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Episode 3 Prologue, May 1619

by Dave McCormick, Angela Griffin, and Joe Hines
“Field Marshal, can we setup signal towers along the path to Leyton?', Merriott blurted out as he found Urfexa , blearily slumped in a corner of the Tavern one morning. “Um wut?”, came her slurred reply. Urfexa squints in the morning light, “...maybe later...” It was obvious she had not fully awoken, and it would take more explanation and perhaps a bribe to get her to listen. Coming prepared, Merriott presented her with Florence's strongest coffee. Urfexa sniffed once, then gratefully accepts the coffee, relieved it wasn't one of the crazy teas the Adjutant was known for brewing. Excitedly, Merriott began, “I was thinking, since we are bringing a full wagon train with supplies to Leyton this would be an excellent time to throw up signal towers from there to Flint!” Warming to the sound of his own voice, the Adjutant continued quickly, “Station a few Garrison troops along that route, so they can relay messages from our expedition back to the Garrison in the Colony. That way we can send for reinforcements, warn of danger, or relay other findings from the trip! It will be Glorious!”, Merriott finished with a flourish, waiting for her response like a puppy waiting to have its leash taken off, so it can play...   After much cajoling and a few more cups of coffee, the Adjutant had gotten the Field Marshal to understand his intent, and she had given tacit approval for him to take a contingent of Garrison troops with him. They would scout ahead and set up temporary signal towers, little more than tall masts, with a line rigged to run up the semaphore flags like used on Navy ships. The messages relayed would be limited, little more than two to three word phrases at a time, but the masts could be strung up from Flint all the way to Levantra Pass and communicate in minutes to Flint all the way from Leyton. Getting the scouts to do the work properly and understand the phrase book he gave them was another matter, but after requisitioning the flags and rope, there was little else to do but string the flagstaffs and set the troops to stand watch, waiting for the expedition to catch up...  
May, 1619
  9th: Finally the wagons are all loaded and heading out of the gates of Flint bound for the Van Houthakker Homestead a two day ride South along the very cleverly named South Road. Travel was uneventful and we made camp at the usual halfway point just before sunset, which is quite late this time of the year.   10th: We arrived at the Van Houthakker Homestead just before dinner on the second day of this trip. We all dusted ourselves off and were treated to a well prepared meal and some musical entertainment. The homes here are well built two story affairs with modest farmland around each. The forest around the farms is thick with the best trees on the peninsula, each growing very straight and tall. The Van Houthakkers have been running this homestead for a few years now and the trees that they have cleared have provided for many of the largest structures in Flint and the other homesteads. The land that they have cleared is now used for farming.   11th: Supplies were unloaded and apportioned around. Certain supplies needed to be re-arranged as we were picking up some large beams to deliver to Bayside to help raise a new fish salting barn. But all of this was done in short order and tomorrow we shall be able to set out again.   13th: We passed by Flint around midday and started heading towards Bayside on the equally cleverly named Bay Road. This should be another two day journey. Normally it would be only one day by horse but the wagons are quite heavy and slow the whole operation down. Still, it is nice to be outside of Flint for a while and to get to sleep under the stars.   14th: About midway through the day we arrive at the usual stopping point for the wagons and we find a small unit of scouts there with a gangly looking pole and rope structure bearing a single green flag fluttering in the breeze. Apparently this is part of some new way of quickly sending messages, though most folks simply scratched their heads and had a laugh at the whole thing. But where better to discover new things than in a new land?   15th: The caravan arrived at Bayside, a grouping of several dwellings and a few warehouses earlier in the day that we anticipated. So we set to unloading the large beams as well as the other supplies. The Baysiders appealed to the wagon drives to hook two of the teams of draft animals to a pulley system to raise the beams up into position which simplified the work greatly, but also necessitated a delay in our moving on. The fresh fish dinner made the stay well worth it though.   18th: From Bayside to Raen's View is normally two days for the caravan. One day to the fork and one more to the homestead itself. However one of the wagons lost a wheel in a freak accident and so at the fork we took to repairing it.   19th: We arrived in Raen's View to the cheers of the homesteaders there. A small mining operation, Raen's View sits in the shadow of Raen's Peak which was named after one of the original cartographers to explore the peninsula, Raen Talaniasoma. Raen's View produces a rich array of minerals and clays for use in Flint and the other Homesteads. There is also a warm spring here that is quite relaxing, so I am told.   21st: Unloading the supplies was complicated by some bad weather. Vicious thunderstorms rolled through that spooked some of the pack animals and prevented them from being of help with the large beams to be unloaded here.   22nd: One day travel back to the fork before we can turn towards the Levantra Pass and Leyton beyond.   23rd: We stop in the Levantra Pass where we rejoin with Adjutant Merriott and his scout team. The tallest and proudest of the signal flag pole tower things is set up here in the pass. While the added height of the pass might seem like a blessing for being able to see the flags from quite a distance, the rocky terrain around, and the foothills as well, make long distance sight difficult until you get quite high off the ground. This signal tower has a space for one soldier to stand which is about ten feet off the ground, and then an additional fifteen or so foot tall flag pole above that height. Made of wooden poles lashed together it does not look all that sturdy, but proves to be more sound than it appears at first inspection. It seems the scouts have figured out how to do this one the best after having learned from the earlier attempts further back in our journey.   Tomorrow we head into Leyton to see what has been going on there. We have not seen any sign of Major Cullens or their group and many in the military are getting concerned by this. Their orders were to rendezvous with the Major before heading into Leyton, but it seems like that may not be an option.

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Cover image: by Cait May


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