From birth until age 9 he was homeschooled by his mother and father, the only outside interaction he had was an occasional trip to the market, where he would see many different types of people. Soldiers, sailors, merchants, city officials and his favorite, thieves. An observant child he saw the many ways that one person’s possessions could become another’s. Though he saw many instances of theft, he never spoke of it.
At age 9 he was sent to a military boarding school by his father, a well known Colonel in the Army, to learn how to be an officer and command Soldiers. He excelled at his schooling but never really had any enthusiasm for the military.
By the time he was 15 he had mastered the strategies of battlefield tactics, could command small groups of Soldiers with ease, and most importantly, could feel a growing disgust with all associated with the military. His father’s high hopes for him, the mundane rituals of the military, and the expected zeal to run into battle without knowing who is right or wrong began to pull him farther from his training.
At 17 when his father told him he was old enough to commission into the Army, he informed his father that he would not by joining the Army, and instead he would be leaving to find his place in the world. Harold was not pleased, and attempted to force Harman into the military anyway. Harman slipped out one night, leaving only a short note stating, “Mother and Father, I hope to see you again someday. And when that day comes you will see I was right. – Harm”
From 17 to 22 he ran the streets and hovels of Leebrook, being sure to stay away from the markets he knew his family would frequent. Having a very limited supply of money he quickly learned that some of the military principles his father and his training instilled in him, could be used to his individual benefit. He began learning the art of the streets.
At 22 Harman encountered an old woman, who he knew as Astrid the Witch, in an alley behind on of the many watering holes along the Rakitan River. She spoke to Harman, warning him of oncoming dangers, of dark times and of friends lost. As she spoke, a small band of rival thieves came down the alley behind Harman, he defused the situation with some well times insults and a few sarcastic remarks. Turning back, he saw that the woman had gone. He decided to seek her out and ask her for more insight into her words. Upon finding her in the ruins of a castle across the Rakitan, he asked her questions, which she didn’t answer. As he was leaving, she spoke, “If ye want answer, ye must earn them.”
From 22 to 26 Astrid proceeded to give him tasks ranging from menial, to complex. Everything from getting water, to bringing back a feather from the Mayor of Leebrook’s pet falcon. She answered some questions, others she ignored. All the while Harman continued to hone his skills as a thief, becoming more and more nimble, able to scale buildings and run from rooftop to rooftop across the city. He began to become known through the city as something of a nuisance, though he was known by most as a different name. Only the witch knew who he truly was.
At 27 while returning to the castle with a basket of berries requested by Astrid, he noticed a small band of mercenaries running along the river, away from the ruins. Curious, he followed them down the river for a short distance and saw them board a small boat, which they rowed back across the river, towards the city. He shrugged, and as the daylight began to fade, he returned to the ruins. The fire Astrid always kept burning had gone out. He restoked the fire, as it began to illuminate the room, he saw that the room was asunder, books and parchments scattered, herbs and elixirs smashed into the stone floor. In the corner he saw a figure covered in a blanket. Not breathing, he drew his sword and moved across the room to it. Pulling the blanket back, he was assaulted with the smell of blood and death. Astrid lay, eyes staring blankly, half her face crushed in on itself. He slumped to the floor, having lost all ability to think. When he could compose himself, he vowed revenge. He piled wood and all of her belongings around her, and set them ablaze. No time for a funeral, he had to be going.