Report Filed 2nd Dark Moons 3125
Sergeant Amelia Whitestone
2nd White River, 3125
Colonel Alexander Wolfhaven departed the camp, his wedding camp, just after dawn leaving his new bride and her retinue to make their own way back to Echer’Naught. The newly minted Wolf Guard broke down and Baroness’ caravan was gone by early afternoon. Sir Halten accompanied the good lady with his men. The Priest Thaleon and most of the others also departed by eve. Few remained.
My orders were to work with the “merchant” Trokash to begin preparations for our mission. Lady Eris Moonsilver contacted me, via Telepathy, and we arranged for constant contact from the point of the mission start. By necessity, Sir Regillus would also be aware of our operation, so he was instructed to establish a base of operations at the Wolfhaven Manor where the team gear would be secured until after the mission.
3rd White River, 3125
After a long night talking over all of the intelligence gathered by Baroness Wolfhaven, Madame Lillithien, and the Baroness’ brother during their pre-nuptial recon into Shivak Novos. I find her brother, Sir Lothal, to be arrogant and erudite, but factual, focused, and surprisingly easy to work with.
I must reiterate my severe misgivings about working with agents of Darkness, especially with the war on, but Colonel Wolfhaven gave me is personal surety that Sir Lothal, the Werewolf Lord, and brother in law to the Colonel, would cooperate fully. I have accepted this mission under protest.
Gathering the “Alpha” Team, we began to discuss strategy. Our most pressing issue would be to establish a entry point close enough to the city to make our assault possible, but far enough away that we would not attract attention.
Corporal Ravenwood remembered a conversation with her, now, husband during a romantic moment some time ago in which he mentioned that, were he to besiege Echer’Naught, he would select a position just north of the city as his avenue of attack due to the “unique topography” of the land. I would wish to point at that at the time of this conversation, Sir Regillus of House Wolfhaven was an enemy officer of Tempest, in the city without guard, currently in a romantic relationship with a senior Ranger NCO and was taking his personal time to analyze the most effective means of destroying the Ranger’s Regional Headquarters. Again, Sir Regillus’ surety, once again, came via Colonel Wolfhaven’s personal word.
However, the intelligence was accurate. I immediately dispatched Corporal Ravenwood with Rangers Amaroth, Zathlan, and RFC Ramshorn to scout the location and report back, It would be a 2 day ride both ways, with a day of work. I expected their return some time near the 8th.
Per reports of the scouting party: They arrived at Echer’Naught in two days, on the 5th. There, they scouted the ground north of the city and determined that it would provide sufficient, if not ample, coverage. I would also like to mentioned that we have been invaded multiple times via this exact route. I suggest, strongly, that engineers correct this error.
It was also apparent that the smugglers we have been hunting for months have also been using the route as it was close to and nearly directly North of the location they have been using to cross the wall. Something that should have been associated long before.
With this information, it seemed reasonable that the smugglers would also need a location to use as a jumping off point. And so, tracking back, they remembered an abandoned and razed farmhouse that had been an outpost of Red Store before being demolished by Captain Hawksclaw many years prior. Scouting the area, they found the foundations buried in snow.
RFC Ramshorn then discovered a hatch beneath the snow and when dug out, revealed a working cellar door locked with a new, dwarven lock in good repair. So, after over a year of frustrated hunting, we seem to have stumbled upon our elusive criminals, entirely by accident. Ranger Amaroth picked the lock, the scouts stacked up, and, without checking for traps, RFC Thorgram opened the doors which set off the alchemical bomb wounding Corporal Ravenwood and Rangers Amaroth and Zathlan.
The device also detonated secondary incendiaries within the cellar which quickly engulfed all the contraband ensuring that we will never know exactly WHAT is being smuggled. Though, we are certain it included Floaters as RFC Ramshorn elected to inhale the smoke deeply and subsquently suffered ill effects for some time.
Too injured to flee the scene, the Rangers waited for the Response from Echer’Naught via a Sgt of the Guard. He was easily convinced to forget the encounter and, after providing first aid, departed. With nothing else to do but wait, the scouts established camp and waiting for the flames to die. By that evening, they entered the charred cellar to find ashes, and a perfect location to launch our attack of Echer’Naught. It should also be noted that this would ALSO be a perfect location for our enemies to launch an attack against us. I formally recommend that we demolish this structure as soon as we complete our mission.
After this, the scouts left the next morning and rode two days to arrive back at our camp on the 8th.
3rd-8th White River, 3125
Basing our assumption that the north wall would be the best entry point, we began to plan our route through the city. Here, Ranger Moldova was invaluable. Together we mapped a route through the Warhouse District, across the Highway, through Middle Town to a position opposite the Sacred Grove. Corporal Volstagg offered his own house as a staging and rally point.
Due to the hazy nature of the correlation between our realm and Shivak Novos, we guessed at a great deal of the terrain as much might reflect the partially destroyed city from previous attacks. Here we analyzed and evaluated the intelligence provided by Sir Lothal’s “Team” and planned alternate routes should our initial become blocked.
We also spent a great deal of time discussing unique difficulties of Shivak Novos, prepped for dealing with the creatures and foes we would face on the other side. In general, we conducted the extremely meticulous planning that is the hallmark of Olaran battle tactics, rather than the looser, more impromptu Ranger methods.
Trokash also spent the time assessing our material needs and began to acquire our “specialty” items.
8th White River, 3125
Corporal Ravenwood’s scouting party returned, mostly intact. After a quick briefing, I ordered they clean themselves and see to their wounds. Afterwards, we reconvened and began to put the full plan into place. Also, the team made a list of what items they would need to trade in for Black Iron, as to not be detected, and took some time to arrange their Wills and Last Testaments. No one had any illusions that we might not survive this mission. However, our orders were to evacuate or, barring that, eliminate Sergeant Major Magor Stormhammer. Understanding, that if we were reduced to killing him to keep him out of enemy hands, we would also likely be destroying ourselves for the same reason.
8th-25th White River, 3125
It took Trokash over three weeks to acquire and smuggle our gear to our camp. Keeping in mind that he was illegally transporting Black Iron and contraband Arcfire so that we did not alert anyone watching the Ranger supply chain of our operation. I would like to point out here that, though it took him a few weeks, Trokash was able to easily evade all our customs efforts and deliver HIGHLY dangerous illicit goods on demand. I formally request that we review and improved our customs enforcement. If he can do so for us, then our enemies certainly are easily evading our efforts.
He also delivered specially designed arcfire blast belts which I distributed to Corporal Volstagg, recently arcfire trained. He took two, I took two, and two were secured in our gear as a last ditch failsafe. If any, or all, of the team required utter destruction to avoid capture or use by the enemy, these devices would ensure nothing would be left.
25th White River, 3125
Breaking camp, my team departed Evoran’s Sacred Tree for our staging area north of Echer’Naught. Due to last minute complications, Sir Stahn was dispatched with Sir Regilus to secure my team’s “normal” gear at the Wolfhaven Barony. Meanwhile, my team departed geared almost entirely in Black Iron, or other suitable materials. Of their “normal gear” only Thorgram brought his Shield and we had ensured that it would be protected from detection for at least 3 hours. Ranger Daynore also brought his Focus Crystal. Other than that, we took nothing of our own.
1st Dark Moons, 3125
Through waist deep snow we marched by foot to our staging grounds, arriving at night. Setting up camp within the cellar, Trokash departed to collect our final member responsible for “transportation” to and from Shivak Novos. We setting in to keep watch and wait. Sir Lothal declined to remain and “went hunting.” It required the strictest self discipline not to destroy the beast, but I was under direct orders, from Colonel Wolfhaven, to cooperate with this Werewolf. So, I obeyed.
6th Dark Moons, 3125
Finally, Trokash arrived with a Necromancer who had agreed to operate an Ebonway for our use. Understand, that our lives depended on a “smuggler,” a werewolf Lord, and a Necromancer. My team operated admirably under such difficult conditions.
We gathered in the basement and everyone geared up as the Necromancer went to work opening a portal to the Gray Lands. I cannot put into words here the horror of watching the Necromancer work. I can only say that I was not reassured in the least when Trokash flippantly assured us that the souls used to power this profane spectacle came from no one we knew. Orders alone prevented me from ordering my team to eliminate them all.
But, the ritual was completed, as arranged and wishing to see this entire ill conceived travesty done with quickly, I ordered my team through the Ebonway, myself leaping first. Ebonways are cold, terrifying, and deathly. I am certain that just using one has corrupted my entire command.
Arriving on the other side intact, I was surprised to find that no one was waiting to ambush us. Within moments, the rest of the team arrived, the elves looking worse for wear. I almost considered that things could be turning around when Ranger Amaroth informed me that he was “flame touched.” Apparently the shock of the portal was nearly overwhelming. Only anger and rage gave him the strength to see it done. And that, it would seem, is all it takes to damn his soul.
Nothing to do but complete the mission. I sent Corporal Ravenwood to scout. She cleared the area and we left our hole and headed for the city.
Shivak Novos is dark, dreary, spooky, cold, and ominous. We could barely see a hazy moon in the overcast sky. The ground was blanketed in black snow, and in the distance werewolves howled. The city seemed the same, but twisted and evil.
Quickly, we made our way to the cut and went to ground. From there, Corporal Ravenwood made it to the wall, climbed the tower, incapacitated one of the Shayakar guards, and dropped the ladder for the rest of the team.
One by one I sent my soldiers up. First the knights in their heavier armor, then the lighter troops. Lastly myself. To my surprise, we all made the top without alerting any guards. I dropped the rope down the inside wall and started sending the heavies over the top. It took time, but eventually we all arrived, Corporal Ravenwood bounding down the wall last.
We were in. The next two hours were a harrowing series of near catastrophes narrowly missed. Much of the city was altered, more than we expected, but Ranger Moldova was determined and, with luck, we arrived at Corporal Vosltagg’s house without engaging any patrols. The mission was going far better than I had expected.
Another stroke of luck, Volstagg’s key worked in the lock. Corporal Ravenwood scouted, and found it filled with the refuse of half eaten carcasses of unfortunate souls but otherwise empty. Here, I sent Corporal Ravenwood, and Rangers Daynore and Zathlan to the roof. Being elves, they could not enter the corrupted groves, so they provided overwatch. Also, should everything go wrong, Corporal Ravenwood would be able to report to her husband before she was slaughtered.
The rest of our team, myself, Corporal Volstagg, RFC Ramshorn, Audric, and Moldova stacked up near the south window. With a bit of work, Volstagg and I pried the pane loose, providing ourselves a direct line of assault to the corrupted grove.
My team was going back over our plan when Corporal Ravenwood gave the go signal. With that, my team dashed across the street and into the grove…
…we were immediately engulfed by an impenetrable mist. I could only locate Corporal Volstagg and only because he stood right beside me. In fact, when he grabbed my shoulder I nearly ran him through. I ordered a halt, and one by one the rest of my team stumbled into us. Together again, we staggered through the fog near blind.
Our first obstacle was a dark and twisted tree that suddenly animated and tried to kill us. Breaking free its ensnaring roots, we pushed forward, the tree doggedly pursing. And then, suddenly, we were there.
Before my I saw a ring of Necromancers around two black obelisks. Chained between them was a naked Dwarf who was thrashing and writhing as Vainar’s servants attempted to cleave his soul. Around the dwarf were four black armored knights, and hovering above like putrefied crows, specters. There was also the corrupted tree hunting us like a hound.
RFC Ramshorn engaged the tree while I, Amaroth, and Moldova engaged the knights. Corporal Volstagg broke free, made and end run around the knights and hurled a belt of bombs under Stormhammer. At that instant, I assumed our mission would be complete and we would be down Volstagg, but miraculously, both man and dwarf survived the cataclysm though one of the knights. was less fortunate.
Freed, and angry, Stormhammer blasted the specters into vapor, ordered everyone to pull out and began to make his way back the way we had appeared, with Volstagg providing cover. I and RFC Thorgram eventually “killed” the tree while the others whittled down the knights and the necromancers.
Using another belt of bombs via a handoff from Volstagg, Stormhammer blasted one of the Necromacers and a knight while we took down or staggered the other knights. Then, with the leader of the ritual unleashing a torrent of black death, Stormhammer ordered us to run for it while he teleported out with Volstagg.
About this time, I took a bolt and lost consciousness.
However, I have since been made aware of what happened next. Miraculously, we the entire team made it out of the grove along with Stormhammer. RFC Thorgram carried me. As the team exited, however, a pack of werewolves waited, but were instantly cut down by Corporal Ravenwood’s team. Then, Stormhammer summoned his Hammer from…somewhere, entered Volstagg’s house like he lived there, and bashed open a drain to reveal access to the sewers. He ordered everyone inside.
Once below the streets, Sergeant Major Stormhammer put Volstagg, badly wounded as he was, and Thorgram up front to clear the way. Amaroth and Zathlan held the rear, while Daynor, Moldova, and Corporal Ravenwood provided cover. Stormahammer carried me and supported as he could.
The fight took over and hour as the team carved its way through sewers rotten with ghouls and zombies, but, just under four hours after arriving in Shivak Novos, the team arrived beneath the north gate.
Corporal Volstagg was badly wounded, Amaroth had taken blows and was shaken by his sudden new bloodlust, I was out, Stormhammer had a corrupted wound that weakened him, and the others were weak, tired and banged up, for the most part. Daynore and Ravenwood making out the best, I think.
Here, I failed…
If there were any chance for us to escape, someone would have to stay behind. I knew this going in. It was obvious. But, I expected, foolishly, that when this moment came I would take the gate. Better to die here..
But I was never given the choice. And so, RFC Ramshorn volunteered to die for us. And, that was it. Sergeant Major Stormhammer strapped his with the rest of the bombs and the team assault the gate from below.
RFC Ramshorn took out one of the guards while Amaroth and Volstagg the other. Corporal Ravenwood, Zathlan, and Moldova lay down covering fire as the team made a break for the portal north of town. Of course, everything went wrong there a the end. Volstagg and Moldova (I think) went down under a hail of fire. Stormhammer, having to make a choice, grabbed Moldova and Teleported away. But, the strain caused him to collapse just out of bow range.
Amaroth got clear. Daynore and Zathlan got Volstagg up and everyone staggered away while, alone, Thorgram faced the oncoming hordes.
He triggered his newfound power and literally grew to fill the gate preventing anyone from pushing past him. And then her fought, killing one werewolf after another as more enemies arrived. I was just being revived, when Thorgram finally succumbed to his wounds. Literally, as werewolves tore him apart, he pressed the button on the arcfire bombs and then vanished in a fireball of orange-white light.
Thorgram took out the wolves, the gate, the towers, the archers, the dwerges, and basically everyone within a few blocks. Eventually, the undead would crawl out of the rubble and come hunting us, but by that time, my team would be long gone.
In fact, we were all, those who could even stand, staggering to our feet from the blast when a meteor whistled out of the air and slammed into snow near me, smoking and hissing. I could scarcely believe my eyes. Thorgram shield, indestructible, returned to us. I hurled away my Black Iron piece of Shite, grabbed Thorgram’s shield and ordered everyone through the portal. We scrambled down into the cellar, and fell through that inky black hole, back into our own.
Most of the team was barely able to stand, and I know those wounds will become infected soon, if they have not already. We all just fell through, most lying where we landed, some crying, some angry, and some strangely calm. It was then that the Necromancer closed the Ebonway and turned to received payment. Sir Lothal thanked him, or her, and then beheaded them in a single blow, before saying to Trokash, “No loose ends.” Then he was gone.
Had I the strength, orders or no, I would have killed him AND Trokash. But, I could barely stand. So, I sat numbly holding Thorgrams, still warm Shield and felt the heat slowly fade. And then it went cold, dead.
2nd Dark Moons, 3125
Tomorrow morning we will begin our hike to the Wolfhaven Barony. There we will destroy this gear, reclaim our own and process what has happened. The only question now is how many others will we lose over this?
They would not accept my resignation before, but I am unsure whether I will give them a choice this time. Corporal Ravenwood looked sad or angry enough to quit. Volstagg, something happened during the battle and he seems more unsettled than I have seen. There is of course Amaroth’s “condition.” He will certainly ask for a leave, or quit. Moldova seemed…reflective. I know of her personal convictions. Perhaps this has shaken her? Stormhammer’s wound looks beyond infected. So too will all of ours, as I stated.
With the loss of Kura’Kai, and now this, we will be lucky if this team manages to retain three members by 3126. My money is on disbanding the team entirely. In fact, after the first few resignations, I will propose as much, before I tender my own.
I only pray it was worth it. It had better be.
Sergeant Amelia Whitestone