Chapter 3 - Things begin as you’d expect…
I shall now tell you, as succinctly as is possible, the story of my early life and the events leading up to my current dire predicament in order to effectively preface exactly how I came to be in this miserable and hopeless situation.
Any historian reading this need not trouble themselves too overly with the archival of its every detail for posterity, as most are without merit in that circumstance, for the only important purpose they have is to aid in the comprehension of the matter at hand, namely my untimely death via divine assassination.
My birthplace was also where I would spend my formative years: the thoroughly mundane Egyptian port city of Damietta.
The only family I would ever know was my beloved mother. She was tirelessly compassionate towards me, but also always sternly protective of her only son. Raising me alone, she had to grow tougher, to harden, to be able to properly protect me. There was an astounding duality to her motherly character: she was so gentle and caring when it came to our bond, but she became a ferocious lioness whenever her cub was somehow endangered. I foolishly didn’t realise it as a child, but my mother toiled and sacrificed endlessly to provide a decent life for me. The deep furrows etched into her visage illustrated the struggle she endured daily to ensure our continued livelihood. She would have done anything for me, and she always put me before herself: her maternal protection provides an immeasurable debt of gratitude which I can’t ever hope to repay in full.
When I was very young she was employed as a seamstress performing trivially menial and uninspired work for little pay. Eventually though, she utilised what little money she had managed to accrue as savings and went about embracing larger ambitions in the hopes of benefiting us both. She opened her own small stall at the local market and began selling rather avant-garde clothing of her own fabrication. Initially this tailor-cum-merchant venture met with little success - her creations initially being simply too unconventional for the small-minded folk of the area - but she kept at it, spreading the word however possible that her creations were radically different from the plain, derivative and homogenous offerings which abounded the competing outlets. Soon enough, her efforts paid off and she managed to ignite a new fashion and to establish a largely uncontested niche by meticulously ensuring that her products were consistently either attractively vogue or so ahead of the trend as to have a wildly pioneering appeal. The quality of her work far exceeded comparative pieces from the market’s merchantry, and this earned their vocal ire and disdain.
For a short while, she even attained some measure of local prestige for the unrivaled selection of textiles she had secured via exclusive import contracts with some of the trade ships which frequently docked at the city’s port, and for her truly remarkable talent at the tailor’s craft. Her name was first at hand whenever visiting seamen sought such services and so a fresh stream of customers were regularly directed her way. Over the years many wives were overjoyed at being gifted clothing of her making from their returning husbands, and thus her name spread beyond our city’s dreadfully insular gossip. At the zenith of her popularity and acclaim, various influential socialites throughout the region were well known to wear her attire, honouring my mother’s craftsmanship in a way that I know brought her a great deal of joyful pride. She had began simply humbly seeking some sort of recognition for her talent, and having achieved that so thoroughly, it was obvious that she was immensely proud of her accomplishment, and I was certainly proud that my mother could be counted amongst the few successful female entrepreneurs that our city had fostered. Though it must be said that this distinction earned her equal parts begrudging admiration and venomous envy.
I learned a great deal from my mother. I learned how to stubbornly pursue an ambition, no matter how formidable the opposition you face is. I learned that one person could defeat even massive odds stacked against them with enough planning, determination and fortitude. The most important thing I learned from her though, was that if you want something, you have to seize any and all opportunities to make it your own. Something she told me once that stuck with me was that anyone can have anything they want in this world, they just have to be willing to sacrifice everything else in order to do so.