The village of Ten Bay in the large bay of the same name on the Isle of Hope was one of the larger village communities on the island. Indeed, it functioned as a market town for many small villages and hamlets in the area.
Silvi Farthing was the youngest child and only daughter of Shin and Yeva Farthing and was born in an old fishing house near the ancient docks. Her mother, originally from Port Lesende in the region of Peys on Bind, died when Silvi was not yet quite three years old, and she was brought up by her father and other local women who took pity on the young girl.
The Farthings had fished in the village for many generations, but the family was not well respected. Both her father and grandfather had a reputation for being heavy-drinking men and bullies, though Silvi escaped some of her own father's worst fits of anger.
At the age of sixteen, following a violent family argument over her refusal to take an older local fisherman as a husband, Silvi persuaded her father to allow her to take advantage of the land claim system that was run on the Isle of Hope at various times in its history. The island administrators were keen that less suitable land should be worked along the border with the desert region of Ceosei, but as most were reluctant to work this unforgiving scrub, they brought back a claim system created by Mayor Eolin when the island was first settled five hundred years earlier. Under this system, a citizen of hope could claim unused land and as long as they worked it for a year and a day, and showed that they had created a sustainable holding, they would be deeded the land in perpetuity.
Silvi argued that if her father did not allow her this opportunity, she would take ship and leave Hope forever. Her father, Shin, was a brute of a man, but by this time his long association with rum had weakened him. Silvi looked much like her mother who had died fourteen years before and who he missed terribly, so he agreed. Silvi claimed a small patch of land some ten leagues away near the fishing hamlet of Bay, and taking her small horse and a few coins saved from working in the fish houses, she moved to the derelict fisherman's hut on the land and built her small holding.
Like many on Hope, Silvi was a good horsewoman and was used to working with animals, so she bought a tiny goat herd and learned to make cheese. Even at this early age, Silvi's showed the strength of character and determination that she would be known for in later years, and she sought no help from others, doing all the work herself. She repaired the severely ruined hut, built a cheese shed, fenced her land for her goats and even repaired an old two-wheeled cart so she could deliver her goods. Her enterprise was a success and at the age of seventeen, Silvi was granted the deeds to the land.
However, it was a short-lived victory. Her eldest brothers, Den and Ike, had been angry that their father had let Silvi leave the family and had not forced her to marry. Silvi had not returned to Ten Bay once she started her business and her two older brothers sought her out, destroyed her small holding and attacked her, driving her away.
The arrival of Be-Elin the Draig yr Anialr was nothing more than a coincidence. The dragon had made a temporary home at the far end of Ceosei where the citizens never visited, and had been scouting from a height, trying to work out the lay of the land and find a suitable meeting place where she would be able to meet Silvi. Although how she would achieve this has never been fully explained, it is thought that Mistry would have arranged for a message to be passed to Silvi quietly under some pretext. In the end, Be-Elin had been simply looking for somewhere to rest when she saw the brothers attack the girl and decided to intervene.
Early Military Career
One of the most difficult parts of Silvi story for many to understand is that much of her fighting prowess was self-taught. Although Be-Elin was able to teach her how to ride a dragon and supplied her with weapons, she was not able to teach Silvi how to fight against another human.
Initially, all Silvi could do was make sure she was as strong and fit as possible, and to this end, she took to running several leagues every day, often at a fearsome pace, and this she kept up her entire life.
Unlike her great father, Johnson Farthing, Silvi was a natural with the bow, and many have compared her not only with Mistry, her great mother, but with Doritha Heel, who was one of the finest archers in Pree's Army.
However, it was not until she trained under Deffane at Levin Burh in Hertenesse that she mastered her knife work and skills at unarmed combat. Silvi never carried a traditional sword, finding them cumbersome, and she became famous for her use of the long rider's knives. Many of the techniques she developed became standard training in later years.
Even at this young age, Silvi began to show the qualities of leadership that would define her later achievements. She had a very quick mind and was able to analyse situations faster and better than even some more experienced soldiers. She was a voracious note taker, much like Mistry, and would plan everything she did in great detail.
However, like her great father, General Farthing, she had an innate ability to befriend almost anyone and inspired loyalty in many.