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.