Born in Verona, a city adjacent to Venice in what is now known as Italy, Paolo was Christian’s closest ally and confidante. A self-taught thief, with nimble fingers and a quick wit, Paolo had been forced from his hometown after a family incident with the local noble house. Though only a few years older than Christian, his wisdom and canniness provided what little guidance his headstrong friend and lover was apt to listen to.
He tilted his head, a full mane of brown hair spilling onto his shoulder and emerald eyes regarding me curiously. Given the amount of damage to him, his age was indistinguishable, but I assumed him no younger than his early thirties. “You’re a scrawny urchin,” he said once he had studied me to his satisfaction. He tossed the gloves to the side and removed his cloak, depositing it where his gloves had landed. “Doesn’t seem like a boy like you should be causing the stir you’ve been.”
The head of the Brotherhood of the Black Rose, Roland became a father figure for orphaned Christian, leading him down the path of becoming a mercenary. While he handled the intake of jobs and collection of money, most of his earnings provided for a score of children born out of wedlock. He also disappeared often, taking special missions from people outside their normal clientele.