Per request via the charming Colonel Anderson, I am submitting the following report.
Submitted, via dictation: Dark Moons 31st, 3126
Dark Moons 25th, 3126
I first came upon the Alpha Team of Echer’Naught while tracking a pair of Ravens who, in turn, were tracking the Alpha Team. Based upon their behavior, intellect, and rudeness, I must conclude that they were under control, or served some other masters. Though, they appeared to bear no ill will toward the Rangers.
At any rate, as I tracked the Ravens, I saw smoke. The smoke led me to a battle. About a day’s ride, if one were included to mount such beasts, north of Echer’Naught, a small unit of Rangers battled a group of mercenaries equipped with arcfire and traditional arms and armor. Though not a Ranger myself, with little interesting in joining, I nevertheless felt inclined to lend my not inconsiderable skills to the embattled Rangers.
By the time I arrived, the lead Ogre, the dwarf healer, and the pale human were down, blown to smithereens in an explosion of cataclysmic proportions. One of the three buildings on the field was a smoking ruin. A man, commander I suppose, was standing over the fallen Ogre, the Ranger leader, tapping a warhammer against his head. I didn’t need to hear the words to grasp the situation. If the Rangers refused, their leader was dead. The other ogre, female, ordered the rest to throw down their weapons.
It was pretty much over for the Rangers. So…I decided to get involved. My family aerie always said that curiosity would get me killed one day.
Though, the expression of shock on the man’s face when I dropped out of the sky was priceless. With my entry into battle, the Rangers rallied and battle resumed. The enemy commander went down quickly, though less through my skill and more my unexpected arrival. Better lucky than good?
Behind me, the Rangers exploded into action…well…after a bit of prompting. The ogress led the charge, with the one of the human girl summoning a bear from somewhere! There was a ravening dregordian, a gaunt looking human man, who was an ogre before…that takes a bit of explaining. There was another cute human girl with druid powers. And last an angry dwarf healer. Oh, and the ogre in charge.
We pushed them back. Spells exploded, healers healed. It was glorious battle. The best I have had in MONTHS. And, we didn’t lose a single member of the team. That was a surprise.
Once the field was clear, I finally had the opportunity to meet these Rangers. Their leader was an ogre named Corporal Grendel. Surprising as it seems, he was a Silver Paladin, though unlike any I have seen. Their second was a Dregordian named Corporal Sssahliissstah. Adept I believe, and a berserker. Scary woman. Third in command of the plucky company, Ranger First Class Ranna the ogress crossbow woman. After that, the two beautiful women, McKenzie Shan and Ingrid. One wild, and innocent, the other sweet, and inquisitive. Shan has the thing with animals. The bear is named Volstagg and has an appetite. The stallion is Diego, noble, and powerful. Ingrid is a druid. And then there is the dwarf druidic healer, Arimar Blackstone. and the human skulk, Aronzo.
Though no one died, the Rangers were still pretty shot out. So, instead of running headlong into another exploding building, Corporal Grendel wisely elected to set up a perimeter and call for reinforcements. I sent Aetos, my Guardian Eagle, with a message for the Wolfhaven Manor. I figured by wing, my friend would arrive by early morning. From there, the Great Wolf’s house could easily arrange for reinforcements. Meanwhile, I provided cover for my new friends.
Corporal Sssahllissstah took Aronzo and they headed off to the waystation to meet up with any Ranger reinforcements coming from the main road. Meanwhile, Corporal and Grendel and Arimar examined the bodies while the women kept watch on the ground. Later I heard they found strange magical tattoos and arcfire gear. Though the tattoos varied from man to man, all bore a swirling twister split by azure blue lightning. So, either the mercs worked for Tempest or were mimicking their methods.
About this time, I see the bear Volstagg loping back to the others dragging the body of a dead horse. Insert joke. Turns OUT that the horse belonged to a local farmer. And, apparently killing the King’s livestock is frowned upon. Corporal Grendel decides to cover up the crime by taking the horse away from the hungry bear…with predictable results. Volstagg the Bear to exception to the ogres rudeness and attacked. Battle ensued with Kenzie trying to save her companion. In the end, Grendel was forced to knock out the bear.
Meanwhile, unsupervised and hungry. I gather the Rangers had not stopped to eat in a day at least, Diego the Stallion wandered into the complex of houses looking for food. The Rangers watched in horror as Diego entered the eastern farmhouse. Ingrid and Kenzie ran to lure him out, while Ranna set up camp, ignoring the other’s antics. Ingrid summoned a faerie to scout the house, but to little avail. Worse, the Rangers eventually realized the barn door had closed behind Diego, though they did not know whether it was accidental, or if enemies lay in wait.
Ultimately, they all returned to the camp. This being well into the eve. I landed now, after watching Grendel try and douse Ingrid with snow to wash off some the gore splattered on her during battle. I gallantly offered to provide her a security screen to bath, and provided a wooden bucket I had spotted nearby for heated water.
While Ranna poured water from the holed bucket, I wrapped her in wings. I did my best to provide privacy. Once she finished her shower, we ate.
Corporal Grendel set watches around 11PM. Corporal Grendel and Ingrid took first watch. Arimar Blackstone and I second. Morning watch was taken by Kenzie and RFC Ranna. When not on watch, Kenzie and Ingrid, who was well chilled, found warmth in my plumage. I must admit, I found their company delightful.
In the pre-dawn hours Ranna alerted us to an attack. Those of us in our bedrolls scrambled awake as a massive near 20 foot golem of lightning and thunder struck our camp. Kenzie took the first hit as she desperately tried to wake her bear. The second attack blasted me into a snowdrift. When I managed to shake myself free, crossbow bolts were pinging off the ogres’ armor. I shouted for Grendel to ask whether he wanted me to engage the golem or the crossbowmen. He ordered me into the sky to pick off their crossbows.
He sent me up, so I blasted off and gained altitude as quickly as possible. I could see them, figured moving through the brush to the south. There were a dozen, or more. I drew and fired as fast as I could locate them.
Below me, the Rangers were in a fix. Ranna’s bolts seemed to do little, though Ingrid’s blasted the creature back. She contains incredible power in her small frame, much to my delight. Sadly, even the onslaught of the druid’s power only staggered the Tempest golem. Realizing his situation, Corporal Grendel ordered a retreat as he beat the construct with his massive club.
While I was firing, Kenzie took a hit, maybe from the golems lightning blast which cooked me, I don’t know. But Arimar reached her, healing with a touch. Even so, Volstagg the Bear was still out, and Diego was locked in the bar. I don’t know what I would do if I were forced to Aetos. But, I suppose losing our animal companions is better than watching our friends die? Perhaps not for Kenzie, though.
Before the team can move, the Golem lines up another shot. the night is lit by a beam of blue white electricity arcing straight for Grendel. The ogre manages to throw up his club just in time to divert the beam, but is lanced past him striking Ranna in the chest, melting through her armor. The ogress dropped making retreat impossible. I kept firing on the crossbowmen, keeping them at bay while the Rangers solved their own issues.
Once again, the stump legged healer sloshed through the slush to heal a fallen comrade. Ranna was on her feet in moments, but crossbow bolts continued to rain down. By now, the others are in gear. Ranna and Ingrid are moving south-ish. Arimar trailing behind. Only Kenzie and Grendel held their ground. Kenzie desperately tried to rouse Volstagg while Grendel dueled the golem alone. It was inspiring. The love of a comrade, the fearlessness before annihilation. Poetic.
The Tempest Golem continued to assault as the Rangers scampered across open grounder a hail of fire. With one last desperate swing, Grendel crushed the construct in a blast of lighting, wind, and sound. And, in that moment, Kenzie roused Volstagg…who immediately attacked Grendel. I can hardly blame him really.
Now all the Rangers are moving south. Ranna out in front, with both Ingrid and Arimar behind. Grendel scooped up Kenzie while Volstagg chased the ogre, trying to take a bit out of his ass. All the while, crossbow bolts whistled and hissed around them. Under other circumstances, it would have been humorous. Though…it begs the question, why focus on the Rangers and ignore me…?
Ingrid broke out fastest, and nearly reached the southern ridge line when she was spun by a crossbow bolt. A slammed into her chest, dashing her into the mud. Here again, the energetic dwarf, Arimar, struggled up and laid on hands. Sadly, Ingrid was one too many. He was out of heals. With that, he shrugged, told RFC Ranna to grab the body and he noped out, followed by Ranna, carrying an unconscious Ingride, and Grendel carrying a conscious, and angry Kenzie.
As they disappeared over the ridge, I fired a final shot, wounding or killing my fourth target before I zipped out of range.
A short distance away the Ranges sagged to a stop, heaving out of breath. Corporal Grendel dropped Kenzie who stopped Volstagg, though the Bear was the most winded of the lot. No distant runners in the group.
Everyone caught their breath. I, kept an eye out, but thought to mention that as I was leaving I had spotted a trio of wagons behind one of the remaining houses. Men were loading small, heavy boxes. Obviously, this meant something to the Rangers because they all perked up. Well, not Ingrid. She was an adorable rag doll in Ranna’s over sized hands.
The Rangers briefly entertained the idea of going back, maybe circling around, but to me it seemed like the attack was less to destroy the Rangers, but rather chase them off. Clearly the mercs did not want the greencloaks anywhere near their operation. And, with the team all torn up, they would not last long in another fight.
Dark Moons 26th. 3126
So, Corporal Grendel decided to make for the midway vill between Echer’Naught and the Wolfhaven Barony. You know, someone should really consider a name! So, exhausted and bleeding, the Rangers hard marched throughout the morning and arrived mid-morn. Already the villagers were up and working. Once we arrived, I offered to take a look around. Make sure we weren’t followed.
Unburdened by the ground walkers, I made it back to the battlesite in a bit over an hour. Already Rangers were securing the area. Of the marauders, I saw no sign. I landed a distance away and managed to convince the Rangers that I was a scout for the Alpha Team. The officer in charge seemed unsurprised. Of Corporal Sssahliissstah or Aronzo, I saw no sign. Apparently they were leading the hunt of the wagons. Diego was there, feeding. He seemed nonplussed with the entire production, though I was informed that he had broken a Ranger’s arm kicking his way out of the barn.
With information in hand, I took off back for Alpha Team. To be honest, by the time I arrived back at the Village of no Name, I was tired. Truly exhausted.
A squad of Rangers had set up camp outside the inn, while the officers stayed inside. Ingrid had received attention and she was naked and wrapped in a healers tent. Both the Ogres were also naked and covered by tents in the yard. Kenzie, not naked sadly, was sent to another tent with Arimar, also not naked thankfully, sleeping out side. I reported to Grendel, ate a hearty meal provided by a Corporal Richard “Dick” Wyvern, NCO of the camp, and then shoved myself into a tent for a nap. I fell unconscious for the rest of the day.
I wake late eve, stiff and cold. I stumble out to find the rest of the team awake around a fire. Kenzie looked better, Ingrid was up and looked all the world like an adorable mummy. The ogres were also mummified and dressed. The Rangers provided lodging for the team in the inn that night, because the Officers had moved on. I, however, was not provided for. I am no Ranger. Just as well, I had been through this vill before and met up with some…lovely acquaintances. They were kind enough to offer me a bed, massage, and…well…er….
Dark Moons 27th, 3126
I woke, had “seconds” and a hearty breakfast before going to the meet the Rangers. They seemed in higher spirits, though Kenzie seemed troubled still. More than just Diego. Hmmm…
Before we departed BACK to the farmhouse battlefield, Corporal Grendel submitted a report to Corporal Dick Wyvern and delivered to him the Tempest Hammer recovered from the mercenary leader. Dick summoned a runty dwarf named Kormac who took the report in a messenger pouch, before disappearing down the road in a cloud of dust. I dare say that little bearded blodger could beat my airspeed! There is a first for everything.
After that, we headed back north, then west. Later that afternoon we arrived in the Ranger camp. When we arrived, Kenzie went to see Diego. Ranna, I believe stood around and kept watch, while Grendel and the others went to investigate the warehouses. I noted, with mirth, that a local farmer was vociferously objecting to his prize draft horse being eaten by a Ranger bear. Poor Kenzie.
While they went about “official” business, I went to speak with a pair of lovey Rangers guarding one of their heavy wagons. I honestly cannot remember their names, but they were sisters, serving in the same unit. We hit it off.
After a while, I wandered over to the Rangers as they were discussing the strange Tempest/alchemical contraption the mercenaries were using to plate the lead with gold leaf. Honestly, I understood little. But, it seemed the enemy used Tempest energy to apply lightning to an alchemical vat of gold and somehow used the combination to alter the lead into gold? I will leave such investigations to those better suited.
What I DID understand was when the Ranger in charge showed us the cellar where the mercs had stored alchemical blast potion by the barrel! At that, I was out. I have this thing about flame and fire. Bad memories.
Outside in the chill, I met up with my “friends” who were just getting off duty. They invited me back to their camp for dinner and desert. Alpha team set up camp nearby, and split up. I noted Kenzie wandering around, hovering near campfires. I have begun to understand that she has issues with people, so I invited her to our camp. She joined us for a few hours. She seemed to have a pleasant eve. Eventually, the sisters invited me to join them “privately.” Kenzie declined to participate, sadly, so the women offered her a cot in a spare tent nearby.
I was in the very…uh…height…of entertaining the women when our world erupted. Some idiotic dwarves got drunk and detonated most of the mercenary’s explosives in an empty field. The women found the vibrations exhilarating. I was less enthused.
Dark Moons, 28th, 3126
In the morning, after bidding farewell to my hosts, I rejoined the Alpha Team. Everyone seemed better rested, and some of the stiffness was wearing off, even if it was still bitterly cold. Corporal Grendel ordered, after receiving a FULL report from the Officer in charge, ordered the team to march north to the Wolfhaven Barony.
We arrived that evening at the roadside gate. They seemed to be expecting us, at least to a degree. I have been OVER the barony, but never been treated as a guest. We were met at the fortified keep’s main gate by a large man in heavy, storm legion armor. I was, for a moment, concerned, but then I noted his livery, House Wolfhaven. He, Sir Regillus greeted us formally and invited the team in.
Once inside, Kenzie requested that her friends be cared for, and then returned to Echer’Naught at the first opportunity. Sir Regillus agreed. We were then given rooms, and offered a meal in an hour. Most everyone immediately headed off to bathe… I was curious, and Kenzie was kind enough to take me into her room, and instruct me in the proper use of a bathtub.
She is beautiful, and wild. I had hoped that she might be warming to me, but was content to let her help me clean my wings. I appreciate her, that is enough.
After our bath, we rejoined the others and had a bounteous banquet in the main hall. After eating, the Rangers discussed the Tempest mercs with Sir Regillus who, I discovered, was a former commander in the Storm Legion?! It was HE who led the Explorator Legion that nearly conquered all of Shaintar. And, it was he and his forces that Turned and destroyed dozens of aeries. Apparently he fell for a Ranger woman, and betrayed his Legion. Now he fights for us.
That I can believe. There is not much I would not do for a beautiful woman.
In summation, he confirmed what I thought. Either the mercs worked for Tempest, or imitated them to use the fear the Legion creates. All bore the Legion Tattoo, so they are organized. Someone is selling Tempest power in ink. He also warned us of other warriors, from strange “gardens” that can slay even Tempest Legions. Whether these mercs serve the enemy, or use their name, they needed to be stopped. Eventually, Sir Regillus retired.
I offered the share my bed with Kenzie and Ingrid and to my delight, they both agreed. Spending that night, in those soft sheets, with both warm bodies pressed against mine, under the blanket of my wings…I have rarely slept better. Sadly, all we managed was sleep, but I was hopeful.
Dark Moons 29th, 3126
In the morning, I rejoined the others, refreshed and contemplative. Despite my best efforts, I fear these two charming Rangers are ensnaring me in their web. I feel much as Sir Regillus. Ingrid is young, caring, and powerful. Kenzie, wild, innocent, and fierce. Ingrid smells of flowers, and Kenzie of the wild. They are intoxicating.
We broke our fast and learned that the gold wagons, for in fact that is what the mercs were trying to move when the Rangers were ambushed, had been retaken on the 28th by Corporal Sssahliissstah and Aronzo’s Team. They were headed back to Echer’Naught. If nothing intervened, they would arrive in about three days.
After resupply, we headed south again, and arrived late at the Unnamed way station. I noted as I was flying over, activity as was flying over. There appeared to be a manor house being renovated and expanded on the south west side of this little vill. Already a camp was being established, neat rows of tents, but the standard was one I did not recognize. Curious. I did see a painted banner, Dovecote Finishing Academy for Women, Established 3126. Curious.
We slept in the same inn. I fear the innkeep doesn’t particularly like us. I don’t know why. This time, I paid my own room, and once again enjoyed the company of Kenzie and Ingrid. I am smitten.
Dark Moons 30th, 3126
In the morning, we met Corporal Dick Wyvern again. He reported that the hammer and reports were in Echer’Naught. After breaking our fast, we too headed south to the big city. We arrived late that eve, entering through the North Barony Gate. I was pleased to see the guards stand at attention for my friends.
Just inside I found a curious statute of a large, kilt wearing orc facing inward toward the city. He clearly wore a Ranger Cloak. It turns out he was a former member of this Team! My word, they are populous. Afterwards, I accompanied them to their Regional Headquarters. It is a large manner house atop the high hill, at the foot of the towering beacon tower. Obviously these Rangers live well.
Once inside, we entered a Colonel Anderson’s office. He seemed to be in charge. I found him to be a congenial person, not the attitude I was expecting from such a military man. He asked me to wait outside, which I did. I met a LOVELY Sergeant, only to note her last name as Regilus. As my luck would have it, she was married to that stern fellow guarding the Great Wolf’s estate. Apparently I would need to be more circumspect here in Ranger central. I would not wish to become embroiled in any sordid affairs.
After a while, the door opened, and the generous Colonel Anderson thanked me for my assistance before inviting me to remain for a few days, until the wagons returned. Then, we would have a large meeting and full debriefing. I agreed, and he was kind enough to ensure I would be compensated and my room and lodging would be assured.
Afterwards, Kenzie took off before I could offer that she stay with me in my room. I’m sure whatever Inn I am assigned would be better than communal living. At first I feared she was angry, but then Ingrid asked me to take her flying. I fear begin to fear that Kenzie and Ingrid are somewhat…reticent…to enjoy a night with all three of us. I hope to someday ease their minds. But, I was happy to oblige and took Ingrid up on the battlements on the east side of the city, where they are highest.
There, I covered her while she disrobed. I dropped all but my flying leathers. Then, I fashioned the ground walker harness, and strapped her to my body. I’m sure the young Ranger assigned to guide her was quite excited by all of this.
With her pressed into my back, I leaped from the tower and let the wind lift us high into the air. The night was cold, and I could feel her shivering. We flew, free as birds, for about half an hour, before I returned us to the ground. By now, she was cold as ice, so I offered to warm her. This time, she accepted without hesitation. I will say only that she was more than worth the wait. Such power, such life. I fear I am bespelled.
Dark Moons 31st, 3126
We woke in my room. I never saw Kenzie that night. Once Ingrid is care for, I must go find Kenzie and make sure she is alright. I am concerned for her. She seems sad, and overworried about her animals friends. With fortune, she will join Ingrid and I tonight. The company would do her good.