Bree Finds a Teacher
Howdy! This is a little scene I wrote that involves my D&D character, Bree. She is a young halfling rogue. Fresh into adulthood. She was separated from her family at a young age, and grew up on the streets of a city. She’s now in Waterdeep with a group of companions that she thinks of as friends. She’s a little uncertain of it all, but she is embracing the adventure of it. This is a story of her finding a teacher of sorts. At one point, Copper is referenced. Copper is a pseudodragon, to help with the mental image.
Bree had been in Waterdeep for a while now. She lost track of exactly how long it had been, and things were busy ever since she met Orryn, Fenn, and Solara. She now had a place to call her own at Trollskull. A room of her own, even. But Bree was still waiting for the other shoe to drop. Waiting for the others to realize she wasn’t worthwhile to keep around. That she was more of a hindrance to them all and their business. She did her best to quell that little voice of hers, stamp it and bury it down.
But at night, when she was alone in her attic room — seemingly far away from everyone else — the thoughts came to her. Unbidden, but never quite forgotten. She would climb out of her bed and sit on a chest that she had shoved beneath the small window in the attic. Sometimes, gazing out of it, looking around at all rooftops near Trollskull. Other times, she would look up into the night sky, and see a smattering of stars. Not as many stars as she knew there to be. She could remember the road to Waterdeep and how when you weren’t in a city, the sky was so full of stars. Sometimes, she climbed out of her window and onto the roof. She would just look out into the city, watching it. Feeling both like she was home and like she wasn’t. Like she belonged and like she didn’t.
It was mid-afternoon and Bree found she had nothing to do. Solara was holed up in the library, and Fenn was in her room with her plants. Orryn was tending the bar, but Bree didn’t feel like being his shadow. She slipped out of the tavern and took a stroll. Aimless, really. She was trying to get a feel for how the ground felt beneath her feet. Her boots were made of leather, the cheapest available, so thin that she could tell the difference in texture from one road to the next. Some streets were in better condition than others. And she knew how different the roads and walkways felt between the richer and poorer areas of the city. Bree closed her eyes, focusing hard on ground beneath her feet, trying to encourage them to memorize how the ground felt.
She walked right into the side of a building, and it hurt. Bree opened her eyes, and craned her neck up to see on the sign, a picture of a book. She peered through the windows, and sure enough, shelves upon shelves of books lined the space. She didn’t think about it and walked in.
“Can I help you?” Asked the oldest halfling that Bree had ever seen. Her voice sounded ancient, and Bree realized that she was staring.
“Oh, uh… sorry. Just… looking.” Bree mumbled, feeling ashamed.
The halfling stared at her.
“I’ll chop your hands off if you steal anything,” the old one threatened.
“I won’t,” Bree promised, and she didn’t. What she did instead was spend hours among the shelves, feeling a strange pull towards the books. Her fingers itching to take one, but she heeded the old halfling’s warning, and instead of nicking the book like her fingers wanted, she paid for it.
It felt heavy in her hands as she walked out, as her coin purse felt lighter. She couldn’t read, and she didn’t know what she would do with the tome.
Bree was outside of Trollskull when she heard the shouts of children. She wasn’t too concerned, Orla had a pack of kids, and their friends, in and out of her house at all hours of the day. There was often the sound of shouting. She had learned that silence was when she ought to worry The shouting died down and Bree stood up, stretching. She then moved towards where the shouting had been, thinking she might see if the kids wanted a snack. She enjoyed cooking and baking for the kids. They could be harsh critics, but they were also always willing to try whatever it was she made, even if it looked gross.
But when she rounded the corner, she was surprised to see a single kid — not quite a teenager, but close — seated on the ground, furiously wiping at their face. Wiping at tears, Bree assumed.
“Are you okay?” Bree asked.
The kid looked up, startled, and Bree could see their face turning red with embarrassment.
“I’m fine,” the kid sniffled.
“You don’t look it,” Bree said, realizing she was pointing out the obvious. The kid looked at her.
“Fine… I… Bram said that I can’t come with him n’ his friends on the account of me being a girl. That I won’t be able to keep up with ‘em.”
“What are they doing?” Bree asked, her head tilting to the side like a confused Copper.
“Tryin’ to break into an abandoned building,” The girl said, and then she clamped her hands over her mouth. Like she had said something she shouldn’t have. Bree knew it was dangerous, and foolish, for the kids to be breaking into an abandoned building. They could get hurt. But Bree also remembered all the dangerous places she had gone to as a kid. And, maybe, if she taught the girl a thing or two, then the girl could teach the arrogant Bram a thing or two.
“I could help you,” Bree offered, and the girl looked confused.
“Help me with what?”
“I could teach you how to break into buildings. You’d scare the hell out of your brother and his friends. I could teach you how to do it proper, and how to be careful about it so you don’t hurt yourself.”
The girl was looking at Bree like she didn’t believe her. Bree wasn’t sure what part the girl didn’t believe, and it rankled some, but she tried to ignore that feeling.
“What’s in it for you?” The girl asked suspiciously.
Bree hesitated before answering. She was on the verge of offering the girl food whenever she wanted. Baked goods too! But then words tumbled out of her own mouth, words that took her by surprise. The human was no longer the only one blushing.
“You could teach me how to read.”
Shame burned deep. Bree looked down at her worn and thin leather shoes. She didn’t want to see the scorn and cruel amusement on the girl’s face. She had gotten used to looks like that, but they still hurt. Finally, after what felt like an eternity, the girl spoke up.
“You have a deal. Should we shake on it?”
Bree held out her hand, and they shook on it. It was an hour later that Bree learned the girl’s name was Elle.