Each evening, the market is visited by a forgettable little man. Clad in drab workman’s attire, topped by a battered cap on his balding head, he purchases a few items and wanders on his way. With a gentle smile brightening his scarred face, the little man never forgets a coster’s name and never fails to ask about an ailing parent or difficult child. Despite this, none of the market folk of the quarter could tell you his true name.
A few years ago, one of the local brigands, “Buttons” Brodeman, tried to ambush the quiet little fellow as he was leaving the market. The witnesses never tire of telling the story: “There ‘e were, guv, mindin’ ‘is ain bizzn, when Ol’ Buttons Brodeman tried to neddy ‘im. ‘At were the last mistake ol’ Buttons ever made! ‘At Chivver, ‘e’s a flummat nobbler with that shiv o’ ‘is, I tell yew straight! In a trice, ‘e ‘ad ol’ Buttons’ arm behin’’im and ‘ad ‘at shiv in ‘is neck. Ol’ Buttons bled out ‘n a jiff.”
After that, the folk of the market district nicknamed him “Chivver”, in tribute to his speed with his hidden “shiv”. Predictably, the neighborhood’s bravos treat him with a great deal of respect.
From the few hints he’s dropped of his past, folk guess that Chivver had served in the army: He seems to be just another veteran, scarred in the wars. In some ways, that’s true; Chivver’s always been careful to conceal the tattoos on his arms, tattoos that would reveal his former membership in the Queen’s elite guard.
In truth, Chivver is an agent of the Crown. In his evening rambles, he quietly monitors the poor folk of the quarter, keeping watch in the places where the Watch dares not visit. “Run of the mill” criminals don’t interest him, but if someone poses a threat to the realm or its monarch, he will quietly ensure that they just… go away. Rebels, rabble rousers, evil sorcerors, coiners, all will be targeted for elimination. Chivver prefers not to take direct action himself; experience has taught him that a few words in the ear of one of the district’s more violent residents will generally solve the problem.
Some while past midnight, when his day’s work is done, Chivver clambers up several sets of stairs to a dingy garret in the back of a crowded tenement. Secure in his sanctum, he pries an intricately inlaid box from under a loose panel in the wainscoting. With infinite care, he retrieves a delicate key from where it hangs over his heart and fits it into a hidden catch on the box’s base. A scent of jasmine fills the air as he unfolds the letter that was hidden within. His eyes take on a wistful look as he rereads the words that he memorized long before, words in the delicate handwriting of the Queen: “My Beloved Barrett, I know that you feel you must leave my service after what has passed between us. I cannot bear the thought of never again feeling your touch, never having your arms around me…”