After the Flood

The woods were not silent afterwards. A handful of soldiers remained. They were soaked through and breathless, but otherwise completely unharmed. As one they headed to the river to see if there was any sign of their comrades. There was not. Neither was there evidence of the bridge or any of the equipment or materials that had been used during the building. The Northerners and Southerners stared at each other across a perfectly normal stretch of water that flowed slowly and calmly.

"I wished you no harm!" cried one of the Southern soldiers suddenly.

Silence at first, then a clamouring to say the same sentiment by all those present. They understood why they alone had been spared. The river had seen their hearts, knew they were bound by duty only and had left them behind. They stared across the river for some time, neither saying a word but savouring in the knowledge that not all on the other side held rage utmost in their hearts.

One by one they turned away, returning to their homes, their families, all unsure if they would retain their station given their dislike for taking of an enemy's life. But in their hearts they carried the knowledge that the river would prevent the crossing of another with ill intentions.

Not that there were people that didn't try after that day. But each was carried away in the same manner, never to return. Some did make it across, and they took a jar of river water with them wherever they went. At first this was just as a sign they had made it across, that they intending nothing evil toward the others' land. However it soon became known that the river water protected them still from all who would wish them harm.

And so traders and merchants crossed at the ford more and more frequently, always taking river water with them for protection. Through this, life prospered as trade expanded and people took to making use of objects from across the river, things they had never dreamed of or had never had the materials to make.

Though hatred still harboured in dark corners, jars of river water littered street stalls and on window sills and on bedside tables, and so any hatred found was quickly extinguished. A form of peace, though not the peace dreamed of by King Unyevri, did take hold across the two lands. The new northern King was not as logical man as Unyevri had been, but he was an ambitious man and he took advantage of what his predecessor had unwittingly provided for him. Desperately King Virendo tried to keep up with the advances going on across the border, forever lamenting his missed victory.

From then on the ford where the bridge had been built became known as the Ford of Unyevri, for though it was never spoken it was the firm belief that it was his spirit that had woken the river and it was his spirit that protected all those with kind hearts.