Harlin of Kleve
Who am i?
You are Harlin of Clan Kleve. You are twenty-one years old and hold guild papers as a journeyman ostler. You have lived with horses all of your life.
Who are my family?
Your father is Farrath of Kleve, free master ostler from the village of Skaist. He breeds and breaks horses, he also stables, grooms, and shoes. Your mother is Sallas, you are the fifth of six children. Your eldest brother, Skort, is ten years your senior. He is married with two young children. Skort is the senior journeyman to your father and there is little doubt that he will eventually inherit the guild franchise. Your eldest sister is Jahna, she ran off with a group of travelling players when she was eighteen. Skort, then twenty, tracked her down, but she refused to return. You’ve heard that Jahna is a fine singer and that the troupe is well respected. They have even played before the king. Gordyn is your next brother, aged twenty-six, he is now a master ostler, bonded to the Bailiff of the Hun- dred of Asolade. Twenty three year old Vergyl is married and pregnant, she married the village metalsmith, a wid- ower seven years her senior, only last year. Your youngest sister is Alayna; five years your junior.
Farrath (m) Sallas (f)
Skort (m) / Married / Lyda (f)
Jahna (f) Gordyn (m) Vergyl (f) / Married / Jaskal of Garst (m) Harlin (m) Alayna (f)
Goris (m) / Fayal (f)
Where am I from?
You were born and raised in Skaist, a village of twenty- two households in the Hundred of Asolade, in the Shire of Osel, in the kingdom of Kaldor. Skaist, and another fourteen households, which form the hamlet of Deshines, about a quarter-league away, are ruled by a bailiff from Skaist manor. The Lord Bailiff of Skaist is Sir Garith Kaphin, one of his cousins is the king’s Lord Privy Seal and, rumour has it, mistress. Your family is one of eight free families in the two villages. There are four guild clans, your own, the miller, the metalsmith, and the charcoaler, plus four yeomen. The remaining residents are peasant farmers, good folk in the main, but tied to the land. You grew up in Skaist and lived there until you were fourteen.
In your fourteenth year your father arranged an ap- prenticeship for you. You were taken to Novelim, three leagues to the west, where you were introduced to the master ostler Yerick of Ubel. Yerick breeds ponies, mules and donkeys, not fine palfreys like your father. Novelim is about the same size as Skaist, twenty-four households, the manor lord is Sir Terris Doulzarn, one of the wealthiest nobles in the hundred.
Who are my friends?
You have been in Novelim for seven years, during this time you have become familiar with the village and its inhabitants. You have made a few friends, among them is the adopted son of one of the yeomen, Kalas of Delsin. Kalas is the same age as you, he was trained in arms by his foster-father. Over the years you’ve taught him to read and write. He is fascinated by this skill. In return, he’s helped you with your spear and shield drills. The only time you’ve argued was three years ago, you fell out over Belysa of Marish, the pretty daughter of one of the villeins. You stopped speaking to each other, and both of you spent everything you had buying her presents. Then she got work as a servant in the manorhouse; and married the chamberlain, who was twice her age.
Last autumn a young Peonian priestess arrived in the village, you got on well with her. Her name was Ryssi of Chert. Almost a month ago she left for Yalen, accompa- nied by Kalas. She did not return.
What can i do?
You have few skills, but the ones that you have, you are good at. You can make leather goods, repair saddles and bridles, you are an expert in horses and horse care and you’re a good horse rider.
Since arriving in Novelim you’ve taken to swimming in the river Kald, while hardly an expert, you can safely splash your way from one side of the river to the other.
Your father taught you your letters. Your master contin- ued the lessons. You can read and write. Most of what you write is bloodlines for horses. All of the local ostlers keep a careful written record of breeding.
You’ve been in the militia for seven years. This involves practicing weapon drills with the local yeomen, four times each month. You know which end of a spear is which, but you know that you’re no expert, and you’ve never seen combat.
What do i own?
You own the clothes that you’re wearing: a good, red dyed cloth shirt; leather riding breeches and calf boots; and a quilt aketon and cowl. You own a dagger plus your ‘militia’ weapons, a spear and a roundshield. You also own a few tools, a shoeing hammer and a horse comb amongst them. You have twelve pennies in coin in a pouch in your belt, and you have a green woolen tunic and brown trousers, your best clothes, in a sack.
Where am i going?
As a journeyman Ostler you can look for employment with any Master Ostler. Unfortunately, so far as you know, none of the masters within the Hundred are currently looking for staff. Jedes is not a very big place, but it’s the biggest place within a days walk. Tomorrow is market day and there may be work to be had.
Asolade Hundred is in the south-western corner of the Kingdom of Kaldor. The Kald River forms the north- eastern boundary, the Osel river, the southern boundary. The western part of the hundred is mostly flat and fertile farmland, although low hills separate the farmland along the Kald from the Osel river valley. Almost all of the population live and work in this half of the hundred. The twenty-two settlements are mostly manorial villages, simi- lar to your own home village. The largest settlement is Jedes, with its tall and imposing keep. There is a monas- tery to the south, Bromeleon is the home of the shrine to St. Bromel and contains a large hospital. The monks also maintain a leper colony nearby. There are two mining set- tlements in the hills, one Orofal, mines copper, the other, Tasinald, is a lead mine. The eastern part of the hundred is heavily forested and sparsely populated.
Across the Kald river to the north dwell the Kath, fiercely territorial forest dwelling nomadic barbarians. To the north-east lies most of civilised Kaldor. The roads are poor and can be dangerous, but all roads lead to Tashal, the capital, a great city where decrepit old King Migi- nath rules. To the east lies Daynora Hundred and Hutop Keep, home of the Sheriff of Osel, keeper of the king’s peace. To the south lies the Oselmarch, and the lands of the Pagaelin, fierce and ruthless half-demon monsters. Everyone knows the stories of their cruelty. To the west lie the forests of Evael, home of the elves. A mysterious people, they are a legend across much of Hârn. Everyone in Asolade knows someone who knows someone who has seen an elf. But no-one can give a good description.
The manor lords hold court irregularly, they deal with disputes between the serfs in their village. Most of the manor lords owe fealty to Earl Dariune, a mighty lord who lives in a huge castle in far off Kiban. A constable, Sir Shernath Mirdarne, rules Jedes on behalf of the earl. The constable is a powerful man, able to call upon dozens of knights and men-at-arms. As Earl Dariune’s representa- tive in the hundred, he can hold court over his vassals. But he is not above the king’s law.
The representative of the king’s law within the hundred is the Bailiff of the Hundred, Sir Arrys Maradyne. The hundred court is held in the hundred moot village of Aso- lade, after which the hundred is named. Serious disputes may reach the sheriff’s court in Hutop, or even the king.
Most people, including you, worship gentle Peoni, god- dess of healing and agriculture. Almost every village has a chapel to the goddess. Her services take place on the 4th, 12th, 20th & 28th of each month. You usually attend the service.
The nobles worship Larani, goddess of the feudal ideal. She is regarded by many as the protector of Peoni. Halea is the wanton goddess of profit, pleasure and luck, wor- shipped by some merchants and city dwellers.