4.04 Moral Compulsion

Taylar was rich, he knew he was. All of his life he had wished for simple luxuries, a sharp knife that could cut as well as stab, boots without holes and without cardboard soles, a waxed cape to prevent the rain seeping through to his cold ragged body, and a hot water bottle for winter nights. Now he slept on the skin of a bear and had layers of rich blankets to keep him warm. He knew that the clothes he wore were those of a rich man and that they were a great improvements from the cut up corn sacks he had worn as a child. Taylar examined the shining weapon by his side and knew that it was far removed from the shivs of his childhood, which he had usually made of scrap metal dragged jagged against stones and wrapped the hilts with old fabric. All of the things around him meant wealth, and that wasn’t counting the jars of dried food, the bottles of strong liquor, the stash of coins and gems, the minor items of art, and the magical items of such glory that he had never imagined owning them, even when he was hallucinating from drugs or fever. This wealth was proving a problem to the small Gnome.

Skyhold wasn’t a poor town, so Taylar wasn’t confronted with starving children, disabled soldiers unable to work for a crust of bread, or withered women so hungry that they would sell their bodies for a few coppers to feed the children whelped on them as part of their former prostitution. However, Taylar came from the slums and he knew where they were, even if he lived on the moon he would know where they were. A gutter education stays with you, no matter where you go after graduation. The memory of the poor dragged on Taylar and he knew that he should be doing his best to help those that couldn’t help themselves. Somehow, and he didn’t know how, he had evolved beyond the gutter-snipe he was born to be into someone with some wealth and some power. He was no longer able to look at those disadvantaged few and think that there was nothing he could do.

Even without thinking of the faceless poor Taylar was also having an issue with wealth and his companions. When he had lived with Hetty they had always shared everything, if one of them only had a crust of bread and the other had nothing then both of them had half a crust of bread. Yet Taylar was getting close to his companions, to the surly dwarf female who acts more male than Taylar himself did, the bird man with the odd relationship with children, the living tree who thought he was a person, and the dwarf miner who had helped him build his lair under his hovel. Why was everyone so funny about money? They kept selling the tools they found, trading them for better tools they thought, but the multitude of little bits and pieces would have been useful in the long run.

Taylar’s problem wasn’t what his friends were doing but what he himself was doing. The others seemed to have money and wealth, but they were spending it faster than he was, or maybe he was getting more than they were. Maybe the others weren’t collecting the extra loot that he was, like the gold bars he had liberated from the mansion before the group liberated the mansion. But, if they weren’t harvesting extra loot why weren’t they, was it morals, laziness, lack of opportunity, or lack of skill? Taylar would have to think on this further. But before then he vowed he would watch his extra income and that of his friends a little closer. The problem was that if Taylar went off on his own and acquired some trinkets of value, like the wand that Gangrel had, why should he share with the others? He had taken all the risk, had done all the work, while all they did was got stolen from. But the fighters take most of the risk in the fights and often get hurt for their troubles, Taylar had lost track of the number of wounds that they had suffered in the fray. But fighting generates loot and everyone is helping in the fight so everyone gets a share of that treasure, and stealing generates loot, but only the thief is participating so only the thief shares the loot, right? But what about the other skills his companions have which don’t generate loot like healing Taylar when he is hurt. It is very strange, very strange indeed.

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