Morrelia was tired. There were many reasons for a person in the village to be tired. Construction had continued unabated since the threat of the horde had faded for one. The militia had not relented in their training and practice either, which consumed a lot of energy. Small scale Dungeon delves still took place every day, much safer now than when the wave had been underway and that required coordinating and supervision.
There were rescue teams being sent out constantly also. Morrelia knew that she and Anthony hadn't managed to find everyone in the kingdom who might have been hiding from the ravenous beasts, there were sure to be more out there and many members of the village had volunteered to go out to search. Perhaps they hoped to find family members or friends who might have survived, it hardly mattered. This required coordination, administrative effort and a heck of a lot of oversight.
None of which came easy, and obviously that didn't help Morrelia's energy levels. But mostly, she was tired because of Isaac.
"Well 'ello there spicy lady. What might 'ave you lookin' so magnificent today?"
"By the Legion."
Morrelia groaned and clapped a hand over her eyes to shield them from the pain.
"Isaac. Not again," she growled.
She took her hand away to reveal the man in question, leaning against her door frame, a broad grin on his face and a plate of hot breakfast in one hand.
"The roar of the tigress does nothin' to dampen this Lion's ardour."
"They aren't even… you know what? I don't care. Give me the food."
She snatched the plate out of his hand and shouldered past him eliciting a grunt that the lower levelled man tried to contain. Morrelia didn't notice and kept walking, shovelling the much needed meal into her mouth. She had no idea who had managed to start making fresh bread but in her opinion, that person needed a church more than Anthony did. If he could eat regular food, she had a feeling the ant might agree. She couldn't imagine he reacted well to seeing the church being built. She'd asked Enid about it and the older woman had been cagey, which told Morrelia all she needed to know.
"I just want to go one day without having to punch you," she spoke to the air.
But sure enough, Isaac was right behind her.
"I thought those were love taps!" She could feel the muck-eating grin on his face, even without having to turn around.
"I swear, if I weren't so busy, I'd get my blades and hack you to pieces. Why are you trying so hard to piss a berserker off?"
"Sounds like the flames of yer passion are burnin' out of control!"
In one motion she whirled around, plate gripped in two hands and she -.
Ten minutes later she was with Enid in the under construction town hall.
"The healers are busy enough as it is," the mayor groused. "It's not like the ant healers pay us a visit every day."
"I know," Morrelia sighed.
"This is three days in a row now."
"I know! How is this my fault, by the way?"
Enid slapped her pen down and stared at the younger woman.
"Because Isaac is an idiot and you are a former Legion trainee. One of you is expected to have some self-control and it isn't him!"
"Send me away then. Let me go on a delve, or to hunt for survivors. Let me go to the city and see if the Legion force comes up. You know I can be useful there."
Enid raised a hand and pinched the bridge of her nose. There was so much damn work. They'd managed to get a paper press together, goodness knows how, and she had seized on the opportunity to start documenting everything, as a good merchant would. A census was done, followed by an inventory then they'd had to start drafting official documents. The kingdom of Liria might have fallen but Enid would be damned to the fifth strata if she would live in a place without law.
Which meant consulting the people, drafting a town guard, putting regulations in place. It took a tremendous amount of time. Then of course there was the trickly of survivors that were coming in. The search parties had been successful, which meant more mouths to feed and house, which meant more work.
How it all got done, Enid had no idea and she was the only person who knew everything that was going on.
"Enid, you need help."
"What?" She snapped, only to find Morrelia looking at her with worry in her eyes.
"Your burning out, Enid. You need help, bring someone on board who can help shoulder the load. There's too much going on and too many people for you to be doing all this by yourself. And it's going to get worse, you know that."
"I know," she said. Her shoulders slumped a little. "I've known that for ages. I could run my merchant house by myself, but this is bigger. I just… If I start bringing in more people, make a council, then all of this will start to feel official. Politics will come into it, tussling for authority. We don't need that."
"What we don't need is the mayor to fall flat on her face from exhaustion."
"Maybe I'd be less tired if our strongest warrior wasn't knocking out the captain of the town guard daily."
"Ahem. Putting that aside. I don't' think it'll be as bad as you suspect. The people here are united. I've never seen anything like it. Besides, the ants are watching us so closely now. People are on their best behaviour."
"Maybe you're right."
The two women fell into a companionable silence for a moment. Outside Enid's office, the sounds of a village, not a village, a town, drifted in through the glassless window.
"I'm going to get out of your hair," Morrelia announced. "You don't need me right now. I'll leave some people behind to keep training and leading the delves, but I think I'll be put to better use in the city. I'll head over there and start a delve to try and make contact with the Legion. They might be on their way up already, wouldn't hurt to meet them halfway."
The mayor watched her coolly for a moment.
"Even I've heard of Titus. How do you think your father is going to react if he finds out what things are like here?"
The air grew still as they both considered that. Legion policy toward monsters was direct, clear and incredibly simple. Kill them.
"Are you saying," Morrelia began slowly, "that you don't want the Legion to know about this place?"
"What I'm saying, is that you should be careful how much you say if you happen to have a reunion. Collateral damage is inevitable when the Abyssal Legion moves in force. You know that better than anyone. These are good people here, just trying to put their lives back together. They've taken the help that was available. That's not a sin."
Morrelia looked down the still seated Enid, her eyes narrowed.
"Just what have you started to believe, Enid? That sounds quite close to something that Beyn might say."
Enid turned to look out the window.
"It doesn't matter," she sighed, "I can't tell you what is divine and what isn't. I've gotten attached to these people and I'd rather they not be purged. That is something we can all agree on, isn't it?"