A Meeting with the Mayor in Monsilt
The fifty-foot tall oak tree blocked the front door to the town hall. The tree had a 5ft diameter and had claimed its place several weeks ago. The town hall's front wall had to be removed, and the second floor shored up with poles after the tree crashed into existence.
The walls of the town hall's front entryway were removed to complete the repairs. This created an open-air space that became the preferred meeting location of the forest village's council. A new Mayor came with the tree. The depth of the ruin brought by the previous mayor was just being realized, and the village had to move forward.
Rolph stepped over the tree roots and walked around the tree to get into the meeting room. Emma was already there, sitting at the table talking to Yelsin. A map, mugs, and stacks of books filled much of the table. Two cats found the best empty spaces to squeeze between for a nap on the table. One stretched onto Rolph as he sat.
A'trea stood to the far side of the meeting room. She wore her shining chain armor and kept her sword in hand. Rolph nodded to her. She gave him a quick nod to him and kept her eyes on the exposed entrances to the room. Shortly after Rolph entered, Bria and her husband came around the tree toward the room.
Emma stood. "Bren, this meeting is just for Bria to attend. She can keep you up to date afterward."
He scoffed and tried to ignore the seamstress, "Ah, I don't see what the big deal is." He pulled out a chair at the table.
Emma's scowl deepened, and the table screeched on the floor as she leaned forward. "Bren, go."
A'trea walked over to him. "Could you do a walk around the town hall for me before you head home?"
He looked at Emma for a second longer. She didn't know her place. Then he turned to A'trea. "What do you need that for?"
She stepped close as if to give him secret information. "I'm keeping an eye on the council and the doors. Could use a set of eyes to check the perimeter."
His tone changed. "Oh, yeah. I got it." He walked out past the tree and headed left around the building.
A'trea called to him, "I'll walk Bria home after the meeting is done."
Rolph sighed. The town was going to fall at the seams with all the changes happening. Yelsin clasped his friend's shoulder before sitting down.
Bria sat, "I don't wish to cause everyone hardship but thank you. And thank you for your advice this week."
Before the others could comment, the leaves on the tree rustled. A breeze lifted some of the scrolls on the table. Everyone's hands stretched forward to hold the papers in place. When they looked up, Lavani stood in the room near the tree. She sat at the end of the table. The other cat moved to her lap. "Are we ready to go, Iris?" she asked the cat. It meowed in reply and resettled itself on her lap.
Emma read off the agenda and started going through the discussion points. Lavani listened.
The others deferred a decision about where to build new houses. Rolph and Yelsin wanted to build along the road, while Emma and Bria wanted an expansion out from the center of town. Then they debated asking the baker to increase production without getting more supplies from Etonia first.
Emma continued on to two more topics with the same results. Eventually, she looked at Lavani and asked, "Do you have anything to weigh in on or not?"
Lavani paused playing with the cat. "It would not be wise for me to make all the decisions or have the final word. This is certainly a new situation for me. How about you all?"
Rolph said, "Yes, it sure is," quite frustrated.
Yelsin added, "You can't be more right about that, Rolph."
Bria nodded in agreement.
Emma agreed too. They all agreed.
Lavani cycled back to the first question. "How do we take care of the people displaced?"
Rolph thought a moment and replied, "Well, it isn't by the road, but behind the general store, we could fit 4 or 5 houses. Also, by the barn behind my shop."
Yelsin nodded, "I could house a family too. If we refill old shops and add a warehouse along the main road, that will help if we request larger caravans from Etonia."
Emma added, "I could do the same with a family. The harvest is ready. What if we started early to buffer our supplies?"
Bria waited for a pause, "That would give the village a project to get behind."
Everyone agreed. To the cat, Lavani said, "We have an excellent new plan!" And to the others, she added, "What is next?"
Thanks for reading! Get quick access to more flash fiction, poetry, novels, and ttrpg games built around my stories by joining my newsletter or following my world:
I wrote this story as part of the Storytelling Collective's 2021 Flash Fiction February. We are all familiar with the bickering and indecision that can overtake local government. I wondered would would happen with a supernatural being in a meeting like that. Did she use some enchantment to get things on track? I added the story to the Short Stories of the Anhult collection because it offers a view of the growing community in the forest.