In a land forgotten, there once lived a boy named Cahir. Cahir was the son of a farmer and a seamstress and being such, he knew little of the world but he did know the value of gold. He also knew that, being raised by a poor couple, that it was hard to come by. Especially after his mother passed.
Just after his seventeenth birthday, he was helping his father plow in the fields near their small cottage. It was nearly dusk and, having no light to work by, the two returned home to find the King’s tax collectors waiting. They came every four months like clockwork, but this time felt different.
“Good evening, farmer.” The Lord Collector said, smiling. “I should hope the fields have been productive.”
“Not as productive as usual, Lord Collector, but we manage.”
“I see.” The Lord Collector replied, pacing. “Taxes have risen, Campion. You shall be paying the King twice the old rate.”
Cahir’s father was shocked to find that taxes had risen again. They had barely enough to survive with the taxes at the old rate, but a tax increase he could not afford.
“But, sir, I do not have that kind of money.” Cahir’s father stated, shakily.
“Then I am truly sorry, my old friend.” The Lord Collector replied, “But I must seize your property immediately, under the King’s own orders. Anyone who can not pay on demand…is subject to this new law.”
“But this is my home!” Campion exclaimed, feeling his chest tighten. “How does the King expect taxes when he is seizing peoples…” His voice trailed off as everything darkened around him.
Campion collapsed into the arms of Cahir and The Lord Collector, who both yelled for help. But nothing could be done as Campion was already dead. His heart, tethered to the land where he had raised his family, had broken and failed. It was at that moment, Cahir became an orphan.
“I am very sorry, boy.” The Lord Collector said, covering Campion with his cloak. “You know me as Lord Collector, your father knew me as Aidrian.”
“Lord Collector Aidrian,” Cahir said, through grinding teeth, “I bid you no ill will as it was the King’s taxes that caused my fathers death. You were merely the messenger. But I swear, as the Gods are my witnesses, I will seek vengeance upon the King.”
“Hold your tongue!” shouted the other collector, drawing his sword. “What you speak is treason, boy! You will be punished-”
“That’s enough, Gadhra!” Aidrian replied, standing. “The boy just lost his father, anger is a part of grief. Let it pass as we are to blame for a portion of it.”
“What is your name, boy?” Aidrian asked, turning back to Cahir.
“My name is Cahir, son of Campion.” Cahir replied, still furious from his loss.
“Take your horse, Cahir, and ride to Avonesse near Lyndon. Find the lady named Falon, she is my sister and will take you in and give you work.”
“I must give my father an appropriate funeral, but thank you, Aidrian.”
“We will assist you in the undertaking.”
Together, the three men carried Campion into the cottage, doused it with lamp oil, and wrapped the man in a shroud, dousing it as well. Once outside, Aidria handed Cahir a lit torch.
“It is only fitting that we use the house he built with his own two hands.” Cahir said as he lit the thatched roof and oils.
“This is the King’s property now and I cannot allow this to continue!” Gadhra protested. Stop or be arrested!”
“We were the messengers of his fathers death, Gadhra!”, Aidrian said and gripped his sword. “And who says the King need know we have been here yet?”
“Are you daft?” Gadhra asked. “Do you have no honor or allegiance to your King?”
Aidrian silenced him with a kick to the midsection and turned to Cahir, “You must go.”
“Will you two be all right?” Cahir asked as he gripped the reins to his fathers horse. “This land has seen enough death for today.”
“I can handle this. He is young and full of fury, much like you. Go seek my sister. She will help you.”
Cahir nodded and climbed onto the horse, his few belongings packed behind the saddle. He rode into the night as the home he had known for seventeen years burned to cinders behind him. As hard as it was, he never looked back and would never forget the kindness of the stranger, Aidrian. But his fury burned for the King, and again he swore to the Gods that he would have his vengeance.