The scene in front of New Greeshan was chaotic, as the crowd gathered to see the punishment bestowed on the three Whitetail Tribesmen. The punishment was now obvious, but the number of lashes still in question. All three tribesmen stood, tied to the whipping poles with their bare backs exposed toward the one with the whip. Their faces were exposed to the crowd, so that the anguish could be shared with all once the whipping commenced.
As colonists and natives alike gathered to witness the mockery of justice to be handed down, watch commander Von Fredrikson began, “The three before you are guilty of interfering with the lawful gathering of lumber used in the construction of New Greeshan. The punishment is to be 20 lashes each”. As he spoke, he nodded to the whipsman, who lined up before the first of the accused. However, as his hand reared back for the first lash, one of the gathered tribesmen stepped forward and called for a halt to the punishment.
The commander, who was frustrated with his orders to begin with, halted the punishment to hear the words of Ghostwalker the Moonspeaker, a position of respect amongst the tribes. The young Ghostwalker spoke now as an elder would, speaking that the colonial punishment was unjustly hash for the crime, when it had been wagon wheels that were temporarily disabled.
Fredrikson did not want to openly ignore the respected tribesman, and saw the possibility of an uprising occurring with many colonists in harm’s way. This would not look good on his record, and his superior would probably have his ass regardless. He quickly changed direction in an attempt to satisfy all, and suggested that the tribesmen do two days hard labor to pay back the time lost to the lumber crew, which should be more than enough.
As the gathering broke up, both tribesmen and colonists returning home. Many colonists were unhappy as they had wished to see the expected harsh punishment. On the flipside may of the witnessing tribesmen were left with a feeling of sorrow, that the white-eyes would treat them this way over something that was not theirs to begin with. One of colonists that had witnessed the exchange took the time to express his approval over the outcome with the commander.
Hendrik van der Heijden, an ex-sergeant major in the Imperial army was pleased, as he had seen too many times the results of Imperial justice carried out when there were better possible outcomes had a little foresight been used.
After that, Hendrik saw the vocal tribesman, Ghostwalker, looking around the open air market of New Greeshan. Hendrik wanted to make sure that the tribesman, and his three strange associates stayed out of trouble in the strange environment.
As Hendrik watched the interactions between the colonists and these tribesmen take place, one of the strangest looking ones approached him. Speaking in a surprisingly civilized tone, Tronar, the Dragonborn sorcerer from the north addressed him. The conversation was pleasant enough, but it should be continue over ale thought Hendrik as he offered the Dragonborn the invite. After all anything is good with ale.
Shortly after, all four of the Sarian natives were joining Hendrik for ale in the Pot of Brew Pub. Not just Tronar and Ghostwalker came in, but so did Charnel the storyteller, and Nanzad the Kordian barbarian. There was a period of adjustment as tribesmen adjusted to the more civilized interior of the pub, and it adjusted to them. The hour or so that followed, saw many questions coming from those less accustomed to civilized ways, and many answers from Hendrik with his military point of view of life in the Empire.
After a short period of sightseeing around New Greeshan, the four tribesmen were off to spend the night in the camp of the Whitetails, and as Hendrik watched his new friends leave he saw something very disturbing. Off to one side of the courtyard he stood in, he noticed Loric the Timber Magnate giving orders to several members of his press gang. As Loric finished, eight of these armed men departed in the same direction as his four new friends. Thinking the vindictive Loric was about to start trouble, Hendrik headed off in the same direction.
Following the two groups of men and knowing the area a little better than the others, allowed Hendrik to move ahead of Loric’s men, and intercept the two groups about the time that Loric’s men overtook the others. However when Hendrik attempted to stop the hostilities before they erupted, he was rewarded with a mace upside the head. Though Loric’s men came on strong and confident, they were no match for the battle hardened barbarian, the ex-Imperial soldier, the war-singer, the thrower of Dragon magic, or the Moonspeaker. In the end, Loric’s men were down or surrendering, while the other were barely touched.
Hendrik had to convince the others to spare the lives of two of Loric’s men who had lived. The tribes saw the proper ending to a warrior’s life as on the battlefield with honor. When the souls of the warriors could make amends within the spirit world for their lack combat effectiveness. To die in battle was an honorable way to go, and the tribes saw that as the only outcome of a lost battle. Hendrik saw the need to send a message back to Loric, and let him know that to press the issue would result in more losses for him.
As the defeated pair returned to New Greeshan with their lives (minus some hair), Hendrik and Tronar remained at the battle site to keep the scavengers off the bodies of the dead giving time to the two to return with a wagon to pick up their fallen comrades. The other three continued on to the camp of the Whitetail. Hendrik and Tronar later watched from the shadows as the armed contingent of men retrieved the bodies of the fallen. Hendrik silently cursed the pair of men for getting the military involved in this.
At the Whitetail camp later that night, sitting around the chief’s fire much was discussed. Hendrik was clued in on the omens of a growing darkness in the East, where One Horn the new King Bull was amassing the warlike tribes for a campaign of destruction and domination. Hendrik then spoke of the Empires history and expanding nature. Chief Tandrik of the Whitetail was informed that his peaceful tribe should relocate, if he did not want to end up being destroyed. The other discussion was the need to ally the tribes, as it was seen that one lone tribe, such as the Whitetail, stand little chance of having a strong enough voice or enough muscle to stand up to the Empire, or the growing dark tide in the east.
The morning saw Hendrik returning to the colony to see what the fallout was, while the others checked in on the treatment of the Whitetail tribesmen on work detail with Loric’s Lumber crew. Hendrik found, in discussion with commander Fredrikson, that Loric’s men had stated that they were attacked by the Whitetail tribe. The military stance at this time was to let things die down, but if there were any further issues then they would come down hard on the Whitetail tribe.
The treatment of the three on the work detail was bad, but not worse than could be expected. Once the Moonspeaker was satisfied that the prisoners were being treated reasonably, they returned to the Whitetail camp where they made one final appeal to the Chief to move his camp, collaborated with Hendrik, and made plans to set out in the mornings for the lands of the Growtharn tribe, the homeland for both Charnel and Ghostwalker.
The next day all five set out together to gather the tribes in alliance, even Hendrik who could speak best on the powers and ways of the Empire.