“You weren’t made for this world,” 17-year-old Fable’s father told her. She never fully understood what he meant by that. She simply took it as a strange explanation for what he eventually did to her. And all that he’s forced her to endure over the last four years.
You see, four years ago, Fable’s mother died in a shipwreck during a terrible storm, their vessel breaking in half and sending nearly everyone onboard to a watery grave. Fable and her father, Saint, however were two of the few who survived the maelstrom.
Saint is one of the most powerful traders in the Narrows. And as such, the sea was the only life that young Fable ever knew. But that all changed the day after her mother’s death. Saint promptly took Fable to a small island filled with thieves and cutthroats and abandoned her there.
“Why?” Young Fable croaked when her father put a firm hand on her shoulder and said that she was staying behind, alone, on that horrible little island.
“Because you weren’t made for this world, Fable,” he repeated and stepped into a small skiff to sail away. “You make me a promise and I’ll give you one. Survive. Get yourself off this island And the next time I see you, I’ll give you what is yours.”
That was all he had to offer. And in the four hard years since, Fable has struggled to fulfill his words in a nasty world where every good thing you gain is stolen from you, and every precious morsel of food must be protected or hidden.
Besides those last fateful words, Saint had also given Fable, however, five rules to live by: rules she had been reciting from the time she was big enough to climb into the masts with her mother.
Keep your knife where you can reach it.
Never, ever owe anyone anything.
Nothing is free.
Always construct a lie from a truth.
Never, under any circumstances, reveal what or who matters to you.
Those may seem harsh lessons from a parent. But those are the things that have kept Fable alive for the last four years. She’s learned to make her way as a dredger: a diver who digs semi-valuable stones and abalone from the reef and exchanges them for a few coppers. And she’s learned to hide away what little treasure she may gain in the hope of someday putting this island of torment behind her.
Someone with a bit of wisdom might have told Fable to forget her father. Forget his words and his offers. Forget everything of the past and find a way to survive now, a simple life to live.
But Fable’s father isn’t the forgetting kind.
And neither is she.