Travis accepts the warm mug, but with some reluctance. The days are getting warmer, but the mulled cider helps steel him against the constant commotion that has invaded his every waking moment of late. He prefers the cider from Alina, the young priestess of bounty, to the more potent drinks from Dagun. But he has found it hard to turn down a mug from the dwarf if he hasn’t already got something in his hands. The healer is just so … nice. The construction is really beginning now, the architect and engineers have finally come to agreement, and the supplies are in place. The schedule will keep the builders busy 18 hours a day, working in shifts. This, and a delivery he’s tried to keep secret, has made Dagun blissfully happy (and significantly wealthier). His drinks are both alcoholic and non-, both caffeinated and not, and plentiful.
Even now the laborers are lined up to get some drinks to energize them for the construction ahead. Beyond the line for drinks is a line of carts with awaited materials. One heavy wagon pulls away from the rest. Instead of bringing tools and beams to the temple, it will head west until the terrain becomes to rough. There it will meet with several enthusiastic orcs. They will not grumble or complain about shifting the load onto their backs, and they will be friendly to the two older humans who bring the goods. The orcs will listen closely, hoping to learn. And, in fact, they will learn. Their vocabulary will grow to include the terms “clinker”, “strake”, “sternpost”, “buoyancy”, “planking”, “timbering”, and “transverse battons”. That the closest navigable water is miles to the east won’t dampen the mood in the slightest.
Many more miles to the north, Faradey has met with his tribe. After the gifts from King Lionel, the ranger got to thinking. Ulko was sending troops to attack them because he couldn’t get to Faradey directly. Some time ago, the tribe of elves was directly attacked by the dragon in an effort to drive a point home. The dragon’s point was “you ARE vulnerable.”
Even though no one was hurt then, the stakes for the dragon were relatively low. And Ulko never had enough time to reach the elves. Now, even if they hadn’t have wanted to, the Circle of Eight were now set as pawns against the dragon. Not a viewpoint Faradey would have tried to share with Krrr, of course. The orc had always been planning on combating the dragon. But now it was the human king who put them in a room with allies of the dragon and told them to end the threat. Sooner or later the dragon will take action to preserve itself. And so before the rest of his race could suffer, Faradey trekked to warn them.
As he expected, they faced the news calmly. By the end of the day the forest was returned to a state that would appear to have never been inhabited, and the tribe would migrate. They would move a thousand or more miles, to a wilderness unlikely to reveal their presence. They had magic enough to help hide them from most supernatural spying, and when on guard were never easy prey. Faradey could stir up trouble all he wanted now, knowing they wouldn’t come to harm for it.
Away from the protective forests, Anwar spends his days quelling trouble. The spring rains were more plentiful than any in memory, and the Midik seemed to have lost their perspective as a result. The details of his authority need not be spelled out to those of other beliefs, but for his subjects who follow the Book, they are taught, firmly, to not waiver in their adherence to the Law. At times, Anwar allows himself to think back to his time adventuring with the others, and their discordant and divergent methods. Even though his people here in the citadel clearly needed his guidance on a daily basis, he still had a loyalty to the Circle of Eight. Perhaps if he were a little more direct with the Midik tomorrow, he’d be able to join the Co8 for a short time and not return to find a mess here.
In a seaport tavern, somewhere in Winchendon, the barkeep looked down at a real mess. He was accustomed to fights and trouble like that, but this one hadn’t left him a single useable piece of furniture, and those pewter tankards that weren’t bent or broken were covered in blood. Some of it was his own, but the cuts had cleared up instantly when the fighter in dark hide armor shoved him into the storeroom. The fight apparently was some sort of initiation into the Feral Strike Mercenaries.
One very large man brawling with twelve large men. Even after a respectable showing, the very large man didn’t back down. Apparently, he wanted to negotiate his entry into the guild from a position of strength. Soon the barkeep gave up surveying the wreckage and walked out through the whole in the wall. He wandered, dazed, to another shady seaport tavern, and ordered a large amount of very strong alcohol.