Roscoe "The Squeezebox" Tosscobble
Halfling Bard Hitman
Highway robbery was never meant to be a long-term career for the Tosscobble Cousins. There being only the two of them they couldn’t handle much more than the odd produce cart or random drunkard, snatching their meager funds and running off. Roscoe was the “brains,” in so much as this was a thought-out operation, and his cousin Bosco was the brawn. Roscoe’s family didn’t approve of him dragging little Bosco into this sort of life, but they managed to keep their exploits secret, only spending what little they made off with on drink and dancing, Roscoe playing his concertina until the sun rose, and drunken revelers collapsed on the ground around him.
Roscoe may never truly get over what happened to Bosco, though the revenge would eventually soften it. He blames himself for enough of it, though. He should have known better than to attack an archmage in the woods. Should have known to worry about a guy with a name like Fizzbuzz the Thermonuclear. Should have just let him go on by instead of sending little Bosco in to try and scare the mark. Should have been more cautious, should have been less greedy. Should have done alot of things, but no mistake on his part could have justified what the archmage did to Bosco.
Before that day, he couldn’t imagine what it would look like to melt a man from the inside out. After that day, he would never have to.
The Tosscobble clan was furious at Roscoe, what little pull he had with them had died with poor Bosco. In shame he left the only home he ever knew, hopping country to country, working for local gangs the world over. Paranoia and self-doubt defining him in these years, every robbery, every shakedown, overwhelmed by meticulous overplanning and preparation. Fear dominated him, but he refused to let it control him. Moments of sadness and self-doubt were spend in solitude with his squeezebox, playing songs that reminded himself of simpler times, before memory caught up with him of whose fault it was that times were no longer so simple.
One day, he had heard from an informant of an enemy to the Felch gang, or possibly the Wednesday brothers or Frankie Sheepsqauatch or someone, hardly mattered who. What did matter was that enemy was the Archmage, that same one from all those years ago who turned self defense into a pretext for murder. They were angry not just because he was giving them trouble, but because nobody could get close enough to punish him. They got to cursing him, spitting out his name, bragging about what they’d pay to get rid of the putz.
Roscoe said nothing at the time, and presumably continued his silence for the following week when nobody saw hide nor hair of him. Not until he returned, silently went to the mob boss, holding out for inspection a handkerchief, stained through with the diseased, purple blood of the archmage, whose initials, “F.B. the T.N.” were embroidered on the corner. It was, they could be assured, the only thing that remained of what once was called Fizzbuzz the Thermonuclear.
Roscoe would accept more hits in the future, and be paid respectably for his efforts, but for that one he would accept no money. Not just because it was personal, but because they wanted the handkerchief as proof of the deed, and Roscoe thought it more important that he kept it as a memento. So that he would always remember. So that none would ever forget.