Before the sun had risen, he had been outside, joining the shivering gathering of people standing about, uncertain what to do or where to start. A born leader, he'd simply marched up and taken charge, handing out orders with the sort of confidence most people obeyed without a second thought. And he knew what had to be done. It was a small community, this one, but a little off the beaten track, unlikely to be a priority for the emergency services already stretched to breaking point all over the city. They would just have to do what they could, and hold out for the professionals to get to them as soon as possible.
Within a matter of hours, this little square, surrounded as it was by tumbledown buildings that hadn't been in the best of shape before the storm had hit, was a healthy hive of activity. The priority had been the people, naturally - the elderly and the very young, those who had been injured over the course of the storm. With Ailis' advice, the Chief had bullied the owner of the largest, most storm-proof house into giving up two of its five rooms as a kind of infirmary. Rory had been moved there first, his sister hovering close by to ensure the transfer did not do more damage, and slowly others had been moved there, too, to huddle about the big fire that was built in the hearth standing between the two rooms, and take advantage of the field medic that was the newcomer's daughter.
That done, the Chief had split the able-bodied, men and women, into two teams - one to clear the snow from the roadway and the paths to front doors; the other to shift the fallen trees and break them up into wood suitable for burning. No one questioned him, amazingly. No one even seemed to consider that he wasn't one of them, despite the military stance of the man and his adult children. But then, one man in charge who knew what had to be done, who brought with him a medic confident in her skills ... these were not resources to be sniffed at in such a situation. It remained to be seen how helpful the third member of their little group would be, once the burns over his back were healed enough to let him get his hands dirty.
As the mid-morning approached, a cheer went up from those who were clearing the snow. They'd reached the end of the access road, and could see others clearing their own access ways, soon to be able to join up and share what little resources they had before the rest of the snow fell. Barely an hour later, the largest of the fallen trees that had all but crushed a blessedly empty outbuilding was removed, the Chief working beside those men and women to keep up a hearty supply of firewood for all the houses in the little square that stood about.
But one problem was quickly arising that they did not have the resources here to overcome, and it was one that would bite sooner rather than later. How were they going to feed everyone? The Chief didn't know. He was just hoping that there was some kind of emergency response deeper in the city that could provide the answer.