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Timber War
the secret company of Restoration of Erathia
by Bluewind
4th of March, 2001
The war for Restoration of Erathia was ended. All the state borders have been restored. You think that not it will be peace time on the continent? Wrong! Think again! What usually happens when the shock of hard times and suffering has passed, horrible enemies were repulsed and beated, people can finally breath freely and continue their lives? They begin to rebuild their homes? Right. What else? They try to mend the wounds? Again corret, but they also will certainly suddenly become very conscious about the old quarrels that were insignificant before the major troubles only a month or two ago. Sounds familiar? No wonder!

That was certainly the case between Erathia and Avlee in their eternal argument over the disputed territories rich with woods and high quality timber. Noone even remember why and when this land got this title "the disputed territories", but everyone know that neither Avlee nor Erathia do not want to drop their claim to
it. In peaceful times when there was no any official war around people and elves alike were dying only because of whose flag would be on this or that sawmill.
And better than anyone it was known to the inhabitants of this disputed territory that was situated not on very large piece of land but nevertheless, quite substantial to have its own main town - Welnin.
The major of Welnin was the conscious and patriotic man by the name of Faruk Welnin. His heart bled with every useless loss of human, elf or other creature life due to fir, birch or pine trunks.
He offered his citizens a new motto - We don't need Avlee, we don't need Erathia, we are our own.
Independence. That was the idea. To refuse claims of the both countries, to stop this endless quarrel and become independent.

The idea maybe was looking as extremely sensible and great from the disputed lands major and his sitizens view, but at the same time as absolutely unacceptable in both Avlee and Erathia leaders' opinion. In this they were surprisingly unite.

Thus the dispute became the Timber War and the yesterday allies Avlee and Erathia began this infamous conflict with the town of Welnin and its major in the center of the activities.

Faruk Welnin was the clear thinking person and understood that the idea of independence might be good but by no means it is enough for the local population to raise in rebellion. The idea needed a symbol. A major symbol of the just course. The thing that could be such a symbol was the Graal. The holy Graal that was lost hundreds of years ago and presumably (what a coincidence!) was still somewhere on the disputed territories, though of course, noone know where exactly.

Faruk Welnin was certain that if anyone could find the Graal, it would be the locals who know these deep woods as their own home.
However, if the leaders didn't want the movement for independence to be killed at the moment of its birth, they had to hurry as they already got messages from Avlee and Erathia of the planned repressive actions against the disputed territories.
All the strategical passages around the land have been already blocked by the militia units. The only hope for the independence movement was that all the commanders of both Avlee and Erathia were either still with the main army body returning home from the front lines or fallen on the battlefields of the last  Restoration of Erathia war. The local garrisons were stripped of nearly all available officers altogether. 
Also it could be considered as an advantage that though the majority of the disputed territories population still kept neutrality in the affairs and neither supported nor impeded the independence movement, there were several settlements already openly followed the movement and they sent recruits to Faruk Welnin army.

Now eveything depended on the speed of actions. Should Faruk Welnin and his independent movement fail to find Graal and win wide support of the local population with the help of this holy symbol in the most nearest future, then the major of Welnin town and all his other leaders would face the quick fate of being hanged on the closest sturdy tree as the war hardened Avlee and Erathia veteran army units wouldn't be too long in coming to the disputed territories and suppressing any liberal ideas and thoughts of independence.

The Graal searching parties were sent in all directions but there was still no success. Days were passing and Faruk Welnin was besieged by heavy thoughts and doubts caused more not by the lack of news about the Graal, but by the news about the other member of his family.
None else but his own sister was  spotted on the north of the territories with the large unit of the War Unicorns. She was in odds with Faruk about the independence movement. Her loyalty to Avlee was unbreakable and untouchable. Any thoughts about breaking off from Avlee were considered by her as the high treason. The fact that her own brother was about to attempt the act of this high treason didn't apparently move her at all.

Despite the best hopes of Faruk that somehow it would be possible to avoid fighting against his will strong sister, the inevitable has happened.

One of the military units pledged to the independence movement stumbled upon these War Unicorns. The ferocious battle was fought. The Unicorns were defeated utterly. Faruk's sister wasn't found neither among fallen nor among the prisoners, but some spoke that she was seen on the battlefield,It wast though not participating in any active actions but watching the fight from a distance.
It was the first major victory of the movement. The second followed next week when the complete map of the hidden Graal location was found. The map was correct and after this a recovery of the Graal was the question of a couple of days. The other question was transportation of the invaluable artifact to the future place of its storage and display in the town of Welnin.
The crucial task was entrusted to the ranger Ryland. The better choice was difficult to find. Ryland has been the first and till this day the only representative of the humans race who has passed the test for Avlee Ranger before the Elder Dendroids Council. His skills were the reason of constant stream of jokes that he was an elf in a former life, but was killed and resurrected in a
human body by mistake. Ryland was good but in this mission he needed all his skills and experience. His task wasn't to fight but stealthily pass around all Avlee and Erathia militia units and outposts using the secret paths in deep woods and bring his priceless load to the town of Welnin.

He didn't fail, the Graal was safely delivered and solemnly put on display for everyone to see in the Town Hall of Welnin.

The word that the holy Graal, the symbol of everything that is pure and just, was in the hands of the fighters for independence spreaded all over the disputed territories with the speed of forest fire in dry season.
That was when the course of things has finally turned in favor for Faruk Welnin. His plan worked. As soon as news about Graal reached all settlements of the land, the steady stream of recruits was flowing in Welnin. Village after village, dwelling after dwelling joined the movement. Both the indigenous population of the Elves and the Humans believed at last in the idea of independent territories free from any claims of the both neighboring countries of Avlee and Erathia.
And when the former provincial town of Welnin would have the special house for the holy Graal, the town will become the base, the foundation and the capital of the movement, and then the disputed territories will never be a reason for quarrels and wars between two great nations of Avlee and Erathia.
Then the Welnin major's and thousands of other people's vision of peaceful time would be realized...Hopefully...Only the future will show.