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

Campaign Report 89 (Second Movement)
Velkalar's Gates (KellyCon 2017)

Lord Mayor, Colonel Baron Wolfhaven, Alexander

Commander of the Legio Heroes

Velkalar’s Front Gate, North of Montrel, Wildlands

Fifteenth Day of Thunder Hawk, Year 3126 Under the Light

Tomorrow. Tomorrow it will end.

For Rah-Sah. For Longtail. For Sarah. For Alexander. For Sir Lugard. For Argus. For everyone this monster has taken from us. For everyone he may even think to take.

For Fateweaver.

…for Streetrunner.

I will kill Velkalar. I swear by my Lady. He will die by my hand. Or should I fall. I will open the way. So help me.

Eternal Sun 31st, 3126
It began, as so many things small. While my Rangers rested and mourned, I prepared. Before they ever reached the city gates, I had confirmed from the King’s own Grand Chancellor His Excellency Lord Helmut Van Bach that Fate weaver was, in fact, this Olandoran person. The warrant had been valid. And, had been dead or alive. So, in the eyes of the Olaran Crown, Dom Diego had fulfilled the wishes of the crown and was owed a reward.

My request for information as to the whereabouts or disposition of Fateweaver’s remains was flatly rebuffed. I can only assume he will be burned, then dumped in a criminal’s grace. As treasonous as it may sound, I wish that Longtail were here. I can only speculate her reaction. No, I know for a fact Fateweaver’s remains would already have been liberated and buried in some sacred place, far from the eyes of the Olarans where he might rest in peace. In truth, were that the case, I would commission the memorial marker myself.

My orders? No official service or memorial was to be conducted. The Crown would consider it a great affront. I imagine some Olaran undersecretary was dispatched to Echer’Naught just to monitor our activities to report on any such sacrilege to Olaran honor. I may disagree with the orders, but I will follow them to the letter.

That does not mean that a private gathering would offend any. Why should it? The Crown is no more the master of my private affairs than I. I am, of course, a married man.
So, I invited many old friends, and new ones to gather at my home in the city on the eve of Eternal Sun 31st, 3216 for a dinner and drinks. Many joined. Of note, the Alpha team, Captain Walter Vasser, Lady Treesinger, and many, “ah, performers” from Low Town. There were others, minor nobility, and Rangers who knew Fateweaver well.

I invited all and raised a glass. My words were inadequate. It struck me then, that Fateweaver would know what to say. So, I just said goodbye as any Olaran would, and returned to my wife’s side.
All seemed well enough considering, when Sergeant Major Stormhammer pulled me aside and begged an urgent word. Anxiously, we withdrew to my study where he informed me that “informants” had reached his ears with two pieces of information. First, they believed that the area in, or around, Montrel to be the likely epicenter of Velkalar’s operation, if only locally.
My heart raced. I almost dashed off just then to convene a council of war, when the Sergeant major’s grave face gave me pause. In that moment I realized that the second message far eclipses the first, and I dreaded what, if anything, could be more vital, more critical, more urgent than to finally learn where to find Velkalar…

…but learn I did and my heart froze in dread. Only to be washed away in a tide of white hot anger.

The second piece of information was that “informants” believed Velkalar had learned the location of Aradove Longtail’s family.

I saw white. Where, my only question.

And then, I could see the shift behind Sergeant Major Stormhammer’s eyes when he claimed that finding that information might be difficult.

Looking back, I think very much had he not answered my question then and there, I would have cut him down then and there. Of course, not having my sword at hand, I most likely would have brained him with one of Olgor’s heaviest tomes, appreciating the irony there.

I think Sergeant Major Stormhammer saw my look and realized his situation. I drove it home by raging at him that he would tell me or else…

The or else I left implied. Strangely, he seem almost unable to resist speaking. And he did tell me. By the five Ascended he told me. I was gone.

Out the door, I shouted that any who could ride to meet me at the south gate in moments or be left behind. And then I bolted for my armory to done my gear. Outside, I heard the mad scramble, but I cared little.

They found them. They found them. They found them!

It was a horrifying mantra that I could not seem to shake. Every second stretched into an eternity. Every movement felt slow and laborious. I had to move faster, run harder, ride swifter.

Thunder, ascended bless my horse, was saddled and waiting. He seemed to sense my urgency.

My Lady Elyanna said nothing to stop me. She threw readied saddlebag across Thunder’s rump as I strapped my weapons to their mounts. She squeezed my arm once, and then stepped clear. One nudge and Thunder surged beneath me.

We reached that gate in…moments. Already a few had gathered. Some without armor, some without weapons. Most without saddles. I waited five minutes. It felt like a lifetime. Thunder danced beneath me, feeling my anxiety and impatience.

And they arrived, in ones and twos. The Alpha Team among them, better geared than most, but without provision or kit.

I addressed the assembled. We would ride. Hard. No stopping, no resting. Remounts at the Goblinesh Waystation. Fall behind, get left behind. Just like in the war. And then I spurred Thunder and the ground rushed beneath us.

I never looked back. I held Thunder to a pace they could at least match, more or less. Only on horseback did I feel that I was moving at speed. The sky split with lighting and the rains began to spatter down. I never even noticed. Eris was in my mind.

Colonels were literally rolled from their beds, every tavern in Echer’Naught was emptied of Rangers. I would save Longtail’s family.
And then I was coming for Hawksclaw.

We rode hard. Day and night. I could hear them falling away, horses screaming as they snapped their legs in unseen holes. But I pressed on.

Eternal Sun 32nd, 3126
We reached the Goblinesh Waystation by morning on the 32nd. It is a hard two day ride from Echer’Naught to the station. We made in one.

I paused long enough for those that remained with me to drop from their saddles and remount. Waiting for me, horses saddled and ready, Corporal Rildrirr. Seeing him…emotions hit me like a wave. He just nodded, never one for long speeches.

And we were off again. Thunder had run hard for a day, and he took off as if fresh. East now, and hard…

We ate the distance like men deranged. Flashed past the Stone Tower Gather. They were a hive of activity as we rode by.

Grimbore stood at the gates, his face a mask of rage. He knew. Eris told him. He owed Velkalar more than we. Many of his had died at the hands of Velakalar’s men.

All night we rode. Dawn came bright and with it the heat. I felt nothing, just numbness and urgency.

With the dawn came a smudge of smoke on the horizon. My heart fell and a sickness spread through my gut. I picked up the pace, a bit. The few with me, Sergeant Vosltagg at the head began to fall back, unable to match Thunders murderous pace.

Ascended please do not let it be…

…burning Brinchie wagons.

I spurred Thunder and he surged. Two days of punishing pace and he never once flagged. Thunder filled my ears. Pumping blood and the sounds of his hooves tearing holes in the earth.

As we closed, I could see the bodies scattered everywhere. Dozens of brinchie, dead, the wagons in flames. The road turned, wagons blocked my view. I put Thunders head into them and I could feel him bunching beneath me, then her leaped. We cleared the roof of the six foot wagon with feet to spare. Then down again, I slammed into the saddle, kit clattering.

Only then could I see. Half a dozen yards, in an open field. at least size brinchie warriors lay dead, all trying to delay the inevitable. Only one remained, Streetrunner. He was badly wounded, and staggering, but he still fought on, his three kids behind him in the grass, crying.

Then, his attacker turned.

Diego.

I charged, lowering my father’s sword. Diego’s eyes widened and he hit a device on his belt, disappearing in an arcfire flash. I let him go. He was a sword, a weapon. I knew who guided his hands. Soon enough, Velakalar would feel my wrath.

Without slowing, I sprang from the saddle and hit the ground. My knees very nearly gave. I am no longer as young as I once was. Or at least, my body is not.

By the time I reached him, Streetrunner was on his knees, using his lo-sska as a crutch to keep himself upright. Closer now, I could see his wounds were mortal. It was a wonder he had lived this long. Love. Love for his children drove far passed the point of physical endurance.

I reached to heal him and he hissed, snapping at my fingers, his fangs barred.

Confused I started to ask, but then I felt it. Like heat rippling off his body, Flame. His fur smoldered and he was surrounded in a crackling heat shimmer. And like that, years slipped away. I was running into an ally to see him lying beside Longtail, both apparently dead. It was the first time she had “died”; stabbing herself in her heart to save Sarah’s. He, then sold himself to someone to save her’s. They have each other’s eye now, literally, one green, one amber.

And his deal was due. If I healed him, he would only fall that much faster. He confirmed as much. And then asked me to do the unthinkable. Longtail’s husband asked me to kill him. She was gone, and he called upon my love of his wife to take his life…if only to save his soul.

Hot tears rolled down my face as I lifted the sword. Faces swam in my fuzzy vision. All young, all full of life.

He thanked me as I cut him down. I poured every ounce of Faith I had into that blow. I called upon the Silver Unicorn, Archanon, the Ascended…

The sword suddenly became too heavy to life, so I plunged it into the ground, lifted my face to the heavens and screamed out all my rage, my sorrow, and my loss.

I screamed until my voice cracked, and then I dropped to my knees and wept. I could hear Sergeant Volstagg approaching from behind. I gave myself only one more moment of self pity, and then I picked myself up, holstered my sword and approached the kids.

They had stopped screaming. They looked up at me with those wide, feline eyes, fur matted with tears. I was so afraid they would recoil from me. I had just killed their father. But instead, they swarmed my in a furry mob, burying their faces in my neck and clutching me with their tiny claws. Tears poured again, but the time for mourning would come. Now, their safety was paramount.

So, I instructed Sergeant Volstagg to bring the body, with all honors, and I returned to Thunder who waited, breathing steadily, but not hard. My foundation, the last gift my father ever gave. And he had never failed me, not once in all these long, brutal, bloody years.

For the umpteenth time, I hauled myself into the worn, familiar saddle and turned his nose west, toward the Stone Tower Gather. There were others around. A few from Alpha Team had managed to hang in. Free Riders. Others. I cannot recall. My mind was miles away, and my heart was bleeding.

Thunder Hawk 1st, 3126
We made the Gather that night, or maybe the next day. I know not. The hours and miles began to blur into one another. My world had been reduced to the rythm of Thunders gait, and the three small, warm bodies wrapped in my thick, woolen cloak, heedless of heat or rain, snuggled against my chest. I could feel the slight vibration of their sleepy purring even through my armor. It reminded me suddenly of their mother.

How many time had I gone to sleep in the field, wrapped in my cloak, a dying fire warming my face. Somewhere a lump of beard and iron, Highwall. Across from me, the rakish face of Hawksclaw, peaceful in slumber. And above us, like some ferocious avenging spirit, Longtail, purring softly where she perched on a branch. One of use always alert while the others slept soundly, knowing that so long as we were together, we were safe.

I dozed, in and out of consciousness. In and out of time. Past. Present. Future. On that long, dark ride, I was as lost and timeless as I was in death.

But, dawn came. And in the growing light, the wooden palisade of the gather. Already tents sprang up around the walls like mushrooms. Those that had fallen away were gathering, per my orders. More soon to come. We met Grimbore at the door. Mak Torkash he may be. But, when those three children sprang from my arms to his, he was just a doting uncle. Massive, and ungainly, they crawled over him with practiced familiarity. And they were safe.

I would make sure of it.

When Sergeant Volstagg carried the wrapped body through the gate, the entire Gather stopped and began to keen and wail. The sound was haunting, matching the sound within my own heart. They mourned all night. And, in the morning, they began preparations for Streetrunner. He was never really Brinchie. That was always Longtails aspiration. Nor was he Olaran, like his friend, mentor, and brother, Fateweaver. Streetrunner had no real home, only his friends, and family.

So, the goblinesh of the Stone Tower honored him as they would their greatest warriors. Longtail would approve. Fateweaver would have found it absolutely amusing. Streetrunner. He would not have cared, so long as his children were safe. We never like each other much. But he had my respect. I believe I, his. At any rate, I left that to our hosts. For me, there was work to be done.

Breakfast, hot. A change of clothes, cool. And a moment with my wife, courtesy of Eris. That was all I could allow.

My Rangers sagged to the ground, hungry and exhausted. But they had stayed with me. On that ride thru hell. I wished it were over. I wished…but life cares little for wishes. It was just beginning. And, in a few days, weeks, even those that lived through what was to come would look back on this moment and a lifetime would seem to have passed.

How many such moments had I experienced? Too many. And more to come.

I called them to me. Alpha Team. My orders. Call in every favor, beseech every friend, every ally. Promise whatever it took, but bring me an army with which I could destroy Velkalar. They had until the 8th of Thunder Hawk and then I needed them back there. To that place. For, on the 8th, the War began.

And with that, they rode. Husband and wife, Volstagg and…Volstagg. Sergeant Volstagg took RFC Zathlan north to find Sir Hevain and others. Before she left, RFC Zathlan contacted her family, both in Galea and…elsewhere.

Corporal Amaroth, RFC Moldova, and RFC Leaora returned to Echer’Naught. Moldova summoned Captain Vasser and the Watch, Corporal Amaroth mercs from Low Town, and Leaora…she brought friends.

Serys just left. Alone? Perhaps. I never asked.

Grendel remained to help the Stone Tower Gather gird for war. Grimbore mustered every blade, club, staff, and shaman this small Gather could muster. But I would take one of his over a hundred trained swords most any day. How long had Grimbore stood at our door? How many times had that simple, giant saved us? How many times, after he was cast out, exiled, had he returned to stand beside us. Eckhart keep. Velkalar’s outpost.

I have never asked when Grimbore has not come willingly, ready to protect his friends and honor his “pretty kitty.”

From the 1st to the 8th I planned, prepared and gathered the army.

Thunder Hawk 8th, 3126
They returned, as ordered. Sergeant Volstagg and RFC Zathlan were so tired and saddlesore, they looked half dead. But they returned, mission accomplished. Even Serys returned, his clothes in tatters, boots near worn through, but he simply nodded. His men would come and they brought death with them. It cut me deeply, pushing them. But, I had little choice if we had any hope of victory. And so, I let them a few hours to rest, wash, and eat.

Then, I revealed to them the information I hard harbored, protected like a precious gem. The whereabouts of Velakar’s operation and our target. Montrel.

A city in the Wildlands, cradled by the Northern Hills. Sprawling and unruly, Montrel was one of hundreds of ideal location for Velkalar’s base. But, we need more accurate information if we had any hope of attack. So, I once again I tapped my Alpha Team. Thunder. Grimbore. My Alpha Team.

Though their members had changed over the years. The spirit never so. When the moment came that I victory demanded absolute trust, unrelenting excellent, I called my team. MY Alpha Team.

I ordered them to A) Travel to Montrel, B) Scout the area for actionable intelligence on Velkalar’s whereabouts, " C) Set scout camp and prepare for my arrival.

After loading up on the finest equipment and gear provided for the Artisans Guild of Malakar, courtesy of RFC Daynore and my White Silver Wolves, they rode, that very day.

Thunder Hawk 14th, 3126
They arrived in six days, by the 13th of Thunder Hawk along with a dozen Woflhaven Free Company riders, and four specialists. Sergeant Vosltagg sent the riders in pairs to scout the lands outside the city, while his team posed as members of the White Silver wolves looking to spend some coin.

Finding lodging was easy, though all members report feeling as if they were being watched at all times. They waited till evening on the 14th before heading to the tavern to carouse for information. By all accounts, RFC’s Nazir and Zathlan make an alluring pair. They were actively recruited to serve as entertainment for a large operation north of the city. Grendel watched RFC Moldova drink a dwarf under the table, before passing out herself. Though, not before the dwarf admitted to working as a caravan guard making the “north run” 3 times weekly.

Sergeant Volstagg, Corporal Amaroth, and RFC Daynore drank with mercenaries who willingly told them of the lucrative contracts in the city. Someone was paying top coin to assemble an army of mercs, and then pay them to sit around and drink. He claimed to have been living high for six months and happily provided the Rangers with the name of a local recruiter.

Serys watched the horses while the Rangers got a well deserved rest.

Thunder Hawk 15th, 3126
Mid-morn, Sergeant Volstagg, Corporal Amaroth, and RFC Daynore headed out the “sign up.” They found a man lazing outside a dive tavern who gladly signed the men and even offered them free drinks at the establishment. As they were entering, he recognized Amaroth from his merc days and offered to get drinks later that night. Realizing this man might have information on the traitor who killed his lord, Corproal Amaroth requested the team stay long enough for him to meet the man.

However, RFC Daynore contacted Eris through an ingenious method of sending the missive via the Farspeaker network, but flag it low so it would not be intercepted. The response was swift and without room for interpretation. Track the leads, find Velkalar’s camp.

So, the team mounted up and headed north. It was getting on toward evening when they spied a caravan of wagons on the horizon, heading toward the mountains. With Seyrs tracking the wagons, they followed the road north, until the wagons suddenly veered east, off the road and headed straight into the mountains. Soon, they came to a narrow cleft in the rock face where the wagons squeezed through. After some debate, they decided their orders required that they enter, and so Serys once again led the team in.

What seemed a tunnel, turned out to be a short, but narrow cut through the mountains leading to a wide, and fertile vale hidden in the foothills of the Northern Hills. Very hard to find, very defensible. Now, they were faced with a bowl shaped forest about 1/4 mile wide and almost 1/2 long. So, they were breaking into a skirmish line, when the Wolfhaven Free Riders thundered up demanding to know why they had been left behind.

Reunited, the forces joined to spread out through the woods, cavalry leading, and sweep the forested vale front to back. With the light dying behind the mountains, their lead scouts found the end of the vale, AND the entrance to Velakar’s hidden keep. It appeared to be an ancient wall, and wide door which nestled in the rock’s natural formation. Beyond it, one could just make out the beginning of a narrow switchback which lead deeper and higher into the Hills.

With this, the Rangers set up camp and alerted Wolfhaven who informed them that he was already on his way and would arrive in a day or two. They were left with nothing to to but watch and wait.

During the 13th hours between the 15th and 16th of Thunder Hawk, Corporal Amaroth, RFC Zathlan, and one of the Free Riders were on watch when a strange thing occurred. From their vantage point just in the treeline, it seemed as if a small door had opened in the wall and release a naked man who began to stagger across the 300+ yard killing fields to their location.

As they watched in bewilderment, the man continued to approach. Sergeant Volstagg was fetched and he too stood watching, puzzled. Eventually, the man was close enough to make out distinguishing marks. He appeared starved, beaten and, again, stark naked. As he stumbled into the trees, Sergeant Volstagg stole up behind him and, clapping a hand over his mouth, dragged him deeper under cover.

After securing a promise the man would not scream, Vosltagg released him and ordered water and food be brought. The man gratefully gulped water and then seemed to really notice Vosltagg. At which point he asked if Sergeant Volstagg was indeed Volstagg. No sooner did the Sergeant confirm, then the man said that he has a message and started spouting gibberish. Everyone took a step back, when zigzag lines of arcfire began to glow beneath the man’s skin.

Everyone turned to run when the man detonated. Sir Volstagg shielded RFC Zathlan and was hurled into the trees. The Free Riders was killed instantly. Corporal Amaroth was hurled several feet before bouncing off a tree. He was, however, more singed that hurt. Due to the bravery of her husband, RFC Zathlan was spared much more than small scorching. The forest, however, was ablaze.

Worse, the rest of the Rangers, awakened by the commotion, woke to find the army of mercs from Montrel had sneaked up behind them. At the moment of detonation, they fell upon the Rangers and began to push the surprised and disorganized Rangers toward the killing field.

From here, the battle degenerated into insanity, with dozens of small, but intense skirmishes raging through the vale. The Rangers performed without question admirably, but they were vastly outnumbered, trapped and were forced to slowly give ground. RFC’s Zathlan and Daynore fought hard, Serys claimed many lives.

Of note, RFC Zathlan immediately went in search of her husband. She found him, bend over, unconscious, and wedged in a half rotten log. She lacked the strength to free him, so she shouted for Grendel who was busy fighting. He barreled his way through and the two grasped Sergeant Vosltagg by hands and feet. Yet, even they were unable to free him. Ultimately, RFC Daynore arrived, and had the presence of mind to use the salted grease from the WolfPack to slather Sergeant Vosltagg, making him just slick enough for the three of them to wrench him free.

Meanwhile, in the blast zone, Corporal Amaroth was quickly set upon. During the fighting, he faced off against the recruiter who he was to have had a drink with that very night. They battled, but ultimately, Corporal Amaroth proved the victor. With his dying breath, the man revealed that he knew secrets of Corporal Amaroth’s former house, but before he could be made to talk, an arrow took his life. In a rage, Corporal Amaroth ruined the body and then waded into the enemy with alarming ferocity. Yet, even this was not enough to turn the tide.

My force was at least two days away, but I assembled an advanced force and with the help of magic and good mounts, we managed two days in one night, arriving a few hours before dawn. We easily overran the mercenary rear guard who was spending more time drinking. After all, their had trapped a small force of rangers in a barrel and then overwhelmed them. It never occurred to them to be on the look out for our arrival.

Their mistake.

Then, we rode into them. Fekla, Grek, Tina, Tiny. I seem to recall one moment where I spied a white silver man-sized doll riding through battle atop Tiny. This I chalk up to fatigue and stress.

For their part, the mercenaries fought well. Trapped now in their own trap, they turned and fought with a vengeance. But now, the tables had turned and they were ridden down and slaughtered. We captured a few for questioning. But, for the most part, the opening skirmish of the war was ours.

I sit and write this with a few hours of darkness left. Tomorrow, the assault truly begins.

Hawksclaw. I am coming.

Your most obedient servant,

Lord Mayor Wolfhaven, Colonel

Velkalar’s Front Gate, North of Montrel, Wildlands

View
Missives from Drenmar
Ravens

The Raven Feather
The Raven Feather was a gift.
I told you to look at this feather
whenever you’re longing for me.

I couldn’t stay.
The master was calling.
Haunted me in my dreams.
Commanded me to return.

So I turned around.
Raven feathers sprouted out of me.
And I flew into the dawn.

I still haven’t forgot you..
I’m just waiting
for the opportunity
to run away
to defeat the master
to break the curse
to fly over borders into life.

Until then
Remember me.
I shall return!
Remember me.
When you hold the Raven Feather in your hand

View
Campaign Report 89 (First Movement)
Crimson Wedding (KellyCon 2017)

Lord Mayor, Colonel Baron Wolfhaven, Alexander

Commander of the Legio Heroes

Ranger Regional Headquarters, Echer’Naught, Olara

Thirtieth Day of Eternal Sun, Year 3126 Under the Light

By the Lord of Light, and my lady, Celesia, the Silver Unicorn, I have failed. And in my failing, a man has lost his life. Nearly two.

I care not what past sins might have been committed by Therel Fateweaver, or Davos Olandoran as the Royal Warrant stated. He saved this city, he saved my Rangers more times that I could count. Admittedly, I never well trusted him, but I trusted Sergeant Minor Longtail, and she trusted Fateweaver. After she was gone, after I lost Hawksclaw to that damnable villain Velkalar…I must say, Fateweaver’s advice was invaluable. He has served as the finest Seneschal that this city has ever seen.

And now he is gone.

Because I miscalculated.

Red Wolf 27th, 3126

At mid-morn, I attended Sir Volstagg, Sergeant at his hospital bed within the Hospital, formerly the Red Lamp brothel. He seemed well and the doctor’s assured me that he was to be released that day. Though, it would take days, or weeks to recover. I should know for I have also been there.

Nevertheless, we spoke about personal matters. Sir Volstagg had requested before departing Elgen Keep, and the ambush which landed him in the hospital, that I intercede upon his behalf in a matter of honor. Moving forward, he felt that he could best server the people of Olara, and of all the Southern Kingdom’s by extending his service with the Ranger indefinitely.

To that end, I sent requests to the Crimson Wall, Lord Otto Reinhart, and to Kytrhos, Lord Commander Norwood. The Rangers answered almost immediately in the affirmative. The response from the Crimson Wall was somewhat slower, but they too acquiesced. It would seem that the most recent…political turmoil made it more palatable that Sergant Volstagg be associated with the Rangers.

I felt we had gained greatly by the transfer.

With that approved, I requested that he permit me to allow my personal armorer to re-enamel his armor in any scheme that he might wish. Designs were sent and within a day, the armor was completed. A Baron title has its perks.

Then I informed him that a new mission was coming, one which required travel and time spent away from home. Once released, he was to speak with his Rangers and inform them that they would have leave to see to their affairs.

Sergeant Volstagg’s next words both surprised and delighted me. RFC Lady Nexus Zathlan had agreed to his hand in marriage! Knowing the path ahead, I encouraged Sergeant Vosltagg to make preparations swiftly. I had waited for my own marriage, and it nearly cost me all.

Volstagg agreed, but wished to keep the entire affair quiet for the time. I agreed and offered my assistance in making the necessary preparations and negotiations. He agreed and we parted in good spirits.

My next stop was to swing by the Local E’N HQ and speak with RFC Leaora Nazir. She had withdrawn from the Alpha Team to oversee the Elven/Oaran Rebuilding Coalition. After the attack by Shaya’Nor’s forces, much of the Elven District and Low Town was damaged or destroyed. Elven/Olaran relations degenerated to the point that during the battle, the elves killed a number of Olarans while trying to defend their district in the city

RFC Nazir had brokered an agreement between Sir Eric Halten, the Royal Sheriff and Warden, and High Druidess Lady Treesinger to put together crews from both groups and work toward rebuilding the city together. Their success went far beyond any reasonable assumptions and, for her diligence, RFC Nazir had been put in charge. Now, however, most of the actual building had been completed. The Coalition had recently agreed to remain, but focus more on mutual corporation and civic projects.

RFC Nazir could, in likelihood, remain at the post and manage the project for years, even gaining political influence and rank. However, she agreed to my request to return to the Alpha Team for the upcoming mission. He language and bardic skills would be key. I learned later that she and Treesinger had agreed to select a leadership candidate from both groups, rather than place the organization under one leader from either side.

From there, I had more preparation for the upcoming mission and the day to day drudgery of command. My Great Lady, Elyanna surprised my at the office, bringing food cooked by her own hand. She shooed everyone out of my office permitting me a few moments of delightful conversation with my beloved.

I learned later that Sergeant Volstagg was, in fact, released later that day and headed to his residence to recuperate.

Red Wolf 28th, 3216

Sir Volstagg’s new armor, detailed and tooled in White, Red, and Black was delivered. I suspect he was pleased.

Red Wolf 30th, 3126

In the morning, I called the Alpha Team together for a number of reasons. The first was to get them back into routine as they had been on light duty for the past couple of weeks. I also wanted a chance to debrief them about the recent missions. In the past, repeated stressful missions had sometimes elicited negative responses. I feel strongly that I, and the Rangers, have no done enough to ensure the mental and emotional health of our Rangers.

So, I took some time to address a few concerns. Grendel had suffered some comments on his height. Sad, considering he is of above average height for his kind. Unfortunately, many of the Ogres serving in the Rangers tend to be considerably large. It must have something to do with the lifestyle that draws “behemoth” oges to our ranks. Whatever the case, I felt it important to reassure him.

I spoke with RFC Durlan Daynore about his heritage. Malakarans have a reputation, worse within Olara. They are often seen as dishonest and sneaky, I explained that, regardless of how he is treated outside the Corps, he had my complete faith.

I spoke with RFC Lady Nexus Zathlan about how she has come so far. When she first arrived, she seemed unsure and doubting. But, over her relatively brief time, she had blossomed in a confident woman and warrior.

RFC Gracelyn Moldova was absent. She has been working with our local Rangers in searching for an increasing number of missing City Watch, merchants, and even known criminals.

To Corporal Audric Amaroth I posed only the question I posed to Ramshorn before him, “are you in control.” He affirmed that he was still in control, his sergeant confirmed. Sergeant Volstagg and I had already spoken privately. And to Serys, I simply ordered him not to “accidentally shoot” any fellow members of the Rangers. He agreed, though I am somewhat suspect given his nature.

We were also graced by RFC Leaora Nazir who, as mentioned, had agreed to assist the team on the upcoming operation. She seemed surprisingly eager to escape the small confines of her office.

The team assembled, I informed them that they would be called soon for an official mission requiring long travel. So, I allowed them a couple weeks to get their local affairs in order. Then, they were dismissed.

I retained Sir Volstagg and Lady Zathlan a moment. Once private, I expressed my joy at the news and offered to speak on her behalf as she had no-one in the city to speak as advocate. Malcolm agreed to negotiate on behalf of Sir Volstagg and Lady Moonsilver would serve to facilitate negotiations. That completed, I dismissed them and began drafting letters.

Red Wolf 33rd, 3126

By the 33rd, a bride price had been agreed, House Zathlan prepared to recieve guests and the wedding was on. I arranged funding, put together a proper entourage for a knight and lady of their standing and arranged for a column of Wolfhaven Company of Free Riders to accompany the couple and team on the road. Recent events were never far from my mind.

Eternal Sun 1st, 3126

Gathered outside the Wolfhaven Manor, everyone was in high spirits, though Alpha Team were still unaware of the purpose of this trip, they were happy enough to receive such a lavish “free” vacation.

As a list minute change, and to my eternal regret, I requested that Sir Volstagg permit senschel Therel Fateweaver to accompany the party as a represtantive of the city. In truth, Fateweaver was a known target for assassination, more of Velkalar’s doing, so I sent him away without any warning or announcement. My hope was that he would be safer outside the city, surrounded by some of the finest Ranger, Olaran, and Galean warriors.

I was wrong.

Still, the convoy rumbled out of the city by the Dwarven/East gate and began the 12 day trek through Harken, Hale, across the Howling River, and then north to House Zathlan lands. By all accounts, the trip was both enjoyable and uneventful

Eternal Sun 12th, 3126

The caravan arrived at the edge of House Zathlan lands and were greeted by the Lord and Lady Zathlan themselves. Sir Volstagg approached. Kind words were spoken and Lord Zathlan welcome the knight and his betrothed into Zathlan lands, but would not allow the Rangers entrance unless their produced a legal warrant, or agreed not to attempt to usurp Zathlan authority while guests in their lands.

Sir Volstagg readily agreed and the entire caravan was permitted to reach the keep. As they passed through the nearby vill, I hear that crowds thronged the street, showing the party with garlands, carpeting the hard packed road in petals. I can only surmise the rest of the team grew quite suspicious as they reached the keep. There, the Rangers were feted and provided for with the most generous hospitality. They sparred with Zathlan warriors, took constitutionals by a nearby lake, and even participated in a Stag hunt.

I was surprised to hear that Grendel managed to the killing blow on the feast stag. In fact, he has earned a new title, Grendel “Stag Killer.” He seems more confused than pleased.

Though hastily arranged, House Zathlan provided the most wondrous accommodations and arrangements. Within three days of arriving, they managed to put on a wedding of perfection.

Eternal Sun. 16th 3126

From pre-dawn, all parties hurriedly prepared and by late afternoon all was in readiness. With sundown just approaching, family and friends of House Zathlan gathered in the sacred grove to witness the union between Lady Nexus Zathlan, House Lyonn of Galea to Sir Gunther Volstagg, Order of the Crimson Wall, House Vosltagg of Olara.

The ceremony was presided over by the Zathlan family druid, three strips of silk, red, white, and blue (house Lyonn colors) were wrapped around their clasps hands as prayers were offered to the ascended. Then, each dipped an everwood gift in a bowl of purified water, dedicated to the Silver Unicorn. When Sir Vosltagg touched the water, it glowed white silver.

She gave to him an everwood ring with a lions head, its main in white silver, detailed in white silver. To her was also given a ring of everwood, scrolled and adorned with elven filigree in white silver. Both rings were personally crafted by the hands of Durlan Daynore, his gift to his friends.

With a final song, they were wed, leading a procession out of the grove to the main hall where the feast and celebration awaited. All joined them, as the happy couple sat at the head table beside Lord and Lady Zathlan. There were dances and gifts. Most precious was that offered by Therel Fateweaver and Leaora Nazir.

As she played her harp, he sang. I would offer all my worldly possessions to have heard that song. The last ballad of one of the greatest bards to ever live. He sang of two houses, Zathlan and Volstagg, their founding, their victories and defeats, and he sand of love. I have spoken with several people in attendance and all speak of a trancelike state, of hearing and seeing, of feeling ever sweeping moment of centuries of honor, history, loss, and love.

When it was over, no one moved, or spoke. Only when a dish, forgotten by a servant tumbled to shatter against the stone floor from paralyzed fingers was everyone shocked into motion. Then, with a bow, Therel Fateweaver resumed his seat.

After that, Lord Zathlan called his Lady, his daughter, and his Son-in-Law to the main floor. He toasted them, and introduced the couple, embracing Sir Volstagg as his own family…

…when the doors to the hall exploded open and a man stormed in, dodging the guards. In his hand, he held an ancient and weathered piece of Vellum as if to ward away spirits.

Lord Zathlan stepped forward and demanded to know who would think to intrude upon such an occasion. The man, dressed in a tight fitted vest, silken shirt with voluminous sleeves ruffled at the cuffs, tight pants, high blacked boots and a large, wide hat sporting a veritable flock of ostrich feathers. Bowing low, the man introduced himself as Dom Alphonz Domingo Ferrara Diego Castellano. He professed to be presence on the King’s business.

When challeneged, he admitted that he was not here on King Argorn, King of East, but the Crown of Olara. He went on to claim that he had a Royal Warrant for the arrest of one Davos Olandoran, or, better known as, Therel Fateweaver. Lord Zathlan read the warrant, then, turned to Fateweaver. He was, after all, an official representative of Echer’Naught which was now a RANGER city, not Olaran. And they were in Galea. The legalities of the situation required serious consideration.

However, to prevent any bloodshed Therel Fateweaver, or Davos Olandoran simply stood, graciously apologized to his host and confirmed that the warrant was valid. He further regretted any difficulties his presence had caused and turned himself over to Dom Diego without resistance or complaint.

Seeing no alternative, Lord Zalthan allows Dom Diego to leave with his captive, but warns that should morning light find the man within his lands, Warrant or know, he will lose his head. Dom Diego bows, thanks them all for their forbearance and appears to turn to leave with Fateweaver.

Before anyone can stop him, he pulls out a strange burnt-orange crystal wrapped in copper and white silver wires and slams against Therel Fateweavers forehead. What happened next is difficult to describe. The crystal flashed arcfire and Fateweaver started to scream, but then his scream elongated into something worse, a metallic sound.

And then her collapsed, his eyes smoking. The backlash from whatever was just done reverberated around the room stunning everyone. Victims describe hearing a high pitched keening and feeling suddenly disoriented. Many simply passed out from pain.

Having his mercy spat upon, his people attack, and a man under his protection slaughtered like some animal, Lord Zathlan drew his sword and rushed Dom Diego with predictable results. Almost lazily, the duelist drew his rapier and stabbed at the charging Zathlan…

…only to bury his blade into Sir Volstagg’s neck.

Seeing the danger, and knowing the reports, Sir Volstagg acted before anyone else had time to think. He grabbed the Lord by the scruff and hauled him bodily out of the way, but in doing, received the blow intended for his father-in-law. Sir Volstagg drops, mortally wounded.

Not done, Dom Diego takes one sadistic moments of finish Sir Vosltagg with a slash across this throat, the arterial blood sprawing into the air staining Lady (Zathlan) Volstagg’s pure white dress crimson in her husband’s life’s blood. Now satisfied, Dom Diego turns and begins to walk out.

Enraged beyond reason, Corporal Amaroth charges, snarling, only to be caught from behind by Grendel who was repeated stabbed by the blood-mad olaran for his troubles. The other Rangers stood still. They were armed with only small weapons, knifes and short swords, no armor, and they had given their word that they would NOT interfere in Zathlan business without expressed consent.

So, following orders, they watched their Sergeant bleed out on the floor beside one of their city’s greatest heroes while the assassin, sword still stained with blood, strolled out of the room.

Zathlan House Guards were not so restrained. Thirty charged to the duelist intent on answered for the slight upon their house’s honor. To a man, they died. Dom Diego barely seemed to breathe heavily. He exited and disappeared into the night.

I have no reports of that evening. Sir Volstagg was rushed to the healers, Lady Zathlan, still robed in her blood-stained wedding gown, by his side. Lord Zathlan and his retainers rode out, scouring the countryside for Dom Diego but he was never found.

Eternal Sun 17th, 3126

By some miracle, thank the Silver Unicorn, Sir Volstagg awoke. He lived, but his voice was forever ruined by the slashing of his throat. Still, the healer knew his art and Sir Volstagg was on his feet that morning. He was met soon by Lord Zathlan who offered Sir Volstagg indefinite hospitality. But, he asked for him to send the Rangers and other guests away.

They were being hunted and Lord Zathlan had a duty to protect his House. Sir Volstagg agreed and, within the day, the Rangers rode out of the keep heading home. With them, in a place of honor, the body of Therel Fateweaver lay wrapped, ready for cremation.

Eternal Sun 20th, 3126

Three days into their trip, the party crosses the Howling River to find two groups waiting for their arrival. The first, Rangers dispatched by Wolfhaven. The very instant Dom Diego appeared, RFC Daynore contacted Eris and Wolfhaven immediately dispatched reinforcements.

The second group were Olarans, Royal Wardens specifically under command of Lord Garran Olar, Captain of the Royal Guard, and the King’s personal protector. He demanded the body of the traitor. Over RFC Nazir’s protest, Sergeant Volstagg turned over the body of Fateweaver to the Olarans. They rode away without so much as a thank you.

The ramifications of Ranger interference at Erlgen Keep continues to haunt us.

Eternal Sun 28th, 3126

I greeted the Rangers at the Dwarven/East gate. They were haggard, a shadow of the merry band I had seen riding out three weeks before. Sergeant Volstagg was sent to the hospital, again, for evaluation. The rest, were debriefed. It took a few days, but I arranged for preparations to have a private service on the the 31st of Eternal Sun.

I can only pray that no more lives will be lost before this villain can be brought to justice. May my lady hear by prayer, I cannot afford any more blood on my hands. I must be flawless for there is no more room for error.

They all look to me.

Your most obedient servant,

Lord Mayor Wolfhaven, Colonel

Ranger Regional Headquarters, Echer’Naught, Olara

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Equipment Transfer to Grayson's Gray Rangers
Sir Gunther Volstagg

Sgt. Major,

Enclosed is the following:
One Whitesilver axe
One common axe
One bastard sword

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Campaign Report 88
History Repeats itself Again

Malcolm Report

Ninth Day of Red Wolf, Year 3126 Under the Light

It is odd. History is my world. Reports, documents, tomes, ledgers, books, all. I know more, sadly, of the events of a thousand years ago than I do of my colleagues, having little time for friends and social activities.
What continually strikes me to the core is the repetitive, cyclical nature of the flow of time and events. What was, will eventually be, again, and again. Live long enough, and I am certain that life devolves into just a series of inescapable routines. Like an endless repeat of a bad mummers performance.

Red Wolf 2nd, 3126

My recounting of events follows upon the heals of my previous report of Red Wolf 2nd. Colonel Wolfhaven had arrived with a contingent of Wolfhaven Free Company of Riders, along with the young Brinchie scout, Newt. In the immediate aftermath of the the “unpleasantness” caused by the rogue adepts mass-puppet Discipline. At the time of his arrival, Alpha team was separated.

Sergeant Volstagg was in the main hall, recovering from his wounds. He had yet to obey Colonel Wolfhaven’s command to see a healer, but he was soon to rectify that oversight. Grendel waited in the courtyard just outside the main hall’s open doorway where the ogre had apparently been patiently waiting for two days while the rest of the team conducted their investigation. Newt also waited outside, with considerably less patience. Having been given no further orders than to “wait,” the young brinchie stalked the open door like a housecat waiting to be allowed inside.

RFC Daynore had just been ordered to begin to secure the hall until Sergeant Volstagg was fit for duty. The rest of the team waited below in the keeps dungeon with the unconscious and incarcerated Sir Halten, Royal Warden and Sheriff of Echer’Naught.

Colonel Wolfhaven proceeded downstairs to verify Sir Halten’s condition and to check on his team. Meanwhile, the Wolfhaven Free Company of Riders proceeded to “secure” the keep and attempt to prevent the assassin from escaping. Though, as it happens, they were unsuccessful.

Once assured that Sir Halten was secure and did not require further medical attention, Colonel Wolfhaven ordered the remainder of Alpha team to join Sergeant Volstagg in the main hall and assist in securing the keep. He requested that Brother Sebastian remain with Sir Halten and monitor his condition.

Back in the main hall, Sergeant Volstagg had finally managed to find a healer and was just finishing up. Newt prowled around, having been permitted inside by Sergeant Volstagg. The noble assemblage had also vacated, most returning to their rooms, or offices to discuss the “situation.” Colonel Wolfhaven reminded Corporal Amaroth to of his orders to secure the keep before taking Sergeant Volstagg aside to ascertain what travesty of events had led to the current crisis.

The exact conversation has not been recorded, but leaving the meeting, Colonel Wolfhaven departed to join the other nobles in discussion and Sergeant Volstagg exited to deliver a new set of orders to his team.

Newt and Grendel were ordered to make their way back down to the village in case the assassin/adept attempted to steal transportation. From subsequent reports we learn that the pair arrived shortly thereafter and arrived upon the scene of a band of five toughs, hired men-at-arms for a few low status knights attending the funeral, assaulting and robbing the local inn. Grendel and Newt immediately attacked. Grendel shoving his face in the doorway and unleashing a horrifying bellow which unmanned the thugs, and Newt drawing her blades with heedless abandon, rushing, and cutting down the nearest with two strikes. Only by the grace of the Ascended did the man not perish and place the team in even more legal jeopardy.

The remaining four fled out the back, Grendel chasing them to the edge of the yard. Wisely, he chose not to pursue, but returned and picked up the wounded, but still living man. Newt patrolled the streets while Grendel cuddled the unconscious man.

RFC Daynore and Ranger Serys were tasked by Sergeant Volstagg with tracking down the adept using Daynore’s abilities. They searched the entirety of the grounds but found no sign of the adept, or anyone under the assassin’s influence.

RFCs Moldova and Zathlan were ordered to find the page who had assisted in sneaking the girl out of he keep and finding the hidden passage through which Sir Halten had murdered Lady Bolen. Having had time to consider, Sergeant Volstagg suspected the page of potentially being the assassin, or, at the least, involved. Of all the searches, this was the most profitable as the page was readily available and willing to cooperate.

At Sergeant Volstagg’s request, and with permission from the man himself, RFC Daynore mentally scanned the page determining that he was not, in fact, an assassin. Which, odd enough, was corroborated by the page who was very forthcoming. RFC Amaroth believes him to be a sworn of the house, a member of the House Guard. I suspect otherwise.

Sergeant Volstagg took brother Sebastian to find the young girl. Corporal Amaroth had brought her to the keep just before the skirmish. She managed to slip away during the fighting, but had not gone far. She was cowering in a corner and wept when Sergeant Volstagg approached, though threw herself into Brother Sebastian’s arms. The girl secured, Brother Sebastian elected to take the girl to the village in, taking one of the Wolfhaven Free Company Riders for company.

All that was left was to secure the keep and wait.

Shortly after nightfall, horns were heard and the guards signaled riders approaching. Everyone rushed to the main hall just as a column of riders rode into the courtyard. At the head of the column, Lord Garren Olar, Captain of the The Royal Guard, Lord Commander of The Order of The Bear, and King’s personal bodyguard.

Before departing Echer’Naught, Colonel Wolfhaven cautioned that with the death of a member of the Royal Family, no matter how distant, under the charge of a member of the Order of the Bear, it was highly likely that the Crown would send an official representative. To send the King’s own bodyguard…the situation was far more politically charged than even he had presumed.

Lord Olar arrived without comment and ordered Colonel Wolfhaven to conference with him, charging HIS men with securing the Keep and the main hall. Having nothing more to do, and considering that the castle was now the most secure hold outside of the King’s own tower, Sergeant Volstagg ordered his team to get some well deserved rest.

Naturally, he and RFC Zathlan remained in the keep. Corporal Amaroth led the rest of the team back to the inn. For once, the night passed without incident.

Red Wolf 3rd, 3126

Before dawn, Sir Volstagg, and apparently RFC Zathlan, Sir Hevain woke Sergeant Volstagg with a summons from Lord Olar. Sir Hevain assisted Sergeant Volstagg don his armor while the page, who followed shortly, aided RFC Zathlan dress. Dressed for war, Sir Hevain and Sergeant Volstagg attended a tribunal held in the former Lord Erlgen’s office at the base of the keep.

At the head table sat Lord Olar and Colonel Wolfhaven presiding over the tribunal. Beside the Lord Commander, at a lower table sat Sir Bolen, Sir Barrough. Against he back wall, fumed Sir Mathras. Also in attendance, though not directly involved, Lord Boer of Reinhart, Dame Gaulouen, and Lady Halten.

Sir Halten stood before the high table, hale, and not in irons, though clearly judgement was being passed. Through Colonel Wolfhaven’s report, we gain a glimpse of the proceedings. Jurisdiction over the legal hearings was still contested between the Olaran and Ranger courts. However, the matter of the transfer of ownership and Lord Erlgen’s outstanding debt was not up for debate. If the Crown could not have his life, they would certainly have his fortune. Every creditor called on their debts. If Sir Halten could not pay, he would face debtors prison and be held there under Olaran law until such time as he could pay. The Rangers would have to wait until his debts were settled before the issue of his legal culpability in the murder would ever be decided.

As underhanded as it may seem, the Olarans WERE denied their straightforward resolution by Ranger interference. It would appear they are learning to play the Ranger’s games against them. Still, through some means, Sir Halten settled all debts levied against his estate, through "aggressive’ sale of most of his assets. If this was a targeted attack against Sir Halten or his team, he retains his life, and freedom for the moment, but her is effectively neutralized as a participating member in whatever future drama might unfold.

All of which occurred before Sergeant Halten and Sir Hevain ever entered the room. Just at dawn, Sergeant Halten was called before the tribunal. Lord Olar addressed the assemblage and informed the knights that the legal matter of which justice Sir Halten would face had been postponed until a higher court could rule on the matter in Olara itself.

However, charges against Sir Volstagg’s honor had been leveled. Lord Olara wanted to know from Sergeant Volstagg’s own words whether he acted with honor in respect to the Order of the Crimson Wall, and House Volstagg. I am still attempting to fully grasp Olaran law and justice, but if Volstagg did NOT act in accordance with his knighthly oaths, then I am unsure whether Lord Olar would have ruled that he could be challenged, though Sergeant Volstagg would almost certainly have been stripped of his title and disavowed, very likely exiled.

On the other hand, if he defended his actions as knightly, and faced the accusations as a knight and member of the Order of the Crimson Wall then he was subject to challenge. So, if he hid behind the cloak, he would be dishonored and exiled, if he did not, he would risk death. Hmm.

Ultimately, Sergeant Volstagg defended his decision as both a knight and Ranger, refusing to hide behind the veil of legality. With that, it was a matter of whose claim had most precedence, Sir Bolen for Sir Volstagg preventing his avenging the brutal slaughter of his wife, Sir Barrough for Sir Volstagg preventing his duties as an officer of the Crown, or Sir Mathras whose claim was now clearly not considered worthy. After all, his greater failure was that to his Lord, and allowing the Rangers to interfere in THAT investigation. Another matter most assuredly to be laid on Colonel Wolfhaven’s feet.

Of the two, Sir Barrough was the senior knight, a trained killer, and a calm strategist. Sir Bolen, by contrast, was barely 22 years old, recently knighted, and mad with rage. When it seemed that Sir Barrough had all but convinced the younger man to stand down, Sir Volstagg did something remarkable and uncharacteristic. He baited the boy, slighting his honor and driving him into a rage. With that, the boy challenged Sir Volstagg outright which Sir Volstagg accepted before any could object.

To reject such a challenge would be a loss of too great face, and so, with reluctance, Sir Barrough ceded his claim to the boy. With sorrow and pity Colonel Wolfhaven refused to object, deferring to Olaran justice in matters of honor. With that, Lord Olar allowed Sir Volstagg to choose time and place. He chose the following morning, at dawn, in the courtyard. Sir Volstagg chose Sir Hevain as his second, who readily accepted. Sir Bolen chose Sir Barrough unsurprisingly. Lord Olara recessed the room without fanfare and the assembled broke into hushed conversations as the various Lords, Ladies, and knights exited.

Outside, RFC Zathlan met Sergeant Volstagg and Sir Hevain in the cooridoor where they revealed the truth. Sir Hevain invited them both to join him at the inn for a drink, and the trio rode Sir Hevain’s carriage into town and joined the rest of the Rangers in the inn for a drink.

I believe Grendel, RFC Moldova, and Brother Sebastan were absent. But, the others sat and listened to Sir Hevain explain the situation and regale them with his own exploits while Sir Volstagg sat quietly and reflected on his impending duel. The drinks cold, the meal hot, the team relaxed for the evening. though, Corporal Amaroth did hire a local seamstress to sew a standard for Sir Volstagg in the crest of House Volstagg as he had no official representation at the duel.

Red Wolf 4th, 3126

Before dawn Alpha team rose and donned their finest gear. Brother Sebastian again remained with the girl. In the keep, again, Sir Hevain assisted Sir Volstagg prepare and together, Sir Vosltagg, Lady Zathlan, and Sir Hevain joined the already assembled court in the courtyard. There, Sir Volstagg, Sir Hevain, Sir Bolen, and Sir Barrough took their positions with the various onlookers standing in the unseasonably warm morning air.

In typical Olaran fashion, each knight was introduced without flourish, the charges read, and the men ordered to stand ready. And then, Sir Volstagg and Sir Bolen proceeded to attempt to hack each other to death. I am certain others could provide a rousing account of the actual duel filled with the gory details. I will say this. By all accounts, Sir Bolen acquitted himself well. But rage and anguish are no substitute for age and experience. In the end, Sir Volstagg cut the young knight down by cleaving through his shoulder and rib-cage. And then, for added effect, kicked him off his blade as if he were an unwanted carcass.

With a simple bloody act, Sir Volstagg was now cleared of any charged of dishonorable action. But, the bloodletting was far from done. As Sir Barrough moved to collect his fallen charge, Sir Hevain offered one final quip about the dead boy’s manhood. Already enraged by Sir Volstagg provoking the impressionable youth, and then so brutally killing Sir Bolen, Sir Barrough lost all composure for a moment, and in that moment he spoke out of anger, challenging Sir Hevain…who accepted.

It was a lapse of judgement on the part of Sir Barrough, but the challenge was uttered before witnesses. And like Sir Bolen, he could not withdraw his demand without server loss of honor. He too went to his death for it.

Now Sir Hevain and Sir Barrough squared off on the same killing field still wet with blood from the previous duel. However, this duel lasted but moments. Sir Hevain quickly outmaneuvered and with bloody efficiency cut down a member of the King’s Guard before his own Lord Commander. Then it was over. Olaran honor had been satisfied in the blood of two fine men and knights. All told, the death toll had climbed to four now, Lord Erlgen, Lady Bolen, Sir Bolen and Sir Barrough. Five if you count Lt. Halten who had yet to be interred.

If find I have lost any patience with Olaran funereal custom.

Lord Olara declared the matter closed and informed the crowed that he and Colonel Wolfhaven would be taking both Sir Halten AND the young girl to Olara where matters of justice would be decided. As the keep no longer belonged to Sir Halten’s family, the Rangers’ invitation had been withdrawn and they were ordered to depart within the day, unless they had a warrant.

Colonel Wolfhaven asked Sergeant Volstagg to see to his wounds and when he was able to ride, to assemble his team and return to Echer’Naught via the most expedient route. Then, he assembled his own men and returned to the keep. He and the Lord Commander would be departing for Olara first thing that morning and riding hard for the capital along with Brother Sebastian who would see to the girl.

I will note a couple curious exchanges. One, before storming off, the Lord Commander threatened Sir Hevain that “His Lady would hear of his actions.” The irreverent knight replied simply that “She already knew.” Also, the self-same Hevain apparently addressed RFC Daynore in Malakaran. His behavior becomes more suspect by the day.

Sergeant Volstagg had Alpha Team riding out of the village by nightfall taking an overland route home.

Red Wolf 5th, 3126

Making good time, the Alpha team cut cross country and crossed the Kore-Harken road. By their reports it was unseasonably hot for this early in season. All was well until just after mid day. The first indication of any trouble was Ranger Newt on point suddenly being hurled the ground. Heartbeats later, Sergeant Vosltagg was lifted from his saddle and slammed backwards by something passing straight through him armor at high speed.

Reacting quickly, Corporal Amaroth dropped from his saddle just as something punched through his body. He reports feeling a burning sensation and his strength sapping. Most likely poison. One of the oxen head exploded and Grendel took fire.

The Rangers scrambled, waking to the very real threat of a sniper somewhere in the area. Ranger Newt managed to dive into the grass as other Rangers scanned for the shooter. Grendel flipped the wagon as a makeshift barricade and the Rangers began to fall back to cover.

All except for RFC Moldova who stood in her saddle to get a better vantage and very nearly took a bolt through the eye. Instead, RFC Daynore dove to cover her and went down, as his standing orders were to protect the magic user.

By now, the others managed to reach the wagon. Ranger Newt elected to try and run out to scout the flank, maybe circle around the shooter. However, when she broke cover, a pair of bolt dropped her yards from the upturned wagon.

Sergeant Volstagg then decided to provide a distraction so his team could fall back out of range. Whistling his wartrained mount over, he quickly leaped into the saddle and galloped away, making it half a dozen yards before his mount went down. He sprang from the saddle and recovered his feet making another couple yards before taking a bolt in the chest and going down.

Now in charge, Corporal Amaroth asked for a volunteer to try and crawl slowly away from the cart, using it as cover long enough to clear the shooter’s range. Ranger Serys volunteered but asked for orders once he got away, assuming he was successful. They were days from any village and their Farspeaking adept was down. Corporal Amaroth had no answers.

Fortunately, RFC Daynore managed to contact Lady Moonsiver even in his condition. She tried to reach Sergeant Vostagg. Failing that, she contact Corporal Amaroth. Once briefed, she ordered him to remain behind cover while she tried to find reinforcements. For seven hours the team baked under the grueling summer sun. By night fall, Lady Moonsilver alerted the team that allies were enroute but would take hours to reach them.

Red Wolf 6th, 3126

Corporal Amaroth wanted to see if the sniper was even still out there. He held out his cloak on a stick. The answer was a bolt smashing though the cart inches from his ear. Only Ranger Serys managed to get any sleep that night. At dawn, RFC Zathlan heard a strange sound. Then, all heard it again. A horn, followed by the sound of thunder…no hoofbeats.

In the distance, the Alpha team spied a line of cavalry approaching their position at a full gallop. The cavalry line swept over their position and rushed the ridge line a few hundred yards away that they thought might hide their sniper. At the head of the cav rode Sir Halten!

He managed half a dozen yards beyond the wagon before he and his standard bearer were cut down. The rest of the cavalry thundered on and nearly reached the ridge when the ridge exploded into an arcfire fireball. The cavalry slowed and began to mill for a moment. Alpha team broke cover seeing as the threat had been neutralized. Serys woke at this time, confused, but rested.

RFC Moldova, and Rangers Serys and Grendel ventured out to recover Sir Halten’s body. As it happens, the body was not Sir Halten, but a young man wearing his armor. A Decoy. Bodies and armor were recovered. RFC Zathlan spied a lone rider approaching who was a Harken knight. The young man reported in and ordered the Rangers to gather their things. He also reported that the sniper had rigged the ridge behind him, catching the flanking scouts in the blast. The Olarans were searching, but so far there was no sign of the sniper. Presumably, he escaped during the confusion.

Within minutes, fresh horses were brought and the Rangers, other than Grendel, mounted and began much slower march home. The wounded, Sergeant Volstagg, RFC Daynore, and Ranger Newt were treated by healer and then expertly strapped to their mounts for travel.

Red Wolf 9th, 3126

The Alpha team arrived at the East Gate of Echer’Naught late in the afternoon. The Harken escort broke away at the gate and rode hard north. Ranger healers immediately descended on the team and placed the wounded on litters bound for the Echer’Naught Hospital (Formerly Red Lamp).

Sergeant Volstagg had to be literally cut from his armor and suffered major heatstroke by being left to bake in the sun. RFC Daynore and Ranger Newt’s injuries were less severe, but still serious. The rest of the Rangers, all suffering from heatstroke and severe burns, were treated at the Regional HQ’s infirmary. It will be weeks before the Alpha team is operational again. How long will it take them to recover emotionally, who can say. I hope we do not have a repeat of previous member’s behavior…

Before nightfall, RFC Moldova sought information on her brother. Sadly, he and his entire detail are still missing. As are many other’s in town. Rumors of bounties on key members of Echer’Naught governance and the Ranger command abound. Also, Sergeant Ravenwood is under heavy guard, her child coming soon.

Of interesting note, there is some serious discussion as to what to do for Madame Lillithien. She is, still, a “guest” of the Rangers. Arrest seems unlikely as she has not been charged with a crime, but she is a know agent of Shaya’Nor. With the current war ongoing. releasing her is bad press. Add to that, her asylum.

Nevertheless, the Echer’Naught Civic Building is complete, wrapping up phase two of his overall city improvement plan. Upon his return, Lord-Mayor Wolfhaven has announced a new plan of governance for the city. How recent events will play into his designs, remains to be seen.

Retired Captain Celebor, by all reports, is settling in to his new life as a civilian well. His exact whereabouts are a closely guarded secret due to his likely being a target for reprisal in our current situation. Though, there are many former member families still unaccounted for. No one has seen or heard from Streetrunner for Longtail’s kits in almost a year.

Grimbore’s Stone Tower Gather appears to have yet been hit, but Rangers have been dispatched just in case. Corporal Rildrirr continues to manage affairs at the Goblinesh Waystation south of Echer’Naught. Corporal Silverfeather continues to work feverishly with the Church of Light running messages between the local parishes and the rebuilding efforts in Archanaya. Sergeant Alystar also reports work on the city’s rebuilding efforts are going well.

Sir Regillius has almost completed repairs and improvements to the Wolfhaven Barony. He returns frequently to be with his wife, especially given her condition. RFC Leaora also continues her work, though with both High Druidess Treesinger and Sir Halten out of action, command of the joint efforts falls more squarely on her shoulders. She has been kept extremely busy of late.

I recently hear from Sergeant Whitestone. She is settling in well in Kythros. In fact, she has taken charge of the hunt for the escaped prisoners, vowing to bring back Ironblood, Zulcrum, and even Afliem. Eve is currently mia. We assume she hunts for her mother, but Treesinger is in no condition to track her down.

Also, it would appear that the Thieves Guild MAY be making a resurgence. At the very least, the King of Low Town has survived. We have confirmed reports of nightly sightings. However, we have attributed no fewer than a dozen reprisal attacks for the torching of the Thieves Guild headquarters. With the War in Camon, the situation in Archanya and Mindoth’s Tower, and, of course, the ever present Velkalar situation…not to mention growing unrest in the Desert Princes and Defiant Lands, local resources are simply stretched too thin to end the killing.

Fortunately the shadow war in the city has turned cold. While bodies drop, they do so without civilian causalities, or much notice. Count our blessings where we may?

In sum, there is a mix of good and bad. The city continues to grow and prosper despite all.

Malcolm

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Campaign Report 87
Three Deaths and a Funeral

Farspeaker, Eris Moonsilver

As relayed from Echer’Naught Alpha team under command of Sergeant Gunther Volstagg (via RFC Daynore)

Compiled by Ranger Malcolm, Scribe

Second Day of Red Wolf, Year 3126 Under the Light

Having received numerous reports from various sources, Colonel Wolfhaven, Ranger Serys, Corporal Amaroth, and a curious unwashed flagon from a Sir Hevain, I have requested of Ranger Malcolm to consolidate and organize the various reports into a more clear and concise accounting of the events of the funeral for Squire Averan Harken.
-Farspeaker, Eris Moonsilver

Planting Moons, 27th, 3126

Per the last report, dated the 27th, the Alpha team, departing a camp just north of the city joined Squire Averan Harken’s funeral procession under command of honorable Royal Sheriff of Echer’Naught, Sir Halten. The funeral party departed at 10 AM from the Dwarven Gate heading east on the Harken Road. From there, it turned north, heading in the direction of Tarnn before turning off West, just less than a day’s ride north of Harken.

Olaran Honor Guard:

  • “Fallen Mount” Squire Lt. Halten
  • Royal Sheriff (Warden) Sir Eric Halten
  • Sgts Hareson and Markar (Sworn of Halten)
  • Obermark (Scribe)

Ranger Detail:

  • Sgt Sir Gunther Volstagg
  • Corporal Amaroth
  • RFC Daynore
  • RFC Moldova
  • RFC Lady Zathlan
  • Ranger Serys
  • Ranger Grendel
  • Ranger Brother Sebastian

Planting Moons, 30th 3126

The trip took three days by horseback, and wagon. During this time, Sir Halten’s man, Obermark, the Sheriff’s personal scribe, provided the Ranger Detail an overview of Olaran customs and procedures during the funeral. In truth, as I understand, his counsel was speak only when spoken too, do not enter into any agreements, do not allow yourself to be separated, and avoid becoming involved in the political games of the houses.

I do believe that the team failed spectacularly on each point, but that is to be revealed.

The funeral procession arrived at Lord Erlgen’s keep at mid morn on the 30th of Planting moons. A vassal of House Olar, Lord Elgen’s holdings reside on the border between Olar and Harken lands, over a squat, hill-keep and its surrounding farmlands and village. In proper Olaran fashion, the entire community mourned the loss of the young lordling, all banners dipped, crimson ribbons tied along the streets.

Sir Halten was greeted by the Lord of the Manor, Lord Erlgen, of Olar, his sister, Dame Gaulouen, Dame Gaulouen’s escort, Lord Boer, of Reinhart, Lady Halten (sir Halten’s wife), and Squire Harken’s three sisters in mourning.

Here, a brief summary of the assembled nobility.

  • Lord Erlgen of House Olar. Grandfather to Squire Averan Harken, Lord Erlgen served his king well and was rewarded. Married to a daughter of House Eckhart, the Lord and Lady had several children, most died young. Squire Averan Harken’s mother, sister to Lady Harken died in childbirth giving birth to the young squire. His father never returned from campaign. Lord Erlgen took in the boy, and his sisters eventually securing his position as squire to Sir Halten.
  • Lady Halten, of Harken. Formerly of House Erlgen, Lord and Lady Halten have several children. She is aunt to Squire Averan Halten and daughter to Lord Erlgen.
  • Sir Halten. Royal Sheriff (Warden) of Echer’Naught. Vassal of House Harken, Sir Halten wed Lady Halten and took the fatherless Squire Averan Halten into his household as a squire, giving him a name.
  • Sir Bolen, Order of the Golden Stagg, Sir Bolen grew up with Squire Averan Halten, serving as training partners as youth, being a scion of House Eckhart, the house of Squire Averan Halten’s Grandmother.
  • Lady Bolen, of Olar. Wife to Sir Bolen and under protection of the Order of the Bear. More to be revealed.
  • Dame Gaulouen. Sister to Lord Erlgen and widow of Lord Gaulouen, aunt to Lady Harken and great aunt to Squire Averan Halten.
  • Lord Boer, of House Reinhart. A family friend of the House Erlgen, and escort for Dame Gaulouen.
  • Sir Mathras. Sergeant at Arms of Erlgen Keep and Captain of the Erlgen House Guard.
  • Sir Barrough. Captain of the Bolen House Guard, and member of the Order of the Bear.
  • Vicar Olman. House Erlgen clergy.
  • Sir G. Hevain, of Harken. Sir Hevain served with Sir Halten during their early days of campaign. He has served in most military action by Olara during the past 4 decades. In between wars, Sir Hevain has served in numerous mercenary companies. All further requests for information about his House, or Order are met with tactful, but absolute refusal. No record of the initial G. Curious…

Formalities done, Sir Volstagg and Lady Zathlan were invited to enter the keep, in honor of their title. The remainder of the Rangers, under command of Corporal Amaroth were instructed to billet at the local inn, a two story converted and expanded merchant’s dwelling. Due to his size, and the general disdain for goblinesh, Grendel was encamped in the stables. RFC Moldova accepted responsibility for his upkeep.

Unfortunately for Alpha Team, the inn was also the billet for untitled knights and sworn of the attending nobility, over-filling the establishment with raucous and quarrelsome Olarans. Sir Volstagg and Lady Zathlan were given adjoining rooms within the keep, though only Sir Volstagg’s room was properly made. It would appear the assumption was that they would share a bed.

While the rest of the team secured their room and settled into routine, Ranger Serys joined with a table of Olaran knights, matching drink for drank and earning their respect though the durability of his fortitude.

Meanwhile, Squire Averan Halten’s effects were taken to the chapel along with his three sisters and the Vicar who would pray overnight. The rest of the keep, by nightfall, gathered in the great hall to participate in the Squire’s Last Call. Begun by Lord Erlgen, the Last Call raged all night, both within the keep and the town (read inn). Alpha Team slept little, being awakened at nearly 4 in the morning when four drunken Olarans delivered an unconscious and badly bleeding Serys to their room. Serys having not recovered from wounds received during his battle with Korash.

Planting Moons 31st, 3126

Around a AM, the stillness of the keep was shattered by a blood curdling scream. Donning but his small clothes, Sir Volstagg rushed out the door in search of the trouble as alarms bells rang. He was joined by an entirely nude Sir Hevain. Both men followed the rushing guards through the main hall to the base of the rear tower. Therin, they discovered a growing throng of people standing outside Lord Erlgen’s bedchambers, at the head, Sir Halten. Pushing to the front, Sir Volstagg entered the room to find Lord Erlgen lying dead in his bed, a weeping girl in a shift at the side of the bed.

It appeared that the aging Lord had “overtaxed” himself with the girl and his heart had given out. Considering the scandalous nature of his death, and the sudden death on what was to the morning of internment for Squire Averan Halten, the chambers were cleared, Sir Halten placing Sir Volstagg and Hevain guard to the hallway. Long enough for Sir Halten to make the necessary arrangements.

While standing guard, reports indicate that Sir Volstagg was “accosted” by Lady Halten who demanded, at length, that the girl be arrested and convicted of murder. She seemed uninterested in a trial, only that the girl pay for the murder, if only by her youthful stamina and exuberance. Sir Volstagg declined to comment, weathering the tired for, if rumors are to be believed, four hours.

Meanwhile, Sir Volstagg, at the behest of Vicar Olman, sent a runner to fetch brother Paladin Sebastian from the inn to assist in moving and praying over the newly deceased Lord Erlgen. At, or about, 7 AM, the runner reached the inn and Corporal Amaroth dispatched Sebastian to assist in caring for Lord Erlgen’s body. Within the hour, the Vicar, Sebastian, and members of the Erlgen House Guard, under command of Sir Mathras, moved Lord Erlgen’s body from his bedchambers to the chapel. Here, they were asked to be sure not to disturb the four grieving sisters who had now lost their brother and grandfather. Brother Sebestian remained within the chapel a few hours before returning to the keep. There he joined Sir Hevain, and at times, Sir Volstagg.

With the sudden loss of the House patriarch, Sir Halten (heir to the estate), Lady Halten, Dame Gaulouen, Vicar Olman, Sir Mathras, and Lord Boer all closeted themselves away in the keep’s inner chambers to discuss the future of the House and Lord Erlgen’s funeral arrangements.

Sensing that the young girl’s life might be endangered if Lady Halten was able to convince the assemblage that she had killed the Lord, Sir Volstagg dispatched a messenger to Corporal Amaroth in town with orders to come to the keep and take custody of a witness. Meanwhile, Sir Volstagg dispatched Lady Zathlan to fetch the girl and secret her outside the keep. He then returned to his duties, and to await an audience with Sir Halten

Upon receiving orders, Corporal Amaroth assembled the Rangers and marched to the gate. On the village side of the drawbridge, Corporal Amaroth left RFC Daynore, and Rangers Serys and Grendel. Corporal Amaroth and RFC Moldova proceeded directly to the keep demanding entry. The guards, having orders to secure the keep, refused. Sir Volstagg joined them and engaged the guards in a heated debate.

Meanwhile, Lady Zathlan round a page willing to direct her to the girl, but the guards would not allow outsiders into the more private areas of the keep. Here, again, Sir Hevain arrived and “assisted” Lady Zathlan by implying, I am to believe, they were involved in an elicit sexual affair. The guard, not wishing to get involved, permitted them to pass unmolested.

She found the girl in quarters surrounded by other maids. The poor child was petrified and feared for her life. Zathlan took the girl to her own quarters, passing the same guard who now believed that Sir Hevain was assembling a harem. Within chambers, Lady Zathlan disguised the girl. Sir Volstagg arrived and ordered Lady Zathlan to secret the girl out of the keep and to Corporal Amaroth. Sir Volstagg then departed to distract the guards at the gate.

Lady Zathlan, with aide from the same page, snuck the girl out a servants entrance to the main courtyard with the aid of the Paladin Sebastian. All the while, Sir Volstagg and Corporal Amaroth argued with the guards at the keep’s main doors. Once the girl was clear, Corporal Amaroth returned to meet them at the inn, while Sir Volstagg re-entered the keep.

Terrified, the girl and brother Sebastian arrived at the inn followed in short order by Corporal Amaroth and RFC Moldova. Due to here excitable nature, RFC Moldova attempted to calm the girl with disastrous results. As I understand, the girl now breaks out into hysterics every time RFC Moldova enters the room. Fortunately, the girl passed out from exhaustion, but RFC Moldova elected to move out into the stables with Grendel who, it would seem, has begun to believe that RFC Moldova’s limberjack “Jack” is fully possessed. It seems to move on its own.

Keep in mind, the entire purpose of the wooden doll is to provide RFC Moldova with an object to animate. So, I am unsure of Grendel’s superstition.

At the keep, it would appear that, fatigued from waiting, Sir Hevain offered dinner to Sir Volstagg and his entire team. That eve, at or around 7PM, Sir Hevain, Sir Volstagg, and Lady Zathlan took a carriage to the inn to be joined by Corporal Amaroth, RFCs Daynore and Moldova at a table within the inn. Rangers Serys and brother Sebastian remained to protect the girl.

Upon discovering that their ogre member, Grendel, would not be allowed to join, Sir Hevain ordered the table to be dragged into the street and Grendel joined the rest of his team for a long and luxurious dinner. By all accounts, a good time was had.

Late that evening, 10PM or later, Sir Hevain, Sir Volstagg, and Lady Zathlan returned to the keep. There, Sir Volstagg was alerted that Sir Halten was “out of chambers” and would meet with him. Both he and Lady Zathlan departed Sir Hevain’s company and headed to private quarters to meet with Sir Halten.

Lady Zathlan found a cold reception from the Erlgen clan and so elected to excuse herself and return to her quarters. From what I gather, Sir Volstagg found Sir Halten in terrible spirits, especially considering his sudden inheritance, and, if rumors are true, the compromised nature of his father-in-law’s demise. There seems to be little love lost between the two men.

In fact, Sir Halten appeared utterly despondent. Though details are sorely lacking, it is believed that Lord Erlgen might have been in debt upon his passing. Those accounts passing then to Sir Halten. If such reports are to be believed, it might explain the Sheriff’s black mood. He spoke at length with Sir Volstagg before both retiring from the evening.

Due to the tense atmosphere in the keep, and the Rangers giving sanctuary to the girl, RFC Daynore began contacting Farspeaker Moonsilver twice daily until the Rangers departed Olaran territory.

Red Wolf 1st, 3126

Lord Erlgen’s body lay in state for two days while arrangements were made, and the official matters of state were navigated. However, it was announced on the last day of Spring, Planting Moons 33rd, it was announced that Lord Erlgen’s Last Call and funeral would occur on Red Wolf 1st. That was the plan…

At or just after the 13th hour, the very first minutes of Red Wolf 1st, the keep was awakened by alarm bells and the sounds of heavy boots in the corridors. Again, Sir Volstagg and Hevain, this time better dressed, rushed out to find the source of the newest alarm, Lady Zathlan following behind. This time, they reached the far side of the keep to find a growing crowd outside one of the guests quarters. Muscling their way through the crowd, Sir Volstagg and Sir Hevain entered the private chambers of Sir and Lady Bolen.

This scene war far more gruesome. Sir Bolen was on his knees wailing beside the bed where his young bride lay hacked to bloody pieces in their bed. Blood soaked the sheets, the mattress and sprayed about the room. Not among the crowd were noted Dame Gaulouen and her escort, Lord Boer, and Sir and Lady Halten. Nor were the three mourning sisters in attendance.

Sir Barrough, the Bolen House Guard, and Sir Mathras were already assembling forces to hunt down and slay the assassin. Sir Volstagg noted that there was no blood near the windows or door meaning that the assassin had not entered the room via a “normal” portal. This left magic or…
He also spotted the same page who had so easily led Lady Zathlan out of the keep earlier. When pressed, that servant revealed a hidden passage in the corner of the room. There was a clear blood spattered trail leading into the darkened confines of the corridor.

Leaving Sir Mathras and Sir Barrough to secure the room, and Lady Zathlan, dressed in but a shift, to secure the secret passageway, Sir Volstagg and Sir Hevain charged after the assassin. In the darkness, they relied upon the stench of blood to track the killer. Coming, soon enough. to a half opened door, light spilling through the crack Bursting into the room, both men were shocked to find Sir Halten standing along within his chambers.

Sir Halten, almost drunkenly, as if waking from a dream, demanded to know why they had so rudely intruded into his private place. It was only then that the two men noted the blood coating Sir Haltens chest and arms, or the blood sword still dangling from his hand. Sir Halten appeared oblivious as well.

When Sir Vosltagg forced him to examine himself, the Sheriff appeared genuinely shocked and confused, allowing the bloody sword to clatter to the stone floor. The situation was dire. Clearly, Sir Halten had murdered the young Lady, but he appeared to be under some influence, magical or otherwise. With Sir Bolen, Sir Barrough, and Sir Mathras out for blood, it was only a matter of moments before they arrived and executed Sir Halten out of hand.

Ceding authority to the Rangers, Sir Hevain suggested that Sir Volstagg arrest the Warden and place him under Ranger custody while he returned to the scene of the attack. Without quarrel Sir Halten immediately surrendered and submitted to Ranger justice. Without bindings, Sir Volstagg arrested the Royal Sheriff and exited the chambers to escort him to the dungeon only to find Sir Bolen and others prowling the halls in search of the killer, having failed to pass Lady Zathlan.

Finding the blood covered Sir Halten, they demanded Sir Volstagg to stand aside upon the King’s orders. Volstagg refused and a standoff almost turned violent when Sir Hevain arrived behind the Olarans. Sir Volstagg claimed Ranger authority and refused to submit. So, Sir Bolen ordered the keep to be secured, no on in or out. With bad grace, they stood aside, but promised that there would be swift retribution against the Royal Sheriff AND the Rangers.

Through RFC Daynore Farspeaker Moonsilver was alerted of the alarms in the keep. She immediately contact Sir Volstagg, who was at the precise moment facing down Sir Bolen, and Sir Barrough in the hallway outside Sir Halten’s chambers. With Sir Hevain’s aid, Sir Volstagg managed to reach the keep’s dungeon where an amiable, if unconcerned jailer locked the dazed Sir Halten into a cell.

With a moment to breathe, Sir Volstagg reported to Farspeaker Moonsilver. The Royal Sheriff of had murdered Lady Bolen, presumably under the influence of an Adept. Sergeant Volstagg had stepped between Olaran “justice” and the life of Sir Halten at the risk of his own life and that of his team. And then, he requested assistance at a level sufficient to deal with a potential war with Olara over Sir Halten.

I would be remiss if I did not take a brief moment to describe the situation in Echer’Naught at the time of this unusual request. Upon receiving Sergeant Volstagg’s request, Farspeaker Moonsilver contacted me directly and requested I relay the message to the Colonel. Doing so, I found the good Colonel in a pleasant mood. He was, as usual, in his office, even at such a late hour. His recent repast with his bride, sitting well. For once, the she-wolf beast, Sasha, seemed inclined to permit idle petting.

In a word, bucolic. I was loathe disturb such a peaceful scene, but duty required. Colonel Wolfhaven took the news of a potential pitched battle between the reigning “Alpha Team” and a who’s who of Olaran nobility better than I had expected. Though, having served with the Lord-Mayor long enough I detected a note of frustration, though not incredulity. Sad as it may be, hearing that his Rangers had managed to convert a funeral detail into a full blow international incident was entirely unsurprising.

To his credit, Colonel Wolfhaven paused only long enough to wake his wife and bid her farewell, before summoning a detail of the Wolfhaven Company of Free Riders to his door and riding east at full gallop. From there, I returned to the HQ in order to begin researching the Erlgen estate and background information on the potential players in this sordid drama.

Wolfhaven departed Echer’Naught at, or around 1AM First Hunt 1st, 3126, for reference.

While Wolfhaven was preparing to leave, and Sir Volstagg and Sir Hevain were preparing to defend the Erlgen keep’s dungeon against a small force of armed Olarans, Farspeaker Moonsilver contacted Corporal Amaroth with orders to assemble the Alpha Team and reinforce Sergeant Volstagg’s position in the keep. This would, of course, require the Rangers to enter the keep with the Olarans under orders to prevent anyone, in particular the Rangers, from doing just that.

As soon as Alpha Team received orders, Corporal Amaroth assembled the entire team and, taking the young girl along, assembled to march on the keep. Serys managed to roust a handful of Olaran warriors who he knew to be loyal to Sir Hevain, or willing to fight for coin, and convinced them to join the Ranger assault on Erlgen Keep.

Again, they were challenged, but this time before ever crossing the moat. However, this time, Corporal Amaroth refused to relent. Without reinforcements Sergeant Volstagg would almost certainly be overrun. In the name of the Rangers, Corporal Amaroth ordered the guard to stand aside. I imagine the hulking ogre and Ranger Serys’ drawn bow only helped encourage compliance.

With access to the keep, Corporal Amaroth left Grendel outside in the courtyard and entered the keep proper, this time, without issue with the rest of the team. There, Sir Hevain met to lead them to the dungeon and Sergeant Volstagg. I can only imagine that Sergeant Volstagg relieved at the arrival of the rest of his team.

Together for the first time since arriving in Erlgen lands, minus Grendel, the team discussed the current situation. RFC Daynore was easily able to confirm that Sir Halten had been under the influence of an adept. Armed with this knowledge, Sergeant Volstagg ordered RFCs Moldova and Daynor to seek out the presence of an adept within the keep. Corporal Amaroth and Ranger Serys detached to go canvass the area and question the guests at the party. Surely someone saw something.

The rest, Sergeant Volstagg, RFC Zathlan, brother Sebastian, and Sir Hevain remained behind to ensure no move was made against Sir Halten. The search took time, almost the entirety of Red Wolf 1st.

Red Wolf 2nd, 3126

Early in the morning, the team returned to report RFCs Moldova and Daynore had found evidence of an adept, but the essence was quickly fading. No sign of the assassin. Corporal Amaroth and Ranger Serys returned with a list of everyone in the castle and a list of those who were NOT seen in and around Lady Bolen’s room on the morning of her death, including, but not limited to, Lady Gaulouen and her escort, Lord Boer, Sir and Lady Halten, Vicar Oman and the three mourning sisters.

It was at this that brother Sebastian interjected. He suddenly recalled that during the hours he spent praying over the body of Lord Erglen, after having been moved to the chapel, that there were FOUR small, feminine figures praying the chapel. Interestingly, with faces shrouded, none of the Rangers had ever seen any of the women’s faces. No one but the assassin would dare to impersonate one of the mourning sisters of Squire Halten, and no one but an adept would not have been immediately spotted and called out!

With this new information, and running on no sleep, Sir Volstagg and Sir Hevain left the team within and went to round up all the women in the keep that MIGHT meet with this description. Sir Bolen, Sir Mathras, and Sir Barrough, not to mention Lord Boer, made such a procedure next to impossible. But, through charm, guile, and sheer belligerence, all the young women of the keep were finally assembled in the great hall in the late afternoon of Red Wolf 2nd. RFC Daynore even brought the young woman from Ranger custody, just in case, though she had been scanned with no results.

All the nobility assembled, most to watch Sergeant Volstagg fail. Everyone was in attendance, save for the Alpha team, the jailer, who continued to sit whistling idly, and Sir Halten still incarcerated. At Sergeant Volstagg’s signal, RFC Daynore began his scan of the crowd…

From what information can be gleaned, the instant RFC Daynore openned his mind, a powerful spike of The Way overwhelmed his senses and, momentarily, blinding him to the room. At the same instance half the assembled lords, ladies, knights, dames, sworn, and citizens, warrior or not, turned on the other half. Sir Hevain and Lord Bolen immediately attacked Sir Volstagg who was momentarily stunned by the sudden attack.

RFC Daynore immediately moved to extract himself from the press of bodies. Sergeant Volstagg went on the defensive, warding off blows in the hopes of understanding what was happening. It became painfully obvious that someone had just puppeted half the room, if such a thing was even possible.

Fending off Sir Hevain, Sir Bolen, with Sir Mathras and Sir Barrough not far away, Sergeant Volstagg was fortunate to survive. As the melee began to take its toll above, below, the Alpha Team was suddenly dealing with their own crisis.

Unaware of the battle raging overhead, they were suddenly shocked when Ranger Serys calmly turned his bow and shot Sir Halten in the throat. The Royal Sheriff, utterly unprepared, toppled backwards off his small cot and collapsed to the floor in an expanding pool of his own blood. Reacting instantly, brother Sebastian tackled Serys trying to drive him to the ground. A heartbeat later, Corporal Amaroth also jumped upon the elf.

RFC Zathlan took a different approach. Waiting for an opening in the scramble, she laid one clean blow on Serys’ shooting arm, shattering the elbow and rendering the bow useless. At first, Serys seemed to ignore the blow, but moments later, as if waking from a dream, he screamed and collapsed to the ground as RFC Zathlan coquettishly tried to hide the massive warhammer behind her slim form.

Above, the battle raged on, with Sergeant Volstagg managing to drag Sir Hevain to the floor, but suffering severe wounds from numerous sword blows. RFC Daynore broke free of the melee and turned to head downstairs, already reaching on to summon reinforcements. Outside, after sitting alone in the courtyard, abandoned and forgotten with only the creepy limberjack for company, Grendel arose to the sounds of battle within the keep and the scent of blood.

Lacking orders, Ranger Grendel elected to break open the door to the keep in hopes of reaching his team. With two great blows, Grendel smashed the door open, but before he could hope to try squeezing through the portal, the Cavalry arrived.

Having ridden almost nonstop since early morn on the 1st, Colonel Wolfhaven arrived at the moment Grendel forced open the keep’s doors. His way so courteously cleared, Colonel Wolfhaven rode into the main hall and summoned the power of Celesia to break the adept’s hold over the minds of the assembled.

Free of influence, the hall fell into stunned silence as the assembled nobility, sworn, and citizens collapsed in fatigue, or staggered drunkenly, nursing wounds. Sergeant Volstagg lowered his guard and sagged to a nearby bench. RFC Daynore alerted the Colonel of the attack on the dungeon.

Colonel Wolfhaven ordered Sergeant Volstagg to receive medical attention, an order I believe he disobeyed. He then ordered RFC Daynore to secure the hall and to arrange medical attention for the assembled. From there, Colonel Wolfhaven turned and strode toward the stairs to the dungeon.

Below, a different drama unfolded. Free of his compulsion, the injured Ranger Serys screamed at RFC Zathlan while Corporal Amaroth demanded the keys from the jailer who seemed most amused by the entire performance. Door open, brother Sebastian rushed to Sir Hatlen’s body, taking a healing potion from RFC Moldova. Using all his knowledge, brother Sebastian desperately tried to stop Sir Halten’s bleeding. Among the potion, brother Sebastian’s skill, and pure luck, Sir Halten took a ragged breath.

He was alive. Brother Sebastian helped him onto a cot where he continued to cough and sputter, weak from pain and blood loss. All seemed to have turned better, when the team heard the sounds of approaching armored boots. Unaware of the Colonel’s arrival, or the nature of the fight above, Corporal Amaroth ordered his men into position. They waited, gravely, as the footsteps grew loud until the figure of Colonel Wolfhaven filled the doorway to the dungeon.

Relieved, they immediately lowered their arms. Colonel Wolfhaven dispatched the Corporal and most of his team to the main hall to support Sergeant Volstagg. Brother Sebastian was to remain with the Royal Sheriff and the girl below.

As of the writing of this report, Colonel Wolfhaven is command of Erlgen Keep and overseeing the search for the assassination, the deaths of the assembled and negotiating with the Olaran nobility.

However, upon his arrival, Colonel Wolfhaven DID secure a public pronouncement from Sir Bolen admitting that the death of his wife was the result of Puppeting powers of an adept. Should this go to trial, that admission, in addition to his succumbing to the same powers in attacking a Ranger Sergeant will go a long way to securing an innocent verdict for Sir Halten.

Thought, I sincerely down that any of this will go to trial. Should Sir Bolen demand a trial, the indescretion of Lord Erlgen will become the humor of the courts, as will Sir Barrough’s inability to protect a member of the royal family. Let us not forget that to accuse Sir Halten of weakness or moral fraility in the face of the adept would only open every noble, knight, and sworn to similar accusations. No, this will never go to trial, but I can assume that the reputations of Sir Barrough and Sir Halten will likely never recover.

Sadly, a lack of trial does not greatly improve the situation. First, Lady Halten’s family has been disgraced. This will cause tremors throughout local Olaran politics creating instability and ill will. I fear that no small number of challenges will result. The killing is not over. Olaran pride being what it is.

Second, assuming the Crown allows Sir Halten to inherit the property, as is his right, assuming no challengers, I fear that his financial situation will preclude his ability to hold the land for long. Again, this is merely an educated guess, but if what appears to be true IS true, then Sir Halten may be required to sell of large portions of his holdings to remain solvent. The Erglen Keep with its stigma will be the first, I imagine. This diminished Sir Halten further and strains his finances. Sir Halten, as a player in the fight against Velkalar is now over, at least for the time.

Third, the Olaran Crown is not well disposed to treat with the Rangers. Regardless of whether or not Sergeant Volstagg was in the right in regards to the Royal Sheriff, it cannot be overlooked that he defied Olaran justice within their own holdings. Worse. he embarrassed the Crown and through his actions allowed an assassin of Royal Blood to go free. I have confirmed that Lady Bolen, of Olara, was a favored cousin of the Queen. If the Rangers sought aid from the Olarans, that aid is likely to be denied.

As to the cause of the conflict? Who can say. The death of Lord Erlgen was a tragic accident or a calculated assassination to embarrass Sir Halten, or the Rangers, and set up this unique series of events. Then, the murder of Lady Bolen was either an assassination of a key Olaran political figure by political rivals within the courts, or she as killed in order to set up Sir Halten and remove him from play. Even failing in that, the damage to his reputation is done. He is a Royal Warden in name only.

Unless the subsequent investigation gleans some new information, we may never the know the cause of this series of deaths. If they are a series of unconnected events, so much the worse. But, if this is a coordinated attack by one of our myriad enemies, then it is doubly concerning for A) it subtlety and brilliance, B) access to hidden information like Lady Bolen’s true identity and the hidden passages of Erlgen Keep, C) the wide ranging ramifications to Ranger operations.

Honestly, I cannot say with any certainty which case would be worse? Perhaps it would be best if this was just a series of very unfortunate events. Time will tell, I am sadly sure.

Not to add to our collective woes, yet there are other forces at play that, if we are not careful, will be overshadowed an examined in the light of such high profile events.

First, as of the last report we indicated that High Druidess Treesinger had departed Echer’Naught to assess the damage to Evorn Que’kassar’s Sacred Grove. Predictably, she was attacked in the attempt. Unpredictably, however, the assassination attempt was very nearly successful. While working in ruins of the grove around the 25th of Planting Moons, High Druidess Treesinger came under fire from an assassin using crossbow bolts coated in a highly lethal toxin for elves, added to that, we believe, Vainar’s Bane Plague. It was less the toxin, and more the rapid assault that very nearly killed Treesinger.

She was rescued by Eve, who ALSO was wounded by the attacker, though her immense recuperative abilities prevented her death. She was unable to pursue as she was bringing High Druidess Treesinger back from the brink of death. Apparently, the elven maidens has pre-planned this rescue in the event of an attack, at Colonel Wolfhaven’s insistence that Treesinger was a target. That said, Evoran’s Tree was not just burned, but destroyed. High Druidess Treesinger has been tight lipped during her recuperation, but her words, ominous as they may be, “Life Prevails” may be an indication that she has some means of repairing or replacing. Not a high Ranger priority.

However, this situation highlights an equally disturbing report. We have learned, recently, that the prison caravan carrying former Ranger Dakota Afliem was hit enroute to Kythros. Worse, due to the nature of the attacks, and the unpredictability of Eve, the prisoner escort was of the most highly trained Rangers available at the time. Of high skill and experience, these men were completely over matched and slaughter by what appears to be a single attacker, if analysis of the scene is true.

Sadly, we do not know when Dakota Afliem was abducted as the attack was only discovered when the prison transfer failed to reach its scheduled destination, we are fairly certain she was not killed in the attack. To what end, we know not. Wounds on her guards are consistent with a long, thin blade. It cannot be lost upon the Rangers that the MO resembles one of Velkalar’s known associates, the duelist Alphonz Domingo Ferrara Diego Castellano. Though that attribution is merely suspicion, not fact.

Equally troubling news out of Kythros. In the wee hours of the 20th of Planting Moons there was a prison break. Numerous guards were injured, three killed. Of the list of escapees, only a few seem relevant to our operations. Two of note, former Rangers Rysak Ironblood and Thomas Zulcrum. I have only RECENTLY learned of an additional fact of note. A few days prior to this breakout, Zulcrum requested to speak with Ranger Command in regards to information that might be of assistance in our investigations surrounding the person or persons known as Velkalar. Within days, and before he was allowed to make this pronouncement, he, along with a handful of prisoners “escape.” The coincident is not lost upon this command.

In rapid succession, Captain Celebor is laid low and forced to retire, Sergeant Major Stormhammer is also captured and gravely wounded in his recover, in which we lose RFC Ramshorn. Now, Treesinger is all but lost, and all three incarcerated former Rangers escape or are abducted by unknown forces. Sir Halten is all-but ruined. And, lest we not forget, RFC Moldova’s brother is still unaccounted for.

Our pieces are being swept from the board faster than we can assess our next moves. To make matters far worse, we have just received unverifiable reports that a new wave of bounties have been issued for high members within the government of Echer’Naught and the Rangers. Even if we had the Rangers to spare securing everyone within the government, if the prison transfer of Dakota Afliem is any indication, we are woefully inadequate to the task.

The War promised Sergeant Volstagg is now in full swing. If a resolution is not reached, we may, in fact, lose. But, if all of our supposition is correct, then we have begun to develop a pattern of movement for key resources of our enemy. Kourash was last seen in the Dominion and every resource is being spent to locate and track his movements. It should NOT be hard. And, IF the attack on Squire Halten’s funeral IS the work of V, then that accounts for the Adept. Add the crossbowman who attacked Treesinger and the duelist who hit the prisoner escort… Our enemy is close at hand. If only we can get a decent shot.

Malcom

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Rogue Faction Play Fifth
Summer 2016
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Campaign Report 86
Korash, Army Slayer

Farspeaker, Eris Moonsilver

As relayed from Echer’Naught Alpha team under command of Sergeant Gunther Volstagg (via RFC Daynore)

Edited by Ranger Malcom, Scribe

Twenty Seventh Day of Planting Moons, Year 3126 Under the Light

Planting Moons 2nd, 3126

After discovering the destruction of the Volstagg Estate (formerly Wyvern), Alpha Team rangers fortified and encamped in the ruins while tending to the bodies of the fallen Rangers.

Planting Moons 3rd, 3126

Farspeaker Eris Moonsilver, upon informing Sir Eric Halten, Sheriff and Royal Warden, was informed to relay orders for the Alpha Team to hold position and await reinforcements. The Royal Warden was, at the time of the communication, still returning form his, self proclaimed, victory over the goblinesh marauders assaulting Rangers along the roads to Rhion. With Ranger assistance, Royal Sheriff Halten summoned reinforcements form local Olaran Wardens and dispatched his squire, and nephew, Lt. Halten along with a team of five Halten Sworn and ten wardens to reinforce Alpha Team.

Meanwhile, RFC Daynore reported that Alpha Team was engaged in fortifying their position, training, and resting from their recent ordeals. Notably, Sergeant Volstagg, having acquired an Enhanced Arcfre Handcaster from Luc Gendarre, Sworn of House Wolfhaven and Captain of the Wolf Guard, furthered his training in the art of Shooting. RFC Daynore also reported constructing a large “limberjack” for RFC Moldova, ostensibly for future animation.

Planting Moons 5th, 3126

Three days after receiving orders to hold until reinforced, the column of mounted Olarans arrived at the ruins of Volstagg Estate under command of squire Lt. Halten. Sheriff Halten’s orders were kept confidential until after the team was dispatched, but we have since learned that his mission was to hunt down Korash, the Slayer of Armies, one of Velkalar’s known associates and the suspected agents responsible for the utter annihilation of the Ranger outpost at Volstagg’s Estate. The column departed within hours heading for Stahlheim and the Bridge of the River Shanais.

Ranger Seyrs had located Korash’s tracks heading west and south. With the column mounted, Ranger Newt began following the giant’s prints in the direction of the river. Grendel, however, remained at Volstagg’s estate with Ranger scouts who accompanied the Olarans. They assessed the damage, recorded the names of the dead and, with Grendel, returned to Echer’Naught.

Planting Moons 7th, 3126

Two days later, the column reached the bridge crossing between the Fae nation of Landra’Feya and the dwarven kingdom of Stahlheim. There, Ranger Seyrs, with RFC’s Daynore and Zathlan approached the elven guards seeking to learn if Korash had used the bridge. The guards indicated no, but they had heard rumors that a “giant” encountered elven scouts near the Shanais lake, just south of the bridge.

Planting Moons 10th, 3126

Following this information, the column crossed the river and headed south west to the dwarven clanhome of Crag. There, they made contact with the local Ranger HQ three days later and received scout reports of the incident with Korash. The Rangers confirmed that dwarven guards along the border spoke with their elven counterparts confirming the rumors that Korash has forced his way through the elven lands heading for, it appeared, the Malakar Dominion by way of the north bank of the Shanais Lake.

The majority of the team, under Corporal Amaroth stayed with the Rangers. Sergeant Volstagg, and RFC Zathlan, took a room in the inn rented by Lt. Halten and his men. By all accounts, the Sergeant and the Ranger First Class shared accommodations.

Planting Moons 11th, 3126

By morning, the column was prepared to depart again, this time south into Elven lands. The trip took less than a day, with the Alpha Team and their Olaran allies finding an elven fishing village on the north bank of the lake. There, elven scouts and rangers were recovering and treating their wounded after attempting to intercept Korash as he strode through their lands. From the elves, the team learned that the Ogre had brushed them aside and strode into the lake, heading, as was believed, into Dominion territory.

On a positive note, he did not appear to be heading toward a city or fortification. If the Rangers could close his lead, they might intercept him before Dominion troops were even aware of their presence and mission.

With this information, and after consulting Corporal Amaroth, due to his knowledge of mercenary companies, and RFC Daynore, due to his local knowledge of the Dominion, Sergeant Volstagg and Lt. Halten elected to enter the Dominion via the Crag/Malak road posing as mercenaries. The column turned around again, riding north to just outside of Crag where they camped for the night. RFCs Daynore and Moldova forged documents while Sergeant Volstagg and Corporal Amaroth procured more suitable arms and armor for the Olaran wardens.

Planting Moons 12th, 3126

By dawn, the column, now posing as a mercenary company, and leaving their gear with the Rangers of Crag, rode out for the Dominion. They passed into the country later that day, with little trouble other than standard bribery and “floaters” being found in Serys’ gear. After that, they turned south and began tracking Korash.

Planting Moons 13th, 3216

Dawn the following day, they found him, not far west of the Shanais lake. Korash was sleeping in a small field, when Newt very nearly ran into him. She managed to stop the column before they gave away their position, but in their attempt to retreat, RFC Moldova’s mount caused a collision which woke the giant. As Korash was rousing from his slumber, Lt. Halten ordered Sergeant Vosltagg to send his assassin forward.

Serys took his cue, closed on the ogre even as he woke and put an explosive arrow under the beast’s helm. The shot was true, and obviously wounded Korash, but not hardly enough. As Lt. Halten and Sergeant Volstagg tried to array their men, Korash stood, took up his tower shield and mace and the smashed Serys nearly to pieces before charging into the still scrambling Olarans, scattering Rangers and Olarans like, trampling two of the wardens.

From there, the fight turned ugly for Alpha Team and the Olarans. They were too close and Korash moved surprisingly quickly. Were it not for Moldova stunning Korash with her magic, all might have been lost. With that slight distraction, Lt. Halten gave the order to “scatter” as he and Sergeant Volstagg engaged the beast in an attempt to distract and slow him.

Rangers and Olarans obeyed, each trying desperately to get clear of Korash’s mighty reach. Even so, the ogre pursued them, charging through their lines and trampling them with ease. In a last ditch effort to save his men, Lt. Halten gave the order to withdraw and charged into Korash’s legs, managing to place his blade in the gaps behind the ogres knee armor. The wound was not mortal, but it did injure and slow Korash. It also managed to change the ogres focus from smashing RFC Zathlan to Lt. Halten who hung from the back of the giant’s knee like a parasite.

Torn, Sergeant Volstagg obeyed his final order and ran to fetch Serys while Sir Halten was swatted aside, losing his sword arm in the offing. His last moment, as purported by Sergeant Volstagg and the Olarans was Lt. Halten, lying on his back, bleeding from his missing sword arm, screaming at Korash as the ogre crushed him flat under food.

With that, the battle was over. Sergeant Volstagg managed to reach some horses and the Olarans pulled Serys onto a saddle. Everyone rode out, but in the confusion, the group got separated. Most of the team managed to find each other over the course of the morning using RFC Daynore’s telepathy, but Sergeant Vosltagg was unreachable and presumed lost.

Corporal Amaroth was just about to order a search, when Sergeant Volstagg arrived, fully healed, his armor mended, but far more bitter and angry than even previously. From what little has been said, he was “visited”, but little more is known at this time.

Five Olaran Wardens, along with Lt. Halten were killed. The five Sworn and five of the Wardens survived. No Rangers were killed, though Serys was badly wounded.

Planting Moons 15th, 3126

The trip back was slower, and the team crossed the Malakar border early on the 15th and arrived back at Crag that evening. They received accommodations, healing, and their returned gear from the Rangers. Sir Halten’s men held a soldier’s Last Call at the Ranger outpost. All Rangers attended.

Sheriff Halten was informed of the death by the 14th, and by that same evening, vigils and honors were being held at his Estate in the city. The reputation of his House has been greatly improved by the death of the young squire heroically wounded an unkillable monster. Politically, it has played well for the Sheriff, though his personal feelings he keeps to himself.

Planting Moons 17th, 3126

Alpha Team and the Olarans remained in Crag as guest of the local Rangers for two days to heal and rest. On the 17th, they departed for Echer’Naught again, taking the most direct route through Eldara. The trip took nine days and occurred without incident.

Planting Moons 26th, 3126

After a month in the field, Alpha Team returned, tired and discouraged. They first reported to the Regional Headquarters, however, Colonel Wolfhaven was away at Camp Wolfhaven overseeing matters of the War in the North. After reporting to the duty officer, the Alpha Team made their way to Sir Halten’s office at his estate.

The exact transcript is unavailable, but we are aware that he is pleased with the Ranger’s performance as they were invited to his family’s keep to participate in the official funeral rights for his squire. No sooner had Alpha Team left his offer when Corporal Amaroth was dispatched to pull a month’s worth of rations. Nothing Sir Halten had said, to this point, warranted such an extended mission. We are still seeking word if Alpha Team is to be temporarily stationed elsewhere. Though, given Sergeant Volstagg’s state of mind, and the renewed conflict with Velkalar, it may be assumed that he is beginning to act irrationally.

I will send a request to Sir Halten’s office for a full mental evaluation of the team.

Alpha Team departed the city that eve and camped just north.

Planting Moons 27th, 3126

Sir Halten’s office alerted our office that he, and the Alpha Team, would be departing the city for an extended stay. They would provide security for himself and his family during the funeral of his nephew. Rangers at the gates confirmed that Sir Halten met with the Alpha Team north of town, then returned for about and hour, before rejoining the Alpha Team at the dwarven (east) gate around 10 AM. The team departed Echer’Naught again after remaining one day, and not even within the walls.

Three Notes. First, Sir Halten made an official request for RFC Zathlan’s full file. We are aware he has been in contact with her House in Galea. Though not officially under the charter of the Rangers, rumors have spread about a potential liaison between Sergeant Volstagg and RFC Zathlan. It can be surmised that Sir Halten is laying the ground work for a petition on Sir Vosltagg’s behalf. Second, though not public knowledge, we are now aware that RFC Moldova’s brother, who serves in the City Watch, has no reported to work for several days, nor has this squad. Captain Vasser has declined to request Ranger assistance. Third, around Planting Moons 5th, while Alpha Team was preparing for their hunt of Korash, rumors spread that former Ranger Evoran Que’kasaar’s tree had been attacked. I can, sadly, confirm that unknown assailants using arcfire have burned the tree and the grove. High Druidess Treesinger has reportedly left Echer’Naught, presumably to tend to the loss of Evoran’s Tree. Though little evidence exists, it is believed that Velkalar’s agents are responsible.

In response to the attack on Volstagg’s estate, Evoran’s tree, and the potential kidnapping of RFC Moldova’s brother, the Rangers in the city are on high alert. We are taking extra precautions to ensure the safety of all former members of Alpha Team, and securing anyone close to those Rangers. Extra guards have been placed at their homes and Kythros has also been alerted to be watchful of an attack on former Rangers Ironblood, Zulcrum, and Afliem.

Farspeaker, Eris Moonsilver

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Campaign Report 85
Bradshaw, Bergham, and Randall

Farspeaker, Eris Moonsilver

As relayed from Echer’Naught Alpha team under command of Sergeant Gunther Volstagg (via RFC Daynore)

Edited by Ranger Malcom, Scribe

Second Day of Planting Moons, Year 3126 Under the Light

First Hunt 19th, 3126

Sergeant Volstagg reorganized his team into patrol pairs and established new patrol areas and times.

RFC Moldova and Ranger Grendel were assigned to the First (morning) shift in Low Town

RFC Daynore and Ranger Nest were assigned to the Second Shift (evening) shift in Low Town

Corporal Amaroth and RFC Nexus were assigned to First (morning) shift along Mainstreet

Sergeant Volstagg and Ranger Serys were assigned to Second Shift (evening) on the Wall.

Reports indicate that Commander Schenkle and his father’s bakery have recently seen a massive uptick in commerce due to his warhero status and the connections he has made in the city; least of which his numerous direct contracts with the Rangers of Echer’Naught. Per “rumor”, the Schenkle bakery is quickly upsetting the current power structure of the Bakers and Bread-makers Guild usurping control through sheer market share. Though at present a merely economic and political struggle, there is a the very real possibility that the unrest could turn violent. Significant sums of money are at stake, as is great political power within the city.

Of note, Schenkle has opened a secondary location primarily as a baking and delivery operation. The first such outlet branch for a local bakery. They have also contracted with local muscle to provide “security.” Troubling, I Ranger recon units have linked at least some of the "muscle’ to the goblin fight promoter, Mitty. A supposed associate of Velkalar within the city.

Trade caravans originating from the Desert Princes region continue to increase, as does the frequency of “Sun Gold”, as it has become known. In that last months, several entire grain shipments were purchased from the city stock fully by coinage stamped with the ancient symbol of the Empire of the Golden Sun. Still, all known recon efforts, save the Long Recon Team have failed to return with any relevant evidence.

Plans are currently under way to form a dedicated recon unit to establish a formal presence in the region.

First Hunt 20th. 3126

At 11 AM on the 20th, three teams, Ranger Malcom’s research team, Sergeant Volstagg’s Alpha team, and an At Large team under command of Corporal Smith gathered in the courtyard behind the Ranger Regional Headquarters. Truth be told, the teams were assembled hours in advance, all dressed in Ranger Dress Uniforms. Each member of the team was awarded a Silver Shield medal from Colonel Wolfhaven and Sir Halten, the Royal Sheriff for services in rendered in eliminating “Vainar’s Bane”, the plague corrupting and killing elves within the city. Afterwards, there was a small luncheon attended by local luminaries and reporters from the new Echer’Naught Watcher publication. On an unofficial note, both Sir Volstagg and Lady Zathlan made quite an impression on the assemble nobility, both gaining many favors and not a few invitations to parties.

It should be noted, that while we celebrate our victory of the Elven wasting plague, a new outbreak has occurred in the city of Lanthor. Our own reserves were too limited to offer more than advice on procuring their own remedy. May the Ascended have mercy on the poor elves of that metropolis. There is also more troubling news from Lanthor, a new faction, the ominously named Shadow Legion, has gained a strong foothold, consolidating many of the smaller gangs, formerly under sway of Red Store. Recent information suggests that there might be an all new Shadow War similar to our own brewing there. Great care is being taken to determine any possible links between this new syndicate and the Velkalar crime family, if any.

First Hunt 21st, 3126

Sergeant Volstagg conducted interviews with his team. Paperwork was filed to promote RFC Audric Amaroth to Corporal. In addition, it is believed that it was also on the 21st when Sergeant Volstagg received the engraved invitation of the Intermediary Corporation, Bradshaw, Bergham, and Randall. Surprising little information about this enterprise is publicly available. I leaned from Baroness Wolfhaven, and confirmed via Madame Lillithien, that Bradshaw, Bergham, and Randall is a high profile, though discreet, business which serves as a go-between for nations, powerful syndicates, companies, and royalty when direct contact would be illegal, unseemly, or impossible. They are a Holding Company for the most powerful players in the lands. And, they invited Sir Volstagg for a personal meet in the port city of Centerport, at his earliest convenience.

Sergeant Volstagg reported this to Colonel Wolfhaven, then to Sir Halten. Ultimately, he, and his team, were given leave to attend.

First Hunt 22nd, 3126

Sergeant Volstagg informed his team of the new meeting in the Malakar Dominion and set them about making preparations for a long ride west. Also, on First Hunt 22nd, 3126 RFC Audric Amaroth was promoted to Corporal and assumed the duties as XO for Alpha Team.

Sergeant Volstagg further organized his team into two Squads. First Squad (Assault)

First Hunt 23rd, 3126

In the early morning, the Alpha team departed Echer’Naught, mounted with Grendel in a heavy wagon, heading west along the Greenway Road toward Eldara. From the the E’N to Eldara was a trip of about 200 miles, taking 7 days. They reached the city by the evening of the 30th of First Hunt. In Eldara, the crew rented a barge to transport the horses and Grendel’s wagon down the Shanais River to the sea port of Eastport. They departed the capital city early on the 31st of First Hunt.

It would appear, however, that the Alpha team’s involvement with curing Vainar’s Bane plague garnered them local support from the elves. They were met with less suspicion that most travelers these days. That coupled with RFC Nazir’s efforts bridging the rift between the Olarans and the Elves within Echer’Naught have obviously gone far to improving relations between the races. At least, locally.

Golden Eagle 5th, 3126

Eldara to Easport was another trip of about 7 days, taking a slow barge south. They arrived in Eastport by river on the 5th of Golden Eagle, 3216. and immediately set out to make arrangements with the local Rangers. While it is well known that the aggreement signed with Eastport greatly restrains what, if anything, the local Ranger HQ is allowed to do, Lieutenant Even Granger’s command is oft considered one of the least capable. The reports of drunkenness, disorganization, and outright insubordinate behavior has no excuse.

Seeing that the local Rangers would be of very little aid, Corporal Amaroth established the Rangers in the outposts stables with the mounts while others, namely RFC Zathlan acquired necessary items for their mission. By reports, she procured a very passable gown to pose a noble dilettante. I am curious how that will go with her war hammer, however?

Golden Eagle 7th, 3126

Two days in that squalid mockery of an outpose would have been intolerable. Mercifully, by the dawn tides on the 7th of Golden Eagle, the Alpha team departs Eastport for Centerport on board a semi-reputable freighter.

Golden Eagle 11th, 3126

Four short days later, without incident, the freighter docks at Centerport and the Rangers disembark, without their signature cloaks and pins. Their immediate concern to find lodging happens with only minor incident. Apparently Sergeant Volstagg gets momentarily separated from the team and is beset by thugs, but manages to scare them off with little more than a throbbing skull.

Most of the team, under command of Corporal Amaroth find lodging in a suitable inn a few streets away from the seedier establishments of the wharf. The team elected to pose a mercenaries, to the point where the pacifist RFC Moldova demanded the Corporal Amaroth strike her about the face. By all accounts the Corporal did not hesitate. They managed two rooms for the team, with Grendel in the stables just below the windows.

Meanwhile, keeping to their characters, Sir Volstagg, Lady Zathlan, and their bodyman, Daynore, arrange FAR more suitable lodging in the upper parts of the city, well away from the poor and the stench of fish and sea. They spent the remainder of that day and much of the following morning seeing the sights and spreading their ample funds around in a display of wealth.

Golden Eagle 12th, 3126

Late morning on the 12th, Sir Volstagg and his entourage ventured to the established meet, which happened to be a dive bar not far from the docks. By all appearances it was FAR below the standard of their dress. Upon entry, however, they were met by a man, impeccably dressed, who announced their full names, titles, Ranger Rank, and even indicated RFC Daynore’s Adept abilites to the assembled neredowells and knuckdraggers. Much to the surprise of the team, though no one made a move to accost them, yet. The man, who would later introduce himself as Vess, offered them both a seat and refreshment.

After a passable meal, Vess got right to the point. He was an agent of Bradshaw, Berhan, & Randall. They represented a party, designated V, who wished to offer Sergeant Volstagg an cessation of all hostilities between V’s organization and all current and future members of Alpha Team (including their employer, Sir Halten and his resources). In return, V promised to offer a sizable monetary donation to the Wolfhaven Refuge for Children, The Grizhnak Olgor & Evoran Que’kasaars Memorial Library, Echer’Naught, and a number of civic works, including construction of more Housing Blocks in Low Town. Unfortunately, the deal also stated that all property, persons, personnel, territory, businesses, and properties currently held by each party would be formally granted them in perpetuity. Meaning, of course, that any prisoners, Captain Hawksclaw, would be forever lost to Alpha Team. Furthermore, this would prevent the Alpha team, or Sir Halten’s office, from protecting or even intervening should V (Velkalar) make attempts on the lives of Colonel Wolfhaven or Sergeant Ravenwood.

It did not bind the Ranger Corps as a whole, but seeing as the Alpha team has had the most success, after the deaths of Bravo team, to locate and thwart Velkalar’s efforts, and the Rangers were too occupied with the war with Darkness and rebuilding Archanaya and Mindoth’s Tower, agreeing to the deal would hobble Alpha team and Sir Halten effectively giving Velakar free reign.

By accounts, Sergeant Volstagg greatly considered signing the deal, but ultimately, he could not stand by and allow evil to flourish. So, he declined. With that, Vess touched the contract to a lamp on the table and let it burn to cinders in his fingers. Then, he thanked them politely for meeting him, closed up his papers, and departed. Before he left, he warned them that the locals “appeared restless” and that they should make a quick escape before coming to violence.

No sooner did he step away from the table, then the thugs about the room attacked. RFC Daynore at the bar, and Sergeant Volstagg and RFC Zathlan at the table sprinted for the door, overturning furniture in their haste with a room full of brigands closing in on them. Both RFC Daynore and Zathlan reached the door without injury, but Sergeant Volstagg was violently struck from behind. Just as they tumbled out the door to the tavern, Vess shouted a final warning, “Sir Volstagg, you should see to your estates.”

With that, the Rangers spilled into the streets and barely managed to lose their pursuers in the narrow alleys of the port district. Just after noon, Grendel rapped on the window of the second story room alerting Corporal Amaroth that the party had returned. Moments later, the three staggered into the room. Immediately, the Rangers began to bind Sergeant Volstagg’s wounds as he gave orders to prepare to leave. He answered few questions and forbade them from using the name of Velkalar while still within the city.

With luck, and a small fortune, Sergeant Volstagg managed to book a night passage on a smuggler’s vessel. And with that, the team departed Centerpor on the 12th of Golden Eagle.

Golden Eagle 17th, 3126

Five days later, they arrived back in Eastport without incident. There, they reacquired their mounts and elected to leave the very same day, fearful of pursuit. Rather than take the planned route home, Sergeant Volstagg elected to follow the river road north toward Eldara, but to continue north from there making for the Gather of the Broken Chains and then to Rhion. The trip would have taken about 15 days, putting them at the gather on the 32nd. Sadly, they never arrived.

Golden Eagle 31st, 3126

A day short of the Gather of the Broken Chains, the team was camped near the Shanais River when their campfire exploded, stunning the team, and plunging them in to supernatural silence. Sergeant Volstagg and Seyrs were on guard, but were caught completely unawares. The rest, save for Corporal Amaroth were in their bedrolls, unarmed.

No sooner had the blase occurred, then Orcs poured from nearby woods and began to attack the party. Grendel took the worst of it, all fighting valiantly, but the tide turned with a monster of an Orc, huge and black skinned, felled, but did not kill, Grendel. It them demanded through sign that Sergeant Volstagg should put down his arms, or the brute would execute Grendel.

Having little choice, Volstagg lowered his weapons. The others, save for Serys followed suit. Serys, with a back to Volstagg, managed to kill one of the orcs before he realized the conditions. No sooner had they surrended, then they were roughly bound, hooded and dragged a distance away. There, things took a strange turn.

Serys was hauled away from the group, un-hooded and beaten by the lead Orc. After a brief exchange, it became obvious that the massive orc blamed Serys for the death of the orcs brother. Serys admitted to “murdering” many, but could not place the orc, or his death kin. At that, the story became more clear. The Orc bandit accused RFC Zathlan of being a “she-bitch” who seduced his brother only for Seyrs to murder him.

It was at this point that Seyrs, at least, appeared to understand the situation because, by accounts, he began laughing. He informed the Orc that, A) he had nothing to do with his brother’s death, B) he too had tracked this unit to gain vengeance for his OWN sisters death, C) that he could never exact satisfaction, but the Orc could because there was one person who was involved in his brother’s death still on the team. Serys went on to explain that this person had befriended the orcs brother, then allowed his murder.

Here it should be noted that the dead orc is likely none other than Kura’Kai, wife of Dakota Afliem, explaining the orc’s confusion with RFC Zathlan. Also, he might mistake Ranger Serys for Sergeant Ravenwood.

Serys promised to give up the name of Kura’ betrayer if, and only if, the brother would allow everyone else save for himself, Seyrs, and the betrayer to leave. The Orc refused, but Seyrs challenged his honor and courage. Eventually, it was agreed that the Orc would challenge his brother’s betrayer to battle. If the betrayer won, all the Rangers would go free, unharmed. But, should the Orc win, the Rangers would be given over the warband to be abused and killed at their amusement…

As much as he could, Sergeant Volstagg, now realizing the horror of the situation, agreed. Serys indicated Sergant Volstagg as the betrayer and the orcs pulled the Sergeant to his feet, unbound him, unhooded him, and handed him his weapons. Before attacking, the Orc demanded to know if he was well enough to fight. Sergeant Volstagg affirmed, and attempted to reason with the Orc, but there was nothing he could do but defend himself from the violent assault.

The Orc used nothing but his fists. However, due to his size, skill, and ferocity, he was very nearly a match for the armed and armored Knight. However, Sergeant Vosltagg was victorious and managed to slay Kura’Kai’s elder brother in single combat. True to the orc’s word, the other orcs released the Rangers and knelt to begin preparing their leader for burial…

…when Sir Halten and his forces exploded from the woods on horseback to ride down the brigands. No orc or goblin was spared. While his men slaughtered the goblinesh, Sir Halten spoke with Sergeant Volstagg and the Olaran healers began to treat the wounded Rangers.

Sir Halten had been tracking the Rangers for a while, expecting an attack at some point. Unfortunately, when Sergeant Volstagg deviated from the established route, Sir Halten was unable to reach them in time. Nevertheless, Sir Halten congratulated the Sergeant on his peerless victory and gathered his men to return to Echer’Naught. Now on foot, he suggested that the Rangers head to Sir Volstagg’s nearby estate to rest and recuperate.

Golden Eagle 32nd, 3216

The following morning, Grendel awoke with a headache but no more worse for wear. The Alpha gathered the supplies provided by Sir Halten and proceeded on foot to Sir Volstagg (formerly Sir Wyvern’s) estate. The trip took three days.

Planting Moons 2nd, 3216

Three days later, Newt and Serys in the forward scout position crested a hill to see the former keep utterly in ruins. Suspecting a trap, Alpha Team deployed and cautiously approached the pile of smoldering rubble that was, a few days ago, a functioning Ranger outpost. There were no enemies therein, but nor were there living Rangers. Twenty four Rangers, along with six staff were brutally slaughtered, most crushed to death, a few clearly crushed slowly as in torture.

Of the keep, no two stones remained stacked. The entire keep, main hall, and walls had been toppled like children’s blocks. In the very heard of the devastation a single sky blue flag with a gold V embroidered waved lazily in the late spring breeze.

Tired, defeated, and in pain, Sergeant Vostagg posted guards, and ordered his Ranges to see to burying what was left of the dead while he contact Lady Moonsilver for orders.

Though we lack definitive proof, there is clear evidence that the destruction of the Volstagg Keep was wrought at the hands of Korash, the Destroyer of Armies, one of Velkalar. Also troubling, Seyrs recent admission. Also, the death of Kura’s brother, after those bitter events will likely be source of great anguish for the team, at the very least, Sergeant Volstagg.

Farspeaker, Eris Moonsilver

Addendum: First Hunt 20th. 3126

Prior to the Silver Shield ceremony on the morning of the 20th, Colonel Alexander Wolfhaven entered Echer’Naught’s Sacred Grove by his own request to personally oversee the transfer of former Ranger Dakota Afliem into Ranger custody. At 8 AM, citizen Dakota Afliem was remanded to Rangers to begin her two year prison sentence in Kythros to officially end, First Hunt 19th, 3128 (2019).

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Campaign Report 84
A Flower and a Cure

Report Filed 18th First Hunt 3126

Sergeant Minor Amelia Whitestone

18th of Falling Ice, 3126

RFC Zathlan, accompanied by Paladin Sebastian Surname, and our guide, Serys (a surly Alakar archer) departed Echer’Naught on horseback riding to meet us in Tar’Imas.

20th of Falling Ice, 3126

We were politely asked to leave the Gather of Fylg by the morning of the 20th. Everyone was, more or less, healed so I chose not to press the issue. Of course, not knowing what awaited us on our next mission, I tried to give the team enough time to sort their equipment while I conferred with Lady Moonsilver. Despite the utility of Farspeakers, I find the mental intrusion disquieting.

My new orders were to head west to the Aralon forest and wait for allies in the elven city of Tar’Imas. I was also under strict orders to keep our destination and mission secret. Which was easy to do considering other than “meet allies in Tar’Imas” I knew no more than my team.

After everyone saw to their gear maintenance, we gathered at our temporary shelter and were “walked out” of the Gather. That was an interesting experience. Though, I was not sorry to depart.

We marched West taking the northwest road from Fylg to Char for four days, the westernmost Guardian Gather. From there, we turned due west, travelling to just outside of Hispan in two days. Along they way, about a day outside of Hispan, my team entered into the Defiant Lands, a harsh and lawless region historically contested by the various local powers. Here, we doffed our Ranger kit and went as travelers. Per orders, we avoided the independent city. Turning north, we entered the Aralon forest.

Our greeting from the local elves was only slightly less inviting than our welcome to Fylg. These people were less hospitable than a Steiner in the Crimson Wall. Nevertheless, my passphrase, provided by Lady Moonsilver, was enough to prevent our outright execution. With no fanfare, we were escorted by our “hosts” into the elven woods and just outside the city of Tar’Imas, an ancient and well defended city. From what little I knew of this place, they had survived the War of Flame, despite Kal attempts to torch the woods. We arrived late on the 6th of First Hunt.

All in all, the trip trip took 20 days by foot. Our mounted allies were not far behind.

7th of First Hunt, 3126

The day after we arrived, our allies arrived, bringing with them a guide and my special package. First order of business was to introduce the new members to the team. Starting with Sebastian, a male, human Paladin who had recently served under the Colonel during the stand against Darkness. Considering our upcoming mission was Light oriented, I hoped his connection with “higher powers” would come in handy. Our other addition was an Alakar with connection to the local elves and a knowledge of a potential location for the Life-toched Angel’s Trumpet.

My second order of business was to pass on the “special package.” When RFC Ramshorn died, he left his sword and axe to the Colonel. After a conversation I had with the Colonel I deliberated long about who I might pass the shield on to. Ultimately, I elected to give the shield to RFC Daynore. Neither I nor Sergeant Volstagg needed the shield. RFC Amaroth could use it, but also did not necessarily require it. Of late, RFC Daynore has been useful in protecting our mages and healers, namely RFC Moldova. With this in mind, I handed him the shield with instructions that when a new member entered the team, he would pass the artifact on to that individual. Then, we set camp for the night while I discussed our plans with Serys.

8th of First Hunt, 3126

We departed by first light. Serys up front, Newt bringing up the rear. RFCs Audric and Zathlan took the flanks as we took the forest path north from the city. The elves seemed pleased to see us go.

10th of First Hunt, 3126

We arrived at a location two days north of the city in, or around, the area which Serys claims legend speaks of a tomb of one of Archanon’s first followers, right within a sacred grove. For reasons, the elves have abandoned it, letting Life take its course. How Serys knows of this place, I was cautioned not to press. Nevertheless, I ordered Sergeant Volstagg to break the team into pairs to increase our search area.

RFCs Amaroth and Daynor, Sergeant Volstagg and Ranger Newt, Grendel and Sebastian, RFCs Moldova and Zathlan; I was paired with Serys. We split up, staying in range of voice. It took time, hours, but RFC Amaroth spotted a circular glade from an arete line and alerted the team. By late afternoon, regrouped and made for the “glade”. Our unit was moving north and east, across broken terrain, crisscrossing the river in a winding path. Though more direct, it was also more treacherous. We were crossing yet another log bridge, when Sebastian lost his footing and plummeted into the river, wearing full armor. Before any of us had a chance to react, Serys pulled rope from his shoulder, tossed the end to Grendel and dove off the log into the river below. In moments, he reached the struggling Sebastian who thrashed so violently that Serys was forced to render the man unconscious. All was going well, when the rope slipped from Grendel’s hands.

Now, without anchor, Seyrs tried to maneuver both bodies to the shoreline, but fought the raging current. We, immediately back tracked and started down to them. It took the better part of the afternoon, but we managed to find them both, Serys had pulled Sebastian from the river, stripped his armor, breathed life into him, before wrapping the Paladin in his own cloak for warmth. RFC Moldova verified that the young man would live. We made camp that night.

11th of First Hunt, 3126

We resume our journey.

13th of First Hunt, 3216

It took two days, but we arrived without incident. Walking the river path, we descended ancient and weathered stone stairs. I sent Newt to scout the area and she returned with a report that the glade was a circle within the forest. There were eight stone structures, four arches framing kneeling stone statues (Paladins) and four straight standing stones. Within the center was a tomb, and a circle of flowers.

Finding no hint of danger, we sent RFC Moldova forward with Sergeant Volstagg in support. She entered the sacred glade with little issue, though indicated feeling power. With nothing doing, Volstagg entered the glade and things immediately went sideways. No sooner had Volstagg broken the boundary, when the four massive statures rose from their kneeling position and attacked both RFC Moldova and Sergeant Volstagg. Surrounded, I sent the rest of the team in to support. Serys and RFC Daynore remained behind in support.

RFC Amaroth charged in, trying to draw off the Celestial Stone Guardians. He managed one. We engaged the rest, but our weapons were of little help. Even if we could harm the statues, they almost immediately repaired themselves. From behind, Seyrs peppered them with explosive arrows which SEEMED to have an effect. Watching the battle for a time, I realized that no matter how we maneuvered, the Celestial Guardians always placed two guardians between the tomb and our forces while the others engaged. Considering how unintelligent they appeared, that was obviously programmed. And since they seemed to have a taste for RFC Amaroth, he would prove excellent bait.

I ordered my team to fall back, Serys providing cover. As I hoped, as soon as we left the circle, the Guardians resumed their vigil, two by the tomb, the others closest to our larger force. On a hunch, I sent RFC Moldova with Sebastian and Seyrs around the far side, one Paladin, one Blessed by Archonon, and our only hope of successfully recovering the flower. The others, I stacked near the rode. Simple plan. Sergeant Volstagg and I would try and take out two of the Guardian’s legs with our arcfire bombs. The rest of the team would split, Grendel vs one, the others vs the second and they would engage the remaining two Guardians. With two disabled and two under attack, I hoped the Serys could reach the flower, take it, and then Sebastian could recover it before the Guardians turned on them. Archanon willing, of course.

The plan worked, more or less. RFC Amaroth entered the sacred circle and immediately two of the Guardians attacked. I took one, Volstagg the second. My bombs did their work well. Both dropped to their knees. Unfortunately, I and Amaroth were caught the blasts. Volstagg weathered it well. The others struck and pinned the remaining Guardians. Serys broke for the flower while we held our ground. It seemed an eternity, but he did was was required, and Sebastian sprinted, vaulting the tomb grabbed the flower and escaped.

We withdrew, and once clear of the circle, the Guardians repaired themselves and resumed their post around the tomb. We took stock, and retreated.

15th of First Hunt, 3126

We arrived back at Tar’Imas two days later, Newt in the lead this time. Serys in the rear. RFC Moldova held the flower and water. We were just outside the city when I realized that the team was halted in the road. When I arrived, I found a creature, vaguely female with the body of a young child, but somehow…older. It, she, whatever, was engaged in conversation with my men. Volstagg, in particular, seemed frustrated. The creature, calling itself Eve, informed us that it, she, was not an enemy and that it, she, could aid us in returning harm. RFC Daynore contacted Eris, who contacted the…thing. In the end, Lady Moonsilver vouched for the creature and Eve led us into the city, right passed the guards. They seemed to part for this…girl.

Eve entered the sacred grove of this city, and there, we gathered into a circle. Even spoke and we rippled through space, arriving within Echer’Naught sacred grove. Lady Treesinger greeted us upon arrival. We were invited to stay within the grove, but, instead, I ordered my team back the barracks to clean, repair, and rest. Eve disappeared and we left the water and flower with the druidess. I, Sergeant Volstagg, and Seyrs went to report in, finding Colonel Wolfhaven in attendance.

16th of First Hunt, 3126

After the beating we took over our most recent two missions, I felt it appropriate to give my team some down time. Sergeant Major Stormhammer agreed to allow me to send them on Pub Patrol. More a ceremonial beat. Olaran commanders sometimes reward their best by ordering them to keep the peace within the keep, or city’s, taverns. My team was expected to break up fights, but were also allowed to drink, within reason.

I also welcomed Sebastian and Serys to the team as official Rangers of Echer’Naught. Also, I was informed by my men that someone was creating icons of the Colonel, clay, wood, pewter, and if you were rich enough, White Silver. Also, Sergeant Volstagg prevented Grendel from stealing one of the icons. Apparently, he knows nothing of commerce.

That same night, at 10PM, we arrived at the Sacred Grove to witness the ritual we sacrificed so much to achieve. The elves here were actually hospitable, but I was more interested in getting on with it. We witnessed the usual swaying, singing, chanting and magic. Sometime during the 13th hour, the Everwood bowl, the water of pureness, fine raw crysarium powder, Archanon’s Light, the Life-touched Angel’s Trumpet were all joined. Interestingly, High Druidess Treesinger gave up her station in charge of the ritual to the girl-creature Eve.

Sometime late into the 13th hour, an elf was brought into the Sacred Grove, clearly afflicted with the plague. The woman was given the water, and we all were allowed to take hammocks within the grove to wait. I admit, while first skeptical, I had one of my most peaceful night’s sleep while there.

17th of First Hunt, 3126

Early in the morning on the 17th, High Druidess Treesinger informed us all that the cure was successful. Though, full healing would take time. I dismissed my team to take the day off while I spoke with Colonel Wolfhaven, and Sheriff Halten about future plans. It was during those meetings that my approval for transfer to Kythros was accepted. Colonel Wolfhaven, Sir Halten, and I discussed the future of the team. Sergeant Volstagg has proven more than capable and, clearly, Sir Halten prefers him to me. The team has meshed well over the last months and the new additions are working well. Time will tell if they will survive as a team.

Nevertheless, my appointment was always intended to be temporary. And, with a new leader emerging in Volstagg…the time had come for me to move on. I debated calling the team together and telling them like Rangers are accustomed to doing, but time is pressing. I knew Volstagg would handle things.

Odd enough, later that evening, Sergeant Volstagg himself arrived in Colonel Wolfhaven’s office as we were wrapping up the details of the transfer of authority. I bade him farewell. It was notably Olaran. I respected that. Should he ever find himself in Kythros, I will treat him to a drink.

18th of First Hunt, 3126

I was gone by the morning, but I know that my Rangers would be meeting Sir Halten for the first time under Sergeant Volstagg’s command. I wish them well. My Hunt continues.

Final Report as Echer’Naught Alpha Team Commander

Sergeant Minor Amelia Whitestone

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