According to his wife Malinda, Tony began his professional career as an honest if daring breeder of alchemically valuable animals. He met his future wife while procuring a Boulder egg in the fire swamps where she was interested in finding the same. Malinda says she’s not sure if it was the sudden explosion of fire by her head or the suave appearance of Tony that made her heart thunder. He saved her life or, at the very least, her hair that day. Amidst another spout of fire, which Tony deftly dodged, they shared their first kiss. Although according to Tony’s brother the kiss was more the result of banging their heads together while escaping the fresh jet of flames.
Either way, Tony and Malinda began a courtship that was, according to rumors, as intensely heated as the flames they had dodged. Within only several months rumors started circling that Malinda was pregnant. An engagement followed shortly thereafter.
To everyone’s surprise, the couple returned from their honeymoon with a little girl they had called Cassiopeia. Little Cassiopeia had cut their honeymoon short with her impromptu arrival a month and a half early.
Unfortunately Cassiopeia’s early arrival was only a herald to more problems for the young couple. After her birth, her parents could be frequently seen at the hospital for various ailments. According to the increasingly haggard looks of Tony and Malinda as well as the wild rumors about unpaid bills, the costs of caring for a sickly infant were heavy. Rumor had it that you did not want to cross Tony then as he had started to look more and more like a cornered animal.
Then, rather suddenly, Tony calmed down. Neighbors claim this occurred following a visit from a well dressed gentleman. The day after the visit a small workshop was built next to Tony and Malinda’s paddocks and barn. In the following days, neighbors observed Tony working late into the night and early during the days in the newly constructed workshop. The impeccably dressed man came to visit several more times and when curious neighbors asked about the visitor Tony and Malinda explained that an uncle Tony had thought lost since childhood had turned up in their time of need with help.
Some months after the workshop construction and visits from a man Tony only called Uncle, murmurs began circling in the shadows of a new breeding alchemy. Old alchemical breeders had delighted in arranging the sales of animals and even copulation sessions for animals whether to create desired babies or merge different species. The new breeding alchemy made it possible to purchase larger and cheaper quantities of valuable animal parts on the black market. Rumor had it that an alchemical symbol was responsible for growing particularly desired animal parts.
According to document records, sometime shortly after a new black market in valuable animal parts was established, Cassiopeia had a surgery on her tonsils with the very best of alchemical components. With their daughter’s health improved and a seemingly steady source of income, if their new house was anything to judge by, neighbors wondered why Tony and Malinda did not expand their family. The house they had purchased was a good sized one with six bedrooms. Tony, Malinda, and Cassiopeia were only using two bedrooms and had furnished another as a guest bedroom.
Wild speculations started about the Beltza’s three empty bedrooms. Some people claimed they were for discreet orgies. Others said Tony and Malinda slept in separate beds. A few others whispered that the unused bedrooms were so because Tony and Malinda had faked their previous pregnancy and Cassiopeia was an orphan they had quietly adopted.
While the rumors spread about the Beltzas and their bedrooms, the black market had whispers of a new branch of alchemy, fertility alchemy. If someone knew the right people they could acquire an alchemical recipe to treat lethargic lust or, especially valuable, particularly potent fertility. The treatments were quite expensive it was said. It was rumored that this was not exclusively because the recipes were complex and composed of expensive ingredients, but rather that you had to pay the providers a repeated and hefty sum to keep your problems secret.
It was around this time that Tony and Malinda filled one of their many bedrooms. Gossip started flying again. The Beltzas had not announced to the neighbors that they were expecting another child. Malinda was of a sickly nature however and was not often seen outside. While Tony and Malinda’s lack of celebration regarding their pregnancy made the rumor mill swill excitedly, even more curious was the child’s coloring. Tony and Malinda’s baby, a son, had light colored features. Indeed, people often remarked how beautiful the Beltza boy was with his ocean colored eyes and hair the color of sun beams.
Shortly after their son’s arrival, Tony and Malinda sent their daughter away to school. According to Malinda, her daughter was brilliant and deserved to hone her skills. Tony said his daughter was better suited to reading books with her weaker constitution. Whatever the case was, Cassiopeia was rarely mentioned and never seen or heard from. Neighbors sometimes whisper that there had never been a Beltza registered at school.
It seemed there was not as much need for Cassiopeia around the house after all though, since after she left Tony and Malinda filled two more bedrooms. Now three Beltza children roamed the neighborhood.
Another change came to the neighborhood at this time too, Uncle stopped visiting. People later heard that Uncle had died. Neighbors whispered about it for several weeks, since rumor had it that the grandfatherly man had been murdered. The neighbors thought Tony very sad about this because Tony had apparently inherited many of Uncle’s personal belongings, including his wardrobe, and took to wearing all of his late Uncle’s impeccable clothes.