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Chapter Two
- Seven Years Earlier -

The Austrian city's market place was swarming with hustling crowds of yelling customers, each one of them concerned about buying some type of food. With limited supplies, the busy market was overwhelmed with business and they certainly hoped that everyone would have enough food for the time being. However, soon, the market realized that the farming communities would have to meet the demand of its customers.
     Among the many customers, was a young teenage boy, at the age of sixteen, by the name of Johnathan Stegnen. He had made his way to the market place from his small dwelling place near the historical town hall and was carrying some extra money with him. Although it would not go a long way, he knew that he would have some food on the table for the meantime.
     As an enterprising teenage boy, who had wavy long hair and brown eyes, he had always been content with his living.  Certainly, he was not upon the most interesting and perhaps popular of the society's talks, but with him he carried a spirit of will and truth.  And through this, he knew that he had the most wealth in the world, for he had found what was most important to him.
     Before finding a place to live at, he had been an orphan and had no true family, at least he was told that his mother had given him away at a certain time.  True that Johnathan had no reminders of his true mother, he knew that he had been blessed in many ways; he had various different talents, including being an exceptional artists, and such.
     At the current moment, though, he was not concerned about his amazing art or perhaps any other such things, but more so upon buying some food before the market place was left dry; he was eager to have food for the length of the night, before there was no more left. As he had heard rumors before, the farming communities were going through a drought during this time of year and it was critical for rain to make the farming fields alive again.
     "How much would the bread be sold for?" Johnathan asked, finally making his way to the market's stand.
     The older man gazed at the young teenager, his eyes firm on him.  He smiled lightly as he stood behind the stand and told him, "Ah, a young lad like yourself should not be wondering the streets like this. Where's your parents and-"
     Johnathan interrupted, "I reckon I am old enough to hold myself stable by this time."
     "Ah, I see," the older man laughed, still curious but managed to respect the young man. "Yes, indeed you are!  Indeed, you are!  What is it you desired young lad?"
     "The bread - how much?"
     The older man gave Johnathan the market's price, as he handed him the bread kindly. In return, Johnathan gave him the amount of the much needed food and thanked the older man generously, with very unique manners.  The man found this quite odd, thinking that such a young boy would be incredibly stubborn, since indeed he had claimed that he was alone; certainly, the man had become respectful for the boy and his ways, realizing of the challenges that awaited him in life.
     Johnathan immediately left the area with the sack of goods, walking quickly through the talking peoples of the Austrian community. He gazed at the buildings, seeing their orange trim and flowing architecture.  Against the vibrant, blue sky, he had always welcomed the buildings into his mind, since indeed he had a love for artistry.
     When arriving at his small dwelling, which was quite smoggy and humid, he opened the sack of goods and found a surprise; in the full sack was more than he had paid for, as he had quickly realized that the older man had assisted him by giving him extra food items, such as fruits and other things. Johnathan smiled, greatly appreciative of the kindness.
     "Well, again a new surprise," Johnathan smiled as he lifted the apple out of the sack. 
     It was true that Johnathan hadn't always had a happy, or for that matter easy, life.  Indeed, life itself had been hard on him; he had been poor ever since he had been born and he had seen wars and torment across the lands. Even during the current time, there was a small rebellion force from his town threatening their very existence.  However, the energetic community was working on a peace treaty that would last for quite some time…at least some time to build up an army.
     Again, Johnathan was thankful for the food and smiled gratefully, but once more the thoughts of further challenges overwhelmed him; how would he survive the upcoming winter?  Surely, he did not know, yet he ate the bread and other items and shortly afterward went to sleep, trying to convince himself that everything would be all right.

Time passed by shortly, and the community developed an army in the meantime; pikemen were called for duty, officers had been appointed to many different formations, and the first appearance of stables had been conquered.  Truly, by now the lively town was growing before Johnathan's eyes, but this was nearly two years later.
     The threat of the peace treaty being broken was still looming in the air and everyone could feel it, including Johnathan.  Realizing that he would be called for active duty into the army, he was not surprised that he would have to fight for the city's survival soon. The peace treaty - a mere form of developing an army - would not last long.  Only a couple years later, as Johnathan had thought, that it would dwindle away and be broken.
     It was the morning hours and the sun had been over the horizon for quite sometime, when Johnathan awoke immediately.  He threw on some clothing, which had rips and tears in them, and quickly scurried out of his small dwelling into the city. There, he was surprised of what he saw, as he was immediately pushed into a crowd of uniformed men.  Moving through the mass of men, Johnathan quickly realized that it was the army that was being called for active duty.
     "Has the peace treaty been evaded?" Johnathan asked to one of the uniformed men.
     The man looked at Johnathan curiously and said, "No, not that I know of.  You know when it comes time to fight - and we will fight you know - you will have to join us, even if you take a pikemen position. If you do, you'd pray that you don’t get on the front lines or it is over for you."
     "Oh, even if I was on the front lines I think I would manage."
     The uniformed man laughed.  "You think? That type of confidence will get you killed, young lad-"
     "I think confidence is something of great use-"
     "Well, make sure you measure it right then," the officer smiled.  "Or if you're not careful, you will get into trouble, no? I have seen it before-"
     Johnathan was becoming rude.  "And how would you know?"
     The man became very grim, as a countenance of irritation flowed into his eyes.  "Young lad, I am great friends with an officer. I know him well. He has seen this attitude before.  You just follow the lead of your people and you will do well.  Otherwise, be careful."
     Johnathan looked at the man and considered his firm word, carefully burdening it upon his mind.  As it was true that the man was an officer, Johnathan had grown stubborn because of only one reason: he had survived his entire life on his own.  And at the age of eighteen now, Johnathan was pursuing his own goals of life, with or without the commendation of the high class.
When the peace treaty would come to an end, Johnathan realized that soon enough he would follow the lead of his country; he would be right behind them all of the way.

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