Chapter One: The Birth of a Peasant

It was an unseasonably cold morning in the kingdom of Guardia. The fog was beginning to roll down Truce Canyon as it always did, bringing with it the depressing feeling that winter would soon be upon the kingdom, and all of the despair that goes with it for the poor class of families. However, inside a make-shift hut adjacent to the entrance of Guardia forest, life was about to spring forth amidst the dreary conditions that surrounded it.

"I know, darling, but I told you that it is impossible for us to afford a midwife," said a shabbily-dressed inside this hut.

"Byron!" a soon-to-be mother exclaimed in fury, "We have to have a midwife! You donít know anything about delivering a child! Arrrghhhhhhh......!" This poor woman was obviously not impressed with the manís baby-delivering skills. "We have to!" she once again exclaimed in anguish.

"I know, but we donít have enough money......I wish I could give you anything, but I canít. I canít even give you a decent house, and youíre the one woman in the world that deserves it the most.......," Byron said softly, almost hanging his head in shame. Then he whispered, "Iím sorry Catherine....."

"No, Iím sorry honey. I know we donít have enough money, and that we agreed to not inform a midwife. You and you alone is all I really need," the woman said, forcing a weak smile. "Rrrrrrrr........Byron, I think the baby is comi.......argghhhhh.....help me! Please! The pain....is....too much!"

At this point Byron began to realize that his inexperience in this would be a very large problem. He had no idea what to do. He could run and try to find a midwife to deliver the baby, but no, it was too late for that. What if the baby is sick, or comes out wrong? he thought to himself. The Truce Village medic was a heartless old man, and would have Byron thrown in prison if he was paid right away. Then, all of a sudden, he saw the babyís head.

"I see it, Catherine! I see it," shouted the new father with great excitement. He then began the task of pulling it out. He didnít want to hurt it, but how else could he get it out. Maybe if he did it slowly........

"Get this kid out of me, Byron!" Catherine screamed in a tone containing a mixture of pain and impatience.

Here goes......., Byron thought to himself. He just put his hands on the baby and....there it was out. "I got it, Catherine! I delivered the baby!........Itís a boy! Itís a boy! My dream has come true! I finally have a son to call my own! Today is the happiest day of my life!" The father looked upon his son with great pride. The newborn replied by letting out a wail. This only made Byron smile more. A small tear of joy treacle out of the corner of his eye and down his face. I finally have a son, he thought. Someone to carry on the family name.

Catherine heaved a great sigh of relief, realizing that the pain caused by delivering her son was finally over. There was blood all over her cot, but she still laid her head upon her pillow and heaved a great sigh of relief. "Let me see him," she said in a weak whisper.

"Of course, my dear," said Byron in a wavering tone, "here he is." With that, Byron handed over his new son to his wife.

"Youíre the cutest baby Iíve ever seen," Catherine whispered, looking into the childís eyes for the first time. "So youíre the one who was causing us all of that trouble. You are worth any trouble though." At this Catherine let out a weak laugh. "Take him back, Byron," she said in a quiet voice.

"All right. Youíve had a rough day. You need rest," Byron emphatically said to his wife. He took the newborn from her and she immediately dozed off, oblivious to the childís wailing. He began then to hold the child and try to get a really good look at his son for the first time. "Yes," he whispered to his son, "you are the greatest present I could ever hope for." At this the new father began to think of his own childhood, now not speaking aloud, almost in fear of upsetting his new son. Abandoned at four and taken to live with a poor family that already had seven children, he had always felt as if he were a burden. He could sense that after a while he was no longer accepted by the other children because he was, oh he hated that word they always called him. To them he was the bastard. They called him that. At the age of nine he ran away hoping to find a better life.

After he ran away his life wasnít any better. He worked any odd jobs that he could just to make money. He wouldnít steal for any reason. His philosophy was that having an dishonest existence was worse than not existing at all. He finally found a steady job working for a weaponís maker when he was 16. He had wondered the streets for seven years, but he was soon booted out of that job. The reason he lost this job was neglect. He often left the store in the middle of the night to see his only true love, Catherine.

He had met Catherine when he was 18. Her father was one of the great Knights of the Square Table. This knight came into the shop in order to buy new weapons, and wanted to talk to Byron about swords, and shields, and spears, but Byron was most definitely lost in Catherineís beauty. She had dark brown flowing hair, and brown eyes that you could captivate any man looking at her. Byron fell in love on first sight. He had no idea, however, that she was a very sought-after woman. All of the men in the nearby village of Truce were enchanted with her, and would do anything to have her as their own. Many boys would invite her on small dates, and the dates consisted of family dinners or going to the local bar/cafť for a quiet meal. however, it seemed that the only reason these boys liked her was for her looks.

When Byron first saw her it seemed that this was also the only reason he wanted to be with her. When she and her father came in that time he asked her on a date at his small place in the back of the shop. She was used to this, but she sensed something about Byron. He was........different.......somehow. He had a kindness in his eyes that she had never seen before. She accepted his greeting and did indeed come to have a meal with him. His small room was very shabby, at least by her standards with weapons strewn about in an askew manner, but she ignored it. After they ate they began to talk, and he actually asked her about her family and mainly about her herself. No one had ever actually been inquisitive about her before.

She and he began to see each other often, and eventually Catherine fell in love with him as well. After much consideration they decided to get married, but Catherineís father would not have it. "Catherine," the old knight said when the news about their engagement was announced, "this will not happen. There are many other men your age in this village that can support you, as well as love you."

After seeing that her father wouldnít accept it they simply ran away and got married on their own. When Catherineís father heard of this, he simply disowned Catherine. No longer was she a part of the family in his eyes, so she simply cut off from her family without a fight. She and Byron lived a very hard life, mainly because he didnít have a job. They tried as hard as they could, but were still desperately poor and had to live anywhere they could. They finally got a house, and it took every gold piece they had to buy it. Unfortunately, this wouldnít last. One day while Byron was out looking for new work to help buy food, the small stove inside the house malfunctioned and ultimately destroyed the house in the process.

At this time it was late summer and Catherine was seven months pregnant. They knew that their child would need a place to stay that was safe until they could get more permanent shelters, so they went into the forest and made the small hut that was to be their home for quite a while.

Byron sat on a small stool thinking of all of these events that had happened. He looked at his son who had fallen fast asleep in Byronís arms. How will I provide for this little one? he thought. I must help it. I will do everything I can to make its existence better than my owns. I swear it. After this long array of thinking, Byron put his son in the small cradle he had made out of a log. He looked upon him with great joy, the most he had felt since he married Catherine.

At this point Catherine woke up, seemingly refreshed after only about an hour of sleep. She smiled weakly at Byron, and then at her son. All of a sudden, she inquired, "What shall we call this little one?"

Byron looked at her as if surprised. He thought that by all she had been through today she would want to worry more about that tomorrow. "I donít know," Byron confessed. "Have you any ideas?

She said, "I would like to call him Glenn. That is the name I have spent these many months thinking of."

"Okay. Glenn it is," Byron said with a small laugh, realizing finally what his wife had been thinking of.

Catherine, suddenly feeling tired again, said softly, "Goodnight, my little Glenn." Now she off to sleep, and didnít wake up again until the morning.

That night, when it was time for bed, Byron kissed Glenn lightly before putting him back in his cradle, and said, "You sleep well Glenn, things will be okay. You will grow up as any boy does." With that, Byron went to bed.

On to Chapter 2:A New Start