We haven't been attacked directly, but that doesn't mean we haven't been damaged. All of our holdings on the east side of the river are now in the hands of the enemy. There are a lot of them, and we now know exactly who they are. Every hunting ground, fishing hole, supply dump, and the fallback point are all in the hands of a group of people made up by two of our worst enemies.
Part of this group (and I'm going to have to come up with a name for them sometime soon) are made up of marauders. I should be very clear and say that they're some of the marauders that chose to ignore the amnesty, the worst of the worst. They're the most violent of all those who once plagued the trade routes (our fastest route to North Jackson was across the river, so that's something we'll have to deal with as well). While men like Kincaid and those who came with him have done what they can to choose a better way, these men and women were only made more brutal and merciless when the amnesty was offered. I imagine seeing so many of their peers give up the road and the madness that served as a daily routine didn't make them any more stable.
I can even tell you why these marauders have chosen to band together against us: because New Haven infringed directly on their territory. When the team and I left many months ago, the food supplies were just starting to bounce back from the famine time we suffered not long before. I can say with certainty that we had exactly five locations off-site where excess supplies were stored.
When we came back, there were more than thirty of those locations, and ten of them were nothing but long-term food storage. Things that last like rice and grains. How did New Haven manage to amass such wealth in a few short months? It shouldn't come as any shock. I should have figured it out sooner.
Kincaid and his people are part of the scout teams that go out into the world and bring back supplies. Long-range trips, always. That's because Kincaid's folks know how to track other marauders, know where many of the groups within the region keep or kept their supply dumps and trading posts. New Haven's scouts have been pillaging those supplies nonstop almost since the first day Kincaid and his crew joined up. Worse, they were given the go-ahead by the leadership here to begin staging coordinated assaults on groups of marauders.
So, yeah. LOTS of pissed-off psychopaths who are heavily armed, accustomed to fighting, and experienced with moving quickly and with perfect coordination want to kill us. That's always a good time.
The other group that joined with them, the ones I haven't talked about yet but make up a significant number of the group now trying to cut the county in half? They're homesteaders. Our own people, exiled many months ago, have now joined with the enemy.
The last we heard from the homesteaders, they'd found a base stocked with everything they needed, from food to weapons and medicines. There was even a satellite connection to the cell network Google uses to keep the internet going, which was how they contacted us.
To sum up for anyone who is new or hasn't been paying attention: the worst kind of enemy we could ask for is apparently here and out for our blood for entirely understandable reasons. We picked the fight. They're the most dangerous sort of people, and they've been joined by those who know us well, who've lived with us and are aware of exactly how we operate. This is about as bad a development as I can imagine. The only thing that would make it worse? Giant zombie swarm.
I should know better than to hand the universe an opening like that, or the next thing you know I'll be pausing to tell you the alarm bells are going off, and we really are being hit by a swarm. The removal of the bridges will make it a lot harder for zombies to get to us from the east, but by the same token they'll have nowhere to go if they come at us from the west. We're the nut sitting on the anvil, and any large force of undead coming for us will be the hammer.
The bright spot here is that the enemy has made it difficult for themselves to get to us. We're fairly sure they want to consolidate their position before trying to make war on us, and want to be free from interference. That's what I'd do if I were them. They show no signs of coming after us yet--they seem content to take our fallback point, a lot of our supplies, and to wear us down over time. They might be crazy and sick with revenge, but they aren't stupid or inefficient.
However this scenario plays out, we aren't going to win it by simply outfoxing the opposition. Nor can it be a win only by force of arms, as they're surely better outfitted than we are in that area. Pure defense isn't the way, as we'd have to hole up in New Haven for what could be months and from a logistical point of view that's plain impossible. We need to hunt, farm, and fish. Simple as that. And we can't stop brokering trades, either...
Basically, we're in a huge mess with no clear way forward. No easy outs.
But it's nice outside and getting nicer. So there's that.