Soldiers of Misfortune
Then, as a young adult, she met the only son of a wealthy and prominent merchant family, Erik. She first approached him only as an easy mark. But as they got to know each other, they fell in love.
Erik told her how he was the only heir of his family and was destined to take over the family business. But this is not what he desired. He despised high society and their social etiquette. He hated the false niceties of the people around him. He could never tell whether someone was being sincere or just targeting his wealth. He dreamed of having adventures and traveling the world, rather than keeping books for his family business. He envied Kallista for her freedom to travel and do what she desired.
Kallista in turn told him of the tough life she had grown up with. How she despised the rich and couldn’t stand them bullying the poor. She told him how the poor struggle to survive, and how there are others like her who weren’t so fortunate. She envied Erik for his wealth and life of ease. She had dreamed of living in luxury and one day having her own rose garden.
Through Kallista, Erik learned how hard life must be for the poor. And through Erik, Kallista learned that not all wealthy people are heartless. She learned that not all who are born into privilege desire that life.
However, Erik was also betrothed to marry the only daughter of another merchant family. He proposed that Kallista fake her identity and her social status and marry him instead. But Kallista refused. Their lives were too different. They lived in two different worlds. She knew that if and when her true identity were to be revealed, Erik would lose everything he had. She could not allow this to happen. After much discussion, Kallista was able to convince Erik that her life is not the kind of life to lead. She was able to convince Erik to marry the merchant’s daughter. Erik was severely heartbroken and devastated not to be able to see Kallista anymore.
But being the mischievous girl that she is, Kallista snuck into Erik’s wedding as part of the catering staff. And through this Erik realized that Kallista would never leave his side. They had become the best of friends and nothing could destroy their friendship.
Over the years, Erik became a successful heir to his family business. And Kallista still works as a thief and mastermind, stealing from the rich.
Kallista still visits Erik and his family, occasionally disguised as a delivery girl or a common messenger girl. Although Erik lives happily with his wife and family, he is always happy to see Kallista. They often swap stories whenever they meet. She tells Erik of her latest adventures and her successful heists. Erik, in turn, tells Kallista stories of his family and about his business. He often tips her off about corrupt merchant families and other corrupt public figures.
Erik continues to donate a part of his annual profits to the local orphanage and other local charities. This only increases his public and social status as the generous merchant, although only he and Kallista know the real reason for his generosity.
And although they don’t see each other often, Erik knows that Kallista still thinks of him because when he occasionally finds a few crates of his merchandise gone missing, there’s always a red rose nearby….