with this early in life.

“Spark has to be somewhere else tonight, and besides, the other children need you to look after them. Why don’t you all go down and get some of the toys we found last week and play with them?”

Rooster, for that is what they called the boy, grinned gleefully at the thought of playing with the new toys. Then he saw the concerned look in his caretaker's eyes and took in the worry her voice carried. His eyes petitioned her further. She looked away, and he moved on.

Rooster ran up and down the halls of the warren and the other children followed closely behind.

He had forgotten about Spark already, or more truthfully he had moved on. He moved on after his house was flattened by boulders from Taladoran catapults. He moved on when his mother was taken by some nightmare, and he tried every night to move on from the glimpses he still saw. He moved on from the memory of the hunger and fear that filled his life for weeks and found tenacity in its place.

Until the others came.

Other scavenging children just like him; together they searched the rubble for trinkets and silver and scraps to eat. One of them proudly held a leather ball, the other a whole fish she had taken from a nearby market. He thought at first they would steal his meager possessions, but they did not, they took him to meet the men and women in masks who gave him food and clothes and shelter. With them Rooster stayed, while he continued to move on.

He moved on after a merchant beat him savagely for stealing a round of cheese, and he learned to be more discreet. He moved on when another child in the warren did steal his things after he also made sure that child never stole anything again. He moved on when one of his friends, an older hathlyn boy with slicked back hair, died to a cutthroat's knife in the alleys...the men and women in masks took care of the cutthroat, and Rooster then took care not to get too attached.

He moved on like everyone else who survived in the aftermath of wars they did not ask for. He left his past behind him like his old name. A memory of a world he cherished but could no longer have.

A table of toys as generated by MidJourney. Image Generated by Midjourney by player of Dendum Uploaded by the Player of Dendum.

The other children came to view Rooster as a leader. They liked his jokes and they took seriously his advice about danger and staying out of trouble. He never picked favorites, a side effect of the distance he learned to keep from those around him. His ability to stay dispassionate a rare and hard-earned trait for one so young.

The procession of children, led by Rooster, arrived at a table covered in toys and coins; you could leave some coins and play with whatever you wanted. On this night, and with the young woman’s words in mind, he told his hesitant charges they needn’t contribute to the till this time. They couldn’t have even if they’d wanted, he knew; tension in the streets had made their recent attempts at legerdemain impossible. Rooster approached the table first and helped himself to a toy knight, his favorite. He loved pretending to be a great warrior standing in front of the town gates and blocking the flying boulders with his magic shield.

Only Rooster noticed when the adults around them had grew tense and were speaking in hushed whispers. He continued his play, if apprehensively, while the others paid little attention to the unusually well-armed adults hustling about, in the warrens even the children often kept a dagger on them. The rats were large down here.

There was soup and bread for dinner tonight, and all the children were excited and happy. They played with abandon on this rare night to themselves, without obligation or responsibility. All except Rooster. The woman's words and the tension in the air nipped at him and the toy knight in his hand could not guard or distract him from his own apprehension.

A group of children as generated by MidJourney. Image created by midjourney by player of dendum uploaded by player of dendum.

“Hendor is here!”

Screams echoed up and down the warren and the sound of shuffling feet and furniture hastily pushed into makeshift barrier filled the air. Rumors spread among the adults of explosions in the streets above and fighting below. The children huddled against a wall unsure of what to do, and Rooster joined them. There were not many ways in and out of this particular warren.

“What do we do?” breathed one of the younger children.

“Where is everyone else?” another asked, clutching a dagger in his hand. The small weapon looked more like a short sword against his diminutive frame.

Rooster had no answers and sat there huddled up against the wall waiting. He hoped a path would clear - he knew they often did if you watched carefully - and they could make it out into the streets. He wished he had gone out with Spark. He wished he had been out in the streets looking for supplies and food. He wished his mother had not died during the Talador invasion.

Rooster watched a large man wearing a mask move forward cautiously. He was about to call out for help but the figure turned a corner. Shortly after the sound of fighting erupted down the hall in the direction the man had went, and the children flinched as one, the clang of metal against metal, the thud of something heavy hitting the floor. There were no screams and silence, interrupted only by the sound of breathing children, once again dominated the space.

“Go Children!” hissed a voice behind them.

Rooster spun around quickly and saw the young woman who had spoken to him earlier. She was holding a sword in one hand and a red crystal in the other. Her eyes were empty. He knew that look; he had seen it on so many faces in the last year. She now offered him the path he so needed. Inwardly he shuddered, but he turned to move out towards the exit.

“Go and do not look back. Try and make it out,” she commanded, her tone and the hard look on her face leaving no room for arguments.

Rooster took a deep breath and stood. The children stood up too, all of them.

He turned towards the only way out he knew.

He started to run.

The Empire attacks the Rooks as generated by MidJourney. Image Generated by Midjourney by player of Dendum Uploaded by Dendum.

OOC Note

The names of any involved in this pamphlet are fictional, though Spark was later introduced during a story. Spark inspired the fact that the children were often given nicknames inside the organization.

The actual events inside the Rook Warrens are not well documented but the story of Hendor leading a raid that led to the death of many in the warrens is known in the town of Wehnimer's Landing, few if any made it out alive to tell their side of the story.

This Document was Written by Dendum and Ceilia in collaboration and edited by several other members of the Black Thorns. The idea being it is released as a pamphlet during the 5022-5023 invasion/expansion.

See Also