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A note from Seaboircil

Patreon is 6 chapters ahead for The New Legion and 2 chapters ahead for Belli Mundi.

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61 - Logistics Part Four

 

The iron is red hot when Gareth takes it out of the fire. He has been working on this same piece for three days. If all goes well, he can put the finishing touches on it tomorrow. He strikes it as precisely as he can with his hammer to make the right shape.

After folding the steel several times, it is difficult to process it. However, those different layers of the metal are also what make the legion's armor so strong.

Then one of his assistants stops moving the gallow. Groaning, the gallow collapses. It's only a small distraction, but it's big enough for Gareth. His next blow is off and he strikes the side of the anvil.

Full of contempt, he looks at the mess that his work has become. The hammer has struck right through the hot metal and is now stuck in the piece of metal that should have been a chest harness.

"Idiot, see what you made me do!" shouts Gareth to his assistant, who recedes before the angry priest sergeant. "That was three days of our work. This way we will never manage to make new harnesses."

"Gareth," replies Calvus, the old blacksmith, from a lazy chair in the corner of the forge, "it's wrong to blame the boy. You are the one who got distracted. In addition, it is useless to stay busy with the gallows while the fire is not being used. You know that."

 

Put in his place, Gareth immediately apologizes.

"I'm sorry André, Calvus is right. It's just the frustration. I feel like we need new harnesses as soon as possible, and every time something happens that makes things go wrong."

"No problem, Sergeant. I've also seen it every time it went wrong. This is what? The twentieth time something goes wrong at the last minute?"

"Ha," Calvus shouts from his angle, "double that, boy."

"You're right, I actually don't think it's just because of our forging skills. And yes, I know Calvus, we are far from accomplished blacksmiths. But André is right. It is always at the last minute that something goes wrong. We're overlooking something in the process."

"What about those books that you can read and I can't?" The old man asks, "Isn't there something in there that tells you what the problem is?"

"I think we have to find out. André, if you could get the others, we will do some deeper research in the books. We have to figure out how to make good armor!"

 

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Aulis sits in his office while he thinks. Since he became mayor of Arana, a lot has happened. The village started out with a few freed slaves, and now it has almost two hundred inhabitants. A small part of these, about fifteen people, live in the hamlet that is a few hours north of the village most of the time. There, among others, the lumberjack and the miner have settled to provide the growing village with building materials. To make things easier for himself, Aulis counts every inhabitant of the Lost Island as a resident of Arana. This is because the only other place of significance on the island is the headquarters of the New Legion.

The hamlet is a major headache for Aulis and the commander of the garrison of Arana. The squad leader, Floris, has only ten soldiers at his disposal. With those, he has to try to protect everyone. With eight men in Arana and two in the hamlet, his men are dangerously scattered.

A further problem for Aulis is that the former pirate base was not built to function as a normal village. The pirates were content to build a number of large barracks where everyone could sleep, with at most a few other necessary buildings.

The people who have settled in the village, on the other hand, all want to have their own home. This has already caused several quarrels, after which Aulis as mayor has been given the thankless task of providing new homes.

 

Because the young man actually does not have a good idea how he can best perform this task, he asked for help from squad leader Floris. The two men have been working together for some time now, and have found out that they get along well.

Aulis is therefore not surprised when squad leader Floris enters his office without knocking.

"Aulis, I put my men to work to properly map the village. Then the both of us can draw on the map how we think we should organize the village. If everyone just randomly starts building everywhere, as some are already doing, then it will be a big chaos here. That would be bad for the defense of the village, but also for trade, if you ask me."

"That may be true, Floris, but since I can't do anything with maps, we have little use for this."

"Oh, that's not that difficult. I can teach you map reading. And until then, I can explain it to you, right? The most important thing is that we can record our plans in a clear way. I think the first thing we have to do is decide what the village should ultimately look like."

"What do you mean? The village looks pretty good, doesn't it, with the buildings around the harbor?"

"Well, for now that's good enough. But what will you want to do when more people come to live here? Arana is the only place on this side of the island where it is not a life-threatening task just to survive. If people want to live somewhere else, they will have to start with nothing. I think that's why most people will settle here first. Thanks to the pirate buildings, this has by definition become the most important place on this side of the island."

"Uhm, yes"

"Well then, that means that even more people will live here than there already are. How many more people do you think we can house here? I know that we only have half of the barracks in use, but if people get their own houses they will take up a lot more space. I think we should even think about making a new wall to make the village bigger."

"Damnit, you're right. With two hundred inhabitants, there are already twice as many people living here as in the village where I grew up, and that was almost as big as Arana!"

"Great, now that we figured out the problem, we can start brainstorming about the new layout of Arana. When we have a finished plan, we can show it to a few others and see if they have any suggestions. I think that Hunter Dew has a good head on his shoulders, and maybe there are others who have good ideas."

 

Aulis and Floris don't waste any time. Floris immediately starts to explain to Aulis how the map he has made works. Fortunately, the village has two towers, so Floris and Aulis can climb up there to point out the buildings. Aulis immediately sees that the buildings and streets look the same from above as the blocks and dashes on the map.

Over the course of the next three days, the two wear out one paper after another with their drawings of a new village. For squad leader Floris it is important that the village is well defendable, which is why he makes winding streets where a trap or barricade can be made on every corner. However, Aulis thinks more about straight streets to ensure that everyone can easily get to the port. As the only village on the island, Arana is still very dependent on the ships that dock in the port. Without that trade, it would be all the more difficult to build up a good life.

 

In the end, the two decide that they have to ask Dew for his advice even though they don’t have a finished plan yet. As an older man with more experience, they both trust him when it comes to decisions. When he arrives in Arana the next afternoon, he soon realizes the dilemma of the two young men.

"Look, I understand that you, Floris, want your men to be able to withdraw if those pirates manage to get into the harbor, and that you, Aulis, want the trade to go well, but I still think you are going about it the wrong way.

If you are so afraid of pirates in the harbor, why don't you close the harbor off from the rest of the village?"

"What do you mean?" asks Aulis immediately curiously.

"Hey, I just wanted to say that!" shouts Floris immediately.

 

"Look, this is something I've been thinking about. Those pirates have always been a plague, and I've heard that ten years ago in a city in the north of the empire they burned down half the city before the garrison could stop them. That city had beautiful strong walls, but because the pirates could sail right in, that big wall was of no use."

"That's what I said! That's why we have to have winding roads."

"Easy there, Floris. Keep in mind that that city already had those, because it had grown around the port. The garrison just couldn't stop the pirates in time. What I am therefore proposing is to make a plan in which we expand the port so that it is also large enough in the future. Around the harbor we put an elongated wall or palisade, with three gates. One on each side of that wall. The two gates on the sides are then led to a road that runs around the new village. That new village will be located next to the port, with a connection to that gate. Within the new village you, Floris, can make a layout that is easy to defend. Then we have the best of both worlds. The trade can largely take place in the port, with an easy connection to the roads. If the village is attacked and pirates or anyone else manages to enter the port, you close the gate there, and the villagers are safe."

 

"If we are smart, we will change the entire design of the village." begins Aulis, "didn't you tell me, Floris, the other day that the old empire had thought down to the last detail what a village or city should look like?"

"That's right, Aulis. When building took place in the old empire, it was often according to fixed guidelines. Because they alway built the same way, even someone who did not know a city knew roughly where he had to be if he had to be in a temple square, for example. Another advantage was in colonizing new areas, because a legion could already start building a new place. This could just be built around a fort, and it did not even matter whether this was a permanent fort or a temporary fort."

"What's the difference between those forts?"

"What are you thinking about, Aulis?" asks Dew, but Floris already answers.

"A temporary fort was, as the name suggests, temporary. Often made of wood and earth. A permanent fort began as a temporary fort, but all the buildings and walls were then slowly replaced by stone."

"Right, so if we draw such a fort on our map, then we can actually plan a city exactly like the old empire used to do? Or do we lack the information to do that?"

"I don't have the plans at hand here, but they can probably be found in Centurion's library."

"Well, then I think the best thing we can do is pay a visit to Centurion, Dew. Or do you think the three of us can come up with a better approach to the new Arana than the old empire?"

 

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About the author

Seaboircil

  • The Netherlands

Bio: Writer of 'Het Nieuwe Legioen' and 'The New Legion'

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