[The tapestries] tell the story of Aenfeld, the first of the Feldall name and House, and alive the last time the dragon woke. He was a farmer, just starting out and having a rough go of it. Talfyr came and somehow – the story isn’t clear – Aenfeld got him to go away. The tapestry suggests he fought the dragon, but as we now know from experience, that’s not plausible. No matter how he did it, he was granted this Keep from the Sisters as thanks.
It’s time for another history lesson! The origin of the Feldall name is described in Evensong, but of course there’s much more to the story than is told in the tapestries. It’s true that Aenfeld was a simple farmer. He’d moved to Andvell from Drest as soon as he hit his age of majority, having had a falling out with his father, who told him he would never amount to anything. This prophecy nearly came true. Believing he’d learned enough of farming from his parents to make a go of it out from under their watchful gazes, he set up a small shack of a farmstead and purchased from land in a small village — barely large enough to feed himself let alone earn a living.
Not long after he moves, Talfyr awakes after five hundred years, terrorizing the territory to feed and refuel. Aenfeld, while cursing his bad timing, is determined not to let this set-back ruin his plans for the future.
What his parents never know is that he had a touch of magic in his blood. Not enough to make him a full sorcerer, but enough to give him an edge. Without the resources to the many books Brady would later have at his fingertips, Aenfeld learned through trial and error and a great deal of patience. He watched the armies go out to face the dragon, watched as few men returned, and knew there had to be another way. If the dragon returned every half-millennium and the country remained standing, there had to be a way to cope with him.
In his dreams, three voices came to him with images of diplomacy and peace. The vision warned of what would happen if the dragon continued his feasting on their land: the farms would burn, and nothing would be left of the forest. The voices spoke with such urgency that when he woke up, he felt he knew what he had to do.
When the dragon would fly over his land, he would stop his work and wave his arms, calling after Talfyr. His neighbours thought him mad, but he didn’t care. He refused to go back to his parents as a failure and figured if he was going to be roasted in his bed anyway, it wouldn’t be without a decent attempt to do all he could.
Then one day as he stood waving his arms, Talfyr wheeled in the air above his farm. Once, twice, and then a third time before landing a good distance away. Steam rose from the grass as the dragon scales burned through the wheat, and smoke poured from his massive nostrils. Aenfeld was certain he looked at his last few minutes on earth.
With no weapon, and no idea what he’d do if he had one, he held up his hands and began to speak. He talked of poverty and starvation, of the need for Talfyr to leave the crops alone to keep the people alive so they could continue to breed the cattle he required to survive. Aenfeld pushed the importance of the human/dragon relationship, and how they didn’t need him, but he needed them.
He spoke with no hope for success, and yet Talfyr watched him without moving, his golden eyes sharp and intelligent. By the time Aenfeld had made his case, the dragon rose to his feet, towering over the man and the farm, and flew off. That was the last the village saw of him except as a speck in the distance.
Although he had saved them, the people avoided Aenfeld even more after his “meeting” than when he was just waving his arms like a madman. He didn’t care. That night, the voice returned to him with images of wealth and success, and a week later, a messenger arrived with a letter from the king, congratulating him on his success and bestowing on him land, money, and the title of Lord Aenfeld of Feldall territory. Building began on the Keep almost immediately, and under his rule, the people flourished.
The letter he had his scholar write to his father granted him a perverse sense of satisfaction.
From that time, House Feldall continued to stand for integrity and honour. The head of the family never lost the name’s reputation for giving peace and prosperity to his people. Right up to Jasmine and Jayden, the latest of the Feldall name, the monarch knew who to call on in a crisis … perhaps always with the hope that another Aenfeld would appear through the generations who could bring peace across the species.