Mechin is a poor Nord village without a single notable feature. It does lie just across the Vaegir and Swadian border, however, and therefore receives a good deal of interest which it scarcely deserves. The people of Mechin are often visited by a Nord Lord who promptly conscripts the villages young men and heads off to campaign. Shortly thereafter, his Vaegir or Swadian counterpart is just as likely to arrive and loot the village. It is under these conditions in this poor Nord village that Erik was born.
When villagers from Jelbegi say that Mechin is a village of bastards they are not just being mean. The number of births in Mechin tends to fluctuate dramatically depending on whether an army passed by the year before. Erik was conceived on a night a raiding party of Swadian Men at Arms took up residence in the village. He was born to a girl of hardly 14.
At the age of eleven, Erik endured the first major calamity of his life. A Vaegir raiding party descended on the Mechin and thoroughly pillaged it. Known for his wanton cruelty, the captain of the raiding party put the whole village to the sword. Those who resisted with pitchforks were hacked to pits with swords. The skulls of the old were smashed, babies were lit on fire and filled with arrows, and Erik's mother ravaged by countless raiders was tied to a horse and dragged off as the raiders left the village. Little Erik, trembling, saw it all whilst hidden between the panels of his family's thatched roof.
When he left the charred and bloody ruin of a village the next morning, Erik vowed never to return until he had avenged his mother's death and the destruction of his home. Yet the pressing concerns of nourishment and shelter quickly came to dominate the thinking of his young mind. He became a beggar. And a thief. He managed to both sustain himself and stay ahead of the law, but his life was hard. The savage world he inhabited imposed a fanatical discipline on him. In order to avoid marauding gangs and raiders, he had to tread carefully and be ever alert. In order to avoid the law he had to remain unknown wherever he went. As time went on he became ever more cruel and ever more calculating.
By 19, Erik had become a force to be reckoned with. Solidly built and taller than most, he won fights with brawn not brains. Often he would defeat better fighters because they simply could not resist the strength of his relentless blows. Erik was aware of his strength and grew to enjoy pounding those weaker than he. Erik also came to believe that he was now strong enough to renew his quest for vengeance. The search for the captain of that Vaegir raiding party began.