Commander Redbeard wrote:The feast lasted forr a day and a night. When the festivities at last died down, the army of Forestmen split up into their respective groups and returned to the remains of their homes.
Drullen Bell Keep
Bjarn was home at last. When his cart had drawn him within sight, he joined in with the whooping and cries of joy the Forestmen expelled even though it pained him greatly to do so. The anchient Forestmen fortress had stood, surviving the mighty wildfire only by the will of the Forestmen populace. Now it stood tall and proud, but empty. The emptyness was soon changed when all of the Forestdwellers, including the Wolfpack and Dark Foresters, packed inside to clear away the damage and restart their lives. The Dark Forest and Wolfpack soldiers would stay the night at Drullen Bell, then they would continue north to their own homes.
The feasting and celebration already done the night before, this day was dedicated to clean up and repair. Charred timbers were replaces, floors were swept, and the reconstruction of the Drullen Bell Council Dome commenced. Lumberjacks were sent into the reborn forest to harvest wood so that flatboats could be constructed to contact the large amount of old persons, women and children still hiding out on Fell Isle.
In all the bustle and hustle, Bjarn was in his old chamber not resting nor sleeping, but conversing animatially with King Radjar Kath of the Dark Forest and Lord Willem Blackcloak of the Wolfpack. The matter of food was first and foremost.
"This will be a harsh winter, no doubt of that." grimaced Radjar, "The temprature's already dropping and so are the leaves."
"Fell Isle doesn't have nearly enough food to supply the Mainland." sighed Bjarn, "They will be struggling enough as it is."
"What options do we have?" queried Willem.
"Only one," said Bjarn firmly, "Trade with the Crusaders, is is our only chance of survival."
"The Forestdwellers and Crusaders have been at odd for years!" scoffed Radjar.
"BloodVaine has changed that," replied Bjarn, "The Crusaders suffered the most civilian loss at the hands of BloodVaine. The city of Port Ardologue was obliterated and it's population slaughtered, and several other cities met lesser, but no more grusome, fates. Plus the entire Crusader fleet was destroyed. The Crusaders have and excess of food, and we have the wood needed for them to rebuild thier towns and ships. I am certain a deal can be arranged."
Both Radjar and Willem nodded. "Excellent." agreed Willem, "In exchange for patrolling the Black Falcon borders, Bjarn, would you provide the Wolfpack with adquate carpenters and lumberjacks to repair Wolfpack structures. The Wolfpack have never been particually gifted into craftmanship."
Bjarn nodded, "Of course, Willem, my friend. Do you have requests Radjar?"
Radjar nodded, "If you could lend two or three flatboats, I would be much obliged. I wish to send some of my men up and down the Hemlock River and Grurrulugurul Creek to check on ports and to see if river has changes features, such as sprouting a new tributary or creating another cataract. The sooner the Hemlock is cleared for passage, the sooner goods and people can traverse it again and life can return to normal."
"Very good." agreed Bjarn. He paused, then he eyed Radjar, his eyes gleaming. "Do you know of Rosa's plans?"
Radjar just might have blushed, neither Bjarn nor Willem were sure. "She...says she'll be coming with me.." Radjar said.
Bjarn grinned, then winced as the pain got to him. "Very good, that will be one less person I'll have to worry about here at Drullen Bell. In fact, I'm thinking of sending young Reno along with Shainya and Aros as bringers of peace and possible trade to the Crusaders."
Willem almost, but not quite, snickered. "Bjarn you old matchmaker!"
Bjarn smiled, "I had nothing to do with their pairing, they found it themselves."
"True, very true..." smiled Willem.