After a good night’s rest and a large breakfast, we board our rafts and continue to the next settlement downriver. As we move, you notice the landscape shift. We started in temperate grassland, but now we’re in the savannah. The grasses are taller and thicker here, and wildlife is far more prevalent. Perhaps our travels south have shown you just how hard the mellowmira have it compared to the elvira.
Most elvira never want for food because it’s plentiful where they live, and their populations are smaller. The mellowmira have less food resources, so they overhunt, leading to decreases in the animal populations. The mellowmiran population has increased significantly over the centuries, resulting in even greater problems. The mellowmira want territory farther south to supply food to their people. If the elvira were willing to allow that, there wouldn’t be a war. But don’t judge the elvira just yet. You don’t know their side of the story.
As we make our way to Giana, I tell you a story about the conflict between the two nations.
* * * * *
It was a warm summer night. The inhabitants of Cosimia slept soundly in their beds, their windows wide open to allow the breeze to cool their homes. All was quiet and still.
A couple hours after midnight, many mellowmira woke to the strong stench of smoke. A red haze greeted their bleary eyes when they peered out their windows. Bright orange flames danced on the rooftops on the southern side of town.
Those who lived in the affected part of town fled, dragging small children behind them. Sometimes they would scream in terror as they woke to their homes burning. People in the northern part of town also evacuated, the men sending their wives and children to the safety of the woods.
Since mellowmira can’t manipulate water like their elvirian counterparts, they had to set up a bucket brigade leading from the lake to the town, but their efforts to put out the fire were futile. By the time the sun rose, the buildings were all roofless skeletons.
No one questioned the source of the fire. They all knew it was an elvirian attack. No one remembers who started the battle of the blazes, but they continued the tradition nonetheless. Cosimia just happened to be the latest victim.
Unlike many of the settlements, Cosimia was too important to abandon. The mellowmira relied on the portal in Tuem Lake for supplies. So, they began the long process of rebuilding.