It is many years ago before William Marshal became a Knight.
At age 14, he is a this family home, north of Suulwikk, trying to learn math from a tutor. William's eldest brother, John Marshall III is giggling as William isn't good at math. William would rather be training with the sword out in the yard.
Having enough of making mistakes and being mocked, William stormed out of the room in a rage and headed out to the yard. He grabed a training sword and headed outside to the fields.
He spoted the son of the butcher (14) and the son of the rope-maker, Liam (16), fencing with sticks. William stoped to watch the pair. After a while William joined in, using a stick, not his training sword. He promises that his rank and name isn't important
The play fighting turns violent as William is losing the bout, loses his temper. Liam's parents come over to break up the fight and give Liam a spanking for beating up William. Later William feels shame for escalating the fight and not speaking up for Liam.
William's father, Lord John Marshal II, tells William that the Marshal family are custodians of land, not fighters. William wants to be a fighter still, pointing out he isn't as smart as his brothers. Lord Marshal tells William they'll talk about it over diner.
Over dinner Lord and Lady Marshal propose that William be a squire in order to see how hard work it is so he'll give up these notions. They'll ask Kel Roderick if William can be his squire tomorrow. William is overjoyed. That night William is mocked by his older brother Edgar.
Before going to bed, William read about his favourite hero, Desmond the Dashing killing the Black Dragon of Deepwood Swamp that had been terrorising Bon' May. William had even named his horse after Desmond.
The next day Kel Roderick arrived on his warhorse. Lord Marshal went to greet him and they head into the Lord's study. After a time William was invited into the room. Lord Marshal asked Kel Roderick if he would take on William as his squire. Kel Roderick questioned William about his motivations and his beliefs. After some answers, Kel Roderick was happy to take on William as his squire, as his last Squire got kicked by a horse and died.
Kel Roderick explains they can go to Suulwikk and make it official, but the knight has to take care of a Troll Cave tomorrow first. William volunteers to come along on this mission to the Troll cave, against his father's advice.
At the crack of dawn the next day, William woke up and prepared Kel Roderick's horse and his own horse. Kel Roderick came outside from breakfast some time later.
They follow the Buford River until they reach a certain cave, then head north into the hills until the found the Troll Cave. Kel Roderick told William that his job was to make sure the horses don't get hurt or get spooked away. William ties the horses to a nearby tree and stands guard as Kel Roderick enters the cave.
Some time later a pack of 4 goblins surrounded William. William drew his sword as the goblins leader mocked him. William chargeed a nearby goblin, slaying it with one blow. The goblin leader started stealing from the saddlebags as the two other goblins stand in William's way. William charged one of the guarding Goblins, slashing it, but the goblin badly stabbed William with his goblin spear in return. William is too proud & foolhardy to call for help, continued with the fight.
The goblin leader has finished stealing from Kel Roderick's horse and starts stealing from Desmond, William's horse. William kills another goblin. The other goblin retreats. The goblin leader then steals William's horse. William throws a goblin spear at the goblin leader, but hits his own horse instead.
As the goblin leader rushes off on Desmond, William climbs on Kel Roderick's horse and gives chase. The goblin rounds a tree and charged William. The two clashed over and over. Kel Roderick's horse is wounded. The goblin looks at William with respect now as a worthy foe now. The goblin slashes William's cheek and William slashes the Goblin's leg.
The goblin leader is then killed by a Javelin from Kel Roderick. Kel Roderick is bardly injured from his fight with the Troll, but he comes over and inspects the goblin leader. He points out the goblin leader doesn't look like a normal goblin, it has paler skin and it's ears are soft and curved, not pointy, and has yellow spots on his legs. William then boiled some tea and the two rested from their fights.
Kel Roderick after an hour of thinking, decides to head to Suulwikk next to make William's squire-ship official. On the way to Suulwikk Kel Roderick asks William if those were the first people he'd ever killed. William is surprised to consider goblins as people. Kel Roderick points out although they were their enemies, they are people, and understanding your enemies is the best way to being able to defeat them. That you don't always have to kill your enemies, otherwise you could escalate things into further violence. Violence should be the last resort, not the first resort.
Later William makes camp for them. He offers to go out and hunt for food, but Kel Roderick points out that William is injured, so he should stay at camp. Just because you can do something heroic doesn't mean you have to. You can't help anyone if you are dead. William then is taught how to sharpen a steel blade instead of a bronze one.
William realises fully what he has been signed up for as he does all this manual labor as Kel Roderick rests. William remains firm and continues on this path.
They arrive in Suulwikk the next day. William's family is waiting for him at the city gates. His mother is worried when she sees that William is injured, his father looks pale, and his brothers look impressed.
William and Kel Roderick head over to Kel Roderick's townhouse and he has a Doctor see to the both of them. William rests in bed for the next few days.