Marcus Skolvar Penthaln AKA Skol
The defining moment in Skols life is easy to pinpoint. It was two weeks before his fourth birthday. He remembers it clearly. You might question if he could remember something from such a young age but whether or not he truly remembers it doesn’t matter anymore. Memory of a memory. Confabulation. Fantasy. Whatever the case, he can see the blood from that day more clearly than he can the here and now.
It started when he was in the play room. Skol finds it hard to believe there was a whole room dedicated to “play” but there it is, bright as day, in is mind. He heard a noise. Loud but not too loud. At the time, he barely took notice of it, though as he runs the memory through in his mind, the instincts he’s built up in the proceeding years scream THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG. The almost 4 year old Marcus simple continues with his games.
Screams. SCREAMS BRIEF AND MUFFLED, PROFESSIONALS
Little Marcus takes notice now. He has no idea what’s happening or what to do. IDENTIFY ESCAPE ROUTES, POTENTIAL WEAPONS… but there’s no going back and helping Marcus for Skol. The episode plays on uninterrupted as it has everyday since.
Marcus runs out and towards his parents bedroom. Towards the brief scream. The door is open. The door is never open. He looks in and freezes. The bed and far wall is awash with blood. Both his parents mangled bodies are in the bed. In grotesque unnatural positions. He hears something. FOOTSTEPS, DOWN THE HALL, TWO WALKING IN SINGLE FILE.
Marcus is frozen in the doorway, unable to move. Two people walk out from around the corner in strange outfits. MESH ARMOR CLOAKS, TRIPLE CROSS SYMBOL. They have guns, real guns. GUN, GUN, KNIFE, XXX. The first one raises his weapon and takes aim at Marcus. 6’2, 250LBS., IMPLANTS ON LEFT SIDE OF FACE, SCAR ON LIP. The second one pushes his arm down. “No babies, not for me.” 6’4, 230LBS., BLUE EYES, PALE SKIN, VOCAL CORDS ALTERED. The second one walks up to Marcus. “Do yourself a favor kid and forget about us.” A quick motion and then Marcus is enveloped by darkness.
Skol woke up in a gutter. In a part of the city he’d never seen before. So far away from what was once home that he could never hope to get back there. Before Skol could fully regain his senses someone came to collect him. A weary looking old woman. She took him to an orphanage.
Skol lived in the orphanage relatively comfortably for about 3 years. There was never enough food and always work to be done. But it was a step up from what he saw of the streets. He never wanted to leave. He knew those men were out there. Eventually the orphanage saw fit to sell him though, as they always do around that age. Skol never held it against them. They could well have sold him younger to the less… desirable… end of the slave trade, and at greater profit.
Skol was put to work in a factory. Menial tasks that would certainly be cheaper to do by machine if not for the fact that slaves required less repairs. That was his life for 4 more years. Every day mindless factory work for 16 hours. Every night dreaming the same dream of his parents mangled bodies. Until he finally luck struck twice.
A police raid. While slavery wasn’t necessarily illegal, the buying and selling of children was generally frowned upon. Higher in the city that is. For whatever reasons, a raid was set up, certainly all for show, on the factory Skol happened to work at. Skol never did find out why it happened. Maybe just for something “happy” to put on the news. Or maybe the owner of that factory angered the wrong people. Whatever it was. It got Skol out of the factory and it was broadcast on the news. That was his first bit of luck.
The second came a few days later. As Skol was wandering the streets with no job, no knowledge and no skills – more or less worse off than he had been in the factory. A man came up to him.
“Are you Marcus Penthaln.”
“You were just rescued from that slaver’s factory weren’t you?”
“And your name is Marcus Penthaln.”
It’d had been so long he’d almost forgotten his given name. “I…yes?”
The man quickly shoved Skol into a sac. Skol made no attempt to resist. He had barely eaten in three days and honestly didn’t care what happened to him anyway. This was his second stroke of luck.
After a few hours Skol was unceremoniously dumped out of the sac onto a fine carpet. There was a desk and an older, well groomed, important looking man. He had a look that somehow simultaneous expressed relief and contempt at the same time.
“Ah, Marcus. I wish I could say it’s good to see you again but it really isn’t. Quite a burden to be honest. We saw you on that idiocy in the news. Hurray, an illegal factory was busted up. There are 17 more just like it on that block alone. We should all pat each other on the back. eichh. Anyway. Jeram saw you. Recognized you immediately and insisted we do something to help you.”
Jeram. Marcus’s childhood friend. Skol barely remembered him. But he did remember him. They would play together in that playroom sometimes.
“Now, your family is gone and I can do nothing to bring you back into the fold so to speak but I can, nonetheless, set you up better than you are now. So. What is it that you want?”
“…want?” It was a baffling question to Skol. Not in all his years since the incident had anyone asked for his opinion, let alone what he wanted. Skol never even posed the questions to himself. Doing anything of his own volition seemed so alien that it never even occurred to him.
“Yes son, what is it you want? I can’t give you back what you lost but I can set things up for you so that you can make your way down there with the scu… in the lower sections. What do you want to do?”
Hearing it again, something turned in Skol. Something he didn’t even know was there. Something that had been building in him all those years. His whole body felt warm as he began to feel a rush. Momentarily he thought he might faint as the blood rushed to his head.
“Well boy? Speak up.”
Skol realized he must have been standing there in silence for minutes. And for the first time he put words to the thoughts that had been buried in his mind ever since that day. Buried so deep even he didn’t know they were there.
“I want to kill them.”
The man’s eyes narrowed. He seemed to take in Skol like he was seeing him for the first time. Skol caught something behind his affected passivity. Was it…respect?
“Ok. But we have never met. And I am never to see or hear of you again. You are not to contact me or Jeram under any circumstances.”
Skol was put back into the sac. Sometime later he was once again dumped out, this time into an alley back in the depths he had come from. A note was next to him. It said “Only if you really need to” followed by a long series of digits. Signed Jeram.
A man came by shortly. “Marcus?”
“Well Skol, I’m to take you in for training”
And thus began Skols career in “rectifying misunderstandings.” What others would call “assassination.”