Hamartia: Against the Scourge
Architect and assassin of the Ancient and August Society of Esteemed Architects
Born 23 years ago, the true history of Draco begins 18 years ago- when word arrived of the sinking of the merchantman ship Emperor’s Blessing in the shipping lanes east of the colonies with, it was said, no survivors- including the master merchant, her husband and their newborn baby.
On the shores of their distant homeland their eldest – a young son, awaited their arrival in vain. Long after his mother’s business was devoured by “friends” competitors, after the family home was gone, and after the his tutors and servants abandoned him, he waited.
Soon he took to the streets, as is the way with orphans, and barely kept himself fed stealing food- but every dusk found him looking down on the docks, waiting for the Emperor’s Blessing to come home.
A year passed in this manner, the boy growing ever more ragged, dirty and tough – until the day he stole the lunch of Master Architect Claudio Diogenes. It was an act born of desperation- he hadn’t seen or smelled a haunch of meat in weeks- and seemed to be entirely successful. Until 5 minutes later, when a shadow suddenly loomed over his rooftop hideout and a puzzled boy with meat juices dripping down his chin looked up into the face of an old man with still immaculate robes who wasn’t even breathing hard.
Thus Draco (as master Claudio named him) began his apprenticeship with the Ancient and August Society of Esteemed Architects. Here he learned the lessons society would expect of an architect- the principles and applications of engineering, the correct recipe for cement and how to gauge it’s strength. How to build shrines to the Triune that would be the envy of the world.
He also learned lessons society would not have expected, but ones that were vital to the guild and their secret task of serving as the destroyer’s unseen knife in service to the throne. How to sneak inside a noblewoman’s villa with no one the wiser. Where to stab a man so he cannot scream as he slumps to the ground in death. Which reagents may be mixed into a 7% solution and sprayed across a store of grain to offer its eaters vivid hallucinations and madness. The kind of lessons that shape a child into a cold, hard weapon of a man.
Draco learned his lessons well and seemed to have a gift for lessons of the 2nd category, though he ever strived to excel at the first as well. Until the day he graduated from his apprenticeship and left to become a journeyman.
As Claudio said to him when he left:
“For to truly design, one must see the world. To create, one must first destroy. To build with one’s own eye, that eye must first take in the wonder of the Triune. Find a place and a person in need. Make your mark, build something with your blood. When you have learned to serve our Lady on your own, then you can begin to truly appreciate and contribute to our great work.”
3 weeks later, he spotted the heraldry of a knight in a low tavern he was watching. This was a surprise- while nobles did frequent the establishment the usually did so heavily disguised so as to not draw attention to their more sinister activities. The knight was attempting to gather information concerning his half brother, who had departed the same establishment a half hour before after digging his thumb into all manner of pies.
The knight was noble. The business associates of his brother were not. He pressed hard for information. They pulled knives. The knight knew his business with his sword, but it was 6 on 1 and a low dagger was headed for the man’s Achilles’s heel when Draco acted.
“Find a person in need” his master had said. He figured he’d never see someone in more need than this as he brought the butt of his short sword down on the thug’s skull.
“A fair fight’s a fair fight, but 5 on 1 and knives doesn’t seem to qualify!” he said to the knight, turning his back to the man to face the new attacker coming in high…