'Ware the Moloch
Osario Barzillai Mockfoil
Human Rogue (Artful Dodger)
Flashing blade, flashing lopsided grin. A menacing, charming, magnificent bastard.
Orphaned in the city, Osario grew up rough, on the streets of Wyself.
Osario Barzillai Mockfoil was born with his first name; he stole the rest. The mockfoil (a tenacious and poisonous plant known for its long, sharp, blade-like leaf—a plant said to thrive in the least hospitable of environments) he learned of while reading a stolen book.
Barzillai he took from the first man he killed, a man he had not wished to kill, a man who had left him no choice. Osario still remembers how the man’s slick and sticky blood felt on his hands and he remembers the man’s face better than he remembers his own mother’s. Osario learned too early that it is no easy thing, stealing a life. He took that dead man’s name as a reminder of that lesson. He took the name because he had earned it. And he took it because it sounded good, because a great man needs a great name. Osario, who understood early in his life that he had no choice but to become a great man, took the name because he needed it.
That, more than anything, was the first lesson Osario took from the streets and alleys of Wyself: If you need something from life you must take it. No one is going to give it to you. You can die of thirst; you can wither away to hair and bones waiting for someone else to solve your own problems.
This was Osario’s first rule and Osario Barzillai Mockfoil is a man of many rules because a man without a code is like a traveler without a map. A man without a code is lost. This is rule number two. A man who writes his own laws, however, that man charts his own destiny, that man steals his own life back from death day after day.
And so, because the world (says rule number three) owes no man anything more than one life and one death, because a man has a duty to take what he needs, Osario took everything that he required. First he stole bread and rags, later a pair of shoes. As Osario grew older he took more and more. He stole an education from open school windows and inadequately locked libraries. He stole manners and mannerisms from the wealthy and the noble.
When one of these men, Persh Vulshem, rewarded Osario’s curiosity by pushing him face first into the mud, Osario repaid the man’s kindness by following him home and stealing the man’s priceless rapier—because Osario deserved it more than Vulshem and because Vulshem had failed to lock his chimney. That blade became Osario’s constant companion and only true friend. It opened a new world for the young rake, a wide, new range of possibilities.
Initially Osario relied on his own raw but remarkable talents whenever he unsheathed that beautiful blade. It became quickly obvious, however, that a weapon of its quality deserved to be handled by a man with more skill and training than he possessed. So Osario did what he had always done, he tried to steal the training.
Perched in a tall apple tree overlooking the training yard of Vargas Venden, Wyself’s renowned sword master, Osario watched as Venden trounced a young merchant’s son in the name of education. It was a display Osario enjoyed immensely—not only because of Venden’s peerless mastery but because of the staggering, gasping buffoon it made of the young, rich idiot Osario had often seen swaggering around town.
Osario should not have been surprised when, after the lesson was over and Venden stood with his back to the apple tree, the sword master said, “And you think you could do better, Streetling?” Osario, swallowed a mouthful of apple, swung down by a branch, picked up a wooden sword and did his best.
When, five minutes later Osario himself was gasping for breath and pushing sweat-slicked locks of hair out of his eyes, Venden stopped, pursed his lips, nodded once and said, “Tomorrow. Tomorrow we will begin your instruction. Today you will clean my stables.”
That, Osario would tell you, was when his life really began—on that brick-paved courtyard that would soak up so much of his sweat and blood—with that man who would become like a father to him. He would spend the next five years living in Venden’s carriage house, learning The Art, practicing night and day in the courtyard and the orchard across the wall.
Those years gave him all he needed to leave his city and venture out into the world confident that he would never be poor again, that he would find his own way, that he would find and follow the elusive shifting path of his destiny.
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First Adventure: When Persh Vulshem pushed a 13-year-old Osario into a muddy puddle, the youth retaliated in the way the streets had taught him. Clambering through the chimney of the man’s home, after the wealthy fool had carelessly left a trail for the urchin to follow, Mockfoil slipped away with a priceless rapier. Wielding the sharp-edged blade, Osario built a name, and a shrine of corpses, without ever forgetting his humble origins.
Anasimus Wu Mingde, studying with Vulshem, saw the child slip through the chimney. Though the half-elf could have called out—or possibly even pulled Osario to the ashen earth with an incantation—she allowed him to escape with the fabled weapon. Her master never confronted her regarding her silence, but the brevity of her service might bespeak his knowledge.
Consulting with Persh Vulshem, Scirocco Windyleaf was present during the theft. His casual wardings…a conglomeration of gently twitching clockwork constructs which thrummed with elemental force…detected the movement of the young thief and recorded his face. However Scirocco, a child of circumstance himself, was more interested in the nobleman’s student than his loss.