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

Campaign Report 104
Here There Be Dragons

Malcolm Report

Report Filed: Dark Moons 3rd, 3126

The following represents compiled information gained through Alpha Team debrief, asset reports, and independent intel gathering sources.

White River 30th, 3126

Some time in the early morning, Alpha Team, with Braun Olar, having recently escaped the Unchained camp, were hunted down and attacked by a pack of Hellhounds led by a Ravening Beast. According to Sergeant Audric Amaroth during the fighting, the Ravening Beast was the very same he slew in the Blood Pits. Based on our own Flame Slayers, Ravening Beasts, once summoned, always return. Further analysis suggests that this particular creature might be bound in some way to Audric through Thaumaturgical blood magic. It would have most likely hunted him exclusively until eventually bringing Audric down.

Though, of sad note, it was also the attack of that beast, and the threat on the former Ranger Danica, which caused his initial fall to Flame. Considering how events transpired, there is some theory that the beast may have been a piece of a larger plot, specifically to turn Audric. To what end we cannot say.

Lieutenant Volstagg, Sergeant Amaroth and Serys held the line, covering the rest of the team’s retreat. RFC Grendel dragged Corporal Zathlan behind him as he ploughed through the deep snows. RFC Ranna dragged RFC Moldova who clutched an unconscious Corporal Daynore in her litter. Due in no small part to timely assistance from the Olaran, Braun, Volstagg and the others slew the pack, but the beasts had done their work to delay the Rangers. Kal calvary appeared, riding down the team.

Fortunately, the deep snow slowed the pursuing Kal, allowing the Rangers to evade. The chase lasted to the wee hours of the morning. Just before dawn on the 30th, Alpha Team crested a ridgeline, tumbling over the sheer cliff into a snowbank. As they clawed their way free, Sergeant Amaroth spotted a Tempest Castra dominating the valley before them with a clear field of fire for hundreds of yards in every direction. With the Kal cavalry moments from riding over the ridge, the Team was caught between a rock and a hard place.

Lieutenant ordered the team forward, and then began shouting commands at the Tempest in their own tongue, directing their fire at the cavalry. Under stormfire cover, Alpha Team reached the Tempest Castra. Though tense at first, Lieutenant Volstagg was surprised to see “Tempari”, the Tempest Magus they had worked with in the desert.

Tempari ordered that Alpha Team be healed and fed. While there, he also had his artificer examine Corporal Daynore and Corporal Zathlan’s collars. Daynore’s he reported as being an “unbreakable” artifact, nearly shattered by Daynore’s power. Whatever creature has possessed the Adept is far more powerful and dangerous that we imagined. As for Nexus, her collar was confirmed to be even more advanced and of a make not of this Realm. Though, Tempari claimed it was not of Tempest make.

Based on the recent revelations around Xaos, it can be assumed that the collar was purchased from outside Shaintar. This begs the question from where and by whom? For security reasons, Sergeant Minor Longtail, on orders from the Colonel, have been circumspect in exactly WHO has been handling arrangements to recover Alpha Team. In fact, I believe that Longtail even outsourced everything.

No part of the support or rescue operations for Alpha Team from the Defiant Lands have been handled, organized, or funded by anyone currently or formerly a member of Grayson’s Gray Rangers. Moreover, none of the operations have been overseen by anyone currently residing or working in the city of Echer’Naught…

Curious.

Healed, fed, and informed, Tempari’s scouts alerted the Castra to the arrival of Kal forces. Tempari informed the team that the hill castra was only their forward scouting operation. A larger, more heavily fortified castra was behind lines nearby.

As troubling as this revelation is strategically for operations against Tempest, tactically, retreating behind Tempest lines served the immediate needs of the team. Providing a single Explorator scout, Tempari sent the team to the main Tempest castra while he “dealt with” the approaching Kal.

Why Tempari seemed so willing to assist the team remains a question. I suspect that had events not transpired, their stay would have been involuntarily long. Regardless, Tempari was not seen again and his scout castra was presumably destroyed by the Scorched Priestess and her Tor Sadais guard.

It took the better part of the 30th to push through the deep snow, but late on the same day, Alpha Team arrived in site of the castra…

…only to find it destroyed and the garrison slaughtered.

After the Explorator cleared the fort, Alpha Team arrived to find the main gate shattered, holes blown through the walls and the remains of the Tempest garrison lying scattered about. Alpha Team examined the carnage and agreed on two facts. First, the Kal did NOT destroy this castra. Second, the attacking force used some variant of arcfire, and alien weapons similar to, but distinct from, Xaos. Tapping into the creature inside, Corporal Daynore reported visions of nine foot spears, which was consistent with the holes punched clean through Tempest armor. Clearly, there is more happening in the Defiant Lands than reports indicate…which might explain Colonel Wolfhaven’s reasoning for placing the Legio Heroes keep on the west side of Tar’Imas. Idly, I am curious how much more aware he is of what is actually occurring beyond our borders?

The Explorator and Alpha Team cleared the ruined castra finding no one alive, but no sign of the attackers. They DID find tracks indicating this new foe fought in a large, block formation style unknown to any armies within Shaintar, but little else. Once certain none of the enemy remained, the explorator directed the Team to recover and secure the fort until he, or Tempari, returned, and then he departed to report the attack to the scout castra.

Alone, Lieutenant Volstagg proceeded to raid the arcfire supplies and search the area, Sergeant Amaroth took RFC Grendel and RFC Ranna to fortify the longhouse. Serys scouted, with Braun on lookout. Late in the eve, Corporal Zathlan went into labor, and a pregnant RFC Moldova tended to her.

Hours later, with Nexus still in labor, the Rangers convened to discuss the situation, but were interrupted by a shout from Serys. Lieutenant Volstagg and Sergeant Amaroth mounted the gate steps to peer into the gloom. Picked out against the white of the snow were two figures, the hulking form of the Tor Sadais, and the diminutive figure of the Scorched Priestess. Just outside of even Sery’s range, they stopped, the Tor Sadais lifted and beheaded the Explorator and casually tossed his body aside.

It would seem Tempest fared about as well against the Kal as they fared against whoever destroyed the castra. Once the Kal appeared, Lieutenant Volstagg ordered his troops to the wall, leaving RFC Moldova with Corporal Zathlan. While the Rangers formed, the Scorched Priestess summoned a Horde Champion, and then used High Magic Teleport to drop the demon behind the castra’s defensive wall, splitting the Ranger defense.

Immediately, the demon laid into the Rangers, inflicting grievous wounds, while destroying the entire gate structure with fire breath. Both RFC Grendel and Ranna were crushed under the rubble, along with Corporal Daynore. Lieutenant Volstagg, Serys, and Braun were trapped outside the ruined gate, facing down the still approaching Kal, while Sergeant Amaroth was trapped inside with the demon, being bathed in hellfire.

However, before the Horde Champion could finish, a crystalline DRAGON burst from the rubble and set upon the demon. Though the dragon appeared to ignore the Rangers, it neither avoided harming them. Sergeant Amaroth, equipped with little more than an iron longsword fell back as a last line protecting the longhouse and the pregnant women within. Lieutenant Volstagg attempted to shoot the demon with a recovered arclance, but the weapon fizzled. He never got a second shot, as the Tor Sadais closed within striking range.

The three warriors outside the gates braced for the attack as the Tor Sadais sped into melee with Volstagg. As a member of the Emperor’s personal guard, the Tor Sadais are peerless warriors, known for brutality. Were he fully healed and well armed and armored, Sir Volstagg might have stood a chance. But, run down like a wounded stag, the Olaran knight was powerless. With a single blow, the Tor Sadais dismembered him at the right elbow, then punted him into the rubble.

Serys shouted for Braun to drag the wounded knight back inside, while he laid down covering fire, but to little avail. Behind them, demon and dragon grappled, the larger dragon gaining the upper hand. With one last savaging, the dragon slew the demon, sending him back to the abyss. What he would have done then, is only speculation.

At the moment Volstagg fell, his wife, Lady Zathlan, gave birth to their daughter, the first of two twins. No longer amused by the hunt, the Scorched Priestess drew upon her power and shattered Corporal Daynore’s Dragon spell, dropping him to the ground, fatigued and spent. She then ordered the Tor Sadais to stand down, and present the Team with a choice: A) Surrender Nexus’ twins (how she knew they were twins is a topic of debate) and Daynore, B) All die while the children and adept be taken anyway. They were given on hour.

Why she did this is another point of contention and speculation. Perhaps she truly believed the dire circumstances would compel the team to capitulate. Though, if she knew anything about the Alpha Team, or Rangers in general, she must have known they would never agree. Or, perhaps there is a more sinister calculation?

We know that she spoke to Sergeant Amaroth during the orgy in Kal Montak, and at that time suggested the two of them have a conversation “once all of this was over.” And, as previously mentioned, the Ravening Beast seemed to be intent on hunting down Audric in particular. Some believe that at a certain point, seducing Audric became a higher priority than capturing either Daynore or the twins. It is also possible that she realized that she could not contain whatever has taken over Daynore, so she abandoned that operation. Why she also allowed the twins to escape…perhaps it has something to do with the unbreakable collar from another Realm around Nexus’ neck. Or, perhaps she grossly miscalculated Alpha Team?

Whatever the truth, true to their word, the Scorched Priestess and the Tor Sadais waited outside the keep while the Alpha Team decided what to do. With only an hour left before some, or all, would die, options were limited. Firstly, Daynore used his skills to heal Volstagg, Grendel, and Ranna. Sir Volstagg, minus his arm, first held his children in his arms. Meanwhile, Amaroth and Gracely Moldova went in private to talk, and ultimately, say goodbye. Interestingly, Grendel and Ranna also had a quiet moment alone.

While most of Alpha Team spend the hour making peace, Braun stood guard while Serys formulated a plan. He had found an old, partially collapsed smugglers tunnel out of the keep. With all the ordnance left over from Tempest, his plan was to rig the keep to blow, then evacuate everyone but two rear guard. They would delay the Kal long enough for the others to get clear of the blast zone. As Volstagg has the only training in arcfire, he would have to be the last to evacuate, and the closest to the actual detonation.

Serys chose Sergeant Amaroth, who quickly volunteered for the mission. With the last of their time, the Rangers made preparations. At just under an hour, Alpha team, minus Serys and Sergeant Amaroth crawled into the small, dark tunnel. Serys’ last act was to give Volstagg his family necklace to be returned to his home via the Rangers. Then, while Serys and Audric engaged the Tor Sadais and Scorched Priestess, the rest of Alpha Team, with Braun fled.

The battle, so far as we can tell, was brief. Volstagg waited as long as he could, but was forced to detonate the arcfire devices while he, Grendel and Ranna were still in the tunnel. Fortuantely, Braun, Durlan, Nexus, and Gracelyn made it out, and RFC Moldova used Jack version 2 to dig them out. Corporal Daynore healed them again, and they fled the scene of destruction, leaving a massive column of smoke, ash, and debris rising into the sky behind them.

White River 31st, 3126

They ran all night, and into the morning. Both RFC Grendel and Ranna were naked, having to strip to squeeze through the narrow tunnel, and Grendel had lost an eye, Ranna a shattered leg during the fighting. Volstagg, minus an arm, carried his son. Corporal Zathlan, hastily cleaned and sore from childbirth, ran with their daughter. RFC Moldova was still nine months pregnant, fighting through the snow. Only Braun and Corporal Durlan Daynore remained in relatively good condition. Though, Braun had taken a few hard blows during the previous nights flee from Kal cavalry.

It was min-morn under a gray and snowy sky when the tattered remnants of Alpha Team arrived at Site Defiant. Here, a coalition of sellswords, mercenaries, and various “allies” had established a base site to recover Alpha Team and permanently end any pursuit. Collecting the personnel and resources had taken months, and the expense was exorbitant. To be honest, I am actually unaware of the cost and time as, again, no Rangers or Ranger resources were used.

Sir Hevain, a contact from Olara was in nominal command. He, along with “our friend” the assassin, and Trokash waited in the “sheltar” for the Team. Once Alpha Team arrived, they were fed “sea spiders” and “sea bugs” fresh from the Wayfarer’s Rest, given healing and supplies, and then mounted when Eve, also in attendance, arrived to warn of the Kal approaching. Eve and Trokash led the team away on horseback as the trap at Site Defiant was sprung.

Wolfhaven’s Rekin Kru, i.e. Fekla and Grek, along with a “reformed” Korash, held the main line. Other allies, over already mentioned, attacked from screened positions. The entire “structure” was a powerful illusion spell which was dropped with the trap was sprung. Reports confirm the Scorched Priestess, along with allies, DID engage with the team at Site Defiant, but she was not killed. Though, a number of allies were.

Trokash and Eve led the team east on horseback for three days.

White River 33rd, 3126

In the 13th hour on the 33rd, the Alpha Team, along with Braun, arrived in Tar’Imas. In the confusion, Braun departed their company with Trokash, while Eve took the rest to the elves Sacred Grove. There, she used her immeasurable power to teleport them to Echer’Naught’s grove where Treesinger and Sergeant Alfred Wolfhaven waited. Alfred took Corporal Daynore into protective custody, while the others were escorted to the City Hospital (formerly Red Lamp) for treatment. There, their wounds were healed, and all were treated for privation and exposure.

Dark Moons 3rd, 3126

After three days of rest and recuperation, Alpha Team was permitted to leave the Hospital, though all were pulled from active duty pending evaluation. Moreover, each member of the unit was briefed on their current status and given time to decide what course of action they wished to take.

Lieutenant Gunther Volstagg has been offered the Post Commander position in Almahrad. His acceptance would come with a promotion to Captain, a significant pay increase, and diplomatic immunity.

Corporal Nexus Zathlan, House Volstagg was also offered a post in Almahrad as her husbands Senior NCO along with a promotion to Sergeant, pay increase, and diplomatic status. In addition, we received a last minute report that indicated Nexus and Serys were related. Per an investigation by an Adept of the Echer’Naught’s Church of Light Citadel:

“Sideria Alorian (Nexus Zathlan) was born on Forest Dance 1st, 3104 in a small fishing/trading village on the west bank of the Crystal Lake to her parents, Miria (Eldakar) and Rellar Aloran (human). Miria’s twin (Essania-Life Bond), Niria and her husband Roland Korvar, also lived within the village with their two children, Sysvayanya and Serysvarya (Sys, and Serys). Miria (Mother) was a known healer, Niria a renowned weaver, Rellar (Father) a merchant, and Roland a fisher.

Late Dancing Clouds 3104, their village was raided and destroyed by Prelacy raiders. Both Rellar and Roland were slain defending the village. Miria, Zathlan’s mother, was trapped in their home, burning to death. Niria felt her sister die, and presumed Zathlan died in the flames. However, Miria managed to shove her daughter into the hands of a fleeing villager who bordered a boat with other refugees.

Zathlan travelled via ship to Lakehold, where, presumably, her savior died from wounds. Zathlan’s basket, however, was found in the tall lake grass by Lord and Lady Zathlan who had been called for defense in answer to the Prelacy raids. They chose to take in the infant once they found she had no family.

Meanwhile, a devastated Niria left the village and eventually settled in Tar’Imas, continuing to weave. Both children fought in defense of their home during the War of Flame 3121-3123. After the war, Sys left home to join the Rangers, eventually she would be killed in the Wildlands under command of Mugin Von Dietrich sometime in Dancing Clouds, 3123, shortly after the war. Von D would return her necklace, spear, and bow to the Rangers, who would then ship her effects to Tar’Imas.

Her younger brother, Serys, would not receive the effects until 3125, when he would begin a quest to hunt down those responsible for his sister’s death. In Falling Ice 3126, Seyrs joined the Alpha Team as a guide on their mission to find a plague cure in his home of Tar’Imas. He joined the team on 16th of First Hunt, 3126. Serys would battle alongside his cousin until his death, Dark Moons, 3126. Upon his death, he asked Sir Gunther Volstagg to return his sisters necklace to Sergeant Major Stormhammer to be returned to his only family."

Sergeant Audric Amaroth, Sworn of House Wolfhaven has been labeled MIA, though, when allied assets arrived at the battle site, Audric’s body was not among the fallen, or the rubble. Based on reports of his slide into Flame, we fear greatly that he has been taken by the Scorched Priestess, willingly or not we cannot say. At the very least he is presumed compromised, potentially now a threat.

Corporal Durlan Daynore was given three choices. First, he could have his power permanent bound, and rejoin the Team after significant evaluation, but he would permanently be pulled from the chain of command, though he would retain his rank. Second, he could retire will full pension, though unless he allowed himself to be bound, he would be banned from Ranger outposts, or contact with Rangers for security reasons. Third, we have been contacted by an interested party who believe they can lift or remove whatever is inside Durlan, though they are not sure if his memories or magic would remain intact. Nor can the guarantee success. Assuming they WERE successful, they would insist on Durlan working with their organization so they might study the effects. He has yet to choose an option.

RFC Grendel and Ranna both were healed and have commendations pending in their files.

RFC Gracelyn Moldova has officially requested Maternity Leave, though this being her second extended leave from Alpha Team, this separation may be permanent. Still, she is a valued member of the Rangers and will be top pick for nearly any posting

Serys died a hero, saving his team, and his family. His death eliminated the need for a scheduled investigation into his behavior during this latest mission. He is being promoted to Ranger First Class posthumously and his benefits are being sent directly to his mother in Tar’Imas. Lieutenant Volstagg and Corporal Zathlan have been tasked with informing Sery’s mother of his death and returning the Necklace.

This leaves only a few unanswered questions. Has Audric fully fallen to Flame? Was his seduction ultimately the aim of the Scorched Priestess, and if so, to what end? There is also the birth of Serys Roman Volkstagg (boy) and Wynter Night Volkstagg (girl). Ranger healers confirm that they are, like their grandmother, Essania. More interesting is that after their healing by the Emissary, they were bestowed with greater than typical magical potential. To what extent, we don’t know. And then, there is the band around Nexus’ neck. We, as of yet, have no means of removal. In fact, we do not yet fully understand its power. Then, there is the matter of this new enemy fighting Tempest in the Defiant Lands. Recently declassified reports suggest that these warriors are in fact Spartoi, or some derivation, from yet another Realm. From the last Long Recon mission, these warriors seek to Liberate and Rule Shaintar, for our own well being. Benevolent, though Dictators. And, was the Tempest scout castra destroyed? We do not yet have accurate repordts. Clearly, more is happening in the Defiant Lands than we know.

Still, Alpha Team is returned, and all the children saved. The mission was a success. It is time to mourn, celebrate, rest, and appreciate everything fought so hard to protect.

Malcom

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The Last Will and Testament of Audric Amaroth
MIA White River 30th, 3126

I, Audric Amaroth, Sworn of House Wolfhaven, write these words in sound body and mind. These are the final thoughts that I pen before I go to my final battle.

To Sir and Lady Volstagg: I wish you both the best. I wish I could watch our children grow together, to see them bond as we have. Know I regret nothing. I am happy I was able to protect you and your children. Thank you for the memories and this fantastical journey

To Grendel: My speculation is you will be one of the last ones left. Unless you decline I believe you will have command of The Alpha Team. Good luck — it is not easy, but your heart is in the right place.

To Gendarre: …. Sergeant

As I am the last of my blood, aside from my unborn child, I will all my earthly possessions to them and the child’s mother: Gracelyn Moldova

I ask the Baron, my Lord Wolfhaven, to consider my child to be worthy and to permit them to follow in my footsteps. I ask my Lord to humbly accept my child as a sworn of his noble house.

It is also my wish that, given the circumstances, Gracelyn Moldova of Echer’Naught be afforded all rights and benefits as if she were my wife. I was understand I was unable to perform my duties and arrange a proper marriage, but should she accept, I would request she be treated as my wife.

— Sergeant Audric Amaroth, Sworn of House Wolfhaven, Rangers of Echer’Naught Alpha Team Second-in-Command.

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Last Will and Testament of Serysvarya Korvar
Died White River 30th, 3126

Return the Necklace to my mother in Tar’Imas.

Serys

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RFC LadyNexus Zathlan Volstagg gives birth

Born early, White River 30th, 3126 in the Defiant Lands while battling the Scorched Priestess and Tor Sadais, Corporal Zathlan gives birth to the twins, Serys Roman Volkstagg (boy) and Wynter Night Volkstagg (girl).

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Campaign Report 103
Winter Camp

Filed White River 29th, 3126

Serys,

White Stagg 26th, 3126

We marched till dark. Kal troops were within 8 miles of us, the destruction of the village revealed that. However, we were tired. Sergeant Amaroth suggested pushing on, but Lt. Volstagg ordered a rest. We fortified the camp as best we could, took about an hour. Then we bedded down to wait.

Normally, I would not have slept, but being hunted like this…

RFC Grednel and Sergeant Amaroth were on watch. Later, they described hearing the sounds of flapping flags on into the 13th hour between the 26th and 27th. That was when the first bombs hit. Gargoyles dropping blast potions. What kind of suck monster would think of such a thing?

I was ripped awake, and tossed like a rag doll in a gale. All around was screaming, roaring and burning flesh. Before any of us could get to our feet, were heard the pop pop pop and gibbering of thratchen. Thratchen, had to be the little demon goatmen.

One of their curved blades nearly took my head off as I rolled to my feet. We were bunched up. I was nearest Braun. To my left, Audric. above me, so to speak, Lt. Vosltagg and Zathlan. Volstagg had rolled on top of his wife to shield her from the worst of the bombing, or to get in one last poke before he died. Not quite sure. Moldova was snuggled up near Audric’s bedroll. Ranna was over near Grendel’s but not TOO near. And, Daynore was floating out here alone, per usual.

Everyone but the Lt and his wife were on their feet, weapons drawn. Thratchen popped in and out, slashing in the dark. I scanned the sky and picked a dark shape out against the backdrop of stars. One shot, and there was a high keening screech and a massive fireball in the distance. Then, a shout from Daynore…riders approaching from the west.

And then in made sense. The thratchen pinned us, making it impossible to run. Normal doctrine was to huddle up, back to back, and wait for the bastards. However, that made us perfect target for the circling gargoyle bombers… Pin and Pincher. Olaran strategy. Use the lightest troops to slow the enemy just long enough for your heavier forces to close in for the kill. The whole gargoyle thing was just mad genius.

We were caught in the trap. Audric scored first blood, chasing a goatman out of camp, though I don’t think he killed it. Ranna scored another hit. Grendel maybe? Hard to tell in the flame and shadows. Then, a beam of pure, purple energy lanced into the sky, skewering one of the gargoyles. The childer simply evaporated. I downed two more, conventionally.

Volstagg spent so much time trying to keep Zathlan safe that he was taken out early on, per usual. Then, she decides to pick up his sword and die valiantly, wasting his efforts. We also lost Moldova. Seems the thatchen considered her a threat after all.

Even so, the horsemen were moments away and we were down the Lt, Moldova, and Daynore and I were sporting wounds. Our final stand would be there…

…when figures pour out of the trees led by a dwerg and a scruffy looking mercenary. Behind them, more warriors, a strange hodgepodge of men and women.

They fell on the thratchen, their leader, shouting for us to fall back while they covered us. Sergeant Amaroth confirmed the order, then held his ground while we disengaged. I dropped the goatman Zathlan was waddling toward to break her out of her berserk rage, or hormonal tantrum. Grendel grabbed Volstagg, Daynore grabbed Moldova and we quit the field as our new “allies” formed a skirmish line to meet the oncoming horse.

White Stagg 27th, 3126

Led by the new arrivals, we ran until mid day as a group, before we were split off into pairs. I joined Zathlan, and two of the strangers led us on a marry jog across hill and dale before arriving, late in a large encampment. Those of us wounded were tended, then fed. And then, as the temp dropped, herded to a dugout shelter while Lieutenant Volstagg, Sergeant Amaroth, and Corporal’s Daynore and Zathlan were all taken to the command tent.

Once our hosts left us, I slipped back to cover our commanders outside the meeting tent. I really shouldn’t have bothered.

Our new hosts were members of the Unchained, freed slaves revolting against the Empire. Their Captain, Kyshiri, had been paid handsomely to find and protect us. He also had a dwarf smith remove the collars from Volstagg, Amaroth (after some discussion), and Zathlan. Though, they immediately collared her with a far more powerful device, well, her husband did. Apparently this one was supposed to cloak her presence so we could not be tracked. Yet another gift from our generous patron. Daynore they left collared. Wise, though ultimately pointless.

After that, some inane babbling, enter Braun. And then, from the scouts who arrived just after us, the dwerg and scruffy looking turf herder entered the tent, and the temperature dropped a few degrees. Turns out, the dwerg was Rysak Ironblood, and the merc, Thomas Zulcrum, former members of Alpha Team. By the Ascended how many are there?

More interesting, there was bad blood between Volstagg and the two. But, seeing as how we were all on the same side now, they decided to let the past lie. Then, more babbling, and I got tired. So, I made my way back to my bedroll and slept.

White Stagg 28th, 3126

We mostly rolled out of our bedrolls by 10 AM. Rare for a team trained to wake before dawn. First things first, Grendel and Ranna bathed. Thank the eternal Ascended. For a bit, I was concerned the Kal were tracking us by scent alone. The rest of us, joined around the cook fire. Everything went well, until my companions started bearing their souls.

As it turns out, Sergeant Amaroth ran into RFC’s Graceylen Moldova’s mother in the slave pits, and waited till just then, WEEKS later, to tell her. She was…pissed, though I wonder if he isn’t the only one keeping secrets. Speaking of, Moldova’s pregnancy, like we all couldn’t tell. And then, the further stupidity between Volstagg and the cons. Considering Volstagg himself, intervened in Olaran law, whipped his pregnant wife nearly to death, sent her in to sleep with other men for information and then gave me permission to poison her… He’s riding a pretty high horse about two ex-Rangers following a lead without permission.

Of course, they did get Rangers killed, so I guess that’s his issue.

Mostly, we just avoided each other. Volstagg fussed over Zathlan. Amaroth did NOT fuss over Moldova, who gave him the cold shoulder mostly. Grendel pined after Ranna, who studiously avoided him. And Daynore crafted another sex toy.

Gray Winds 29th, 3126

For the next month, we rested, healed, and grew bored. I spent my time reviewing the Unchained security and watching our “protectors.” Something bothered me about their set up. This group was relatively small, no more than a couple dozen, which would not be unusual except that they had established dozens of watch stations scattered for MILES south, east, and west. Captain Kyshiri deployed more of his men as scouts than he retained at his main base. Defense in depth, but why…? could the Unchained be planning to slow the Kal down, or, more likely, the feelers were early warning…making our camp the bait.

Listening in on Captain Kyshiri’s briefing confirmed my suspicions. The Unchained, and our “patron,” could not be sure if and how the Kal were tracking us. Could they sense Daynore or Zathlan from distance? Would the collar be enough to cloak her from their senses? Based on the fact that the Kal had not discovered our location after a month’s time, perhaps the collars worked.

Shortly after Volstagg’s meeting with Kyshiri’s, he called a meeting with the team. Our orders were to make preparations to leave at short notice. There was, of course, the issue with Corporal Zathlan and RFC Moldova being in the last stages of pregnancy. I suggested constructing litters for the ogres. That would free of their hands, but allow us to safely drag the mothers to be along with us. Volstagg agreed and set Daynore to the task. Better that than melting our brains.

The rest of us packed, prepared, and drilled for a fast exit.

White River 29th, 3126

Time passed slowly as it always does during downtime. Camp life was hardly exciting, but it was nice not having someone trying to hunt us down. Still, we knew it would not last. Almost exactly a month after our prep meeting, the Kal found us.

I was resting in my perch on the south-west end of camp when I heard a shout. Rysak Ironblood and Thomas Zulcrum were running in from the outer pickets, shouting about an attack. Before I hit the ground, meteors streaked out of the sky, slamming into the main HQ tent, the infirmary, and the main lodging (where the team bunked). In the darkness, I saw dozens of plains-clothed assassins running through the snow, intermixed by a few dozen childer led by a massive minotaur.

Heat hazed around the Kal forces indicating an Acolyte present, but there were few of those. Volstagg and the others were just crawling out of the rubble when the wave of pain hit me. Instantly my vision blurred, my eyes, ears, and nose started bleeding and I was staggered by intense vertigo…

Daynore

His body rose out of the wrecked hut, vibrating so fast he looked almost invisible. All I could see, even with elven eyes, were the glowing crystal-blue zigzags where his eyes should be. There was not time, or point, in shouting a warning. In a flash of power, Daynore exploded, The wave struck the ground, buckling it like an ocean wave and hurling it at the Kal, with the ex-rangers caught in the middle.

The last I saw of Rysak and Thomas, they were being crushed beneath tons of earth, along with the advanced Kal forces. Fortunately, Volstagg already had Alpha Team moving. Everyone grabbed what supplies survived the blast and fled camp north east. Captain Kyshiri, surviving the first salvo, ordered his men to scatter. That was the last I heard, or saw, any of the Unchained.

The Rangers managed to strap Moldova and Zathlan into the slings on the move. Grendel grabbed Daynore out of the air and was nearly killed instantly. Braun joined us, hauling enough gear for an Olaran company. Apparently he had tired of running with nothing.

We had escaped, and Daynore’s stunt delayed pursuit, but we were once again out in the cold, being hunted, without support. It is only a matter of time before we are run down again. Still, I do not believe they can track us easily via magical means. They will have to hunt us down the old fashion way.

The attack also provided more information on the nature of our pursuers. I still content we are being hunted by three distinct groups. Further, of the three, one is led by the ex-Olaran tactician of the desert army, one is being led by the Scorched Priestess, and the last remains a mystery.

We know that none are working together. In fact, on numerous occasions, we have witnessed these factions in open conflict. Further, I believe the three factions can be identified by troop and tactics.

The Olaran Ex-pat relies on more conventional troops, and Olaran tactics, such as the pin and pincer attack when the Gargoyles bombed us. It was also his troops I witnessed being slaughtered on the banks of the river.

The Scorched Priestess has not made an appearance since our escape from Kal Montak, but I fear she is using the other two factions to run us down, before she swoops in for the kill. I would if I were her.

The final faction relies on plainsclothes mercs or Tor Mastak. We have yet to determine their motive, but they were responsible for our escape from the pits, and it was this faction that Braun betrayed just after Kal Montak. This faction killed the Olaran’s scouts and the river, and I believe THIS faction just overran our winter camp.

What this knowledge gains us, I do not know, but at least we have some idea of who is trying to kill us, or more likely, capture us. Daynore and Zathlan are the prime targets. The Scorched Priestess wants them both. The Olaran appears to only care for Zathlan. I’m unsure of the third faction, but they only had shackles for one, if the mysterious Burning Man was to be believed.

Now, we head east to Arkstone and pray we reach the city before we are cut down.

Serys

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Hot and Cold
Wolfhaven's Ride from A'Davar to Tirene

After establishing defenses around A’Davar and coordinating for elven and dwarven reinforcments, Colonel Woldhaven relinquishes command of the city to the Prince of A’Davar. With a small retinue, the Colonel departs A’Davar, riding across the Defiant Lands to the newly established Legio Heroes’ “Legion Castrum”, before continuing on through the Evershade toward Lanier. Along the route, the Colonel’s retinue made stops in the liberated Gathers of Rool and Erlg before linking up with the White Silver Wolves in Tirene to finalize preparations for the assault on Lanier.
Covering just under 1000 miles in two weeks, Colonel Wolfhaven arrives in the occupied city of Tirene to assume command of the White Silver Wolves companies 1-4. Along with Captain Rorauk Fyrforg, Lieutenant Kornash, Captain Helt, and Captain Avaron, Wolfhaven stages the final march and assault of Lanier, Shaya’Nor’s last, and strongest hold fast in Camon.

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Silver Tree
Grendel's Report
Grendel have dreams lately. they strange and new, some me never have before. i wake up in forest that is dark and little light make it to ground. there no birds or animals making sound, like right before a bad storm would roll through gather. Me then look down at what should be Grendel’s hands, but instead are grey dirty clawed hands, hands like a troll. i begin to fear for what me have become. that when me see it every time, a tree. it strange, not green or brown but silver. me not know why but feel good when looking at it. that when light come from tree and cover Grendel, then Grendel no longer troll. Me never be smartest but me know this mean something. not sure what it is yet, but in hopes of helping my brother and Gather, old and new, i will find out.
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Campaign Report 102
Golden Showers

Filed White Stagg 26th, 3126

Serys,

White Stagg 20th, 3126

We cleared the city, heading south and east. I rode with Corporal Zathlan. She was well equipped for a night ride through winter steppes while being pursued by Kal hunters. In that, I mean she was unarmed or armored, wearing a stylish, if garish, dinner dress.

The rest of the team fared little better. Lt. Volstagg was armored in plate, but had lost his weapon and been beaten unconscious by Sergeant Amaroth. The good Sergeant was kitted in full plate, and wielding a two hander with the full might and savage of his new mistress, Ceynara, behind him. Corporal Daynore, or whatever was wearing the Malakaran’s body was unconscious at the moment, unarmed or armored. Thought, to be honest, that actually made me feel somewhat better.

That left the pregnant Corporal Zathlan in command. Her first. Good time as any to start? After that, were the lovers, RFC’s Grendel and Ranna, both armed and armored. Strange to think the ogres of the group have the greatest sense about them.

I made sure to grab my full kit on the way out, but even that was cobbled together from what I could beg, borrow, or steal in Kal’Montak.

And then, there was Braun, the Olaran ex-slave. Bitter, aggressive, snarky, but a skilled warrior.
We managed to ride about a mile south of Kal’Montak before Corporal Daynore slipped from his saddle and was dragged. Close up, we could see that he was tortured beyond all recognition. I’ve faced ghouls with more life than his twisted and broken body. Whatever profane power had animated his body for the ride so far seemed to have finally burned out, leaving him a crumpled husk. Grendel rushed to help.

That and Sergeant Amaroth’s horse had had enough lugging two men in full plate. The poor beast started dancing in circles while the newly minted Kal warrior tried to keep Celesia’s personal pet from sliding into the mud.

While that carnival played out behind me a new actor entered the sordid performance.
Five cloaked figures emerged from the trees and approached. Though they were not brandishing weapons, they were clearly waiting on our party. Sergeant Amaroth dismounted with Braun, and stood too. I spun Zathlan around behind me and she took Volstagg’s reins. We were as prepared as we could reasonably be, given our situation.

They approached, hands out. The leader dropped his hood revealing distinctly Kal features. He said something in Kal, then, realizing our ignorance switched to broken Galean. He asked Audric if their friends in the city had helped them as agreed, and then commanded us to follow them to their master. I admit that walking right back into the arms of the Kal was not appealing. However, at the time, any shade in the sun, so to speak.
We were all set to do just that, when Braun went berserk. He ambushed the leader, and cut him down in one swing. The remaining Kal pulled bows and shot our horses out from under us. Volstagg got trapped and Zathlan struggled to free him.

The rest of us had no choice but to defend ourselves. Sergeant Amaroth ordered us to try and subdue the Kal, maybe salvage some truce. I figure he intended to deal with Braun himself. So, I blew him, Braun, and one of the Kal to the Abyss. The Kal died, Braun was badly stunned, Amaroth…seemed to enjoy the flames. Sadly, the Kal were now intent on killing us all, so any chance to salvage the situation was gone.

Sergeant Amaroth realized this, soon enough, and changed orders to kill. And so we did. I took a couple arrows to the chest for my troubles, but we finished off the Kal without major injury, save mine.

Only then did we realize Zathlan was gone. Casting about quickly, we spotted movement in the trees as if someone were being dragged away. And, there it was. Zathlan had been kindapped, again. Based on my count, that was three times in 24 hrs? Not counting my own rescue. Troubling habit.

We charged after to free her from her impending demise…only to find her already rescued by a lethal looking human in burned armor and cloak. The other’s couldn’t see, but he flashed a burned Corporal’s badge. I don’t remember him from Alpha Team reports, so the burning man may be the only Ranger in a hundred miles NOT a current or former member of Alpha Team. If it has done one thing, this mission certainly makes me wonder how many of Alpha Team, past and present, are still running around. Kick over a rock, and an Alpha scurried out. Its disturbing really.

He never introduced himself, but a cursory glance indicated a well trained operative, close quarter specialist. Knives. The accent was, well, forced. He invited us to join him back to his camp. So, without better options, and without horses, we followed.

A short distance away, but well concealed, burning man had a camp. And in that camp was none other than Graceyln Moldova and her creepy sex doll jack. I guess we kicked over another rock.

Seeing Moldova should have been a shock, but to be honest, given everything else…

As soon as we reached camp Braun and Sergeant Amaroth tore into each other. Audric demanded that he follow order, Braun called Audric a fool and a traitor. At any other time, the bickering would have been amusing. I was too busy pulling arrows out of my chest. While I worked, the burning man, interjected himself in the fight. Finally Moldova had to scramble the Olaran’s brains to let the contact get a word in edgewise. He provided a crude map, small sack of coin, and informed us that the Kal we just killed had been in the area for days, weeks? They were waiting for us, AND they had gear to bind one member of our party.

If it were Daynore, that makes sense. But, seeing as how they specifically kidnapped Zathlan it leads me to believe they might have been targeting her specifically.

Then, Sergeant Amaroth and Braun compared the size of their…swords. Professionally, Braun was right. Audric is compromised. He should relinquish command immediately. But, so long as he does not, my orders are clear. I let Braun know as much. To be honest, there is a high likelihood that I will be killing both of them before this is over. And Daynor. Maybe burning man too.

Once healed, and done with the unit’s idiocy, I headed off to watch out backtrail. And good thing. Less than an hour later, I spotted nearly 20 scouts in a skirmish line sweeping toward us. Apparently they found the bodies. We had to move. Sergeant Amaroth loaded the unconscious Volstagg and Daynore on Moldova’s, our only, mount. Then, we made our east. We had just reached the river, safety on the far side when Sergeant Amaroth stumbled into lead scouts. Everyone had to choose, stay and fight, or get free. Corporal Zathlan chose love, and crossed leading the horse with her husband and Daynore. The Ogres also split, presumable to protect her? Braun had been very clear that he would not risk recapture for any of us. Leaving me, and, surprisingly, Moldova. Or not so. They are screwing.

Moldova scrambled brains while Audric cut his way through. I provided cover. Until my wounds slowed me enough for their acolyte to put a lucky shot through my tree. Before blissful blackness swallowed me whole, I was gratified to see the confused and pained expression on the woman’s face when my arrow suddenly sprouted from between her eyes.

White Stagg 21st, 3126

And the NEXT thing I remember is waking up, lungs burning, the dark, with my leg trapped. I’ve drowned enough times to know where this was going. So, I reached down to unjam my leg and nearly passed out from the pain. Great.

Ok, arm broken, leg jammed and sprained, trapped, underwater, and already only a few heartbeats from drowning. Not the worst situation. But, blacking out again was death.

So, I gritted my teeth, grabbed the…rock?…and yanked. Somehow I managed to float to the surface and the current washed me ashore. There, I did pass out.

Woke again, half submerged in water, stuck in the mud and grass. Good thing, as I was lying a few feet from a Kal camp. Scouts. Lightly armed and armored. All mounted. From where I was lying I could smell their picket’s body odor.

Having nothing better to do, I lay there in the mud. It was surprisingly warm, and waited. Over the course of a few hours, I observed the dozen or so scouts, piss, crap, eat, argue, sleep, and pace. Though, I recognized the unit badges. These particular Kal were part of the unit we tangled with in the desert. At some point in the wee hours of a morning, not sure which, I was wakened by the sound of a body thudding softly to the bank. Figures moved through the camp methodically executing the pickets, guards, and finally the sleeping scouts. Tor Mastak, or something akin. Within minutes, nothing lived within the camp.

I stayed still, and they passed me by like the river trash I was. For hours I remained still, until reasonably certain that they were gone. Then, I gingerly crept into camp, fixed up a sling, procured some food and headed in an easterly directly.

Within a few hours, horsemen were thundering past me from all directions. I figured the team had blundered into another patrol, so I followed. When I entered the open steppes, I could see search parties moving all around. So, I played hide and go hide some more until I figured where the team was holed up. Naturally, they picked the biggest and most obvious rock formation. But, even though the Kal scoured the butte, they managed, miraculously, to evade capture.

White Stagg 22nd, 3216

I waited till true dark, then slipped in camp. Fortunately the Sergeant and Ranna were on watch, so no trouble slipping in undetected. I figured, I was there, why not make a meal of it? Amaroth and Ranna did not seem too surprised to see me when I drew their attention.

Dinner done, I slept until the AM.

After our usual bickering, we headed out again. This time I took point, Sergeant Amaroth covered our back trail. We knew they were out there, circling. We had covered a short distance when everything went wrong.

Cutting through a dry creek, Lieutenant Volstagg stumbled right into a Kal scout. I learned later that his first indication of trouble was the stream of piss running down his breastplate. He froze, but was close enough to see that the man’s member had been “trimmed.” Only due to the scouts utter lack of attention were we not blown, but as soon as he went to shake, Volstagg was done.

That’s when…things got interesting. Before I could snipe the scout and the team make a break for cover, Corporal Daynore started to glow, his eyes burning like stars. That is when the headache started. A combination of the worst sinus infection and hangover of my life, the intense pressure made opening my eyes hard. But when I did, I was suddenly crouching in a thick mist ten feet thick. Overhead, stormclouds gathered, blocking out the sun till the day turned to twilight. Lightning flashed overhead, but no rain…or wind. Oddest, sounds were muffled and distorted.

The scout lost any interest in pissing, and we quietly slipped away. For three days we walked through the bizarre scape until on the third, about the same time of day Durlan started this, he suddenly passed out. And with him out, the mist faded, the sky cleared and all as it was before.

White Stagg 25th, 3126

About mid-day on the same day we reached a village. The team, carrying Daynore, camped in a blind I scouted, while Gracelyn and I, the only two not collared headed in to gather supplies.

A mean place, the village were farmers and herders. We were met by a large man, the headman speaking Kal. When he realized we spoke no Kal, he switched to broken Galean, but that was likely our first mistake. Per my suggestion, Gracelyn lied and said we were researchers. The man did not seem to care. All he cared was that we caused no trouble while in his village. We agreed, and went about securing provisions.

It took most of the day. Toward the end, as we prepared to leave, Gracelyn was approached by an old crone who handed her some herbs. After that, we returned to team with fresh food. Note, we had not eaten since entering the mist, three whole days.

Fresh eggs and roasted goat. Hard bread and cheese. Primitive, yes, but the best meal of my life. Afterwards, a revived Daynore, who claimed no memory of his ordeal, set about crafting a crude shield. The rest discussed our situation. One, Corporal Zathlan pointed out that Daynore’s effect was in excess of 50 miles, which is at least twice as large as the largest Tempest storm we have recorded.

Also, we discussed our route. As best we could tell, we had three distinct groups, all Kal, hunting us. One from the south, one from the west, and one from the north-west. I marked the scouts near the river as from the southern group, and connected with the Kal we faced in the desert. Presumably, those coming from the west are connected with the Scorched Priestess. That would make sense, though I am curious why she and hers have made no appearance? The northern group, we knows. But, based on our encounter south of the city, I believe that Audric’s former “friends” might be associated with that group.

None of which helps us. We also have recieved no communication from Echer’Naught, not even Moldova who says her last communication was around A’Davar which, coincidentally is also the time she linked up with the burning man. There is also Daynore, and the collars. All could be contributing factors. Our only other options would be to have Daynore try and make contact. I for one would prefer he not use his powers if at all possible.

After the good meal we slept well, for once. I woke, inspired, with a full belly, and had Daynore craft a crude bow. Its a worthless piece of trash, but it shoots. I could not be more pleased, given circumstances.

White Stagg 26th, 3126

We departed before dawn, continuing east and a bit north. About 6 hours into the 8 hour day, Audric spotted a column of smoke rising from the direction of the village. We needed no further evidence to tell us all we needed to know. The Kal had torched the village and were now within 6 hours of us, and mounted. We picked up the pace and camped the night. By tomorrow, the Kal will be on us again. Without support, we won’t make it another 24 hrs.

My left arm is broken, and I am down to four arrows. Lt. Volstagg is now armed with Gracelyn’s sword. Sergeant Amaroth is also armed and armored. Corporal Daynore is armed only with a shield and a knife, no armor. Corporal Zathlan is unarmed or armored. The ogres are armed and armored well. Gracelyn has whatever she has, and a fur lined coat, but she had to sacrifice both the horse and Jack as a diversion to escape Kal patrols. Braun is armed, armored, and itching for combat.

We have enough food for a day, or two at most. I smell snow in the air. We will freeze long before we reach Arkstone. This may be my last report. I’m not sure why I’m even writing anymore.

Serys

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Campaign Report 101
Fallen, Dead, and Gone (2017 Holiday Special)

Malcolm Report

Report Filed: White Stagg 20th, 3126 (13th hour)

The following represents compiled information gained through Ranger reports, local news, and sympathetic information sources.

White Stagg 16th, 3126

Alpha team had survived their encounters in the Blood Pits. The last bout was between RFC Danica and a pack of Ratzin seeking to devour a group of children. She lives, her charges did not. Her valor was unequaled. Knowing what we know now, it is all the more tragic.

We received word from the Emissary in Almahrad that Corporal Leaora Nazir and Ranger Newt were arriving at Kal’Montak by the evening of the 17th. She specifically requested that Lady Moonsilver not establish contact. Though it is unlikely, we cannot be certain that any such message would not be intercepted, or at least detected. And, based on our reports from Unchained and other prisoners recovered from Kal captivity, we believed the Alpha Team had been fitted with suppression collars. Because of this, they were unreachable by Telepathy regardless.

As of the 16th, the situation as we understood was: Lieutenant Volstagg, Sergeant Amaroth, and RFCs Danica, Grendel, and Ranna were all captive gladiators fighting in the Blood Pits. Corporal Zathlan was captive of Dair-Kron Kirall, the Olaran mercenary-turned war captain. However, opinions differed whether she was willing or unwilling. It was, in fact, Sergeant Minor Longtail who noted that, to protect a child, a mother should be willing to do…anything. Corporal Daynore was, to date, unseen since arriving at the Pits. Intel suggests that the Empire breaking him for information on relayed Farspeaker message. Loss of the intel would be catastrophic. Ranger Seyrs was still in city, and for all appearances operating under notice.

White Stagg 17th, 3126

None of the battles on the 17th featured members of the Rangers. Though, based upon Serys’ final report, we know that an Olaran Braun won a bout on that day. He appears to be acquainted with, at least, Volstagg though we do not have further information as to how. Local requests confirm that Sir Braun was a celebrated warrior, captured during the War of Flame. A minor noble, he was regarded as an honorable man and skilled fighter. It should be no surprise he has survived this long.

Late in the evening, the Emissary and Serys independently confirmed that Ranger’s Nazir and Newt had arrived at the waystation south of Kal’Montak. There, Newt camped outside while Leaora made “contact” with Serys. He passed her local currency, identification papers acquired on his own journey to the city, Disguise potion, and other substances. From there, Serys returned to the city, leaving the other team members outside the city.

White Stagg 18th, 3126

Serys made contact with Nazir and Newt in his hotel room. There, he provided more information, Disguise potions, and orders to leave him out of future designs. He planned to continue watch on the coliseum. Though rumors had abounded that the 18th would feature an end to the fighting, all events were delayed. This time, our information suggests that infighting among the Kal nobles resulted in the event’s delay. Later events confirmed that tensions among the houses is at an all-time high.

Serys continued his operations, and Nazir and Newt took stock of the city. There, they met local assets who set up a meet in a local bar, the [Redacted]. They began to gather intelligence seeking how to enter the slave pits, and the location of Zathlan and Daynore.

White Stagg 19th, 3126

Fighting resumed. In the morning, Sergeant Amaroth and RFC Danica were paired to battle what we believe to be a Hellhound Summoner, a pack of Hellhounds and even, perhaps, a Ravening Beast. The Ranger’s survived, but…all reports indicate that in order to protect Danica after she had fallen to the hounds, Sergeant Amaroth called upon the powers of Ceynara. If this is true, I cannot help but fear for the repercussions. No one can doubt his intentions, but the lessons of Vainar and Ceynara are cautionary tales. She fell for love, and he trying to protect the world from Darkness. All of the best intention cannot absolve a soul given to Flame. Ascended let it not be true. Colonel Wolfhaven will be devastated.

Again, Zathlan was seen “entertaining” Kirall in the box seats. At least she appears in good health. I pray that her conversion is feigned. The longer our Rangers stay under, the more at risk they become. If the liberation is unsuccessful, we may not have anyone to save, or anyone wishing to be saved.

Later that eve, RFCs Grendel and Ranna were paired against three other ogres. Strangely, the Alpha ogres are known in the Pits as the Lovers. Has time in captivity sparked a romance? It is hardly unheard of. They too won, but local news intercepted makes it seem that Ranna seduced one of the opposing ogres to fight on her side. Though it seems out of character, who can say. We will do whatever it takes to survive.

After the last bout, there was a celebration to conclude the games. A Feast, or Orgy, was held and honored gladiators were invited to “entertain” the city’s Az-Dren and visiting Az-Fal. Among the group, reports indicated that Volstagg, Braun, Amaroth, and Robert Oxley, of previous reports, were present. Aagain, Zathlan dutifully entertained Kirall, even with her husband present. None of the reports bodes well.

There was a mention of Amaroth having a public word with the Scorched Priestess of Ceynara. A damning conversation. Volstagg also disappeared for a time, but no reports on who he might have met with. It is entirely possible he was “entertaining” one of the lords or ladies. Given the team’s mission in A’Tora, I fear we cannot consider any conduct beyond the group. Though, one can hardly blame them. They are trying to survive.

The orgy lasted till early morning, thought most of the guests, the gladiators and the host, Kirall, had retired. At that time, everything seemed normal, but a simmering rage was building in the city. And on the night of the 19th, or eve of the 20th, the tensions boiled over into civil war.

We know from “sympathetic voices” that Zathlan had been held in Dair-Kron Kirall’s personal abode within the city. In fact, it was a block from the coliseum just north, and heavily guarded.

At around, or just after the 13th hour, unknown forces attacked Kirall’s home in the city. It was not until later that local assets confirmed the target was kidnapping Zathlan. Since her capture on the filed during the final battle with Xaos in the Valley of Death, it was assumed that her child bore some special significant. Acolytes derive power from human sacrifice, and elf infants are the most prized of such sacrifices. If reports of the child, post the Emissary’s “healing” are to be believed, then Zathlan’s child would provide immense energy for such a ritual. A prize indeed.

It would appear that on the 19th, the temptation grew too great. But none of our sources suggested why then? It seemed that Kirall had successfully “claimed” Zathlan. And HE falls under protection of Dair-Az Lorask ki Gult. Who would have the temerity to attack those under the protection of the most powerful and famed warrior in the Empire…

Best analysts suggest that only the Scorched Priestess would even attempt such. And, the retaliation proved the point.

However, at the height of the 13th hour, magical sensitive people as far as five miles from Kal’Montak suddenly experienced a surge of power and energy radiating outward. Serys has confirmed feeling “something,” but claims to have slept through. Allied intelligence confirms that A) the center of the power pulse was the Temple to Ceynara in the city, and B) the feeling confirmed that a Cauldron, or some variation was opened. However, it is believed that the Ritual was never completed. The pulse was too short. That, and within an hour, the same complex was itself under attack!

White Stagg 20th, 3126

Early on the 20th, a few hours after the attack on Kirall and Zathlan’s kidnapping, someone brazenly attacked the Az-Junin complex the heart of the city. For a Kal to even THINK of such blasphemy…! Reports indicate that Dair-Kron Kirall retaliated against the “unprovoked” attack on his house, and the taking of his “hostage.” How he achieved success, we still do not understand. He WAS the tactical genius who planned Dair-Az Lorask ki Gult’s victory. And, he DID managed to sneak an entire Maelstrom army across the desert to ambush, and route Colonel Wolfhaven. Such a mind certainly could plan such an assault, but…to actually ATTACK a Temple to Ceynara?!

Whatever the case, local sources on the ground noted seeing a carriage leaving the city north at high speed. It was only later determined that this WAS Zathlan being moved out of the city to an estate owned by Dair-Az Lorask ki Gult, or his house. It seemed Kirall had recovered his prize. That same morning, with the dawn, criers announced the biggest fight to date. A post game bout. No expense was spared, and by mid morn, the seats were filled to overflowing.

It is ALSO here, that Serys informed command that he had made contact with a dwarven engineer overseeing rebuilding of the coliseum. Strange as that seems, it being a Kal city, the engineer was none other than RFC Gate Highwall, founding member of Alpha Team?! I confirmed with High Command that they had authorized HIghwall to be “loaned” to allies on a mission to gain intel on Kal’Montak and acquire plans and blueprints of the city in preparation for the impending war with Kal in the desert! He was not to be activated. However, they also confirmed that on the 18th, he had signaled his “handlers.” The Emissary confirmed, after the fact, that Nazir had made contact with Highwall and that a plan to free the team from the pits was in progress.

All of this information unknown to Regional Command at the time of the events. I have only just managed to confirm this with sources. I am unsure of exactly how many independent operations were running on the 20th, but I know that RFC Highwall, Seryrs, the Emissary, and local assets all had their own operations running. Worse, we believe, based on analysis that there were no fewer than four Kal factions ALSO operating in the same theater, though we cannot confirm that they did not, at points, collaborate.

Such was the situation on the ground when the final bout in the arena was announced, at noon. The Crimson Knight, Volstagg, would face The Boody, Amaroth, to the death in the arena. Even as the command staff of Alpha Team were forced to murder each other, Serys, Nazir, Newt, and Highwall put plans into motion. Nazir had confirmed that Zathlan was “most likely” being held at the estate north of the city. With the plans Highwall had stolen from his work site, Nazir would work with local assets to send a team into the pits to free the Rangers held there, while another team would attempt to free Zathlan.

When they arrived at the sight, to link up with Highwall, Serys activated and joined the efforts. He, ultimately, accepted the task of freeing Zathlan alone, allowing Nazir to put a team on locating and retrieving Daynore, if he lived. So, as the fight raged, Newt, Highwall, and a local contact entered the arena through still unfinished under structure heading to the slave pits below. Nazir and a local asset headed to Az-Junin complex, the most likely location of Daynore. Something about the sense of the Ritual suggested that he might be involved. Ever since his “gift” from the Shayakar in Paradise, his behavior and power had become erratic. It seemed plausible that he was imprisoned there, and perhaps that also might explain the Scorched Priestess’ sudden obsession with kidnapping Zathlan? Supposition, but the pieces fit.

The battle lasted about half an hour. Unfortunately, every report confirms out worst fears. In the final confrontation between Volstagg and Amaroth, Volstagg called upon the Unicorn, and Amaroth, Ceynara. He is touched by Flame. There is no doubt. Even should he survive, and manage to return, I cannot see any future in the Rangers, or the Southern Kingdoms.

We are still left with unanswered questions, but we know that the various operations were “successful.” Amaroth defeated Volstagg, but refused to end his life with a killing blow. That, at least, is to his credit.

However, at the moment of victory, something slammed into the north wall of the coliseum, shattering stone, and killing dozens, or more spectators. It opened a breach in wall. Through that breach, Serys rode, with Zathlan in his lap. Despite the fact that MULTIPLE reports confirmed that she had been watching her husband die from the box seats like every other fight, here she appeared with Serys, ostensibly recently rescued from the norther estate. Yet, we do not know for certain which Zathlan is real, if any?! The Emissary confirmed that Nazir located and “freed” Daynore from a heavily warded sarcophagus beneath Ceynara’s Temple, in a sealed room, under heavy guard. And yet, her report seems to indicate that Daynore was a charred, lifeless husk when she found him…?! Further information is lacking as he “exploded” rending her unconscious until hours later. Meanwhile, Highwall never reached the pits. He was apprehended, but managed to talk his way out, and exited the city with his team. Though, we suspect he is under heavy surveillance. As the arena was rocked above by the massive energy wave, similar to the pulse the night before, Grendel, Rana (both heavily armed) leading a slave revolt exited the southern, postern gate of the coliseum, Newt and Braun included. Amaroth ALSO appeared, carrying the body of Volstagg, though his condition is yet unknown.

As they spilled out into the streets, reports indicate the plain clothed assassins dispatched the Kal guards, and directed the team to waiting horses. The unknown allies remained behind to hold off pursuit. Amaroth carrying Volstagg, Serys holding Zathlan, Danica, Braun, and the ogres on foot reached the horses and mounted. But, Amaroth’s horse spooked. Grendel grabbed the reins to pull the beast when a flame whip coils from the smoke and ash, and snatched Danica from her mount.

Reports from the ground indicate that the Scorched Priestess had arrived with a large force of Kal, and a hunter from the Emperor’s own court. Without hope of saving Danica, the team spurred horses and fled south, out of the city.

While I am relieved to know that the Rangers are at least free, with the hope of escape, I, we, are left with some disturbing facts. At last report from Serys, every other member of the team is still collared. This eliminates our ability to communicate with any but Serys. Volstagg is down. Amaroth is Flame-Touched. We still do not know if Zathlan was turned, or they are riding with an impostor. Braun joined the party, but he is a potential Kal plant, or self serving mercenary who will betray them when it suits. And, Serys confirmed to see Daynore, mounted, riding with them. Daynore who, an hour before was described as “a charred, ruined husk.” Based on reports from the desert, Command is unsure exactly WHAT Corporal Daynore now is?!

Add to that, I have all but confirmed that the Scorched Priestess is on a mission directly from the Emperor. In fact, local assets have confirmed that Emperor dispatched one of his own personal guard, the Tor Sadais to lead the hunt for the escapees, though we suspect he is there to recover Zathlan, Daynore, or both. Dair-Az Lorask ki Gult has moved hunter units north. Reentering the desert is likely impossible. And, intercepts suggest that his rear guard around A’Davar are also under order to intercept. No doubt Kirall has his own force out hunting. This leave the mysterious faction which aided the slaves in their escape. We believe they serve either Fenrikas ki Arkor, Az-Ri of Kal’Montak seeking to undermine his rival, or a fourth, powerful faction serving their own ends.

Volstagg is down. Amaroth has Fallen. Daynore is lost. Zathlan pregnant and a beacon for their hunters. Serys is broken. Danica is dead. Our hope now lies with the Ogres.

Colonel Wolfhaven has been informed, but all his forces are bottled up protecting A’Davar under heavy assault. We have no other assets in the region. Every contact has bent toward reaching the Unchained. Ascended help them.

Malcolm

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Campaign Report 100
Andak-cros

Filed: White Stagg 16th, 3126

Serys,

Between shoveling rubble in the morning, and nightly gambling, I managed to hear most of the final bouts. Dair-Kron Kirall, the Olaran mercenary-turned war captain announced a week of Blood Sports in honor of his master, Dair-Az Lorask ki Gult’s victory. With Xaos broken, the Great Wolfhaven crushed and sent scurrying back to A’Davar with tail tucked, Lorask ki Gult stood poised to reclaim the Grand Warlord of the South title after over five centuries of Youlin Aradi independence. To hear the Dremarin, what passes in the Empire for “citizens”, ultimate victory in the desert is all but assured.

Of course, not everyone seems to be pleased at the turn of events. Word, hushed though it may be, at the late night tables suggested that Fenrikas ki Arkor, Az-Ri of Kal’Montak is displeased with the upstart Lorask ki Gult’s success. Seems like it was always Fenrikas ki Arkor’s design to take A’Davar and expand his name, claiming the fourth Grand Warlord title, Vas-Dair- Az m’ Surnas, for himself and ascend to the emperors personal court. Worse, with Lorask ki Gult securing his new lands in the south, his will is being exercised by the traitorous ex-Olaran Dair-Kron Kirall. Such a slight would be cause for the upstart to be “removed.” Except, so long as Fenrikas ki Arkor mounts glories in the desert, his sycophant is “untouchable,” despite parading out the city like a High Born lord of the Empire.

He didn’t even request permission from the Az-Ri before declaring the celebratory games…if rumors are true.

It hasn’t taken much bribing to encourage the low lords skulking the back rooms to gleefully speculate on the likely intrigue, violence, and upheaval when the Olaran pushes the Az-Ri too far. Sadly, enmity aside, Az-Ri Fenrikas ki Arkor, or his retainers, are unlikely to assist in any kind of escape. Oh, they want the Olaran dead, but they are possibly more rabid about gaining control of captured prisoners from the war; in particular the Alpha Team. Prestige aside, every faction within the city seem to scheming to benefit from the Empire’s victory, but for wildly varying purposes.

A Vos-Ulin (High Slave) a bit into his cups let slip that his master had provided resources for posting of “elite” Tor Mastak arriving in the city. Which, is worse than it seems, because these particular agents apparently bear no loyalty to any of the city’s many factions. The Az-Junin have the biggest obsession with Corporal Zathlan. Or, more accurately, her unborn child. Seems the freakishly mutilated woman sniffing after Nexus is a Minister of the Undying Fire from the royal court in Kal’Zaketh. She was “gifted” to Lorask ki Gult when he was granted the forces necessary to check the Xaos threat. Known as the Scorched Priestess of Ceynara, rumor has it she is a Flamedancer so devoted to Ceynara, that she was bound to a Reaver demon…

If half the horrors Ive heard about her are true…the Olaran starts sounding better and better. Ascended help Nexus if that creature gets her blood, red talons into her.

Then, of course, you have the Az-Fal and Az-Dren of Kal’Montak’s court, each vying for favor with Az-Ri Fenrikas ki Arkor…

or Kirall…

I despise politics.

As to the team, I’ve not seen any but Nexus, dressed like a Nazatiran whore, but alive. She plays the consort well, always on the arm of the Olaran. Given past missions, I half wonder if she’s “turning” him to her side. Ascended knows she can be highly persuasive. In the end, I imagine she will rescue the others.

I arrived mid week, too late to personally witness most of the bouts, but since the games, and the Kal expansion south, is all anyone is talking about, it was fairly easy to put together the events.

White Stagg 12th, 3126

Alpha Team is carted in with other high profile captives from the battles in the desert. I did not personally witness the event, but local news states there were over 200 wagons laden with the spoils of war, prisoners, bizarre animals, gold, and gear captured from Xaos forces.

Dair-Kron Kirall made certain word of their arrival preceded the caravan. By the time Alpha Team reached the massive coliseum Andak-cros, crowds had gathered to witness the Triumph. The team, stripped and humiliated were loaded onto one of the main elevators and raised to the arena floor as Kirall announced the week of games in celebration.

After which, they were lowered into the bowels of the Blood Pits. Based on news reports, all were presence, Lieutenant Volstagg, Sergeant Amaroth, Corporal Daynore, and RFCs Danica, Grendel, and Ranna. Corporal Zathlan was in the box seats with her new lover, and I…was at that point wearing a dead man’s clothes on my way to the city.

All according to plan?

The games would begin the following day, but the night was not wasted. Dozens of prisoners were sacrificed to Ceynara on their infernal altars. The screams echoed through night, a counterpoint to the revelry and fornication…according to the morning reports. They also selected a few dozen to adorn crosses around the blood pits, their dying screams adding ambiance to the events.

One must hand it to the Empire, they certainly know how to throw a party.

White Stagg 13th, 3126

Early in the morning fighting began. The first bout was, unsurprisingly, Volstagg. Or, should I say the Crimson Knight. Funny, for a man professed to spending his life battling the Kal, he certainly has their sense of fashion.

Anyway, they pitted him against a Minotaur. Nothing too surprising. Volstagg took a few good hits, but, in the end, prevailed. Of course, he called on Celesia, so now he is favored to die. Seems that killing a ranking Ranger is only almost as exciting as watching a Chosen of the Horn die. He couldn’t have a bigger target painted on him were he wearing bright red armor…oh.

Later on the first day, Sergeant Amaroth was pitted in a free-for-all match against a half dozen bandits. He did well. Though, he was hardly the favorite. Apparently a small time hood, Robert Oxley, a Galean of all things, had been arrested by the Kal and sentenced to die in the games. Of all those pitted in the event, he alone lasted to face Audric, both badly wounded.

Audric prevailed, but due to the young warrior’s prowess, and exuberance for life, the crowd’s demanded life. Is it mercy if they just want him alive to die “gloriously” later?

Damn, all this solitude is affecting my calm. I’m talking to myself in my own reports.

Audric won. “Bob” lived and is likely to become a crowd favorite.

I arrived sometime late on the 13th.

White Stagg 14th, 3126

It started raining before the 13th hour, but picked up hard for two days. Pissing rain, cold and brutal. The Kal didn’t seem to mind so much, but the arena turned to soup. And, all their fires, save for the slaves they lit, kept going out. So, they postponed the games.

White Stagg 15th, 3126

More rain. The games may have stopped, but work remained. I think our crew boss, Gurk…or Gorp… That sadist took unique pleasure in our pain. Sadistic SOB, but as a Kal, such things should be expected.

The rain let up late, but cold rolled in. Bad enough I kind of miss the heat of the sands, almost.

White Stagg 16th, 3126

Games resumed. There were some bouts. I heard, though was working so had no entry. At some time late morn, I hear Grendel and Ranna announced. Most of the crew grew excited. Seems the Ogres were given a special treat. Consensus was the Acolytes outdid themselves summing a rare childer like creature, Calydoes. Boar headed ogre-like childer wielding massive battle ax sized cleavers.

There were some human sacrifices and group of group bouts in the mid-afternoon. Something to keep the crowd’s blood up. Late in the afternoon, RFC Danica was introduced. Her game was to keep a pack of ratzin from devouring a group of kids. Word is, she almost saved one. But, the good news is she survived mostly unscathed. Though, probably not terribly happy about the situation.

Word is there will be another day of games on the 17th, and then final ceremony on the 18th. After that, assuming the team is still alive, they will continue to fight in the pits, or be summarily executed. Trouble being, I don’t know which.

As for Corporal Daynore, I have no idea. He WAS there on the first night, but after that…nothing. Not even a rumor. Though, given his status as an Adept, I can only assume the Tor Mastak is cracking his mind like an egg right now for all its hidden secrets. Makes me wary every time Lady Moonsilver contacts me for updates.

One of these mornings, I’ll wake up with Tor Mastak in my bed chamber.

Good news, though, my “reinforcements” are close, if command is to be believed. But, who would be crazy enough, or stupid enough to take this assignment….

Serys

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