15 Years before present day.
Here we have Eric, 11 years old, he runs holding a basket full of wheat and carries it inside his home. “Hey ma! I’ve finished my chores for today, can I go out and play now?”
“Of course darling, but make sure to find your brother when you come back home. He seems to have escaped your father again.” His mother, Mistel, takes the basket of wheat from him and kisses his forehead just before he darts away to play outdoors.
Half an hour passes, Eric enjoys what’s left of his day playing out in the fields, but sunset will soon arrive and he begins to look for his brother. “Matt! Where are you Matt? Matt, it’s time to go home!” Eric continues to call for his brother until he sees a tall figure on the fields which he recognizes. “Dad! Hey dad!” Eric runs towards his father as happy as he can be.
“No son stop!” Eric stops.
Right between him and his father is something he has never seen before. A Hellhound. The creature managed to corner Eric’s father and brother, but it now turns its attention towards the young Eirc.
Eric freezes, he is scared of this creature.
Having noticed the easier prey, the creature lunges towards Eric before he can even react. To Eric’s father’s horror it looks like he’s about to lose his oldest son, but at the moment a shield come flying from far away landing on the Hellhhound and knocking it down mid sprint. Eric’s father takes notice of the opportunity to carry his sons to safety before the creature has time to get up.
Just as the Hellhound begins to recover from the blow, a hail of javelins come down upon it and end its life. This is followed by about a dozen mounted knights ready to take action if the beast managed to survive.
“The creature is dead!”
“No! I think it’s still moving!”
“Where the hell did it come from?”
“I’m sure it’s dead.”
“Quick, one of you check if the farmers are okay. The rest of use will dispose of the body and await Baron Roywood.”
As most of the knights clean up after themselves , one of them goes towards Eric’s father who managed to run a long distance and asks how he and his boys are doing.
Eric’s father, out of breath, manages to say “Little Matt fainted and Eric is pretty shaken up.”
“Not to worry, we’ve finally managed to take care of the creature. Here, I’ll get off my horse and we can take your sons to a healer just to make sure they’re okay.”
Just as the knight dismounts, the leader of this small brigade comes with his horse by his side. A towering figure, he could almost eclipse both the knight and Eric’s father.
“I could smell the creature from far away, I made sure we came here as fast as we could.”
“Thank you Baron Roywood. Thank you for saving my sons.”
“I’m glad to help, but I’m sure you were capable enough to save them by yourself Sir Durant.”
“Sir Durant? I believe you must have me mistaken for someone else Baron Roywood, I am no knight.”
“A squire at the age of 14, brilliant young man knighted at 21, served Baron Artwaltz under the 3rd Guard for three years, exiled after the Night of Blood. Trust me Sir Durant, I know who you are.”
Eric’s father remains silent for a moment.
“Please, just let me live in peace.”
“I am not here to inconvenience you Sir Durant. There have been a number of reports of hellhounds here in the Ructor estate. I am here simply to get rid of these creatures before they can come to mine. It is only coincidence that our path have crossed.”
“Then, why bring up my past?”
“I wanted to see if you still considered yourself a knight, disgraced or not. I think you might also want to know the state of the Order. The House of Ructor is low on men, not enough to have a strong enough standing army to stand up to other Barons or even bold group of adventurers. I am surprised you haven’t been called to service by Baron Ructor.”
Durant turns to Eric and looks to him “I try to keep to myself and my family. We don’t really leave the farm much, my children haven’t even gone to school yet.”
“Humph. Very well then Durant.” Baron Roywood turns to the knight who came to help Durant earlier. “You are not to tell anyone of who this man truly is. He is a simple farmer who tried to protect his two sons. Now, you go lead the others and see if you can find any more of these infernal creatures, I will personally escort the farmers to their home.”
“By your command Baron Roywood.” The knight leaves.
Baron Roywood turns to Durant. “Now, let’s get your boys home so they can recover from this ordeal.”
“Thank you again, Baron Roywood.”
To be continued.