Captain Wolfhaven, Alexander
Grey Ranger Outpost, Echer’Naught
Eighteenth day, Raining Leaves, Year 3122 Under the Light
I write these words with mixed feelings. On the one hand, I have completed the mission placed before my by my commanders. And yet, I have discovered troubling fact about my own men and more questions than answers regarding Echer’Naught. But, first, I must expand on my previous, rather rushed, report.
As previously stated, Ranger Longtail had been abducted by Ratzin forces of Flame and dragged below the town streets. When Ranger Hawksclaw and Highwall reported this to the Sergeant Major Stormhammer, they were given strict orders to maintain their position and secure the HQ while the Sergeant came to collect me from High Towne. Sadly, I must report, from his own testimony, that Ranger Gate Highwall abandoned his post, over the protests of Hawksclaw, and stuck out to find Ranger Longtail on his own volition. At the time, he professed to be concerned about her well being and feared that any delay would prove disastrous for his fellow ranger. As laudable as his motives may have been, his actions jeopardized the mission and everyone at our post. It was by the grace of Archanon that we managed to extract our fellow rangers despite his rashness.
At any rate, after Highwall had gone AWOL, Ranger Hawksclaw was attacked, within our very walls, by Ratzin assassins using Alchemy to approach in utter silence. Though he fought valiently, he was overwhelmed by numbers and, by his report, shrunk and confined on the person of a Ratzin. Hawksclaw was taken to the subterranean lair and placed inside a cage sized for a bird of prey. There he spied the unconscious form of Longtail in a nearby cage, also of diminished size. From his own report, his salvation came at the hands of an unusual ally in the form of a Faerie. Prior to his mission, he had visited High Druidess Treesinger in her sacred grove at the heart of the town. There she bestowed upon him the blessings of Life. It would seem that blessing came as a creature of pure life who managed to secure a key to the cage and assist his escape. From there he climbed the vines upon the licencing like some primitive rope bridge and there reach the shelves containing the evil Alchemists vials and beakers. Hearing our combat growing close, he, rather recklessly, tested the tinctures until he found himself of great size and proportion, easily dwarfing the Ratzin. There, alone, he did battle, unarmed, until laid low by a large, powerful Ratzin assassin. Until our rescue, his part was completed.
Meanwhile, Highwall was headed to the Low Town skids where the town offal runs out a small gate beneath the southern wall. When that exit proved impassable, he followed the wall east until he reached the southern postern gate. There he exited the town and double back, now outside the town, to the sewer cesspool. Forcing his way past the bars, he wandered the sewers battling Ratzin in hordes until there I found him, surrounded and grievously wounded, but still very much in the fight. The rest of his part I have explained in my previous report.
All of this occurred while I was finishing my conversation with the Lord Mayor. No sooner had I reached the Main Road, when Sergeant Major Stormhammer rushed to meet me. In brief, he explained that Hawksclaw and Highwall were holding the HQ, but I must return urgently because he believed that Longtail had been abducted. I returned to find my entire time team missing. As I explained on my report of the 16th, I ventured alone into the bowels of the town, came upon Highwall and found the enemy lair.
Here, I must account the conclusion to this sad episode. Our fight very nearly finished me and my men. It was not until late morning on the 16th before we were in any condition to even rise for our fitful rest. Only Stormhammer and the ever vigilant Grimbore remained on watch. At any rate, we received an unexpected, but welcome, guest in the form of the aforementioned scribe, Grizhnak Olgor. A Goblin with the fine bearing of a Galean elite, Olgor immediately set about establishing a small library for our, rather sparse, outpost. He also expressed an interest in joining our men as we returned to the underground lair. Our description of the “portal” intrigued him greatly.
However, before descending into the depths, I debriefed each of my rangers in order to gain some comprehension of the past day. What I learned I have written above, save for a personal note regarding each ranger in question. Ranger Hawksclaw provided a sterile report, explaining in exacting detail the bizarre behavior of Ranger Highwall and his own concerns about continued operations. Ranger Highwall expressed his regret for his actions and assured me such would never happen in the future. Ranger Longtail had little to say but relief. Based on their performance, and the question as to whether I would remain at this post once news of former Captain Manning reached Kythros, I felt compelled to establish some form of command structure. With the blessing of Stormhammer, I hereby promoted Ranger Rah-Sahn Hawksclaw to Ranger 1st Class.
Once organizational details had been sorted, I sent my rangers to request assistance from the Lord Mayor who tasked the Royal Sheriff and his 20 best men to our detail. Ranger 1st Class Hawksclaw showed admirable restraint being forced to work with the man who so recently imprisoned him. Even so, the Sheriff, his men, my team and the new scribe, Olgor descended into the depths to return to the scene of such perfidy. We arrived to find things much as we had left them. A great portion of the lab had been destroyed in the cataclysm of my futile attempts to stem the tide of Ratzin through what we have come to understand was a faulty portal or cauldron of some sort.
While the Royal guards secured the room, my rangers set about searching the various remains and trying to determine how may had fallen prey, how long this had been occurring and recovering what personal affects they could uncover. Meanwhile, Olgor studied the room, the book I had found earlier and the pedestal in the corner. My Rangers found numerous items, many of which would later be returned to surviving family and friends. They also realized that, based on the pattern of kidnappings, this den had been in operation for some years. It is very conceivable that this plot was hatched during the War of Flame. How fortunate are we that, despite the limited success of the relatively few kidnapping victims, no further damage was caused. This lair could, conceivably, caused the fall of Echer’Naught during the war had it worked as we believe intended. Consulting with Ranger Highwall, who’s family it appears has some history in runes and magic, Olgor surmised that the Thaumaturgist was attempting to create a permanent-triggered spell which, when activated, would open a portal to Nocan Dar and release untold horrors upon the town. We do not know exactly what transpired, suffice to say, the trigger effect was faulty creating a situation in which the portal was only partially effective, and only for a short time preceding the cycle of three full moons and during the 13th hour. With the help of Stormhammer’s hammer, we managed to break the runes, thereby deactivating the artifact. Collecting all, including the defunct pedestal, we all returned to the surface.
My rangers returned what they could to those who had lost. There was much gratitude from the townspeople. So much so, that the Schenkle bakery now provides fresh bread each morning. Also, the lady of the evening, Aurora’s daughter Sarah had now joined our staff as a housemaid and laundress during the morning and early afternoon.
All being said, this has been a trial fore our little band. It has revealed our strengths and our weaknesses. I only hope that we can move beyond this episode and continue to serve in the fullness of out capacity. Regardless, the town is secured, Captain Manning has been avenged and the Lord Mayor has requested our assistance in dealing with an issue of taxes. Until such time as I am permanently assigned, or replaced, I will uphold the ideals and code of the Ranger Corps and do my utmost in the name of Life, Light and the faith placed in me by my commanders.
Your obedient servant,
A. Wolfhaven, Captain