Archibald Barber the First was born in Thrushmoor. Thrushmoor was a fine little town, starting as a fishing settlement but steadily growing over the years, thanks in no small part to its propensity to attract quaint little knitting clubs, pottery appreciation societies, and knife sharpening guilds, all of which always ended up trying to summon some ancient dark power before inevitably only summoning their own, crushing demise, leaving a gaping maw in the local hobby community, inevitably to be filled by the next club, likely Greater Versex Cat Fanciers or some such.
Born to the local Barber, Ian, who also happened to be the town’s only barber. Barber’s barber(s) was initially a failing business, due to Ian’s propensity to scare any potential patron away by being far, far too excited about sharpening his overly large razor, plus the maniacal laughing never helped much. One day a woman walked in, tall, stunningly beautiful, with hair so white it glowed, literally, and an infectious laugh that made Ian’s maniacal one seem softer somehow. Her long hair flowed around her as if constantly under the effect of a breeze, and her eyes, striking lightning blue, complete with sparks, met Ian’s and, well, The rest is history. Well, recent history I suppose, this is only 20 odd years ago after all. Ian and Septembra married within weeks, and soon customers were flooding into Barber’s barber so fast Ian had to hire staff, and also buy a ladder so he could paint an S on the sign, Septembra was a stickler for grammatical correctness. Before long, Septembra’s charm and flair for business led them to invest the concept of franchising, and soon Barber’s barbers had locations popping up across Versex County, and then across all Ustalav, supplanting small, local barbers and maintaining an iron grip across the follicular landscape of all surrounding territory.
Archie watched his parents' business grow, or, he would have, had he had any interest and an attention span slightly longer than that of the common goldfish. Instead he was off, taken by the beauty in everything around him, the natural beauty of Ustalav, as only he perceived it. Most thought him odd, which is how they described him when in polite company, anyways, as most never described anything in Ustalav beyond “vaguely foggy”. Archie was no stranger to trouble, himself, his excitable and overenthusiastic nature led him on many adventures, often dragging along his best, if not only friend, Iggy. Their father’s had become fast friends over something or other back in the day, Archie thought it was something about a boat, but he couldn’t really remember. Wait, no, there was a cat? Or was that just a dream? Wait, were they friends? There was always a lot of yelling at dinners… Anyway, have you seen my latest sculpture? I think it really captures the way I felt when mother made fish for breakfast the other day. Anyway, Archie was always dragging Iggy into one mess or another, or Iggy was always getting into trouble, and Archie only went along to make sure she was ok, but then why was she always the one setting HIS broken bones? Look, I’m not telling this story, you are. Wait, that’s not right, I’m Archie. Look, lots of people tell their stories in the third person, it’s very normal, like people named Luke. Or Rickets.
Archie’s parents got tired of bailing him out of this or that trouble he had gotten into and decided he needed to get out of Thrushmoor. See the world, they said, learn a skill! His father suggested Barber College, but after more than one nicked ear and one… creatively styled pompadour, they enrolled Archie in Architecture. He loved it, he loved everything about it, his teachers felt much the same way except in the opposite fashion, describing his creations as “hideous” and “utterly impractical” and “Why does it look like an elf that’s had too much to drink, it’s supposed to be a lavatory.” It didn’t help much that he constantly forgot to go to class, or that he was enrolled in school at all, his parents suddenly finding him at the breakfast table, which is startling because his school was in Magnimar. Eventually, on threat of re-enrolment, the school granted him a degree in Architecture, as long as he promised never to come back.
But something had caught in Archie’s mind, the world was vast and beautiful and strange and exciting in ways that Thrushmoor seemed to have lost its sparkle. So when Iggy suggested that they should go on a real adventure, just like their dads, Archie was packed before she had even finished speaking.