From book 1:
In a world ruled by the Great System, in a small town located in a down and out barony, a boy was born "nulled." Ugly and disabled, he is secretly scorned by neighbors and acquaintances. Everyone around him is sure the evil spirit Bug is playing a trick on him.
When Eric turns fourteen, his parents die and he is left alone with this harsh world, his level zero and his characteristics nil.
To make matters worse, he is saddled with a large debt accumulated by his parents, and has no choice but to work it off in the mines of the Crooked Mountains.