Chapter One: A strange new land, The Formation of West Cherrygourd
The early morning rays of sun pierced through the clouds and illuminated the landscape as the sleepy convoy of seven wandered out of the famous Cherrygourd forest and onto the plains. It had been a month since that glorious day, when all manor of folk had lined the streets to see them leave.
“There is a land outside our walls that we most open ourselves to” Mick Burlyhands, the King of Cherrytown had proclaimed proudly to his citizens as the seven stood before him on a large podium.
“And so it is with great pride that you all should leave this town with you’re heads held high as you’re names shall go down in history as the first to venture outside these walls since the days of old.”
But after a month of trekking through the forest and the constant ominous noises that seemed to follow and the mysterious disappearances of Dara Stroden, Alton Zedro and Helen Freywind only nights before, had left everyone on edge. The ten where now seven and the seven where now exhausted.
Raven Mont was the first out onto the sunny plains and with a small shriek of joy collapsed to the floor and let the sunshine dance on her face, it’s warmth was not only a reminder of home but of security to her after growing up in the farms of Cherrytown she had always been reminded that the sun meant safety as when night fell her jet black hair couldn’t bee seen unless silhouetted against the moon.
“Right then, everyone just take a seat and enjoy this for a few minutes” she said softly as she closed her eyes.
Alaina Wester quickly made her way over to Raven and sat down beside her, the regal blue banner of house Burlyhands protruding from her backpack, Alaina also spread herself out on the grass beside Raven however she did not close her eyes. Alaina had always been a quite person, in fact it was out here far west of Cherry town she was most at home, the name Wester had been given to her great grandfather after he had arrived in town one day with nary a word only a hoe and a few dozen pumpkin seeds. It had been fitting that the great granddaughter of the man from the west would one day return there with the first expedition.
“You two alright down there?” Bellowed Treston as he bounded out into the clearing, a large smile on his face as he looked at the clearing and nodded as if he had personally cleared the area.
“just fine Treston” Sighed Raven, Alaina simply stared at Treston. Treston returned her gaze and shrugged before placing his own backpack down and joining the two on the soft green grass below them. Treston was a large man, and as his last name implied, brute force and charging headlong into problems was usually how he made his way through life. It had certainly been how he had made his living as an apprentice carpenter back in the artisan quarter of Cherry town but it was after one too many ales at the pub that Treston found himself offered either jail or the (in his own words) Adventure of a lifetime. His thick blonde hair and bushy sideburns only helped to give off an air of unpredictability. Not long after he had sat down he quickly began to tuck into some racoon jerky he had found on the floor a few days ago, this earned him a distasteful gaze from Alaina, but Treston didn’t notice.
Next out of the clearing was the elegant Jo Woolden, her pack tightly fastened to her shoulders but a spool of thread clearly visable from where her own craftsmanship had failed her on one of the two straps. Jo’s family had long since provided the people of Cherry Town with their clothing and Jo herself had always been hailed as one of the prettiest girls in town but it was well known she had always been more focused on her work than her love life, something that many suitors had come to learn all too harshly. It was in an attempt to get away from the constant pursuit by the city’s young men that Jo found herself out here. However it was her who had taken the disappearance of three of the group the hardest. She’d be very close to Dara and Helen and to have lost them all only three or so nights ago without any closure it was understandable that she spent half her time with the group and the other half sat silently in a corner knitting away. She came over and sat with the others and continued with knitting a small cap, presumably for herself.
finally the last three out of the clearing arrived, Mard Umbro and the Coroda Boys, Zedd and Campton.
Mard Umbro made sure he kept the two brothers in front of him as they wandered out of the clearing, Mard’s Blue regal surcoat was tattered and covered in dirt however despite his dirty appearance Mard was the kings own representative and if anyone wished to dispute that they could argue with his wooden longsword. Mard was widely renown for his devotion to the crown thus why he had been entrusted with the expedition and also the transportation of the infamous Zedd Coroda, a criminal and public enemy number one after he attempted to steal and sell half of the Cherry town corn supplies. The sentence was exile and as far as brothers went anywhere Zedd went his little brother Campton followed, this time was a little strange however, Campton recently becoming a squire for Mard and having to watch his closest friend and brother stagger off into the wilderness in some Block forbidden shanty town.
“today’s the first day of deepmun” Mard bellowed valiantly as he approached the group, picking up the blue standard from Aliana’s pack in his left hand, his longsword still in his right. “We are exactly 40,000 paces west of Cherry town and so I hereby proclaim this land under Mick Burlyhands fourth of his name West Cherrygourd” Mard then planted the standard firmly into the ground before nodding and finally sheathing his sword, he turned and looked at Campton who currently sat besides Zedd, both laughing and joking as if they were seated at home around the dinner table.
Campton looked up and quickly shuffled over to Umbro.
“We shall camp here tonight, but I want you to map out the area, so that the king himself may see the newest addition to his kingdom. We shall return to the capital in a week or so and by then this outpost should be able to fend for itself”
Campton nodded “uhhh yeah sure thing m’lord”
“I say this as a mentor, forget you’re brother, the kings word is law even out here.”
“But M’lord, we lost three in the woods surely you’re not going to toss him away for his crimes when it could well mean the death of everyone here”
Mard shook his head “Zedd won’t be the downfall of this colony, but the kings word is law and as my squire-…”
Campton sighed “I’ll set about mapping out the area m’lord”
Meanwhile from the shadows of the forest three sets of eyes looked on, humans, this far out from town, excellent. The tribe would have themselves a decent feast in at least a weeks time