Tuesday Tales, Part XVIII: The Tale of Rederick Park

[The following is a Stemman parable dating back to several centuries. It is often repeated among the nobility and the peasantry alike, to remind the nobles of their duties toward their vassals.]

Once there was a baron by name of Edward Rederick, who had inherited a vast and lovely estate called Rederick Park. The Park had existed without incident for three generations before Baron Edward assumed control from his ailing father. Unlike his predecessors, the young baron was not well-liked by the vassals who tended his estate, for he took advantage of them, hoarding food and wealth in his manor while the local peasantry starved. To avoid reprisals, Edward hid behind the high walls of his home, only leaving under heavy guard to collect taxes and foodstuffs from his poor vassals.

In order to pass the time and ward off their depression, the peasants began to play a game which a group of Travelers, recently arrived from Xiros, had introduced to them. The game, which is now known as dogball, quickly became quite popular. Within a short period of time it had even caught the attention of Baron Edward himself; and from time to time, he and the members of his household could be seen standing at the manor windows, watching the games from afar. Gradually, his curiosity began to get the better of him, and the baron started to venture out from the safety of the manor to spectate in person with his family.

After several moons of this, the peasants finally hatched a plan to take revenge upon their tyrannical lord.  They organized a dogball tournament, the likes of which had never been seen before, and were sure to advertise it well in order to ensure that the baron would attend. When the day of the tournament rolled around at last, the peasants were pleased to see that Baron Edward, his family, and their private retinue of soldiers had all come out to watch. The competition was fierce and the games entertaining, and the Rederick family finally returned to their manor as night fell–only to find that the doors of the manor were locked tight. Bewildered, the baron demanded that the doors to his home be opened and his family allowed inside, and so imagine his shock as several of his vassals poked their heads out from his bedroom windows. The peasants had seized control of the manor while the family was distracted and were now barricaded inside the high walls. Baron Edward was mortified that he had been so handily outsmarted and refused to call in assistance to remove them from his manor. Instead, he opted to cut a deal with the leader that would establish a code of responsibilities for the Rederick family, ensuring that no peasant of Rederick Park would ever go hungry again.