Chapter Forty-Eight

By Douglas E. Gogerty

The refugees kept streaming across into Princess Angelina's kingdom. The sons of King Thorbjorn were ravaging Lakeland. It was taking a great toll on the citizenry of their country. Further, all the citizens heard of the hospitality offered by the Princess. Instead of being ravaged by war, they grabbed their valuables and headed south. The situation was becoming a problem.

Not to mention, the civil war in Lakeland was destroying the crops. The soldiers would trample on the young plants. Great battles occurred on the prosperous fields. The carnage of the battle would end up destroying young crops. If the battle did not destroy the food, one brother would burn a field to take it away from another brother. Famine was going to be a real problem in Lakeland. Everyone was afraid of the upcoming food shortage. Thus, even more people headed south.

With the growing number of people coming to her kingdom, the Princess even asked her father to provide whatever resources he could spare. He sent his hunters out to bring in whatever game they could to feed the refugees. King Jonathan would do whatever his daughter asked. Thus, the food began flowing from Calmondak.

However, this compounded the problem. The more food available, the more the people would come. The more people, the larger the presence appeared on the boarder. Thus, the more people, the more concerned Lakeland became of the buildup. The Princess would not be able to have such a large population on the boarder without consequences. Nonetheless, she was unwilling to move the refugees farther into the interior where her own people were living.

Hence, the Princess spent a lot of time looking for places to put the refugees. She inquired with King Jonathan, but he could not take them. There was a treaty in place between Lakeland and Calmondak, which forbade the kingdoms from accepting refugees. King Jonathan was reluctant to break the treaty. Thus, Calmondak refused entry to all the refugees that tried to enter. This drove them towards the Princess's kingdom.

Therefore, Princess travelled to the Pirate Peninsula to see if they could take any of the war-weary citizens of Lakeland. She found the same sort of obstacles she had encountered with her previous visit. They would have to gather and vote on what to do. In the mean time, there would be thousands of refugees starving. It did not seem to the Princess that there was enough time.

As the days past, Princess Angelina was struggling with the overwhelming numbers. She wondered what to do to feed them. When visiting her father, she used the google to find out how to catch fish in the rivers. Further, she recruited fishermen while in the peninsula to show her citizens how to catch fish in the gulf. The refugees would need food from any source possible. She thought fish would be a suitable food source. However, the suncar system was not quite adequate to transport all of that food. Something else needed to be used.

She was observing the fishing operation on the main river when she saw something odd. It was a raft floating down the river. She had never seen such a thing. The raft appeared to have gone through a rough time. The river had been rough on the craft, and the raft appeared to be empty.

She ordered her people to pull the raft to shore. It nearly disintegrated when they hooked onto it. Upon the shore, they searched it, and it was as it seemed. There was no one onboard. There was a bit of blood in the rafts box, and it was riddled with holes.

Everyone was amazed that the craft still afloat. They remarked that workmanship was not that great, but it was serviceable. Whomever it belonged to had abandoned it somewhere upriver. From the looks of it, it had smacked some debris in the river. After this incident, it was fortunate to hold together.

The Princess stated that rafts or boats would be of help fishing the river. Further, river transportation could take the food upriver. Since even rough rafts could travel downstream, it would not take much to have them return for more. Thus, it would streamline the delivery of food to where the refugees in need could obtain it. Since the river made it to the gulf, all of the fish could travel in this manner.

Some of her subjects were familiar with river travel. They mentioned ancient riverboat travel. They could use burnable objects to make steam. They seemed to recall that steamboats had long ago disappeared from the river. However, the technology would not be that difficult to replicate. With some experimentation, they could get them going again.

The Princess decided to offer a reward for the best design. There would be several different boats built. Whoever built the most reliable form of transportation would build a fleet of such vessels. This could be a very lucrative proposition. The possibilities for the contract were enormous. Thus, many people began working on designs.

To some of the designers, the Princess noted that perhaps someone could adapt the suncar technology to propel the river traffic. However, solar technology would be dependant on the sun. Thus, they would not be useable at all times. However, she let the participants choose their method.

When the participants were happy with the details of the contest, the Princess ordered some citizens to begin gathering materials to fashion such watercraft. With the gathered materials, several riverboats could be fashioned. They did not have to be in their final state, but they had to be ready quickly. Time was important.

With river traffic reestablished, the Princess could become powerful further up river. She tried not to think about that. However, the warring factions in Lakeland noticed her actions. They were quite concerned. They would not put up with her aggressive moves. They doubled their efforts to end their civil war, so they could then take on Princess Angelina who had a formidable force on the Lakeland border.

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This page contains a single entry by Douglas Gogerty published on December 5, 2010 6:20 PM.

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