War of Attrition
Cletus was one of eight children born in a village so small you’d have to pay a pretty penny for a map that would even waste the ink on Chatham, a week’s stroll north east of Eifara.
Cletus was a good boy, always did what his Ma asked and woke up with the roosters every morning to help his Pa on the farm. He said his prayers to Pelor every night, but somehow he always knew that he’d never get to really meet him. Not like the heros in his stories.
Life for Cletus was routine. Plant in the spring, harvest in the fall. Tend the animals in the summer, mind his studies in the winter. The most exciting thing to ever happen to him was when he and his friends got lost after wandering too far looking for peaches. They were only out one night, and Cletus kept them all happy with stories and songs.
Winter was always the best time for Cletus. Not needing to wake up to work in the fields all day meant he could stay up all night at the Crooked Still, Chatham’s only tavern. The Crooked Still gave Cletus his only escape from the drudgery of daily life. It gave him Eddie.
Eddie was a portly, bald man quickly moving past the big city fame he’d had when he wore a younger man’s clothes. Even still, he was quick with a joke and he could sing the sweetest memories anyone had ever heard. But most importantly, he knew that there was someplace that Cletus would rather be.
Every chance he had to get away from the farm Cletus, would sit and listen to Eddie’s songs of the wide world outside of Chatham. Eventually Cletus and Eddie started to play together, Eddie even taught the youngster how pluck magic from the weave with each note.
Have you ever looked at someone that you’ve known your whole life and all of a sudden see them like it was the first time all over again? That happened to Cletus the day after his 16th birthday when his Pa sent him to get fresh bread from Angeline the baker.
Well Cletus just couldn’t live life without Angeline after that day. A week hadn’t passed before he told her what was in his heart. Just as she was smiling and telling him that she felt the same way, he felt gruff hands grab him from behind and drag him down to the sheriff’s office.
As luck would have it, Angeline’s father kept the peace in that village, and he was none too kind in letting Cletus know that Angeline was promised to another, and that if Cletus wanted to keep his head attached to his shoulders, he’d never show his face in Chatham again.
Skin bruised and heartbroken, Cletus went home to get his banjo and started his march towards civilization. If he couldn’t have his Angeline, he might as well join the P.O.O.P.S. and at least see the world while he was off dying for Tennian.