"Boy! Have you gotten that wood yet? I will not wait any longer!" yelled the master. The bundle of wood on his back made Sean stumble, but he knew better than to make the master wait. The last slave had done it one too many times-- and he was whipped thirty slashes and sold at the market. As far as he knew, the master would do it again as quickly as before if Sean didn't cooperate.
"Yes, Master!" Sean cried, sprinting to the extravagant house. The massive mansion, owned by one of the king's nine lords, was the capitol of the little fishing village and the mountains beyond. It looked the capitol, too; statues of famous figures, furnishings filled with expensive cotton and made of velvet, window trimmings, and even glass windows covered three stories of majestically columned living space for the lord, Sean's master.
"Here, Master," Sean puffed, perspiration on his forehead, panting with exertion from his running with the load on his back. The master scowled. He did not even scold Sean. He didn't have to. His look said more words than his mouth could have. Without meeting the lord's eyes, Sean unloaded the wood on the porch and then stood humbly, waiting for orders. The master grunted with slight appreciation as he looked over the logs that the wood was not wet; it had rained overnight. This, he thought, would save punishment from the boy this time only. The next time, as he didn't need to let Sean know, there would be a whipping.
As the master, Lord Renwalt, saw the world, there were the high and the low, the rich and the poor, the powerful and the weak. There was no such thing as an in-between; an “average” was fantasy. He had been born into royalty and otherwise would have been one of the lowly peasants, but he simply thought of it as luck that other people lacked of. Sympathy was a foreign term, to both him and the majority of his illiterate subjects.
Renwalt craved control. He always had. He ordered his servants and people as he pleased, but there was a point, he knew, when people would reject the small amount they were given and revolt against those who restrained them. He had witnessed it first hand when his father was ruling; the result had been the deaths of many of his soldiers, and even more heaps of stinking dead peasant corpses to clean up.