Lysha al Rakath
Who am I?
You are Lysha of Clan Rakath. You’ve seen twenty-one winters but are still unmarried – many people regard you as an old maid. You could have been married and raising babies by now, but you want to be a soldier.
Who are my family?
Your father is Dikel al Rakath, a yeoman archer. He is an excellent marksman with the short forest bow which is in common use aross the hundred. He provides military service to Sir Alarn al Orteyan, the lord of Yalen, in return for his land. He is both a farmer and a warrior. When you were young, he humored you when you asked him to teach you to shoot a bow and fight with shortsword and buckler. Your mother is Nala; she is the best alewife in the village. You have three brothers. Uthber is now nineteen and this year he will carry out the military duties, something you were forbidden from doing. This will allow your father to concentrate on the farm. Dybal is fourteen and cheeky. Hiu is thirteen. You also have a sister, Marila, aged twelve. She likes housework and playing with dolls; she’s a strange girl in your opinion.
Where do I come from?
You were born and raised in the village of Yalen in Asolade Hundred, part of Oselshire in the Kingdom of Kaldor. Yalen is a small village of only sixteen families, plus the noble household up at the manor. Yalen lies on the south bank of the mighty River Kald. Your family is one of four free families in the village; the others are the woodcrafter, hideworker, and another yeoman. The remaining residents are peasant farmers, good folk in the main, but tied to the land. The lord of Yalen is Sir Alarn al Orteyan. He holds his lands from Baron Doulzarn of Novelim. Sir Alarn is a new lord – he inherited the manor when his father died over the winter. He’s making changes and many of the serfs are nervous. You grew up in the village and know everyone by name. You know the road south to Novelim and it’s only a short walk to Jedes, the largest town in the hundred. You have been to Jedes many times, usually on market days, and you have also been inside the keep at Jedes to attend the services to your goddess, Larani.
Who are my friends?
You’ve been friends with Aledra al Lunn and her twin brother, Gorrys, since you could walk. They’re both good hunters, trackers, and trappers. Gorrys nearly died over the winter when he fell into the River Kald. A yeoman’s son named Kalas al Delsin rescued him. The young men, both chilled and feverish, stayed with Gorrys’ parents to recuperate. Unfortunately, the cold was deep in Gorrys’ chest and he still hasn’t recovered. It’s possible that he never will. However, you’ve grown quite fond of Kalas – he’s rather good-looking and he’s always nice to you.
What can I do?
You’ve helped with your father’s livestock all your life; you know the animals and the seasons. You’ve helped look after your younger siblings. You can trap small game, forage for food, and cook. You can take care of your weapons and you’re a good judge of the weather. You can make and fletch arrows. You’re quick and accurate with the dagger and reasonably skilled with shortsword and buckler. Last year, you entered the archery contest at Dagrath’s Tourney. You didn’t win, but you scored more than your father and your brother; you placed fifth in the contest and reckon yourself a good shot. You are young, fit, and sharp-eyed.
What do I own?
You own the clothes that you’re wearing: a wool kirtle (a sleeved dress falling to just below the knees) and breeches. You also have a leather hood, greatcoat, bracers, gauntlets, and knee boots, all made by Aledra’s father. You have your short forest bow and a quiver with twenty arrows as well as a dagger. Your father has given you his old shortsword; you spent most of last night sharpening it. He also gave you a battered but serviceable buckler. Your mother has given you six silver pennies and told you that you’ll always be welcome home, no matter what. A leather pouch tied to your belt contains a good flint and some tinder; another hung around your neck contains the coins you’ve been given and a spare bowstring. A rough canvas sack contains your spare clothes, another wool kirtle and breeches. It also contains a blanket, some food, and a few other odds and ends that you’ve acquired over the years.
Where am I going?
Yesterday Aledra told you that she was leaving for Jedes to look for work. Kalas and a friend of his, Harlin, are going as well. You’ve wanted to leave home for some time, so you persuaded your family to let you go with them. After all, there will be four of you traveling together and that’s safer. There must be more to the world than just Yalen.
(Sketch and additional information: Lysha al Rakath)
© Neil Thompson, lightly edited by JS.