When Mercy, the famed Brigand King of Zoa, was revealed to the world as B’sar Ebonflowerwood, near every member of the clan, as well as the vast extended family, descended on the free cities to stake their claims, curry their favors, and bask in the reflected glory of their half-elven antihero.
The Ebonflowerwoods swept in from Kalamar, joined by their more distant relatives – the Mistsingerwoods of the Fohkki mountains, the Blackenwood clan who roamed the wooded outskirts of Hobgoblin empires, and even those few left remaining of the Flintwood family, a line of elves still recuperating from their near-extinction in Brandobia at the hands of Vox the Profane. They came, they claimed, they helped spend Mercy’s vast fortune, though none were more eager to waste a career of plunder than the Brigand King’s own bastard children – six duplicitous brothers and four equally ruthless sisters who were all too quick to carve their father’s empire to pieces upon his “natural” death.
In time, the family splintered into ever greater schisms. Most of the Ebonflowerwoods split in two, and the houses of Ebonwood and Flowerwood warred over Zoa. The Winewoods, Echowoods and Eldersnowberrywoods are said to have all arose in a single night over an argument involving two coppers and a cup of mead. Over the course of the next seventy years, Mercy’s extended family came to number an incalculable amount of half-elves of varying shades of moral dubiousness. The outside world barely differentiated between the disparate tribes, and chose instead to file them all under one fitting name – The Bastards of Mercy. Collectively, a sprawling family of hangers-on and nobodies, once feared and respected under the name Ebonflowerwood, now a bickering brood of thugs and grifters.
Of all the Bastard lines, one family was viewed with the least regard of all – the Flashwoods. Though some of their number boasted strong blood ties to the Brigand King himself, they were granted little respect. During annual meetings, where the “great” houses would come together and argue over titles and rights, nobody deigned to give the Flashwoods a seat at the table. Not one of their number ever had the honor of even once holding the fabled Map of Mercy – the last of the Brigand King’s treasures, a treasure that passed between half-elves as they gambled, traded, or stole the artifact between and from each other over the course of the past half a century. For years, the Bastards would trade this map amongst themselves, and as every half-elf held it, they would boast of finally going to Brandobia and setting out to claim the legendary wealth that Mercy himself had discovered. Nobody ever did.
Flynn Flashwood was different. He was a nephew of Mercy himself … or the nephew of a cousin of Mercy’s … maybe. Either way, he was as brave as his dragon-slaying forbear ever was, and he understood that a legacy was meaningless if a man couldn’t live up to it. He saw his kin and was disgusted at what they had become. Degenerate cowards, not like the brave warrior B’Sar Ebonflowerwood had been – the man who witnessed a God die with his own eyes, who could raise the dead and punch through thick steel doors. Mercy was a legend to his people, but his people were drunks, braggarts, and cowards.
That’s what Flynn told himself as he stowed the map in his backpack, and prepared to leave Zoa under cover of night. These men who sneered at him for being little more than a Flashwood, and a useless musician at that, were not fit to hold it. Of course, cousin Fel’dwyn would be furious when he woke in the morning and found that his prize was missing, but Flynn would be far from the city by then.
It was his time now. His chance to do what nobody in his family ever dared to do. He would become a legend.
Now … he just needed a ride.