Rusco Bhiari was a half-elf that was raised by his father Dorum, having never met his elven mother Eloen Rovaris (if that was even her real name). During the day, Dorum worked as a handyman in the tenement where they lived in the city of Daggermark. He lacked any skills in repairing things, but he excelled at intimidating the tenants into solving their problems themselves. When he wasn’t amassing a bar tab that he couldn’t afford, his father spent his nights robbing merchants and noblemen’s homes. He didn’t exclude the lower class from his crimes out of altruistic motives; he just didn’t want to waste his time on small scores. Dorum was not the smartest brute on the block, and the only fences he knew took advantage of that and always paid him a small fraction of the value of his purloined goods.
As a small child, Rusco was mainly cared for by whatever poor foolish woman had fallen for Dorum’s charms. She would live with them in their rented flat for a couple weeks, some even lasted a month or two, but in the end, Dorum’s anger and abusive nature would reveal itself, and she would leave. A couple of them even offered to take little Rusco with them, but he wouldn’t go, just in case his mother returned for him. This was a childish dream that would never come true.
Once Rusco was old enough to start his education, his father refused to send him to school. A local schoolteacher offered to instruct him at no cost, but his father felt that it was a waste of time. Instead, Dorum began to teach him the ways of a thief, picking pockets, and locks, moving unseen or heard and other less than savory skills. His teaching methods were unsettlingly cruel and of the “sink or swim” methodology. For example, Dorum would lock him in the building’s cellar under their flat for days with a loaf of bread, a waterskin, and small locked metal box. Inside the box was a whistle. Once Rusco could blow the whistle, Dorum would let him out. Sometimes he would carry Rusco up onto the high rooftops in the noble district at night and leave him there. Either Rusco would have to climb down unnoticed or he would have to deal with the local watch. Sometimes this ended in victory, and sometimes it ended in broken bones. On one occasion, it resulted in a 3-month stay in the local orphanage, as Dorum did not want to risk interacting with the law. The tragedy was when Dorum finally came to take him home, as this had been the best 3 months of Rusco’s childhood.
After returning to the nightmare that was his home, the torturous training continued, teaching him how to open complex locks, to notice and avoid traps, and to fight with a blade. Dorum would manipulate Rusco by giving him small nuggets of information about his mother. Some of this information was true, but most of it was fiction just to keep Rusco focused. For whatever reason, Rusco latched on to one particular story. Dorum told him that the last time he saw Eloen she said that she was bored with their life and wanted to return to the adventures she had known before motherhood. She had heard about a great, score not far from the town of Mosswater and left to seek it out.
On a hot evening in late summer, Dorum came home earlier than normal, drunk, and angrier than ever. The tavern keeper at the Dirty Flagon had thrown him out for not paying his tab, and he went home to take out his anger on his son. When he arrived in their flat, he found that his liquor stash was dry. He had forgotten that he had polished it off a few nights before, and accused Rusco of drinking it. He beat Rusco harder than ever before; twisting his arm behind his back so hard the neighbors would have heard the snap of the bone, if not for Rusco’s loud shouting and unanswered cries for help. While Rusco lay on the ground holding his useless arm, Dorum continued to kick him, breaking a rib or two.
Rusco tried to crawl away from his father, leaving a smeared trail of blood on the floor. Dorum noticed the hatch to the cellar nearby and opened it. He was probably going to lock Rusco down their again, or maybe Dorum was going to finish Rusco’s training by killing him and burying his body down there like Rusco had long feared. His intentions didn’t matter because in a moment of desperation, Rusco tripped his drunk father, who stumbled, and fell down the steep steps, landing on the hard dirt floor, breaking his neck in a silent slump.
He didn’t call for help. The neighbors didn’t complain about the noise. Rusco just laid there on the floor. He thought he would die, but eventually hunger or thirst forced him to move. His skin hurt as he peeled himself off the dried blood stained floor. He washed himself as best he could in their basin, and bandaged his wounds with the healer’s kit his father had stolen from a priest many years ago. He grabbed a small bit of gold that he had hidden away under a baseboard. Bending over hurt so badly that he had to lay down on the floor and pry up the board with one hand. He took his father’s rapier and backpack, then wrapped himself in his father’s duster, and limped out the door.
He walked out of the city gates determined to find his mother and get the truth that his father withheld from him, but before he could seek her out, he had to find a place to recover. He needed somewhere to rest and to find supplies. Fate lead Rusco in several unintended directions and it was years before he found the clues he needed, but in that time he learned that the village of Mosswater had been slaughtered long ago, and was unlikely to be his mother’s destination. However, there was a famous ruin in the nearby Echo Woods known as the Emerald Spire. He became fixated on this place and was convinced that his mother had gone there. Perhaps she died there, or maybe it holds some clue to her current whereabouts. He began seeking out others to aid in his quest, individuals willing to risk everything for fame, glory, treasure… Their motives did not matter, just as long as he could trust them to fight by his side.
Alive or dead, he did not care. He just wanted to learn the truth.