In his past life, Quinn was a mercenary of a company called the “Noble Order.” When work was scarce, they turned to banditry, taking food, wealth and drink from the populace by force. Though he was never above breaking a finger or leaving a bruise, Quinn was still shocked when he struck an old farmer in the temple and the old man died on the spot.
With the grandfather’s family weeping over his corpse, Quinn abandoned the Noble Order and went on the run. In a tavern far from there he spent the last of his silver, bumped into a member of Wolf Company, spat in his face, and got a dagger to the gut in response. They threw him out back in the mud to get rid of the body and carried on drinking.
Feverish and bleeding out, Quinn tried to keep his eyes open. Someone walked into the alley without making a sound. Tall, weightless, and continuously crumbling and blowing away on the wind, the ashen spectre knelt beside Quinn and offered him a hand—an act of solace, not of healing or salvation. If nothing else, the dying bandit was glad not to be alone, whether what he saw was real or not. He took the figure’s crumbling hand. A ring of fire pressed into his palm, and he jolted up with a start—to find himself in the woods, surrounded by men and women in gray robes, treating his wound with burning herbs and feeding him some foul soup.
In the weeks that followed Quinn adjusted to his new life among the Penitents. They taught him which herbs grew where, how to make a salve for a wound, a tea for a fever, and poultices for rashes and infections. The strength that made him a feared mercenary now proved helpful hauling food and clearing obstacles from their way.
Around him, the elder Penitents spoke in hushed whispers about the Root of Sorrows—“The Enemy, the Old Scorpion.” Soon, King Ralzemon declared them heretics and sent his knights and soldiers to imprison or drive them out. It was time for the group to move. They crossed over to Marchen beyond Ralzemon’s reach, but as the moon grew brighter, the nights grew colder, and horrors worse than an old king’s henchmen followed the Penitents…