A lanky, pale young man with a shock of red hair, James is the grandson of Rodrick Arsmith, owner of the Fortune’s Rest tavern.
His father Rob left the village years ago to make his fortune working in the big city, fell in love with a woman called Elena and fathered a child. Rob started working on trade caravans, while Elena worked in a tavern. James grew up surrounded by civilisation, and spent the evenings watching and learning from scholars, merchants, minstrels and rogues. His mother noticed a talent for music and bought him a lute for his eighth birthday.
When Elena died from the Ague, rather than take him on the road or leave him with her parents Rob took the nine-year-old James back to the village. The months-long journey was bad enough, but arriving in the village was worse, his father left the following day barely saying goodbye. He spent months settling in: his grandparents being initially distant, a painful reminder of their son, and the villagers all knowing each others’ business and suspicious of strangers. He embraced his music and embellished stories of the outside world, using them to make friends.
He now spends his days doing errands about the village for his grandparents and their friends, or entertaining the younger kids to keep them occupied. The evenings he spends working in the Fortune’s Rest, or increasingly playing for the locals in the Bucking Hare, where he’s less likely to be interrupted singing some of the more ribald parts of his repertoire and more likely to keep his share of the tips. He speaks a fair number of languages and helps the local businesses trade with the merchant caravan when it comes by to make some extra coin and stop the villagers getting fleeced.
Rodrick Arsmith: Grandson and grandfather they may be, but the main thing they have in common is the ability to evade James’ grandmother and a taste for a good wine. James is quite fond of his grandparents but wishes they had half the drive Trixy Wellstead has running her business.
Trixy Wellstead: Trixy and James have a good deal going on, he provides the music and she collects his tips. He’s not in the Bucking Hare that often, but the busier atmosphere does remind him of happier times and he enjoys watching his friends and neighbours letting their hair down.