"It pains me to say that there is little more I can do to help your family. But ration what I have given you and it should last all the way through the winter." The man before Avram stooped as if he were well past his prime years, but his face looked like that of a middle-aged man. Gerid was the name he gave them. He claimed to be in dire need of money due to his family's inability to care for all of the sheep in their herd. There were many shepherds in the villages surrounding the capital, so it was unlikely that Gerid's loss would affect the overall supply of wool. But there was also the matter of this man's family. How would they have any income if not for his sheep? It was Avram's responsibility to see to the needs of the entire kingdom, not just one family. It was all so frustrating. And now he had to consider what would happen after he was married. He wasn't sure why that prospect disturbed him so Gerid bowed before the throne and quickly scurried off with the meager amount of money he was given. That was the twenty-seventh citizen he had seen today, and judging by Oliver's list, there would be quite a few more. The Steward himself sat in his usual spot, off to the side of the room making notes about each man, woman, and child that came through the court to see their king. Unfortunately none of them would see the king. None of them had for years now. King Feldon rarely spoke to anyone now, except for the few who were allowed to visit his chambers. Avram himself had not been up there in over three months. That was partly because of the massive number of responsibilities he had sitting on his shoulders as the heir to the throne. The other reason, which he was less willing to admit, was that he could not stand to see his father in such a tragic state. He was once a strong and brilliant leader. People revered him until the day he ended the Prime Order and removed his closest friend from power. Even now Avram was still confused about what happened then, though he had only been seven years of age at the time. The guards brought in the next man, and this one looked more furious than desperate. He was dragging a young woman with him, though she kept her head down for whatever reason. "Your grace, this woman is responsible for injuring my horse. She ran into the middle of the road like a lunatic and caused him to buckle back and break his leg. I must have payment to purchase a new horse that can pull my cart." Avram only half heard the man's complaints. His eyes were focused on the woman he was accusing of being a lunatic. There was an oddness to her that he could not place. She appeared to be of the northern blood, and though that was hardly uncommon in the past, most northerners nowadays were refugees from the endless war occurring within their borders. "Is what this man says true? Did you injure his horse?" Avram inquired, though he removed the forceful tone from his voice.