Chapter 1:

Jacob paused in his daily labor and leaned upon his hoe as his gray eyes surveyed the landscape. He was a tall, lanky man whose features had been worn gaunt by hard work and the passing of time. Standing there in the field he looked like a tree rising up from the soil – struggling yet managing to survive against all odds. His gaze slipped across the other farms, which were clustered together like frightened children beneath the towering parent of King Garland's castle, and then up to the hazy sky. The sun shinned weakly through the clouds and the thick, black smoke that was continuously belched from the factories. When he had been younger, his grandparents would often tell him about a time when the sun shone brilliantly: warming the earth and revitalizing the crops, but that was before the Great War. These days Jacob believed such tales had been nothing more than stories told to pacify a hyper child.

He shook his head and blinked a few times as if waking from a dream. There was still a good deal of work to be done, so he had no time to allow his mind to wander. With renewed determination, he took the hoe into his calloused hands and resumed working. It was hard work, and Jacob wasn't sure how much longer his body would hold out to continue. It was his only means of survival, however, so this work had to be done. He refused to even consider about what would happen to him and his wife, Abigal, when he was no longer able to farm.

Besides, he did have things in life for which he was thankful. He lived far enough away from the castle that he was rarely bothered with taxes. He figured the soldiers thought he had far too little to justify the long trip, which was probably the truth. He also had his dear wife. One gentle look from her honey brown eyes was enough to sooth his aching muscles and to keep their isolated existence from becoming lonely.

His hoe his something hard, which he figured to be a rock. He found the outer edge and pulled back so that he could remove it. A brilliant green light shot out of the earth as the ground began to open. He staggered backwards and his feet became tangled, causing him to fall hard unto the dusty ground. The light faded so that he could see, but he found himself in complete disbelief as to what lay before his eyes. A small crater had opened before him, the bottom lined with interwoven roots that created something like a bed. Lying in the middle of this bed was a tiny baby that looked to be no bigger than a newborn.

Jacob marveled at the child, who appeared to be blissfully asleep. He was the most perfect baby the old man had ever seen: soft, pink skin, tiny fingers and toes, and a fine mass of blonde, almost white, hair upon his head. Jacob moved forward to pick up the infant but found one of the roots to be connected to the child's navel almost like it was an umbilical cord. He found this odd, even for a baby found in the ground, but simply retrieved his pocketknife and cut the root, which withered and died almost instantly.

The baby awoke when Jacob picked him up, but he didn't cry or squirm. Instead he simply blinked his dark, blue eyes a few times as he lay comfortably in Jacob's arms. The old farmer smiled warmly as he turned and carried the baby towards his simple house.

"Abby," he called as he stepped inside, "Abigal, come here."

The sound of pots and pans being moved about was his immediate answer. After a few minutes, the old brown sheet which acted as a divider between the kitchen and living room was pushed aside as Abigal stepped forward.

To look at Jacob and his wife was a study in opposites. She was a small woman with features no larger than that of a young girl. The only thing that betrayed her age was the fine webbing of wrinkles around her brown eyes and her silver hair, which she wore in a tight bun.

"What is it?" she asked, but then her gaze fell upon the infant. Her eyes widened in surprise, but her features softened. "A baby," she said in a tone barely above a whisper, "Jacob, where did you find him?" As she spoke, she took the child in her arms and held him close to her chest.

"It was the most amazing thing," Jacob began as he launched into a description of how and where he had found the boy. "I think he was meant to be ours," he concluded.

"But, Jacob, we're so old," countered Abigal, "There's no way we can take care of a child. And, if the king finds out, we'll have more taxes to pay."

Jacob smiled gently because he knew that his wife was only trying to convince herself they couldn't keep the child out of past hurt. After the fallout from the war, many woman had been left barren – his wife included. When they had first married, she had cried, prayed and dreamed of having a child of her own but to no avail. "The guards haven't come to collect taxes in years," he finally said, "And it's not like anyone would expect us to have a child. We live so far away from everyone; it shouldn't be hard to keep a secret. Besides, if he is discovered, we'll find some way to manage the extra taxes. We've always managed."

"We've always managed," she repeated as a soft smile took possession of her features. She settled down into a chair as she looked down at the boy who had barely stirred during all this time.

"What should we name him?" Jacob asked, but he already knew the answer and mouthed it silently as she spoke.

"Adam," she replied. It was the only name she had ever mentioned for the name of her first son. "Oh!" she exclaimed suddenly, "I need to get the cornbread out of the oven before it burns!"

"I'll get it," Jacob offered and he turned to make his way into the kitchen. In the doorway, his hand upon the sheet, he paused to look back at his wife and Adam.

They were the perfect picture of mother and son.