Chapter 1: Unlucky Wandering Knight

 


Marin is very depressed. He had intended to go home and play some “European Situation”. He had finally developed near max affinity with the Holy Roman Emperor. But now, his friend, Li Liang, called him to provide backup for an upcoming fight.

It all started when Li Liang was out jogging at night and a group of thugs clashed into each other. Li Liang was caught up in the midst and beaten as well.

Li Liang naturally refused to accept it and called a few of his friends for some revenge. Marin was tall and athletic. Ever since a young age, he was adept in martial arts and wrestling. Li Liang would sometimes refer to him as the “beast”.

Although Marin was playing “European Situation” with great fervor, he still had to curse his luck and pedal his electric bike to “maintain justice”.

As everyone arrived, Li Liang promised a hot pot and a pack of cigarettes for everyone. Somewhat invigorating the atmosphere.

Under the leadership of Marin, they found some of the gang members still in the area. Like a knight, Marin sprung forward in a horseless charge.

The thugs were really weak at fighting. Before, they had relied on numbers but now it was evenly numbered. The fight was quickly concluding, as everyone finished their opponents.

But Marin was also carried away, his vision focused forward. Leaving him oblivious to the danger behind. Then, a solid brick slammed into him in the back of the head.

As the knight was felled with the strike. Marin lost consciousness as he tumbled down.

“Ah… … a brick … … these broken martial arts … … couldn’t stop … …” His last thought as he went into darkness.

…………

After a long time, who knows how long…

Marin finally woke up, but it didn’t feel right. Because, as he opened his eyes, he didn’t see the white walls of the infirmary and its soft lights. It wasn’t even his own apartment. Instead, it was the smell of green grass, a fresh taste in the air.

“I swear! Li Liang you a bastard! Ah, your brother was injured but you tossed him into the wild. Didn’t even send him to the hospital!”

Marin scared to get up, but he suddenly realized that this didn’t seem to be his voice. It was relatively tender and young. But it still came from his mouth…

Marin has seen plenty of books and movies, so he wasn’t unfamiliar with this plot.

“It shouldn’t be…. no…. did I pass through?”

Marin quickly stretched out his hand and looked at his own body.

Then, he looked down and saw a young and thin body. It was covered with a strange clothing, and his white tender hands were obviously not his own….

Suddenly, Marin thought of something. “Fuck – don’t tell me this is a gender-bender, right?” The last thing he wants is to stuck in a situation similar to “Go Princess Go”. If he turned into a girl… The mere thought sent chills down his spine.

With a tense mood, he slowly peeked down into his bottom garments.

After a moment, Marin breathed a sigh of relief – he was a man. Or rather, judging from the hair, a boy.

With his mind relaxed, Marin finally noticed the incredible hunger in his stomach. But that didn’t last long as he soon fainted back onto the patch of grass.

……

For a long time, Marin felt hungry…

At the same time, a memory fused with Marin’s consciousness. It was clear that it was the memory of the original owner…

By reading the memory, Marin learned that this body of the original owner, also known as Marin. Of course, not the Chinese Marin, but the Western Marin. More precisely, it was a Marin from the German region at the end of the 15th century. Hoffman family’s young wandering knight.

What is a wandering knight? First of all, it is a knight (most often a trainee knight). Generally possessing a horse, a lance, and a knight’s armor. Some knights, even have armor on their warhorses. In addition, all knights, basically from childhood have underwent rigorous training. Hence, they are not only skilled at charging but also familiar with close combat. Their combat effectiveness is generally much better than that of ordinary foot soldiers.

In Medieval Europe and during the Renaissance, the knight was the lowest feudal lord in Europe. Above it were Barons, Viscounts, Earls, Marquis, Dukes, Princes, Kings, Emperors.

But not every knight is fortunate enough to get a fief and be considered a noble. The opportunity to rule a fief was most often given with service to a higher-leveled lord.

Moreover, the knight’s fief is generally relatively small. The comprising of one or more villages. For example, Marin’s family – the Hoffman family, was located in the Ruhr region of Germany. This knight family, only had a small village and a small amount of cultivated land. With all of the arable and barren land added together, the entire territory equaled about 80 hectares.
[MD: Or ~200 acres, just remember the conversion rate is 2.5]

80 hectares of land, it seems like a lot, right? During the same time period, in the Ming Dynasty, it was absolutely a lot. Enough for the family to not worry about food or clothing. However, thanks to the low level of agricultural practices in the Europe, it is hardly much. The most common practices would be a rotation farming system, ranging from two or three-year cycle. With the third year left empty to restore the soil. During the time before the Industrial Revolution, 40 hectares only had an annual output of 5,000 kg of rye. On average, the rye production is only 156 kg per hectare. If there was a famine, the output can fall to 100 kilograms.

With this kind of yield, it was no wonder why tens of thousands of people starved to death every year in the Middle Ages.

Although the Huffman manor could almost be considered a large manor, it’s production was only around 100 kg of wheat per hectare.

As one of the top students in the History Department in college, Marin was clear that from the Han Dynasty onward, wheat production averaged 200 kg per acre. In the Ming Dynasty, rice yields sometimes even reached 500 kilograms.

Marin was very familiar with the source of the problem. The Europeans didn’t know how to use manure. For the longest time, Western farming involved plowing, sprinkling the seeds, and pouring some water on it. Then go do something else. Generally, even the peasants didn’t know to pluck the weeds.

As for the fecal matter, the Medieval Europeans pretty much defecated anywhere and everywhere. Making the cities constantly filled with a repulsive smell. This also led to the flies and the rampant spread of diseases. The outbreak of the Black Plague was by no doubt linked to the horrible sanitation in medieval times.

During the same period in the East, farmers would consistently travel to the city collect feces. There were even children that specifically carried baskets of poop.

The feces were placed under the field, creating the high yields of ancient China. Furthermore, it was the primary pillar that sustained the growth of the Chinese civilization. Meanwhile, Europe cities could be considered to be filthy, dirty beyond words. A center for flies and rodents. Breeding a variety of diseases that periodically raged uncontrolled across the continent.

Anyhow, Marin probably thought a bit too much. His predecessor was simply a wandering knight per the German traditions.

Since Europe uses the eldest son inheritance system, it would be destined for the other sons to suffer. The eldest son would take the inheritance and the others could only curse their luck.

If it was a big aristocratic family, the situation may be better. For example, if it was a king’s younger sons, although there is no inheritance, the king can seal them as a Duke or an Earl. Give them a piece of his own territory and they would have no troubles for the rest of their lives. For Dukes, Earls, and other high-ranked nobility, if their territory was large enough, it’s only a small matter to throw some meat for your other sons to feast off of.

It was the small-time nobles that had the bad luck. Their territory was quite small and only just enough for the eldest son. Leaving the younger brothers to drink the northwest wind. [MD: Wind blows NW in China during the winter] For example, the Hoffman family’s 200 acres was mainly thin soil. Barely enough for the household and the eldest son. (Not only for himself, by also the horses, attendants, and money for weapons, armor, and tools.) It quickly became increasingly hard to support Marin and the others in the family.

So, as the smallest feudal rank – knights were forced to make a decision. Typically, it ended with giving the other sons a horse, a set of armor, and a lance. Then send him out to make a living for himself. As for the daughter, typically they were married to some poor aristocracy and perhaps with a dowry included as well. Exceptions include entering the Church as a nun.

Under normal circumstances, the knights driven out were forced to seek refuge under that of higher-leveled nobility. This included services such as fighting in the lord’s battles.

Of course, not every one of the knights that were driven out of the house had a chance to find their own employer. A lot of knights could not find work, nor were they willing to be demoted to doing menial labor. Thus, they had to wander around, looking for temporary employment opportunities. So, a new group appeared – the wandering knight.

These wandering knights grew up in the knight family. From a small age received extensive training in fighting. Their martial arts were very good, fighting a dozen conscripted farmhands was not a problem. Some were strong enough that a single one on horseback could rout a group of robbers.

In fact, these wandering knights were an early form of German mercenaries. However, they were a scattered people. Since everyone wanted to be employed by a great noble and strike it rich, there was never the formation of any groups.

Until a few years ago, when the future Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I was battling in Burgundy, he saw firsthand the strength of the Swiss mercenaries. This sprouted the eventual rise of German mercenaries in this period.

(Author Note: The Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I did not officially become the Holy Roman Emperor until 1508. Prior to this, Maximilian I was only claiming to be the recognized by the Church. Without the coronation of the Pope, the foreigners only recognized Maximilian I as the King of the Romans.)

It was currently the summer of 1494, Maximilian I was recruiting his army for another period of turmoil. Marin Hoffman’s father, Fritz Hoffman, after hearing that the emperor was recruiting, decided to send his second son – the 16 years old Marin.

Originally, according to tradition, Marin was to wait until 18 years old to be kicked out of the house. But Old Hoffman felt that this was a rare opportunity. If a trainee knight obtained meritorious service, then chances were that he would be formally be promoted to a fully-fledged knight and obtain his own fief. So, he decided to let Marin go get his chance early.

However, he overestimated his second son’s real-world experience. Soon, the 10 gold coins were cheated away and Marin was left penniless.

Then poor Marin with no money to stay or eat. In desperation, he rode into the forest to try his luck at hunting. First, the meat can be eaten and fur traded for money.

But Marin was a knight, not a hunter. So, chasing animals was not his forte. Can you imagine a knight in heavy armor with his lance, chasing a little hare?

The weight of the armor itself would reduce the speed of the horse. How would it be possible to keep up with nimble wild animals? All the slow animals had long since been hunted.

The previous Marin had no crossbow and didn’t understand archery. Leaving him to haggardly ride on his horse, aching in hunger.

Finally, after two days of not eating, he fell from his horse and fainted on the grass. That’s when Marin finally passed into his body.

 


[MD: The Author uses some funky weights and measurements. I’m currently trying to convert everything into Kg and Hectares. So there may be some inconsistencies.

Also, since this is not my main series currently, I cannot guarantee consistent releases.]

 

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