Here is the first chapter for my MOCTale. No title yet, but tell me what you think. I haven't made a website to host it on yet, but that is a matter of days away.
Nick Farnshaw could feel the rage quell up inside of him. Bodies, both Black Wolf and Timberman, littered the floor of the glade. The last remnants of the attack party could still be seen as they set anchor from the Easton Port. As if to mock the helpless defenders of the forest, the crewmen of the last undamaged ship raised up their flag of victory, an ebony wolf with crimson blood dripping from its fangs. They had not won, by any means, yet they chose to sail out into the vast sea feigning triumph. It was this act that was the last nail in the coffin of the Timbermen.
The day had begun peacefully enough; the Timbermen, inhabitants of the small port hamlet of Easton on the eaves of the Deepwood, had gotten up early to prepare for the feast of the Mariners, an annual festival celebrating the hamlet’s foundation by the crew of the Wave Marcher three hundred years ago. The villagers embraced both of their backgrounds: hardy men of the forest, as well as free children of the sea. Experts at boat making and fishing, they were also keen hunters and respected bow makers. However, they did contain themselves to the immediate area of their small village, and used their skills only to support themselves: the sea was for fish, not exploration, and the forest for wood and game, not colonization. Children were told legends still believed by many adults of the queer happenings of the centre of the Deepwood. They respected their natural environment, and were dear friends of the trees: wood was only used when found dead, and from live trees only after a long sacrificial ceremony.
It was this reverence for the woods that led to their confrontation with the Black Wolves. The men were at their nets, casting for fish, when they spotted a grey sail emblazoned with a black wolf.
“This sight can only mean one thing,” said Old Tom, one of the wisest and most respected members of Easton, and one of the few men who was literate. The Timbermen were eloquent speakers for the most part, but never bothered with written language. It was said that Old Tom learned from the wizard Arwyl, a figure of legend in the world of the Timbermen.
“Black Wolves are coming to shore. Nate, get the archers ready!”
The Timbermen had never been fond of the Black Wolves, seeing them as pillagers and oppressors. However, in their few confrontations, usually when they traded fish and wood for metal and ceramics, they had remained civil, respecting the land. Still, the elders of the community, like Old Tom, did not trust them, and insisted upon armed guards when the trading took place.
Peter Farnshaw, the leader of the small defensive force, began gearing up the archers. Stern and diplomatic, he was still a kind leader and an inspiring father for his son Nick. A skilled swordsman, which was a rarity amongst the Timbermen, he was also one of the most accurate archers in the town. His brother had been killed after a raid by barbarians in the north; one of the main reasons that a defensive force had been set up in the town. It was said that he was never seen to be cheerful after his brother’s murder. Now, he stood, stern as ever, putting the archers through their paces alongside his assistant Nate, as the Black Wolf ship drew ever nearer.
The vessel, which could now be seen bearing the name Death water, creaked and groaned as it settled into port. Black Wolf soldiers, bearing the signature emblem that was seen on the sail, could be seen on deck, armed with swords, as well as a strange type of single-headed axe. The gangway was dropped, and a man fully clad in cruel, black armour descended.
“Necrophus,” muttered Old Tom. Sir Necrophus was the right hand man of Lord Blackwell, the dark leader of the Black Wolves. He was also the trade master of the faction, meaning he was the one who was usually seen during these situations. As was the case with all of the Black Wolves, he remained fully armoured. He did lift his visor when speaking, revealing cunning eyes, but his face remained shadowed. His reedy voice was nearly lost over the sound of crashing waves.
“We request wood,” he said, almost mechanically.
Old Tom acted as the negotiator.
“We have no wood for you today. Come back five days hence, after our festival, and we will have many trunks for you.”
“You say no to us? We will not accept refusal.”
“And we will not accept disrespect. The wood belongs to the forest, and we have been chosen as stewards of the land.”
“Then we will be forced to use desperate measures. Men, down the gangplank. Axes at the ready. Cut down the trees. Take no prisoners.”