Quintas was orphaned at an early age, early enough that he has no recollection of time before growing up at Shamus and Sally’s orphanage near Porte de Mundos. Shamus and Sally were fair and kept the orphans fed, but it was also a business. The orphans helped out with various tasks around the orphanage, such as gardening, handling the livestock, crafts, etc., which went towards the feeding and care of everyone at the complex or sold at the market. Occasionally an orphan would be adopted by someone but this too was a business deal. Some kids were picked up for apprenticeships when they displayed a talent for something, some were taken in by farmers as extra hands to work the farms, and some just got the boot. Shamus and Sally received a stipend for those who were adopted however if an orphan reached the age of adulthood, around 14 summers, and were still around, Shamus and Sally would put together a care package and send them out into the world to find their place. This is where Quintas grew up, and it was a mostly miserable experience.
There were many tasks to be done around the orphanage and Quintas really didn’t excel at any of them. The only real talent he managed to display that was worth anything to the proprietors of the orphanage was his nimble, soothing hands. Frequently Sally and Shamus called on him to massage their tired aching muscles at the end of the day. It was something that came naturally to him. With a touch he could feel where any pain was stemming from and quickly dissipate it.
Quintas’ fair features were often a source of ridicule. Looking like an effeminate male or a masculine female made him an easy target for abuse, which was mostly verbal but occasionally physical. On top of that, his role as masseuse for the owners of the orphanage kept him from doing much physical labor which sparked some jealousy. Despite Quintas’ best efforts to lay low and not draw attention to himself, rarely did a day go by that someone didn’t poke some sort of barb at him. Corvus, in particular, liked to pick on him, and when the abuse escalated to an altercation, Corvus was almost always the one involved.
Corvus was a year younger than Quintas, but at least six inches taller and thick, both in body and in mind. Corvus was, in a word, a prick-the kind of guy who builds himself up by tearing others down. And he had the mouth and muscle with which to do the job. This hulking prick took special delight in tearing down Quintas. Ignoring him did no good; it only egged him on the more. Corvus couldn’t be avoided, as all the boys bunked in the same hall. Complaining to Sally or Shamus was futile, as “boy’s gotta figure out how to deal with other boys.” Fighting back verbally or physically was pointless. Piss him off, and you’d have bruises as evidence of your misstep. Every day was a battle of some sort.
Luck was a rare thing to come by, but fortune did eventually smile upon Quintas. One late night a weary traveler came to the orphanage seeking refuge from an impending storm. Shamus and Sally let him stay, for a price of course. The stranger offered up his name, Iilio (ē-lē-ō), but little more than that. The proprietors were so pleased to receive the unexpected coin in their purse that they also offered Quintas’ services to soothe away his weary travels, but he had to stay in the hall with the other boys. Quintas did as he was asked and the man said little other than end the massage as soon as Sally and Shamus left with a stern, “that is enough.” Uncertain why the stranger sent him away so abruptly, Quintas was left with a sense of rejection. His head was spinning, what had he done wrong? He was upset with himself and going over and over in his mind every detail of interaction, each muscle that was addressed, some strange realization was about to come to mind… then the wind was knocked out of him.
Fighting for breath, Quintas opened his eyes, struggling to figure out what had happened. It was no surprise to find Corvus standing over him laughing, most of the hall was laughing with him. This time around, the insults from Corvus equated Quintas’ services to being little different than those of a whoring dock wench. Quintas, his blood boiling, didn’t hear the words; a lifetime of ridicule and abuse finally caused him to snap. Corvus stood straddled over Quintas laughing until Quintas brought his knees up to his chest and drove both heels into the groin of his cackling assailant. Laughter quickly ceased and was replaced with gasps as everyone waited to see what was about to happen. Corvus managed a step or two before falling down to his knees holding his crotch; however, he wasn’t screaming, he was growling. Quintas quickly got up and turned towards Corvus who was, surprisingly, quickly regaining his composure into a standing position. Through the growling, one could make out swears and a promise to kill Quintas for such a ‘cheap shot.’ Corvus charged back at Quintas who ducked a wild hay-maker and drove his fist into Corvus’ thigh causing such a ferocious Charlie-Horse that the hulking prick fell to the ground clutching his leg, screaming this time.
Much shouting followed, made up of the cheers of others who’d suffered at the hands of Corvus and the screams of Corvus himself. It didn’t take long for Shamus to arrive, and everyone quickly headed to their bunks. Corvus was screaming less, yet unable to secure stable footing with the leg that Quintas struck. Shamus at first thought that perhaps the victim had been stabbed, given the screaming, but there was no blood to be found. Shamus rushed over to Quintas and shouted, “What did you do to him?”
With a snort, the effeminate young man only offered, “Boys have to figure out how to deal with other boys.” Shamus stormed off, collecting Corvus and taking him out of the hall. Quintas knew there’d be a reckoning over this; Corvus was not the kind to let such humiliation go unpunished. But for a night, the weight of years of abuse and ridicule were lifted.
Quintas woke up with a start, in his mind there was that nagging rejection from the stranger. It was still dark out. Before his thoughts were so rudely interrupted, Quintas was on the verge of a realization-one that was once again coming to him as the fog from his slumber lifted. This stranger, who he was supposed to be helping to relax aching muscles from days of foot travel, was faking what little tension he displayed. The man was purposefully feigning soreness and weariness, but was actually fully relaxed. There was nothing he could do for him, and it dawned on Quintas now that he wasn’t sent away out of rejection. He was sent away because there was nothing he could do for the man who was, apparently, accepting the initial offer only as a politeness. Realizing the truth of what had happened eased Quintas’ mind, and he quickly fell back to sleep.
“QUINTAS!” The young man shot up at the sound of his name being shouted and quickly realized it was Shamus. Strangely, Sally was with him too, he noted. Normally she’d be in the kitchen prepping breakfast, as it appeared as though dawn was starting to break. “You’re to apprentice with Iilio… We wish you the best.” Sally came over and hugged and kissed Quintas. She wasn’t crying, but was close to it. She was always like that when one of the orphans was about to leave. Quintas only had one summer left anyway, so it didn’t really matter what the apprenticeship was. It was probably the only offer he was going to get. Besides, it appeared that the deal had been made. And that’s just how it worked at the orphanage. Quintas left with his new master, a smile on his face-not because he’d been accepted by this stranger, but because he knew that Corvus would never get a chance to exact revenge. How lucky.
Iilio was a monk with the Order of Flesh and Bone, an offshoot group of the Church of the Source that focuses on knowing the Source by knowing Thyself. The apprenticeship that was offered to Quintas was actually just an invitation to join the Order. The events that took place the night he met Iilio left enough of an impression that the man felt he was worthy to walk the halls of the monastery and learn what the monks had to teach. There was no ridicule there, only lessons to learn and Quintas was a natural when it came to learning about the human body and how it worked. He was able to learn some lessons that took others months or years to perfect in days or weeks and quickly became one of the primary healers for the monastery. Life was finally good.
Quintas was coming back to the monastery. He’d been away for a couple weeks to treat some wounded villagers not far from the monastery that had been raided by pirates. Upon returning he found the place in ruins. The place looked as though it had been torched, bodies charred. There was no one to save, everyone was dead. The grandmaster’s corpse was face down in the fetal position his left side blackened from fire. It seemed odd to Quintas for him to lay down on the ground like that. If there was a battle this man would have been fighting ferociously. Quintas inspected further and found the monastery’s book of knowledge cradled to his chest. A last ditch effort to save a key source of their knowledge and history. Quintas collected the book and continued to investigate. Nothing made sense, where was this fire coming from? It was in some areas and not in others. In addition to that it doesn’t appear that the place had been looted. Not that the monks horded wealth or anything much of value, but everything still appeared to be there, or destroyed, but not taken.
His monastery destroyed and his brothers all dead, Quintas collected what he could and left to seek out another monastery. In the tome of knowledge Quintas found mention of a monastery on land under the rule of Duke Nesslan who apparently has a relationship with the monastery.
Quintas found the monastery intact and found it to be a bit different than the one he was forced to leave, the primary difference being the relationship with the Duke. There’s something of a symbiotic relationship going on. The Duke helps to protect the monastery from those who would do it harm, be it physical or political, and tithes money to the monastery and in return the monks lend assistance to the Duke in the form of healing, fighting or whatever the Duke decrees. This has at times caused the relationship to be strained. Quintas currently finds himself on consignment to the Duke by the monastery.