Thursday, December 10, 2020

Defense of the Southern towns : Quarterpoint Station

 Erik Eastham had been given a mission to build a waystation and, eventually, a community at Quarterpoint Station, south of the Aryl village.  Erik had found that he couldn't do it all by himself, and enlisted his younger brother Ivan to come be his right-hand man.  The Council at Cambrey heard about their progress in year 59, and some things were put into motion.  Pamela Eastham (Benson) took one of the matters into her own hands, and told Erik that by the time he reached back home he would find his wife waiting for him.  'She'll help you get organized - Ivan told me you are terrible at keeping things stored, stacks everywhere - don't even know half of what you have where!'  Sadly, this was true - but Erik didn't think adding another mouth to feed was going to help much with this.

the community at Quarterpoint Station (in year 66)

Actually, Erik was very unhappy about this all the way home.  He had already been worried about bringing more people into the Station, because of the Pillager attacks and the weeks he had spent under siege.  Erik is a big guy, and he had nearly run out of supplies before his brother came and rescued him, by leading the Pillagers around on a merry chase.  Part of it had truly been he didn't know where half of it was at the moment, but in general he just hadn't had enough time to really store things away after the repeated attacks.  The group had restocked the Station, but now with the addition of the Aryl families, Erik was going to be responsible for even more people relying on him for supplies, organization and protection.

Since his mother had already sent this mystery woman along the week before - by way of Meadowview Farm and the Allens there, Erik had no choice but to rush back home and try to get there before anything terrible happened.

He stewed all along the way at the meddling, looking at his grandmother Penny Benson's ring he was supposed to give his new wife when he arrived.  His mother had not even told him who it was, but that he'd know her when he saw her.  Ivan kept his tongue silent the entire way there, but Erik could tell by how red his ears were that he knew exactly what was going on.  But if Ivan didn't choose to divulge information, there was no getting it out of him short of imminent death.  

So, Erik and Ivan completed the day's hike and got back to the Station.  They entered Blackburn Hall, where they had left two Aryl city couples with their supplies.  Aren Fisher and Emmed Roper and their wives had moved in to help Ivan build his house, plant and harvest crops and provide a line of defense for their own Village to the North, as well.  Kama and Alet had built a loom in Blackburn Hall and had begun weaving blankets, banners and rugs for the homes their husbands had been building with Ivan south of the Hall.  Seated there with the women was a face Erik had never expected to see again.  Ivan quickly got himself out of the way as Erik sank down onto a bench and stared.

Kama elbowed the tall young woman in the ribs and pointed at the open doorway and speechless Erik.  The woman stood up from the loom, her auburn hair falling down to her hips and she clapped her hands together 'You're home, that was quick!'.  Erik quickly found his feet, fumbling around in his pocket for the ring he had been steaming over, just to make sure he could still find it.  Before he could say a word she was opening a keg of apple cider and pouring up mugs, and opening up one of the furnaces to reveal the smell of pies, baking potatoes and fish.  

Erik didn't know how to contain all of the combatting feelings that were running through him at the moment.  He wanted to strangle his brother for not telling him.  He wanted to express his amazement at his mother for whatever foresight and bargaining skills she had used to arrange this.  He wasn't sure if he wanted to run out of the hall and try coming back in or if he should just put on a false bravado and greet this woman, all six feet two of her, just a few inches shy of his own height.  

This was June Garvey, of Benson's Pointe.  The last time he had seen her was at the Midsummer festival in Ravenna, a year and a half before he had left for Quarterpoint.  The memory of that day was still firmly impressed upon his mind.    She had thrown him into the river for fighting with her brother.  He couldn't even remember what Paulie and he had been fighting about - it had been an odd thing they were fighting at all as Paulie was one of the most easygoing people he had ever met.  But they had come to blows and were facing each other down like two young bulls with horns.  Then the next thing he could remember was the cold water hitting him as someone had simply picked him up and thrown him over the railing of the bridge.  It hadn't been very far to fall - and the water broke his fall - but his hot boiling anger melted away to absolute shock when he looked up to see her staring down at him, her long hair hanging down over the railing, and an expression that dared him to come up there and try it again.  He hadn't.  She just stood there in the middle of the bridge and stared at him.  Paulie had come down and offered to help him out of the river, but instead Erik had swum to the other side and stalked back off to Cambrey.  No one had spoken of it again for the entire summer, except Ivan - once.. for which he received a punch to the arm.

Now, she had even grown a few more inches and Erik had to admit it was only all for the better.  All of his worries on the return trip from Cambrey about a wife who would need constant protection melted away.  June could take care of herself, and maybe even throw him in the river again!  His stomach rumbled at the smells of the food cooking as he tried to figure out what to say.  He stared down at his mug of cider, and then downed it one gulp.  He held the mug out to her and asked her for a refill.  She was about to tell him to get it from the barrel himself but there was something about the way the vein in his neck was vibrating and Ivan was holding his breath that made June cross the room and pour the mug full again.  

Quarterpoint after the school / meetinghouse was completed by Liam Eriksen

Erik took her hand gently and placed the ring in it - 'It was Mam Penny's.. she'd want you to wear it .. if ... you'll marry me?  June?'  It was the hardest thing he had ever asked.  He wondered how she would react.  June's eyes softened up and she put the ring back in his hand.  Before he could protest, she held her own out in the 'proper' fashion for him to slide the ring onto her finger.  He did, and she said with a wink 'Alright then, let's all eat this food then before it gets cold.'  

When plates were served, Erik had his wife beside him, his brother across the table eating more food than either of them put together, and his four newest friends telling him all about the things they had been working on since he had been gone, what was needing to be looked at next and what they would need to find to get the job done.  Erik looked at June and she smiled at him - 'We'll start on that tomorrow, get this place shipshape and working like a well oiled machine.'  Yes, Erik thought... tomorrow sounded like a good day to start on that.  


  That Wandering Trader sure gets around fast!

In Year 62 Ivan had his own adventure over the bridge in Ravenna, along with Liam Eriksen, son of Berg Eriksen and Sheena Thomas of Benson's Pointe.  They were corralled by the Pippington sisters at the Festival and danced and made quite fools of themselves before heading back off to Quarterpoint.  Liam had been selected to take his blacksmithing skills to Quarterpoint and provide the iron and other metals the growing station needed.

The Fishers and Ropers had each built their houses, and Ivan's house, and were now supporting young children with the produce from the fields and animals.  Liam was commissioned to build a small waypoint house for travellers, so they would not have to stay in one of the Halls, and then to start on a School to be built within the fences of Quarterpoint, to provide a safe meetinghouse.  It was only a few months later Ivan proposed to Polly and brought her back with him to Quarterpoint.  Her younger sister, Sally, was still studying with Melodie at the clinic in Ravenna, but Liam had made his intentions known to her father Perry.  Under the radar, Perry began to ask around to see if there were other blacksmiths that would work with Liam and get an 'idea' of what kind of man he was.  Liam spent a week each with Kallum in Piper's Cove, and Alan Kenzie in Vanter, before returning to Quarterpoint with plenty of iron ore and a blast furnace at his disposal.

With the supply of iron well taken care of, Liam worked hard in the mines at Quarterpoint to bring up enough Granite for the roofs of both of the new community buildings.  Whenever he brought up a load of the pink stone, the cousins from Aryl would help him start forming it into stairsteps and help haul the pieces one by one up on to the roofs.  Once they had gotten the buildings finished, Aren and Emmed helped him build a house for his bride-to-be Sally in keeping with their own house style.  All of the houses were surrounded by a fence that would hopefully ward off some danger in a Pillager attack.  At Midsummer, year 63, Liam and Sally were married at Ravenna and made their way back to become the fifth family at Quarterpoint.

Now Erik and June, who welcomed daughter May in that same year, don't see new citizens at Quarterpoint as simply another mouth to feed - it is a growing community of people who care about and are supporting each other in this far off Wilderness.  Erik has made contact with Whitmoor to the West - not really as far away as it once seemed.  And on a chance meeting, Erik found a family from the SouthEast Pirate Shores at the Eastern mouth of the Long River.  Agbi Tesril and his family are moving West, like their ancestors before them, distant cousins that founded the Aryl village Aren and Emmed hail from.  Ivan now takes his boat down the river every few months all the way from Uixil (the Tesril's farm) to Whitmoor, completing the task of keeping the river clear and navigable.

Continue on for the next installment - Palima Castle with Garan Eastham

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