This is a story of two towns, Badger and Godspurned. Badger was a small town in an unfortunate location, overseen by a freshly minted and remarkably unskilled lady1.
Badger did not establish farms for a year, nor did it build them large when it did. Instead, for many years the hamlet relied on hunters and gatherers eking a living from the countryside. There were periods of abundance as well as starvation, but on the whole we grew.
A school was built, and we learned efficiency. Mines were built, and we swung steel tools in our tasks with glee and abandon. However, Badger did not invest in sustainable infrastructure, and these glorious gains were not built upon stable footing. Instead of forestry, we clear-cut. Instead of quarry, we collected stones from the ground.
Instead of farm, we hunted and when we starved and desperately needed people to man the lodges through winter, the school was closed and our education efficiencies were lost.
We didn’t have enough people to work the mines, leaving coal and iron in short supply. First our steel tools, then even our most basic iron was unsustainable, and we scrabbled in the dirt.
The writing was on the wall the whole time, even in the times of plenty, had I known how to read it. No diversity, no sustainability for the products of growth and in the end, no one lived to tell the tale of the small, sad town of Badger and the 80 lives she claimed.
Godspurned was the second settlement, nestled in the crook of a river and beside a delightful lake. Her settlers had been shunned, chased from their homes with barely more than the clothes on their back, fortunate to have the resources to build a barn and a few meagre houses, holding just enough seeds see them through the winter.
But they escaped and their houses, while cold that first winter, held true. The town planned well, clearing only occasionally and dedicating considerable reserves to forestry and quarrying, as well as farming.
The rivers’ bend held much abundance, as did the delta of the lake, and fish were had in plenty. Deep valleys protected game, and we ate well.
Godspurned grew, not in the rapid fits and starts of Badger, but rather in a slow, gentle curve. We built farms and laid stocks before the children were born to share in the future. We grew across the land, leaving storehouses and produce as we went, carving new farms from once-wild forests. We kept our forests safe to slowly reap their bounty, not clearcutting our way to rapid growth.
We were spurned and thrown from our homes, yet here we thrive. Ships come from far and wide for our finest ales, and our orchards and fields weigh heavily with the rich with the bounty of our earth. Our livestock is abundant, well-kept and hale.
Now, markets are slowly displacing our barns and stockpiles, and nomads have stumbled upon our home and begged to join us. Our pristine lake is transitioning to a busy port, laden with goods and the shouting of our citizens, and we will become a force of strength and influence.
We have our health, our happiness, and our land.
We shall never be spurned again.