[Haven] The Curious Matter of Baby Trees - Episode III - The Revenge of Storm

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Elisabeth Black
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[Haven] The Curious Matter of Baby Trees - Episode III - The Revenge of Storm

Arc 721, 14 Vhalar


The sneeze came from behind Elisabeth. The young leader didn't need to turn around to know who was sneezing. A smile slipped upon her lips, acknowledging the karma involved in the situation.

"Elisabeth, why did I have to wake up Storm? There were four of you there."
Ronan, having had the misfortune of coming across the small group as they contemplated who would wake Elisabeth's irritable feline companion so they could begin transplanting seedling trees, complained irritably. For some reason, he always sneezed around the small animal, and for other reasons that escaped the man, Storm liked to be around him - a lot.

"Ahhh….because he was already being a brat, and I thought he would take it better from you?" It was not a total lie. Not really. Elisabeth mixed a lot of truth in the words if one really analyzed it. Looking over her shoulder at him, Elisabeth flashed a mischievous smile at Ronan, to which he only glowered back.

Well, at least until she turned back around. Once she couldn't see Ronan's expression, he grinned a bit. The Elisabeth that had arrived in Haven with Balthazar had been fine. Still, he enjoyed the more mischievous version she was evolving into more, and took partial credit for said evolution because of his relentless teasing. There had been a few options in how she would respond to his antics, and to his surprise, a whole new side of the young woman had emerged.

Osian, Derec, and Kenwyn walked with them as they moved north of the settlement. With a small hand wagon procured from the farm, they transported the tiny seedlings, compost, tools, and water.

And Storm.

Irritable for being woken from another nap, Storm had planted himself at the end of the little wagon, refusing to move, causing everyone to pack things around him. Ronan and Derec pulled the wagon along while Elisabeth and Kenwyn looked for the right spot to plant. Osian had 'Storm duty', the importance of became apparent rather quickly.

As the group had started to move, conversations naturally began. Shortly after, a sharp 'clang' was heard behind the group, causing all to turn their heads, noting a hand shovel on the ground. Osian quickly fell back to pick up the errant item, putting it back where it had been and rejoined the group.

Not one bit later, another 'clang' sounded. Upon looking back, the same hand shovel was once again back on the ground. Arching an eyebrow gently, Elisabeth had an idea what was going on but needed a bit of confirmation. "Osian, do you mind staying back behind the wagon for a moment? I have a theory." Shrugging his shoulders, the young man agreed and did as the mage asked, replacing the hand shovel in the cart next to Storm, where it had been previously.

"Elisabeth, do you think," Osian started but was interrupted as he watched the feline in the cart look directly at him, and bat the hand shovel off the back of the cart, finding its way to the ground again.

The 'clang' sounded, and without even looking, Elisabeth answered. "Yes, Osian. I think Storm is pushing things off the back of the wagon."

The young woman thought about it for a few moments and then fell back with Osian, instructing the others to keep moving until they ran into a series of large wooden stakes she had used to mark the north planting spot the trial before. As the cart passed her, Storm momentarily glanced in her direction but then looked away.

Osian watched the pair, then looked at Elisabeth with a grin. “He’s feisty totrial.” The young mage kept her eyes on the cat but replied to the man’s remark. “He is, yes, but he’s also young, and I haven’t done an outstanding job of training him. I’ve never had an animal as a companion before, but I think it’s about time to try a few things I’ve read about.”

The pair waited, talking about the weather and a few other mundane things, appearing for all the world to pay attention to each other, not Storm. It took only a bit or two before Elisabeth spotted the paw moving towards the hand shovel, and she was ready for it.

Lifting her hand just a bit, she twisted it, directing the air around Storm to circle, messing his fur and startling the young feline enough to abandon his prank for the moment. Chuckling, Osian commented on her curious tactics. “You read somewhere about using your magic to train a cat?” Grinning back at him, Elisabeth shook her head. “Not exactly. I did read about the startling technique, though, and thought defiance was as good a tool as anything else. It's called negative reinforcement.”

Storm settled once again, appearing to be a little more jittery, but when he thought Osian and Elisabeth weren’t paying attention, his little paw moved slowly towards the tool. The mage repeated the same maneuver with air, causing Storm to jump further back in the wagon and lay down on a bag of compost, sulking.

Shooing Osian up with the others, Elisabeth kept an eye on her mischievous feline until the cart stopped, having arrived at the markers Elisabeth had placed. Joining the others, Elisabeth looked around briefly, then began talking about what they needed to do. "Alright, we have three dozen seedlings, so half is eighteen. Eighteen at this site, the rest at the one I've marked to the west of the settlement."

Taking out a seedling, Elisabeth held it in her hand as she explained the rest of the plan. "So, when we saw the trees in the Ashwoods, the tallest ones were over a hundred feet tall. That's not the part that we need to worry about, though. When planting a group of things, you must worry about how wide they are at maturity. At least that's what Edward told me. Best I can recall, the spread on the mature trees was about forty feet, which means that we need to plant the trees about thirty feet apart. That will allow them to grow free of each other but will start filling in once they are big enough."

Pointing back to the wagon, which was now Storm-less, Elisabeth continued. "Small holes, put in a bit of the compost mixture from the farm, roots need to be completely covered, and water in well. That's all there is to it. The compost mixture contains a large amount of orange sand to keep the roots of the seedlings near the same temperature they are used to. Once in the ground, they will slowly acclimate to more varied temperature patterns."

Looking at the four men, having conscripted Ronan into their workforce, she gave them another chance to ask any questions they needed to, but everyone seemed to understand the task ahead. They paired off, with Osian running supplied and seedlings out to the two groups planting. Carefully, they measured out where each hole was to be dug, keeping in mind the distance required.

Storm, in the meantime, made his way back and forth between everyone, curious why people were digging in the ground. Rubbing up against Elisabeth as she knelt to replace soil over a seedling she was planting, she couldn't help but give a soft chuckle. "Uh-huh. Now you want to be friends? I see how you are."

The work was slow, but they made reasonably good time between the two groups and the additional person, allowing them to move over to the west side of the settlement after the noon meal and repeat the planting process there. Elisabeth started thinking about the maintenance needed to keep the seedlings healthy as they wound down the planting. It had been a topic Edward, and she discussed briefly, having come to a collective decision between the two of them.

"Alright, so we have the seedlings planted, but there's more to it than that. They are strong, but they will need a bit of monitoring to keep them that way." Turning to Osian, Kenwyn, and Derec, she gave them a quick smile before continuing. "Edward says he will assign the three of you to rotate shifts of walking out to the planting sites to check on the seedlings and report back if there are any issues. Once they get tall enough, we will need to stake each one to help brace the growing trunks against the area's wind, ensuring they grow straight and strong. Edward doesn't anticipate needing to do that until next arc, though, so there's time."

Glancing around, the group took a moment to enjoy the moment, happy in the knowledge that they would be able to mark one more thing off the never-ending list of things to do. After, they quickly packed up everything and made their way back to Haven, eager to celebrate another small success.

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Re: [Haven] The Curious Matter of Baby Trees - Episode III - The Revenge of Storm


Animal Training - Negative reinforcement is a valid training technique
Gardening - Staking is needed to keep trees growing straight in high-wind areas.
Gardening - Consider canopy width of a mature tree to know how far apart to plant them.
Gardening - Acclimating roots from nursery beds to permanent location using familiar material
Gardening - Planting is only the beginning of tree care
Investigation - Testing a theory

Loot: -
Lost: -
Wealth: -
Injuries: -
Renown: 10, for creating a small grove of trees.
Magic XP: -
Skill Review: Appropriate to level.
Points: 10
- - -
Comments: “Achoo!”

I grinned when I read the scene at the beginning of the thread where Ronan woke up and promptly sneezed. The poor guy – he seems to be allergic to cats, but cats seem to like him.

At least one cat does!

That was such a fun way to start the thread. And what more, it seems as if Storm was annoyed because his sleep was interrupted and started to throw things off the wagon. I love how much personality you’ve given Elisabeth’s cat!

The part of the thread where Elisabeth and the settlers planted the trees was handled well as well in my opinion. I appreciate how you had Elisabeth consider different aspects of planting trees – such as making sure that the seedlings are far enough apart. Using orange sand to make sure that the temperature near the roots is always the same is a clever idea!

Finally, I like how you ended this thread. At the beginning of the thread before this one you mentioned Elisabeth wanting to celebrate the small successes as well, and now Haven has such a small success to celebrate!

Enjoy your rewards!
word count: 279





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