A tough priest of Ramar
Edwin Lorraine was dark skinned, curly haired, and either the luckiest or unluckiest child in the world, depending on your perspective. He was the bastard child of a seamstress and a drunk (though which drunk his mother was never sure) and so his early years were spent in the slums. Fortunately, his mother was a singularly attractive woman and a wealthy silk merchant named Salazar, enthralled by her beauty, was kind enough to adopt the two into his home. Salazar treated Edwin like a son, and over time Edwin grew to treat him like the father he never had. So, it was especially devastating, you see, when the merchant was stricken by a rather unexpected heart attack and died.
And so, Edwin and his mother were to return to the streets…or so they thought. As they were packing their few possession and preparing to leave an attorney arrived at the villa. He informed Edwin that he had been named the sole heir to all of Salazar’s estates, holdings and businesses. It seemed their luck had once more changed for the better. However, it is said the Ramar has a rather dark sense of humour, and the pair were shortly thereafter informed by a rather shady representative of a local gambling den that Edwin had also inherited his father’s debts, numerous and substantial as they were, and were asked “how they would be paying for that”.
So the mother and son sold Salazar’s fortune in order satisfy the debtors and braced themselves for their return to the slums. Little did they know that agents of the city watch were even then converging on the villa to arrest the current business owners for a fairly sinister list of crimes and infractions committed by its founder. Without their ever knowing, the pair had narrowly evaded a number of sentences ranging from “imprisonment” to “death without trial” and it was only mid afternoon. Turns out Salazar, in his pursuit of wealth, had not conducted himself in complete accordance with the law, or for that matter decency.
Once again left with nothing, but having developed a taste for finery, Edwin and his mother began thinking of ways to recover some of their previous wealth and power. Or at least a little of it. Or really just any money at all. It seems prudent to mention here that Edwin, was not among the brightest of thinkers and it occurred to him the easiest and fastest way to generate large volumes of money without having to work, was gambling. His sentiments were “how hard can it be, all you have to do is win”. So he took his only silver piece, and made his way down to the dens.
Typically children are prohibited from entering such establishments. The son of a gambler whose legend was massive and crippling debt on the other hand, was another matter. So Edwin wagered his coin. “Even!” he shouted belligerently. The dice were lifted. And then they were rolled. And then for a moment everything got really, really quiet. You could hear the flies on the horses outside the den and the air felt heavy, thick enough to cut, as if everything nearby had simply stopped breathing for a moment. And then the dice hit the table. They rolled. And rolled. And when it seemed like they might never stop rolling they stumbled to a halt. One, and three. Even. Edwin took his winnings and then did what any gambler would have done, he wagered them again.
Now repeat this process continuously. 2 became 4. 4 became 8, then 16, 32, 64, and so on and so forth until Edwin had multiplied his winnings into a small, yet respectable fortune. It was the single most unbelievable instance of luck the roller had ever seen. Literally, if you had not been there, you simply did not believe it. Even the roller didn’t believe it, especially since he knew the game was rigged and had frequently refrained from shouting “impossible!” to prevent other gamblers from becoming wary of the trap. Now if you haven’t noticed a pattern here, you haven’t been paying attention. A man emerged from the darker corner of the den and menacingly approached the table. The larger gentlemen escorting him took Edwin by the arms and into a connecting room out of sight. “This is it” thought Edwin. “This is how I die” he had deduced. “I really hope there is candied lime in the afterlife”. Edwin loved candied lime you see. What happened next is truly baffling.
“You’re offering me a job?” inquired the frightened boy.
“Well I wouldn’t say ‘offering’. Tank wanted to chain you up and toss you in the river” explained the smaller (though smaller is likely a deceptive description in this context) of the three men through a puff of smoke. “Then again, chain costs money, so…Instead, you roll the dice, keep being lucky, and we don’t kill you and yer mum. And if you’re really lucky, you’ll get a meal here and there”
At this point Edwin’s “good luck” was a matter up for debate.
“Can I sometimes have candied lime?” asked Edwin
There was a moment of silence then proceeded by a fit of laughter from the, let’s say medium sized, man, followed almost expectantly by the larger two. “Sure, why not”.
After the years of not-quite-poverty-but-also-sometimes-eating-candied-lime that followed, a really important thing happened. This was that one really, really important thing that begins us along the path we walk for the greater course of our lives. And that thing was that a local priestess of Ramar happened to sniff out the rolling den and Edwin happened to be working and happened to be wearing his “lucky” red sash but perhaps the most important thing was that this priestess, by some very slim miracle of chance, happened to be sober enough to distinguish that this was something she should make note of. For the gods do not speak in words, but they do speak.
So Helena, high priestess of Ramar, sat down at the table, and placed a silver coin in front of her. “Even” she said with almost supernatural conviction. And then once again the air got hot and thick. And the room got quiet. And the dice were rolled. “Three” said the one die. “One” said the other. And Helena collected her winnings, and rolled again. It was a simulacrum of chance, a paralyzing deja vu and it carried on long enough for the proprietors to take interest and then long enough still for them to demand that she was cheating. She was. Nevertheless, she was outraged at the accusation.
“Though it is a terrible offence to accuse a priestess of Ramar of cheating, I will overlook your impudence, and make you deal. I will return you the winnings, and you will offer me the boy.” said the red-clad woman with fire in her eyes.
A number of figures stood then brandishing a number of weapons, hoping that they wouldn’t have to use them. Helena unsheathed a duelist’s blade. It was long and looked far sharper than could possibly be necessary.
“I’m sorry, what was that you were saying? You know, about how you’d be glad to give me the boy?” she said with a smirk.
There was a tug at her tunic. It was Edwin. She bent to listen as he whispered in her ear.
“And also very generous of you to offer the boy’s mother as well” she said coyly, motioning the dark skinned woman in the corner to their side of the room.
“Perhaps you could pray to Ramar for another roller” she said, carefully replacing her sword in it’s sheath and making for the door. “Who knows, maybe you’ll get lucky”
And so Edwin grew up in the service of the Ramar. Helena taught him how to fight and how to pray. Showed him how to read the signs the Gods left to guide the peoples of the world and also how to figure out when they were just messing with you. His mother made robes and garments for the clergy and lived safely and happily within the walls of the church. Eventually Edwin the boy became Eddy, the man; a notable swordsman, champion duelist and official priest of his order. He followed his path to a band of mist runners who sought to explore the boundaries of the world. After he overheard someone in a tavern exclaim “What you mean INTO the mist? Ha! They’ll need all the luck in the world”. Eddy was getting really good at reading the signs.
“There’s no such thing as “good luck”, nor is there bad. Chance and fate are intertwined. Ramar sees that every bit of fortune is repaid in the end. You can borrow luck for a time, but you’ll someday have to repay that debt. The trick is to put it off for as long as you can.”-Edwin Lorraine