What They All Want
A Protector of the Small Fanfiction
Machiavella of Kingsport

Chapter1: Vinson of Genlith
So here I am, sitting in a run-down tavern, talking to my old crony Joren. That bastard. Always knew he was a bastard. I guess that didn't stop us being friends, though. So what are we talking about? Oh, I remember. Joren's trying to give me money, trying to help me out, trying to be charitable. And that makes me angry.
I had been a noble, just a couple of months ago. And then I blew it all. By choice, yes. I never really wanted to be a knight, anyhow. It was my dad's stupid dream, and plus, it was my older brother who was going to inherit all the money and lands and stuff. So I had to have something to do with my life while old Travis was running the estate and all. I see where my dad was going with all this, and why he might have been so pissed that he disowned me when I quit.
But look at me-I'm still pretty, despite that I spent almost eight years training to be a knight. My only bruises have faded, I only have a couple of scars, and they're not at all disfiguring. My hair has grown since I gave up knighthood, so I have this sort of shaggy-looking mane of dark brown hair and nice dark eyes. I'm a bit swarthy-looking to be like most nobles, but it runs in the family, can't be helped. So what am I doing, you ask, in the prostitution business?
Like I've been saying, I've cut and run from the whole knighthood-spiel. What I really wanted was a trade. But being like any other clueless noble, I had no idea where the hell to look. So this guy took me in and asked if I wanted to make lots of money. Who doesn't? I said yes. He asked if I was lost, if I didn't know where I was going. Another yes. So I guess you could say he took advantage of me. In exchange for a room in his brothel plus food and clothing, I worked the streets and paid him the money I got. Still do. I must say I feel like a complete idiot.
I mean, who ever heard of a prostitute that used to be a noble? A male noble, at that? I bet you can guess the kind of customers I get in this...business. Other men. I think it's disgusting. I mean, I hear in other countries, a guy and a guy or a girl and a girl will get together...but that's just not my thing. Other people can do it, but not me. I only do it for a ton of money. My guess about all my customers is that they're really desperate and they couldn't find a woman if they tried. That's so sad. When I was a squire, I had tons of women. But those days are over now and I'm trying to forget that. I don't want to go back.
So here's Joren, now, trying to give me money. He says he's really ashamed of me. I'm not surprised. I'm ashamed of me too. But he says he doesn't want to be associated with a whore. Well, if he doesn't want to be associated, why does he then associate himself? I don't understand it. Do you? Maybe he's just got a whole lot of pity, since he knows me.
But he's not even all that nice. Insults me, calls me lazy, asks why I don't go looking to be an apprentice for a blacksmith or something like that that pays well. He doesn't understand that it's just not that simple. He's still noble, what does he know? He probably walks around these parts of Corus with a hankerchief over his damn nose so he doesn't have to smell the lowly filth around him.
It's too hard to explain to him that if I asked around to be an apprentice, either people would laugh at me, or they would spit in my face. My first offense to them was being a snotty noble. My second offense is prostitution. No respectable person wants to even be seen talking to a whore. It's like a smear on their reputation. I tried explaining this to Joren. He laughed. He doesn't understand.
He goes so far as to suggest to me now, over a tankard of ale, that I join a band of thieves and hit it big. He is so na•ve. You don't just go join a band of thieves, they're way too suspicious that you'll go and turn them all in or something. I yell at him a bit, and then stop, realizing I'm drunk, and that a lot of customers in the tavern are staring at me. Some of them look pretty important, like people that would report me for even talking about joining a band of thieves. I sit down, shamefaced. But his words have stuck in my mind now. Why not become a burglar for a living? That's a trade, right?
And now, I can't believe this is me talking. Two months ago I would have been making fun of anyone who was so poor they had to steal for a living. That's the big joke. Now, I really am that poor. I don't have a copper to my name. If my father could see me, he would whip me until I bled rivers. Yet some part of me wishes he was here to help me out, I mean, I miss my family, you know? I must sound like a total sop, because what eighteen year old boy would admit to that? But you don't know what your loved ones are worth until you're lost to them.
All of a sudden I feel like crying. Me? Cry? Again, I am hardly able to recognize myself. I see Joren getting up to leave, overturning the bench behind him and slamming down two nobles to pay for the ale. He storms out the door. And through a blurry mask of tears, I look at the half full tankard and reach for it. My hands are shaking like leaves. And as the ale flows down my gullet, my soul is comforted.

TO BE CONTINUED...