Once Wil and Jacoby adjoined the press, several minutes passed until all fell quiet. Elder Alicanto stepped forwards with a shuffle and a jingle of his gilded and silver bracelets. Steadily he scanned his audience, ascertaining of everyone's presence. Once satisfied, he began in a rasping whisper,"Greetings friends and Flock. My old heart takes pride in how we have grown. To see you all gathered brings me great joy, yet I fear it will be short lived." Pulling out a handkerchief from one pocket, he paused and coughed.
"It is not the festivities of Harvest which brings us together this day. We are isolated atop these heights, yet below the wide world stirs and churns. My loves, I know no other way to say this. The Pact of Seven has broken. The Rhygarean kingdom calls for conquest. Even now banners raise, armies gather, trade-routes close and smaller towns and keeps are boarding shut."
The babble of the Nest erupted again, widened eyes looking about for protection, parents clutching toddlers dearly. War? Jacoby felt a stone in his stomach. It will not reach the high places. Throughout all of time smaller men on lower lands have quarreled over boundaries and crowns, claiming ownership of Earth and people alike. We've done our best to avoid these fruitless strifes.
Those of the Flock knew better. How could one own the land? It existed thousands of years afore, and would endure for generations beyond count. We are the vassals of Earth. These airsick lowlanders have had it twisted for eternity. Pointedly the chief Elder waited for the rumble to cease. When all was still he continued.
"Calm, my children. We are not without allies. As of now, the headstrong Prince is alone in his claim, one false kingdom against the joint forces of the other six. Though he may win support to his cause, if this ember is not doused quickly. I have word from the Desert Queen, the noble Sha. As most of you know, for years trade has ebbed and flowed between us. Our trees are diamond to the folk of the Central Sands, and they have much to be desired in salts and spices. And also steel. Many-a-time have her renowned Scorpious Legions quelled rebellions before they could reach our Pyruvan home. Sha calls her standards as well, and for her we shall raise the Eagle's pennant. After much conferring, the Elder's Circle have vowed to supply her with one hundred boys of fighting age."