My birth name is Kettleford. It was apparently the name my father wished me to bare, although I have never met the man. In fact, it was but one of many aspects which my beloved mother would tell me. I was raised in a small hamlet, nestled close to a forest's edge, and I would find this something of a blessing as I learned many survival skills in my youth, due to its vicinity.
I have often wondered of the tales my mother would sometimes regale me about my father. Some of which did not make much sense to me. She would say I was of noble stock, but if that were true, why were we in such a backwater, struggling to get by.
I soon learned not to tell the other boys of those stories, as they would take to mocking me. As I entered my teens I would not ask Mother anymore questions. Perhaps she was making fanciful tales for what may have just been a casual encounter.
As I approached my nameday, when I would be sixteen years of age, I noticed I looked older than most of my friends. In fact, I was often mistaken for a man grown. I was tall by my people's standards, six feet and 2 inches, and my shoulders were as broad as the local farrier. My beard began to sprout two years previous. Often I would hear my mother comment that I was the double of my dad. 'You have his piercing blue eyes,' she would oft say, much to my annoyance.
Yes, I was annoyed and frustrated at the mention of the man. Suppose he was a noble? Then what was I? Some bastard offspring? I had on occassion witnessed a passing lord and knights, and I had no love for the cruel way they would deal with the people of my village. Simple we may be, but a more decent and loyal bunch of folk you would be hard pressed to find.
This next passage pains me to write. My mother passed away not long after my nameday. Nobody could give me a proper reason either. So I reckoned it was time to learn the truth of my so-called knighthood. I would find the man who gave me the name Kettleford. I also want to see the world, and fill this journal with the tales of the people I meet and the deeds which I will do.
A Sentimental Value: Ring of Solace
All the years I knew my mother, she always bore this ring upon her wedding finger. This would of course raise the mutterings of the washer women as they gossiped during their laundry, but it never phased her. In fact, at times like that she would give me a knowing smile, and tell me not to worry about such trivial people.
Before her untimely death, she pulled me aside one evening, I remember it for a fierce gale blew outside. As we crouched by the fireside, she told me that should anything ever befall her, that I was to take this ring and wear it with a chain about my neck, and never to show a soul I could not trust for fear of its theft.
Amongst the dancing shadows cast by the fire, she took it from her finger and showed me the simple looking band. Within I could barely perceive an inscription. As if noticing my struggle to read it, Mother whispered,
'For Feadrun and Forever, My Eternal Love'
A shiver went down my spine and I felt strangely as though I had somehow been drawn into some dark conspiracy. She smiled, and replaced the silver ring upon her finger.
'When you finally meet the man who proclaims to be your father, you will know if he is true if he knows the words upon this ring,'
At that, the gale blew open the window's shutters, and I gave a start and had an awful fright.
'Now get yourself to bed my son, and sleep away this awful storm,' She patted me on the shoulder as she bade me to my room.
Little could I tell her that I would find no quarter or respite in my damned dreams.
I, Kettleford, have always been wary of my surroundings. I suppose you could call it an almost sixth sense ability. As I made my through the many twists and turns of this remarkable town, and taking in all the exocity sights and sounds, not to mention the smells of cooking meats (My stomach protested in pain and desire at these mouth watering scents), I started to become aware that an elderly gentleman, dressed in a bizarre, blue robe, seemed to be everywhere I traversed.
No, I thought, it's just the strange customs and dress of this place. But time and again, I would spot him in my vicinity. It got to the point I was sure that I was not being overly paranoid, and so decided to double back in order to evade him.
To my utter astonishment, as I delicatley backtracked, I bumped into someone, and upon turning, there he stood!
Now how on earth had he managed that? Especially as he was easily in his seventies, or perhaps more, and with a large, walking staff, there was no possible way he could have gotten behind me so quick.
I leapt back in sheer reflex and a tad fright.
There he stood. Slightly over six feet in height, and adorned in the most garish, bright blue robe and hat I had ever seen. His outlandish outfit was adorned in all manner of astrological symbols. From bright stars, to half-crecent moons, to a particulary large, blazing sun at the heart of the robe where the man's chest no doubt lurked beneath. His large hat, raised almost to a point, before it tipped to the side, and was seimilar in design as to the robe. Although his face was mostly obscured by a great, long, white beard. His eyes were striking, great sappshires with a pinprick of a pupil. And they glared straight into my own. Although I felt no malice from them, I could not resist an awful chill ripple down the length of my back.
"Why are you following me old man?! I growled. He merely chuckled
"Follow you am I? Perhaps I am merely going where Amlin sends me,! again that chuckle, it bore no seeming threat, but I was convinved I was in the presence of a lunatic.
"Well, you had best find another patsy to chase. I am no greenwood, forest boy you know."
"Hm, of that my friend, I am certain. But a navigator you are not. You have walked in three circles now, and not in the most favourable of places, (Laugh),"
I flushed, realising that the cloth stall before me, was one I had walked passed several times before.
"So..what of it? Maybe I was taking time to decide which item to buy?"
"oh, I am sure whatever you choose, your lady friend will be enamoured with your choice,"
Upon further inspection I suddenly realised it was a stall dedicated to woman's under garments. I was not only being stalked, but being made a fool of as well.
"My friend, do not fret. I am known as Andrelthist, the Wise and Wonderful, and I too am but a visitor to this town. And yes, I was keeping my eye upon you. Fate has struck you a glorious bounty. I shall tell you what you want to know soon, but first. A drink and some hearty food, my treat. What say you?"
Against my better judgement, I decided to follow the old eccentic towards a tavern.