Time is extremely short. Gart Ironshank brought us news that the mire-pearlers from Great Glade have disembarked from the sky tavern, the Xanth Filatine, somewhere to the east of the Farrow Ridges. The sky tavern pilot told him that there were at least eighty of them, armed with triple-shot phraxmuskets, phraxgrenades and a phraxcannon mounted on a sumpwood limber. At least half of them have brought prowlgrin mounts with them, and have probably already begun scouting patrols in the woods to the east.
It is clear that this is no small band of buccaneering adventurers, but an organized invasion force. Their leader, according to Gart Ironshank, is a disaffected commander of the Great Glade phrax-marine called Felvis Yellowmane, a long haired goblin cashiered for corruption.
Hedgethorn Lammergyre called a meeting at his hive house this evening with representatives of the small, but growing, community that fringes our lake. Alcestia brought clan elders of the hammerhead goblins of the Western Woods, while her father, the Roost Marshal, managed to persuade the shy and secretive white trogs of the Water Caverns to send several of their leaders. I attended, together with several caverneers, local trappers and a fall fisherman of my acquaintance, as a representative of the new settlers. And Captain Gart Ironshank spoke for the traders who have established a phraxship deck on the farrow ridge to the south of us. Hedgethorn, as our oldest and most established Farrow Lake resident, led the proceedings, and the newly-arrived webfoot goblins were a vocal presence.
It was a sombre gathering, as we all knew that storm clouds were approaching, and this was going to be an altogether bloodier affair than any of us had anticipated. Not only was the pearl of the Great Blueshell Clam at stake, but also the freedom of all the residents of the Farrow Lake and its surrounding woods. Once these mire-pearlers had robbed the clam, they would be sure to look for other opportunities to exploit the abundant riches of the Farrow Ridges with impunity.
‘If we do nothing, we shall all fall under the tyranny of Commander Felvis Yellowmane and his Great Glade cronies,’ Captain Ironshank declared, thumping his fist down on the long table at which we were all seated.
‘What we need,’ said Hedgethorn thoughtfully, ‘is a militia.’
The Roost Marshal got to his feet, his eyes bright. ‘The Farrow Lake Militia!’ he announced.
The webfoots, hammerheads, settlers and white trogs all nodded their heads in agreement.
‘We have infantry,’ the old soldier said, indicating the settlers and hammerhead goblins. ‘We have marines and engineers.’ He nodded towards the trogs and webfoots. ‘That just leaves the cavalry.’ The Roost Marshal turned to his daughter, Alcestia, and to me.
‘We won’t let you down, will we, Forden?’ said Alcestia. ‘We’ll start recruiting at dawn tomorrow.’
I swallowed nervously. It seemed I had been recruited to the Farrow Lake Militia…