The Great South Gate
Rondel sat beside his father, his 12-year-old eyes wide with wonder as they approached the Great South Gate. His father had become Master of the Fields only a few months previously and here they were, leading the Harvest Procession!
On Harvest Day, the outlying towns delivered the House’s winter provisions. Each of the hundreds of carts in the train was loaded with produce, live animals, wood or any of dozens of other types of goods. The carts would be used for their materials as well. The drivers would return to town on foot.
This year, the House had asked for children between the ages of 6 and 12 to be surrendered for service in the Household Staff. Many of the children who accompanied their fathers would be selected.
The portcullis ascended, and the vast ebony doors of the Great South Gate creaked open. The lead cart with its team of eight unblemished jet black oxen, decked in multicolored ribbons, entered and Rondel had his first view of the House.
Rondel never saw the world outside the Walls again.