Captain Kessler scowled to himself as he read the note. Another patrol had gone missing in the north. That was the fifth in the last three months. And as usual, he couldn't be sure if it was the rebels, or simply desertion. He swore underneath his breath. When he'd been sent to Tintagel, he'd seen it as a cushy post, as opposed to the upcoming fighting in the Free Cities. After all, what was in Tintagel, aside from Ys?
Woods. Mile upon mile upon mile... of woods.
Oh, there was the occasional town... but most of the islands were essentially forests. The people of Tintagel lived in small settlements in them, making their living off the lumber and a bit of small farming. They weren't that many of them, outside of the island of Great Ys. It sounded like an easy job. Until you needed the lumber in those woods. And you sent your men to get it. Then you discovered that those people were very good at vanishing into the woods.
And very good at vanishing people who went looking for them.
So Kessler found himself here, with an ever-dwindling force, all the while the men at Ys kept crying for more timber, more wood, they needed it for those ships, they needed it now...
It was maddening, really. Kessler sat down, feeling worn down. There was only one thing that made operating here livable.
He popped the cork from his bottle and took a swig.
The local drink was simply amazing.
Bres stepped in--a little man that always made Kessler certain that he was actually a rat who'd become a man through some inexplicable manner. But Bres was a Prince's Man, who wore the Prince's livery, and so you didn't say anything. "Message from Ys," said Bres in his nasty little growl of a voice. "They're disappointed in the last shipment." He leaned forward, looking at Kessler significantly. "Need more lumber. Soon."
"I'll get on it," muttered Kessler.
Bres scowled some more, gave an insincere nod, and then backed out of the room. Kessler waited until he was certain he was gone, and took another big swallow from his drink.