All Along the Watchtowers, by Dan D'Alimonte

Story name: All Along the Watchtowers
Author: Dan D'Alimonte

Date: Unknown
Location: Metamor Valley, Tower 7

Overview

Dan and Jorge spend a typical day operating one of the Valley's signal towers.

Summary

For the past three days, Dan and Jorge have been operating Tower 7, a signal tower just south of White Tower Hill and north of Tower 2. In the morning, Dan wakes up and checks on Jorge, who is so sleep-deprived he misses a signal from Tower 2. Dan sends him down for breakfast, and begins operating the lantern, sending a message of confirmation to Tower 2 and relaying the message to White Tower Hill. Dan then joins Jorge for breakfast.

While Jorge sleeps, Dan heads up to the lantern and spends a few hours cleaning it. After another long hour of waiting, Tower 2 lights up with a weather report. More time passes, and Dan receives a coded message from White Hill Tower, passing it along to Tower 2.

Jorge, unable to sleep, joins Dan on the upper deck. They chat a bit and joke about the tedium of the job. Jorge tells Dan that his shift is over and asks him to get some sleep. Dan tells him to watch for some bad weather, and heads down.

Characters

Main characters:

  • Dan: A groundskeeper for Metamor Keep, now acting as a signal tower transmitter.

Supporting characters:

  • Jorge: A ferret morph. Because he has paw-like hands, he normally works as a scribe, as scribes with working hands are in short supply. He joined the reserves for extra money.

Cameo:

  • Mesurensa: The captain of Dan's platoon.

Referenced:

  • Nasoj: The enemy of Metamor Keep.

Locations

  • Tower 7 is a typical example of a signal tower in the valley. It is thirty feet wide and a hundred feet tall. It is built for a squad of 5 people to occupy it for a week at a time.
    • The lower deck is set ten feet above the trees, with windows covered by a wooden lattice and a balcony outside. In one corner, there is a small stove for making coffee. There is also a supply of dry bread and cured meat for rations. There is also a pallet to sleep on.
    • A ladder in the corner leads upstairs to the signal lantern. The lantern has a shutter and lens, for flashing signals to other towers. The lantern is lit with a special oil, made by the Keep's alchemists, to give off a bright light with very little heat. At the base of the lantern is a box for holding flint and steel.
  • The forest surrounding Tower 7 is filled with paper birch and spruce trees around the tower. A copse of trembling aspen lies a fair ways from the tower. Along a narrow ridge is a stand of red pine. A distant stream could possibly have cedar trees, but a much larger copse of willow trees blocks the view.
  • White Hill Tower is a lone spire that sits on a flat limestone hill on the north end of the valley. It is all that remains of an old castle built by the Suielman Empire. Field scouts report here both to recuperate, and to save time sending messages back to the Keep.
  • Tower 7 is south of White Tower Hill. Tower 2 is south of Tower 7 and north of Metamor Keep.

Points of Interest

  • Dan and Jorge are members of the 33rd Light Irregular Infantry, a reserve company of 40 members, divided into 8 squads of 5 people each.
    • The other 3 members of Dan and Jorge's squad are running Tower 2.
  • The towers are regularly manned by retired and handicapped veterans, and every so often are given a week off to relax, while the irregular forces take over.
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