Desperately poor, David tries to survive in a world of magic and bloodshed.
|He sees an impossibly bright tunnel. Now he knows for sure that he is dead. The last thing he remembers is the worst pain he ever felt in his life and the smothering smell of ozone. Various events from David's life flash over him. He sees his birth; his mother, named Anne, gives birth painfully in a dark alleyway. Then he sees his mother turning tricks to be able to afford a home for him and his two older step sisters. She never let them find out about this, because she wanted to keep them safe from such things. He sees the childhood antics he used to get up to with his sisters Mary and Judith; they often ran around town teasing passing adventurers, who'd usually take it in stride, envious of their youthful enthusiasm for life. Their mother could not afford to pay for formal education, which was prohibitively expensive for all except for the upper crust of society, but she read to them regularly when she could find books for them. He sees the way Mary would get him and Judith out of trouble when they would bite off more than they could chew.
The experience continues like this for a while, until he sees the event that ruined everything, the fire that broke out in their home when David was away gathering supplies at the market. He had just come of age when it happened. David closes his eyes and shakes his head, having no desire to see this unmitigated disaster again. He tries very hard not to think about the smoldering ruin he came home to, nor the smell of freshly burnt human flesh, all too familiar to him at this point.
He hears a woman's voice calling for him. "Please come home, my son. You've suffered more than enough." There is a bright flash, and he finds himself in a vast, tranquil meadow. There are flowers of every description. He sees something quite familiar in the distance. He squints, and he recognizes three people. His family is here! He almost can't believe his eyes. He rushes towards them, and they embrace him. He cries tears of joy and tells them how happy he is to see them again finally. It's all over, and they can be together again, forever. Their eternity would start today.
It would, that is, if someone else did not have other plans. Just as abruptly as it began, he is torn from paradise. A strange hand tears him away from his departed relatives, ignoring the frantic way they all beg it to leave them alone, and it drags him down beneath the ground, back to Fairspring. He awakens on an unfamiliar bed, surrounded by two smiling strangers, a dark leather-clad dwarf with a flowing brown beard and dreadlocks and a red-headed, bespectacled gnomish girl in a sleeveless healer's gown that clasps at her right shoulder. She is holding a spellbook. David can't move, or else he would probably be trying to kill them right now. He can feel his heart thumping in his chest, but he feels very, very weak. The room is spinning much too fast for him to make out any details about his surroundings past the strangers' faces. He tries to speak, but his mouth stubbornly refuses to move.
The dwarf looks down at David, starstruck, and then back at his companion. "It worked, lass! The first successful attempt at resurrection magic!" Bashful, the gnome responds by admitting that all others resulted in failures, bringing the deceased to 'life' but without their former personalities or skills, resembling shambling corpses more than anything. "Still, Rosina, methinks you did truly impressive work. It will be the talk of the town for a long while."
Rosina rebukes the dwarf rather sternly. "We mustn't speak a word about this to anyone, Firgul. Necromancy is still extremely taboo. The reason we went to all that trouble to lift this crispy bloke from the dungeon in the first place was because he has no family or friends to report his body missing." David, with much effort, shifts his gaze towards her. There is a gormless, pitiful look on his face. She blushes and looks away slightly; during the restoration process, they had to remove his charred clothing. "But we can be your new family if you want!" The slightest smile shows on his face.