Cursed Era



Chapter 43: Sir Jom Barker

A note from Pimelea

Latest revision: Dec 12

"Are those the same shoes from this morning?"

Mother was waiting for us as we returned to Seventhill. She had an amused smile as she looked carefully at my old shoes that were not just scuffed but now also covered in grime.

"Yes, but we got new shoes," I told her. "Simila helped me choose them!"

Why was mother here, waiting for us?

"Did she now?" Mother said looking over at Simila, the amusement disappearing from her expression, "she helped you choose them, and not have them made?"

I thought I had gotten mother's attention away from my shoes that were grimy from South Gate, but instead, her strange emphases told me I was just feeding the fire.

"I mean have them made, yes. The cobbler had lots of uh, different types of shoes for..."

I trailed off at mother's gaze.

"Tilly, put your new shoes on," she commanded.

"He-" I started to ask but the answer was obvious.

I sat down on a wooden chair and Simila brought over a small box so that I could put my foot on as she unlaced the dirty shoes.

I had long stockings underneath that went up most of my calf but they were thin, for the summer. The new pair of shoes only fit very loosely. They were a light brown, rounded at the tip, overlayed with a hole filled pattern in the shape of a curved T.

"Where did you go?" Mother interrupted as soon as the first shoe was tied.

Simila stood and bowed, "My lady, we-"

"I am not asking you Simila. I am asking my son."

I wondered what kind of witchcraft mother used to find out what had happened. Simila said it would be fine if I just stuck to our story, but mother seemed to know.

"I thought it was the envoy," I started saying, "there was a note from the party and then we went to see, and it was the orphanage."

Mother just stared at me.

"My lady," Simila tried to speak again. Her tone of voice had changed this time. She seemed somewhat dejected.

"Where did you take my son, Simila?"

"It is as he said, my lady," Simila spoke up for me. "There was nothing dangerous. I was with him as we went to the orphanage where he met Giacob, a boy from the Count's celebration at the Elafoz's palace. He thought the note he received was from the Klisimian envoy who he met there, a friend of your family's?"

"Why would you go to spirits know where because of a note? Don't you realise you have put us in enough trouble as it is talking in the open with the envoy last night? Tilly, I thought he just scolded you about that book. Did you think about what could have happened to you?"

Mother had gotten really mad.

"And the orphanage... do you mean that horrid place down in South Gate? What did they call it? Simila, how could you take my son there?"

"My lady-"

"No. Get out. I will talk with you later." Mother shouted when Simila was about to respond. "You are supposed to be Tilvrade's shadow, to keep him safe, not take him into danger."

Simila bowed and left the room.

"Tilly, Tilly..." she shook her head. "What am I to do with you?"

She came up and now hugged me, scowl turned to loving embrace within a heartbeat.

I hesitated to put my arms around her shoulders as she put her chin on mine.

"I worry about you Tilly. You are too smart. Doing things without me knowing every time I look around," she sighed. "I should never have let you go out today. I thought it was strange, that you didn't really need new shoes. They looked fine yesterday. But I thought you would just get a new pair and maybe look in the other shops in lower town for something related to your artwork, or whatever it is you are collecting those things for."

I should have known mother had realised I was lying. She had frowned and hesitated when I brought it up at lunch and been waiting for us when we came back. She let me go with Simila because she didn't realise the whole of it.

"I'm sorry mother," I sobbed. The warmth of mother and her worry melted my own tension from the past couple days. I shouldn't have gone to South Gate, even with Simila. When I realised it wasn't what I thought, that the Black Rat was not the Klisimian, I was scared.

It could have all so easily been a trap. Of course, I know Simila could have done something, but would it have been enough?

"I know boys don't want to share everything with their mothers, even if you are a bit young to be so secretive. Your father and I both promised not to treat you like our parents did us. But you can't do this again, you hear me? You have to tell me."

I nodded into mother's neck. Why didn't I tell her in the first place about Pricel and Geran?

It was thanks to Sam that I learned so many things, that I was more than just a child, but

"There was a boy attacking Pricel," I told mother, "Geran Clous".

I told her about Geran and about Sambron and what Giacob told me about the Trams. I also told her what I thought about how it was aimed at father.

"And that boy in black was this Black Rat, you say?" Mother asked at the end.

"Yes. Giacob from The Rookery. He gave me a map," I told mother, "Simila has it now. He said it was the places that the people who want father out of the way go."

"Thank you Tilly. Just leave it to me and your father. We will make sure everything is all right."

"And next year? Can I go see Giacob and the other kids at The Rookery again?"

"Hmm," mother pat me on the head, "I just want you to be safe Tilly. We should talk about that again next year, okay?"




The next morning, Simila didn't say very much. It was a bit awkward as she prepared my riding clothes and then helped me tie up the heavy boots downstairs.

"I'll go take Cinder out then. I shouldn't be long." I said as I walked over to Saul who was in the kitchen.

Simila nodded and let me go to Saul's supervision.

"Give us a couple sausages too," Saul was telling the chef who was putting together a small bundle for the horse's satchel. The whole kitchen smelled good, from the oatmeals and sausages cooking on the heavy 2 meter metal stove for the breakfasts upstairs.

"Can I have a bone?" I asked the chef who smiled and brought out a large sheep bone for me. I recognised it from the cured smell of the sheep ham that I had enjoyed with slices of fruit yesterday night, despite the grim and silent dinner.

As I walked out the door to the yard, I had to duck under a couple of onion braids that were hanging right there. The onions were one of the first signs that the harvest season was beginning, one of the first crops to ripen. Of course, these ones came from a manor out in the country somewhere, but the chef preferred to get the braids early from the market in West Gate and dry them out himself.

I looked at the bone as I walked behind Saul, remembering the story of Osbec that the lady, Phienna told me two days ago. Did the king there really have an army of skeletons? It would either have to be some elaborate ritual magic or a series of runes engraved on each one that keyed into a control device set up with a unique array.

Ritual magic would have to be redone every time they needed them though and the synchronised runes would have been a huge undertaking even for Sam's era, let alone what seemed to be the level of magic in Farand.

A nuzzle between my legs alerted me to Fafi who came up to greet me.

She was quite old now, rarely leaving the stables for too long. My heart always ached when I saw her here. It was already a full year since Sir Barker had died.

I had spent a lot of time with Sir Barker and Fafi in the few years before he died. He didn't only teach me to ride, but helped me with questions about alchemy, metal and wood work, which I had developed an interest in recently.

Perhaps I would have also chosen to retire from knighthood in peaceful Olwick if I were Sir Barker's age. It definitely seemed to suit him well, allowing him to focus on hobbies in woodwork and handicrafts. He did some of the chores, had a small house in father's property and could spend time hunting with Fafi or carving as he pleased.

Then, when he went off for a month during the summer, we received the sudden news of his death and mother's father's.

I still remember mother breaking down in tears when we heard. We had gone shortly after to visit mother's brother and their family who lived in a small residence in Westhill. It was only after that that I started to see Pricel and Dilthimay more regularly, mother saying she regretted that she had kept such a distance until so late.

The funeral still hadn't happened yet. It would be this fall, a detour to Bridgewater for us as we returned to Olwick.

Fafi's hair was somewhat stiff and matted, like the hairs on Cinder's brush that I could see hanging off a nail behind her, but I scratched her behind the ears and gave her the sheep bone, which she wagged her tail over.

It was a bit sad, to see her ageing and lonely, but I suppose there wasn't really a better fate for a domestic animal than to live out their final years in peace and warmth. It was definitely a different life than the sheep and birds served on the dinner table.

Saul returned, bringing his horse between the carriage I would ride this afternoon and the other stalls. The stablehand was following him with Cinder who was stomping on the ground, eager to be outside.

I waved Fafi away and pat Cinder on his long nose.

Even now, he didn't like getting pat much on the snout, but since he always pushed his nose towards me when I saw him, I'll just continue doing my best to say hi and show him I care.

Cinder was still young, but Sir Barker had helped me over the years to learn how to ride on the pony and teach me and Cinder both how we would work together as a horse and rider pair. It was a bit abrupt when he died, considering he had never actually seen me ride Cinder for any distance. Even when I was 6, he would only let me up on him for short trots around the training yard.

Saul decided it was time though, when I showed him the techniques Sir Barker taught me. I knew how to guide Cinder by the pressure under my feet and knees, to jump and kick and even respond to my calls.

"Thanks Rinse," I told the stablehand who passed me the reigns, dyed red to match cinder's mane.

Cinder also thanked Rinse, leaning out to sniff at him.

It was Rinse that took care of Cinder here in Seventhill, giving him hay and rubbing him down whether or not I had gone riding with him. On days like this, however, I would make sure to care for him myself.

Sir Barker's advice that you had to treat a horse like a squire always stuck with me. So I made sure to feed him and rub him down and pick his hooves after a good ride but also made it clear to him when I wanted something done.

He was already saddled up right now, so I put my foot in the stirrup and kicked him with my heels, following Saul outside.

I enjoyed the riding, it was wonderful to feel so high up on top of Cinder, to feel him change direction when I tugged the reins or veered with my knees. I just hoped I would be riding home this year instead of stuck in the never-ending bumping carriage home again this winter on the cobbled and mud roads.

I saw Brendal as we passed by the training yard swinging his sword. We didn't stop there to run around in the yard though. Saul led us around the path through the trees to the side of the mansion and down the road to the gate.

We started riding through Seventhill, which was mostly just fences and trees from the road. We didn't ride on the main road that went from West Gate all the way into the dukedom, but on the roads that skirted the mansions here.

There was only one carriage that passed us and one other rider as we made our way down the road. It would have been a lovely summer morning ride except for the ever-present smell of woodsmoke in this city.

When we had gone some fair distance outside of Seventhill, Saul stopped ahead of me and then dismounted.

"Do you think this is a good spot?" He asked, pointing to a rocky outcrop.


He took out two ropes, looped at the end, and we hobbled Cinder and Pony, Saul's horse, given his name when Sir Barker picked him up from a field he was passing through to use as a packhorse years ago. Pony was a beautiful horse, fully trained as a destrier. The name was an irony, perhaps, that the only pony they had at hand to carry their satchels would be him.

"Let's first spar, and then we can eat." Saul said, throwing me one of the wooden blades. "If you think you're going to fall, shout or slap your thigh so that I can help."

I got into position at the bottom of the outcrop, facing Saul who had climbed to the top. It was important not to always train in the yard where the footing was flat. Real battles happened in the field or the forests where there were more things to pay attention to.

A note from Pimelea

I was a bit sad that Jom died during the time skip, so I had to at least give him a memory.

Not much I can do about death, sorry guys, it happens...

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eersc @eersc ago

Aww it's kinda sad, but it's nice and metaphorical in a way. Like Tilly's childhood acquantances are dead or dying (Fafi) and with that the innocence of his youth and now he's stepping into a new page of his life needing a new acquantances and for a darker, more dangerous shade of his life.


    Pimelea @Pimelea ago

    Hmm, interesting take on it. I was more thinking something along the lines that even though Barker is gone, he was an important teacher and friend and Tilvrade will take a piece of him forward in his bearing and determination...

    But even though unintended, your interpretation actually seems pretty spot on. Just another angle on it, I guess. Bye knight-protector, Tilly's on his own now to face his grandad.

      eersc @eersc ago

      Oops thought thats why you did it, I mean you seperated Ivian from Tilly too and you gave him a new horse instead of his mothers, thought all these were indication of change and a new tone. The only thing is I hope Tilly isnt this incompentent at the sword forever, would be ok if he cant do high level stuff but he's tripping over rocks T.T then again he's still 8 guess I'll just leave it be then ^^.


      Pimelea @Pimelea ago

      Well, hmm, my thoughts were maybe a bit simpler. Tilly being seperated from Ivian was partly to show that break, but also simply because I wanted it to be a point of tension with his brother and also to show that Simila had took that place.

      His mother is still around, so I can't give Tilly her horse. Plus, Tilly's a boy and training to be a knight, so Cinder has to be battle trained, unlike Sandy. So I never really thought Sandy would belong to Tilly.

      As for Tilly's swordsmanship... well, maybe someday. I actually have something in mind there, but it's probably not what you are expecting.

Aethelred @Aethelred ago

Just started reading the story. I really enjoyed it so far. Keep up the great work. :)

highblast21 @highblast21 ago

Haha I love how Tilly has this inner conflicts, his mind having some semblance of the craftiness of an adult, yet at the same time he has the innocence of a child, and since for now, he has a body and mind of a child, his childish innocence wins..... for now. Thanks for the chapter (again)


    Pimelea @Pimelea ago

    Thanks Highblast!

    Tilly's really smart! Don't believe otherwise! Totally great, awesome swordsman and out-of-this-world magician! He's so grown up no one would ever think he was a child! He even talks to all the information dealers and plays deep games with the high nobles lurking behind the bullies!

    I mean, just look at Brendal. Such an amateur Tilly-wannabe.

      highblast21 @highblast21 ago

      You know I cringed really hard when he spilled all his shit to her mother(figuratively of course), then I realized he did not went through the norm of reincarnation tropes, he is just indeed a normal guy going through childhood, the catch is that he gets fragments of memories from a guy from another world, so his decisions, despite having some adult-ish intelligence, will still rely on his childish emotional mind.

      Which I think is a very ingenious plo tbh


      Pimelea @Pimelea ago

      Hmm, you mean in this chapter? Does that mean it felt a bit out of character?

      Glad you enjoyed it in the end though! Just want to make sure it's working well with the rest of the story!

      highblast21 @highblast21 ago

      That was my initial impression, yes, cuz how the fuck can a clever adult guy, though in a body of a child, be forced to spill all his beans to his mother just cuz he feels she caught him red handedly lying to her?! But then I realized my mistake, Tilly's mind is his own, as far as he is concerned/ know, he had never experienced going through childhood to adulthood once, this will be his first time to experience it, those fragments of memories in his mind were only seen, never experienced( I think?), so of course he will be swayed by the childish guilt he has for lying to his mother and getting caught at that, it was also noted that he was experiencing the same thing when he lied to his pa the first time, as it is normal for children in this age group. So this means adult-ish way he delivers himself, were mannerisms he saw on the fragments of memories of Sam. So he is a child through and through with bits of otherworldly kbowledge, so he will be swayed by childish emotions sometimes as every normal, not reincarnated child should.... For now. That's is the way I saw the reasoning behind this chapter, I don't know if that was spot on, I don't really care cuz you'll tell it sometime after right? Right?! o.O Wink


      Pimelea @Pimelea ago

      That's the idea! Just wanted to make sure it was coming across right! Seems like it's fine though. I was just a bit surprised that this chapter seemed surprising for you, since I hadn't intended this to be new. It's hard juggling the adult mannerisms and thoughts from Sam with the child's mannerisms and thoughts from Tilly in a convincing way though.

      Should continue like that for a while, a few scenes planned relating to runes, sword and politics that should capitalise on his mental age issues.

      highblast21 @highblast21 ago

      I don't know remember if the original chapter you posted includes this scene ( the getting caught lying scene) though? Maybe I didn't remember it that well then cuz I thought this was the thing you intended to be new, but cleared up a lot a things though, yet again sementing the fact that this plot is really ingenious. Really branches away from the norm of reincarnation novels. Plus it really gives you better leeway for character development as most tend to start as the cold calculative devious types, such one sided characters are entertaining at initial chapters then goes more boring in the later chapters go, as far as this genre is concerned.


      Pimelea @Pimelea ago

      This is a new scene, yes! Definitely trying to cement the childishness, which wasn't as present in the first draft!

      Spoiler: Spoiler

      Almost caught up now! Just two more chapters in the previous draft, though I intend to add one more in before he goes to see the Sij-err Duke.

      highblast21 @highblast21 ago

      I don't know if you intended that, but I looked back at my previous reply, and I saw " sementing" instead of cementing, hmm auto correct didn't change that so it does count as a word huh lol. Anyways I've no beef against the cold calculated type, don't get me wrong, but it being the initial base for character developments really narrows your options a little. I think those types are late game material, they are the culmination of all you previous experiences, and with this being reincarnated genre pretty much meant you already are late game material in character dev when you start. That's why Im really hyped for your series. Seeing Tiily have those experiences that will shape him to be like that is really worth reading.

      PS I hope there will be riskier deaths like Sir Jom, like a quasi game of thrones * smiles evily*


      Pimelea @Pimelea ago

      Haha, don't worry about that last point >_> you will see a lot of those.

      Hard to really do it like game of thrones though, since I only have one MC. The whole significance of game of thrones was that the characters killed off were themselves in the pilot's seat, which I won't be doing. Can't have Tilly dying...

      Sic Semper Tyrannis @Sic Semper Tyrannis ago

      Huh, i had posted a jokeing comment a while ago and i suppose it got removed or didnt go through.. twas a simple joke saying brendals gustapo(secret police) was gonna arrest pimelea over calling brendal a amatuer til knockoff. Tis a shame indeed.


      Pimelea @Pimelea ago

      Huh, weird. I can actually see 'deleted' comments on my chapters, but I guess maybe there's a filter that happens even before the 'deleting' process? Definitely didn't see your previous comment >_<

      And wow, this chain of comments and replies is the longest on Cursed Era, nice!

      Brendal's just a wannabe dictator with an imaginary gustapo. Ez.

      Sic Semper Tyrannis @Sic Semper Tyrannis ago

      H-h... HOW DARE YOU! Supreme leader Brendal is far superior in every way to til! Hes younger... umm... cuter..? Oh yeah and he is obviously a superior swordsman. Tilly couldnt even handle the majesty that is Brendal! Further slandering on our supreme lord will be considered treason against the state, which is punishable by execution by way of snide looks! You have been warned.


      Pimelea @Pimelea ago

      Lol, glad Brendal has a fan!

Timeseer2 @Timeseer2 ago

Honestly I'm sorry I can't be bothered to continue this just isn't particularly interesting it's slow and nothing really happens

4uva4elo @4uva4elo ago

Even tho the story is slow, im still enjoying it. The only downside are those 30days with no chaptersVery Happy

btw you decided not to make negative mc after all? Remember seeing Anti-hero tag, or am i wrong?


    Pimelea @Pimelea ago

    Haha, yeah >_> sorry about that. I went into the revision thinking it would be over in a couple days and I'd be back strong with new chapters........ instead, the revision was a bit draining and each new revised chapter, I have to think about a bunch of things, so ended up slowing things down. Almost caught up, so I'll have to see how it goes for the new chapters soon.

    Thanks for leaving a comment and still following Cursed Era! Don't worry, revision is done in 3 more chapters, and then we'll get moving to new things!

    Spoiler: Spoiler


dungy @dungy ago

To add to PiggyBack's observation I was also surprised at how quickly Tilly caved in. "C'mon son, at least put up a fight for pride's sake!" <- my thoughts.


    Pimelea @Pimelea ago

    Who is PiggyBack?

    And his personality will be changing quite a bit over the next year so backbone to be developed! Not yet though. Thought I was already making him too mature with the rest of the rookery scene, so wanted this childish scene before getting to more-mature-Tilly.

    That being said, I think it's great you want Tilly to move in that direction. I hope to do so!

      dungy @dungy ago

      lol. I mean Highblast. Piggyback is not even close I don't know why I even remembered the name that way. Sorry Highblast! -_-

      Ah, please develop Tilly as you like, I just wanted Tilly to win a verbal argument against what I consider to be the final bosses of this story so far: his parents. His record is like 0-17 when up against them, he needs a better ghost coach!

      Edit: Now I remember. I meant to say "Piggybacking on Highblast's post-" but I wasn't paying attention and two words became one.



      Pimelea @Pimelea ago

      Haha, the final bosses. Yeah, that will be in rebellious Tilly phase that I mentioned to 4uva4elo. That won't even be so far away.

      We shall call him piggyblast from now on.

Blaaenon @Blaaenon ago

You know, your authors not iiiissss........ FALSE! You can do something about sir barker having barked at death, you have already mentioned undead and AND thats all really, goodnight I'm tired.

FLAME05 @FLAME05 ago

Hey I jumped on this story around chapter 28 and have now formed my opinion, rating it a definitive five star! While some aspects of the plot could use some expansion (they are developed enough just don't get enough screen time) I feel you capture the perspective of 'Tilly' perfectly. This includes slightly warped opinions and 2d views of characters that can and do change as his perspective does. My fav example is his father who he (borderline) disliked for quite a chunk of the earlier story but is gradually coming to respect and love as all children love their parents. He saw him as an unfeeling giant, questioning even his love for his wife, skip to present and he doesn't doubt him at all, views him in a far better light and respects that his father has many sides that are required to live a life as a noble.

Now i have an important question (but don't want to affect your quality and the size of the chapters)... How do i put this delicately... ITS BEEN 29 DAYS SINCE MY LAST FIX!!! WHEN?! WHEN!? I NEED TO KNOW HOW MUCH LONGER I MUST WAIT!!!!!


    Pimelea @Pimelea ago

    Thanks so much Flame! I really appreciate the feedback!

    Sorry about the wait >_< It sounds like you have been following Cursed Era since the first draft. 2 more revised chapters to go, so expect more brand new chapters next week, essentially. I'll see exactly how it goes, but my plan is to have 1 chapter every 2 days.

Unknownsaint171 @Unknownsaint171 ago

He didn’t need to sob... Why was he crying?. It feels more like the Mother is suppressing his potential, she’s like the type that leads you to death


    Pimelea @Pimelea ago

    The sobbing was a result of his sudden relief of stress that he had held the past few days. A lot happened and he was trying to carry it all, and then his mother lent him a shoulder and comforting words. I don't intend the mother to be suffocating, but I think it is more likely Tilly would burn out without someone to rely on sometimes.

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