Thalantyr is a Half-Elf, and like many of his race has grown up as something of an outsider. His mother, a wild Elf from the famous Ekujae Tribe within the Mwangi Expanse, died during childbirth, leaving his bereaved human father to raise him alone. His father operated a small ferrying business, transporting people and their goods along the Mwangi Expanse’s several rivers and streams. He was often absent, and when he was home he was besotted with drink more often than not. Thus, Thalantyr’s upbringing during his formative years was mostly left to his Elven grandparents. The young Half-Elf grew up among the Ekujae, and like any Ekujae youth was trained as a hunter and warrior from the moment that he could walk. He had inherited the grace and agility of the tribe, and took quickly to his lessons.
His teenage years were a troubled time, as he began to face ridicule from the other Ekujae youths because of his human lineage. Furthermore, he began to become aware of the fact that his grandparents saw him as something of a burden, as he was a constant reminder of their daughter’s shameful union and the cause of her demise. Filled with teenage angst and longing for a place to belong, Thalantyr struck out on his own. As might be expected, it was not long before he fell in with the wrong sort. He found new uses for the skills he had learned among the Ekujae when he befriended a group of young urchins working for a man by the name of Kass, who housed and fed them (under less than ideal conditions) while also training them in the arts of thievery and deception. The boys were his own small army of river pirates, and he often had them steal from the many vessels moving about on the rivers of the Expanse.
One fateful night, Kass summoned Thalantyr into his “office” and told him to shut the door. He told the young boy, now 16 years old and an accomplished little thief, that he had a special job that only Thalantyr was capable of. The young Half-Elf swelled with pride and listened carefully to the details of his assigned task. He was to travel with Kass down the river leading to the mountain pass to Katapesh. There they would find a large merchant boat laden with valuable wares. Thalantyr’s job was to sneak aboard the vessel and lay claim to as many items of value as he could carry. Thalantyr was so excited to be trusted with this important task that it never occurred to him to wonder why Kass would send only one of his urchins to rob such a large boat, or why Kass was going to be personally involved in this heist when he had never bothered to get his own hands dirty before. Thalantyr was instructed to tell none of the other boys, and to be ready to depart at dawn.
The journey down river took several days, and when they finally reached the river’s end, they found the vessel they were seeking. They secured the raft a good distance away and waited until nightfall. Finally, Kass sent Thalantyr off to complete his task. Kass had detailed information regarding the layout of the ship, and passed this on to Thalantyr so that he could find the hold where the best treasures were kept. Thalantyr assured Kass that he understood and slipped away into the trees, moving with the stealth and grace that the Ekujae had taught him. When he reached the boat, he found few guards and plenty of shadows to hide him from their sight. He snuck aboard the vessel and infiltrated his way into the main hold as he’d been instructed. He found a locked door, which he easily picked, and slipped inside. What he found chilled him to his very core.
There was no gold, silver, gems, or treasures of any kind to be found within the hold. Instead, he found people. A good number of them for such a small boat, and every one chained and gagged. Before he could overcome the shock of this discovery, he was set upon from behind by a pair of crewmen from the boat. He attempted to draw his daggers and defend himself, but his arms were quickly wrenched behind his back and manacled together. A black bag was tied over his head, and he was stripped of his weapons and tools. The men locked him in the hold with the other captives, laughing as they left. He heard voices then, and one of them belonged to Kass. He and several other men were laughing, and Kass was demanding payment for “delivering the promised goods”. There was the sound of coins changing hands and he heard nothing more. Kass had tricked him. Had SOLD him. He cried for hours, until sleep claimed him.
The next morning he was rudely awoken and dragged off of the boat with the other prisoners. He could not see anything through his hood, but he knew that he had been loaded into a wagon with other people and those wagons were soon put in motion. They traveled for what seemed like an eternity, and the temperature seemed to rise with each passing day. Three times a day the wagons would stop. The captives hoods would be removed, and food and water provided. Buckets of water were thrown upon the captives when they finished their meals, and then the hoods would be replaced.
Thalantyr thought he would die in the back of the cart as hunger, heat, exhaustion, and worst of all thirst took their toll. He had almost given up until the day when the wagons were driven into a city. There could be no mistaking the sounds of civilization as they erupted from everywhere. Eventually the captives were unhooded and taken out of the wagons. Thalantyr noted that there were not nearly as many as when the journey had begun, and those that were left looked much like he felt: on the brink of death. They were taken to a slave market and sold, one by one. Thalantyr’s buyer was an old man with tanned skin like old leather and a mane of silver hair tied back with a leather cord. He wore a patch over his right eye. Thalantyr did not know it yet, but he had been brought to the great city of Katapesh. His buyer was the head of a local thieves guild, and this day marked the beginning of a long and difficult education for Thalantyr.
He was taken to the guild hall, where he was provided with food, water, and rest until he had fully recovered. Then his training began. Thalantyr already had the basic skillset that would be required in his new life, and he was blessed with the grace, agility, and perception of his Elven kindred. The Guild (that was all it was ever referred to as by its members) took these basic skills and refined them, teaching Thalantyr to perform incredible feats of quickness and agility, move silently and unseen, and most importantly how to kill. He was provided with a viciously curved set of daggers, far better than the ones he had carried during his days as a river urchin, and he was drilled constantly in their use. His lessons were beaten into him. Failure was never tolerated and always brutally punished. Thalantyr learned quickly.
Once his training was complete and he was dispatched on missions, life got easier. He was paid for his work, he was fed, and he had a safe place to sleep. In a foreign land where he knew nothing and no one, these simple comforts all but guaranteed his loyalty. Had these things not been enough…then the perverse sense of belonging that he felt as a member of the guild served as the final cord that bound him fast to it. He spent the next few years as a thief and spy. His missions were always low-profile. He was not yet experienced enough to be trusted with extremely delicate work. All of this changed when he was one day given instructions to assassinate a particular merchant. He was told that it was a test, and that his success would mean advancement within the Guild. Thalantyr accepted the mission and left to see it done. It was a complete failure.
He successfully infiltrated the home of his target despite the many guards and various traps set to guard the place, but by chance he entered through the wrong window. He found himself in a bedchamber as he had expected. He advanced upon the large bed and drew his knife...only to find the bed occupied by a small girl, certainly no older than ten years. The reality of what the fulfillment of his mission would do to this poor girl struck him like an arrow through the heart. He could not carry through with his task and leave her bereft of one of her parents. Had the loss of one of his not begun the chain of events that had led him to this life? His mind raced. Failure here would almost certainly mean his death. He did not have time to deliberate further. The girl’s eyes fluttered open, and her piercing scream filled the room.
When the guards arrived, they found Thalantyr on his knees at the foot of the girl’s bed, his hands on his head and his daggers placed before him on the floor. He was detained until the coming of the dreaded Zephyr Guard, who promptly arrested him and took him away. Thalantyr went quietly, having already resigned himself to imprisonment and even execution. He felt that he deserved them. He was taken to a Zephyr Guard precinct and shut into a dark holding cell. It seemed to him that he must have been there for hours. Finally, the doors were open and a Zephyr Guard officer entered. He took a seat on the bench that served as the cell’s only piece of furniture and regarded the Half-Elf for quite some time before speaking.
He told Thalantyr that he was unable to determine why he had surrendered himself instead of escaping. If he had meant to kill the girl, then surely he could have done so and perhaps even escaped before being arrested. Why then, had he chosen to do neither? Thalantyr spoke to him plainly, saying that he had wanted to be caught. He was a thief and had almost been a murderer. He had spent his entire life in the service of evil men, and he no longer wanted to live that way. He told the officer his story, how he had come to Katapesh, how he had come to be a member of the Guild, and how he had come to be at the house of his intended target that night.
The Captain listened patiently, and then informed Thalantyr that the man he had been sent to kill was no merchant, but rather a government official. His attempted murder was punishable by death. However, Thalantyr had valuable information regarding the organization that he worked for, and if he would provide it so that the Zephyr Guard could take action against them, then Thalantyr would be released. Not only from prison, but from slavery, and allowed to go whichever way he wished. Thalantyr complied, and the Zephyr Guard mobilized to bring down the Guild. He was held until the operation was over and the Zephyr Guard had validated his claims. The Guild was brought down, and its affiliates rounded up and executed for their crimes.
True to his word, Captain Abduhl arranged for Thalantyr's release, but he also made him an offer, telling him that he was free to do as he wished, but that the Zephyr Guard could use a man with Thalantyr’s unique talents to aid them in their efforts to keep the law in Katapesh. If he desired to do good, then he might do so by acting in an unofficial capacity for the Zephyr Guard. His anonymity and ability to remain unseen and unheard meant that he could gain entry to places that the Zephyrs couldn’t, and that he could do things that might be off limits to them. Thalantyr would work under Abduhl, using his skills to gather information on criminal activity or perform covert operations against those whom the Zephyrs could not act against directly. Seeing this as an opportunity to turn his life around and having nowhere else to go, Thalantyr agreed. He has since secretly served Abduhl as a messenger, spy, saboteur, thief (recovering stolen property), informant, and sometimes assassin. He reports to him directly, and their relationship is kept a closely guarded secret.