Thursday, August 13, 2020

Microstory 1429: Fort Frontline

The time monster portal was gigantic. It wasn’t like this single doorway that they all stepped through. If that had been the case, the Durune humans could have created some kind of blockade around it. Maybe they would have built an actual impenetrable structure, or simply stationed mages around to bottleneck them as soon as they arrived. Unfortunately, that was not practical. The portal was a ring, several kilometers in diameter, and a monster could appear from anywhere along that ring. Had the planet enjoyed Earthan population numbers, they probably could have figured it out, but they just didn’t have enough manpower, or resources. But the population was rising, and people were already developing a pattern of building more towns to accommodate the increase, rather than simply expanding the borders. It just became an assumption that a fifth town would follow the fourth, and would probably be finished around 2056. Every new town up to that point had its own reason for being, though. They weren’t making them just for the sake of it. Splitsville arose from a fundamental dispute about how to protect themselves against the monsters. The ones who built Parade wanted to be closer to Watershed. Hardtlanders wanted to live in a forest, which didn’t always exist, as plantlife took a long time to take root. So what would the fifth town be all about? Well, it had to do with the monster portal. As explained, the portal was a ring, so monsters could be heading in any direction when they arrived, but they wouldn’t stay that way forever. If they wanted to get to the other towns without circumnavigating the globe, they would all eventually head in the same direction. Experts surveyed the land, and found that—no matter where the monsters originally came from, and no matter which town they would end up attacking—they would all pass one specific spot. So they chose that as the site of the new town, and called it Frontline. Families would not be living in Frontline. Having children around would not only be discouraged, but against the law. It was designated only for mages, and particularly adept fighters. It would also remain pretty small, and be used primarily for defense. Once this was determined, they stopped calling it a town, and started referring to it as a fort. Fort Frontline. It did have everything anyone would need to live there happily, though, just like any town. It had an inventorium, and a forge, and even a barber shop. They did do some training, in preparation for attacks, but they didn’t spend all of their time that busy. They still enjoyed themselves. The other towns kept all the mages they needed, but their jobs suddenly became a little bit easier, because now there was this protective barrier between them and their enemies. The best part about it was that the monsters didn’t communicate with one another, or warn each other of obstacles. So they just kept coming this way, sensing that there was life to destroy, almost always completely oblivious to the fact that they were not going to get far. Some did manage to move around it. Speedstrikers, for instance, were cunning and strategic, and capable of planning for the future, instead of only following instincts. And there was the occasional monster who just randomly went all the way around the planet. But for the most part, Fort Frontline was considered to be a grand success.

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