Chapter 31: The History of the Remote Lands
Volume 1 — The Temporary Snow Country Life of the Northern Nobleman and the Raptor Wife
From a long time ago, the nomads of these lands lived by moving with the reindeers.
The reindeers ate sprouts and mushrooms in spring and summer, and ate moss and birch barks in autumn and winter.
Reindeers navigated through nature instinctively.
The nomads spent many ages following those reindeers.
However, that peaceful life was taken away by invaders.
People were threatened into developing mines, and were demanded to pay taxes by many countries that claimed lands. The reindeers were confiscated, and nomadism was banned.
In these dire straits, some even betrayed each other.
From that oppression, the nomads were eventually sent to an extreme land that seemed all but inhabitable.
Having lost everything, they thought up measures to survive.
— Never forgive the outlanders.
— Trust no one but family.
— Treasure children.
The only survivors were those who followed that.
Having survived the extremities, those words came to be believed as the words from ‘the Spirit’.
In these lands where there was nothing, the Spirit was a pillar of support for the people.
Faith keeps people happy.
The Spirit leads people to affluence.
Over time, people started calling the Spirit Siedi, and enshrined a stone as something that the Spirit dwelt in.
Like so, the sedentary life began.
In a life not leading a nomadic life, people livd with the Spirit.
When a child is born, people give thanks to the Spirit, and when a person falls ill, people pray to the Spirit.
Singing spirit songs (joik) was told to be a method to communicate with the Spirit.
Over the ages, the Spirit worship strengthened, but at the same time the people were dying out.
After centuries of sedentary life, one day, an incurable disease spread through the village.
The reason was unknown. From elderly people, children, and women, weaker people started collapsing.
Prayers did not help.
When there were sick people in the village, they drank reindeer blood, but even that did not help.
Amid that, the lord who just lost his wife made up his mind to carry out reforms.
That man was my grandfather, Rikhard Salonen Levontret.
What he did first and foremost was to demolish the spirit stone.
The Spirit gave nothing. Believing that, grandfather hid the symbol away to stop the worship.
Of course, there was strong opposition, but in that time of crisis resistance did not last long.
Then for a while, they entered a stagnant period.
They lived only with the reindeers and the Spirit, so no one knew what to do.
What changed that situation was a foreign adventurer.
The visitor concluded that medicine was needed to combat the disease.
The foreigner was not a doctor, but he was a scholar of considerable learning, able to speak many languages, travelling around the world.
The man’s name is Lukas von Lüneburg.
Thanks to his numerous advices, the land of the pursued ones started changing.
That saviour that rescued the village was my father.
Having heard of medicine, grandfather sold reindeers to call over a doctor to distribute medicine. What was once thought to be an incurable disease gradually faded.
From there on, grandfather wished for more knowledge. Father’s teachings were general knowledge, but to the former nomads that knew nothing but reindeers and hunting, they were revolutionary.
By getting crops from working the soil, there were less children suffering from illness. Also, people found out that the foxfires (auroras) in the sky are valuable to foreigners, so the tourist business started. People learned of things other than reindeers. The Spirit faded out of people’s mind, and lifestyle changed.
Of course, there were those who did not accept the changes, but they were a minority.
Year after year, life got better. Now that people had more peace of mind, they started remembering their old faith in the Spirit.
However, grandfather did not tolerate that.
Thus, a rift grew between the ruling nobles and the villagers.
Even after grandfather passed away, that scar remained.
“Did you put this stone back?”
This was all I could do, I thought as I nodded weakly to grandfather’s question.
Placing the stone back in place from the Count’s mansion was the first thing I did when I became the lord. The villagers criticised that it was just blarney, but many felt relieved at the change.
“You, unlike your stubborn grandfather, are not a lord that pushes for reforms.”
Well, people should be free.
There’s no way that it was okay to force faith, happiness, and lifestyle onto people. People are the masters of their own destiny, and I believe that it is arbitrary for an authority to block that path.
“……However, it might just be that I don’t know what it means to be a lord well enough.”
“I’ve been protecting the village for a decade now, but nowadays I’m not sure what is good or bad.”
After I started living with Sieg, my horizon got broader.
However, I did not yet reach an answer.
In front of Siedi, there were offerings again today. The villagers show thanks to the Spirit through offerings.
“The Spirit, it would be nice if it did exist.”
Mother taught me about the Spirit. Thanks to that, my thoughts are not one-sided.
“I see. That’s why my idiot son ran away.”
“I wonder about that.”
Father’s motive for leaving the village is a mystery.
He once said that it was cold here, and he also once said that he needed materials for research.
Mother followed him because she was worried about his soft personality. However, mother is even more benign than father. The two being able to travel for a decade might just as well be included as one of the seven mysteries of the world.
“Really, to abandon the duties of a lord to his only son and playing around, how disgraceful!”
“Well, there isn’t anything special so it’s fine.”
The duties of a lord doesn’t involve anything fancy. It’s just scribbling on paper at night.
When I stood up to return home, something happened.
One of the chickens I was holding started tightly contracting its body.
“Grandfather, what should I do……”
“I-It’s coming out.”
“What was that?”
I was holding up the two chickens.
In that state, one is daringly attempting to lay an egg.
The chicken’s butt is pointed to the outside. At this rate, the egg will fall and crack.
“Erm, if it doesn’t trouble you too much, can you get the egg please?”
“W-Where does it come out from!?”
“It’s the hen on the right.”
Grandfather superbly caught the egg.
“Why do I have to do this……”
“Sorry about that. It was a great help.”
The bell signalling noon tolled, so we decided to go back home.
After returning home, we had a meal. I left grandfather to Miruporon while I cleaned the dilapidated chicken coop and processed the herbs from yesterday.
While sighing, grandfather told me to take a break so I went back inside to rest.
“Is it like this everyday?”
“What do you mean?”
“You’re working too much.”
Even though he says that, I only worked for three hours after coming home. I was doing work at a rather leisurely pace.
“Rather than a noble, you’re more like a villager.”
“Well, I don’t really live elegantly.”
The title was bestowed to force us to live in the remote regions, and the heirloom we received from the king is just the aurora on the night sky. We’re an unfortunate bunch of nobles.
So we have to make do.
“This is just a what if, but,”
“What will you do if I told you to come live in the country that your father grew up in?”
“I wonder about that.”
Father’s homeland is also where Sieg grew up in.
It’s much better for living than over here, and Sieg too won’t have to face difficulties adjusting to the culture and lifestyle here.
However, I don’t know how to live abroad, and most importantly I am the lord. I can’t abandon this land.
I avoided answering grandfather’s question with a soft laugh.
Because I answered a serious question half-heartedly, grandfather got cross.
A while later, Sieg came back home.
Grandfather quickly stopped sulking, so I whole-heartedly thanked the descent of the goddess with two hands together in my head.