When and where an individual’s story begins depends upon whom you talk to. But our story begins in ancient Belthaar; not in the hoary temples of its dozen gods, and not in the high palaces of kings and beys. No. We start lower and humbler, where laborers, craftsmen and the down and out come to slake their thirst, lay their head for a few bronze pennies, look for work or idle the hours away out of the scorching heat of the dying orange sun. No place other than the notorious ‘Dirty Dog’ hostel and cornerclub.
It is the eighth month of Spring-year 778 A.E (After Erlik’s Revolt) Amon is called into his foster father’s study late one evening, “Amon, com here lad.” He says. “I need you to perform a task of some importance for me. Go into the Foreign District on Beetle Alley, just past the square of the Green Peacock and meet with a man called Tazziz, He’ll be expecting you. You’ll recognize him for the black turban he wears and the deep-blue and bronze studded leather jack he wears. Here, take these coins and go quickly . . . Though I would suggest you take a couple of your friends; that part of the city may not be the best place to walk alone after midnight.”
Ever dutiful, Amon takes the heavy pouch of coins without even bothering to look inside and goes to the Dirty Dog, where he finds a pair of recently acquired friends, the Phrygian Coroebus and the enigmatic Saurial Salazar. Eager to make a good impression on Sadamimon (and in turn earn a bit of coin perhaps?) the duo follow after into the cool night air and make their way to the slums of the Foreign District near the pleasure houses of Belthaar.
After a brief walk of no more than fifteen minutes or so, they carefully move down the alley keeping a watchful eye for muggers and other ne’er-do-wells, but encounter no trouble until they come to the small square where they are to meet Tazziz. Unfortunately they notice their contact surrounded by five men rough looking men and a large black bearded brute has him held by the throat with a scimitar leveled at his gut. Not wasting a moment the lizardman Salazar springs into action quickly scaling the wall of a nearby house, with a boost from Coroebus, and as quickly and quietly as he can, pads the flat rooftops hoping to get into a position where he can leap atop the muggers.
Meanwhile Coroebus and Amon skulk along the poorly lit alley and try to listen to the mugger’s demands, “Where is it Tazziz?” the large black-bearded man growls. “I know nothing Jahwar! I swear by Belit!” A moment later Salazar stands to his full height and shouts a taunt down to the muggers hoping to distract them from their quarry, but the large man Jahwar isn’t having any of it and runs his captive through the abdomen and rips his wickedly curved blade quickly from the man’s abdomen spraying an arc of crimson across the yellow bricks of a house.
With words done Salazar leaps down from the portico and plunges through a canvas awning to break his fall and lunges at the muggers with his spear, seconds later his companions Amon and Coroebus rush into the square and join the fray. The first to fall is the fierce-looking man called Jahwar; Salazar ducks under his guard and thrusts his spear cleanly through the man’s throat and he staggers backward gurgling and spouting dark fluid before falling and going still. Desperate but leaderless the muggers are disorganized and fight fiercely for perhaps a minute, but as two fall, one of the men runs and as quickly as it began the last mugger throws down his crude club and begs for mercy.