Holy Year 1648. The Khadovai Steppe.
Karl Medovodai's year was shaping up to be a lousy one. On Yearsbirth Day, his daughter Olga had run off with the blacksmith's apprentice. Karl had found them in an abandoned drover's hut four leagues to the south of the village, professing their undying love for each other. After beating the lad silly and dragging Olga home, the week had ended with a visit to the village by the boyar's tax man, who brought news that was not unexpected, but far from welcome.
February brought two late winter storms that took the shingles off his roof, the chickens from his yard, and the topsoil from his fields.
April brought a minor bout of plague to the villages and towns of the Northern Marches, and Karl's wife was laid up for weeks, leaving a sullen Olga to do all the cooking and washing by herself.
May brought a pestilence that ravaged the newly-planted fields of the local farmers; insects devoured whole crops before moving south like a living carpet.
Now it was June. The planting, such as it was, was complete, and Karl could take a bit of a break. Although truth be told, a break for a farmer was really no break at all. There were fences to be mended, roofs to re-shingle, calves to deliver, and a hundred other tasks. It was life on the steppe. It was the only life Karl Medovodai knew. On this particular day in early June, he was in his north field, pulling a calf out of the small sinkhole it had fallen into, when he heard the sound of thunder on the northern horizon.
...Not thunder. Hoofbeats. The horsemen were endless, thousands upon thousands of them. And Karl's year was about to get a whole lot worse...
### Latest WIP ###