The Chronicles of Foxton
The Baron's forester and game-keeper
Wallace Gunn was born a poor white child. To be whole wi’ the truth, the child of poor white pig farmers. They’d a’ been in the dictionary under “hillbilly” except nobody’d coined the term. An’ they were all illiterate so they’d a’ never read it, anyway.
Wallace was odd. He had slanty eyes and big bones in the cheeks and jaw. Everybody from the midwife who birthed him to the old neighbor lady who mended his clothes when his maam was out took one look at him and assumed he was thick. Truth was he had just as many cards in his deck as the next poor country boy, but since no one credited it they didn’t expect much of him, and his early years were spent more on playing with the pigs and chickens and wandering around the local woods than doing chores or learnin’ figures.
This changed some one day when Wallace was about 8. Pere Richard, a passing druid of the Sect of Carrom, happened on the boy in the woods and struck up a conversation. Being a cunnin’ and insightful fella, he spotted the boy for what he really was: an average, bored kid of the right age to become an apprentice in the faith. The kid’s parents were happy to give him over to indentures, if a little sheepish about taking advantage of the good old man, but wasn’t this the kind of good deed priests and shamans were supposed to take on to make themselve look good to their gods? Life’d go on and they’d get over it quick enough.
So Wallace went with the strange druid, who quickly slapped the laziness out of him and gave him a learnin’ and a purpose. He was tought readin’ and writin’ and numbers, though he never got good with very big numbers and could never spell worth spit. And he was indoctrinated in the mysteries of the druidic gods and the devotions of Carrom. He grew to become a compassionate man, and a gifted healer.
Another role Wallace came to embrace was as a sort of game warden, trying to ensure the critters people hunted for food or for sport weren’t over hunted or needlessly abused. He made an enemy one day when he found out a local lorling, the young Baroneet Percy Law-Dee-Daw (actually LeLander, but that ain’t how Wallace tells it), was brutalizing the game on his wild boar hunts. Wallace chasitized the fella for his cruelty, but the kid was full of himself and ran the young druid off with dogs on his tail. But Wallace turned the tables on him at his next hunt, when Wallace followed Percy L and his boys into the woods and made sure their horses got home safe and well – some hours before their riders, who were un’countably stranded afoot in the woods with a population of dangerous and riled boars. He was fit to be tied after walkin’ home and learnin’ how his mounts got back, but by that time Wallace was well down the trail.