[Haven] The Curious Matter of Baby Trees II - The Return

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Elisabeth Black
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[Haven] The Curious Matter of Baby Trees II - The Return

Arc 721, 14 Vhalar

Munny Farm was up and planted. Considering everything the settlers had accomplished during the time Elisabeth had been with them in Haven, past location and present, the farm was one of the things she was most proud of.

However, she insisted that along with celebrating the big successes, they stop and celebrate the smaller ones. The everytrial wins that most people just glossed over – those were important to morale. The young settlement leader understood that and chose to embrace anything and everything that lifted people's spirits.

That particular trial, Elisabeth had asked Osian, Kenwyn, and Derec – with Edward's permission - to help her with a small project. All three were currently working at Munny Farm as farmhands, and things were going well there. Edward, anticipating a slow trial at the farm, had sent Delilah to let Elisabeth know that if she wanted to borrow the three for the trial, he was happy to lend their muscle to her. The farmer knew that the project was important to their leader, and he had been eager to help her, so Haven would have another success to celebrate.

Elisabeth sent word to the three about meeting her on the north side of the settlement, near a large boulder known to all the settlers. She and the very sleepy Sir Storm of Haven set out, map in hand, swiftly making their way through the settlement. Well, Elisabeth was swift, feline less so. Yawning as he sauntered, Storm almost managed to topple himself a few times, letting out a few pathetic mewls of protest, hoping his girl would see reason.

Tossing a look back in his direction, the young settlement leader had little sympathy. "Oh no. You are the one that woke me up in the middle of the night because you wanted a midnight snack and then wanted to play with my feet under the covers. Do you know how long it took me to go back to sleep after that? Do you?" The question, answered with a few yowls of displeasure, didn't dissuade the small animal from following her.

Approaching the boulder, the young leader noted her three helpers for the trial, chuckling as the arguing pair arrived. Before Elisabeth could speak, though, a giant yawn slipped free, prompting her to hold up her hand, indicating for them to wait a second for it to pass. "Someone's a bit tired this morning?" Osian teased, a good-natured smile on his face. The mage replied, trying to keep the grumbling to a minimum. "Someone kept someone up last night and then has the audacity this morning to complain about his being tired."

Taking a deep breath, she smiled at the small group. "Good morning, you three. I appreciate you helping me today." The small things were important to her, and that started with being appreciative of the help given, regardless of how much sleep she did or did not get. Then again, she usually didn't sleep well when Balthazar was away, so she was used to lacking sleep.

Kenwyn pointed at the small, tiny trees littering the ground. "I take it that our task today has something to do with these?" Each baby tree - only a few inches tall - had a tiny piece of canvas holding its root ball, which Edward had taught her was important to successful transplanting. It wasn't enough to dig the trees out of the warm sand frames they had been growing in. Taking as much of the ground material as possible with the roots was essential. After digging up the baby trees, the Munnys had wrapped them and transported the three dozen transplants to the boulder site for Elisabeth and her helpers to scatter and plant.

Storm, wholly and utterly uninterested in whatever they were doing, decided that the boulder was the perfect place for a nap. The young feline, jumping up on the sun-warmed stone, circled a few times and planted himself, immediately closing his eyes.

Nodding at Kenwyn, Elisabeth produced the map she had brought, turning around so that the men could see what her plan was. "So, here's Haven. The cove is to the north and beyond that is the large natural mountain/rock formation. My thought is to plant half the seedlings just west of the cove and half west of Haven. It will give the settlement a bit of a buffer. I want to avoid planting or building anything to the south at this point."

All three men studied the map, hearing what she had to say. Derec, pointing to the south of Haven, was the first to speak up. "I'm curious as to your reasoning. I'm not saying I disagree, but you and I might have different reasons." Nodding, she turned back to the map. "Mostly because I believe any future roads will come from the south. As well, there's the Sentry, and that's the way to get to the docks. If Haven increases in size, I've planned that to work south. Even at that, these seedlings will be planted beyond the current boundaries of Haven, so we will have a bit of room to grow north and west. East is no good because of the water."

Glancing back at the men, she gave a quick smile, continuing. "I think leaving one direction free of impediments or things we would have to move is the smart plan, but I'm happy to discuss alternatives if any of you have alternate ideas?" All three shook their heads, looking at each other. "It's a solid plan, Elisabeth. No need to discuss further, I think," Osian said, considering the map a bit more. "Although I have a related question. I know we brought the trees from the old site, but why are we planting them? There are forests to the west we can explore. And I suppose I'm curious as to why now?"

It was a question she had expected and one she had discussed with Edward and Jolene at length. There were many things Elisabeth was good at, and resource management and gardening were skills she was getting better at. She had benefited from a slew of great mentors and experience and wanted to pass that knowledge on in the form of teaching others. The more skilled the settlers were, the more self-sufficient Haven would be, and she was well aware that being such was one of the main goals of the people in the settlement.

"Well, those are good questions, Osian," she began. Elisabeth wasn't being falsely flattering – they were good question. Still, she knew from watching Herman teach during the farm build that a bit of praise for asking questions could encourage additional curiosity from students. "One of them is such a good question that I confess I had the same one and talked over the matter with the Munnys because I wanted to understand the principles behind creating forests. Not exactly what we are doing here, but close." Letting him know she had questioned the same thing, she felt, was important. Even those that taught, always continued to learn.

Rolling up the map, she turned to face the trio, smiling a bit as she explained what she knew. "There is a small piece of me that, I admit, wants to plant these seedlings for sentimental purposes. They are from the old settlement site, and I think it's a lovely idea to bring something from there here…" The men grinned at her but said nothing. The Haven settlers knew Elisabeth and her sentimental tendencies. However, there was a feeling amongst them that those same tendencies that some might consider odd were part of the reason Haven's sense of community was so strong. She understood the ties that bound people together and had helped do that in the settlement.

Shrugging a bit at them, she continued. "But there are several solid reasons for trying to create small groves of trees. Trees provide cover for the ground, which helps prevent soil erosion from rain, snow, and ice. They also create animal habitats and help link existing habitats, especially since we are so close to the water. Faldrass' ecosystem took a blow with the eruption, and while things are slowly recovering, we can help, and it's right to do so. Balance is important. Nature has a way of restoring itself, and we've seen evidence already of that, but we have a responsibility as well to help where we can."

Another thing the settlers knew about Elisabeth – doing the right thing was important to her. She talked about balance often, but they understood why after hearing her story of the Forging. It was another trait that they took in stride and embraced because it mirrored the settlement's collective attitude. The people of Haven were good people and if Faldrass needed their help, then help Faldrass would get.

"As to the matter of 'why now', I actually knew the answer to that before talking to the Munnys." She was, admittedly, a bit proud of that. "Now that Saun is over, the weather is cooling down, but the stormy cold seasons are a bit off. If we plant now, it gives the seedlings time for their roots to take hold in the ground before being stressed by weather."

Smiling at the men, Elisabeth nodded to the little seedlings. "So, I say let's get to it. I anticipate it will take us most of the trial, but I think we have everything here, and we can all work together in one area and then move to the next."

They quickly agreed, but Derec had one last question for the group. "Alright, but most importantly…" he began, glancing over at the sleeping form of Storm, grinning a bit. "Who's going to wake up Storm?"
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Re: [Haven] The Curious Matter of Baby Trees II - The Return


Teaching - Praise for asking questions encourages additional curiosity from students
Logistics - Settlement planning is a complex thing
Logistics - Planting things where you plan to develop is a bad idea
Science - Trees help prevent soil erosion
Science - The impact of an eruption on an ecosystem
Gardening - Taking weather into account for transplanting seedlings

Loot: -
Lost: -
Wealth: -
Injuries: -
Renown: -
Magic XP: -
Skill Review: Appropriate to level.
Points: 10
- - -
Comments: Elisabeth gives me the impression of being a good leader who truly cares about her settlers. Things like her wanting to celebrate the small successes as well and recognizing that they are important to morale which is something you mentioned at the beginning of the thread are examples of that.

Sir Storm of Haven was as cute as ever in this thread, but this time, we got to see a new side of him which I appreciate. The scenes with tired Storm were adorable in my opinion.

When Osian teased Elisabeth about being tired, I couldn’t help but smirk. I love the way you portrayed Elisabeth’s relationship with her settlers and that they tease each other like that!

And what more, Elisabeth showed off her skill at Logistics in this thread, when she talked about avoiding planting or building anything to the south for the time being because that’s where any future roads will come from in her opinion. She doesn’t only consider the present, but also the future!

It also seems as if you have done some research into the benefits of planting trees. I love how maintaining balance has become so important to Elisabeth – it played an important part in the Forging as well. With that being said, I wonder if someone will wake Storm up, and I look forward to reading the sequel!

Enjoy your rewards!
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