I play in a fourth-edition Dungeons And Dragons game, and our gaming group encourages us to write little in-character journals. It helps us get a better feel for our characters, and helps share that direction with the GM and other players. I haven't been doing so until now, but I'm feeling creative tonight :)
When I was a younger gnome, my mind was aflutter with ideas of the big folk. I was bored of my sleepy little village, where everybody knew everybody and every secret was only as well kept as the next gossip around the teapot... certainly not a good environment for a person such of myself, practicing in the ways of subtle roguishness. When I said my goodbyes to my brothers and sisters and round-bellied neighbours, I made my way quickly to the magnificent cities I've heard of, where humans and elves and all manner of tall folk do all they can to live close to each other, then immediately do all that they can to build walls between themselves. I was amused by the hilarity of the situation, and challenged by the sheer arrogance of the citizens of these capacious communities.
I was caught and jailed (through no direct fault of my professional skills, I'm quick to remind my readers) and was forced to accept a position in a gaggle of wandering mercenaries. At first, I found the change in my fortunes humbling; rubbing shoulders with and rubbing my nose at the big folk had sired superciliousness myself, and I honestly saw this temporary digression in my career as penance. Some ambiguously honest work with these adventuring ruffians would not only pay the debt for my freedom, but give me some much-needed perspective.
Lately, I am finding my association with my guild-fellows... disillusioning.
An unexpected jaunt to the Feywild, and suddenly the world is in overwhelming jeopardy! There are rumours of dragons rising and enslaving their kin, armies marching on lords and lands, villages burned to coals! We were swept up in happenings before we had a moment to properly consider them, rescuing teiflings we barely trusted, storming keeps we had no stake in, and now avenging an expired employer with the possibility? Worst of all, some of my ambitious allies see themselves as decorous devisees of an empty throne... while others have arbitrarily promoted us as heroes and generals in these hostilities!
And these presumptuous partners of mine certainly think of me as weak, or cowardly, or perhaps even useless. These big folk, with their puff-up chests and better ideas for the world (thinking themselves more righteous than other puff-up big folk with better ideas for the world, naturally) thinking so low of the little gnome that comes along. Poorly trained for this sort of thing, no interest in war or dying, would certainly hide in an out-of-the-way cottage with good meals and strong drink instead of fight for any land or lord or cause outside his direct person. Not the heroes or princes or captains or chaplains they've all convinced themselves to be.
Yes... I, Julian Comstock, gentleman thief and gnome, am afraid. And yet, for all these dark times and little rewards, I still fight beside them. I'll let you, readers and survivors of these events, be the final judges of bravery.