Sven stood at the head of his army with a fiery passion in his eyes that he could not wait to spread to the field. He could taste the battle that was about to ensure. For months the Tradesmen had disrespected him and his people. For months they called for his head and taunted him, going as far as carving his name on their weapons. He made no secret of his plans to attack The Protectorate on this night. He even let his men string up the bodies of those they killed at the Eastern Trade Post to rile up the citizens of Evermoore. He wanted them to feel the rage he felt. So where were they? His raiders waited for his order to begin the attack, as he began to gather his trusted generals a song entered his head. He had never heard it before and he could not get it out. As he listened to it he understood, this was a message from the Tradesmen. Calling him out, trying to get him to come to them. It was then that Wengryn arrived on field, not as a shield maiden, but as his pregnant wife.
“Husband, a scout arrived, the Tradesmen have decided to attack Kuroda instead. We only left some of our men at Kirimoo. What should we do?”
He growled at the news, his thirst for battle had overtaken him, and threw his sword on the ground. “We fight on this night! We do not bow to Evermoore, we do not change our plans for people who think they are better than us. They tried to outsmart us, but that will not work. Kuroda will have to prove his strength just like every Asgarn man and woman here had. If he is a worthy ally he will survive and if not…..” Sven turned grabbed a torch from a nearby raider. “If not, then there is more for us.” His men cheered. For Odin! For Thor! For Valhalla!"
A large cage like contraption was brought forward, in it were hundreds of butterflies. As Sven walked to it he spoke. “Let’s begin” He lit the cage on fire, the wings of the poor creatures set ablaze, the cage opened and they flew out, out and forward, forward to the Eastern Grove of The Protectorate. His men took it as a sign and charged forward. He turned to join them when Wengryn grabbed his arm. “Promise me you will come back and when you do that this is it. I want to go home, I want to raise our child in Asgarn where we belong.” He kissed her and began running to catch up to the others calling back as he did so. “Odin as my witness, I will give that child a name to be proud of and everything I never had!”
After the attack was underway, a small army of creatures lead by and elven Tradesman were spotted by the edge of the field. He brought allies to fight back the attack. It appeared that the Tradesmen figured out a way to send help after all. Well into the night the reinforcements sent to stop Sven managed to halt his progression into the other groves. Sven was ready to fight all night, to his last breath, but, as if a Valkyrie was cutting through his rage and bloodlust, he was reminded of his promise to wife.
He stopped and realized at this moment, if they continued to push, they may defeat the ones who came to aid The Protectorate but at a great cost. Chances were high that they would lose to many men to make it back to Asgarn along with their spoils. He grabbed the horn at his waist and bellowed into it. His men knew what it meant and began the retreat back to the Eastern Trade Post. By early morning they had completely vacated The Protectorate, many lives were lost but many more could have been.
Wengryn knew they could not stay at the Outpost for more than one day, the Tradesmen would come for them. She helped tend to the wounded and poured drinks for the those who survived. Where would they go? To her knowledge the waterways were still blocked because of Gunther. Some how, some way, they were going to make it back to Asgarn. She just knew it.
She fell asleep that night in her husband's arms dreaming of their home town and the family they would have there.
STAG INDUSTRIES FACTORY GROUNDS, within 50 miles of Evermoore
Summary: The inspection of the Stag Industries factory within the Rainbow Valley by Raven Del Mer, Helix Nogami, and Dahlia Black.
The birds were chirping this morning as the sun rose high in the sky, and the heat continued to uncomfortably increase. Victoria Stag anticipated it to be another hot day. Spending long periods of time in the sun with the typical Coventry garb was difficult, especially with the oppressive humidity over the last few days. Victoria was glad she rarely had a need to travel outside of her cloudy and overcast country during the summer months. It puzzled her that some of her countrymen chose to do this on a monthly basis.
After waiting for some time, Raven Del Mer, Helix Nogami, and Dahlia Black, the approved Evermoore inspectors of her factory, arrived by the mid-morning. They were lead by Kaylas Pirik, the Head of Operations for the Rainbow Valley Branch. Kaylas eyed his boss warily, but she sent him away without acknowledgement.
Victoria slipped her pocket watch out of her jacket and checked the time. “Ms Del Mer, Ms Black, Mr Nogami. You are later than expected.” Victoria said and closed the watch with a quiet snap. “I have prepared a simple tour of the initial factory grounds.”
The Evermoore Guild Council were so openly distrustful of her. It was obvious to anyone that listened to them. The guild council had passed a recent law specific to Stag Industries that stated, "Stag Industries business practices are unethical and damaging to the environment. On these grounds, we forbid their business practices in the Rainbow Valley." There was an option to appeal if there was proof the factory was fixed and no longer damaging to the environment.
It was clear that the inspectors would be carefully reviewing everything they thought they could get away with. But this was a necessary inspection, according to the law, if Stag Industries wanted to begin weapons production any time soon in the area.
“I'm going to look around and make sure nothing is falling apart.” Helix said.
“Of course. You may inspect our buildings, waste disposal, and pipes. I will provide you samples of the construction materials, if it is required.” Victoria signaled one of her workers to take Helix where he wanted to go and to ensure that he received any samples he requested.
“I would like to review your paperwork and wages - the business end,” Dahlia spoke up.
At that, Victoria turned to face Dahlia and Raven, her expression was darker. “No, Ms. Black. That will not be happening.”
“I want to make sure everything is good and proper when we report back to the town. I’m just trying to be thorough - “
“This is not the intent of the law passed by the Evermoore Council. Their concerns are about potential environmental damage and if this repaired factory will create more damage to the land, correct, Ms Del Mer?”
The druid straightened as she was addressed. “Um, yes, that is true. In the past your factory did cause some environmental damages and we’re concerned with the recent issues of Red Earth Tribe and their lands.”
Victoria returned her attention to Dahlia. The polite facade Victoria normally portrayed was completely absent. Without it, her demeanor was the cold professional as she lifted her chin and gazed down her nose at the alchemist.
“I have not forgotten that you wish to open your own factory. You had asked my advice on factory management and business tips at your little.. Tea party. This is a poor attempt to snatch company secrets. Do not try my patience.”
Dahlia smirked, impressed with the response she received. It looked as if she was taking mental notes on how a woman of Victoria's stature conducted business.
Victoria looked ready to close the discussion so Raven took the chance to say something. “The most recent ruling did cite moral concerns, so it would be prudent to discuss the treatment of employees."
“I see... It is peculiar that this was brought up as I have always been blatantly upfront on how my employees are treated in this area.” Victoria replied. “All sign contracts for a term period. All are paid per the terms within their contract, and all receive one break during their shift with one meal supplied on behalf of Stag Industries. Find me one corporation who provides more, and I will call you a fool to believe them.”
Victoria lead the inspection team through the rest of the tour which took all morning and well into the afternoon hours. Helix rejoined them about halfway through with his bag of construction material samples.
Samples of soil at varying depths were taken at different locations of the grounds and stored away in vials. When it was requested it, Victoria lead them around to the outside parameter of the grounds to show the nearby forest area and the ponds near the grounds to see the effects the buildings had on wildlife.
Raven and Helix trailed further back in the tour for a few minutes to speak privately. As it looked like the tour was coming to a close, Raven looked up to address Victoria once again.
“We’re concerned about where your materials would be coming from and how they are gathered. Do you have your own people gather the materials, or do you buy from local miners?"
“I will not disclose every aspect of my business when it has little to do with this inspection. Dewdney Corporation has not faced the level of criticism that Stag Industries has received. I will not stand idle as you single out one corporation over another. The business logistics only becomes your concern if it breaks your laws.” Before the tradesmen had a chance to respond, she continued, “Show me the law I have broken and I will speak to your magistrate. I believe your inspection is over.”
After several hours with the tradesmen on her property, Victoria felt it was best to end this tour before she lost her temper. The thorough inspection should satisfy the needs of the local laws. But she knew that the results of the inspection wouldn’t be shared with her until after everything was tested.
It didn’t take long to lead the tradesmen back to the entrance gates. Once the tradesmen had left, Kaylas Pirik walked over to Victoria. “Shall we prepare for your departure, Ms Stag?”
“No. I am certain that if I want my factory up and running, I will need to pressure for the appeal in person at the next Market Day… join me in my office for tea, Kaylas. We have much to discuss.”