The troops built their barracks and stables just on the other side of the BUMP wall. The Ninjas having larger numbers built a three-story building while the Bat Lords only built a two-story building. In both cases the knights live on the ground floor for ease of access to the horses when the knights are in full armor. Horse tack and extra equipment is stored over the stables.
The foot soldiers have the room opposite the tack rooms, with a few sleeping with the tack in case it is needed in a hurry. The Ninja assassins have the entire upper floor, with ropes to lower themselves to ground level in addition to stairway access. The Ninjas of the Hilt, on the right, are dressed in gray. The Ninjas of the Blade, on the left, are dressed in black. These names come from the parts of the sacred Ninja Blade as depicted in the Ninja Temple. Notice how the upper floor lifts out for display. This is obviously only of any use if there is no roof. In the picture of the completed barracks one can see the assassins practicing their rope climbing and the knights and foot soldiers practicing their swordsmanship.
Bat Lord Barracks
As with the Ninjas the foot soldiers have the room opposite the tack room. Sleeping in the tack room are the Bat Lord palace guard who have taken over the duties of town watch. These are just the off-duty guardsmen. They share beds with the on-duty personnel due to lack of space. Two trainee swordsmen also sleep here. There is only sufficient horse armor for three of the eleven Bat Lord knights. When the required equipment is finally obtained it is clear that it and the men will not both fit into the Bat Lord's tack room. At that time the horse armor will probably be stored elsewhere, freeing enough room for each of the guardsmen to have a bed of his own. The horse armor is very unwieldy to get downstairs so this is for the better all around. In the picture of the completed barracks one can see the dragon perches on the roof and also the knights and foot soldiers practicing their swordsmanship.
Community Service Center
The abducted Town women went native and opened a 24-hour Community Service Center. Here the men who have no families can get food and other comforts. The men especially enjoy fried plastic rings with hot emulsion for breakfast. The keg of highland plasticizer won't be touched until much later in the day. When asked if they ever regretted being abducted, the women laughed and said "What, regret leaving all that noise and fuss? Sirens, roaring motors and squealing tires day in and day out? Life is much better here." The response to the question of whether or not their small facility truly offered 24-hour service was a broad smile and "We keep our skillets nice and greasy *all* the time." Regardless of this, they do wash up by the fireside after each meal.
The Ninja princess lives with her consort on the second story of the Ninja temple. The throne shares the first story with an immense tableau depicting the symbol of the Ninja god, a flaming black sword. Here the Ninja people can come to either pray for favors or beg them of royalty, the difference not being clear to the Ninja people since the Ninja royalty is considered to be divinely descended. The temple is guarded by the highest order of assassins, the Ninjas of the Flame. The Ninja wise man, the eldest of the Ninjas of the Flame, lives on the third-story of the temple where he will spend the remainder of his life in contemplation of the unique Ninja holy secrets which consist of an ancient scroll and three silver crystals of power.
Front and back views of the completed temple. The wise women are not above consulting with their male colleagues on various issues, such as the bouquet of the last batch of plasticizer.
Ninja Flying Battle Monkeys
In earlier times winged contraptions were used by Ninja assassins to allow them to drop literally from the sky onto their targets. The assassins were never very fond of this form of transport as it took two hands to guide the machine, leaving no hand free for defense or attack. Then once one had dropped on and dispatched the enemy there was the problem of either taking off again or dragging the apparatus back to the home base, always assuming that the fragile wings had not been damaged by the fall when the grip of the passenger was released. All of this changed when it was discovered that pairs of monkeys could be trained to fly the mechanical wings. Each grasping one handhold with a hind limb and carrying a spear in the forelimbs, they made deadly teams.
Bat Lord Temple
Built open to the sky to which the Bat Lords yearn to ascend, the Bat Lord temple appears macabre. The breeding female dragon wings which decorate the upper edges of the roof are actually held in reverence, being the wings of deceased guardians of Bat Lord cities. Words of Power are placed at the corners of the room, to beseech the Four Winds for their favor in flight. The silver crystals, a unique secret of the Bat Lord wise women, make their own contribution to the ambiance. With the entrance ramp up and locked, one wise woman proceeds to sanctify a barrel of highland plasticizer for sacramental use. Another waits ready with the tap, and the others all have their glasses ready. Beneath the ramp are the remains of deceased servants of the temple in honorable burial. The bodies of deceased wise women and temple guards are given in a special ceremony to the dragons, who carefully cleanse the bones of all tissue but leave the ligament intact. The skeletons are stacked in a standing position where they serve very effectively as deterrents to would-be desecraters who cannot help but be reminded by the odd dragon toothmark of exactly what cleansed the bones.
After the service is over the wise-women dance in the road with the dragons, while the temple guards drink their own libation.
Hall of the Lesser Tribes
Later refugees form minority groups insofar as representation in the armed forces and share but one dwelling. The first remnant to arrive consisted of the twin Royal Kings, accompanied by their Royal Champion, three wizards and a few poorly armed men. They also had with them bowmen from both the Dark Forest and the Wolfpack remnants. One notable event was the arrival of the Dragon Masters remnant. You don't ever want to see such fury as was unleashed that day by the Redoubt dragons at the sight of dragons locked in cages. Even the breeding female left her hoard to threaten the group. The men dropped their weapons and shields and were herded together by the males. The horses were led away into the compound by some of the men of the Royal Kings. The non-breeding females then proceeded to release their sisters. After swearing fealty to the Royal Kings the Dragon Masters were allowed to join the others in their residence.
The addition of the Dragon Master remnant doubled the occupancy of the Hall of the Lesser Tribes. This necessitated some changes in the construction. A room divider was added to the lower level, previously the quarters only of the Twin Kings, their Champion and three swordsmen, to give the Twin Kings a private room in the presence of the Dragon Master knights and swordsmen. The one window in the Kings' Quarters was also also fitted with bars to prevent uninvited guests from entering. Where the archers, foot soldiers and the mages had shared the upstairs quarters it was now divided into three: one room for all of the archers, one of all of the spear and pikemen, and one for the mages. Although it is crowded most think it better than sleeping in the open, at least on the lower level. The upper level is not quite as appreciated, due the presence of the flock of Passenger Parrots which are allowed to fly freely in and out of the upper level. These gray pisticines were useful for carrying messages in the old days of war and this one flock is all that remains of them because they also turned out to be tasty during times of famine. The isolation, to one small room, of the mages turned out to be an improvement. With their potion mixing machine, uniquely powered by two silver crystals, the three mages spend their time trying to make sense of the recipes on the old and somewhat faded parchment which was all they were able to take with them during their flight to Redoubt Village. So far they have created an explosive gas, a dark confection which is chewy on the inside and crunchy on the outside, and a halfway passable martini. No actual magical effects have yet been obtained. While the soldiers appreciated the candy, the explosive gas evacuated the upper story when it was made, and no one in their right minds wants to be too near to a group of drunken mages.
The nearest upper meadows supply grazing for both the plasticizer-providing quadrupeds, and the extra mounts for the troops and for the Drovers Trading Consortium. Here the heavy black chargers, the stately white prancers, and the sturdy brown drays mingle their genes, usually producing only one of the three types but occasionally producing the spirited spotted horses which are claimed by the Herder Tribe for their own use. Some horses are also sold, but rarely, to very wealthy folk from elsewhere.
The mountain backing Redoubt Village is part of the Pastel Range and displays the lovely tints which give the range its name. Those with good imaginations sometimes see faces in the rock formations. At the foot of the steep road up to the meadows is the cave in which the barrels of Highland Plasticizer are stored. This cave was once a mine for colorless plastic in the days before Redoubt Village grew to such prominence. Once the trade in plasticizer was established this labor-intensive source of income was abandoned. From inside the cave one can see the colorless mountain interior with a nearby vein of silver plastic. Tribesmen tend the quadruped herd in a meadow just outside of the plasticizer aging cave. It takes two figures to milk one quadruped. Barely visible to the right is one of the tribesmen hired by the drovers to handle exchanging their remounts.
When a drover caravan arrives, as this one bearing vital roofing supplies has done, the bugler alerts drover employees inside the village as to the needs of the caravan. Three employees await the caravan's entrance, along with a wise woman who waits in welcome before the open doors of the reception hall. Notice also the watering trough supplied from the original oasis spring. The availability of water and the stone walls which hold in the moisture have enabled the villagers to grow very thick green turf in the fortification. Three more native employees lead the remounts down from the upland meadows along the steep trail carved in the mountainside.
Two attempts to capture the overall ambiance of Redoubt Village: one from the viewpoint of a monkey flying over the mountain meadows, and one from the viewpoint of a dragon flying over the desert.
An amusing local superstition has it that a huge cat stalks the village at odd times. This is incorrect. Two huge cats stalk the village at odd times. They do it one at a time . . .
. . . unless the two moons are in conjunction.
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