Aftermath I
Blood of Wintersbreath
Book 1
Chapter VII
Aftermath I


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In the days following the fall of Fangwood Keep the people of Marideth's Crossing accepted the presence of their foreign saviors. The refugees at Crystalhurst streamed in by the dozens, filling long-vacant homes and getting in from the elements just in time for the weather to turn. Sloan, Iandra, Durgan, and Mechiam took over operations of Fangwood Keep along with some of the refugees who held administrative positions in their hometowns. Ashera, eschewing the urban environment, chose to take up roost in one of the north watchtowers of Marideth's Crossing. Among the new residents to the keep was a man named Korrel Laidros, former Seneschal of Skelt who took the opportunity to act as interim mayor of Marideth's Crossing until such a time as a proper chain of command could be established.

Three days following the fall of the keep, Iandra counseled Sloan on needing to ensure that the new home for the people of Wintersbreath was fairly governed and the resources of Fangwood Keep not abused. The question of who this responsibility would hang on sat in the air, though Sloan took her mother's advice and sent Laidros away to the capital, Tamran, to deliver word of what happened to the Forest Marshall of Nirmathas.

On meeting with Durgan, who was taking it upon himself to organize the keep's derelict planning room, Sloan was debriefed on the news that had come up since their victory. Reports were coming in that members of the Black Talons had not entirely been routed from the area, but chose to set up operations at fallback positions around the countryside surrounding Fangwood Keep. The bandits would likely attempt to retake the keep, or at best harass anyone traveling along the road to Fangwood Keep for the forseeable future.

Ashera relayed information that the locals had seen orcs visiting Fangwood Keep, and that one among them — a mysterious orc with blood-red skin — personally met with the former commander of the Black Talons before marching his orcs north. Ashera's investigation into rumors of a red orc led to stories about such an orc being spotted in the remote mining community of Ironhill in western Nirmathas. Ashera recommended following up on that trail eventually.

Durgan also had a recommended course of action, indicating that the fortress known as Hangwall Keep — a border fort between Nirmathas and Lastwall — may have information regarding orc movements, if they did indeed come into Nirmathas from Belkzen. Durgan claimed to have trained with the captain of Hangwall Keep when he first joined the Lastwall Army.

Lastly, Iandra had a request of a more personal nature to make. Given that her spellbook burned with Wintersbreath, Iandra felt less capable than she should be and worried about slowing Sloan down in the future. Iandra made the decision to remain as an administrative aid to the people of Marideth's Crossing until such a time as she could acquire a new spellbook. Purchasing one from Tamran — the only settlement sizable enough to possibly carry such an exotic tome—would be prohibitively expensive. The only rumor of a spellbook without an owner was tied to the tomb of a hero from the Shining Crusade named Kassen.

Sloan took all of these suggestions under advisement and met with Jora, who likewise had a request to make of Sloan's time. Jora claimed that when he was young he began a "life's work" in the art of alchemy. Knowing he is nearing the end of his long life, Jora requested that Sloan procure an exotic ingredient from the Fangwood called greenwood bark, a special kind of wood that cannot die, as a component for his grand work.

It would seem that, even in the aftermath of the most harrowing time of her life, the world refused to slow down for Sloan.

Previously The Taking of Fangwood Keep
Continued In Dreamwalker I