There was a time, before the Order and the rule of the Lord Marshal... A time of chaos and disorder and violence and wrath... A time when life was lived by the rule of the sword and the ferocity of the man that wielded it. Of loose tribes and warring clans... It was a time of strife and difference... A time of death.
And it is a time that is coming again.
The Song of Erik of Candar
Before arriving to Candar, Life had rarely been kind when it dealt with Erik...
Born the child of an adulterous woman, he had the early life of a bastard... Raised off in some convent never to know a mother's love lest her sins be discovered. The monks charged with his care spent more time hitting him than anything else, his beatings so frequent they were scheduled. It was so bad in fact, that at the age of ten he took off down the Marshal's Road; feeling his fortunes fared better on his own than under the watchful eyes of letcherous frocked men.
His assumptions bore true, his exchange for the cold of night and long days of hunger a welcome one to the beatings and torments at the hands of holy men... The only life they saw this bastard boy worthy of having being one of pain and penance for the sin of his ill-begotten existence. He used his new freedoms industriously, eventually making his way to Candar, the furthest most outpost on the Marshal's Road. There, a kindly miller named Hector took him in as his apprentice. This man too had been spit upon by Life, his sons taken by the Marshal's conscription years prior and his wife by the cough a few winters back. He was bitter and cold, but saw hope in the gaunt face of the boy he found half frozen in his stalls. He taught the boy all he knew, both of his trade and of life in general, and in time took to calling Erik "son". These feelings were shared by Erik, this embittered, broken man showing him more kindness than any other living soul ever had, and in his seventeenth year took the man's surname as his own.
Eric took to his new life quickly, needing only the opportunity to be worthy of more than lashing and scraps to ascend to such lofty heights. His pluck did more than garner the favor of the old miller, as others in the town took notice of the bright young man's talents. The elders marveled at his uncommon wisdom and pragmatism, while the young ladies fawned over his potential (it had to have been the only thing they saw in him, as years of neglect and abuse, while easily overcome by the spirit, could not so easily be forgotten by the flesh. His skin was scared and thin, with an unpleasant setting on his face). He settled on a wife, a buxom woman named Angeline with a keen eye for investment and a willingness to pursue, and was appointed chief tariff collector for the city- a high honor to be bestowed upon a man at such a young age.
His life finally having fallen into place, Erik of Candar felt as though the days of the Fates abusing him had drawn to a close. He slept easy at night, he felt making up for those lost sleeps of his youth and ate well at every chance (for much the same reason). In truth, there was little he denied himself when it came to indulgences (he was only resistant to the charms of women, his heart purely devoted to his beloved Angeline), but beyond that lived a sound and moral life.
He had a few successful years as Candar's Tariff Collector, making it as high a Chief Councilman of Candar (a mayorship, for all intents and purposes) before he reached his fortieth year. So when word came that the Lord Marshal was summoning Eric to Court for an appointment, it came as little surprise to Eric or anyone else in the City of Candar. It was whispered by some to be a Governorship, by others Chief Tax Collector of the Realm. But to Eric it was yet another grace that Fate was now sending the way of the one time long suffering bastard... The orphaned miller boy who made his way from nothing.
- Next >>