Five Cycles had passed, in relative peacefulness, since that awful ordeal with the corrupt Hand of Justice, named Enri. Some beneficial changes had come to the Religion of Light, after his end at the hands of the Outliers. Religion and superstition, basically differing only in ritual and the numbers of practitioners, the number six came to be considered maleficent or bad luck, at best. As such, Enri was never replaced and the Hand of Justice became five members. Additionally, hoods were no longer worn by members of religious leadership, and all members, not just local priests, were known by the general populace. This included the five members of the Hand of Justice and the nine members of the Ministry of Light. The only figure not known to the general populace was the Prophet of Daylight, who was only seen by the Divine Praetor, anyway.
The symbol upon the armor of the Daughters of Dawn had all been corrected, and these units of trained females now protected the citizenry rather than spied on them. They functioned as long range scouts working to keep the road and the communities along it safe from hostile clans. Their membership was filled with volunteers and their training was no longer conducted in secret. The soldiers beholden to the Cathedral instead of the Kingdom had been disbanded, many of whom accepted commissions in the Kingdom Regulars. The official religion and its members had become the benevolence it was intended to be.
During this time, Vittero and Rachel, the name adopted by the rescued girl who had become the leader of the Daughters from Refuge, had become amorously coupled, and she had given birth, first to a son then, recently, to a daughter. The two seemed very happy, and the girl, now a respected adult, had become much more sociable.
All surviving members of the Outliers, including Astarte, now resided in Refuge, contributing to its viability and continued security. Regular trade had been established with the Sioliri community across the river and canoes traveled back and forth, without needing to be secretive. Trade with Boga City, however, was still handled through Outpost instead of West Cove, so no caravans passed through Refuge. Despite this, more communities had been discovered in the region and greater interaction had been established between them.
The Divine Praetor was a likable, elderly man who made periodic travels through all known communities, listening and speaking with townsfolk. Many Markidians still exhibited some prejudice against other tribes, as they had been taught to do, but, fortunately, this behavior was not being passed down to the next generation. It was difficult for most to come to terms with the fact that they had been lied to for their entire lives. The id would not permit it.
All was well; but in a land term The Untamed Wilds, “well” was a temporal term, for trouble was sure to arise, from somewhere new, so that heroes would again be needed to protect those less capable of fending for themselves.