AOH – Chapter 7

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CHAPTER 07: THE FIRST STEP

After the battle the Knights brought the arrested bandit back to the castle while Adrian and his elite Knight stay in the village.
Aries invite the Duke son to come rest at their houses.
Lord Adrian of course was happy.
They set their horses in the stables and began walking to the Village Chief house. The surrounding was beautiful.
The scene is picturesque and filled with beautiful gardens and the smile of the village people.
While they were admiring the beautiful village they finally arrived at Village Chief Aries house.
The house was big and beautiful and clearly has been constructed by a talented mason.
The rumours are true. This family is rich.
“My lord, thank you for your help. If you don’t mind we still have a lot of food in the kitchen. It would be my honour to serve the valiant Knights that helps us” Aries said after being whispered by his wife.
He was being humble and act in way different that Adrian expected.
He had a noble daughter as his wife, if I’m not mistaken.
Adrian glanced at the woman. That must be her. Surely, it was her that taught his husband to act this way.
Adrian was contemplating on how to take this compliment. Save you? It seems like you got it handled
But Adrian will not admit that. He has his reputation and pride to protect.
“The honour is mine” Adrian said politely. He then was instructed to go to the dining room by the other villagers.
They were served with oxen meat, roasted chicken, honeyed goat, and wine. It’s hard to get wine. How did a normal family in the middle of nowhere have wine?
Adrian tries not to look surprised. The Knights were happy of course.
They could not even wait before they start gulping the wine and eat the dish.
Adrian was just shaking his head. They’re elite in fighting but that doesn’t mean they are refined in their manner.
It doesn’t seem that Aries mind so much in this matter. But in his heart Adrian feeling is different.
Adrian plan is botched.
He plans to come to the village with his Knight and saved Danoba from the bandit and then Aries will surely felt gratitude towards him.
A hero saving a village, will of course creates bond. The gratitude for saving their life will surely pay off one day, in one way or another.
Then he would tell him that House of Alan will confer him the title Baron and will be responsible for the surrounding village.
Then the gratitude will intensify and at that time Adrian will have quite the influence on Aries Vermont.
One day, if he want to ask help from Aries, surely his help will be given some serious thought.
At least that is how it should be. But then he met that boy. He was powerful and domineering in the battle.
It then surprises him more when he finds out that kid is Aries son.He is strong. Being a Knight would suit him.
But Adrian also sees a kingly demeanor from the boy, a ruler disposition. He is a leader Adrian mused.
“My lord, we are honored” a voice startled Adrian.
It was the boy. After the battle he went to clean himself.
The fierce look is no longer there.
Now he looked dignified with the clean cloth inlaid with pearl and beautiful sparkling decoration, the cut on his cloth fit perfectly to the boy body and in his middle finger is a ring with an inscription, though he could not see it.
His hair was white, his stature was tall, his blue eye was scanning them, and his white hair falling across his pale face when he bowed slightly.
There is an odd light in his eyes that seems to know something more than he let on.
He looked like royalty, Adrian mused
 “No the honor is mine” Adrian reply politely.
The knights stopped eating. The rowdy noises disappear as they stared at the boy.
Darren was eating the chicken voraciously and even he stopped and almost choked on the chicken flesh.
I know what they are thinking about.
Most of my Knights come from minor noble houses and they were trained since a child with the use of arms.
So the show of strength that his boy display intrigued them because simply put, the boy swordsmanship can easily surpassed everyone in my household.
Not only that, the way the boy hold himself and his appearance now shows that he is a son of a high status person.
Even though his father is not nobility, he sure looks like a noble son
I guess the cloth make the person.Of course they are many questions that the Knight wants to ask.
Where did he learn that kind of swordsmanship? With whom? When? How? Did he meet some expert roaming in the Dukedom and learn some martial arts?
It is known that the people in Vern, Zettel and Renasia practices martial arts. For the Renasian people most of their martial art is intense compared to Vern which is full with variations and movements.
From what Adrian heard from hearsay, those who reached the peak could fly like birds, jumping through valleys, running like lightning and strength of a thousand men.
Hearsay and stories. Dreams and tales.
Adrian never believe it. In the Dukedom what matter are their forces. Their knights and vassal.
Here they learn swordsmanship. Their swords are thin, the exception is broadsword and blades.
Internal energy is taught only to nobles and Adrian also learns internal energy but the training involves the insight of self, one that Adrian could not reach.
Mostly because he is occupied with the matters of the state.
How could he have time to practice? And even if there is an expert with enough people it is not hard to suppress one man.
So what so important in cultivating internal energy. Most of the nobles in the Dukedom also believes the same thing.
Magic on the other hand is rare after the Age of Gods. So most of them fight with swords and spears.
The use of blades is uncommon but it is clear that the young boy have adept understanding on the technique involved using the variety of weapons.
 All this question and more. It’s not every day you could see a seven year old swinging sword like it was an art form.
It was like he was a painter painting a scene of carnage using the blood as the ink, and the sword as his brush.
They may not be the strongest but the Knight knew to appreciate the beauty of Arial swordsmanship. It was like a dance of steel.
Then Sir Thomas, Knight Commander and my bodyguard ask the kid
“Ever interested in becoming a Knight?”
Julia almost dropped her plate that she’s bringing to the table, her face was pale and clearly it shows she disapprove of such notions.
Aries was shocked. His expression was as pale as his wife if not paler. He is a peaceful man, with little worries and much joy.
Knights would undoubtedly encounter dangers. Adrian thought the boy would at least hesitate but swiftly he replied.
“Yes, I’m interested” He said curtly but with grace, his tone was resolute and firm, strong and leave no room for questioned.
Sir Thomas looks overjoyed. Clearly he wants to recruit the boy.
Then Arial sit beside them and eat with them unreservedly. Sir Thomas was laughing. After they finished ate, finally Adrian reveal his purpose in coming here.
“It is by the grace of the Duke that he wanted to confer your family a title” Adrian said and he asks to bring the villagers to the square so that he can announce it to the people.
After some persuasion finally Aries accept the conferment.
It’s the first time I see someone so vehemently refusing the title of nobility. He mused.
It was weird considering that he makes so profits and his shops are all over the Dukedom. Adrian also has his scribe to draft the letter and will be the responsibility of the crier to announce it to the surrounding villages.
Then after the villagers have congregated Adrian began opening the parchment with Dukedom of Alan seal.
The villagers kneel with reverence and respect.
Then Adrian began to speak.
“The Duke of Alan has today been pleased to confer a Barony on the Vermont Family. His titles will be Baron of Danoba. Aries Vermont thus becomes Lord Aries and Mdm Julia Vermont will become Baroness of Danoba.”
Aries will be responsible for Brulau,Gili,Khili and Caucer village.
Arial was watching the conferment ceremony which is held in the town square while thinking about what this means for his family.
Arial then thought in his mind, being a noble doesn’t mean suddenly you are thrust into a life of luxury.
At least he knows that much.
He knew one noble that sell her own daughter to slavery to settle his debt. It was immoral but who is he to condemn. Life was hard at the time.
Foods are scarce, people died starving, combined that with the unceasing slaughter, men warped to become monsters.
But can that be a reason? Which is true? That man is born good or man are born evil?
Or did our definition of evil depend on the circumstances? Do we become nice because the circumstances allow us to feel that kind of luxury of politeness?
I don’t know.There is so much I don’t know. But I do know one thing.
Pennies, coppers, and gold. Yes, my friend, I guess that is the most important thing.
Pennies, coppers, and gold, he repeated in his mind and then his mind wheeled to the responsibilities of a Baron.
The responsibilities of the Baron were first to his king and next to the people on his estates.
The king required the people of their courts to perform certain duties as well as serve in the military.
If they showed their loyalty to the king through these duties they could gain more titles, lands, and good marriages for their children/family members.
If they didn’t they could lose everything in a stroke of a pen.
The nobility also had the duty to make sure the people on their estates were protected and that the crops were produced because a percentage went to the king and the church.
They also sat as judge in cases of dispute or crimes and handed down sentences.
Of course Aries did not want to accept it but not accepting it might seem insulting the Duke.
So, after discussing with his wife and son he accepted with a heavy heart.
Arial was thinking in his head, accepting this means his family will become a part of the nobility even though one of the lowest ranked.
But the nobility has a nobility game to play. And it’s full of filth. And Arial is speaking from experience.
“From today onwards the Vermont is a part of the nobility and must exercise their capacity as nobles and also their responsibilities towards the state.”
Finally the announcement ended. The villagers rise. They did not know what to do.
Usually they would congratulate my father but now he is a noble which means something different entirely than a Chief.
But, thankfully my father diffuses the situation by coming to the crowds and tells them that he will treat them nicely and he said in a loud voice
“I guess this called for another feast”
The villagers laughed.
At least, he is good with people.
***************************************
“Ribs of beef and many a bread!” one of the workers in my mother bakery screams.
“We’re selling bread, dear not ribs of beef. That is another store.” my mother says instructing Lisa on how to sell the bread.
It’s been 1 month since the Count confer us the title.
After we have the village combined to form a city, my family profit and the prosperity of our villagers has increased.
Of course, now instead of villagers they are the city people.
But still with the Market Square proving to be a success and with the help and support from Adrian we’re slowly expanding.
I also advise my father to buy other businesses so now we have an item shop that sells weapon and herbs or anything that is commonly that can be bought in other stalls.
Every stall that is open need to pay for the place.
We also have a meat shop, a fish shop and the supplies that we got from the Port, we sell mackerel, herring, lampreys, cod, eels, cured salmon and herring and stock fish are the most common varieties.
Crabs and lobsters are transported live, in barrels. It cost a bit but the return is also good.
I based this on the dreams I dream yesterday. It seems every time I dream I could remember a bit more about what I see in my death.
I see a family that uses this same method from a lowly status to become very rich. But it’s not from this world I guess.
 There is also fresh salmon – attracting very hefty price.
A fresh turbot can cost even more, and usually only the noble families that buy this kind of fish usually for feast. We also have contract with two of the High Lords Houses.
House of Alan and House of Palais.
We’re also selling our grains, now that we have so much. We are planning to buy other lands from other places in the Dukedom.
My mother is also the accountant. She said she learned from a clerk that resides in her house a long time ago.
Arial then watch outside the shop.
He could see a young lad walking through the crowd bearing a tray laden with wooden bowls of cooked meats.
“Is that a new worker?” Arial asked her mother.
Julia turned her head and looked at the boy outside the shop.
“Yes, a smith boy, wanting to make some money. He said he wanted to do the job so I let him”
Arial just nodded.
All around him people are moving, gesturing, talking.
So many have come in from the surrounding villages that this town of about 4,000 inhabitants is today filled with twice as many.
After the reform that is implemented in this city many villagers from other region of this state came here to makes some money.
While nobles come here to spend money.
There are men in knee-length brown tunics driving their cattle before him. There are their wives in long kirtles with wimples around their heads and necks.
Everyone is working hard to get some money.
Then Arial spotted people that are wearing long gowns with high collars and beaver-fur hats.
Wealthy merchants.
 Across the marketplace more peasants are leading in their flocks of sheep, or packhorses and carts loaded with crates of chickens and their stocks and supplies clearly intending to sell it here in the market district.
The atmosphere is noisy.
People are talking so much that chatter could almost be the whole purpose of the market – and in many ways it is.
Information is exchange here.
Arial also notices some travelling performers performs in the corner of the market square, Arial met them yesterday when they were making the payment for their place.
Their performance looks interesting too.
The marketplace is the heart of any town: indeed, the very definition of a town is that it has a market.
We also set aside an area for corn: sacks of wheat, barley, oats and rye that are piled up, ready for sale to the townsmen.
Then there is the space given over to livestock: goats, sheep, pigs and cows. Another corner is devoted to garden produce – apples, pears, vegetables, garlic and herbs.
The rest of the marketplace performs two functions.
Producers come to sell fleeces, sacks of wool, tanned hides, furs, iron, steel and tin for resale further afield.
The other function is to sell manufactured commodities to local people: brass and bronze cooking vessels, candlesticks and spurs, pewter ware, woolen cloth, silk, linen, canvas, carts, rushes (for hall floors), glass, faggots, coal, nails, horse shoes and planks of wood.
Everyone is heavily dependent on each other for such supplies, and the marketplace is where all these interdependencies meet.
Arial was smiling.
Tomorrow he will go to the Knight Training Barracks.
He was recommended by Sir Thomas and he just got the letter yesterday. He also recommended someone else to go with him.
Kyle and Lisa would follow him. That is his condition for joining.
Thomas accepts. Uncle and Aunty Alissa also agrees but they were hesitant about Lisa.
I promise them that I would protect their daughter. For now,Lisa is helping my mother in the shop while Kyle is helping his father in the farm.
“I mean, I train them myself. They are better than any Knights of the House of Alan” I mumbled
“What ,son?” My mother hear me mumbled
“Nothing mother”
Then he looked back outside
He is just coming here to check the townspeople. With Danoba as its center, many of the people I knew became different from what fate has destined for them.
Daniel Lethe the father of Kyle and Lisa is supposed to be a hunter and died in the woods searching for food during the winter after his son death but now?
He is one of the suppliers of meat. He worked at the cattle farm. Change one thing, change everything.
But maybe change is not that bad. Maybe we need it.
To keep changing to reach a better place than yesterday. A better world where people can smile happily.
Tomorrow I will go the Knight Training Camp.
I will prove my worth and change this Dukedom fate.This is my first step to creating such a world.

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