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Episode 5 Prologue November 1619

The air had turned crisp and the leaves had finally turned, painting a canvas of reds, oranges, and yellows across the landscape. The homestead of Leyton bustled with activity as the last of the miners boarded the wagons heading back to Flint for the winter. Farmers led their livestock into their winter pastures and barns at the edge of town. The Quartermaster hobbled here and there, glancing in warehouses and grain silos and quickly tallying figures in his head. “Auntie” Olamide, wrapped in her colorful shawl, walked around the town, answering questions, directing supplies, coordinating the town’s efforts to prepare for the coming winter. With the events earlier in the year, Leyton was not nearly as well provisioned as they should have been. However, the mayor felt that her town had survived the first three winters beyond the Cadmar Mountains, and this winter might prove difficult, but not insurmountable. Leytoners were a hardy lot, and she knew they were up to the task. Before she could begin to worry, another driver from the departing wagon train approached with more questions.   The scout examined the town from a distance, his spyglass bringing it into bright focus as he looked at the people scurrying from place to place. “Like rats,” he said absently to himself, noting a figure with a brightly colored shawl. “Yummy rats.” He licked his chapped lips as he continued to observe.   Having gathered details about the town, the scout dashed through the forest with the speed of a deer, his bare feet leaving almost no trace of his passing. As he neared his camp, he whistled, three low hoots to tell the sentries of his approach. He came into the camp, a small set up with three tents around a central pit. No fire burned within, nothing but a large black stone that generated enough heat to ward off the chill of the morning, but without any smoke to reveal their position. One of the others in the camp grunted at the scout and nodded his head towards the largest of the tents. The scout bobbed his head in response and approached the tent, absently straightening his shirt and smoothing his frayed trousers. He coughed loudly as he ran a calloused hand through his hair. “Enter,” a voice said from within. The scout obeyed and ducked inside. Two people stood in the tent, one on each side of a small table in the middle of the tent. A crude map of the area was laid out on the table. “Report,” said the person nearest the scout. “Yes, s-s-sir,” replied the scout, taking out his notes, glancing furtively at the other figure across the table, but quickly looking away when they took notice. “Much to report, much, much indeed.”

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Cover image: by Cait May


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