Chapter i preview
When Heldar took over the Old Realm's withered army, he ended a two-hundred year peace. He unleashed his soldiers on the land and they wasted no time in bringing the hierarchy to its knees. The University Faction and The Trader’s Union fought back, but all they had were words and gold. They could not match the armed men that stormed their cities. The citizens of the Old Realm buckled soon after, submitting to Heldar's rule. Word spread that this new Lord Marshal wanted more than control of the Old Realm. The faction’s numbers swelled as young men poured into Fort Greywatch, hoping for war and adventure.
Fort Greywatch had stood for centuries and was the home of the Old Realm's army. It was itself, a miniature city with a host of workers and residents. Blacksmiths, hunters, chefs, tanners, surgeons and slaves all called Fort Greywatch home. Everyone resided within the walls of the fort. The walls were five times the height of a man and three feet thick, made of cold, grey stone. Surrounding Fort Greywatch for a mile in every direction was a flat, grassy plain. A team of foresters kept the plain clear. In every direction the line of sight was as clear as possible. No invading army had a hope of surprising the walls.
These new volunteers alone weren’t enough for Heldar. Soldiers scoured the country, searching for men to bolster the ranks. The soldiers killed those who resisted. Men of fighting age weren’t the only ones hunted. Heldar’s men were taking children from their mother’s arms in their thousands. Raised as soldiers from childhood, these children would form a formidable army.
Found by a scouting party returning back to Fort Greywatch, Marcus had been one of these children. Wrapped in furs and left in a patch of snow by the Fort’s gates. Abandoned & freezing, the life of a soldier was Marcus' only chance at survival.
The children were left in the care of workers within the fort. It was the duty of those workers to raise the children with order and discipline. At seven years of age the children moved to the barracks. They were expected to be prepared for the harshness of life in the army. The blacksmith and his wife who had charge of Marcus showed no lenience in their duty, and in fact seem to revel in it.
Marcus lay on his bed, if you could call it that. It was a collection of itchy and dirty blankets. He tried not to focus on the insects he could feel crawling below his back. He had been with the blacksmith and his wife for 6 years. One more year and he could begin his training. He would learn how to be a soldier.