Quill was the smallest of her clutch. Her siblings were always pushing her out of the way, and sometimes out of the nest, or off the roost. She never understood why they always had to be so high up, and got more than her fair share of broken bones from being pushed off high places. Eventually, they pushed her out of the flock altogether.
She found a new flock though, Penny for Polly. They appreciated her smallness. Taught her to use it, and to be quick, and to stay hidden. But she was always getting distracted by words. On signs, on books that “fell” from satchels, on scrolls that were “dropped” on the ground. Her parents had taught her reading and writing, and all this sneaking about gave her ample opportunity to practice. So, her Master gave her a chance at forging a letter he needed, and she exceeded all expectations. She was Master’s prized forger after this, and earned the name Quill Scratcher.
Most of the flock teased her about such a boring job. They also teased her about her fear of heights. She could climb like the rest of them, but she clearly preferred to scout from the ground. She even stayed toward the middle of the roost at all times, never watching the city from the eaves with the other young members. They called her Chicken Scratch. All except Master and Whistler, her fighting trainer, and she loved them for it. Not that Whistler knew, she only paid attention to Quill during training. But Quill was always aware of her.
Penny for Polly was a good crew. They took care of their part of Baldur’s Gate, and the Guild left them be. Until one day, Basher and Slicer stepped out of bounds in chase of their quarry. They crossed lines the Guild did not approve of and Master had to turn them over. The Pollies were restless after that, and the Guild paid less and less attention to threats against them.
It was still a shock to the whole flock when the rival gang attacked in the roost itself. They’d been edging around for weeks, but a frontal assault was completely unexpected. Quill did what she does best, she hid from the large intruders and watched in terror as Master was struck down. Whistler hadn’t given warning, and the flock was falling. Quill ran.
She ran all the way to the gates and hid in a caravan wagon just leaving for Waterdeep. When it stopped for the night, she crept out, and hid once more. Still deep in shock and despair, she followed the caravan all the way to Waterdeep, scavenging what food she needed from the wagons, but barely eating.
Halfway through the trip, she started remembering stories of the grand city. It was supposed to be beautiful and there was a great library in the Castle. She wondered if she could be a scribe there. She could lose herself in a library that big for years.
When they arrived, it was not as golden and beautiful as she had hoped. Just as dirty, just as busy, filled with the same sorts of people, good and bad, as home. The castle guards turned her away before she could even ask about the library. She looked at herself then, bedraggled from her escape and travel, and disappeared into the city. Scrounging for a few weeks until finally finding work as a scribe at a dingy messenger service.
Sometimes though, when work is slow or too tiring, she likes to go drinking at a pub near her room. She loves sweet wine and beer nuts, and writing down whatever snatches of conversation she hears. Occasionally, the other patrons aren’t so happy with her copying. Once in a while, they show their displeasure rather violently.
It was on one of these occasions that she met The Big Man. She was rather drunk at the time, or she wouldn’t have ended up in that alley in the first place. So, she thought she had imagined the elephant of a man healing her wounds and walking her home. But then she saw him again, and he even hired her a couple times, for scribing. She always accepts his contract, and he keeps an eye out for her in alleys late at night. So far, he’s sent a pair of Grungs, a rather skittish Mouseman, and a job at an herbalist who employs a big green man who knows about Candlekeep.
Spy Master found her there, too. He had heard of her from her clients in Baldur’s Gate, been sent to her by Svetel, the Big Man. He promised to protect her, and get her work, and make sure she was well paid for her talents. He even helped her get a tiny basement room, and gave her a book to start her collection. A collection which covers one wall of that tiny room already, after just a few years. Her room is full of books, her pockets full of quills and gems. It’s a good life. She loves going to Homeward Bookshop at the end of each week to get a new book, visit the kittens, and see her friend Abena. The Mouseman didn’t seem too keen on the kittens, but Candlekeep man liked them well enough.