Her name was Alyssa. She was not born into privilege but was a lady who managed to keep a status higher than the common peasant or farm hand. Her father was a freeman, a higher class of citizenship that allowed him to keep more of their land’s crops while also retaining the right to move to other parts of the kingdom when certain areas were suffering from drought. Alyssa’s father earned his freeman status through decades of hard work and quality crops that pleased both the Barons and the Monarch. He was allowed to have first choice of the available lands because the people above him wanted the best people working with the crops in the hopes that their supplies would be plentiful and of substance. It often resulted in foods one would be courageous enough to deem worthy of being consumed by a King.
Most townships had barons, but this one did not. Her father crops were grown less than fifty miles from the King himself and this allowed Alyssa and her mother than chance to use some of their crop to barter for some goods that would help them through the harsh winters the great sea off the kingdom’s coast was known to administer on their lands from time to time. They always loved going into town to get some odds and ends, but never did they ever think that such a trip would save their lives. One morning, when Alyssa and her mother were trading for supplies within the king’s market when something horrible happened. Alyssa and her mother were looking at some small wild stock that would compliment their farm when they both watched in horror as the guards closed the main gates, trapping them and hundreds of other civilians within its walls for as long as the guards deemed necessary. The castle was under attack, and the gates remained closed until the opposing forces either retreated or were successfully repelled.
Some of the Barons had been unsatisfied with the King’s share of the wealth and they tried to take his life and his kingdom with an army that took years to build and only months to repel. The rebellion was not without merit, the King was known for being a tad to tight with the purse strings, and never gave anyone their fair shake, only just enough to keep them in line and under control. Amongst the fighting were countless atrocities that devastated the townships and many families. Caught up in the middle of countless battles, many women along with Alyssa had been captured and impregnated without consent. Ashamed of her child that was created out of wedlock and in sin, her father cast her out of the family to fend for herself.
Unwilling to punish herself or her child for something that was no fault of her own, Alyssa took up a job as a farm hand and earned her keep as long as she could until the day she gave birth. She was given a strong boy, a man she named Gerig. He was born into a time that was complicated and against him from the very beginning. He was a citizen of Gosland, a southern kingdom located on the south coast of the great sea. Ripe with farmland, and many peasants to work on them, the nobles and monarch lived a very good life for themselves, basking on the fruits of everyone else’s labour. This was the kind of life that Gerig had to look forward to, as he was far from noble birth and like her mother an outcast that was looked down upon. Gerig would grow up watching his mother break her back to earn the small room they shared called home, but when he got old enough to work the fields, Gerig worked harder and got more done than any three men on the fields combined.
When he reached of a certain age, Gerig was able to earn a spot of land that he tended to for the monarch. Only men were capable of getting a grant to work on a piece of land, so his mother wasn’t able to secure anything for them until Gerig was of age. Usually they wouldn’t give a farmhand his own land, but the barons were confident that giving Gerig his own lands would produce great fields and foods for the monarch. In return for his services, both Gerig and his mother were allowed to build a house on the land and keep fifteen percent of their crops for their own personal consumption. Everything else was King’s property and was to be finished and delivered to the state’s supply depots before the end of the season. Any failure to do so would result in a small regiment of soldiers tossing you off the King’s land. They would never show up until the first snow fall either, so that both you and your family would freeze out in the cold until you gave in and allowed the monarch to take what they wanted. While to some it didn’t seem fair, Gerig and his mother were happy to have a home of their own and a chance to prosper together as a family.
Two winters after working his own fields, Gerig lost his mother to illness. He buried her behind the house they built together and no one had even noticed that she had disappeared. Gerig was alone.