Wordcount: 718 words
Summary: Please note, this is currently a very rough draft. There will be spelling and grammatical errors afoot as well as flat out bad writing, info dumps, plot holes, flat out contradictions, and uneven characterization and pacing. (Content is also subject to constant change as I take an editing chainsaw to the story.)
Welcome to Oak Grove
They can see the smudge of the forest against the horizon early in the second day and they reach the outskirts by lunchtime. There is another town, nestled up against the edge of the forest called Forest’s Edge, because no one was feeling very creative at the time.
The town serves as a funnel into the city, there’s no room further in for full caravans of fields for grazing and planting. So the town serves as a cargo port, where larger loads are broken down and food is processed for transport.
The group is heartily welcomed and there are already tales of the golden hatchling going around. May learned that she and Baron have some notoriety already for having made a scene, but they are way down the pecking order in terms of news. The foxhawks they run into, however, put the reverse weight upon the two subjects and she’s slightly put off by their hostility.
They grab a quick lunch and then they head into the forest itself. The trees start out small but quickly grown in size to the point where they block out the sun. Everything is shaded in a green dappling that makes the white markings look odd in the sunlight.
After a while they can’t see the tops of the trees, the branched and leaves are too thick between the ground and the upper canopy. There is noise in the forest, more than she’s used to and for a while they make a game of trying to guess what kind of animal is making which noise.
The foxhawks play along, much more adept at spotting prey than their human counterparts.
The travel into the city proper takes most of the rest of the day.
As they get closer the forest gets thicker and thicker and May can see where the trees and bushes have been woven together to form thick barriers. Most of the work is decades old, lattices that have merged together as the trees have grown.
Some of it, the bushes and vines are newer growth and they wonder how many hours are spent reweaving the city’s defenses every year.
The city of Oak Grove is carved into the heart of a massive old growth forest. Long ago, earlier than anyone can remember, they started weaving the city into the trees.
There are no true walls here; everything is built from trunk to trunk. Brambles and Ivy and are woven back and forth, creating a massive wall of green that is as effective as any stone wall. Life a tree the city has growth rings, where it has expanded, abet not uniformly. There are open areas in town, but never enough that the tall leafy canopy above is broken. Just enough that there are empty spaces large enough for the bustling mini metropolis the city has become.
Outside the forest is another city, the trade city with long green pastures for the herd and the caravans that keep Oak grove running. There is a danger of siege here, and of fire, but the oaks are fire resistant with thick green sap that will not burn. As long as the trees are alive, they are safe, and they work hard and long to make sure that deadwood is removed as soon as it dies.
There are also warrens dug into the loam for the fox hawks. Deep winding tunnels that open into great caverns shorn up with wooden timbers and stone. There is also the rumor that magic keeps the warrens from collapsing under the weight of the forest, but that is legend only. The foxhawks are careful to mind their future trees and keep their warrens safe.
The foxhawks are the key to the cities survival under siege. They can fly straight up from the city, climbing trees until they reach the canopy, too far from the edges of the forest to be shot at. They can fly in and out with small loads, but the city is provisioned for a year—their only job will be to summon reinforcements.
There is some debate over whether the warren or the city was there first, the truth depends on who you are talking to. There are quite a few cities and towns like that, where the warren and the buildings are interwoven.