The dazzling sunlight blinded him. For ten years he had been kept in the manor’s foulest dungeon, left there to die. To die from starvation. To die from solitude. Left alone…
But now he was free again. Free to walk as a human being. Free to breathe the clear, sweet air again. Free again…
For a moment he stood still. Silent. His benumbed mind slowly grasped the fact that he was free to run. Away from misery. From torture. From pain. He crawled along the forsaken garden path, pausing often to catch a shuddering breath. There, beyond the well-known wicket gate, was wide open space. In which no man shall treat him like a beast again.
‘I was wrongly judged- thrown into prison because my mistress was prejudiced against me. There was no wrong—no proof of any wrong—that I had done. She lied. And the baron—thoughtless man that he was—listened to her, and threw me into that hole. And now, only after they had deceased, could I have escaped.’
With these bitter musings he passed the gate: then, painfully standing up to his full height, he looked back on the only home he ever had. With something akin to tears, he turned and walked into the rising sun. He must start a new life.
He had no name. He never knew who his parents were. The aged baron, the kind lord preceding the thoughtless young man, had picked him up off the streets as a young child, and treated him as a servant lad. So he had grown up, with nothing to call his own, save a pile of rags and a gold ring, which had been tied to his neck as long as he could remember. His instincts told him to hide that ringlet of gold form other human eyes: and so only he knew of its existence.
He had worked for the old baron and also for his son, who had treated him harshly and finally kicked him out of sight. Now the Young Baron and Baroness had passed away…
He touched his chin. He could feel quite a growth of beard. Ten years does make a difference.
Looking at the ring, he could see something he never noticed before. Faintly inscribed inside the plain ring of gold, were the words: Louis and Pricilla. Were these the names of his parents? If they were, would he ever have a chance to find them? Strangely, there were no last name, as if it was insignificant.
Why had he been left on the streets as a baby?
He looked into the cloudless sky, and took a deep breath.
“I must take a bath before I enter any inhabited village—I smell like a sewer and look like a beggar, which I am not. But where should I go?”
Where should he go? He had no living relation he knew of, no friend who would care, and no enemy who would recognize him. No one in the whole world.