|Giles Phineas Ratcliffe|
|— Chard Devon —|
|Personal motto: "Because what’s right isn't always what's legal"|
|Full title||Sir Giles P. Ratcliffe, Lord of Blackhearted Deviance|
|Place of Residence||(unknown), Chard, Devon|
|Affiliations||* Wolves of Sherwood
|Account created||01 February, 2009|
"Because what’s right isn't always what's legal"
Born 23rd December 1432 somewhere in the slums of London Town
On a foggy, moist morn outside a slum cottage in the back alleys of London Town there comes a keening wail that echoes off the stone walls of the street. A babe was born but cold and alone, lying against the tepid flesh of its now lifeless mother. The father was unknown and nowhere.
A passing vagabond, a wretch of a man done with life – just searching for a good place to die… and the courage to end his own lonely, tormented existence finds himself in an alley. In front of him a young woman, dead and covered in blood, naked from the waist down. The wretch blinks, unbelieving of what he was seeing: a small bundle of bloody flesh shifting betwixt the woman’s thighs let out another dreadful scream.
Unthinking, this lonely man, one Phineas Ratcliffe, reached down and picked up the babe, wrapping it quickly in his old, dirty cloak. He remembered back to a life with an old girlfriend, a midwife she was, and pulling a blade from his rope belt quickly sliced through the cord separating baby from the dead husk of its mother.
Phineas was now given purpose in his wretched life and raised the baby until it grew to be a fine looking healthy young lad. He provided the boy with safety, sustenance, protection and yes even love. He proudly passed on all his knowledge of surviving in the mean streets around the docklands of London…and the boy learnt quickly – he had to. Phineas even named the boy – he was a sneaky lad, good at moving quickly, quietly and unseen so Phin thought that guile was a quality the boy had in abundance (pity the man never had learnt to spell). He called him Giles and he even gave the lad his own family name of Ratcliffe.
At the age of 5, Giles’ life was turned upside down as he snuck back into the sleeping hovel he proudly shared with Phineas, his pockets full of trinkets lifted from unwary tourists – he certainly lived up to his name being an accomplished pickpocket already. He raised his dark eyes as they adjusted to the gloom to see the flash of a blade as a big burly man rammed it between Phineas’s ribs for the sixth time. Giles drew in his breath sharply at the sight…. loud enough for the man to look up, a crazed gleam in his one good eye. Unfortunately, Giles was in deep shock as the man lunged forward and grasped him by the scruff of his neck.
The man, Giles later learned he was known as Mad Tom Cowley, shook Giles hard expecting to be killing him shortly but as he did all of the booty spilled from Giles pockets onto the muddy, earthen floor. Mad Toms’ eye popped open wide at the sight of the stash and even as slow witted as he was Tom quickly realised Giles would be worth more to him kept as a slave than sliced up like old meat.
Two years had passed; Giles was now sickly looking with malnourishment. When not out picking pockets (kept on a short leash of course) Giles dossed down in the muck in Mad Toms’ hovel on the edge of the marshes of the Thames near Wolwiche. It had been a profitable day – for Tom that is, never for Giles…his master was as usual drinking heavily of the gin he had traded the booty for. Mad Tom was a cruel drunk and to cut this nasty tale short….during yet another night of drunken abuse at his hands, Giles, the poor 7 year old lad, suddenly whipped out a blade he had managed to hide and stabbed his master in the back and neck no less than 37 times.
Giles then ran – he had been running ever since….surviving on nought but his wits and what old Phineas had taught him about living on the mean streets of London town...........
It was not an easy life for Giles…..only being able to trust and depend upon himself. He grew up quickly, sometimes attaching himself to one of the gangs (he was smart enough to know that there was some safety in numbers) although always staying on the outer. Never really getting close to any of the others…..never trusting them that’s for sure.
400 years later there is a hamlet in London known for it's sailors and might time robbery and even murder - the place's name? Ratcliffe
Escape from London - A Fresh startEdit
He eventually made it to manhood, a strapping young lad of 18 years with a shocking crown of red hair that he kept slicked back from his face and his taut freckled skin stretched over lean muscles from a life of hard labours and never quite enough food for his ever-increasing appetite. He was quite well-known around the street urchins of London…..especially down the docks where he often fenced his spoils or offered his services to some of the hard men that needed his light fingered skills. He was known to be of cheeky disposition and well versed at charming the ladies although he was always detached….he could never trust anyone nor let down his guard for a second…..ever since that day he watched Phineas take his last breath, his blood soaking into the earthern floor.
His dissatisfaction with life was steadily on the increase and he fled that stinking cesspool one foggy eve without a look back. It was in his 25th year, right at the end of Summer 1457, that he walked into the town of Fowey in Cornwall deciding it was as good a place as any to start life over. No one knew him nor his previous reputation and he endeavoured to try living an honest life…….a fresh start.
Things were fine at first, albeit very different for young Giles. He found a little shack that was cheap to rent and worked hard living off only bread and corn and some water from a nearby stream to drink. He worked very hard every day on peoples farms; shearing sheep, sowing corn, picking vegetables or milking cows what have you….mixed with quite a lot of backbreaking days down the mines. Eventually he had saved enough money to buy his own field, where he grew a nice crop of vegetables. He ate a little better and built up his strength as he kept saving his money to better his position.
He discovered that Fowey was almost a ghost town; the inhabitants were not very friendly….that is when you could find any of them. It was a good place to hide but not so good to live a fruitful life. He was bored with the quiet…not to mention spending his days at hard work on both his own field and working down the mine…but he didn’t seem to be getting anywhere. Then the mayor started getting on his back about taxes for his vegie field……an amount that he just didn’t have. The life of an honest man can’t be this hard and boring otherwise why would so many be doing it.
Giles decided to let his field get overgrown for awhile, he closed up his rented shack and packed some food in a sack then headed off to explore this county and see what the other towns were like around these parts. It was still very quiet on the road…..hardly any other travellers as well……it was eerie after the crowds of London town that he was used to. He started to daydream about being bustled about in the streets amongst the crowds of gentlemen…..a perfect environment for pickpocketing.
Old Habits Die HardEdit
Sitting on the side of a well worn dirt track between Arundel and Lewes in Sussex County munching on an old stale piece of bread, Giles’ mind wandered. Perhaps it was being so close to his old hunting grounds of London, I don’t know, but as he heard voices of a couple of weary travellers on the road he quickly gathered his belongings and darted behind a tree with the full intention of robbing them.
It was a spur of the moment decision, unplanned….and he had never even tried highway robbery before. “Your money or your life” he yelled at them as he jumped out onto the road with a scarf over his mouth and brandishing a big stick. The travellers were indeed startled and took no pity on him as they unceremoniously laid into him with their fists and then their boots….they took off down the road leaving him groaning on the ground with a split lip and headache.
Well it seemed that being a highwayman was quite a bit different to picking pockets in a big crowded city. He resolved to not try that again and stick to his new honest life of being a farmer. He travelled on, making sure to stay out of the towns in case those 2 travellers had given his description to the town guards. Luckily he had just enough mouldy bread to make it back to Fowey.
He made it clear across the neighbouring county of Wiltshire and into Somerset County before he risked entering a town, short of food, water and tired of the road. As he entered the towns’ gates at Chard he noticed that the guard on watch looked him up and down with scrutiny. He was quite dishevelled and filthy from his journey so figured that must be the reason. He walked on through eyeing the large market when all of a sudden a great meaty fist landed on his shoulder and a gruff voice growled “and where d’ye think yer goin’ then lad?”
It was mere moments when all of a sudden he was surrounded by half a dozen guards, they tied his hands and put a collar of rope about his neck and led him off to the town jail with little explanation apart from calling him thieving scum. It was once in the building that he found out his would-be victims turned attackers had complained to the authorities in Sussex. Sussex happened to have a treaty with both Wiltshire and Somerset which caused word of his attempted robbery along with a wanted poster preceded him across the land with orders to arrest on sight.
Apparently a courtcase had been held in sussex without his knowledge and he had been sentenced to be jailed for 10 days as well as cop a fine of £500. He had the day before just managed to sell his corn farm in Fowey and the Kings guards had rifled through his house and taken everything as well as the money paid to him for that. With no money, no field and nary a possession he was destined to a life of starvation with no hope in sight.
He was thrown into a dank, smelly pit of a dungeon and collapsed to the hard stone floor sobbing in his despair. After a day of feeling sorry for himself he saw the fruitlessness of this action. Not one to give up easily (his past had proven to him throughout life that he could survive and do well in nearly any situation no matter what hardship). He recalled hearing something about a band of cutthroats called the Wolves of Sherwood, the group was something of a bedtime story for him told by Phineas in days long gone and to Giles they seemed like heroes. He asked around the prison slyly without letting on his aim and found out that the leader of the Wolves was a man named Evilwolfman.
Finding the WoSEdit
Scratching a note to this Evilwolfman and smuggling it out of the prison was no mean feat and he just hoped that he could trust the street urchin of a lad that he had sent the note with. His heart leapt when he suddenly received mail from Lady Lizabet Stewart, stating that she had been appointed as legal counsel for me in the Court of Appeals and would be visiting shortly to plan my defence with me. Out of the bottom of the envelope fell a small pewter disc with the figure of a wolf’s head etched into it.
On the 20th January 1458 Giles shuffled out of the jail, still dishevelled and even more filthy in his rags than when he had arrived in town. At least he had been fed in the jail…a thin gruel that would only just sustain life…..he was suffering from quite a few wounds that had been sustained by regular abuse by the guards as well as in various scuffles amongst the other prisoners.
He shambled out of the town gates and wandered straight into the woods down the road as he had been instructed by Lady Lizabet he was looking for a well concealed cave that was the domain of some man he was meant to contact named Raider. To cut a long story short, the cave was found in Giles’ delirium (although little was recalled by Giles himself of this time). He was nursed back to health by a wonderful lady called Jannie, and well fed and cared for by Raider and several others during many weeks of rehabilitation in the cave. Eventually Evilwolfman and Lady Lizabet arrived at the cave to see him and welcome him into their family.
These people were treating him like he was important to them, like parents would he imagined, for once he felt a part of something, cared for. He quickly agreed to join the WoS as a rookie and pledged his lifelong allegiance to them and their cause.
After fully recovering from his ordeal Giles ventured out of the forest. He had regained his strength through rigorous exercise and being well fed for a change. He felt stronger, more healthy and happier than he had ever in his life ….since that day when Phineas had been murdered. Giles grew to love the area and moved out of Raiders cave in the forest to a cave he had found of his own nearby. He decorated it and made it comfortable. He had found his home and that was in Chard. The people of the town where he only ended up to be imprisoned he grew to cherish.
Waiting for a job and found the best loot ever.Edit
....24th of March, 1458, Giles was wandering from town to town in Stafford County trading a few things here and there for a profit while he hung around waiting for a job to start. He arrived in Lichfield and he only came across her by chance really....he had gone into a tavern and there she was...perfect.
He then proceeded to pilfer a nice bottle of rum from behind the empty bar which he deftly opened, took a long swig and offered it to the girl sitting at the bar. She poured it down her slender throat like she had done it before...he was in love.
To cut a long story short...they have been inseparable ever since......2 months later Accalia moved into the sumptuous cavehouse that he had in Sherwood forest, outside Chard, to call her own. He would defend her with his life...always
A Young Thief Adopted.Edit
4th September, 1459 wandering through the markets at Holywell, there to sail their ship 'Snowball' home to Chard. All of a sudden Giles money purse was gone off his belt and a young girl was running down the side alley. He eventually caught up with her at her hideout. He got his purse back, they hung out and talked. Later that day Giles made the decision to adopt the girl as his daughter and bring her to Chard to live. He now has a daughter, Jade Ratcliffe.
It was late September and living the quiet life in Chard was taking its toll on Giles sanity so he decided to enter a dueling competition. After a long worthy fight with some barbarian Scotsman Giles was struck to the head and fell out for the count. He was taken off to Devon Hospital by his newly adopted 9 year old daughter Jade Ratcliffe. Although, once again in the good healing hands of Jannie, Giles ended up losing his left eye. He otherwise healed well with addition of a few new scars.
Promotions, Expansions & building the Ratcliffe Family empireEdit
On 25th september 1459 Giles was promoted to Rookie Master in the WoS and well up for the new position.
Giles decided to expand his clothing store 'Wolf 'N' Sheep Clothing Co.' in Chard buying the property next door and turning it into a tavern. He opened 'Howlers Bar & Grill' on 18th October, 1459. The Ratcliffe Empire was moving up in the world.