Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there lived a man named Lord Fallow. Lord Fallow was the Lord, the leader of his outlying area Fallowhaven, in the Kingdom of Greyscale. Truth, being the Lord there didn’t mean that much; it was a small place in a much larger Kingdom. Fallow didn’t mind that; he liked not having the attention that the other Lords of larger realms had — he thought it would be a burden to be involved in court affairs. He also thought it would distract from his near duties to those in his realm. He was a conscientious man, lived in the fear of God, knowing that he was the servant of One far greater, so he had better be just to those beneath him.
Fallow had the challenge with Fallowhaven’s smallness of making ends meet for the realm. The agriculture was marginal; they could grow some crops, enough to feed all for now, but what if the realm grew? Farming might not be enough. Fallow encouraged two things to try to meet the challenge. He encouraged craftsmen to take up their crafts there, taxing them lightly, but encouraging them to train others, and export their goods where possible.
His departed father encouraged learning. He continued his father’s ways, and set up schools for the children to learn during the months they were not needed for farming. He encouraged promising scholars to attend schools in the capital, Greyhaven, asking them to return to build Fallowhaven into a better place.
He was a happy man. A good wife, five healthy children, with three in adulthood already. The oldest daughter was spoken for, and he looked forward to the wedding. The crops had been good this year, and as Fall fell, he mused saying, “God has been good. We are ready for Winter.”
His reverie was broken by his second son Peter. “Father, a royal courier!” Fallow arose and went to meet the courier. Royal couriers were rare this far out from Greyhaven, and Fallow wondered what could be so big as to justify the visit. Was the King dead?
Clad in yellow and red, the courier dismounted and said, “Where is Lord Fallow?” Fallow waved and and said, “I am.” The courier said, “I must speak to you privately.” Fallow looked around, and realized that a large part of his family and servants had flooded into the area. Who could blame them? This didn’t happen every day.
“Come into the study in my house,” Fallow said. The courier followed, as did Peter. Fallow said to Peter, “Wait outside, and tell others not to bother us.” Peter nodded as the two men entered the study.
“What is it then?” Fallow asked the courier. The courier said, “Lord Fallow, I have an unusual request from the King. Things are not well in the Royal Treasury. This may surprise you, but the King has taken notice of you, and thinks you run your realm well. He has asked that you would travel to meet the Royal Treasurer in Greyhaven, talk with him, and offer advice.”
Fallow was shocked. “Me? What could I do for the kingdom? We are the least of the King’s realms.”
The courier said, “Do you despise the opinion of the King? Come to Greyhaven and help as best you can.”
Fallow swallowed and said, “I will order the affairs of my realm and come as quickly as I can. When am I expected?”
The courier replied, “It took me seven days on fast horses to get here. The Royal Treasurer expects you in two weeks.”
“I will be there. Depend on it.” said Fallow.
“We expect nothing less,” said the courier, and he left to bring word back to Greyhaven.
As the courier left, Peter came in. Fallow said, “Peter, get Timothy. We are going on a journey, and he must care for the realm in my absence.” Peter left, and brought Timothy back. After he charged his oldest son with the care of the realm, he told Peter to get ready for a long journey — the two of them were heading for Greyhaven.
Fallow’s mind was swimming, but he knew that he needed to talk to his two closest advisors — his wife, and his chaplain/pastor. With his wife she told him to be careful, that he was her hero, and to do everything to come back safely with Peter.
The chaplain/pastor was more direct, telling him to be careful of what he said in Greyhaven. “We are a small realm. Be wary of any plots they might have against us. Remember your duty toward us, your people.”
“Old friend,” Fallow said,”Did we not grow up together as boys? Yet we now together have charge of the realm. Watch out for Timothy while I am gone. I will do my best for the realm and kingdom, as God gives me strength.”
Peter came in saying, “The horses are ready, Father, and provisions laid in.”
The chaplain said, “Go with the blessing of God.” Fallow hugged his friend, then called to his family and servants to say that he was leaving. They poured out to say their goodbyes. Timothy said, “I will make sure that everything is done to your standards, Father.”
Fallow said, “You will do well. I expect nothing less. If you have questions, listen to our pastor.”
With that, Fallow and Peter mounted their horses, and waving, set out for Greyhaven.