Colonel Wolfhaven, Alexander
Commander of the Legio Heroes
Regional Command at Echer’Naught, Olara
Third Day of White River, Year 3123 Under the Light
It is done. The Accords were successful and now both Stahlheim and Eon’Voltuh have signed the New Ranger Charter. Though, in truth, both have had long standing relationships with the Corps. The Royal Family of Eon’Voltuh has served with the Rangers from their founding, according to their own records.
I know I should feel elated, we have achieved something spectacular, a lasting peace, strengthened our borders and, I believe, adequately feted the heads of state of at least half a dozen nations. By any measure a resounding victory.
And yet, I can think of nothing but my men fighting and dying in the south. My heart is with them.
But, as to the Accords.
Sir Dane Landen arrived early, coming from Camp Wolfhaven. He, I tasked with patrolling the festival grounds north of town for any signs of Builder sabotage. Others trickled in over time.
Our first delegation to arrive was that from Stahlheim. They appeared a few weeks before the Accords. When news reached my office of their arrival, I rode to meet them on the Northern Barony road just outside the city walls with a full retinue of Hammerfall Riders.
At the head of the Stahlheim column was the King himself, Clan Chief Oracyon Fyrforg. With him was his grandson, Rorauk Fyrforg. Both dwarves carried themselves as doughty warriors, but with the regal bearing I have come to associate with those we carry the weight of state upon their broad shoulders.
I welcomed the King and his heir to our city and escorted them through a passageway of arched lances in the formal tradition of the Hammerfalls. As we approached the north gate, a horn sounded and, on cue, huge banners bearing the crest of Stahlheim were unfurled. Starting above the gate and rippling out from there, by the time the King ducked his head beneath the capstone, the entire north wall of Echer’Naught was emblazoned with the yellow and red of Stahlheim’s noble standard.
As we passed under and through, throngs of well-wishers lined the streets and showered the caravan with fresh blossoms even in the midst of winter. Soon, the horses hooves trod over a carpet of flowers to the roar of the crowd.
Regally we rode, turning left at Center Pointe and right up to the gates to High Towne where a full company of Royal Guards stood ready. As we passed through the smaller, narrower gate, we rode up the hill flanked on both sides by rows of horsemen, men-at-arms and crossbowmen in perfect ranks. Representatives from the Rangers, every noble house, the Hammerfall Riders and the Lord Mayor’s personal guard.
Within sight of the Lord Mayor’s Manse, we stopped and turned to the left before the gates of personal manor house of one of the Dwarven Clan Chiefs who enthusiastically offered his home up for this momentous event. Designers and merchants had been hired to study Stahlheim culture and standards to furnish the home in exacting detail. From the personal comments of the King and his grandson, Rorauk Fyrforg, the rulers were well pleased.
It took little time for Rorauk Fyrforg and his entourage to discover the Hammer and Anvil. With him came Murvoth, well known as a fierce warrior and stalwart companion.
After the Stahlheim delegation settled in, more dignitaries arrived. Shayline made an appearance, one of the few guests that received personal invitations. Ranger 1st Class Maggie Silver also arrived.
I admit, I was concerned about this particular meeting. Her invitation to the event was more of a pretext to cover her arrival. Based on intelligence reports gathered over the past few months, unconfirmed rumors indicated that Ranger Silver might have some connection to a figure known as the “Baron of Farwatch” who, in turn, appears to sit upon the new Blood Lord’s Council.
I turned over our intelligence reports to Ranger Silver and requested that she inform me if anything caught her attention.
So too, Ranger 1st Class Ash, with his loyal hound Bait, Corporal Withenbrow “Whit” Brimstone and Ranger Gratien Lucien Frédéric Lambert Bonné also arrived from Loreli. I was pleased to see my former comrades in arms and particularly interested in speaking with Whit. I had previously invited the renown siege engineer to review Echer’Naught defenses. I hoped that he would have an opportunity on this trip. We planned to meet on the wall that evening.
Gratien and I had struck up a previous correspondence in regards to Masterbreed horse, a personal interest, and once family business. I directed him to the Hammerfall’s camp as I had not the time for a more in depth discussion at the time. He did, however, leave me information about a man in Loreli who might arrange for me to purchase horses from the Desert Princes. This is something I very much wish to do.
After their arrival, another man entered, Frederick I believe. An Olaran scribe. He spoke briefly with Sergeant Major Magor Stormhammer and then departed for the Lord Mayor’s office as a scribe and chronicler.
Later that evening, I met Whit on the East wall overlooking the Dwarven Gate. At that time, I handed him a vellum sheet that had a charcoal drawing of a Siege Golem. The drawing had actually come into my possession from an operation somewhere in the north behind enemy lines. The details were classified even to me. Nevertheless, what I asked of Whit was to provide recommendations on strengthening and improving the cities defenses to counter a potential Builder attack. He readily agreed.
Some days later, word arrived that the second delegation been spotted closing on the city. Again, I rode out to meet the dignitaries with a unit of Hammerfall Riders. We met on the East road within sight of the city.
At the head of the column was the Queen herself, Her Majesty Silverclaw Panta and with her Brevet Captain Grande Prince Prince Macha Panta the 21st. I was thrilled to see my lieutenant again.
I greeted the Queen and welcomed her to my humble city. Again, as we approached, the standard for Eon’Voltuh was unfurled above the massive Dwarven Gate. By the time we reached the gate, the entire northern wall was covered in the white and black of Eon’Voltuh’s standard.
Again, the streets were thronged with crowds showering the procession with garlands and flowers. We rode in along the Greenway Road, turning left toward High Towne. And again, companies of Royal Guards flanked the streets in perfect formations. This time, we stopped on the right, at another house, just a few blocks up from my own.
As with the Stahlheim delegation, designers and merchants had been specifically tasked with furnishing the house in the tastes of Eon’Voltuh. I have assurances from members of the delegation, including Macha Panta that the work was well received by the Queen. When I Ieft them on the 33rd of Gray Winds, the Eon’Voltuh delegation appeared to be settling in rather well.
That evening, all of the delegations relaxed and enjoyed being celebrated as last minute preparations were being made.
The morning of the 1st of White River dawned crisp and bright. A thick blanket of snow covered the land in a downy blanket. I awoke before dawn and proceeded with a thousand minute details of the event to come. I also penned various letters to visiting knights, nobles and war leaders seeking an audience to discuss future campaigns.
At 8 AM, messengers were dispatched to all delegations alerting them of the Grand Convocation which would official begin the ceremony. By 10 AM final preparations were made and at Noon, everyone gathered at the Grande Hall in the Mayoral Manse for the opening ceremonies.
I stood with the Marshal of Ceremony and the Lord Mayor upon the raised stage at the head of the room as representatives from Olara, Galea, Landra’Feya, allied Wildland nations and Ranger officials along with hundreds of local lords, barons, knights, and warriors from across the Southern Kingdoms gathered on either side of the room created a red carpeted path that lead right up to the dias.
First the delegates of Stahlheim were called forth to great fanfare, King Fyrforg and his grandson paraded down the carpet and joined me on my right. And then, Eon’Voltuh was called with Queen Silverclaw Panta and her son striding regally down the carpet to join the Lord Mayor on the left.
The ceremony began with brief words of welcome from the Marshal of Ceremonies and then an introduction of the dignitaries. The list was rather long. Including:
On behalf of King Banrick XIV of Olara, Grand Chancellor His Excellency, Lord Helmut Van Bach (human male, age 72) will act as official envoy of the host nation
Representing her own Duchy (in which the city resides), the Duchess of Harken Lady Valenia Harken (human female, age unknown) will personally attend with her husband the Duke.
Representing the city of Echer’Naught, Lord Mayor Heinrich Von Haber (human male, age 42)
As Signatory for Stahlheim, Clan Chief Oracyon Fyrforg (dwarf male, age unknown)
As Signatory for Eon’Voltuh, Queen Silverclaw Panta (brinchie female, age unknown). Her son, Grande Prince Prince Macha Panta the 21st (brinchie male, age unknown) will act as her “Voice.”
In addition, though they declined to sign the Charter, the independant Kingdom of Jasara has sent an enjoy including:
Brandon Makeel – Human agent of councilman Georgio Brandus
Galdorn Darktunnel – Dwarf agent of councilman Bale Darktunnel.
Sergeant Major Balorin Randel – Veteran ranger and experienced Human Olaran Crossbowman for security.
In addition, Field Marshal Graf von Wrangel, Commander the Hammerfall Riders will also provide additional security and personal escorts for the dignitaries as they move through the lands of Echer’Naught.
After formal introduction, the ceremony broke for a few hours of meeting and greeting, a more informal setting. A buffet was set and all parties intermingled in a quite setting, music softly echoing through the hall.
In a first, Jok-tar Firebeard, a corespondent from the Goblin Gazzet from Sog, was given exclusive access to the assembled diplomats for candid interviews. By an large, the representatives were very indulgent.
During the party, Ranger Silver pulled me aside, quite troubled and asked to speak to me about the situation in the south. At the time, I felt the environment was too open to discuss such sensitive matters. We made a date to speak later that night.
I was also stopped by Frederick who had some questions about the Lord Mayor. Apparently he had detected some political tension around the Lord Mayor. I was politic, but I intimated that the Lord Mayor had allowed the nephew of the Duchess Harken herself to come to harm during a confrontation with the Flame Ranger. Since then his political aspirations had waned. We also agreed to speak later.
After the brief mingling, the room was once again called to order and gifts were presented to the delegations of Stahlheim and Eon’Voltuh. First, the Chief Caskmaster of the Hammer and Anvil stepped forward and presented five Tun Casks each containing 260 gallons per of Echer’Draught, Echer’Naughts finest dwarven ale. In total, that is 1300 gallons of ale per delegation. Second, the Master Breeder of the Echer’Naught Stock Yards stepped forward with a pair of horses, one mare and one stallion, both black coated Masterbreed Echer’Naught stock. Each delegation was granted two stallions and four mares to breed their own herds. Lastly, Tarok Kilnfire, Chief of the Kilnfire Clan stepped forward and presented each delegation with two tons of Kilnfire Brick. The brick produced by the Kilnfires is of the highest quality, though not as “hard” as stone, it is uniform in shape and size, and unique in that it can survive temperatures that would even crack “normal” stone. That, and unlike stone, it can be produced.
After these presentations were made, the gathering was broken up to allow the delegates to attend private and personal meetings.
I was required to remain at the party for many hours, and then attended intelligence briefings, drinking engagements and entertain personal guests and inquiries. I was not able to return home until just after dark and was met at the door by a very agitated Ranger Silver.
We met in the Library. What was discussed was of a personal nature, however, I can say that it has a direct bearing on the war to the south with the Blood Lord’s army. Ultimately, Ranger Silver agreed to join the force I have been quietly building to counter the threat in the south.
As I exited the room, Frederick joined me and we spoke further on the Lord Mayor. I was then able to further explain to him that in addition to the wounding of the Harken nephew, the Lord Mayor was also under suspicion of corruption. No evidence has been forthcoming, but many unexplained events have been occurring and all too many seem to be linked. I tasked him to continue to monitor the Lord Mayor for any indication of corroboration.
My night passed quickly, but without sleep. Eris Moonsilver just informed me that Lt. Hawksclaw’s assault had failed and with it any hope of a breakout. Worse, Hawksclaw, Longtial and even Rildrirr had fallen, though not dead. Worse, Lontail had made an attempt on the Butcher alone…and failed. So far as we know, she is dead.
How can I live with this burden?
I swore that I would send no one else I loved to their deaths, and here I have doomed what remains of my family.
At least there have been no recent attacks by the Shayakar. Presumably our plan was successful, though I am curious as to what really happened to Elyanna. So many questions, so few answers.
If Hawksclaw can but hold out for a few more days….
The morning of the White River 2nd was a bit warmer, with the sun shining brilliantly off the snow. This day was a day for recreation. Representatives of the delegations including Rorauk Fyrforg , Macha Panta, Ash, Murvoth Sir Landen and many others joined a boar hunting party. Whit remained to work on the defenses, Shayline also remained at the Chapel of Light to assist in healing.
I have heard that the Rangers from Loreli also have gone in and purchased a mare and stallion masterbreed Echer’Naught warhorse for their own stables. Should they have any questions, I hope they will come to me.
The day was unusually warm for winter. We tracked the beast, but it was Ash who found it. A massive boar with razer sharp tusks. It charged. The onslaught of arcfire crysalites, arrows, bolts was terrifying. And yet, the beast shrugged off the blows.
It was Rorauk Fyrforg who landed the killing blow, splitting the boars skull.
After the hunt, while the servants dressed the kill, we established a camp and celebrated our prowess. And while I ate fruits and cheeses, far to the south…
That night, I returned alone to prepare and plan. I had managed to secure promises from dozens of minor nobles and a few key diplomatic figures. Will it be enough, I do not know, but Sergeant Vasser is moving heaven and earth. Even the Lord Mayor has been indispensable. I feel that with his recent diplomatic issues, the Lord Mayor may be grasping for allies.
White River 3rd was cold but clear. It was the final day of celebration. In the morning, everyone migrated north of town to the tent village to attend the games. A huge arena has been erected and throngs of nobles and peasantry flocked to the stadium to witness the event.
Though there were many events and magnificent displays, three events in particular pitted heroes from the Stahlheim and Eon’Voltuh delegations together for contests of honor and glory.
The first was an archery demonstration of preeminent skill. This contest was one by Sir Dane Landen on behalf of Eon’Voltuh using an elvish Longbow. For his victory he was awarded a quiver of white silver tipped everwood arrows.
The second was a footrace. In this unusual contest, Ash’s familiar Bait, for Stahlheim, challenged the Queen Silverclaw, for Eon’Voltuh. Though the Queen one, I feel it was the hound who one the crowd’s heart. For her prowess, the Queen won a drought of Speed. Bait received a golden laurel that was placed around his neck like a collar. He wore it for the remainder of the day as a king would a crown.
The final contest was that of arms pitting Murvoth for Stahlheim against the Grande Prince Macha Panta for Eon’Voltuh. The prince bore his traditional weapons, Murvoth clad in pugilists gloves. The fight was fast and furious with both warriors trading savage blows. It was a close contest, but in the end Murvoth landed the final blow, felling the mighty Prince.
Priests, Druids and healers rushed to the Princes side to ensure he was uninjured in the the fight. In truth, he was but winded and quickly on his feet. The crowd roared to see such a find display and both champions stepped forward to receive their reward.
To Macha Panta a golden axe. To Murvoth a white silver shield emblazoned with the crest of Echer’Naught.
By mid afternoon, everyone returned to their houses or tents to warm themselves and prepare for the final event. Then, at an hour before sundown, all gathered one last time at the Grande Hall.
Again nobles and dignitaries filled the hall. I stood with the Lord Mayor as the Marshal of services addressed the crowd speaking of the momentous event to take place. Then the Lord Mayor spoke in welcome. As before, Stahlheim entered to great fanfare followed by Eon’Voltuh.
On the dais stood a table and upon that ancient wood the charter. First, stepped forward, all eyes upon me. With solemnity I signed and then handed the quill to King Fyrforg who followed in turn. I then passed the quill to Queen Silverclaw who signed.
Once all parties signatures were penned, the Lord Mayor took up a pitcher of ale and poured into the first cup of Peace.
The cups had been hand crafted from white silver imported from Stahlhiem with everwood stems from Jasara and pink pearls from Eon’Voltuh. Around the cup were the filigreed standards of Eon’Voltuh, Stahlheim, Echer’Naught and interspersed with the seal of the Rangers. They had been further enhanced with magic making them indestructible and rending any poison, mundane or magical, inert.
Lord Mayor Von Haber passed the first filled cup to me and then passed the empty goblets to the King and Queen respectively. I took my cup and poured ale into theirs in a symbol of brotherhood. And then, with the sun setting behind us filling the room with warm light, we drank together forever sealing the pact made that day.
Afterwards, the King’s Feast was held and the mighty boar, now roasted was brought forth. Its head, stuffed and mounted was presented to Rorauk Fyrforg. He raised it high to the great acclaim of all assembled.
And then we feasted.
But my mind was elsewhere.
Far to the south.
My task here is done. Details have been assigned and the safety of the delegations is in good hands. Engineers and craftsmen stand by to work with the representatives from both nations for the construction of their embassies.
All that will happen without me.
For tomorrow, I gather an army.
Soon, I will strike south and ride for Eckhart lands
If they can but hold just a little more…
Your most obedient servant,
A. Wolfhaven, Colonel
Regional Command at Echer’Naught, Olara
Ranger 1st Class Maggie Silver