Location: Jewel Reef
Lord_Of_The_LEGO wrote:The Forestman flatboat groaned and settled deep into the water. Gonderin looked down.
“Squire Thomas!” he snapped, “Steer toward the Sea Elk! All of you, take up oars one last time if you wish not to drown!”
Then he returned to his archery.
It was very late that same night.
The Forestman fleet had returned to Jewel Reef a mere hour earlier, now possessing four fine, large, Ikrosian ships. Three hundred Ikrosian soldiers had been captured, and their places in sailing the fleet were for the moment being manned by the slaves freed from the trebuchet ship.
Sir Dractor and his fleet had returned to find the Dark Foresters again in possession of Jewel Reef. Radjar Kath had only just been wakened from unconsciousness, but his soldiers had possession of the city, had captured most of the enemy, and had already seen the citizens start to stream back into their city.
Late though it was, Sir Dractor, Gonderin, Radjar, the Mayor, and several of the captains sat down immediately to discuss what was to be done with the Ikrosians.
"Send them home," said Sir Dractor. "Give them one of their ships, and strip them of their weapons, and send them on their way."
"One ship for 500 people?" said the Mayor. "They'd need at least two."
"I doubt if they will all want to return," said Gonderin. "Apparently, this Ikros is not the most pleasant of nations. I highly doubt if even one ship will be filled completely with loyalists."
"Which then leaves us the problem of what to do with four hundred or so Ikrosian immigrants," said Radjar, "not to mention all those former galley slaves. What are we going to do with them? They have no livelihood here, no homes, no friends."
"The Forestmen will take most of them in, should they wish it," said Gonderin. "After the events of last year, we are quite proficient at handling refugees. And once we get them set up, it will be quite profitable for us to have all those trained craftsmen and labourers in our lands."
"I dunno," said one of the Forestmen captains. "Six hundred people- almost all men! How well is that going to work when they all start wanting wives and families?"
"Quite well," said Gonderin, "considering the number of Forestdwellers who died during last year's wars."
"And just how can you be certain that Lord Bjarn will be amenable to receiving all these refugees into his land?" asked Radjar. "That's a pretty considerable cost, and there could be social tensions between these Ikrosians and your own people."
Gonderin had never cared much for Radjar Kath, and just fixed him with a steely glare.
"There's also the matter of the ships," said one of the Dark Forester captains, clearly his throat. "If only one returns to Ikros, then we are left with three very large, formidable warships."
"The Forestmen will take them, naturally," said Gonderin. "It was, after all, our fleet which captured them."
"With the help of a couple hundred Foresters!" Radjar at him. "Furthermore, they were in Dark Forest waters. By rights, the greater claim is ours."
"We had the permission of Queen Arabella to be in those waters," said Gonderin. "And they currently are under Forestmen command, and as spoils of war, they are clearly ours."
"They were captured with Dark Forest aid!" said Radjar hotly. "I notice, Sir Dractor, that you don't say anything." He looked over at the big knight, who was indeed remaining mostly silent.
"Here's my suggestion," said he. "One ship goes to the Dark Forest, one ship goes to the Forestmen."
"And the third!" pressed Radjar.
"I'll take the third," said Sir Dractor. "I belong to neither nation, and I was, after all, the admiral."
"What the tyco do you plan to do with a ship?" asked Radjar. "You're one man!"
"I thought I might keep it for a Yuletide present," said Sir Dractor with a grin. Radjar shook his head, but agreed to the terms.
The council then sat down to finding billets in the village for the soldiers, and a place to keep the Ikrosians until their release could be properly arranged, and a million other, boring, arrangements that an army must make. Sir Dractor was therefore quite relieved when Thomas knocked on the door, and entered.
"Sorry to interrupt," he yawned, "but there's a knight outside with a Royal Knight shield who wants to speak with you, Sir Dractor."
Totally perplexed, Sir Dractor got up, and went to see what was going on. On the way, Thomas asked him a question.
"So what are you going to do with a ship?"
"Have you been listening at doors?" asked Sir Dractor. "That's most dishonourable."
"I was sitting outside trying to drift off," said Thomas, "but there was some rather loud debating going on, so I couldn't sleep. Anyway, what ARE you going to do with it?"
"Give it to Bjarn as a very early Yuletide present," said Sir Dractor. "I'll get Gonderin to make up the papers tomorrow. Somehow I suspect that after this affair the Forestmen will have a navy, albeit a very small, two-ship, one."
"Those are pretty big ships, though," said Thomas. "Surely they'll be big enough for anything the Forestmen need. After all, if they've gotten by without a permanent navy in the past, then surely a two man fleet will be plenty. Wait, here we are."
They rounded a streetcorner, and found themselves in front of a waiting Royal knight, holding his reins.