In his twenty eighth year, he happened upon a young lady while returning from the Martherus market. She was beautiful to his eye, though many others would consider her plain, and he chose to stop and speak with the man that accompanied her, her senior by twenty or more years. The man was her father, and after much friendly discussion, invited Pel to overnight at their home rather than on the road.
Their home was rather quaint, only two rooms, a main room for everyone to spend their time and a separate bedroom for the adults. The girl’s name was Erella, in honor of Aquis’ great queen, and she slept on the floor in the main room. Her father apologized greatly for their meager home, explaining they were mere servants to one of the local lords, and they worked his land and helped in the affairs of farming in exchange for a home, protection and whatever food they needed. Pel waved off such deprecations; it was a home after all, and if it kept you dry and warm, it served its purpose.
Over a fair dinner of stew, to which Pel added some of his own meat as payment for the hospitality, he spoke with Erella’s father at great length of all matters of agriculture. The man was quite affable, and after a short while, they felt like fast friends. As the women cleaned the table, Pel took a smoke with the man outdoors sharing from the same pipe. At this point, Pel admitted somewhat forwardly that he stopped to become friends only because he had immediately felt taken with Erella upon seeing her, and he felt sheepish about this fact. He had recently come to realize his death would come one day, and he was without wife or sons. Pel explained that he would like to make Erella his wife, and he would treat her well.
Unfortunately, it was not quite so simple; as Erella was actually a servant of a lord, Pel would need to pay a dowry to the lord. It was a rather typical business arrangement, and the lord would need payment for being deprived of an employee. Beyond that, Erella’s father gave his blessing, realizing that his daughter would then become the wife of a landowner, not the daughter of a peasant.
That evening, Erella’s father offered his bed to Pel, saying that he and his wife would sleep on the floor with Erella. Pel refused to have the man sleep on the floor of his own house, and assuring him that he had no dishonorable intentions, Pel said he would sleep on the floor of the main room. Perhaps, if she were inclined to conversation, he could learn more about the woman he hoped to make his wife. Erella was quiet at first, clearly shy towards a man whom she saw as her elder. Pel kept his word regarding his intentions, but he did explain to her what he hoped he could bring to pass. She somewhat shied away from this subject; though she did not express her fears, she knew there were other duties women were expected to fulfill to their husbands beyond cooking and cleaning. Several of the girls she had known as a small girl were already married, their bellies swelling with child.