Eye Color: Blue
Hair Color: Brown
Weight: 135 lbs
Place of Origin: Baerlon, Andor
Aiolus Taragol scrounged around in a trash heap outside of the Stag and Lion inn, searching for anything he might be able to eat that had been carelessly thrown out. Things had always been tough for him, as far as he could remember, but the past few months had been exceptionally difficult for him, with the winter still clinging on even after spring should have already arrived. Storehouses were running low, and most people were eating poorly. Being homeless, the shortage of food was felt by Aiolus worse than most anybody else in Baerlon.
As people shuffled by, Aiolus looked over his shoulder to see if anybody was watching him. More than once in the past week he had been chased off by innkeepers or the town watch. More than once in the past week Aiolus had felt the weight of a quarterstaff slammed across his back and shoulders. With the times being what they were, all of the troubles caused by brigands and Whitecloaks in the town only added to the tension felt by the watch, and with Aiolus being a poor beggar with nobody to vouch for him or care how he was treated, it seemed as though the watch had decided that Aiolus would make a perfect target on which to unleash their frustrations.
Times really are getting worse, Aiolus thought to himself as he finished shuffling through the trash heap. By this time last year, Aiolus would have found plenty of food to appease his hunger. But of late, the only way Aiolus seemed to be able to secure any food was by stealing it from vendors, and even then the food wasn't worth much. Fruit that bordered on rotten, chickens that were scrawny and appeared underfed, and the vegetables suffered from wilting and blight-spots more often than not. At times, Aiolus was left wondering whether it would just be better to not eat, and then his stomach would grumble in protest at the thought.
Sighing as he walked down the street, Aiolus shook his head and lost himself in thought. I've lived on the streets all my life, but I don't know how much more of this I can take. Light help me, I don't know how I'm going to survive without being reduced to joining some band of brigands.
Feeling eyes watching him, Aiolus looked up to find that a pair of watchmen were eyeing him, the suspicion obvious on their faces. Light burn me, but I'm not much better than a brigand now, am I? Skulking around in the alleys, stealing from vendors who are having their own troubles providing for their families. There has to be something better than this. Somewhere...
As the setting sun dropped behind the final buildings lining the streets of Baerlon, Aiolus quickened his pace in a rush to return to the safety of the abandoned, run-down building where he slept. Aiolus told himself there was nothing to be afraid of in the dark, but he just couldn't shake the feeling that the nights were a dangerous time now.
Several Months Later....
Aiolus had spent the past several months traveling the roads. It wasn't difficult to keep hidden among all of the merchant trains that seemed to be moving between Baerlon and Caemlyn, Caemlyn and Cairhien, and finally Cairhien and Tar Valon. During that time he had taken from merchants when he could, and attempted to work for other merchants when he didn't feel he could safely lift anything from the merchants' carts without being noticed. Unfortunately, not many merchants had any work for a poor beggar. More often then not, his pleas for work in exchange for food were met with laughter, and he was turned away, his cheeks burning with a mix of embarrassment and anger.
As the merchant trains approached Tar Valon, Aiolus was struck by a fancy that, to anybody else would have been considered insanity. However, to him, it was sheer desperation that gripped him. Tar Valon was supposed to be one of the richest cities in the world, surely someone in Tar Valon would have work for a person like him. He wasn't much to look at, but he was willing to do anything. He was tired of living solely by the luck of the draw, existing on the most meager of scraps he could steal. I'm no common thief, Aiolus thought to himself, and I'm tired of being forced to act like one.
Wandering the streets of Tar Valon, he asked at every inn he passed, every shop and house, looking for work. However, it seemed that nobody had any use for a smelly, unkempt beggar like him, no matter how base the job he was willing to perform.
Light burn me, even a job mucking stables would be fine. Surely someone could use another set of hands to help clean up after horses.
Near the end of his third day in Tar Valon looking for work, Aiolus was about to give up and move on with the merchants in the morning. But as he stared at the ground, unsure of where he would go next, he found himself running into a man dressed in gear that Aiolus could only guess marked him as a member of the city watch, if there was even a need for a watch in Tar Valon, with the White Tower full of Aes Sedai in the heart of the city.
The man looked down at Aiolus, his face emotionless, but his eyes showing a bit of annoyance.
“Watch where you're going, boy.”
Blushing, Aiolus stood up and dusted himself off. He was hungry, tired, and now he had just made himself known to the town guard. The day couldn't possibly get any worse. Well, if it couldn't get any worse, why not see if the watch will take you in? It couldn't hurt.
Unsure what he expected, Aiolus cleared his throat and tried to control his voice so that it didn't give any hint of nervousness.
“E-excuse me sir,” Aiolus's voice was barely more than a whisper, but the watchman looked directly at him. “I was wondering if there might be any way that the town guard was willing to take on a new man.”
The watchman cocked his right eyebrow quizzically, giving Aiolus an appraising look, but before he could say anything, Aiolus hurried on with what he was saying.
“I know I don't look like much, sir, but I'm willing to do any task asked of me, and I can handle myself decently in a fist fight. Please sir, all I ask is for a chance to prove myself, so that I may finally elevate myself to a life better than that of a mere beggar.”
The Tower Guard shook his head and sighed. He was used to boys from all over coming up to him looking for directions to the Training Yard, so that they could join the Guard. But this boy was different. His clothes were ragged, the stench of weeks without bathing clung to him like bitemes to a horse, and he was barely more than a string of a boy. But yet, there was a fire in his eyes, a desire and a yearning. He didn't know why, but he felt pity for this boy, sympathy.
“The Tower Guard is always looking for good men who walk in the Light. If you think that you can hold up to the training to become a Guard, then go see the Mistress of Trainees. She'll decide whether you have what it takes. You'll find the Training Yard at the base of the White Tower. That's where you'll also find the Mistress of Trainees.”
Aiolus nodded excitedly and took off at a run. This is it, this is my chance to finally make something of myself. To finally have a better life.