In remote western Avalonia, a valley long untouched by any politics or happenings outside of daily survival Niall scans the valley.
This place is just as I remember it. It will work perfectly he thought to himself.
He turned to his companion "Kimee do you agree it will work?" He asked quietly.
“With a lot of hard work and likely most of what we acquired in our travels it should be possible” she reassured him.
And with that Niall shouted for Tem. “I have a favor for you my friend before we put down our own roots here. I need you to take a horse and go back to the farms in the countryside and to the hamlet where that trader fellow Lorin resided. Give him these letters and spread the word that in 2 weeks time there will be free bread, fish and soup being handed out to anyone who will join us and hear my words. Promise them flour to take back home and safety with us just to hear our proposal. Do this and hurry back. The last letter there is for Lorin only it has a list of everything we will need to be here in 2 weeks time. Tell him to not be late and there will be something extra waiting.”
Tem set off immediately on his errand.
2 weeks had come to pass. Lorin had done his part and the supplies had arrived, bags of flour, crates of travel bread, salted fish and food for the soup had all been sorted. The soup was cooking already and the spices filled the air. Niall thought by now he would have seen people. The promise of free food in these hard times was not a small offer. As the late morning sun began to climb in the sky, he began to worry his message did not reach enough ears. He shielded his eyes from the sun with his hand and stared down the rugged makeshift path one more time that led to the valley. Was that movement down the way? He squinted hard, yes there were shapes walking down the road. One, two, he stopped counting. There were many all walking together. He should have known they would show up at once. Safer to travel in groups, slower but safer.
They lined up for the food and the free bags of flour. Tem entertained the kids with his songs of adventures and intrigue. He even showed a little slight of hand here and there so a coin or two could find their way to the kids pockets.
The people had come to hear Niall's offer of safety, protection from bandits, wildlife, drow and the hardships that have always been part of living in an area that seemed long forgotten by the Lords of Avalonia. He promised work for those with skills and fair wages and land for those to farm who would grow crops. For anyone without skills there would be no shortage of labour in the coming years.
The folks who came to hear the message did not run or laugh as he feared. They listened, asked questions and talked amongst themselves.
And so the families spent the evening under the stars while Niall and his companions took turns standing watch.
The people all departed at first light. A few promising to return, others wanting time to consider. Niall had only asked them for one thing. To speak of this meeting to anyone who would listen and to extend the same offer and give a letter to anyone interested. They had agreed saying it was the least they could do for the flour.
With the promise of some folks to arrive in the coming weeks the next matter to combat was the security of anyone who would show up. His party could do so for smaller numbers in this area of the valley. But what if the numbers became too many or too fast? Should something befall any of the families the rest would be sure to flee. He would need to attract those that could shoot a bow, or swing a piece of steel. Or at the very least entice those willing to learn to help defend the area from everything from wildlife to bandits.
Niall stared at his friend Boralis; “Do you think our luck will hold my friend if we promised food and coin to anyone willing to give us their fealty and help protect this valley?”
The older man almost spit out his ale. “These last few years you think had anything to do with luck boy! People are drawn to you like flies to…” he did not finish his sentence.
“If they come as you suggest will you help train them though?” Niall looked at his friend intently waiting for a sign he would balk from the task.
“Boy, I told you I would follow you. Build me a house with a warm fire and plenty of wine and I will train anyone who takes your money. The chance to bruise a few green lads knuckles never fails to make me smile either”
So it was settled. Word would be sent with trader Lorin. Weapons and further provisions would be secured. The offer of pay and food to anyone who had any skill with a bow, blade or knife or a desire to learn. A contest would be had on the last festive weekend of the month.
Purses for the best marksman, axe thrower and winners of the melee would be offered to entice those that were less desperate for coin and that already knew to handle a weapon.
And come they did, more than he expected these isolated lands would produce.
And so began an age of rebuilding in the remote corner of Avalonia