26th day of Mortal 497
Story of Fenn, written down by Patte-de-Mouche.
“You make me gently laugh, you idiots, not taking the Empire coins. Maybe, you imagine yourself breaking the economy by trading ointments and cheese? I’m not thrilled either to have to keep a low head in front of those-who-aren’t-dead but that’s how the world works now. And you’re are relentlessly rehashing the past!
My Grandma too had stories where the livings were not second class citizens and where “every brave man could find a god to his heart”, as she said. But never in my lifetime have I seen a single man who didn’t fear the deads. Nevertheless, I ask myself how you manage to do without money. You have to do proper trade with your carts puking trinkets. Yet, it’s true that I’m more fitted to spend money than to earn it. But I get by, and the Empire is heavy handed on the wanted posters so there’s always work to be done.
Hey, don’t go thinking that I’m heartless only because I’m paid by the deads. We all know that it’s not how the world is supposed to be, but as long as men will die faster than women deliver, it’s a lost war… We’ll all end up joining the ranks of death so why not doing it while we’re still alive?
Don’t act surprised to what I say, kid. Admit that you have a hard time putting reality into your head. This war was lost a long time ago by people who are all dead by now. And sometimes, it is those same people who now ensure that nobody comes challenging the Empire’s victory. So forget your drifter life, your principles aren’t feeding any man. This is an advice you can write down in this book of yours.
If you want, you could come work with me! But you’ll have to stop being so picky about who’s paying. You’ll need to shake some dead hands before they give you your bounty hunter pass. Without one you cannot be paid, even if you deliver one hundred chained elves!
No pass, no bounty! And even if we live in the GOLD Empire, that doesn’t mean they give it easily, this gold. But if you play by their rules, you will always have something to eat.
Now, I won’t lie to you, I understand… I occasionally do some more “private research”, for some nomads, just like you. Hold your horses there, no it’s not the “resistance”, if that even exists. It’s only people like you who have some troubles living among the deads and go wandering the roads to avoid them as much as possible. Usually, they’re looking for some family member or people in debts… nothing fancy, when you think about it.
I bet you don’t envy my life more than I envy yours… But there’s always a way out, kid.
Although, you have to find yourself a pass, for god sake! You can’t continue traveling the roads like that. Because brigand’s attacks and nocturnal predators are one thing, but the Empire troops catch you wandering around with goods and no pass… You’ll risk to become a walking dead patrol pawn yourself.
I shouldn’t talk like that in here. I don’t want any trouble… I’m a little drunk, kiddo. Listen, if you still want a bounty hunter story for your book, come wake me in the morning. In the meantime, I will play dead for the night...”