Timber War

In The Dragonslayer of Edgewhen, some characters refer to the Timber War, which was the first war involving the Clanfolk. These are the events, as far as the Clanfolk know:

Far, far sunaway of the Clanfolk Heartland, there lived a tribe of Redfolk in a land of endless winter. They survived by hunting great shaggy beasts. As will happen to anyone who always harvests and never plants, they eventually ran out of food. And so, in 990, they came sunward.

When they reached the lands of the Stripedfolk who lived in the forests upriver from Maisil, they began killing the Stripedfolk’s deer. Now the Stripedfolk didn’t think much of that, so Wolfslayer of the Longgrass Village convinced everyone to band together. They did so, and drove the Redfolk away. That would have been all well and good, except that it left Wolfslayer in command of an army.

Wolfslayer was glad to be rid of the Redfolk, but he really hated the Clanfolk. He said we were cutting down his trees. Now maybe this was true and maybe it wasn’t. The trees weren’t near anyone’s village, so the Maisilen timber cutters reckoned the trees belonged to whoever wanted them. Wolfslayer reckoned differently, and now he had the power to do something about it. He attacked a timber crew.

Well, Clan Joiner was not too pleased by this aggressive challenge to their timber claim. They contracted through Clan Houser for a band of Caladrel mercenaries. (Caladrel are Redfolk from the dry plains; not the same as the Redfolk who started things in motion.) They also recruited some of their downstream cousins who thought they were just getting into a wrestling match. Nobody knew it would be a war. Nobody even knew what a war was.

For a while it was just shouting and waving spears and axes. But then someone got killed, and so it was time to kill someone on the other side. And then, well, it seems like evil deeds are the only things that people are eager to pay back. Some of the other clans got involved, and some people came upstream to help as soldiers or healers. And of course, there was also money to be made: the soldiers had to get fed and a lot of people turned a profit by shipping in flour.

With support from the lands downstream, Maisil had the population advantage, but the Stripedfolk balanced things out with their nasty wind magic. And whenever things got too bad, they ran back to their villages. Some of the councilmen thought Maisil should take the fight to the Stripedfolk’s homes, but others reckoned the Stripedfolk could do the same to us, so they let them run away to safety.

This went on for two years. The villages were kept safe, but neither side could venture into the forest in between without provoking an attack. The end of the war came at Battle Creek. The mercenaries got caught on the wrong side of the creek or something and had to run away from Stripedfolk. With the mercenaries gone, Wolfslayer and his Stripedfolk just kept coming. Our villages were undefended. Maisil sued for peace.

They probably should have done that to begin with. Once the boundary was established, everything settled down. Clanfolk stayed on their side of Battle Creek and everyone was happy.

Best of all, Wolfslayer founded a village to guard the border. That made it a lot easier to trade with his people.