Marcus grew up on the streets of Nexus. That isn’t nearly as rough as one might think. It was not like the town of Nexus had a large ghetto, or a high crime rate with numerous thieves guilds fighting for dominance on the streets. It was more of a case of not having any real place he had to be.
Marcus never knew his parents. His name was something that he was given by the girl that had raised him from childhood. In reality she was little more than a child herself, barely being a teen when she found him outside of one of the inns in town. But from that point on she was a mother.
Having not much of a life or place to be as well, she took towards odd jobs to make the money she needed to keep them alive. Scullery maid was her usual job, but Marcus never paid much attention. Whenever he did she would tell him to go out and watch the streets. She used to say that he could learn more about observing the world around him than she could teach him.
When he did come back at night though, she would tell him tales of heroes. Grand men that would live life with the sharpness of their swords as well as their wits. The tales were ones that she would collect while working the various jobs she would get at the inns. The tales that would pass from father to sun and then back from around the campfire or in the inns over an ale or two.
He was so driven by these tales that he took to playing Knights of the Rose in the streets with whomever would show any interest. He even went so far as to make himself a thin sword whittled from wood. None of the other kids showed as much interest in the game as he did, nor as much skill at it. In this aspect he was truly king of the hill.
It wasn’t until he came to the end of his teen years that he found the long thin blade that his “mother” kept hidden beneath her bed in a small chest. It was wrapped in a tunic embroidered with a symbol he didn’t recognize. He could also tell it was incredibly old. Probably from before the time of the Shield.
He found this as he was cleaning out the room where they would hole up after the day was done. He was cleaning it up after his mother didn’t come back one night. From what he heard she had disappeared after spending a night at one of the local inns covering a shift for a server who was out ill. She was not seen after that night.
The town guard was not too involved in finding the truth of what happened. There was not a lot of crime in the town of Nexus. With a lack of crime came a sense of complacency in their investigations of anything the least bit foul. She was never seen again, but neither was a body ever found. It was as if she simply disappeared.
The closest Marcus had to any information on her disappearance was a rumor that she had been traveling outside of the Shield. She had been going out in search of the treasures that were said to have been left behind during the time of the War. Treasures that would have been able to afford them a level of comfort that they had never known.
With only the rumor of a roguish lifestyle of taking trips outside of the Shield to ruins and ghost towns within a day worth of travel there and back to act as a scavenger, Marcus made his decision. Not being a stupid young man, he knew that if she had been taking trips out to scavenge goods in the dangerous Wilderlands, she would have surely taken the solid rapier that he had found hidden under her bed, if not the leather armor that was on top of the pile with the sword.
Either way, the guard had no concern for the well being of the woman that had helped to serve their needs for nearly fifteen years. They were more concerned with their comfort and the protection of the Shield that anything else. His concern was finding that level of comfort she had always wanted. If he was lucky he might find her – or at least what happened to her. If not, he would have the means to live that life of comfort she had been trying to provide for him.
He would find that level of comfort for himself, and maybe for the next child looking for someone to take care of them, as he had all those years ago. And he would do it taking the path that many of the good people of Nexus would snub their noses at her for. He would find it out in the Wilderlands making his way from ruin to ruin, ghost town to ghost town.
He would make his fortune by picking apart the ruins of the history that everyone in Nexus was too afraid to face. No matter if that past killed everyone on the planet outside of Nexus or not, he would find what he could out there to make him more rich and powerful than anyone within Nexus – if for nothing else than to see the looks on their faces when he returns doing what they could not.
Seeing how he had thrived in the world that they feared, and to finally erect a memorial for the woman that raised him when none of the others wanted anything to do with him.