Shaintar Legends Awaken: Rangers of the Greenway Road; Regional Command-Echer'Naught

Slayer Report Two
Joining the Rangers

Journal of
Mugen VonDiedrich

I do not know what day it is.
My journal, armor, and weapons are my only remaining possessions. The rest were destroyed.
I have just awaken in Kythros. The last thing that I remember was a group of travelers loading me into a wagon. The place in which I had tried to sleep was a ruse. An illusion, placed in my mind by a pair of Shade.
I did not realize that fact until they were upon me. I must admit that my folly was nearly fatal.
The old man and his daughter were, in actuality, creatures of darkness. The one that had taken the form of the girl attacked first. Her grip was icy. I can see, even now, her distorted face. I dispatched her, and upon descending the stairs, was set upon by no less than five undead, and the second Shade. I destroyed him and four undead, but the fifth nearly had me. I suppose the spell broke, for when I came to, I was laying upon a set of ruins. I had sustained a good deal of damage, and I thought all to be lost. I crawled towards the road as I began to loose consciousness. With my last effort, I hailed the band of travelers.
Were it not for my blade and chain, and the kindness of some passers by, I would now be dead. This, Olara, truly is a place of harsh duality.
Now I am here. I am told that it is the main Ranger hospital in Kythros.
M. VonD.

Second day in Kythros,

I am ambulatory now. I was told, by a steward, to seek out the quartermaster’s office. I owe a great debt to the Rangers. They have renewed my strength.
I told the man that I had no coin, and he offered that I might work off my debt. I explained that I am a Slayer of darkness, and that was how I have been trained. He assured me that my skill was in demand, and that I would be of great use. I agreed to the Ranger’s terms. I will see that my debt is paid, and that I do honour to my family name.
M. VonD.

Fifth day in Kythros,

The Ranger training is going well. Sgt. Grey is a skilled warrior. I have learned the basics of shooting a crossbow. A handy skill.
I have seen another slayer being trained, as well. I do not know his name. I have found that every type of race can be found here. I’ve made the acquaintance of a one, “Sis”.
She is an elf, and she possesses great skill with a bow. She also helped me sew the back of my trainee cloak.
M. VonD.

Tenth day in Kythros,

Training still going well. My shooting has improved markedly. Also, we learn the custom and duties of the Rangers. This is, indeed, a worthy organization.
It is odd. From childhood, I have been taught to do battle alone. To stalk the plains of Darkness, a lone bulwark standing against a cunning and deadly foe. To die forgotten, without regret, nor thought of retreat.
Now I train, eat, and sleep with many, who would call themselves my friends. It is easy, in times of plenty, to have such luxuries. I hope, that in times of darkness, these new allies might acquit themselves so gallantly. I believe that they will. I will do as I have always been taught to do, and fight. To rage against that which would infest and consume these lands.
M. VonD.

Second week in Kythros,
Training is nearly complete. Everyone is speaking about what postings they will receive. I only want to go north.
Sis has done very well. She should have her choice of assignments. I am happy for her. I would not mind being posted with her. I was always taught that having close friendships was a liability. It makes one hesitate when action is necessary. But I do not mind, as I enjoy her company.
I will close. I have been summoned to the Sgt’s. quarters. Some duty, perhaps?
M. VonD.

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Campaign Report 25
Bomber's Lab-Flame Ranger

Report of Sgt. R. Hawksclaw
Rangers of Eschernaught

Evening, 31th of Festival Moons

The immediate threat to the city has, more or less, abated. I believe so, in any case.
Last night, after Grimbor’s last call we all tried to rest. We were woken in the wee hours of the morning by two terrific explosions. I had been in The Sacred Grove, and I rushed towards the outpost. On my way, I encountered several large mobs of citizens. Not knowing their purpose, I steered clear of them. I am glad I did so.
Upon arrival I received a report that high town was under siege by another, very large mob. I sent Aradove directly, to see that Alfred and Eris were alright. Just then a smaller knot of men and women appeared at the end of our street. I was concerned.
I called on Saron to investigate the sounds of fighting coming from the next block. It was Jeandarr’s men. A mob was assailing them, as well. For all this, Longtail was absent, but I knew that she was probably dealing with issues of her own in high town.
Out of the darkness, a messenger, wearing the livery of The Royal Guard approached. The man was bloodied, and this confirmed (at the time) the reports I’d received. He came bearing a small chest, and told me, “The Lord Mayor wishes you the best. He said that you’d know what to do.” With that, the man deposited the box, and staggered away towards High Town. I was greatly puzzled by this, and it caused me to drop my guard. The mob was approaching.
I knelt down and threw open the box. I looked down, and immediately realized what a grievous mistake I’d made.
When I regained consciousness, I was on the roof of the adjacent building. Saron was there looking down at me. By Leandra’s blessing I had survived with only minor injuries. The outpost, however, had not fared so well. The bomb had leveled the entranceway. Everin was doing his best to heal all that he could, and to make matters worse, he was covered in manure! Stormhammer was unhurt fortunately. Just displaced.
I feel so foolish. In my haste, I risked the lives of everyone inside. I do not believe that I am the leader that these men and women need.
When I made it back inside, the mob was bearing down upon us. Jeandarr and his men had made it, and filled the gap left by the bomb.
We gathered the three Arclances in the armory and made our way out of the rear. I dispatched Saron to take Olgor to high town, and report back to us in low town. We would rally there. But then, there was Nell. Her fragile mind had taken all that it could, and she was at the breaking point. There was no stopping her. She unleashed her power and summoned a terrible storm just over the mob. There was nothing we could do, so we ran.
When we arrived in low town, I called for to halt. We regrouped, and noticed that there were no rioters. We came to a small plaza and there we found Fateweaver singing to a huge crowd! He had enthralled them using only his voice. We could see he was tiring.
At that point, I gave the order that I’d prayed never to give. I told Stormhammer to distribute the Arclances to Jeandarr’s two bowmen. They were familiar with the weapons, and I reasoned that they would be safer in their hands.
Just then Aradove seemed to appear out of the shadows. She told us that Fateweaver was moving the crowd to the Red Lamp. We were to act as the rear, and herd any stragglers along.
We did so, and just as Fateweaver’s voice failed, Lillithian came out to take up his song. Relieved, we planned our next action. Aradove set out on her own, and I conferred with Everin. He had deduced, that the mass hysteria was being induced by several casters operating in unison, and that there was a good chance that there was a central caster nearby. I hit upon an idea. “The tower!” I said.
Quietly as we might, we proceeded to High Town. There was fighting everywhere, and it made for an apocalyptic scene. We only ran into trouble scaling the wall, which attracted some unwanted attention. Once inside the walls, we rushed toward the hill. We were nearly there when the gates began to give way to the pressing mass of humanity. We turned to reenforce the garrison, when Saron spotted Longtail gesturing wildly toward the crowd. From my position, I did not see what happened next. All I herd was an explosion from over the wall, and the mob fell quiet. Apparently the caster had been destroyed!
I turned toward the tower, relieved, in time to see the Sheriff’s aide de camp fall forward as an arrow lodged in his neck… “The Ranger!” I shouted.
After that, events happened quickly. Aradove ran, in pursuit of someone, towards low town. I had Saron carry myself in pursuit of Aradove. I told the rest to pursue Saron, and I. And so, off we flew.
When we found her, Aradove was crouched near an abandoned warehouse. “He’s in there.” She trailed.
Beside the door, laid a slain crusader with an arrow in his back. “Let me go.” She said. I hesitated. “Please.” She added. I sighed.
“Be careful. I’ll follow with the others. But, please, use caution.” I said.
With that, she disappeared down the hatch. I took position to cover the entrance.
It was deathly silent. Minutes later I spied Saron, who was carrying Everin, approaching.
Suddenly, from my left, the hatch burst open. I turned and was filled with anger because it was him. The green cloaked ranger. He bounded up, and I raised my bow. He was so fast, but I saw him. He raised his bow and from a dead run, took aim. We locked eyes, and his burned with flame. At that instant, time froze, and we released.
I was flung back with the impact of his shot, as he was with mine. But at that instant, Aradove threw herself from the hatch, and the world seemed to go white.
She had found the bomb makers lair. He was a Red Dwarf. A builder. And as one final surprise, he’d rigged his laboratory to explode. He, of course, teleported before it did.
So, here we are. No Ranger, no builder, and no answers. Just bodies. Too many bodies. The mist is falling through the gaping maw of the outpost. We are exhausted. Aradove is about to boil over, and there is nothing I can do, I fear. Eris has barely begun to recover, but there isn’t time. I need her. I need them all.

Sgt. R. Hawksclaw

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Campaign Report 24 (Sergeant Hawksclaw)
Arcfire Bombs

Report of Sgt. R. Hawksclaw
Evening, 30th of Festival Moons

I am tired. Physically and mentally exhausted. I will try to be brief, but so much has happened. I will begin with some good news. Eris has awoken, and has provided great service. We would be run even more ragged if it were not for her gifts. We, also, have a new addition to our ranks. An Eldekar named Evoran.
Yesterday morning, I met with The Lord Mayor, about our case(s). He is most concerned, and I can’t say I blame him.
Afterward, I called for Saron and ..,…. and we went to investigate the first murder site. What we discovered shocked me. After surveying the scene, we determined that the shot was made from an incredible distance, through a small glass window light, ricocheted off of a pillar, and lodged into the man’s throat… An impossible shot. Nearly impossible, anyhow. We examined the arrow, and were shocked again. It had been fletched by a ranger!
Armed with this knowledge, we went to the second site. The privy, where the man was shot through the head. Again, I was astounded. He had been shot from another incredible distance, through the light opening in the door, while standing up. I have only seen one ranger that I think capable. That man that held us off when the Prelacy Captain tried to make good on his escape is skilled enough.
I sense Redstore’s hand in this…
That was when the second explosion occurred. This time it devastated the Longhaul warehouse, which was full of military equipment. The first attack was a message. This time, it was to target the Olarian’s war effort. This caused great panic in the city.
We needed to open the gates. As we fought the fire, I ordered an adept to the main exits, and allowed citizens egress. Longtail has not stopped running, all day. Once the fire was out, we investigated the scene. ……… determined that the two magical components were havoc and explosion. Combined with arcmancy, these devices are quite complex.
I spoke with the High Sheriff, and we organized a city wide sweep for the next day.
Later, that evening, we returned to the outpost and turned in. Last night, While we slept, our world changed irrevocably.
I find it nearly incomprehensible that I must pen this mornings events. But, as of late, many things are hard to comprehend. I was woken, early. The sheriff was at the door. No messenger, no pomp, no flowery summons. Just the man. I was in wonder. He asked me to follow him, and he was obviously troubled. While we walked, “What is the matter?” I asked bluntly. He sighed and said “Grimbor is dead.” I stopped, cold. “What did you say?” I asked, as a cold shiver crept up my spine. “I swear to you, I had nothing to do with it.” He added. “You and I may not see eye to eye, but I would never step so low.” I nodded.
We went to the cell, where his body lay undisturbed. I removed his Rangers cloak, and covered his head. “Eris, are you there?” I thought. “I am here.” She replied. “Please summon Saron and …………. to me.” She responded, “It is done. I am sorry.” I turned, once again, to the body. I was, and still am concerned about Aradove’s reaction. What will she do? Will she try to take some kind of vengeance? I do not know, but I do believe the sheriff is innocent. I believe this is another part of the ploy against us…
The others arrived, and quickly determined the cause of death. Alchemy.
I ordered the body moved to the outpost. Once we arrived, I entered to break the news to Aradove.
She did not respond as I thought she would. A coldness came over her, the likes of which I’ve never witnessed from her. Again, I am concerned.
Later, we continued with our plan to sweep the city. We marched, with dozens of soldiers, through the entire city. Grid by grid, block by block, and home by home. We arrested scores of wanted individuals. As we marched, the people stared at us with fear, malice, and confusion. We also uncovered a din containing a new kind of floater. It was eerily similar to the ichor we witnessed from the plague in the Forrest. That is troubling. More troubling, is the fact that we did not find our target(s).
Now, it is time for a memorial. We are about to have Grimbor’s Last Call. I don’t know how to face them. He was one of my Rangers. One of our friends. He was murdered while under my command. I shall speak to Aradove.

Sgt. R.S. Hawksclaw

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Slayer Report One
Arriving on the Mainland

Journal of Mugen VonDiedrich
Camden, Wildlands
Autumn, local date unknown

Day one,
I have arrived. I am glad to be off that damnable ship. Nazatir to Olara is a long journey… Although, I’m not sure how much better off I am here. Camden is a dirty place. On disembarking, I cleared my bill with the ship, and made my way off the wharf. I found an establishment called the Drowning Rat, or some such nonsense. I found out that to head north, there was only one road. Fortunately it goes through Kythros. It should only take a few days. I’ll begin after I finish my drink.
M. VonD.

Day 2
On the road.
Traveling is fairly easy. Roads good. It looks as if there has been a great deal of rain recently. Nights are cool. I am anxious to find my way north. It is almost as if I can feel the darkness that I’ve read so much about. I long to confront it. All in due time, for “Those who seek the darkness, are doomed to find it.”
M. VonD.

Day 3
On the road
Raining today. Not as many travelers. Just a few of those Rangers patrolling about. Couldn’t make camp, so I found this inn. It is nice enough, and they have promised supper. The old man is nice enough, and his daughter is striking. They seem a bit odd. It is probably nothing, as these Olarians are a strange people… I will try to rest tonight.
M. VonD.

Ps… I have found it…

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Campaign Report 23 (Sergeant Hawksclaw)
Prelacy Strikes Back

26th Festival Moons, arrived in Echer’Naught
27th Festival Moons, Chapel of Light bombed
28th Festival Moons, Grimbore arrested for murder of three men.

Report of Sgt. Hawksclaw

I must be brief. We have been attacked! I am currently in the remains of the sanctuary of The Church of Light.
We arrived back in Eschernaught, yesterday. All was normal and Sgt. Maj. Stormhammer was overseeing construction on the outpost. All were well, including Nell.
This morning, I had the distinct pleasure of promoting RFC. Longtail to Cpl. Placed Ella in the home of the Col. and posted Alfred on watch. Met with The Lord Mayor, and learned of a recent murder. Warned him of the danger we encountered in the forest. Then the explosion happened.
Ran to the Chapel and helped with the rescue effort. Sent Saron to fetch the others. We questioned witnesses, and investigated. Vilandrian is wounded, but I was able to speak with he and Sir Luggard. Found traces of cryserium. Suspect the Crusaders.
Ordered the city gates closed. Longtail set out to uncover any illicit means of egress from the city. She has not returned. (On a personal note, I am worried about her safety.)
These attacks are an act of war. More to the point, they are an act of terror. I have a suspicion that one or more of the Crusaders, from the previous incident, is still at large. I will have the hospital placed under guard.
We need all available resources, and manpower. These attacks are meant to scatter our Rangers, so we should be careful to stay consolidated and act as a unit. There will be more, I fear. My idea is to act directly, rather than reacting to every action. We shall see, and may the Ascended be with us all.
Sgt. Hawksclaw

Sent from my iPhone

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Campaign Report 22 (Sergeant Hawksclaw)
Blood, Corruption and Death

Report of Sgt. R. Hawksclaw

There is much to tell, of our journey through The Forrest. I will begin here.

Festival Moons 4th
We arrived and disembarked from the Shadow.

Aradove and I secured a lease on two large wagons for our overland trek. The Col. Went to the Ranger outpost to check for any communicades which might have arrived. Upon his return, the look of consternation was painted across his brow. Longtail and I moved towards him, and he immediately pulled me aside to speak privily.

“I have received orders”, he began ominously. He went on to explain that he was to report to a city near Thules, to aid the army in its campaign against the Prelacy. His orders were post dated, and he was to comply immediately. I expressed my concern that, with the wagons, his trip would be delayed. “That is why I must go alone” he said. I nodded, understanding his meaning. “What are your orders?” I asked.

Right there on the wharf, he placed me in command of the expedition. He turned to the steerage, and retrieved a parchment and another small object. “Sign this” he said, and handed me the parchment. “I’m sorry Olgor isn’t here, but I hereby promote you from corporal to Sargent.”

My jaw slackened, and I let his words sink as I signed the paper. Then he handed me the other object. “This ring signifies your post, and will serve as the badge of your rank.” I slipped it on, and it felt heavy. Ever so heavy.
With all eyes on him, he mounted his horse, gave us final instruction, and turned to ride. Everyone, then, turned to me. “Well, congratulations.” Aradove said. I laughed, to clear my tension, and immediately ordered our Camonese to retrieve the wagons.

When they arrived, I placed Eris in the rear wagon and ordered Aradove to her side. We then, with the help of the Avakar, loaded our goods. As soon as all was stowed, we moved out.

Presently, we arrived at the Elven border, and showed our papers. Once cleared, we did not tarry. Immediately, we were engulfed in the Forest. I must admit, I quite enjoyed the first leg of the trip.

I placed my Rangers, as follows: Alfred and myself riding near the front, Jeandarr’s men on the wagon seats, Jeandarr on the flank, Aradove and Eris in the rear wagon, and our new companion, Saron, giving us an aerial view. We traveled this way for nearly nine days. On the 2nd night (6th Festival Moons), we spotted a camp ahead. I sent Aradove and Alfred ahead to scout it. They reported that it was a Brenchee caravan, and that they were friendly. We pulled into the circle, and made our camp.

That night, we dined with the leader, a Brenchee of venerable age, and his protector. She was a large, predatory individual whose size was unlike any Brenchee I’d ever met. In his native tongue, and with her translation, (I’d never thought about it, but I found it odd that Aradove did not understand him.) he gave us a warning. He told us of a growing evil in the forest. Something, unlike, anything before witnessed. We listened intently, and he described a plague. He told of scouts who disappeared in the night, only to return changed. They would come back savage, and out for blood. “Watch for the black blood” he kept repeating. I was concerned, but I had to focus. “Mission first, then the mystery.” I’d kept telling myself. Dinner was concluded, and we thanked them. On our return, Aradove looked downtrodden. I wonder if it had to do with her meeting so many of her own kind. I do not know.

We passed the night well enough, and in the morning we continued north. We passed near Syvian, and I’d wished we could’ve stopped. I’ve always wanted to see the place where my father fought his last battle, but like him, I have a mission to complete. He would understand.

Festival Moons 14th
We neared Eldara, and things began to look very familiar. I knew where we could pass the night. We pulled the wagons in front of my home. I was surprised when we encountered Grek, Tiny, and the other two goats standing at my gate. The reason would explain itself, and soon. I left the others setting camp, and ascended the steps.

I had just eased the door open, when I was hit square in the abdomen by a screaming white bolt of pure energy. I was nearly blown off of the landing, and had to brace myself from the impact. Shakily, I reached down, embraced my little sister, and laughed.

I hoisted her, and went inside to greet my mother. I was shocked to find, not only her, but Kellebor. He was sitting, and smoking his pipe. I looked confused, and he greeted me with a nod. Before I could speak, I was beset on both sides by my family. Under their relentless barrage, I hadn’t the wind or resolve to ask any of my own questions. Mother went to prepare a meal and I, in a state of confusion, returned to gather my compatriots.

The evening was delightful. Food was ample, my friends were comfortable, and I was home. My mother fussed over every detail that she wrung out of me, and I tried to dispel her concerns. Saron was at the mercy of my sister, who told him every detail about her day, and Aradove remained introspective. I worry for her.
After dinner, Ella, mother, and I sat for a while and talked. Then I spoke with Kellebor in regards to the illicit logging operations on the border. He promised to find out where the loggers were at, and relay the information to me. I thanked him, whereupon he made his exit. I hugged my sister, and bid goodnight to mother.

Leaving Ella to sleep inside, I returned to to the wagons. I asked Aradove to remain with Ella, and she returned inside. I must say that sleeping in ones own yard is an odd feeling. However, leaving my party was out of the question.

Festival Moons 15th
The morning came, and with it our departure. We loaded up, and resumed our posts. I bid my family farewell, and after being plied with obscene amounts of food, took our leave. I have found that when a Ranger leaves their home, they cast a long glance back. Ones who face an uncertain future, often do.

Festival Moons 18th
We traveled on, for three days, and on the third night stopped to make camp. Alfred and one of Jeandarr’s men had first watch. Before I fell asleep, I thought of the Colonel, of home, of Longtail’s sadness, and of Ella.
Past midnight, I was awaken by the sound of nothing at all. I opened my eyes, and realized that the watch hadn’t been relieved. Cautiously, I rose and moved to where Alfred sat. “The little bugger is asleep! Dammit!” I thought. I grabbed at him, and felt warmth run through my fingers. I started, and was taken aback. His side was weeping, as his life’s blood pooled beneath him. I shouted to the others to arise, as I channeled life into Alfred’s limp form. Jeandarr’s man was in the same fashion. “Damn.” I uttered. “Give me a head count!” I shouted.

My heart sank when we realized that she was missing. “Eris…” I thought. Without warning, we were all recoiled by a primal scream which pierced our consciousness. The horror that I felt was, until now, unimaginable. “It’s my fault.” I muttered, as I scoured the aria for a trail. We found one. Leaving two Camonese with the injured, we set into the forest. Aradove ranged just ahead, and we followed quietly. It didn’t take long.
Ahead, in a clearing, we saw her. Eris was laid across a stone, and above her stood an Elven woman. The woman was dressed in rags that, once, were the robes of a Druid. In her hand was a knife. She was babbling in Elven and I herd, “Blood… Blood… Blood for the Blood Queen…” Mortified, I indicated for Longtail to remain and the others to hook right. We needed to move, quickly. Once they’d reached their position, we advanced as one. We did not make it far.

As I stalked forward, I paused. I drew back an arrow. At once, a large presence moved to my right, and as I turned, an ancient tree stretched down it’s branches and engulfed me.

I writhed against its force, but to no avail. My mind raced, as it’s branches began to constrict my body.
Aradove was, from her left, assailed by two individuals. Jeandarr, his man, and Saron were set upon, as well. The Avakar took flight, and began to pray, as he drew his bow. We were, then, committed to the fight.
I felt the ancient tree tighten around me and I squirmed, powerless to move. The black ichor oozed around me. The corrupted Druedess carried the knife aloft, and steeped in her blood rage, she kept screaming “Blood for the Blood Queen!”…

I felt the blood vessels in my eyes begin to burst, and herd the sickening crack of one of my ribs. I looked back at Eris, then at my friends. “No. Not like this…” I thought.

Then, with the last air I could gulp, I called upon Leandra. I pressed my palms forward, and a jet of energy fired into the heart of the tree. It was wreathed in green flame, and in its pain dropped me. It was not finished, though.

From the woods came a slow scraping of leaves and shambling of feet. I remembered what the old Brenchee had said. The plague.

I found my bow, and took aim at the Druid, as Aradove cut one of her assailants down. I fired, and my arrow glanced off of an invisible field that surrounded the Druid. Then I was attacked again by the tree. I managed to evade it, but soon, the creatures burst from the underbrush. They were horrifying.

The creatures had once been men, I was sure, but now… Their arms were outstretched, the heads lolled about, and the black blood seeped from their glazed eyes.

I fired, once, at the thing attacking Longtail, and put it off balance. Quickly, she sprang into motion, and slashed it. It’s momentum wavered, and she dashed past, toward Eris. I turned to face my newest threat, but they were upon me. One slashed toward me, and drove me to my knees. I did see the Avakar manage to take flight over the ones attacking them. He pressed on, firing at the Druid, as Aradove charged. Longtail reached Eris as the Druid brought the knife down toward Eris’s neck. She snatched her off of the stone, as the knife opened a small wound on her throat. She’d made it. With that, she ran and the Druid shrieked.

At the same time, Flit came to try and aid me. She touched me, and my vision began to focus. That was when I saw the Druid point her knife at the fleeing pair. Again, she raged, and from beneath Longtail, vines snarled around her ankles sending her crashing down.

The fall threw Eris forward, and with her bound hands, she pushed herself upright. “Run!” I thought. But she didn’t. I could see her face, and the blood running down her neck. Her face contorted, and her eyes burned beneath their wrappings. I knew that she could, possibly, affect the Druid’s mind. That gave me hope, that is, until I looked back.

I watched the Druid take her knife, blackened with the blood of her own victims, and slide it into her own throat. Her eyes went wide as she drew the blade outward and across. I watched her blood spray over the stone, as she sank to her knees. Eris sobbed once, convulsed, and collapsed.

The vines entangling Aradove withered, as did the grotesque figures attacking us. The tree, however, did not. It continued swatting at Saron, as he nimbly dodged.

I looked at Eris, crumpled in the dirt, and felt hot tears begin to well up. “Get her, and get back to the wagons!” I ordered. I rose and realized that the tree was once a sacred entity. A spirit creature. I could feel my anger, and my hatred for whatever did this, rising inside me. “I’m sorry.” I said, as I turned to run.

I made it back to the edge of camp, behind the others, as the wagons were being loaded. “Here it comes!” Someone shouted. I turned, and again, felt the same despair. We wouldn’t make it. I had to make a choice. To kill an, otherwise innocent, spirit creature, that had been corrupted by some twisted fiend. Or risk loosing one of my friends…

“You don’t deserve this.” I whispered. The time drew short. I had to act. My spirit had been tapped by my earlier encounter, yet I knew she would answer me. “Leandra. Hear me.” I pleaded.

Using a force, which I did not know I possessed, I turned my power inward, and toward my very soul. I felt it amplify, within me, and it felt as if I would burn myself alive. At once, it was if Leandra, herself, had loosed her power from my body.

The ancient tree seemed to radiate a green aura. Branches and vines from nearby trees thrust toward it, and the forest seemed to bind it into place. When I regained my vision, I saw that it had stopped moving. It still bore it’s damage, but it had cast it’s roots back into the soil, and the forest had grown silent again. The black ichor seemed to’ve burned away, cleansed by leandra’s power.

I turned, and was overcome with emotions. My friends, my Rangers, were alive. All of us were hurt, but we were alive. Now I worry for them.

How does one rectify sending their friends to their possible demise? How do you order Rangers to stand, even if it means that they may not survive? I do not, yet, know. We need one another. Aradove saved Eris’s life, and in turn, Eris saved mine. We have sway over our friends very lives. It is a hard thing to contemplate. Longtail is still downcast. Alfred is wounded. (Thankfully, Saron has been seeing to him.) I haven’t herd Eris’s voice in some time. It was hard to get used to, but now I feel the void left by her silence… She was in the woman’s mind when it died. She felt her death. I pray she recovers. I pray they all do.

Sgt. R.S. Hawksclaw

(Arrive in Erda’Meias Festival Moons 24th)

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Field Report 1: Illiana's Point
Digging up the Past

To: Colonel Wolfhaven, Echer’naught regional ranger command.

From: The Rangers of Illiana’s Point, location east of the Malakar dominion, along the coast, between Eastport and Anasia.

I write this report to you, as events in our town of Illiana’s point have made it clear to us, that nefarious EVIL forces are at large in your area of responsibility.

On the day of (insert date) at night a Thratchen demon in town, led us into a ambush in a warehouse at the docks.

Ambush set by Ranger 1st. class Khundoh former slave master, Egil Boorgin of the red store.

It consisted of 1 Battlemaster candidate Minotaur, 2 lesser minotaur’s, the Thratchen and 10-15 ratzin.

Hard fight, but no casualties, main antagonist escaped.

The ambush was part of a greater plot to seize key items to a magical ritual.

Apart from the ambush, the plan involved several other elements of misdirection throughout the city.

This included an attack on the prison and the Doge’s Palace.

While the attention of the valiant defenders of Illiana’s Point was occupied by putting down the servants of evil, the human pawns of the evil stole several items of magical properties, for use by there dark masters.

Crystals and books from the university, documents from the church and our own headquarter. A magical sword and ring from the noble family of Von Deidrich.

Those were heirlooms from a famous vampire hunter.

We tracked down the most important items and imprisoned several members of the plot.

Through interogation, the location of the ritual was discovered and the forces of Life and Justice descended upon the FOUL lair of the necromancers.

After fighting our way through hordes of undead minions, we reached the ritual site, and defeated the necromancers and there bodyguard.

Alas, it was too late to prevent the main antagonist to eascape. It later turned out that his demonic minions had also stolen the sword and ring again, while we were otherwise engaged.

The portal the ritual had opened lead into a desert, where a second portal lead to a different location, where in waithed an ebon-skinned vampire, of ancient heritage. The Heraldry worn by the vampire and bodyguards, was that of (Insert the name of your vampire lords ancient kingdom here) an ancient Kingdom, before the days of Olara.

The nefarious plot was aided by members of the university faculty and prison guard corp both. Investigations into these two institutions are ongoing.

Yours sincerely

Ranger Raedgar son of Fyrsig

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Field Report: Church of Light, 2
Light and Darkness: Part Two

Dancing Clouds 4th, 3123 Under the Light

Holy Father,

Leaving three of my party to hold the rear, I with the remainder, descended into the depths on the trail of the necromancer.

We followed the stairs, straight and narrow deeper and deeper into the dark. From below, we began to hear a faint chanting echoing from the depths to far away to pinpoint. It took a few minutes, with me in the lead, Fekla between and the woman in the rear.

Suddenly, the path flattened out and I found myself in a dimly lit tomb. Around me, I could smell the scent of dry rot and something dusty, but I could not make out the source in the flickering torches. Stepping inside, I was suddenly aware of a faint creaking and clicking echoing in the near silence.

Moving further in, sword and shield at the ready, I was surprised by motion to my right in a series of alcoves that seem to have been used to once hold victims for nefarious purposes. But, just as I turned, nightshade clad skeletons lumbered out of every nook and cranny.

They struck hard, reeling me with blows. Behind me, Fekla bellowed and laid into them with her ax, but neither ax nor sword appeared to do much damage. From the corner, our necromancer raised up to fire a bolt of darkness. The alakar woman was on him in an instant, striking him with her sword, but the darkness surrounding him clawed at her, frosting her armor in the chill of death.

Then, out of nowhere, a goblin tumbled from a collapses portion of the cieling. How he came to be there, or why I only found out much later. But, his presence heralded a change in our fortunes. Though, the goblin was injured in the fall, his companion, an orc warrior who dropped from the hole a second later was far from it.

No sooner had his boots struck flagstone, when he hurled a throwing ax in the direction of the necromancer, wounding him, but not killing him. In fear, the necromancer fled again, descending down another flight of stairs.

We would have followed, but I and Fekla were bottled up in the door by a wall of skeletons and were having trouble doing any significant damage. Though it took him a moment to recover, the diminutive goblin managed to draw and fling a knife, catching one of the five skeletons in the back of the head, shattering his scull.

But first blood was the last taste of victory we achieved for some time. Even though we flanked and surrounded the skeletons, our bladed weapons simply could not damage the ancient, animated bones.

Around me, my allies grew more and more frustrated as blow after blow seemed to glance harmlessly off our foes. Our only consolation was that they seemed to have similar difficulty. At least, until a lucky blow pierced my abdomen, driving me to my knees.

My allies rushed to my aid, desperately drawing attention away from me as I called upon Archanon for healing. With his strength, I surged to my feet and felled a foe. I summoned and honored dead who crushed another.

Realizing the key to victory was bludgeoning weapons, my allies grabbed whatever they could, old legs from furniture which has been used by the previous inhabitants, and in Fekla’s case, a lid to one of the five sarcophagi.

However, when the Alakar tried to smash a skeleton, the dry rotted wood shattered in her hands. Her second blow, with he shield missed the skeleton by Fekla’s leg and struck the ogress. Fekla, who had already hurled away the lid in anger, reached down, ripped away the Paladin/priest’s shield and hurled it away as well.

We all quickly realized the ogress’ growing anger, and quickly moved away to get clear of her increasingly violent outbursts. The goblin managed to retrieve the shield and moved ahead to scout, while we let Fekla vent some of her frustration on the final skeleton, which she bodily snatched up and smashed into a wall.

Once the room was clear, we paused a minute to gain blessings once again before descending any further. Once done, with the goblin scouting ahead, we continued, this time with the enraged Fekla in the lead.

Down we went, and very nearly walked into an ambush, when our scout returned and stopped us just outside of a large room. He indicated that there were Shayakar, necromancers and werewolves in the room ahead.

Fekla barely nodded before barging in and charging a trio of werewolves forming a line in the center of the room. The res of the allies followed. I had just stepped inside, when a figure in black on a dias opposite the door raised his hands and unleashed a storm of roiling black tendrils of smoke. they coiled around, quickly filing the room. And suddenly, everyone ahead of me was engulfed in darkness.

From inside the cloud I heard the sounds of combat; the orc bellowing, arrows shattering against armor, the howl of wolves and the chant of necromancers. Most disturbing, I heard Fekla laughing with malicious glee. A second later, the Alakar woman stumbled out of the cloud and I realized at that moment that whatever ritual our enemy had been performing here was completed.

Though I got but a glimpse, I am certain that the creature on the dias was a powerful vampire of some form. Alone, he would have been all but impossible to defeat. Together with his guardians, he was unassailable. With this realization came decision. I bowed a knee and beseached Archanon for aid against this ancient foe.

Beside me, the Celestial spirit knelt beside and added his power with mine. Unbidden, my Alakar friend joined as well. And so, in the midst of chaos, darkness and battle while our friends fought and bled, we prayed, our voices rising to the heavens.

In answer, the room began to shake, chunks of ceiling falling around us. And then, like a meteo, a bolt of pure, white light crashed into the room, momentarily halting battle.

In that bolt of a light, massive wings spread and a Celestial Guardian Angel of the 3rd Order appeared. With a wave, it banished the darkness surrounding us and leveled its holy blade at the chest of the Vampire Lord who, taking stock of the situation turned, stepped into shadow with two of his guardians and vanished. To where, or how, I know not.

Nevertheless, without their commander, the enemy forces began to crumble, though I must admit, those that remained fought to the last. Now able to see, and healed by the Angel who then ascended to the heaven’s, Fekla exacted a terrible toll on our enemies. The Orc, the goblin and the Alakar all acquitted themselves admirably. Even I and my Celestial companion counted on of the Shayakar as our contribution.

Though it felt like hours, the combat was over in moments leaving us in control of the field, and yet, I fear the victory must go to our enemies.

Now that we had a moment to take stock, I examined the ritual site and the bodies of the victims only to discover something horrible. Five individuals, all young had had their throats slit and the blood collected for the Vampire to feed. Worse yet, the victims included a young Eldakar druidess, a young dregordian sailor girl, a young male dwarf smith, a young male aevakar and last, a young human man from a local Church of Light. In effigy, each of the ascended had been slain, their avatar’s blood used to raise whatever dark thing was entombed in this ancient crypt.

Worse, it had escaped to into the norther wildlands to continue whatever dark plot the forces of Darkness now embarked upon.

I only pray that we can find it in time.

We have secured the sight and ensured that none will enter without our permission. I am sending for more priests to aid in the cleansing and eventual destruction of the tomb and crypt, but I fear that this is but the beginning.

As soon as the situation is under control here, I shall return to Echer’Naught.

Obediently yours,

A. Alystar

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Field Report: Church of Light
Light and Darkness: Part One

Dancing Clouds 4th, 3123 Under the Light

Holy Father,

I report with sad and troubled heart for the Light hath revealed the Corruption spreading at the heart of the land. A Goblinesh gather nestled amidst rocks in the Northern reaches of the Wildlands has been attacked by forces of Darkness. Though some small few survived, the greater number perished…or were turned to the service of the Dark.

As ordered, I arrived in Echer’Naught after my successful resupply of Jasara. I had some time to serve the Chapel of Light there under the direction of High Priest Vallandrian. It was at this time that I received your message. Under your direction, and with the assistance of Sergeant Major Stormhammer of the Rangers, I sent out a distress beacon to the surrounding territories for any and all assistance.

I am aware that Col Wolfhaven arrived in Tarnn to take over operations there. He was kind enough to lend aid by way of an Eldakar Sorcerer/Priest. So too, I was joined by a new Paladin/Priest, an Alakar woman recently raised to the cloth. With her came a young Paladin human, another Eldakar Druid and last, unbelievably, a one eyed Ogress named Fekla. A name I would not soon forget.

After assembling at the Chapel of Light in Echer’Naught, just after morning services I briefed them on the situation. Reports from the Rangers indicated that many isolated villages and a few gathers had been attacked, though all traces of bodies had been removed. Also, there has been an increasing number of Darkness infested creatures in the same region while encounters with Shayakar and Necromancers are also on the rise. In confidence, I had been briefed that an unusual coffin had been captured by a group north of Echer’Naught.

All of which indicated a larger Shaya’Nor presence.

So, by noon we were riding south, heading to the last known location of attack given to the church by fleeing goblinesh. It took many days. Our first indication of trouble was mid-day on the 3rd. As the ground became more broken by rocks and scrub, we saw a column of smoke rising high into the sky.

Moving forward, we spotted a small group of Goblinesh fleeing a larger group of Corrupted. I immediately ordered the Druid and Paladin to take a position on the ridge for covering fire. As for the rest, we rushed to intercept the Corrupted before they reached the civilians. Sadly, before we had a chance, the troll caught up to them and killed three with a single swipe of his ax.

The human Paladin and the Druid lay down fire as the rest of the party prayed to Archanon or summoned powers of their own before charging into battle. As we closed, the Troll smashed through his own allies, nearly crushing two. Before the last three refugees were killed, Fekla rushed into the path of the Troll and they began a titanic battle. Meanwhile, the female Paladin/Priest threw herself down the rocky cliff with abandon to reach the enemy more swiftly.

Our arrows and spells felled the Troglodytes and Hobgoblins as they tried to engage. One of the Hobgoblins managed to reach the base of the cliff and vanish. Meanwhile, the Troll swung wildly, nearly killing the female Priest/Paladin, but her divine aura saved her. The tainted minions were not so lucky. The battle was all but won, however, when Fekla seemingly nearly ripped the troll in half, his wounds healed faster than she could swing.

At that moment, Ash, the Mage/Priest realized the reason and tossed her his Everwood staff. With this, the mighty Ogress felled the troll and the battle was won. Or so we thought. A scream from behind revealed that the vanished Hobgoblin had not fled, but closed on the human paladin and had nearly gutted him.

I, Ash, Ash’s dog rushed to his aid. Together, we managed to slay the foul creature in short order. Meanwhile, the female paladin/priest managed to calm the terrified goblinesh. With Ash translating, I was able to ascertain that their gather had also been overrun by creatures of Darkness the previous night. They were the last of their people, so far as they knew. But they warned us that the area was overrun with their corrupted cousins.

We put their minds at east as best we could and sent them to Echer’Naught. Then, turning we followed the column of smoke to their gather.

We arrived toward dusk to find the gather in flames and crawling with Trolls, Troglodytes and Hobgoblins. As we watched, the corrupted goblinesh were collecting the dead bodies of the fallen and stacking them near a hooded figure. A necromancer.

Taking a minute, we summoned the power of our ascended. Fortunately, this guaranteed our continued blessing. Unfortunately, our use of power attracted the attention of our foes, who quickly gathered and closed.

Fekla again took the lead, charging against no fewer than three massive trolls. The druid summoned the power of Landra and encased one in a cocoon of vines from which it never emerged. In a clash of arms, we slammed into the remaining trolls and troglodytes, slashing and smiting even as the necromancer peppered us with dark bolts.

Time and again, Fekla took blow after blow, but the ogress refused to fall. Step by bloody step, we moved forward. Then, in the midst of the chaos, the necromancer raised three dead goblinesh to rush our lines, but they were little match for Archanon’s might. One by one, the troglodytes fell, the trolls taking longer, but we had learned our lesson with using mundane weapons.

In short order, all those left standing were eliminated, even the one encased in vines. And yet, the necromancer escaped, fleeing into what appeared to be a hole in the base of the cliff. The two Eldakar raced forward before I could speak.

No sooner had they stepped beneath the shadow of the cliff, when five hobgoblins appeared and attacked them en-mass. The druid was driven to his knees, and the mage/priest nearly followed, but the others rushed to their side. The priest summoned a Celestial Lantern Bearer who attempted to heal the druid. Meanwhile, Feklar thundered up and began to lay waste with mighty swings of her ax.

Though it cost us dearly, we managed to eliminate our would-be assassins. As I stepped up to the hole, I felt a wave of Darkness pass over me so intense my vision swam. Etched into the lintel stone of what we realized was an ancient and weathered doorway was the ancient symbol of Vainar, before his fall which had been corrupted and blasphemed, presumably by his ancient followers.

It appeared that this entrance had only been recently excavated. There was even evidence of digging equipment among the many burn piles. From what I can tell, agents of Darkness must have been operating in this area for at least a month prior using captured humans, elves and goblinesh to dig up this ancient, corrupted temple.

I also noted that the force of corrupted we had just faced seemed large to our party, it was but a small part of the army nearby. We did not have time to call for reinforcements, but nor could I leave us exposed to an attack from the rear.

With reluctance I ordered Ash to remain at the door with the young Paladin and the druid while I entered the temple with Fekla and the Paladin/Priest alakar woman.

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Reports from the North
Rildrirr Writes Home

Somewhere in Kal-A-Nar Empire near Essal’s Keep

Festival Moons 13th

I am sending word to you my friend on my travel leaving heading north. I have ridden for a quite a trip meeting with a group of rangers. These warriors seem like they are well ready for what is to happen. We met up with the unchained asking for help with their efforts. I stay quiet helping with talks with those who don’t kalinesh.

Keeping quiet I looking at each other ranger there trying to see how they match up.
We where asked to stop a caravan run from a kalinesh group. They wanted us take what we could to help the unchained out. I thumb my blade nodding to myself knowing my friends are with me.

We had many different types of rangers ogres to winged elves. I traveled carefully along a path watching the wagons coming closer. We waited until they came close to attack. I stay with the not more armed rangers covering them for a while. The battle began when the ogre attack a group of men roaring into battle. The fight has been going on for a while as I finally joined into the battle. I knowing that the others are safe I help take care of the rest of the enemy.

We where told we are need to attack an enemy supply depot agreeing this the best course of action. We traveled to the area of the area looking around carefully. Someone was given some flame items to burn it down. We each attack each side of the depot. They blew a side of the building coming in attacking everything. The battle was fierce I fought with great strength and skill I had. We finally winning the depot burning down we left returning to report on what has happened.

Rildrirr.
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________.
Wolfhaven

We have been given word that a magic portal will be opened bring in flame creatures. So to be tasked into with the others to make sure that it isn’t opened. I look to myself knowing that I had no means to deal with such creatures though of normal men I can. The portal was to be opened in a temple for the flame. Plans where talked into assault a heavy defended walled city to get there. The plan was some of us attack along the side of the city while some of us climbed a ledge.

I was one those few that did the battle was fierce. I was glad to have a few good hands with battle experience with me. We had a few Avakar with use helping in the air and one that healed. I came in fighting where I could glad to help where I could. As this battle coming to the end knowing that the fight was not over. He traveled through the city to the temple to stop them from opening the portal.

We arrived at the temple build into the side of a mountain face. It was made partly of blood steel seeming some of our company in chills. Before we left our base camp our magic user with us was given a staff to cancel out the portal if was active. Having my blade in hand I prayed I had the strength of my comrades in Echernaught with me. We charge in the temple the Acolytes and their men had no chance as we came in slew them all. It seem like good fortune was us that day as we stopped them opening the portal and saved some slaves.

I do hope these reports find you well and hope to see all soon as I came find that city like a second home to me now. I will continue send word on the progress from here.

Rildrirr
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Wolfhaven

Well seems like what help with unchained we gave has given good standing with them. I’m training with adepts here to continue help with battles. Try to give me another edge in battle hard at times but well be done. We where called by our unchained contact about attack a city. We are to cause an slave upraising anyway we can.

As we headed toward the city we met up with an Alakar spy to help get into the city. I was the only human among the group we discussed on what to do. Someone suggested that some will be come in as salves those close to human looking come in as slave sellers. I would come in as a guard help knowing the language helped.

We slowly came into the city the Windged stayed in a wagon covered while the rest chained up keep the slave disguise up. I took the guard look well I keep my eye out watching those around as we traveled. We came up to a city entrance the one who talk with used his charm well. I kept quiet only my face gave an angry glare at them holding is up.

Finally through that gate we headed for an inn we where to meet an ally to help us into the pits. Which help the slaves we need to free and help with the upraising. Finally arriving at the inn where ushered into a large stable area for those take off the chain and rest for a bit. A female brinche with the inn keeper told us way into the pits by the sewers ways. I will tell you didn’t smell like a place I wished to go through. Still we need to go this way to what needed to be done.

Traveling through a secret way from the inn to the sewers traveling that route. We came upon a lower entrance to the pits cage area we talked the best way to get in. Well chose to split up go through an open door way while the other half go through a wall. Someone planned to melt through the wall with a spell. I watched carefully as this happened glad some of these people where on my side.

As the large hole was made we ran in taking care of what guards there while the hallway area was taken care of by the others. I kept up the pace with the large ogre with our group quite interesting fellow warrior. Finally freeing the slaves we charge through the entrance to the pits weapons in hand. Our large ogre friend
charge into the people in the stands. I came in fighting what stood in our way.

Watching from the side of my eye slowly turning watching as some others came in fight a fire blooded warlord. He looks at them weapon in telling them they are dead. Finishing my opponent I jumped into the stands heading to go help them. The ogre wielding what I can see now a large white spear of strange look in hand. He fought the warlord hand to hand as the others fought his men. The warlord bellowed forth into large fiery form looking at the ogre laughing.

With great strength the ogre slew the warlord which even impressed me I roared in great voice of our victory. We finished the guard about them I went with fellow slave free other and start the upraising.

Now that this battle is over I have been with unchained for sometime passing the word to you I am heading back home. Hopefully with the help here I gave we made allies and good friends I can say. I fought with great warriors and made a few friends. Though now I return to the others hopefully well and safe.

Rildrirr

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