Silias Dulgren never considered himself as a thief. He liked to describe himself as “a procurer of fine wares. It isn’t the career path he had originally thought he would pursue, but he couldn’t help it if he just happened to be really good at it. At least he thought he was. Unfortunately for him he fell into the pitfall many in his line of work succumbed to. He grossly overestimated his skills. As he looked up at the grimy stone ceiling of his cell in the gladiator pits below Waterdeep, he wracked his brain trying to figure out just how he had fallen so low. Silias was born in the hills east of Waterdeep in the town of Womford. His parents owned a small bakery on the edge of town. He was the youngest of three boys in his family. Naturally this meant he was the most picked on, and many games of hide and seek ended with him eating a face full of dirt at his brothers behest. However, a direct result of this he became quite adept at the hiding part of the game. Not all their games ended with Silias spitting out earth. The three brothers loved to play adventurer in the Forlorn Hills. They would slay dragons, rescue princesses, and save entire planes of existence from impending doom. When he was 13 his oldest brother Haible left home for the city of Baldur’s Gate to become a true adventurer. He promised to return with hundreds of tales of his heroism, though he expected they would hear the bards tales themselves soon enough. Silias never saw Haible again. However at the age of 17 he decided it was his turn to pursue the adventuring life. He left behind his parents and his other brother Kardel, who had grown out of his adventuring dreams and decided to settle into the family business. Silias always believed that it was less about not wanting to become an adventurer and more about the elf girl Kardel had been dating for the last two years. Perhaps lacking his brother Haible’s confidence, Silias left for the much closer city of Waterdeep. He told himself he didn’t want to run in the same territory as his brother, but deep down he probably just didn’t want to be that far from home. Being an adventurer wasn’t as easy as it seemed. Being young and having no real experience had a large impact on job availability. Silias also learned quite fast that he seemed to lack one of the major components of being an adventurer. He didn’t actually know how to fight. Slapping sticks together with his brother’s did not translate as well into real combat as he had thought. In under a year he had quickly exhausted the funds his parents had given him. City life was not cheap after all. One night he was sitting in the corner of a tavern, considering what he would say to his family when he dragged himself home that week, when he was approached by three gentlemen. They told him they had heard about him needing work, and might have something available if he could handle it. Silias could hardly believe what he was hearing. Real adventuring work was finally at his finger tips. Of course he jumped at the offer. The men told him that a family heirloom of theirs had been stolen. They couldn’t go to the authorities because the thief was an influential minor noble. Without thinking Silias swore to them that he would return their families honor. Silias returned three nights later with a gold amulet that held a large brilliant ruby held in the golden clawed inlay. The men were quite pleased, but nowhere near as much as Silias was. Sure it probably wasn’t a story the bards would tell, but it was the start of his adventuring life. At least that is what he thought. The men would return to him many times over. Every few months they had another story to tell of friends or associates being wrongly deprived of their hard earned goods. Silias was all too happy to return these items to their rightful owners. He happily wrote his folks that he had found success as an adventurer and would regularly send some of his gold back home to support the bakery.
It would be two years before Silias realized that he wasn’t returning anything. However the pay was wonderful, and quite frankly he was good at it. After all, it wasn’t like the people he was stealing from didn’t have more than enough to spare. Unfortunately for him, it wasn’t to last. His success hadn’t gone unnoticed, and the heat was rising on his employers. They decided that it was time to cut bait and move on to newer territory. They needed to buy time for themselves, so they hired Silias for one last job. Naturally they neglected to mention that this was the case to him.
Their true intentions dawned on Silias as the blades of the bodyguards at his targets house were pressed against his throat. He looked around the room at several of those who he had stolen from over the years. The bastards hadn’t turned him over to the authorities, but the marks themselves. If he had been handed to the city watch, he would face a fair trial and spend the next ten to fifteen years in prison. His victims felt that was too soft a punishment. No they had something much better in mind for the peasant who had dared offend them. That is how Silias found himself in the gladiator pits hidden beneath Waterdeep. It was a city beneath the city, filled with merchants, communities, and corruption. Unfortunately for him, he still hadn’t learned how to fight, and he was positive he would die in his first fight when he found out the nature of his punishment. He struggled and squirmed as they dragged him to the pit. As he gazed at the roaring crowed circled around him, he saw the smirking nobles eager for his demise. When the organizers of the pits discovered that Silias had no combat prowess, they decided the best show would be to throw him against a beast. After all the crowd wanted to see exciting fights, and while just as lopsided watching somebody run for their lives from a starving lion was much more entertaining than a trained fighter beating up a weak gnome. After throwing him into the mud and dirt, his handlers tossed him a small dagger. He looked up at the sneering orc as it gave him a few parting words. “Try to at least live long enough for it to be entertaining.” He scrambled after the man only to face a large iron gate slamming down. He would have stayed staring at that gate for eternity if it hadn’t been for the low growl that he heard behind him. He turned to face a large, quite hungry looking tiger. His eyes darted to the dagger that lay on the grimy floor. The crowd roared as they saw his expression. He raced for the blade as the creature made its move. He was faster, but only a fraction so. As he lifted the dagger, pain shot through his entire body. He was firmly in the tiger’s jaws. What happened next wasn’t skill or intelligence; it was pure luck and will to survive. He drove the dagger straight into the creature’s eye. It howled with rage and shook him violently, but Silias refused to give up the ghost. He flailed about wildly striking what ever he could reach. After what seemed to him as ages, the creature’s grip slacked and he Silias flopped out. He was barely alive, but he was more alive than the tiger. In the arena that’s all that mattered. He awoke several days later in a small cell. Half of his entire body was covered in bandages, and all of it hurt like hell. A voice came from the darkness. “Alive huh? Might be hope for you after all.” Silias soon learned that the voice came from his cellmate, a Drow by the name of Sha’kes. He had insulted a female priestess. He often mused that her punishment was almost too kind and alluded that perhaps the fact that they had been lovers affected her decision. Sha’kes had been tasked with tending to the wounded gnome and preparing him for his next fight. His survival against the tiger had beat the odds and made him a mild crowd favorite. The handlers wanted to put him up against real fighters, but needed him to have a bit more skill than stabbing randomly. The handlers weren’t overly generous though. His training began as soon as he was conscious, despite the fact that his body was barely holding itself together. Sha decided that based on his lack of skill, dagger like weapons would be best for him. The next few months were a blur of pain and iron. Miraculously Silias came out the other side. While he wasn’t the most skilled, the will to survive was a powerful motivator. In the first few years he was still considered an underdog, and got by on grit and desperation. Many of his fights came down to the wire, but Silias refused to give up and die. Eventually the nobles forgot about him and stopped showing up to watch him die. After about four years, Silias’s fights stopped being so close. The pits had forged him into a small killing machine. He still feared dying down in the cesspool that was the pits, but no longer fighting. He was scared he would pass away from ages or disease, like Sha’kes had a year ago. He didn’t have any hope of escaping, but sometimes life throws you a bone. Silias doesn’t know what sparked the fight between the rulers of the underground city. Nor did he know who had started the fires. All he knew though was that in the middle of a match all hell broke loose. The crowd was suddenly over taken by armed gladiators. Somebody had let all the fighters out of their cells and given them access to the armory. The entire city was thrown in chaos. While many of his fellow combatants had chosen to get visceral revenge on their captors, Silias had something else on his mind…freedom. He slipped through the shadows, unseen and undeterred by the events happening around him. He spotted a group of well off looking elves retreating into a cave on the edge of the underground city. He followed silently. It was just as he had hoped. The elves were visitors to the city, and when the rioting broke out they made a run for the exit. The exit they had been kind enough to show Silias. In a few hours he found himself breathing the first breath of fresh air he had taken in nine years. He could tell from the smell of salt air that he was somewhere in the docks of Waterdeep. His first thought was to head back home to Womford. What would he tell his family though? How could he explain the years of absence? How could he ever tell them the truth of what he had become? He decided there was no way he could return. He told himself that he was sparing them of the shame his choices had brought, but in truth it was pure cowardice. He made his way to the docks and picked the first ship that looked like it was preparing to ship off. Based on the light on the horizon it would soon be dawn, and hopefully his chosen vessel would soon be on his way. He didn’t care where it was going, as long as it was far from here. He easily slipped into the cargo hold of a large vessel called The Dragon Queen. He curled up behind what he assumed to be bags of produce and drifted off to sleep. He didn’t care that the floor was hard, or that he was cold. All he cared about was that for the first time in many years, he was free.