The Heroes of Feather Falls
When I was five years old, my father gave me my first piggy bank. He told me the world is full of people trying to take what’s not theirs— swindlers, bandits, and tax collectors — but ultimately money is meaningless to the holder unless he earned it squarely. He said to always remember the true value of a man is what they put into the bank from their own pockets. He then gave me 10 copper, and said, “Droc, I know you’ll be worth the investment.” He ruffled my hair and then ask for 5 copper to pay for the piggy bank.
I remember the board squeaking when I entered my home for one of the last time. Dad never did fix things unless they collapsed. He said wanted to earn a maximum return for every purchase. I knew exactly where to go. The setting sunlight from the kitchen window cast a sick gold orange pathway along the hallway floor.
I never went to school when I was young— I had to get a jump start on the market. I filled up my piggy quickly and kept in on my window sill as a trophy. From there, I studied economics, started a shoe repair business, and found a deity with similar business interests; she continues to guide me to fortune even today. I didn’t have friends who could keep up with me while growing up, making me a perfect target for fists and rocks of other children . Occasionally other town outcast, the half-orc Raf, would beat off pestering bullies in the name of an unprofitable moral code. Though he tried to refuse, I would pay him a copper whenever he provided bodyguard work.
Walking toward the kitchen, I passed by several small paintings of farm animals in cute positions. Dad wanted to keep up the image that we were simple country folk for passing traders looking to take advantage of us. Of course Dad would turn it around, and merchants would walk away from our home with a lighter load, but no smile. As I looked at my parents sprawled on the kitchen floor, I wondered what deal Dad tried to make with the invaders. Dad shield mom with one hand, and was holding something else in the other.
I recently discovered treasure is the true money maker. Even the best salesmen do not make as much money as adventurers. I did the calculations— even when factoring in personal risk and supply costs, one adventure could make an individual more coin than most people see in their lifetime. I’m glad I got caught up in that journey into that miserable hole otherwise I would’ve never found out. And when I got out of the hole, I couldn’t wait to show my father my financial graphs, charts, and future projections.
In the long run, nothing of true value was lost, I thought this as I stood with my travel companions looking at the parent’s recently covered graves. The ruin house was worthless and the scorched land was infertile anyway. Further, the Xent didin’t take any of Dad’s profits; he kept his finances in hidden safes, trade agreements, and investments, and they can stay wherever they are… I didn’t earn it.
As I excused myself from the group and made my way to the house, I reminded myself hate and grudges are not profitable. And anger just draws a keen buyer’s eyes off the market, as Dad used to say. “If I keep those in mind,” I said flatly as I entered the my house for the last time and pulled out the piggy bank my father had clutching at the end of his life, “I can…”
But I had nothing else to say.
I uncorked the bottom of my porky vault. The copper bounced and twirled as they hit the floor and made the rhythmic clanging sound I normally enjoyed. I didn’t stay to watch where the round metal went nor did I wait for the coins to settle. I left as soon as the pig was spent.
Half consciously I surveyed the group as I left the house and walked toward them. Shane, an elf who would rather live in the woods and trade twigs and leaves than anything valuable. Barron, a charming sociopath who cares about the market as much as a troll cares about bathing. And Raf… yet again, fighting to protect me free. And more would join us. Lucas, with his expensive style and exotic weapon, and Isis and “Lucky” who can’t even remember how they got to us.
I hate the concept of destiny, because anything can be revealed to the buyer if he follows the dollar. But here I was with no home and now traveling with other wanderers… misfits… outcasts. It’s all right. I’m a driving force in the economy now. I can invest in a new life. Eventually I’ll forget that deep in my treasure pack, underneath gold, jewels, vaulable treasures, there is an empty piggy bank.