A Winter of Discontent
The Winter of 3151
With two ilin on litters, the journey back to Nereth from the Lost Temple of Demogorgon takes eight days. The weather gives in and winter begins with sleet and fogs in waves. Everyone is soaked to the skin and freezing; possibly mildly hypothermic. Oruro and Chitta cycle rocca on a rotating basis with the stock from Nereth. Even so, by the time they all get home, there are four lame rocca; injured by the cold wet weather and the rough ground. Voytchek dies a slow agonising death during journey back to Nereth. Tûd is also expected to die (He has a broken femur and normal form would be blood poisoning – he’s suffered this type of damage before and miraculously survived – no one in their right mind would expect him to survive a second time).
Post harvest, the hierarch from Badbhisra arrived to assist Forgileill, as a new Hedgelord, with the apportionment of the tax burden. Invaswen keeps him occupied until Kamilata is able to give some time to the issue.
It is swiftly decided that the chain shirts, vastly valuable in monetary terms, plus a portion of the coinage liberated, would possibly cover Nereth’s payments to Ulria. In return, Nereth should petition for an amount of forage (for the rocca) and food for the ilin and the poor.
Nereth as a town owes its existence to the overshot three wheeled mill on the main stream through the settlement. One of these wheels is in need of a level of repair that would mean taking it off line for as long the repairs take. This would have no effect on the mill’s capability to mill for all of Nereth but would require hiring in skilled artisans from Taurost.
The surviving ilin are sent out to collect the taxes. This is being done a month late and so is proving unpopular and perhaps a little problematic. Kamilata decided that publicising the presence of the lost temple of Demogorgon would be counter productive. It would be their just desert to be hailed as saviours from such a menace; however such news might spread panic, rather than elicit thanks.
Kcasamenzay, Belannia, Gwedhion and Thranduil brought a very pale and sickly Forgileill back from Arbolt for Voytchek’s Jukpûdhar. Red Priests from Westil came up and a cairn was constructed for him in the barrow fields high above Nereth on the roads out to the ancient monastery ruins. Forgileill was flanked by her cousin and sister the whole time. They were obviously holding her up and Belannia physically assisted her placing the first stone on Voytchek’s breast.
Forgileill did not speak at the service; that honour was left to Thranduil. They stayed only the eve of the burial and the first night of feasting. At the feast, Forgileill remained only for the first few mouthfuls before being put to bed by Belannia and Invaswen. Gwedhion looked in on Tûd and came back to the feast with questions, spending a long time conversing with Ryzaim Taim in a low voice.
Kcasamenzay took her small party away the next morning, informing Kamilata and Invaswen of Forgileill’s wish that Voytchek’s Jukpûdhar continue for a full week. Kcasamenzay also left Gwedhion at Nereth to safeguard her Clan’s interest.
Klogoh Adfel Nhi arrived to advise his friend on matters to do with ilin. Gwedhion sent the Grey Robes to Lauren’s Glade. He charged them with the enhancement by their means of the existing equipment owned by the ilin. To this end, the ilin were to attend the Grey Robes whenever required.
More servants were hired from the transient population. Grain was taken into the Agadir, A cook and housekeeper were taken on for Lauren’s glade but refused to stay when they realised that they were working for Greyrobes; so the four of them had to look out for themselves. One of the ilin stayed with them at the lodge, rotating through on a weekly basis.
The ilin spend their winter in fine style, rescuing geeps and shoats snowbound in the mountains and investigating the tracks of various hostile entities in the snows. Several ‘bandits’ are arrested. These invariably turn out to be the poorer Csango families rustling to stave off hunger.
With Gwedhion’s assistance and Invaswen’s constant prompting, Kamilata gets to grips with Nereth’s economy. Despite locally produced mutton, lamb and barley, Forgileill as the government required subsidy from the crown. The amount required was quantified and then slightly increased, with the increase offset against the armour tithed to Ravon Perans earlier in the winter.
Tûd was able to join the company at the midwinter feast, although he had to be carried.
Some share of the taxation on the poorer families was changed from food to labour. Ancient maps were consulted and fish ponds out of use for three hundred years were identified within six miles. These would be reinstated and stocked during 3152, giving a useful yield the year after. Nymraith bent his efforts to obtaining (from his kin) and cultivating (keep alive through a winter transplanting) goodberry bushes. These would provide taste and variety to their diet next year.
The normal rhythm of life was restored. With Kamilata in Forgileill’s chair, with Gwedhion at one elbow and Invaswen at the other, there was a daily court, attended by all of the ilin who were resident (i.e. not out on patrol). Tûd was excused, but one of the Grey Robes from Lauren’s Glade was required to attend every day. Throughout the winter, the ilin did not manage to shoot the hare more than two or three days each month, as the practice field was covered in drifts, but the rocca were exercised on the roads to Lauren’s Glade and Badbhisra. Ravon Perans came to Nereth to hear the tale of their adventures and Kamilata attended (usually with Klogoh Adfel Nhi) Kaulria for the Carnc’s court every month.
When 3152 was only two months old word came that Forgileill (& Thranduil) had moved back to Dalla Tyrl to continue her convalescence in her sister’s household. She also commanded her household to bend its efforts to discovering the extent and plans of the Shindric Society.
 Invaswen had wanted to go with and care for her mistress. However Forgileill wanted someone she trusted in Nereth to guide Kamilata. So she had to stay, after all, anyone who purported to be ilin would always put duty before self.