The first year after the fall of the Ironworks proved to be highly productive, considering how much rebuilding needed to be done. After that year of physical and economic rebuilding, people started to steadily move into the thriving cities in higher numbers, Steel Horse Crossing included. From farmers looking for better quality land to scavengers looking for the scraps of the fallen empire, every sort of person imaginable wandered through, analyzing whether Steel Horse was a good place to live or “ripe for the pickins”.
The town’s population grew significantly, and housing, food, and basic supplies started to run short of the demand. Those who had known the starvation of Winters past knew the telltale signs of potential supply shortages and started to teach the newer townspeople how to prepare for the worst. They reached out to the seasoned production groups such as the Rooftop Farmers Association, the IBC, and the Livestock Ranching Federation that they’d worked with previously to secure plans for safer and more productive farming & brewing facilities. They talked with the Ridge Tribes to help teach more people to hunt and scrounge food sources in the area. The Winter was difficult with so many more mouths to feed, but Steel Horse Crossing came through with better, more secure facilities and practices for production than before. The need to develop these sorts of systems and alliances was not isolated to Steel Horse, but crucial across the entire area that Winter, and this subsequently led to the forming of The Labour Union across many of the remaining territories.
With this wave of settlers coming into the area, criminal activity rose, and the residents had to evaluate and increase the security on their homes and possessions. In response to that need, the sheriffs created an extensive network of deputies that could be called-on. The Steel Bloods offered to assist with managing the crime by sending out groups of patrols to wander the town’s perimeter so that the sheriffs and their deputies could manage the central areas of town and the RPM could cover any outside threats. The SHC Navy had their hands full securing the safety of the local waterways and ports, so they reached out to known and trusted privateers to train some of the townsfolk how to sail and work the boats & docks. This collaboration proved to be priceless in many ways, particularly when other lake-bordering settlements started reaching out to discuss trade, security, and salvage operations. After six months of negotiations and paper-shuffling, the Great Lakes Trading Company was formed and many people within Steel Horse Crossing were eager for the development of avenues for trade and commerce.
As the city steadily grew, it encroached dangerously close to the irradiated zone. People who had recently settled on the outskirts started coming into the city-center sick. Those who had survived the raider wars and its consequent irradiated fungal sickness recognized the tell-tale signs of exposure to the disease. People started getting sick all over, and once again, there weren’t enough doctors to cure people as fast as the disease was spreading. The local scientists and doctors appealed to, and invested in, Bloom Industries for assistance in studying the fungus and its infection to assist in the local doctors developing a cure. After three grueling months, the infection within the local mycorrhizal fungi was cured and the new settlers were moved further away from the irradiated zone for good measure.
The political unrest that came two years prior with the New United Kinship movement hadn’t grown much beyond its original size until they decided to join forces with the Steel Bloods. The NUKM loyalists not only added the Steel Bloods’ colors to their ensemble, but they assisted with the perimeter patrols and business. In exchange, the Steel Bloods offered the NUKM members access to more people & resources as well as a base of operations. At this point, the Steel Bloods had grown in numbers so significantly that they now held half of the elected positions in Steel Horse Crossing.