Andrei
This story is not a fairy tale. Like most real events it's a tragedy parading under a disguise.
Male
30 years old
Irkutsk, Irkutsk
Russia - 02889
Last Login: February 18 2020


http://www.journeysendrp.org/taleofAndrei

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Interests: The food increased in both quality and quantity. It seemed like forever since Andrei had seen food that did not find maggots. Though Andrei was still fully in his ignorance of all that this world was at least he had some comforts. One that he did not enjoy was having his own bed a feat he did not have in his home. He preferred the floor and would often be found tucked on the wooden beams. This 'Adjacent of serfs." endured all the mockery with that same smile on his face. What was he to do against men who could murder him?

Basil was not quick to anger. I suspect this is because the insults did not register with the full intent in his dull brain. Perhaps I am being a bit harsh to my benefactor after all if not for his aid I would likely have died like Sergei covered in my own blood with my clothes fought over by the poor soldiers taken from home. Basil had me usually at a desk working on letters. I wrote to various people. It was here that I learned titles but they were so many. What did they all mean? I couldn't tell you. They were important but I could not say why.

Finally one day I woke up and I found the camp in full activity. It was like the village the month before winter set upon us. The people where moving. The endless supply of carriages arrived. I was confused as Basil stepped toward and once more putting his hand upon my shoulder. "You come with me!" I followed of course and soon I was in a room with him. "Fix him up too!"

Basil apparently had gotten his hands on three young servants. They were to dress me. I protested at first but they would not allow me to say no because Basil would not allow me to say no. It was the first time that the opposite sex viewed my body. The first time that a woman stared at me without clothes. I noticed one of them was staring longer than she should. She noticed I noticed her and at once we both blushed.

In a moment I no longer looked like the man I was. The clothes I were fit for a warrior. A piece of chest armor was strapped to me. The gauntlet of my arms were tightened to make sure that I could fight. The long overcoat was no longer colorful like it was in camp but also the same color as Basil who was transformed from the large overweight man to a man who looked like he could crush men under is heel. His eyes seemed at once alive as if he was merely buying his time to save all his energy for this moment.

Basil turned as he approached me. His hands coming up as he gripped my shoulders and stepped forward. He provided me with the formal greeting when you meet an equal. The kisses though not direct on my skin and upon the air still carried the same respect as if I was the equal. "Andrei thank you for writing, did you send the letter to my wife?" I nodded my head. "Good than this is the last I can do for you getting you proper gear. You shall ride with me understand?" I nodded my head as he turned and walked out. I took a second to observe myself in the mirror. Does the armor make the man? Was I a warrior now or still the farmer who was plucked from home?

That breakfast was spent in silence. It seemed like all the Marshals understand that something was amiss. I had been present for most of the talks save for the times where he had asked me to stay in the room next to him. I had heard the arguments through the door but I could not make out what it was. I ate the soup, I ate the bread, I drunk the liquor and I wondered why the meal seemed so grand. Why they were feeding such a large helping even to those outside. I did not have long to wait.

If the army was a body one could say that most of the time it was a corpse. Bloated and slowly decaying away but after breakfast the full force of the bodies energy would finally come into being. 'levies" They called the men that survived that were arranged and split between the big Marshals. Basil got his allowance and at once went to set up the various carriages to load the men. I got my own horse. It was a bit shaggy and it seemed like men it had seen to many seasons but I was glad to have my own to keep to myself.

I had not ridden much in my village. The village was small and much of my riding was only with leading oxen and other animals that we thought were good with the plow. However it did not take me long to get the horse to go in the direction of Basil. My eyes looked forward as he saw me and offered me a smile. "What did you name him?" I looked upon the horse. "Him?" Basil nodded. "Every horse needs a name. This one I sit upon I named the Barricade. Your horse needs a name." I looked confused wondering a name for a horse.

I was silent for awhile as he marched. Curious as to where we were going. "Where are we going?" He chuckled at my request for information. Basil knew that I had no idea where we were going. Even if he told me the name of where we headed what good would it do me. "To our destiny!" I nodded my head though I did not understand what he meant. "Than I name him Destiny." If only I knew this was the last moment of peace and tranquility.


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The field was tended to with care. The harvest brought in in order to sustain the families who lived huddled together in this wilderness. The village so small and remote that a proper name was not given to it. This is the start of my story. The start of my journey. Who gave birth to me, who were my parents that does not matter. They were simple farmers living upon the land observing all that they had to do to care for my family. Brothers and sisters yet I can not recall all the names. You must forgive me time and death have removed them from being so fresh in my mind.

I remember how the fields were set up. The field on the left was brought in. The field on the right was almost done. The middle by older of the elder of the village was left bare. We had spent the summer throwing the contents of our chamber pots over this area. If you are wondering it was to improve the soil but the smell was terrible.

Those days I had little to do and even less to worry about. I would wake up early with my family and brothers who could work would head off to the fields. My mother and older sister would sit working the thread machine. They were skilled. The first younger would work on the small details to sell them to locals and to send them to the master. The youngest of the children would tend to preparing the food.

Foot traffic is an amazing thing. Today if we were to go and take you to the village you would find nothing present to let you know we had been present that for centuries our families had been there. I remember how often we walked. The grass broken and bent unable to rise after so many feet had stepped upon it. The cattle driven to eat it. If only I had known what was in store I would have pitied it more.

My last day in this village was the same as always. A daily routine in which I understood what I was to do. The day was over before I knew it. Darkness crept across the field and a part of me understood I would not be in the field tomorrow. You may say that I understood that tomorrow was a church day but a part of my soul knew that it was more than that.

It was cold that night. Even with the dogs and ourselves huddled together it was a miserable experience. I had spent hours watching the fog roll out of my mouth and hang in the air for a split second before disappearing. I had no way of knowing how long I laid for soon I was shaken awake by my mother as we left our home to go to the church in the village.

The sermon was about the need of the poor. To assist those who had nothing. It did not take us long to know he was talking about Anna. She was an older woman who the fate had denied ever seeing a child grow old. Her husband had died that year and she was alone. She was miserable the type of miserable you can be when your only reward awaits in death but a death you can't pursue. We had already chipped in a good amount of food to make sure she did not starve, wood she would not freeze. My mind pondered what more we would have to give to allow her to survive.

It was then that the noise came over us. The sound of the trumpet echoing into the wooden walls. The announcement of a herald to our village was almost unheard of save for the Lord coming to collect his taxes. The Elder and the priest both seemed so confused. It was as if the trumpet alone shattered the world they knew. The village arose together and went out to greet this messenger.

We had never seen a warrior before. We hunted with bows and worked with spears but that was work. The use of leather, metal, gold, silver. As a young man it made quite the impression of me. Me in my old ragged clothes kept together by a single worn piece of rope. He unfurled the parchment and he read the orders. We were to supply men for war. War who would attack us? What kingdom would be stupid enough to waste energy and time on us?

I do not know what happened but before I could say anything I was pushed forward. My eyes scanned backwards to see which neighbor had pushed me but all I saw was men in black cloaks. They were not from the village but they went around the crowd pushing other's like me forward. I at first did not understand than I realized that this was no mistake. This was deliberate they wanted the young and fit.

My mother was not one to panic but she panicked that day. She rushed to me and held out something of hers to me. She was screaming at me to have faith. Screaming at me to pray for my protection. I reached for her and though I was kept from embracing her I got the small golden item she wished to give me. The icon which she had held so dare being given to me to protect me. It was the last I would see them. The last image of my mother crying into my father before we were marched from the village and away from the life I knew.

The first part of his story down. The man drifted his eyes downward observing the Madonna as she stared back at him. He wondered how old this icon was. Who had painted it and where her family had collected it from but he could know none of these details. He merely shut the picture and with careful actions placed it around his neck again least he lose such a venerated object.

If it was cold with family it was freezing with strangers. The small group from the village was forced onto the trail. The prince would have called it a road but I pity the town which must relay on such terrible conditions for food. We however were lucky we beat the rain. We marched forced by our commanders to lands we never knew. All along the way they spoke of this Kingdom that never had any say in our life and I began to wonder where this place was. I did not understand I was already 'in' it.

We overtook another group as we approached we saw that they had different clothes than us. They were actually from a merchant port and had money from trading. They were not farmers like us.They were different and it showed but what were we to do? We waved and went to speak to them. This was the first drop of horror. We could not speak! They spoke a language I never heard only the Marshal who lead them could speak to us. His words brought us no comfort merely snaring. "You dogs waste your time."

Hunger became a close friend. They fed us enough only to keep us going. We were never full the food was never fresh. It seemed as if no one cared about us. We were pushed forced to wake up early and to march until the light was about gone an than we were allowed to freeze where we rested. At times we managed to start a fire. A Marshal may come by and kick it out. Other times he would order the person who started it flogged for breaking rules. Rarely did they allow this glowing warmth to go unanswered. They talked telling us this was discipline. This was not discipline. A father would never do these actions to a son. It was enjoyment for them a man stepping upon an ant, and we were the ants.

The single thing the Marshal kept speaking about was to get us to the fortress. The men were to be present. The forces would be collected at that area and than we would learn more about this abnormal event. We would finally know why we could not stay with our family. Why we had to march out into the trail. They promised us food and even clothes once we arrived and this kept us focus. This made our feet hurt less, our backs less sore as we walked mindless heading toward this unknown future.

Hell can find no better description in my mind than the view of that fortress. Expanded rapidly the wooden stakes stuck into the ground. Dying men clung to them to weak to move and with no one to care if they were buried they were left outside to freeze and to die. These men were those who could no longer serve in the army. Those who had gotten to weak. No attempt was made to save them. A waste of supplies and resources. They accepted that men had to die. That we had to die; I never saw an armored Marshal die like that.

Inside was no better. The fabric tents were open leaving men huddled in groups attempting to stave off freezing to death. It seemed god had given up this camp as the sickness which ravage such a place ran with an fury that could not be controlled. It did not take us long to see the dead coming out to be thrown into a mass pile. Those who were 'lords' and 'Marshals' often stayed in the wooden houses that town folk had left.

A invisible hand seemed to protect me. I saw Boris die from disease. He grew weak, liquid left him faster than he could keep. Sergei vomited all that was in his stomach and without any strength fell silent and died. I survived and out of need would begin to pay attention to what was left on those that died. My rope belt was soon replaced with a leather belt. My bandage feet replaced with better coverings and in a stroke of luck a cloak that did not stick of death. I had thought this was all that I could do. Survive this miserable hell until it eventually killed me.

It was one morning that we where assembled. A Marshal was out walking forward and speaking to people. At first I couldn't make out what he was saying. This man in dark garments walking and talking to the men. As he got closer I began to hear a single word over and over again. "Mark", "Mark" I did not understand. He was getting close to me. "Make your mark." He lifted up the piece of paper a servant following after him but the men did not grab the quill. He stopped before me. He was cleaner than I was and I thought a smelt flowers fresh flowers coming from his scarf. His brown eyes observed me his stern lips thin showing he thought I was like the various others. "How about you? Make your mark?" He lifted up the parchment which I saw as empty. I reached for the quill and saw the smile tug upon his lips. He probably thought me unable to write. My father had saw to it that I could read hoping it would help me. Had me learn to write in hopes that the lord would make me the controller of the village. I wrote my name and though my fingers were cold I made sure the arches were perfect. My stomach tighten in a way like a child does when they know they made a mistake. He observed me with a smile. "I see follow me." He stepped forward and I followed him unsure of what was going on.

The door opened and I observed an older man. He was to large for his shirt. His stomach grown to the point that the fabric made it appear like he was wearing a dress. His hair on his head was gone, the shine of skin even in candle light showed that he was old. He had seen many winters and in that moment I wondered how many armies he had seen. How many battles had he rode into. "You can read and write?" He spoke to me not yet observing me but when he finally did observe me it was with no more look than I did to the grass my village trampled. "I can..." I had meant to say more but he cut me off. "Good I never bothered with that. A sword does not care what language you cry out in. You shall be my adjutant." He spoke as if it was a honor but I never heard of that title. He observed my clothes as he spoke. "but before that take a bathe and speak with the man who brought you here. I won't have you look like that."

I was allowed warm water to clean up with. The water was warm and being able to relax for a moment without the eyes of other upon me was nice. I attempted to forget where I was but I was reminded by the man who brought me. I was made to stand up in the tub nude. Forced to step out as the servant stepped forward. They asked me about clothes I never heard of. Asked if I knew how to put them on. If I knew how to dress myself. I was embarrassed but I had to say no. I needed them to show me. The dark green jacket and bright red trouser were a sight to be see or so I'm told. I could not find a mirror so I don't know how I looked. It was the nicest thing I wore at the time. I went back to meet this man. This large man barely kept together in human form. He was Basil; and as he placed his large hand upon my shoulder he laughed cheerfully telling me. "Smile, at least your no longer cattle!"


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