I survived The Searing, battled Charr for my homeland, and defeated the minions of dark gods across Tyria. I have seen the valleys of Kryta, the dunes of the Crystal Desert, and the heights of the Shiverpeaks. None of this prepared me for the trial I would face trying to reach Lion’s Arch with my most precious cargo. When I knew that I was with child I determined that the dangers of the north were too great to raise a young one. I could not return home to Ascalon, nor did I wish to raise a child amid the danger of the Vanguard. My only choice was to reach the great port before new life was thrust upon the world. It was strange, a life of death and destruction as an adventurer, and controlling the dark arts as a necromancer, and I was to become a vessel for the miraculous. The father would not leave the Vanguard, believing his duty was to his people rather than a woman he had recently met and a child not yet born. As with all of my life, I was alone, but at least in that I was content. ~Excerpt from the Journal of Merith Naprein
The Salma district was far from glamorous, but it was home for most of my life. Sure, the district has some minor nobility that calls it home, but for the most part we are all just getting by living in the shadow of the keep. Dad was a drunk and mom worked the local tavern as a waitress mostly. Thankfully they weren’t my only family. My sister was a soldier and I had an uncle in Beetletun, but even they weren’t as close to me as my adopted family.
The reasons no longer matter, but due to many circumstances I wound up spending most of my time in the streets and alleys of the district. I became an alley rat through and through, lifting snacks from the carts, plucking coins from the pockets of the unwary, and arriving home every night with the grime of the district up to my knees. Regardless of where my life would lead in the future I built the foundation for everything I am on those uneven cobbled streets.
When we got older, the gang of urchins that I attached myself to went on more and more dangerous ‘adventures’ and started straying outside the district. We had to be careful of the city watch, but in every district there were places to hide, and people who would help you out in a pinch. One of those people was Arko. He was a peddler of flesh and tended to work the higher end clients in the city. That didn’t make him look at us any different, however. Anytime we were on the upper roads and bridges, if we ran into trouble, we knew where to find Arko (if he wasn’t with a client) and he would make sure we had a place to hide, or point us to a safe path back home. Sometimes I wonder what happened to Arko. Last I heard his ‘manager’ sent him through a gate to the Black Citadel. Apparently there are some Charr that will pay well for the services of a human.
I’ll never forget the time he helped me get away from the watch after lifting that glass unicorn. I had spotted it at a merchant’s cart outside of Rurikton on the upper ring. It was hard to remain unnoticed, dirty and bedraggled standing on the upper ring, but I had gotten good at it. I watched that cart for hours, knowing when the merchant was busy and slow, what distracted him and what made him look away. I waited for my moment, a large woman in a larger dress with a gigantic round skirt. She always walked this way with her retainer and a little dog, crossing right by the merchant’s cart at the same time every day. It wasn’t the dress, or the dog that drew the merchant’s eye though. Her dress was cut low from the neck, and her ample bosom always seemed near to bursting from the fabric. The merchant’s eyes would be glued to the woman’s form until she was out of sight.
I made my move when his head turned away from his cart. Like a rabbit I hopped out of my hiding place behind the planter and snatched the glass unicorn from the cart. I had been so intent on the merchant, though, that I didn’t realize a guard was nearby. He saw me take the figurine, gave a shout, and the chase was on. I was going to easily outdistance the armored guard, but he had the advantage of numbers as he blew a whistle to call in help. It wouldn’t be long before I was surrounded. I put my head down and ran for the gate to the district, hoping to get through and lose myself in an alley before they caught me. As my poor luck would have it, there was a watchman waiting by the gate, alerted by the whistles and scanning the crowd for the source of the disturbance.
“In here kid,” I heard a voice behind me and felt a hand grab my shirt and pull me into a small alcove. Arko closed the door once I was inside. “Through here.”
“Thanks,” I said, flashing him a smile and showing him my prize. He just shook his head and pushed open another door cleverly concealed in the back of the little space. It opened up into a stairwell that spiraled down into darkness. This led us down into the back room of a baker’s house, and finally out into the streets of the district.
“That was handy,” I said.
“Don’t make a habit of using it,” Arko warned. “I don’t want to lose my own secret way around the watch.”
I’ll have to try to find Arko some day and thank him. Though I turned from the life of crime I loved as a child, I never lost that ideal he had of helping people, though helping them commit crimes isn’t something I make a habit of myself.
[You may have noticed I switched gears a little bit here. I’ve hit all the notable locations that carried over from GW1, the interesting ones to me at least. Now I’m telling two stories at once, as you might have noticed. As usual, GW2, GW, and everything related to it are the property of their respective owners. This is strictly fan fiction.]