{ ♔ } “Stay back! This is my gold! Mine!”

          Vercci held the tiny jeweled dagger close to his chest, though in truth, he wasn’t quite prepared to use it. Despite his title, the infamous “Merchant of Death” never had taken a life himself. Always, others did his dirty work, killing in his stead while he remained tucked away, safe and sound within the confines of his villa.

          Though Vercci showed no outward signs of fear, a thin layer of cold sweat coated his palms as he gripped the dagger tighter still, shifting into the best battle stance he could muster with what limited combat knowledge he possessed. Long ago, in what seemed like another lifetime, his father had attempted to teach him swordplay. Now, as a group of common thieves backed him farther and farther into a corner, Vercci sincerely regretted skipping his fencing lessons in favor of studying economics. What good was calculus now, when his very life was in danger?

          “Watch where you point those swords, you fools. I am nobility!”

          Despite his previous display of confidence, Vercci let out a terrified shriek as the largest of the thieves, likely their leader, took a single step towards swiped with his sword, knocking the dagger right of his hands. Finally, his porcelain mask shattered, and Vercci crumpled to the ground in fear. 

          He didn’t want to die like this- so very undignified, murdered by a bunch of filthy, uneducated peasants, wielding little more than rusty mass produced bits of iron. Oh, but he was just a nobleman- a helpless, weak little lord, whose power came only from his control over others.

          “V-Voldo! Voldo, return to me this instant! If you don’t, then I… Oh, I can’t die here! I won’t!”