Monday, November 30, 2020

Blackburn Hall at Quarterpoint Station

Blackburn Hall, built by Erik Eastham, shown with the second tower and Defense completed.  The bridge and road go North to the Aryl village, which lies just South of Cambrey

In Year 59, as Brian Eastham was building his home and career in Cambrey, Brian's brothers were all headed out on their own, as well.  David went and founded a farm at Ellsridge, just East of Cambrey.  Erik was handed a waystation request by Charles Robinson and his own father, Evan Eastham, in Cambrey.  

Luna Bevanson had been mapping, trying to continue her father Omri's work.  She had went South of the Aryl village and ran across Pillagers headed North.  The Aryl villagers had built extra iron golems, seven in total! to guard their village.  

 just a few of the Iron Golems built by the natives to protect their village, and the road south to Quarterpoint

The Cambrey Council consists of Charles Robinson, Evan Eastham and his wife, Pamela (Benson).  Also on the Council are Alvin Allen of Meadowview and his wife Sara (Parker)- as the entire Cambrey Plain is sometimes to be taken into account    As of Year 47, Omri Bevanson has joined the Council with his wife Adacia, who is an Aryl Native and helps keep the growing city in harmony with the nearby Village.  Originally Dirk Reynard was also on the Council.  Dirk moved to Cod Bay to marry Serena Pippington, and has since joined the Bank of Cod Bay instead.

Charles Robinson was handed the waystation paper for Cambrey in Year 35, by the Barracks Council in Rivertown.  His own elder sons Gregory and Victor do not want to leave Cambrey, but since Luna (Omri and Adacia's daughter) has reported Pillager activity someone has to protect the Southern border.  Now Charles has singled out Erik Eastham, Evan's third son, to head South and take up a waystation along the Long River. The Long River flows East, all the way from Spate Station to the sea South of the East Pirate Shores.  Having at least one position along this river would make sure the river path stayed clear, and allow travellers to have a waypoint if they encountered trouble along their way.  

Erik was given these four tasks: 

1.) Build a self-sustaining waystation for travellers and for Defense against Pillagers.

2.) Ensure the river is clear and passable from Whitmoor to East Pirate Shores at least once per year, clear debris if needed.

3.) Build a bridge over the Long River South of Aryl village.

4.) Build a road from the new place, Quarterpoint Station, to the Aryl Village.

Charles: Did I perhaps put too much on him?  He's only seventeen?  I was twenty when they handed me my paper, and Erik is twice the size I was then.  Ivan well, he's not got the size but he's quick - he can scale a mountain in nothing flat.  I might wait a few more years and see what he decides he wants to do.

Once Erik got the construction started though, he was pretty sure keeping the river clear and navigable was going to be beyond him.  If he was out on the river, he wasn't taking care of the fields or watching for Pillagers.  The Long River is ... well... Long!  That was when he started enlisting help from his brother, Ivan.

Erik had only built a general hall for his own use when the first Pillagers attacked.  He had been to the Aryl Village just the week before while building his road and had asked his brother Ivan, trading with the villagers, to come visit him soon.  Ivan is the next to youngest of the five Cambrey Eastham brothers, with sister Gina and Olaf coming after him.  While Erik was holed up in his hall, watching Pillagers circle and point crossbows at him through the windows, he made terracotta, glass and mined deep down below his hall to pull up iron, gold and tons of stone.  

When Ivan arrived he saw the situation and did some quick thinking.  Ivan's gift is to look at the lay of the land and have a good idea what the best way up, around or through is.  It's not a huge gift, but it serves him well.  In this case - it served his brother well, too!  Ivan rushed back to the Aryl side and scouted out to see what the land looked like around his brother's new home.  He then picked a place on the side of the hill and dug a tunnel nearly straight into Erik's house.  Erik knew Pillagers didn't come through walls, but he was ready to hit whatever came through with an axe until he realized that loud singing and grunting racket sounded a lot like an Eastham.  Ivan broke through and found his brother leaning on an axe handle in the upper story of the Hall.  Ivan shared supplies and the two brothers made a plan.


Ivan's escape tunnel for his brother, Erik

As soon as the Pillagers got distracted, Ivan went outside the new tunnel and lured them away, towards the lava field to the South.  Ivan then doubled and circled back around and into the Hall before the Pillagers could get their footing on the hills.  Erik was putting his newfound firsthand knowledge of the Pillager tactics to work for him.  He had learned a lot about Defense after being holed up for more than a week!  

Erik got to work making a second tower specifically for defense, attached to the back of the Hall.  The second tower had many more large windows and a back door.  The small side doors in the lower station had been a good idea, as well, but had no visibility to see what might lie outside.  Erik used up his terracotta and all of the materials he had on hand.  

The Pillagers came back for a second round ,and Erik really wished he could get up on the roof and see exactly what they were doing down below.  Ivan volunteered some granite from his tunnel work to make walls on top of the roof, so if the Pillagers did try to climb trees they would not be able to get all the way up.  Now both of the brothers would be able to shoot missile weapons from the roof and have a quick escape out of any direction of the Hall.  

Blackburn Hall, made from native materials (lots of squid like to die on these shores just like at Rivertown, so Erik had 20 or so ink sacks just from catching them as he planted his wheat fields on the shores)

After Ivan saw the black terracotta that Erik had put into the walls of the second tower, he asked Erik 'Why don't you call it Blackburn?  You burned black terracotta for a week while you waited.'  Erik nodded.. Blackburn Hall, at Quarterpoint Station - on the Long River.  It sounded almost... dignified, definitely worth a spot on the map.  Ivan headed back off North to tell the Cambrey Council what had transpired, and said he would be sure to check in again in another week or so, as he had been asked to make the first river trek to Whitmoor to bring some letters to Joiner and Olaf, their youngest brother.  The Cambrey Council has staked out another place between Quarterpoint and Riggins Ranch on the Long River that could become Ivan's station in a few years, or his sister Gina's, if she shows interest.

 The Long River is well.. Long!  It goes all the way from the waters south of Spate Station and Whitmoor across the lower continent to the seas south of East Pirate Shores (which are East of Cod Bay).  It may be the longest continuous river, so far, in the Known World.


the four tasks are done, if Ivan will help Erik navigate the river, or if Erik gets some help and builds a community here at Quarterpoint

Erik has learned the lesson it isn't good to be out here all alone.  With the iron and gold he has found under the Hall he has enough to trade for almost anything he needs.  But what he really needs is a community.  He is thinking about the future, starting a family and maybe hiring a few men from the Aryl village to build houses and present arms with him at the Station.  It is a big responsibility - there is so much to do!  There is a lavafield South of the Station, as well, so a forgeworks and armory could easily be worked in.  The one thing that Erik isn't sure how to do well are walls - would wooden fences be enough to keep the Pilalgers at bay, or do they need cobblestone or granite?  Erik will continue to learn more about Defense - as the Pillagers definitely aren't going away 'for good' anytime soon.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

The Trade War in Cambrey, Years 59 to 69, and Spate Station

There has been a Trade War going on in Cambrey. Omri Bevanson moved there from Cod Bay in Year 47, changing his last name from DeAryl and marrying Adacia, a woman from the Aryl native village his father's family had come from.  Omri was trying to build a 'new map of the South' because the -then fledgling- map started at the bank only went north from Cod Bay.  

Omri made a little progress.. but he severely butted heads with Pamela Benson, now Eastham, who had moved to Cambrey years earlier, in 36.  Pamela's husband Erik had moved from the East Native village to join with Charles Robinson in making the Cambrey outpost against Pillagers.  However, she had asserted control over the sugarcane AND the cows in the town to make 'Bensons' Books', a small bookstore located behind her house.  Richer villagers from all around could come and purchase books to fill bookshelves at their homes, paper, ink and other dye products.  

when a wandering trader showed up on top of Omri's house near the 'failed' map project, and then Omri and Charles Robinson helped him get down

Omri, being a butcher's son, soon had his own cows and pigs and was producing leather to be used for item frames for the Map.  Pamela bought out as much leather as she could from Omri, sometimes trading sugarcane and paper for it, sometimes simply offering too large a price that Omri could not refuse.  Omri could see the price of sugarcane going up and up and up... but for some reason he never did see that he could simply plant more of it himself.

Brian Eastham, Pamela's second son, did see the idea as something to cut through the poison eating the town up from the inside-out.  He moved out of his family home and built a new house at the same time Gregory Robinson was building his, year 59.  Gregory was so busy mining, he really didn't care what was going on elsewhere.  He had wooed young Eileen Eastham from Ravenna, and was starting a large family.  Like his father Charles and grandfather John before him, he pulled large quantities of stone from the earth and built a large house with two stories.

Brian was a bit more savvy.  He saw his mother's tight control of the sugarcane but knew she would also refuse to plant any more to widen the supply.  Omri had bought sugarcane from Cod Bay and from Ravenna, but it was tough for those smaller communities where they used most of the crop that they grew for other things.  Victor Robinson built his little cafe, 'Honeymakers', a play on the Robinson's way with mead, and was also requiring more and more sugar to make pies and cakes.  Brian saw a way out that would eventually benefit everyone, but probably make his mother very angry.. at least in the short term.

 Brian Eastham's sugarcane farm

He went to Ben Pippington at the bank in Ravenna, and proposed a loan.  Ravenna would 'loan' him their entire crop of sugarcane for one season.  The bit used by the medical center would remain, but all the rest of it would go to Brian.  Brian took that and all of the sugarcane Omri's daughter Luna would spare, as well - and began planting a large field across from his new house (and directly behind Benson's books!).  Pamela did see red!

Very quickly Brian had stacks and stacks of sugarcane, much more than the 39 he had been 'loaned' by Ravenna.  He returned his loan to Ravenna and planted all the rest back in a second field.  Soon, Brian was reaping stacks and stacks of sugarcane, as well as oak wood and apples from the orchard he started in his spare time.  He is providing paper to Luna and Omri for the map project, sugar to Victor's cafe and meadworks, and also has a standing offer that his mother can buy paper for the bookstore as needed.  During all of this Brian attracted the eye of Opal Robinson, of Cod Bay, and settled down in his house a very happy (and busy) man.

Luna used some of the mapping expeditions to collect extra sheep and cows from the fields South of Aryl village.  She brought back brown, black and grey sheep, and has provided enough cows that Omri has enough for meat, and for breeding.   She has continued some of her father's work, expanding on the map, even though some are now calling it the 'Failed Map of the South'.  Recently, she has married Xavier Reynard, a young machinist who had moved over from Cod Bay, to be closer to the Cambrey mines.  There is gold and redstone down in the mine Gregory has just left untouched - 'no iron tools.. all the iron seems to be used for something else in this town...' Gregory has grumbled.. but he keeps making stone and sometimes even wooden pickaxes just to keep mining.  "What is he really looking for?" Luna asked Xavier.  Xavier said : "I'm not sure, maybe a mineshaft, maybe a dungeon with treasure.. maybe just adventure?  I sure hope he doesn't find anything like they did in that mine in Rosered..."

 Cambrey and Cod Bay have nearly grown together... over the next dozen years they probably will become even more entrenched, separable only by the gulley of the end of the Firetongue River and the mines

David, Brian's elder brother, decided to get away from all of the tension and pressure in Cambrey and build his home a little further away, founding Ellsridge Farm (read that story here)


Victor and Jenny's house, interior, before the roof goes up

Victor Robinson has helped his brother out in the mine for short stints, in between baking and helping his father, Charles, and mother Tilly (Pippington) craft mead for the storage kegs.  He is working on building a fine house, and took several years of courting before he finally convinced Jenny Gosreele, of nearby Benson's Pointe, to marry him and move to Cambrey.

 Charles still spends most of his time out tending his beehives, enjoying good health and trying not to listen to the bickering that has been happening back in Cambrey.  He has beehives between Cambrey and Ravenna and also between Cambrey and a farm built by the Man from Kriganzy, Mavic Rigginson, who moved in and built a large strange house just around the time his own sons were making their new homes.  Mavic caught and bred wild horses, using apples and gold which he mined deep beneath Meadowview Farm.  It was amazing luck when he found a saddle in a dungeon chest.  Paul Daniels had also found one in the mineshaft beneath WestSea, and his daughter Callista had taken to riding horses but had never been able to breed them.  Alvin Allen (Paul's nephew, as his mother was Piper Daniels) wrote to WestSea and tried to play matchmaker to bring Callista out to meet this 'Man from Kriganzy', after Mavic helped him finally breed his black spotted horses to produce a fine little filly.  Alexander Daniels finally convinced his sister Callista to take his wife Alisa to visit her aunt Sara, Allen's wife.

Riggins Ranch, built by Mavic Rigginson, originally of Kriganzy

interior of Mavic and Callista's house

Charles Robinson still stops by and talks horses and catches up with Alvin Allen at Meadowview, just north of Riggins Ranch.  Mavic and the Robinson boys have a lot to talk about between the different mines they are working in, as well as the animals.  Together with Allen's farm, they are trying to perfect some sort of watermelon honey wine.. but mostly so far they have just drank their experiments and not made anything commercial.  It can get to be a loud night on the Cambrey Plain when the Allens and the Robinsons break open a keg.

Saul Allen has taken this to heart at Spate Station, the new waystation he was assigned South of Rivertown.  The road from Rivertown heads straight through Beam Ridge to Spate Station, and then to the dock that heads South to Whitmoor.  Saul took some time convincing Wallace Garvey of Benson's Pointe to move there with his wife Maggie Robinson, originally of Cambrey.  They had a young family and the swamps can be a dangerous place, but Saul has done his best to make the Station into a well-lit Estate full of food and safe buildings.  Saul got to work and built a huge house on the plain while making frequent visits to the Cambrey mead nights on the Plain between Riggins Ranch and Meadowview.  Saul finally got what he was really aiming for, when he asked Melanie Robinson, Maggie's darker-haired twin sister, to marry him and move out to Spate.  The road between Cambrey and Spate Station has now become a well travelled pathway, and has also sent several of the Robinsons and Easthams headed off to Whitmoor, where another boom is happening.

 Spate Station shortly after Saul first moved in

Spate Station after Wallace Garvey moved in and Saul built his house

an attempt at tree farming

Saul's sister Sadie moved out to Whitmoor with Olaf Eastham, of Cambrey.  She had been helping her sister Natalie with the weaver's guild in Rivertown, but Whitmoor offered a lot of opportunity.   Olaf helped manage the cows and crops for Kevan Thomas while Kevan was off mapping and mining.  He sits in Tyr Rockham's smoked meat shop often, and discusses the roasting and spicing of beef.   Sadie helps at the school with weaving and loom construction, and has a community of other weavers there, Sanguine Aristo, Hyrine Eastham (nee Perkins of Rivertown) and her daughter, Klea, who teaches the high school students at the Whitmoor Kilnmaster School. 

Joiner Robinson, Charles' youngest son, moved out to Whitmoor in Year 69, with Olaf, and immediately began to build a large house.  He made his own little mine on the side of the shore and was pulling large quantites of stone out of it, like so many Robinsons before him.  Joiner convinced Ava Riggins, the elementary school teacher, to marry him just months before suffering a terrible lava incident under the mines of Whitmoor.  

It also doesn't hurt that Joiner Robinson knows how to build indoor plumbing, which he has installed in his house and Olaf's in Whitmoor.  He is starting to teach this at the Kilnmaster, school, too.

 This is why you do not build your mine towards a lava pit!

Joiner learned that day not only why you never mine near lava and gravel, but also that an underground lake, like the many that exist around Whitmoor, can save your skin literally in such a horrendous situation.  He mined gravel that was hanging over his head, and then ran around on fire for several seconds after the gravel dumped to the ground and then lava dumped on his head from the pool above.  The underground lake he had seen on the way into the mine saved his life.  Arturo Aristo, surprised the boy survived, offered him a job at the school as Mining Safety Instructor.  When asked about the tragedy Ava said he was still better looking than average, and she didn't see what all the fuss was about (his charisma was 11/12 before, and rolled a 7/12 afterwards).  Apparently the burns were only superficial, but perhaps the knowledge learned can save another Minecraft life in the future.

the Barracks and Defense at Whitmoor

Other developments :

Kevan's wife Sofia Aristo, of Vaya village, has been warning all of Whitmoor to prepare for war with Kriganzy.  Hawk Riggins, who fled Kriganzy with his wife before coming to Whitmoor, agrees there has been internal conflict brewing about whether to accept and trade with Outsiders or whether to attack.  The new Eagle Clan that took control soon after Tan Vandreas tangled with Kriganzy back in 47, has been advocating for attack.

Rega and Rygo, Tan's twin sons, have been making the journey there with their mother Terezea and understand the language and the customs.  They have come to Whitmoor to talk with Garan Eastham about trying to make a pact with the Fish Clan there, to at least have a line of information about coming attacks and problems.  Garan is leery of the idea, but has set up a waystation West of Whitmoor with the twins and cemented a pact with three daughters of Fish Clan leaders.  Their village will be the first to know if there is danger headed East.  It is a scary situation to be in, but Garan, who had been training to be Supplymaster of the Whitmoor Barracks, has set up a fortified enclave and is ready for what might be coming. 

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Two Funerals in Rivertown, to go forward we must go back to the beginning

Yuri Patterson, age eighty-one, writing for the Book of Rivertown, Year 69, after the Barracks Council

Rivertown, year 69

I guess to go forward we should first go back to the beginning.  There are so few of us left, the original ones, who came to Rivertown.  I guess I don't even really count, as my uncle Harry brought me down a few years later - but.. there isn't anyone else left to tell the tale.  We buried John Robinson a few days ago, and a few weeks before that Rebecca Roberts.  It is the end of an Era.  Since John Roberts and Melissa Robinson are not able to write this.. I will try to do it in their stead.

Nearly seventy years ago Dan McElvaney organized an Expedition, 'McElvaney Enterprises', out of North City.  His father-in-law, John Straty, had been down to this area exploring and staked out a claim.  After an injury, John returned back to North City and gave the coordinates to his daughter, Lanier, and her new husband Dan.  Dan gathered up a few friends with construction and excavation skills and rented out a boat with a captain, my uncle, Harry Patterson.  

Dan brought with him his wife Lanier, and John Robinson brought his wife, Melissa.  Also with them were workers Gary Pippington, Sam Sevier and Kori Paltry.  That was the original founding party, along with my Uncle.  They were looking for specific Astronomical coordinates, and also a landform called 'Granby's Arch'.. a name pulled out of the air by John Straty.  He had left a sign on it, and planned to return with his own family and begin the colony there.  Using this info, Dan confirmed they had found the Straty River, as described by Lanier's father.  He chose a place just a little downstream, and began to construct the platforms and footings we see today as the East-West bridge over the River, just north of the Rivertown Gorge. 

The City Hall of Rivertown (and John Robinson's original house, on top), Harry Patterson's house on the bridge, Mateo's wheat banner on his bakery by the fields...

Let me tell you a little about the original party - as they were chosen for their skills in North City.  Sam Sevier was a kilnmaster, able to smelt any metal and bake up clay into bricks.  He had a true head for business, and was always working at some scheme.  He and Dan got along really well in North City, and Dan needed somebody to work the metals that he planned to bring up out of the mines in his new colony.  Dan asked Sam if there was any help he would need at his forge and he said 'someone for glass.. that is the one thing I need a good helping hand with.. it's just a bit too much to do all the rest and glass at the same time.'  Sam sought out Gary Pippington, a young glassworker, who was interested in making the journey.  Sam also knew Kori Paltry, a concrete-worker, and wondered if there would be any need for that in Rivertown.  Kori told him to either make the offer, or not - no going back and forth - and Sam did.  He thought between the three of them they could deal with almost any stone, metal or glass material they might need.

the oldest part of Rivertown, as seen from the East-West bridge

Dan had already asked John and Melissa to come down to the colony with him.  John was a champion Excavator, and Dan wanted him to be the top worker in the mines.  John made some inquiries about other workers to help, and Dan said they would send for them 'as the need arose.'  John scratched his head and blew out his breath, but decided it was a worthy prospect, anyway.  He told his young wife they could get their own land, farms etc.  Melissa had a way with beehives, and was hoping that there was one somewhere near the river.  Dan mentioned that there actually was, it was noted in the landmarks that there were several near Granby's Arch and to 'be careful while cutting trees - stingers hurt.'  

The other family Dan convinced to come with them was Mateo Otrio, and his wife Paulette.  They were cropmasters, growing wheat for generations in North City.  Mateo's wife was ready to start a new family, and they decided a brand new place, in a beginning colony would be a great place to do it.  'The Town of McElvaney' would need lots of food, quickly, to survive the coming Winter.  Mateo was sure he could get the job done and support the group.

Once they had arrived at the landing spot, Dan and John immediately began work on what, today, is the City Hall and McElvaney Enterprises buildings.  Back then, it was John Robinson's house and McElvaney's house, respectively.  They tacked living quarters on to the side of the Enterprises building for the other workers, but Sam Sevier quickly built his own little house across the way from the Robinson's, because he needed much more kilnspace.  

the Original McElvaney Enterprises building.. McElvaney's 'makeshift' house for years...and housing that was added on the side for Kori Paltry, Paul Daniels and Gary Pippington before they moved to other places.. Sam Sevier's house to the right


My Uncle Harry had originally planned to head right back to North City - but Dan wanted him to stay, as a sort of ferryman - as there would be other groups that would need to be sent for, supplies and so forth.  Since Harry already knew the way, he gained 'permanent' employment as the first Ferryman for Rivertown.  He helped Sam and John build the first bridge over the River - to help Mateo with the transport of the crops, and built a tiny house up on top for his own use.  He spent his spare time fishing in the river, which was rich with salmon, and drying the fish for the storehouses.  He kept finding dead squid up and down the riverbanks, and Gary Pippington came and collected the ink sacks - for black dye, he said.. and in case we need ink for writing.  Gary was collecting dye materials from all over the area in his own slight spare time.. red poppies, lilacs, dandelions and more. 

Melissa found pumpkins and they began to plant fields, wheat on one side of the river, and pumpkins on the other.  Melissa gathered honey and John planted sugarcane.  The entire Rivertown group was working hard all year until Winter arrived.  Although Dan kept pressing for 'Town of McElvaney' or some combination thereof.. Rivertown stuck.  Everyone agreed it was a town on the River - and that was the most important thing. 

When Spring broke Dan was busy writing letters.  He had a baby on the way, and his wife Lanier was expecting a big fancy house 'sometime soon'.  Paulette had also delivered a son, Niko, the very first child to be born in Rivertown.  Maisie came along soon after, and Lanier was still making do in the Enterprises building.  Melissa Robinson was a bit unhappy that her house had basically turned into City Hall on the lower story, with records and a 'crop trust' chest full of extra food.  John made a separate entrance to the upper story for her, but she wanted to put off starting a family until they built a bigger house.

Dan liked the idea of a big fancy house, too.  He was eyeing a specific place on the Rivertown plain, but there was a huge hill there.  He was not also not happy with the quality of the stonework John and Kori Paltry were doing.  He wanted to see more work in granite, sandstone and brick.  These were expensive materials, John reminded him, they took a lot of work to make!  And that hill, it was going to take years to move all of that material, especially with just the four of them, as Dan didn't hardly lift a finger in the mines he had planned.  Dan and John Robinson nearly came to fisticuffs several times in those early years - if it hadn't been for Gary and Kori, they probably would have.  Sam would have let them have it out and be done with.. but he just sat with my Uncle on the docks and nodded and said 'someday...'

the 'fancy' house they finally built for McElvaney, years after his daughter was born and Lanier had been making-do in the Enterprises building

Sam agreed with John though, saying if they were going to focus on building the colony and making expensive materials at the same time they were going to need more people.  Gary mentioned a Paul Daniels he had known in North City, and Dan wrote to him.  Paul agreed to come down with his wife and young son, and another construction worker, Matthew Parker.  Dan was also unhappy with the sugarcane and paper John was producing, and sought out a man named Richard Nesbitt, who agreed to come down once he heard there were pumpkins growing in the area.  He was very fond of pumpkin pie, and was promised it would be available 'as soon as there were chickens...'

And that is where I came in.  My uncle brought me down with that party.  It took a bit of time to organize all of that, so I arrived in what we call 'Year 3'.. three years after Dan and John put foot to Granby's Arch.  

Things happened pretty rapidly after that.  Nesbitt planted Sugarcane all over the East and West sides of the river, and provided Dan with stacks of paper.  That meant letters.. lots of letters, for my Uncle to ferry up and down the river.  I was a kid back then, only fifteen years old!  But I knew how to fish, and I knew how to build simple things.  I kept the storehouse full of fish while my Uncle was gone, and worked on more bridges, platforms, and a little house for myself behind the Otrio's farm and bakery.  It was so nice to have fresh warm bread, baked fish, and a place to call my own.  I did catch chickens, and sheep, and planted a garden of my own.  I was the first 'Jack of All Trades'.  I provided lots of eggs for Melissa to make pie, and with fish and bread, the people working in Rivertown never went hungry.  

 Yuri's house and farm, and the bright orange concrete wall Kori Paltry built to keep people and animals from falling into the Gorge (which didn't help Alexander Daniels, who fell in from the other side).  Yuri's house is full of chickens.  This might be why he never married....

Dan had sent my Uncle up to retrieve Michael Perkins, and the very first Perkins Construction crew, right after I had arrived.  While he was gone, Gary and Kori Paltry heard some screaming in the woods East of Rivertown.  They found Cerina and Bettina Matroshka fighting off spiders in the trees South of what would become Vanter.  The sisters said they had been travelling South from their village, and had completely lost their sense of direction.  Their brother had died, and he had known the way back.  Finally, they had given up trying to find the new village he had been taking them to, and were trying to return back North.  They had no luck at all, until Gary heard the high-pitched screams in the Forest.

It was Gary's luck, really, as Cerina with her long red hair was love at first sight.  She was a potionmaker and a glassblower.. and even with Bettina, the elder, warning her, she took up immediately with Gary and decided this Rivertown was the village their brother was taking them to.  Bettina gave up, and decided she, too - would try to find a way to live in this town.  She made her own little house and for years Kori and her had a hot-cold relationship.  Kori never did ask her to marry him, but especially in their later years, they lived in the little weaver's house down by the river, and were quite happy.  

 west Rivertown, from the East-West bridge

Kori was much more focused on Guilds in those later years, as well, as the Perkins crew built so many houses that some were standing completely empty.  Kori assigned one of them to the non-existent Weaver's Guild, and collected wool, made looms and catered to Bettina in that way as much as he could.  He wrote books on concrete, and how to form guilds, and inspired the Forgeworker's Guild of Vanter.  The Weaver's Guild of Rivertown is a real thing, now, headed by Natalie Allen.  Bettina got her wish to train a new generation of weavers, and her sister Cerina helped populate an entire generation of Pippingtons, which have spread throughout the land.  It is hard sometimes to walk without tripping over one (or their cousins), they say, especially in Ravenna.

Michael Perkins arrived in my Uncle's ferry with a group of young men, some as young as I was, and a few even younger that had come with their elder brothers.  Paul Allen was about my age, and Mack Gordon a few years younger.  Mack's elder brother Andrew was always tinkering with things and not doing the mine work he should be doing.  Victor Trent and Abe Hendricks were like father-figures, and took on a lot of the organization when John Roberts and Michael were busy elsewhere.  Argo Thomas and Andrew Burke were with that group, as well.  Michael brought his foreman, John Roberts, his wife Rebecca, and their young daughter Alice with him.  They built houses up on the West side of Rivertown and also the Barracks, to host the men.  John Roberts built a little stone restaurant house next to the Barracks for Rebecca, the company cook, and called it 'Rebecca's Fine Foods'.  Fine Foods was to become a staple for all the Rivertown residents, a sort of meetinghouse and a place where plans were made.  

 the Barracks complex and Watchtower, at Rivertown

Pilar Daniels, Paul's wife, had a daughter, Piper in that time, and Rebecca Roberts had her son, Craig.  The Pippington's cranked out three sons in a row, Thaddeus, Benjamin and Perry, and later two daughters, Susan and Tilly.  The population of Rivertown was expanding rapidly.  There was a second community, Benson's Pointe, started by David Benson, just to the East of Rivertown.  Sam Sevier found David screaming about spiders and digging under his house in Year 8.. there was already a City Hall, storage house and two small houses for workers Henry Garvey and Simon Gosreele, which David had brought with him and his wife Penny to start their colony.  

McElvaney nearly had a heart attack about this - nobody asked him!  He tried to assert ownership over the area, based on John Straty's original claim.  But Benson and Sam Sevier got on quite well, and the houses had been built already for several years.  Sam told Dan what was done was done, and McElvaney should get on with his own things.. the Bank or whatever that was he was building.  Sam set up his orchard as the boundary between the two cities.  


East Rivertown, and Benson's Pointe, at night

Paul Daniels and Sam began a lucrative trade with the Native village North of Benson's Pointe, Eastham.  Gary moved his growing family out of the Enterprises basement, building his own house, and Sam built an apartment building which housed the Daniels (also living in the Enterprises building) and Richard Nesbitt (living in Sam's storehouse up till then).  Daniels and Sevier brought back pigs and cows, and eventually learned to farm carrots to feed the pigs.  McElvaney felt he was being entirely sidestepped by East Rivertown... and now trapped between Benson's Pointe to the East and The Gorge to the South.. he gave up most of his own ideas for expansion and handed West Rivertown entirely to Perkins.  He turned to working on the Bank, creating vaults for other families to store their findings and fortunes in.

In Year 12, Dan and Michael brought down another crew, including Jack Iyaga, the Carlyle Brothers, Alan Kenzie and Zari Dee.  The Perkins crew brought down Sandra and Belinda Knox, Sandra being Matthew Parker's intended, and Belinda her little sister, who had no other family to go to.  Argo had sent for his wife, his brother Albert and his wife, and their half-sister Petra, who was in the same situation.  My uncle also brought my mother, Petunia, his sister down with the Year 12 crew, which was a bit embarassing, at first.  But Mom set up a General Store, to compete with Dan's tight hold on supplies at the City Hall, and it actually helped the entire town grow.  Anybody could bring items there to trade without having to ask the original founders.. and Mom would decide what it was worth, and give them credit towards things they were needing.

It was after this that the town began to really have a sort of revolt against Dan McElvaney.  It gathered fuel because John Robinson had been working on cutting down the hill in East Rivertown, day after day after day, and had not even started a house for Melissa.  He saw the Perkins crew putting up house after cobblestone house on the West side of the River, and tried to get Dan to move Lanier into one of those.  But it was to no avail.  Finally Kori, Gary and John cleared enough room to start 'half' the house they planned to build - which turned out to be all the house McElvaney ever got.  They used granite and brick together, and made it three stories tall to satisfy Dan's sense of grandeur.  When Dan wondered when they would build the rest he got pushed out of the way by Lanier moving the family possessions from the Enterprises building.  They moved in... although Dan still spent many nights in the Enterprises building, writing letters, and trying to get more entrepreneurs to come down to Rivertown.


John and Melissa Robinson finally got a house...shown with all the roofs intact in Year 69, when John Robinson died.  John actually fell off the roofs of both his houses.. once when a giant spider came up over the edge too close to sunset, and the other when Melissa told him son Carver was 'coming early' and he was trying to get down in a hurry.  It's a wonder John lived to the ripe old age he did...


John Robinson finally started building his own house, in West Rivertown, near the beehives by Granby's Arch.  Melissa was so relieved.  Their son Charles was born in Year 15, followed quickly by Carver, and daughter Cora.  However, John planned a third story tower, and when Melissa said Carver was coming 'early'.. he fell off the roof and never did finish it, right up until Cora's suitor, Conor Eastham, came wandering through Rivertown many years later.   Conor had heard from Andrew Burke about Johns' problem with roofing.. and come to help him finish it up, and court the young daughter Andrew had also told him about. 

Dan and Lanier had hoped for another child, but it was not to be.  Paul Daniels, his son Peter, Gary Pippington and Sam Sevier found the Western Ocean and built the spire that is now near the Western Gate.  A year later Paul Allen found the Eastern Sea (which we now know is the South Bay of North City) and took off with Piper Daniels, now sixteen (time flies) and founded Piper's Cove.  Cod Bay was founded by Niko Otrio and Thaddeus Pippington, along with an old fisherman Callum Barham who helped them save Piper's life when Pillagers attacked.  Cod Bay started in the little bay just north of Piper's Cove and was never meant to outgrow the original settlement, but now it is one of the largest cities in the area, mostly because of the Bank and the DeAryl family that moved in from the Aryl native village on the other side of the mountains.

And you know so much more of the story from here.. Alice Roberts married Niko, and moved to Cod Bay.  Thaddeus was paired with Prizla Orak (Priscilla), a chemist from North City University, when her father died on the shore at Cod Bay, in year 27.  Alan Kenzie and Adam Carlyle both fought over who was assigned to Vanter Forge first, and ended up forming a thriving community despite themselves, including the Guild at Vanter.  Craig Roberts, Zari Dee and Victor Trent went off to Rosered Iron Mining Community after the Sheriff Joseph DeCroix contacted McElvaney about the Vanter Forgeworks.  Peter Daniels ran off with Maisie McElvaney to WestSea.  

The Great Earthquake happened.  The World Changed... in so many ways.  Some believed that most of the people simply fell into the void, others into the ocean.. a large portion of the population disappeared, while others headed off in all directions.

The Barracks had emptied out of Perkins crew, but now there were people headed all throughout the land trying to escape the destruction from the Quake.  The North family expedition, lead by Stanley North, his son Scott and George Claymore, headed through Rivertown on it's way to Rosered.  They brought with them the Kincaid children, whose parents had died in the Quake, and Isla Straty, Lanier McElvaney's younger cousin.  Isla married Joseph DeCroix at Rosered.  Belinda Knox, Sandra Parker's little sister, moved to Rosered and married Victor Trent.  Abe Hendricks went off mapping into the mountains North and East of Rosered and came back, forming Pennock Farm.

how Branden Carlyle died in the Rivertown mines.. look before you leap!

The Barracks Council was formed, to house wayfarers and plan for emergencies.  Mattias Phillips came and started playing with some terrible 'magic' with diamonds, obsidian and the Western Gate, which he closed almost as quickly as he had opened it.  Benjamin Pippington and Charles Robinson were sent off to Ravenna and Cambrey respectively after multiple attacks by Pillagers on Rivertown and Cod Bay.  Branden Carlyle died in the Rivertown mines in year 32.  Porter Jackson came looking for his father in year 37, and together with the Thomas family and Mattias Phillips, built the Porter-Thomas School at Rivertown.  Porter brought Tan Vandreas in to help him work what would become Iyaga Farms, named for his father, Jack Iyaga.  Liam Thomas, his brother Martin, Tan Vandreas and Zade Perkins all left out to the West and South and formed new colonies in Whitmoor and Amularia around year 39.

Now, with descendants of Rivertown all over - they have come back together at this years Barracks Council.  They meet every year 'around midsummer' to plan out new developments, waystations for protection and opportunities for the descendants of Rivertown.   This year the main purpose of the Council was to gather an Expedition to the North City Remnants.  Marika Otrio, granddaughter of Mateo and Paulette, Enchantress and Chancellor of the School has called an alarm.  She and her cousin Dalton have been studying maps, crop patterns and ocean sciences.  The Fever in Rosered in Year 44 and strange sicknesses and crop deaths all over seem to be following some pattern of radiation, shown by the Great Map in the Bank of Cod Bay.  There are humans with very odd powers, Ender Men that are watching, and some non-human tribes that have appeared in the NorthEast and made contact with residents.  And everyone seems to feel a Danger, in their bones, in the gaping hole where North City used to be.  There is something sinister still lurking in the North.. something that could shake the entire World again... or worse.


 Granby's Arch and Grand Portage, where it all began.. 70 years ago

 --read about the Barracks Council meeting and Percy Perkins returning from being missing for 30 years...

The team leaders Marika tapped at the Barracks Council are starting to assemble their groups.  They will meet at Ravenna at True Midsummer in Year 70.  While others continue to expand out to new places, especially South and West away from the destruction - a team of two dozen key players is forming.  From Ravenna, we head NORTH.

C. 2020 Marie Lamb original story 'McElvaney Enterprises' and 'the World of McElvaney Enterprises'.. started Oct 1, 2020...

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Zachariah Griessen and the fate of Griessen Farm in the North City Remnants


Zachariah Griessen, Steven Pembry's nephew, showed up at Griessen Farm, north of Sandy Bay in Year 69 after the Oraks had returned from the Barracks Council.  But if it hadn't been for someone very young.. they would never have made his acquaintance.  

Christopher and Marybelle were standing on the shore with their daughter Nerissa, trying to figure out a very strange situation with a pale gangly child that was playing on their shore.  Ulma DeCroix was not easy for Chris to recognize, but after he did he was frightened and began to row her back to Midland, where her family lived, miles and miles away.  

He arrived at Midland before dark, and delivered Ulma to her parents, who did not seem too concerned, until he told them WHERE he had found her.  There was no explanation to be had - Midland is half a day's rowing away from Sandy Bay, and the child cannot swim.  Ulma is only six years old, and starting to truly come into strange powers of the Sea that have yet to be understood.  She often shows up with Nautilus shells, Prismarine Crystals and other things that she should never be able to get her hands on.  And yet, she doesn't seem to ever do more than play by the shore.  Christopher took up lodging for the night in an extra room at Bruce DeCroix's house, intending to leave in the morning for his home.

Nerissa, Christopher's five year old daughter, was out in the sand playing with her younger brother Lionel, when Ulma walked up and began humming a soft and enchanting tune.  Nerissa stayed and played at the shore much much longer than she should... She knew it was going to start getting dark and that she should go inside.  Marybelle came out frantic, looking for her children.  She found them with this pale-haired large-eyed little girl she had seen her husband row off with hours before.  Marybelle was frightened, but moreso of the Drowned and other monsters that would start arriving with the fall of True Night.  

She began to usher all the children inside in order to  batten down the hatches, to wait for morning.  She not only has two young children, but baby Roberta in the house, as well.  But even with the strangeness apparent in Ulma, she won't leave her out in the impending dark.  She calls to her and insists that she come inside.  Ulma stopped humming the little tune as she turns and stares at the house, and at that moment the Drowned began to come out of their places by the Shore.  They begin to converge on the place Ulma is standing.  Marybelle lets out a shriek, uncertain if she should rush out to the girl or stand ready to defend her own children.  Ulma senses the fear in the others, and begins to hum again, backing away from the Drowned until all of the Oraks and herself are safely inside the house. She then sits down by the door and the moans and calls begin to subside almost immediately.  Marybelle looks out into the empty shore, and isn't sure how it happened, although she is relieved.  

It was a harrowing night for Marybelle, and a confusing one for Christopher.  When he awoke in the morning Kyra (Phillips) DeCroix was looking all over for her daughter, and this time, she was more than a bit worried. She goes to comb the shoreline where Ulma is usually found - she disappears a lot, but she is always found, and unscathed... something Kyra has tried not to dwell too hard on, lest she think about things that are unsettling to her.  Ulma is the youngest of her four children, and if Kyra had been asked after the third, she would have said she was 'done'.  However, Midlands had more to say about that.

When Christopher arrived back at home, he was even more surprised to see Ulma at the breakfast table with his own children.  How?  What?  He told the little girl her mother was very worried for her and that he would have to take her back almost immediately.  She stared at him for a moment, walked outside, touched the water's edge and was -gone-.  Christopher blinked, turned to Marybelle, and then sat down on the sand.  Nerissa sat down next to him and said: "She went home Daddy.. it's okay.  But she said there is a man coming from the North and we will want to make sure he is okay.  He's at that farm where all the lava is.. and he doesn't know we are here." 

Griessen Farm had been abandoned in year 42, just a dozen years after the Great Earthquake.  The houses there were partially destroyed, and there were signs up that said 'The plagues and the lava came, we left this place in Year 42'.  It did not say where the people had gone.  Brandywine Farm, a bit further to the South, was also abandoned.  Christopher had found both of these farms when he went exploring around his new 'ship on the land' house, built for Marybelle in Year 59.   

Chris heeded his daughter's words, and took a trip up to Griessen in the North City Remnants, although the place felt 'wrong' to him and he never liked to stay near it very long.  As he was approaching the road he heard a voice call out to him across the field.  "Who are You?" the man yelled.  "Christopher!", Chris responded.  The bearded man came tromping across the fields, careful to avoid the lava, and introduced himself as Zachariah Griessen.  "Griessen?  Like this place?  Where have you been all these years?"  Zachariah was not an old man... in fact, he was about Christopher's age.  That meant he could not have been born very long at all after the Earthquake.  

We've lived in Hallgren.  I grew up there, some.  I was born here, though.  I was the only one born here - all the other babies... Mom said they couldn't live.  Then the lava came up through the ground again and again.. and we left.  Some of the other families went South, across the sea - but we went Northwest, to my father's people."

"Wait a second.. " Christopher said.. he remembered that Steven Pembry had come down from Griessen Farm in year 31, just after the Quake.  And Steven said his sister had been married to the man at Griessen Farm, north of Brandywine.  But since they had no idea where they went... "What's your mother's name?" Christopher asked.  "Susan", Zach replied.  Chris said : "Susan Pembry, by chance?"  Zachariah choked on his tongue a little and said "Well... once.. a long long time ago, before me!  Where did you hear that name?"  Christopher told Zach about his uncle, Steven, the clockmaker and banker living in Cod Bay.  Zachariah had mostly just come down this way to see how things were.. but now he was intrigued. 


 I have to go back and tell Mother, she'll be glad to hear her brother made it!  I think she always thought he didn't, because he never came back.  But if he really didn't remember Father was from Hallgren... then... maybe he didn't know where to look for it.  Maybe she'll want us to go see him, my brother Logar and I.. he was born after we moved.  Mother wasn't expecting him, but he came along anyway."  Zachariah began to take out his compass and show Christopher the heading to Hallgren.  Christopher is a great enthusiast of compasses and maps, so he took great care to note exactly where Zachariah was indicating.

Before Zachariah left on his return trip, and Christopher on his.. Christopher thought to tell him that there is an Expedition forming to investigate North City - and the people will need a place to get supplies and set up camps.  There will be a lot of people coming over time, maybe up to twenty-five... a small village.  Zach eyes around the falling lava and bubbling lava pits all over the Griessen area.  'Not here.. a bit farther North there is a good plain, but some parts are fallen in.  Some of the parts of Hallgren fell in during the Quake, too - but none of their houses, and the only lava that has shown up has been a very strange alien place to the West.  We've never seen anything like it... maybe your people will want to see that, too.  Come to our house, it is the first one you'll find on the way into town, if you follow that heading from here."

When Christopher gets home he doesn't delay.  He packs his things and the very next morning sails off for Midland, and then Ravenna.  He has an important message to bring to the Expedition gathering for True Midsummer.  He knows where some of the people of North City have went.. and why.. and that there is much more going on in the North than they previously expected.  And as he is rowing past Midland he thinks.. much more going on underwater perhaps, too - and with individuals with odd talents like Tanji Vandreas and Ulma DeCroix... what exactly is going on?

Kail Daniels causes some fallout and a chain reaction... Year 69

With the North City Remnants expedition casting uncertainty on the future, a lot of the young people who wouldn't ordinarily be looking to settle down have started to cast their nets around.  Some are seeing if they can be a help to any of the teams, and others just want to secure some type of future, start families and farms and head South and West, away from the perceived troubles in the NorthEast.

Kail Daniels is quite upset with his father Oliver, and Zade Perkins.  They have been trying to match him with one of Zade's daughters, and he is barely seventeen.  However, he has been sailing around the NorthWest ocean since he was twelve.  His father would like to see him settle down, maybe out to Southerland, to help take care of Ilena (Thomas) Vandreas, while Tanji is gone with the North City Remnants Expedition.  Oliver Daniels took Zade aside soon after the Barracks Council and began to try to work out some arrangement, without asking Kail what he thought about it, at all.  


In Southerland, Tanji has been assigned to accompany the North City Remnants Expedition.  This means he will have to leave his wife Ilena and two toddlers, and another baby on the way - but he doesn't want to leave them alone in a new land that he has not explored well.  Ilena's brother William is too seasick to make the journey, and her other brother Robert is nowhere to be found (as usual).  Her uncle Zade Perkins gets on the case to bring at least one more family to Southerland.  He has his own agenda as well, in marrying off his daughters, two of which are very strong-willed.  However, none of it goes as Zade has planned....

Zade knows either of his daughters at home would be glad to move out to Southerland, having been raised on Melitus island, right next door to Tanji and Ilena's home origin of Amularia.  Kate is the more adventurous one, rash and more than ready to strike out on her own.  She is not averse to traveling to new lands.    There has been lots of travel back and forth between Semmerly and Amularia with Robert Thomas of Amularia making his sea map, and Kail and Oliver Daniels mapping the Northwest.  Zade's other daughter Lanie and Kate have been mapping the Western islands.  However, Kail is quite appalled by the idea of marrying Kate.  For one thing, she is eight years older than he is!  Nyah is two years older than he is, but very shy and he just doesn't feel any spark there, either.  In the five years he has been at sea he has never seen Lanie except at a distance - she, like him actually, is gone more often than she is at home.

Kail took off from the Western Gate in his ship after the Council, supposedly to visit the girls on Melitus.  However, he never arrived there.  It was three months later that his father received word he was eyeing up two girls in Cod Bay and Piper's Cove, while spending some time at Kallum Allen's forge with Aaron Pippington (Kallum's apprentice).  Kail has always had a talent for smithing, while his next younger brother Sebastian was more of a stonecutter.  Kallum has been trying to match his apprentice with his only daughter, Stacia, but so far she had not been giving him much other than the time of day.  When Kail arrived, Aaron saw competition, and began steering him towards Aurelia Pippington, a strawberry-blonde in Cod Bay, but much too 'citified' for Kail.  Aurelia is the daughter of shopkeeper Argent Pippington, and although Pirate blood runs in her veins as well, she has not yet heard the call of the Sea.  Mostly, she has heard the call of the Bank, the Bank of Cod Bay, where she has been working as a clerk under Steven Pembry and Dennis Danby, both of who are getting on in age.

 the 'meadhouse' at Cod Bay, also called the wayfarer's cottage

Kail is sitting in the seaside cottage once owned by Niko Otrio, and occupied after that by Bram Trent.. drinking some Robinson Honeymeade (made by Carver and his wife Iris).  The location has become a small pub of sorts - even though it can barely fit four people at a time elbow-to-elbow.  Kail is having a serious discussion with Aaron.  His namesake, Callum Barham, is leaning on a chair by the furnace, warming his 99 year old bones, and ostentatiously listening in on every word.  Arthur DeAryl, the son of the innkeeper, is sitting beside Callum pretending to mend a net for the old man, whose eyesight is failing.  However, Arthur is listening even harder than Callum.  He has been trying to find some way to say something, anything to any of the girls in town, and has managed to clam up or go red in the face every time.

Kail : "I mean, I -like- Aurelia, but she is so dignified, I can't see myself headed across the ocean with her.... what if she gets dirty?  Could she handle it?"

Aaron : "Well, she's MY cousin, a couple of times removed, and has been learning to manage the bank for years now, since she was fourteen.  If you would stay put and not drag her off to some foreign land... But you won't, will you?"

Kail : "Not if I can find some girl to sail off with, I won't.  And I've had enough of redheads, like that Kate Perkins, they're just too much hassle!"

Callum: "Enough of redheads... HA.  Said no man, EVER."

Callum elbows Arthur so hard in the ribs that he nearly falls off the bed he is perched on in the corner.  His large frame has made it nearly impossible to not take up space, but he has managed as far as possible in the tiny cottage.  He is crammed up on the wayfarer's bed, near the furnace, mending the net by the light of the window.  He leans close to Callum and says "What does that even mean?"  Callum giggles into his mead and says "If you have to ask, my boy, you need to try some more."  Arthur lets this run through his head for a moment, then wishes there was more space in the room.  It's suddenly a little hot in here.. and no easy path to get out.

Kail and Aaron look Callum's way and guffaw.  Neither of them really notice Arthur's discomfort.  When they go outside to Callum's storehouse to crack open another barrel, he takes his net further down the shore.  As he is sitting there watching the rays of sun play among the sand he is thinking he wants to stay in Cod Bay, Aurelia wants to stay in Cod Bay... he wants to take over his father's Inn, and she wants to take charge at the Bank.  It could work.  If he could just untie his tongue and figure out what to say.  But he is pretty sure he can't say it to her face, not at first!

 The Inn at Cod Bay

But he's a DeAryl, as well.    His grandfather, Bevan, has passed away nearly seven years ago, and he sincerely wishes he could have gone to him for advice.  He remembers how Bram Trent had to be half-dragged to dinner one night by his Grandmother Pomra.  After passing only looks across a table for nearly a year, Bram and Kyra were married.  Bram is his uncle, and works closely with Steven at the Bank... all he has to do is get a word dropped into the DeAryl message-chain, either his grandmother, or his great-aunt Mandra, the weaver, or his aunt Kyra who is Bram's wife.  Any of them would, as it is their Nature, pass the idea around and along until he heard back a response.

But Arthur didn't actually have to wait long.  It was Callum, with his nosiness, who just brashly goes out and tells Steven that he should send his Clerk over to the Inn to find a husband, as there is a boy there that 'needs a redhead'.  Aurelia was in the back room counting granite and diorite pieces for the new Bank roof and she had to highly resist popping her head out and asking him what he meant by that.  Now, if she was truly offended, she thought.. she would.  But... she wrinkles up her nose a moment.. he's kind of my cousin - my grandmother's brother's grandson...  But still, she finds herself thinking more and more about it over the course of the day.  

 the Aryl village, south of Cod Bay

Aurelia makes an appointment with Mandra, the old weaver, and her own dear grandmother.  "Granny... if someone said Arthur was wanting to *talk* to me.. what would you say?"  She stresses the word 'talk' in such a way that Mandra eyes her oddly, and then nods.  "Callum said he was thinking Arthur and I needed to *talk*."  Mandra thinks it over.  One of the reasons she and her brother Bevan moved here to Cod Bay was to get a little further away from their native village of Aryl, over the mountain.  Mandra married Rigel, who had come down from North City.  Rigel was Niko Otrio's cousin.  Bevan had come with his wife Pomra, and it had been so many years ago Mandra wasn't sure who did the tracing on that one to confirm the match.  But she makes a note to bring it up with Pomra, and see if she has any objections.  When she brings it up with Pomra later in the afternoon the woman's eyes light up and then she laughs.  'Children.  They are worried?  It is nothing like in the mountain villages.  And over in Benson's Pointe - two of the Garveys married their mother's half-brother's daughters before anyone thought to remind them.   They were happily married two and three years and someone finally brought it up.  Tell Wirna and Harran to push them a little closer and see if they like each other.. then, well, Nature will figure it out."

Harran and Wirna cooperate, making errands and sending messages to the bank and the Inn in such a way that Arthur and Aurelia have to cross paths more and more over the next few weeks.  Arthur finds himself finally able to talk to Aurelia, actually at ease in her presence.  Every message or parcel he gets to or from the bank lights him up inside.  After a few more 'chance' meetings and dropping of info from his grandmother and great-aunt, he begins building a house near the Inn, fully anticipating having a redhead move into it with him in the near future.  If only to seal the deal, Mandra begins weaving a DeAryl banner to give to her granddaughter at the beginning of the Midsummer Festival, just a month away.

Piper's Cove blacksmithing forge, between Ravenna and Cod Bay

Kallum was  apprenticed by Sam Sevier in Rivertown, since Sam had no children of his own.  He learned to be a blacksmith, and raise cows and sheep in the stockyards to trade between the towns, based on Sam's original stock from Rivertown.  Eventually, the blue and purple dyes from Cod Bay were applied to provide intensely colored wool.  Each year these blue sheep provide the wool for the decorations at Ravenna's Midsummer festival.  Kallum built a tower expecting to have a large family with Nessie Jackson.  They had a single daughter, Stacia.  Kallum apprenticed Aaron Pippington of Ravenna, hoping to make a match for Stacia, but she wasn't interested!  Now it looks like there won't be any Allens living here at all in the forseeable future... What will Kallum do?

Three weeks later Kallum returns to his forge from a mapping expedition to find Aaron Pippington staring into his fire and dejectedly stirring a bowl of fish stew.  He sees Kallum and 'the heat's on'.. he hands him the note from his daughter Stacia, and he bolts out the door.  Kallum isn't his father - and won't ever be his father-in-law, now, either.  Kail and Stacia have eloped and ran off to the North.  Exactly the worst place to be, at least, that is what they say.  Kail has been up there sailing and been to Sandy Bay, and Jamie North's Island of Horses, and decided to settle somewhere in between - for the time being.  Stacia was increasingly growing distasteful of the prospects of staying at the Forge at Piper's Cove all her life, which was pretty much assured if she married Aaron.   

Aaron has had some time to think, as well.  He knows he wants to stay in Piper's Cove, but there was something about what Kail said about Kate Perkins in Melitus, as well.  He gives Kallum some time to cool down, and heads over to Vanter Forge for a few weeks.  While he is there he talks to Birch Wright, and his cousins Rob and Lucea Kenzie.  Lucea is a forgeworker in her own right, and Aaron finds himself simply in awe.  Aaron ends up headed back to Cod Bay with Lucea on his arm, and Rob and Birch head out to Melitus to get a better look at this Perkins girl who has grown in legend.  

It will be Birch who ends up winning Kate Perkins' heart by agreeing to go to Southerland sight unseen.  When her father mentions that she should ask Birch if he WANTS to go, Birch just shrugs his shoulders and says "Wherever she goes, wherever she wants to go.  New lands, new blood - as my father says."  Birch's father moved down to Vanter from the Presentation Mountains years ago, for just this purpose, with several other members of his extended family.  Zade sees his opportunity and tries to convince Rob Kenzie to marry his daughter Nyah, who is his same age.  But he has another daughter, Lanie, who has been sailing to the West in the Spruce islands.  She comes home and finds Rob and Nyah ignoring each other.  "If she liked you, you'd know it Robbie - it's an *island*.'  Rob turns around to see this blonde sailor girl sitting on the wall at the edge of the wheat field in Melitus.  She watches some bees run by and does not even flinch.  

 Nyahs' garden, on Melitus island

 Rob watches Nyah in the gardens pulling weeds and planting seeds and knows it's the truth.  Since her father introduced him as a 'forgeworker from Vanter' she hasn't looked his way at all.  Rob sits down next to Lanie and tells her about how his mother was a woman from the Presentation Mountains, where they live built into the hills and let the valley stay for growing trees.  He talks and talks to her about the crops there and how the people use terracing and get as much as they can out of the little bit of land they have available.  He mentions there are bees, there, too his mother said, and he is a little afraid of them.  When has finished Lanie is yawning, but Nyah is sitting beside him, carrots in her hand, and asking him to tell her again what they grow there.  Rob says he had been planning on going there with Birch, but now he is taking Kate off to Southerland.  It is a few days later that Zade and Herminda bid two of their daughters farewell as they go off with their new husbands.  Rob is taking Nyah with him to the Presentation Mountains, and Kate is headed off to Southerland with Birch.  

 The village in the Presentation Mountains, far North of Hendrick's Point.  Abe Hendricks visited here a few years before Tamiyah came down to live with him at Pennock Farm.  Oaken Wright travelled out of here with several family members to find Vanter Forgeworks, back in Year 45.  Adam and Branden Carlyle came down to Rivertown from here with the second Perkins' crew in year 12, after they had lost both of their parents.  Branden died in the Rivertown mine in year 32, after Adam had moved to Vanter Forgeworks.  Adam took Branden's wife, Inga and her newborn daughter Frannie and built them a house at Vanter.

Lanie says to her parents "They were both a little dull, those boys... not much fire, especially for Vanter boys! HA.  Maybe I need to go to the mainland and see if there is anyone with real spirit."  To this Zade replies, without the least bit of foreshadowing, "Your brother Nick is headed off to Ravenna with Tanji, as soon as Kate and Birch get settled.  You could hitch over with them and be right in the thick of things.  The Expedition is starting to gather there, and once it reaches true Midsummer, they are going to head North."  


the square in Ravenna, decorated for the True Midsummer Festival

The Barracks council meets 'at midsummer' by tradition, but True Midsummer is determined by the stars, and everyone will gather here at Ravenna when they can see the three points align with the compass directions!

Lanie flashes her green eyes at them.  This will be another adventure!  She immediately begins packing a few small things.  Zade knows she can hold her own, it's Nick he's been worried about, he's been dragging his feet, not really wanting to leave Melitus.  Of all the children, Nick, the eldest, has felt the most at home and in tune with the island.   With Lanie pestering him and lending her fists and sword to the trials ahead, Zade is much more certain they can accomplish their goals.

(Personality notes: I use D&D type stat rolls (random) to get a feel for what the people might do or think about each other.  I let the intelligence roll on 24 instead of 12 to allow for more nuance between individuals.   Lanie Perkins has rolled a 12/12 strength, but only an 11/24 intelligence.  She is a bit brash and can get into a fight quite easily.. but luckily, can also hold her own in it.  Her charisma is right in the middle, 6/12.  Kate rolled a 16/24 intelligence and a 7/12 strength, but she is redheaded and has a high charisma (10/12), so probably also a sharp tongue.  Nyah rolled a 13/24 intelligence, a 6 for strength and a 4 for charisma (which means either ugly or shy..we're guessing a shy gardener and not 'striking' like her redheaded sister or super-strong sister.  Their brother Nicholas?  Right smack in the middle of everything 13/5/6.  He is going to need a little push from his sister to get into the fray, but once he is there he might be able to see the right course and have the Ravenna team benefit from having both of the siblings)

Tropical Fish waterfall in Presentation Mountains

In the Village at Presentation



A bit more is happening South of Rivertown, at Spate's Station and Whitmoor - finally get to see the Kriganzy house Mavic Rigginson built for Callista Daniels.  Oliver Daniels gets word that his eldest son has run off to the North, and while he is working on the Expedition crew with his two youngest sons they both disappear!  Now that Kail has been living in the North for a few months, he will have a much better reason - when he and Stacia happen to meet the Drox (while visiting Jamie North) - to go to North City with the Expedition.  Ulma DeCroix is only six years old, but her gifts are strange indeed.  She can speak to Drowned, and get them to listen to her in return.  It will take Tanji Vandreas and James Pippington both to realize she may be one of the Keys to unlocking the Danger in the North, or will it be locking it away, forever?