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

Campaign Report 76
Peace and Betrayal, Part One

Malcolm Report, Part One

Harvest Moons 1st, 3125

I spend each day reading, writing,and filing the reports of my friends, my comrades, may family as they go out and risk their lives. We convince ourselves that our sacrifice has meaning, purpose. Because, without some greater good, then we are left with nothing but death and regret.

Some days such self denials are more difficult than others.

Raining Leaves 16th, 3125

Via Lady Moonsilver, we received word that a mass naval landing had occurred just outside of the city of High Port. Forces of the “Southern Blades” quickly overwhelmed the Prelacy defenders with minimal losses. It would appear that, never loyal to the church, many within High Port elected to surrender without battle.

Strange, all communication from the northern front have ceased. Perhaps not terribly surprising considering the massive resources redirected to the Camon operation. Still, I know the recon group appears nervous.

This report continues from the previous filing date, Raining Leaves 21st.

Raining Leaves 25th, 3125

Sergeant Whitestone scheduled her routine team meeting. I understand she confirmed Prelacy agents within the city.

Also, due to the riots and the attacks City Watch have been posted to patrol the Elven district, while the Rangers increased security at the Western Gates.

In addition, reinforcements have been assigned to all Ranger patrols drawn from the newer Ranger recruits and the City Watch.

Raining Leaves 26th, 3125

Late after 2AM, an arcfire device detonated on the northern wall, west of the North Barony gate. Corporal Ravenwood and Ranger Afliem were on scene. They described minor damage to the tower and a single body, too badly burned for recognition.

Lt. Barand confirmed the body to be that of a human male, 20-30, with no distinguishing marks, no coins, no weapons. No further evidence was found at the scene.

Raining Leaves 28th, 3125

Investigator Barand’s official report released. The device was arcfire, of Mad Bomber design. No other devices in the city were discovered. Due to the severe damage to the body, it appeared the victim was lying on top of the device which in turn was lying on the top of the wall. No further evidence as to whom or why.

Of note, Ranger Nazir proposes a plan to heal the rift between the Elves and the Olarans by bringing the Olaran leadership, aka Sir Halten, together with the Elven leadership, aka Lady Treesinger, to establish a dialogue and begin rebuilding the damaged sections of town.

It is also confimed that the Southern Blades have successfuly taken Defiance and the Prealcy capital of Camondel. Still no word on the North.

Raining Leaves 29th, 3125

With Corporal Ravenwood’s support, Ranger Nazir arranges with Lady Treesinger. Through Ranger Volstagg, she secures Sir Halten’s participation. The meeting is scheduled for the 31st, to be held in the Church of Light, mediated by the Bishop Vallandrian, as arranged by Corporal Silverfeather.

Raining Leaves 31st, 3125

In the morning of the 31st, a delegation from the Olarans headed by the Royal Sheriff of Echer’Naught, Sir Halten, accompanied by the current head of the Merchant’s Guild, the Grandmaster of the Lamplighter’s Association, and Sir Harken, a young scion of the duchy, met with a delegation from the elves, lead by High Druidess Illandria Treesinger, accompanied by the patron of the Autumn Spring, and two elven community leaders. For the Church of Light, Bishop Vallandrian. Leaora Nazir, Amelia Whitestone, Sir Volstagg, and Audric Amaroth represented the City.

Though the initial meeting was…unsuccessful. After Sir Halten cleared the room of himself, Treesinger, Nazir, and the Biship, an arrangement was set. A beginning team of 20, 10 Olarans, 10 Elves, would meet at the Church of Light. Sir Halten selected the Autumn Spring for repair, Treesinger, Baker Street. Half of the funds would come from each side to be handled by the Church.

Of note, the Rangers were conspicuously excluded from the deal.

Raining Leaves 33rd, 3125

A building in Low Town is fired. RFC Ramshorn and Ranger Kura’Kai are first on scene. Smelling burning flesh, they secured the area, sent for reinforcements, then RFC went in for survivors. Finding none on the first and second floors, he attempted to enter the basement. At this point, Reports indicate access to the lower section was hidden.

On orders, Kura’Kai smashes through the burning floor to reveal a hidden bar beneath. Half a dozen bodies burning. RFC leaps into the flames to pull out two bodies. Lt. Barand arrives a short time later. He quickly identifies both corpses are known thieves.

At this point, there is much speculation that the hidden bar was a haunt of the Thieves Guild, thought neutral in the current conflict.

We spoke with Fateweaver to reach out to contacts, but we have heard little back.

Harvest Moons 1st, 3125

I attended a meeting in Captain Celebor’s office with Alpha Team. It is confirmed via Fateweaver that the fired building was the Thieves Guild main operation in the city and that the Guild has gone to ground. Going against standing orders, the Captain authorized an overture to the King of Low Town, which has, of yet gone unanswered. He also authorized the Rangers to begin quite investigations with their own local assets, but only once cleared by the Sgt.

NO direct action was authorized. Any information was to be reported to Command for a cohesive plan. The Rangers feared getting drawn into a turf war between criminal enterprises. Ranger Zulcrum confirmed that there was a growing market of arcfire in the town, supplied, so we believe, by Velkalar.

Harvest Moons 1st, 3125, 13 hour

All seemed quite when alarms rang through the headquarters. Lady Moonsilver established a battle net information all Rangers to gear up and assemble in the courtyard. I attended the Captain.

Minutes prior, Master Anaxelum began raving that Corporal Ravenwood was enroute to a warehouse in Middle Town to rescue part of her team from an ambush. He swore that a large criminal enterprise was involved and the Rangers required full mobilization or risk losing the team, and perhaps letting another atrocity occur.

Upon contacting the Corporal, Lady Moonsilver confirmed the report. RFC Ironblood, and Rangers Zulcrum, Afliem, and Kura’Kai were engaged with a large criminal force inside a warehouse and require immediate backup. Arcfire discharge was reported.

Having little intel, the Captain elected to mobilize a large immediate response force hoping to overwhelm any resistance rather than sending in small forces piecemeal to be cut down.

Using Teleport, the Rangers engaged the enemy forces in the warehouse coming into hot contact with dozens of hostiles within. I remained behind to coordinate attempting to make sense of the scattered and confusing information flooding in.

Then, before half the forces made the port, Eris called an immediate recall. Ranger Nazir suspected a bomb. Only a fraction of the forces within made it out…

Reports are still coming in. So many unaccounted. So many possibly dead…

I know it is strange, and small of me. But all I can think right now is that I wish Evoran were here. He would know what to do. He could…make sense of all of this…

But he is not. And I am alone.

Ascended, please let us not have lost them all…

Malcolm

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Campaign Report 75
Day of Long Knives

Kura’Kai Afliem Report

[Raining Leaves 21st, 3125-Malcolm]

I would not think anyone could take the fun out of bloody victory. But, these Southlanders have managed. If I could just kill something!

Me and Ramshorn continue out daily march thru Low Town. Nothing changes. Thieves, thugs, and the occasional body. It would not be so bad, but no one will fight. They just scurry away like rats. I do not like rats.

[Raining Leaves 15th, 3125-Malcolm]

One morning, we see smoke over in Middle Town and hear people screaming. Finally, some fun. Ramshorn and I charge in the direction to find a building almost completely burned to the ground. The flames were hot. I know fire is hot, but this fire seemed hotter. Like…it wasn’t fire? And, it only burned the one building.

So, usually, when you raze a village, all you have to do is set fire to a couple thatched roofs. I remember this one raid. We hit the Black Claw Gather a few days march north of us. Thieving bastards!

Anyway, we were supposed to take back livestock they stole from us. Things were going well, we easily slaughtered their sentries and were just inside the Gather finishing off their wounded when Gunbar One-eye, forever to be known as Gunbar dumbass slipped on someones’ intestines and staggered into a lamp.

The lamp flew off the hook and landed on the roof of the stables. Before we could even shout, the whole place went up. Dry stray thatching. Inside, we could hear our animals burning alive. Horrible sounds.

As we watched, the fire sparked from one roof to another. Within moments, the whole gather burned; infant hut, healers hut, even their food stores. Within an hour, there was nothing left. The few survivors blamed us for destroying their gather. We tried to explain it was an accident, but they would not listen. So, we had to kill them.

Came home empty handed. The raid was a complete waste and worse, we didn’t have fresh milk for months. Only good news was we killed Gunbar and left him there too. So, I guess everything worked out in the end.

So, yeh. Fire usually travels, but not this fire. It was, odd. No point in trying to put it out. Place was done when we got there.

Some of the witnesses said that there were bodies inside. Yeh, I think I saw something looking like burned up people hanging from columns in the heart of the fire. Odd place to be.

Anyway, eventually, that Investigator fellow showed up. We stood guard until late. Turns out there WERE bodies. Six. And they were chained up those columns. I wonder if this might have been intentional? Maybe I should mention that? Hmm…

[Raining Leaves 17th, 3125-Malcolm]

All we got was a fire. Zulcrum and Rysak got a fire AND a fight. They stumbled across two gangs trying to kill each other. One was…Shayakar? I think that’s right. Nightguard. The other we didn’t know then. But they had arc-fire. There is a lot of arcfire here in the South.

Anyway, the Rangers didn’t do so well this time. Rysak got shot up good, but they never even bothered to return fire. Guess the new rules are we can’t even fight anymore. Stupid rules.

They did manage to rescue a mother and her children from a fire. Too bad they let another family of four burn. Win some. Lose some.

Oh, and some City watchmen took an arrow to the face. Zulcrum seemed pissed about that one. At least he didn’t burn alive like those people?

[Raining Leaves 20th, 3125-Malcolm]

Week later or so, we have our weekly, sorta, meeting with the Sergeant. She looks…terrible. I think she may be sick.

We learned a bunch about the arcfire weapons. Something about a Mad Bomber and some history.

The Sergeant invites an old human man named, Fateweaver? to the meeting. He seems…odd. At first, I thought he was a beggar, but he talks better than the dead Sergeant. So, smart? And, he seemed both old and agile. Hmm. Dakota said something about him being a bard, like our bard.

So, this Fateweaver starts talking about history and how we fought people in the past that we fight now. He says we are facing two wars, Shaya’Nor and the Prelacy. He suggests that maybe they are fighting each other for Echer’Naught.

Oh, the Prelacy uses arcfire and used this Mad Bombers weapons years ago? I don’t know. None of it makes sense.

Then, they talk about the King of Low Town. Guess what? This old geezer WAS the King of Low Town before he was captured for a long time. He doesn’t LOOK like a king? Though, to be honest, I don’t know what a king looks like. I guess, more Kingly?

But, the King of Low Town rules the Thieves Guild. They don’t kill. So, he doesn’t think they are behind the killing. But, maybe?

Oh, and Red Store. Not sure about that one. They seem to be involved with everything. And Velkalar. Always Velkalar.

I think my band is obsessed with this Velkalar person. Now, I really want to meet him. Imagine if he was an ally…we could actually DO something.

Meeting over, but good food. We go back to work.

[Raining Leaves 21st, 3125-Malcolm]

Well, this began the stupidest battle of my life. No, not battle. Not even a good brawl.

Ramshorn and I were doing our patrol when we attacked by a mob of local people. Rags, clubs, barely a threat. So, I draw my chucktar to end this and Ramshorn says I can’t! By the Ascended!

Why the Bloody Abyss NOT! They were ATTACKING us and I have to be nice?! Stupid rules! Stupid Rangers! No wonder we are getting our arses kicked.

So, I play nice, put away my weapons and start murdering people with my fists. Civilized like.

We call for reinforcements as more idiots show up and the city watch starts to flood in. But instead of putting down the riots, they just form a wall and sort herd everyone into the square near those new housing blocks.

By the time we shuffle that way, there are hundreds of rioters, some with actual weapons. Still, no blades. Non-lethal force only. What kind of…?

And while we were cracking skulls in Low Town, the REST of our Band got to have an ACTUAL battle near the Elven Gate. Turns out some agents or whatever from the Prelacy had stirred up the crowds to distract us while they murdered the elves.

Not that the elves needed help. From what I hear they gave better than they got. I would not underestimate my wife’s people. They look frail…but they are not.

So, we mopped up the crowds. At some point, our bard showed up and started talking the crowd down. It took a few hours and the fire started up. Those actual normal and burned a few blocks of Low Town.

Back at the headquarters, the band managed to capture one of the Prelacy who revealed some good information. But, it seems like the Corporal and the others now don’t trust the Rangers?!

What?!

Why in the Abyss are we fighting for the Rangers if they are our enemies.

I am so confused. After the fight, I felt like I was going to murder someone. So, my wife and I had lots of angry sex. That made me feel better.

[Raining Leaves 21st, 3125-Malcolm]

Next morning, another meeting. Sergeant seemed more pissed than ugly. She said she was going to convince the Rangers to let us do something useful. Good luck with that.

Oh, and the elves got tired of dying and killed a bunch of Olarans. I really can’t blame them. That’s what I’d do.

So, um, we killed 50 citizens, give or take, and about the same number of elves were murdered. So, we are at least even.

I guess back to patrol tomorrow?

We could all use a good war.

Kura’Kai Alfiem

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Campaign Report 74
Evelyn Afliem is Born

Kura’Kai Afliem Report

[Raining Leaves 12th, 3125-Malcolm]

I am a father.

Malcolm says I must say more…

[Dancing Clouds 33rd, 3125-Malcolm]

Months ago, I went with my Mak Terresk to meet with the Sergeant in the back room of the Barracks, the bar barracks, not the sleeping barracks. Though, I am certain the Sergeant also sleeps in the back room of the bar Barracks, so it would be the sleeping bar Barracks. I think?

Sergeant says we are at war. Odd, I thought we were already at war. Dakota says we are now at two wars. I like these Olarans. Their appetite for bloodshed is almost orcish. The new enemy is the Church of Archanon. Or the Prelacy of Camon. I am not sure which. Two places have been burned, Archanaya and Mindoth’s Tower. I assume they were important. Now they are rubble and ash. How this has anything to do with our city, I know not.

But, we will soon gain more soldiers in Echer’Naught. This is good. Soldiers are good.

[Forest Dance 1st, 3125-Malcolm]

Next morning, we head back to the Barracks, bar-sleeping one for meeting, but the Sergeant is gone. She had other duties. The Corporal, not the winged elf, Ravenwood gave us our tasks.

I joined Ramshorn to patrol low-town. We had the late morning shift.

Volstagg joined the one-eyed mercenary in the dawn shift. They were to patrol the main street.

Ironblood, the crazed dwarf, and Zulcrum, the wild man, teamed up to patrol the Warehouse district on the night shift.

Corporal Silverfeather, the winged elf, and Leaora, the bard, took the night watch as well in the Tower. I’d like to see the top of the tower. Maybe Dakota can help?

Overnight shift went to Corporal Ravenwood and my Mak Terresk on the Wall. Pengrin asked if I was worried about my pregnant wife being out there on the wall. No. I am not. She is strong.

[Forest Dance 1st-16th, 3125-Malcolm]

The first two weeks were exciting. First, I discovered that Low Town is called Low Town because it is lower than High Towne. This makes sense.

We also found a body on our first few days. Well, a young man found us and HE found the body. But he led us to the body which was floating in the Stews.

I have wondered what the horrific stench coming from Low Town was. No I know. We have our own small lake of offal, piss, bile, and rot. I do not know why.

Anyway, the boy explained that the body was too far out to reach, so while we decided what to do, Ramshorn said he needed to make a lasso. When asked, he said a lasso was a rope with the loop. All we needed was rope.

As luck would have it, the boy knew where we could find rope, in our Ranger kits! We had it all along!. Good thing we had the stranger, because without his help we might never have made the lasso.

After a few minutes of struggling, Ramshorn made a loop in the end of his rope and we, Ramshorn, Muriel, and I headed to the body. Sure enough, it was floating in a sea of crap. So, Ramshorn waves the rope over his head a few times then drops it in the muck. I suggested he might want to throw the rope near the body and not at his own feet.

He decided a lasso was not the way to get the body. If I knew he was trying to get the body I would have gotten it to start. While he considered what else to throw in the cesspool, I waded out, grabbed the body, and dragged it to shore. Ramshorn took sudden ill. I hope he is not getting sick.

Now, our orders are to report bodies to proper authority, but there were only the three of us. The boy having disappeared. So, Ramshorn decides to write a note and clip it to Muriel. It worked. Mostly.

Help arrived in about half a glass. Meanwhile, Ramshorn poked the body full of holes with a stick and the mule got soused on booz up and down Low Town. New Investigator seems nice. Lt. Barand I think.

He tells us to go ask if anyone heard or saw anything. After three hours of nothing, we find an old cripple who says he saw a group of men in that area the night before. He noticed them while on his way to see lady friend. I was just happy to hear that he had friends.

We file the report, find Muriel and Ramshorn went back to jail. I headed the Barracks, the bar, to get a drink. Odd, though. Dakota seemed to start getting very sick in the mornings. She said it was normal. Elves…

By next week, we find another body. Well, actually, a young woman finds us who found a body. And yes, it was also in the Stews. Turns out, it was two bodies. Good thing we had two ropes. Strange, Ramshorn says no lassos this time. He wades out to get one body, and I wade out to get the second. He attaches a note to Muriel again and off she goes.

In about 3 quarter turns of the glass here comes the Investigator and his team, tea in hand. He and Ramshorn talk about the bodies. Barand says they were murdered. The last guy was a foreigner, but the man here was local. The girl, maybe half his age, was not.

We go asking around again and again, nothing but no and slammed doors. Until we find our friend, the cripple. He says he saw nothing, but knows that the local gangs are getting much bigger in the area. Then Ramshorn asks if the cripple thinks the gangs work for someone called the King of Low Town. The old man gets really mad and hobbles off saying he’s not our friend anymore. Well, at least he has the lady.

It seems you cannot talk about the King of Low Town in Low Town. I don’t know if you can talk about the King of Low Town in other parts of town? I will ask Dakota. She knows of such things.

[Forest Dance 16th, 3125-Malcolm]

So, after two weeks, and more bodies, we finally have a meeting with the rest of our team. We had not seen them at all. Everyone looked sad, except Volstagg. He looked hungry.

Sergeant explains that we the Rangers do not have enough men to patrol so we have been split up, but we are also in trouble. I don’t know why. There are reasons, but nothing makes sense to me.

Though, it turns out that Ramshorn and I were not the only members of the band to have fun. Volstagg and the one-eyed mercenary said that petty theft was getting worse and that main street was flooded with foreign performers and vendors. I do not know why that is bad…

Ironblood and Zulcrum discovered many warehouses that had been broken into and robbed, but never found the thieves. Ironblood seemed most upset. Zulcrum seemed drunk.

Corporal Silverfeather and Leaora both said that they spotted groups gathering at night from the tower, but when Rangers went to investigate, they found nothing. Maybe people just like to take night walks? Refresh the mind.

Worst, Corporal Ravenwood and my Wife kept spotting shadows darting over the walls, but never could find out who, or why. They feared that enemies were moving in and out of the city. That, and my Mak Terresk said that men on the wall were disrespectful toward her. I wonder why she does not kill them? Rangers are strange. Elves more so.

We also learned that Celebor, the commander, was now a Captain. Everyone said they were sorry to hear it. I was confused.

[Forest Dance 17th-33rd, 3125-Malcolm]

So, we go back to our patrols. More bodies. More robberies. But over the next few weeks, we have hundreds, maybe a thousands soldiers pour into the city. It was fun. Every night there were fights in the streets and bars. Olarans know how to riot!

Because of so many new people, the Rangers order us to move out of the barracks. The sleeping barracks, not the bar-sleeping barracks where we meet the Sergeant. Anyway, Dakota and I had been staying in a hotel, but she said we had a new home. When we arrived, sure enough, we have a house! Dakota and I share most of the downstairs, while Volstagg has rooms above. We also invite the one-eyed mercenary and Ironblood to stay with us because they got kicked out of the barracks. The sleeping barracks, not the bar-sleeping barracks.

Dakota shows me our bedroom suite. I do not know what a suite is, but I liked the furniture. Our bed is HUGE and made of steel! Now I do not need to worry about breaking another bed. We broke four in the hotel. They were very mad even after I explained that my wife and I are very ferocious in our sex. Apparently humans do not know how to properly sex. They also do not like when you give them advice.

So, now we have our own home and bed. It is good. I realized then, that I had not killed in months and yet, I am not angry. Marriage is good. I like marriage.

Over the next two weeks, Dakota gets sicker and bigger. She is so happy she nearly cries. Other Rangers do not understand how our child can grow so quickly. They do not know the power of our love, or the strength of my seed. I am Kura’Kai. She is Mak Terresk.

[Forrest Dance 33rd, 3125-Malcolm]

The city seems to grow almost as fast as Dakota until suddenly one morning, horns sound and a vast army marches out the East Gate, toward some place called Camp Wolfhaven, and everything in the city goes quiet. Things feel…empty.

But, we have a job to do and go back to our patrols. Ramshorn and I find another body in an alley and two more in the Stews, but no one sees or hears anything. I think I offended Ramshorn, though.

When the Investigator arrived at the body in the alley, Ramshorn told him that he was in prison, or on work-release. The Lt. Barand seemed surprised and asked his crime. I thought that Ramshorn forgot. He seemed unable to speak, so I explained that he murdered five men.

Then the Investigator got upset and Ramshorn said that yes, he killed 5 men, but not the man in the alley. I did not understand. Of course he did not kill the man in the alley. I explained as much. Even so, the Inspector asked us to leave. We did not even have the chance to ask around if anyone heard or saw anything. Not that they would have said so.

After that, things were quite, mostly.

[Raining Leaves 3rd, 3125-Malcolm]

A few days after the army leaves, the Sergeant calls a meeting. She explains that she has been absent because she was working on logistics for the army that left. That makes sense. She also explains that our Band has been split up on purpose. The Rangers seem afraid that we will get into trouble or get killed. I am not sure which. She thanks us for working so hard and asks us to be patient.

I did not even know that anything was wrong.

A week later, though, Ironblood reports that an entire elven family were murdered in the Warehouse district right near their patrol route. The only one to survive was a young girl, the mother, father, and brother all beaten to death. Odd, before meeting Dakota, this would not have concerned me, but to think that there are those in my city who might harm my wife and child…

We must find these men and kill them.

We even learned that these attacks were not the first and that many elves are being attacked and killed. Thorgram and I went to a place called the AutumnSpring to speak with elves. It is a bar made of trees where elves drink. We talked with the bartender who said that the elves in the city were planning to arm themselves and fight back against the humans attacking them and that it was our job, the Rangers, to protect them.

We may soon have a war in the city, elf vs men. That would make three wars. No good.

It was also around this time that elf who sings to trees said that my wife should stay in the Sacred Grove. Our child was coming soon! I continued to work, visiting her at night. I am grateful to the elves of the Grove for protecting my wife. They are strong. Many elves seek refuge in the grove as the city is no longer safe.

[Raining Leaves 11th, 3125-Malcolm]

I was home, meditating early when the mind speaker touched my mind. MY WIFE WAS GIVING BIRTH! I ran out of the house and up the street to the Great Wolf’s Manor. I knew that Dakota would want Corporal Ravenwood to be with her.

The guards let me pass. I shouted for the Corporal and she came out wearing a shift and cloak. Only then did I realize I too was in sleep pants. Never mind.

Lady Elyanna had a carriage waiting. How she knew, I do not know. But the carriage took us to the Sacred Grove. There, we found the elf who sings to trees waiting.

I would say more, but my Mak Terresk has said that I may not.

At just before noon, my daughter, Evelyn Alfiem was born. She is beautiful and strong like her mother. She has my ears. I am so filled with pride and love, I fear I will burst.

I am a father! This is the greatest day of my life.

Kura’Kai Alfiem

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Campaign Report 73
Two weddings and incarcerations

Kura’Kair Report

Dancing Clouds 30th, 3125

This is my Report.

These Southlanders sure like to rest. One battle and we are on “leave” again, where we get to stay home. Makes no sense.

But, more sex. Who am I do argue?

And speaking of… They said that an Orc and an Elf could not have children. Clearly, they do not realize the strength of my seed, or the power of my Wife! Not only is she with child, but it grows and three times the normal rate?!

Truly, the fruit of our loins surpasses in strength. I eagerly wait the day when I may train our young warrior in the ways of our people. Or, if they follow their mother, raise them to be powerful!

It is good.

[Dancing Clouds 23, 3125-Echer’Naught~Malcom]

Odd, the day after we returned, the weather turned hot…hot and muggy. Dakota was caught out in warm wools and had to disrobe in the grove. Then, it rained. Man but it pissed down. I got soaked, Dakota too. Everyone in town was wet. After an hour, nothing. Cool breeze, puffy clouds.

Odd place this Echer’Naught.

Speaking of the Grove. My Wife spoke with the elf who sings to trees. She told us our seed was strong and special. Of course, it is my child with Dakota. The strongest!

The singer of trees said that our baby may grow even more swiftly than now! My wife was so happy, she nearly wept. My chest near burst with pride. The strength of the Gather truly flow through my loins. Already my Wife grows large.

Before we go, I do ask the elf high Druid what exactly a druid is? Now…I know.

We return to our room. My wife seems overwrought with joy at the speed of our pregnancy. I give her time to rest while I think on what the druid singer said. This changes things.

[Dancing Clouds 25th, 3125-Low Town Patrol~Malcom]

The Half-orc asks me to join him on a patrol, he being in prison, must work. He cannot rest. I envy him. We speak.

He had a Blood Oath with Brother Toma. He swore to protect him. He failed, as did I. He wants the mask. He offers a challenge. I win, I take his life. He wins, he gets the mask.

But, we are Rangers and Rangers do not understand such things. His time to give his oath again to the Rangers comes soon. At that time, he may remove his cloak and I, then, will take his life. Or, he may lack courage and strength and fail in his Blood Oath to Brother Toma.

Either way, when Ramshorn departs the Rangers, I will kill him. I am greatly looking forward to that day. When he is out of prison, I look forward to getting to know him well. He could be a powerful friend.

[Dancing Clouds 26th, 3125-Audric mugged in Low Town~Malcom]

[Dancing Clouds 27th, 3125-Echer’Naught Regional HQ~Malcom]

I hear that the winged elf is a Priest of Light. Makes sense. But, I also hear he wants to find something of Darkness? Has something to do with the mine we destroyed, I think. Guards to prattle like old goblins.

[Dancing Clouds 28th, 3125-Echer’Naught~Malcom]

Other than sleep, and sex, my Wife has spent all her time with the Corporal and Volstagg planning our wedding. I thought we were already wed? So we give our oaths, then we give our oaths in front of others before a Priest, then we party about giving our oaths? But I have to wear a suit and she a dress she only wears once. We also spend as much money as possible, but only so our friends think us important?!

Southlanders. They could make falling complicated. In this, gathers do best. You like. You take. You breed. Simple.

But, if it brings her Joy, I will do whatever I am asked. My Wife tells me that we will be wed with the Corporal and the enemy Tempest she beds. I guess one wedding was not enough for them either? At least the Corporal looks more relaxed. The sex must be good.

I wonder if Ramshorn would like to make it a three way? If the Tempest dog can be released to wed, certainly the Ass can as well? I will ask my Wife. She understand these things.

Though, I am concerned about Volstagg. There are times when he seems the warrior…others…I wonder about his preferences? If the half-orc can bed a mule, who am I to judge.

These Rangers are a very open lot. Oh, did I mention that one-eye tried to get himself killed? Turns out he went into a place called Low Town without a brother and was stabbed repeatedly. Fortunately, he can run away better than he can fight.

That and the dwerg was also thrown in jail. It is truly mad how many Rangers find themselves in prison. Are we not the law? I do not understand.

But, everyone was released from prison to come to our second…or third wedding ritual. The half-orc had to work. But his Ass was free.

[Dancing Clouds 29th, 3125-Ranger Prison~Malcom]

Southland wedding rituals are strange. We met in a prison, first. I suppose since so many of our number are criminals it makes sense. There was another winged elf, this one seemed less a pompous prickle, but I spent little time with him. Perhaps they are all born with stick firmly up their arse?

I stood beside the winged Priest, and Anaxelum was led in chains to the room and released to stand beside me. A warrior knows his own. He may be my enemy, and a dog, but he is strong. I can respect that. Perhaps this is what the Corporal sees?

Our unit and others I have seen in the city are gathered, sitting on benches. Everyone tries to dress better than everyone else. I think it is a competition? I will ask my Wife. Anaxelum won.

Then, everyone stands and the old bard sings. He has a voice, that is true.

They enter. The Corporal looks well. But, I see only Dakota. Beautiful, lithe, save for our child, and radiant. I cannot tell if she glows due to being with child, or her inner power, or her being an elf. It matters none.

Again, I am struck dumb. But, I must remember who she is. And she must learn who she is.

Today, I abandon my gather. Today, I become Defender of Dakota. She will understand.

My Wife glides down the isle, light swirling around her. She comes to my side and takes my hand.

The winged elf speaks.

Anaxelum speaks.

Then I speak.

Among my people, there are no Blood or Nobles. We have the Mak Torkash, the first among equals. He leads. Beside him, second only in war, the Mak Terresk, the High Shaman. It appears that Druids are Shaman. This is what the elf singer of trees said.

If this is the case, then I am wed to the Mak Terresk. As we have wed according to her customs, our three is now a Gather. The Gather of Afliem. If this is true, then she is my Mak Terresk, my High Shaman.

And so, before the witnesses, I broke with my old Gather and pledge myself to her alone. I have no higher goal that her life. I am an Orc. I am Defender of the Gather. Mak Terresk, Dakota Alfiem, is my Gather, my reason for life.

She seemed confused. I forgot, she does not speak Goblinesh. Maybe I can have Malcom translate?

Then, the Priest said something about rings. Volstagg keeps jewelry, I guess its his thing, or he keeps stuff on hand for occasions like this? How many weddings does he attend? I really think he could be…maybe he likes both? Not uncommon in the Gathers, though Olarans tend to be shy about things.

Anyway, I now have a ring. It is supposed to represent love. Strange, but I finally know why my Wife kept talking about jewelry before. I still don’t know where kneeling fits in. Maybe there is another ceremony where we are all on our knees?

The rings were beautiful. Dwarven. I think the Sergeant Major made them. It was a good thing.

The mind lady, first time seeing her in person, that was odd, she stood and touched the Corporal and Anaxelum’s head. Dakota flinched. Said something about Mind powers? Dunno. Magic stuff. But the Corporal got all woosy. Hmm…

I’m glad that was not part of our ritual. Then the old bard and the singer of trees sang. It was beautiful. I may have cried a bit.

Then we walked out. Anaxelum was put in chains and led to his cell. I am sorry for the Corporal. But, she should have known. He is a criminal.

Volstagg arranged a party in the Barracks. The drinking one, not the sleeping one. Though, we don’t sleep in either. We drink in one. So, that one.

Well, actually, in the back room. Which is also the Sergeant’s office. So, we had our party in the back room of the drinking barracks in the Sergeants office.

She wasn’t working at the time. To be clear.

The party was great. I found out later that the Velkalar fellow made some kind of ruckus out front. I was too busy drinking with Volstagg and celebrating with my Mak Terresk. Maybe Southland weddings are not so bad.

The dwerg gave us each beautiful knives. I will treasure them.

For my Mak Terresk, I presented a White Silver Hek-Chucktar. If she is to be a High Shaman, she must learn to use her powers, and her blade. She seemed pleased. Though, I was a bit drunk so I cannot know for sure.

Later, we returned to our room. I slept well.

[Dancing Clouds 30th, 3125-Barracks~Malcom]

The following morning, we returned to the back room of the drinking barracks where the Sergeant was now working. She informed us that this Velkalar person had left a crate on our door which had the pelt of a wolf and cub, a skinned grey cat, a burned book and a burned everwood branch.

Even I know that this is an insult to our fallen comrades. My band seemed angry and rightly so. When we find this Velkalar man, he will be made to suffer for his hand in these deaths. But, for the time, we must be careful.

The Sergeant told us to go only in pairs or more. And, to be ready for defense. I am concerned for my Gather, but my Mak Terresk is strong as am I. We will be fine. The others will likely be killed.

Also, we have a house? I hope it has a good bed. We will need a strong one. We broke two already.

Kura’Kai Afliem

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Campaign Report 72
Tempest Again!

Kura’Kai Report

[Report filed, Dancing Clouds 22nd, 3125-Malcom]

This is my Report,

I was going to ask Malcom to date my reports again, but Im beginning to think that little man is scarier than I thought. Word around the Rangers is he made a Colonel, a Major, a Captain go have sex with themselves. I’m not sure how that works, but I don’t want to find out.

[Departed Echer’Naught Dancing Clouds 3rd, 3125-Malcom]

Anyway, we road north again, back the way we had just come a few weeks ago. I’m not sure if the Rangers understand the concept of their own…um…concepts. Right? We were not supposed to be on duty for another week at least. And they send us right back into the same fight we just left?

Me, I don’t really care, though wish they’d make up their minds. Coulda saved a lot of trouble if we had just STAYED put before, rather than ride ALL the way to Echer’Naught only to ride ALL the way back out here. But, I begin to understand that a Ranger is pretty capable and smart. The Corps are run by a one eyed Ogre with a head wound.

The ride takes, what?, three days? Where did the winged elf go? For a Corporal, I don’t see him doing much. Anyway, the working Corporal spots an enemy camp a couple miles out. Least, that’s what she said. I had no reason to doubt. I couldn’t see squat.

[Arrived at the Tempest camp on Dancing Clouds 6th, 3125-Malcom]

The Sergeant orders a halt, has us make a “secure’ camp and the horses are watered and fed. Look. What in the Abyss is a secure camp? We supposed to guard it? Keep people out? These Rangers and their fancy words. Mostly, I just stand around and look mean. That, and spend time with my WIFE.

She looks amazing. I like riding behind her. Her hair whips in the wind and the tips of her ears poke out just enough to see… Sometimes, shell catch me watching and give me that look. Like, what in the Abyss is wrong with you?! Ascended but I love that elf.

The corporal takes one-eye out on a recon of the enemy camp. They come back that night, looking nervous. One word. Tempest.

Oh look, we found the SAME group of Tempest from our last fight. I got excited. Time to settle the score for the former Sergeant. Everyone just looks a little sick. You know, I think these Tempest shites have them a little spooked. They haven’t been this nervous since my WIFE took ill.

I wonder?

So, we sit and watch for four days, give or take. It weren’t all bad. Volstagg can cook. The half-orc seems capable enough. I’m not sure about his Ass though. They seem to be a little close…if you understand.

We had a herder up north, orc, I was just an orkling, but the caregivers said to keep away from him. I didn’t know why till much later. Turns out he too liked them wild, sheep in his case. To be honest, I was a little mad. I mean, I wasn’t a sheep so why’d it matter? They just said it did.

If he weren’t hurtin nobody and enjoys the company, more power too him. The sheep seemed to follow him an awful lot so he must be doing something right. Maybe that’s why the mule wont leave that fellow alone? I guess he’s good in the saddle? If you understand.

[Dancing Clouds 10th, 3125; camp outside of Tempest fort-Malcom]

So, after four days of nothing. The Sergeant figures that Anaxelum already beat us to the camp. Let me explain. So, Anaxelum is an enemy commander, I figure. He and the dead Great Wolf got one well enough so that he, being Anaxelum, was invited to live in the Wolf’s house. But, Anaxelum was still an enemy, so he was kinda in prison, but not really. While there, he learned all about the Rangers and the city.

Also, during their first battle, the Corporal and this Anaxelum tried to kill each other. Seems neither pulled it off, but it sure tickled them were it feels good cause about the time Anaxelum and the Wolf get back from some place called Nor Can Dar, wherever the Abyss that is, she decides to throw away her whole life with the Rangers to get some of him. Then she dies. I think.

Here’s where it gets confusing. So, she goes down. I mean dies, not…whatever. He, Anaxelum, sells her soul to his god to save her life, making her an enemy of the Rangers and now his. But the Rangers keep her on even though she’s now Tempest and bedding the enemy commander.

Alright, the Wolf and the Tempest have a deal that because he’s such a swell guy, the Wolf will just let him go whenever the Tempest attacks again. Then the Wolf dies. Tempest hangs around with the Corporal until we battle Tempest.

So now, Anaxelum has taken his men to return to the Tempest lands with all our secrets. The Rangers don’t care about any deal the Wolf made, they just want the Tempest dead. And the Corporal, near as I can tell, is tired of bedding the man, and plans to go back to killing him?

More or less. To be honest, none of this makes any sense. Why didn’t they just arrest him before? Why would the Wolf give him all these secrets then just send him on his way. And why is the Corporal trying to kill him again if she’s supposed to love him?

Remind me never to piss of Dakota. Elven maidens are touched. Really.

Alright, so, the Sergeant decides we gotta kill the Tempest mage in the enemy camp to keep them from leaving. Which, seems stupid. If they wanted to leave, wouldn’t they have gone days ago? Clearly they have no intention of going anywhere but who am I to miss out on a good fight?

The plan: The Sergeant leads a team with me, the dwerg, the scruffy mercenary, the one-eyed mercenary, the half-orc, and Volstagg in an ambush on a morning patrol coming out of the enemy camp. Meanwhile, the Corporal and my WIFE sneak around the side and set up to snipe the Tempest mage should he pop his head up. The Sheriff of Echer’Naught and his knights would join with the Wolfhaven Free Riders and ambush any enemy reinforcements that might try and break up out little party.

The plan seemed good enough, if pointless. Still, I was finally getting close enough to stab these Tempest dogs and I wasn’t about to say or do anything to ruin a perfect day for slaughter. All day before the battle, the Sergeant and Volstagg have us salting our weapons with pig fat. Says they make it easier to fight Tempest? Not unless we are gonna eat our gear. But, I don’t ask questions. Orders is orders.

We crawled into place by the road that very night and waiting till the morning for our attack. It was pretty peaceful. The hot summer was cooling off and the bugs were out, chirping and buzzing. I dozed as the wind rustled the tall grass. Somewhere in the distance, I could hear the Tempest soldiers talking and laughing. I looked forward to spilling their guts in the mud.

[Attack occurred on the morning of Dancing Clouds 11th, 3125; just north of Tempest fort-Malcom]

Morning came, finally, and we readied ourselves. Sure enough, right on schedule those Tempest cogs came marching out in perfect order, two columns of lightly armored scouts. Sergeant waited until they were almost past our spot before springing ambush.

We hit them HARD. Three went down before they even knew we were among them! For a minute, I wondered why everyone made such a fuss about these Tempest. They seemed to die like anyone else. I was soon to find out.

Yeh, we hit them hard and yeh, they were pretty shaken. But that lasted all of a heartbeat. Before our lines could form and box them in, the Tempest shifted fronts and flanked us, putting their back against their own fort. I heard a lout pop and buzz and then the entire flaming line erupted into lighting. What in the name of the Abyss are these things?!

Our ambush when sideways and our lines got fouled, while they cut, slashed and stepped in perfect unison. I’ll hand it to them, Sergeant tried to shore the left, while Volstagg and the one-eyed merc came up on the right, but with each hit, we got scorched bad. Then, the enemy siege engines opened up and everything went red.

I know we were taking hits. Sergeant was cut down by four of them. The one eyed merc too. The dwerg came up and held his own for a minute. Even the half-orc did his best, berserk rage and all, but he took a ballista bolt through the chest and went down. Things seemed grim when the world went white.

Scruffy merc picked up an enemy weapon and thought’d be a great idea to try and fire it. Thing was, the enemy trapped all their casters. He went up in a ball of lighting taking out the dwerg and half our line. In his defense he managed to take out a couple Tempest. He was fine, I got singed.

He had just enough time to laugh at the Tempest for failing to kill him when a ballista bolt went through his stomach. Sodding moron.

That left me and Volstagg to hold the line. The rest were down and bleeding out. Then the oddest thing happened. We hear a horn, the Tempest throw us back and then…march away.

I woulda chased them, but turns out I was fairly mortally wounded. Volstagg was missing part of his leg. Ballista. Next time, I figure we stay out of range of those?

So, while we were fighting, the Corporal managed to make her shot. I guess. The whole camp was being sucked up by a twister! Those Tempest crazies just ran right into it and vanished. Good riddance.

And then, it was over. Well, almost. Seems those Tempest rats had trapped their casters. They go down, we go boom. I grabbed everyone on my half the field, Thorgram grabbed his and we took off running hell bent for leather. Blast nearly finished us good, but we managed to eat dirt. Then, it was over.

After a bit, the Sheriff and what was left of the Free Riders came over. Volstagg and the Sheriff started drinking and eating while the medics went to work. One of the Sheriff’s knights went and found my wife. She was all shot up, but her stomach wasn’t hit.

Medic said she would live. I told him if she didn’t, neither would he. Im surprised he seemed not surprised at that.

I stayed with my WIFE while the others did their thing. Tents were set up, the wounded bandaged the dead stacked. Eventually, someone went to get the Corporal. Turns out she lived AND she’d killed Anaxelum. Well, almost. Shot him in the throat. I’ll never understand love.

Eventually the scruffy looking merc comes around and heals my wife. Volstagg said his codpiece was magic? I watched him VERY carefully.

[Medical caravan arrives in the afternoon on Dancing Clouds 15th, 3125-Malcom]

So, we stay there a few days. Eventually, the Sergeant wakes up. Ben helps me contact the mind lady and we get some wagons for the dead and dying. It takes a few more days, but we are on our way home. I stay with my WIFE. She’s strong.

[Rangers depart for Echer’Naught on the morning of Dancing Clouds 16th, 3125-Malcom]
[Rangers arrive in Echer’Naught in the afternoon of Dancing Clouds 21st, 3125-Malcom]

We get back to Echer’Naught maybe five days after that? My wife and I go to the Sacred Grove where tree singing elf checks her out and then we go back to our room to rest. I was sore.

While, we enjoyed each other, turns out the others were busy. I think it was the next morning that the Sergeant and Corporal went to the Elf commander about Anaxelum who was fine by the way. Anyway, I don’t fully understand but it turns out that he and the Corporal were married this whole time!? And she STILL tried to kill him?

I’m going to be extra nice to my WIFE. Someone said that elven maidens get even crazier while pregnant…

Maybe I could borrow the codpiece?

Kura’Kai Alfiem

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Campaign Report 71
Sergeant Evoran Que'kasaar's Funeral

This is my report,

[Report date begins morning of Festival Moons 23rd, 3125; Ranger Regional Headquarters –Malcom]

We’re in Echer’Naught now. Big place. Not as big as Olara…but big. Turns out, the Sergeant had a student, Malcom. He said he’d date my report. Thank the Ancestors.

So, we arrive at the city which will be my home now, I suppose. Odd. I never really considered living in a city before. I always found it kind of funny. So many people packed into such a small space. I’m surprised people aren’t killing each other all the time. Part of being civilized?

Anyway, we get here and go through this massive gate, then through another gate, then through another gate. This last in a castle. I’d heard about the Tower of Echer’Naught but Flame is it BIG! You could probably fit everyone from my gather in the blasted thing and still have room to move. I bet the view from the top is savage. Course, I doubt they’d let me up there. Rules.

So, we arrive and go in this palace. Least I assume it was a palace. Dakota said it was the Ranger HQ. I say it’s a palace.

Inside there are Rangers everywhere. Outside too. And out front. And back. Rangers training in the courtyard, Rangers talking in the halls. Everywhere you look, green cloaks and weapons. How many bloody Rangers ARE there? And then Volstagg tells me that this is the little Ranger HQ? What?!

We sit outside in a hallway wide as a road, carpeted in soft red, hard wood walls, mirrors, vases, furniture… Definitely a palace. Sergeant goes through these big double doors and meets with the Mak Torkash of the Ranger Gather.

Wait, no. The Lieutenant of the Regional Command. What in the abyss kind of word is Lieutenant. Sounds like some shyte made up by the Camonere. Bloody lushes. So, we wait outside in our bloody clothes and muddy boots. I didn’t mind. I’ve never been in digs like this. Rangers must be rich.

Besides, I was with Dakota. Seems these days I can’t take my eyes off her! Soft brown hair, green eyes, those cute ears…smells like…flowers, forest trees…and…her. Something new too. She’s carrying our child. I’m gonna be a father.

Weird though. Never figured I’d be one to care. Yeh, back in the gather I assumed I’d breed some strong Orcs for the gather. But, its not the same. Goblinesh, we don’t pair up. You want someone, you have them. Children are raised by all. No one lays claim.

But now…I am happy.

So, we sit and wait. Eventually, the Corporal comes out looking pissed. Turns out someone named Alfred and his team died? Gunther says Alfred is the Great Wolf’s son. Sad. Great warriors. I pray they died well.

Corporal then says we have leave. I thought we were going to stay in the city. How can you stay and leave? Damn Southlanders.

Anyway, Corporal also says she is done for a couple days and to leave her alone. She stalks off. Gunther smashers a vase then he storms off. Dakota says she will take care of me.

Happy.

She’s about to take me to the Barracks when Gunther comes back and wants to go get drunk and go Shopping. I ask Dakota. She says its ok. She says she’ll come along.

I could get used to this.

First, we go to a bar called the Barracks. Wait…is this were I’m staying now? In a bar? Very nice!

So, we get a little drunk. Ok, maybe a lot drunk. Not Dakota. She won’t drink. Maybe because she is going to be the mother of my child? Orcs drink while pregnant. Guess elves are different. I don’t mind. So long as she’s happy!

I’m happy!

Volstagg gets REALLY drunk. Me, I can hold my ale. After we both get drunk. We go shopping.

I didn’t know what that meant. See, before, I asked Leaora, the bard, to help me get White Silver on my Chucktar. But that, apparently, wasn’t shopping.

Shopping is like…pillaging a town. You ransack the place, busting into shops, taking what you want, accosting the shopkeepers and wind up with all manner of loot and plunder! But, instead of killing anyone, you pelt them with gold pieces.

Strange custom. I think I like Shopping. I’ll need to get more gold so I can go Shopping again. Next time I’m home, I think we shall go Shop some Kal villages!

But, if you think Shopping is fun, wait till you hear what ELSE these Southlanders do!

So, after Shopping the town, we wound up with clothes, armor, weapons, jewelry for Dakota…and some amazing dresses…

She looks great in dresses. Better naked, but the dresses look good too…

So, after Shopping, Volstagg goes to sleep it off with some women and I ask Dakota what to do. I may have been drunk now. She say’s we’re going to stay in an Inn because we can’t sleep together in the Barracks. But we were just INN the barracks. Not sleeping, yes, but they didn’t seem to mind us being together. I’m sure they’d let us sleep there…

I am so confused. And was drunk.

Dakota takes me to an Inn and Shops it too! I love this city. Then we go up to our room and I sleep. A lot.

[Following day, Festival Moons 24th, 3125 -Malcom]

When I wake up, Dakota is still there. With all the Shopping and drinking, I forgot that I wanted to talk with her…about the baby. But, when I try to speak, my words get all jumbled. She does that to me.

Give me a raging Minotaur any day, but trying to talk to Dakota… about…feelings?!

Screwing up the balls, I tell he that I want to be a gather…no…a Family. That’s the word she says. Family.

I want to raise our child together. She asks if that means I want to get Married. Yes. That’s what these Southlanders do. They pair up and get married and raise families. That’s what I want! Dakota seems confused.

Was gonna ask Volstagg, but I’m on my own now. So, I ask Dakota how to ask her to marry me. She says I have to learn to tie knots. Ok? Strange, but if that makes her happy. Also, I have to kneel. Again, whatever it takes.

I do remember hearing that Southland women like jewelry and there is something about giving each other jewelry when you get Married? I find the whole things confusing. But, whatever it takes.

So, she asks if I’M asking to marry her. Of course? What does she think I’m trying to do. I say yes. She says she is worried that she’s not good enough. Being just an elf and me an Orc warrior…

I know Dakota’s a little crazy, one of the things I love about her. But, not worthy???

She’s the most beautiful woman in the world, elf or otherwise. AND she’s a warrior! And she’s a Ranger! And, she’s a Druid whatever that is. AND she fought off the plague that terrified every other elf!!!!

I was just afraid she wouldn’t want a poor Orc blade like me.

SHE SAID YES!

Dakota is now my wife!!!

I’m so happy.

And just when I thought things couldn’t get better, I find out that we have three whole weeks in the Inn for nothing but sex! AND WE GET PAID FOR IT!

I am DEFINITELY taking this custom home. One of the innkeepers called it a Moon of Honey? I thought the moon was cheese. Well, whatever damn food the moon is…I love this city!!!

It wasn’t all sex, though. We had a Last Call for the Sergeant.

[Evening of Festival Moons 24th, 3125; Wayfarer’s Rest –Malcom]

Seems like the entire city showed up. Someplace called the Wayfarer’s Rest. How crazy is it that we have a goblinesh place that sells fish?! In the middle of the grasslands with no water for hundreds of miles. This whole city is crazy. But good.

So, this old man named Fateweaver, some bigwig in the city, hosts the last call. I went with my WIFE! Corporal showed up with a big guy, Anaxelum Dakota says. They must be together as well. Everyone told stories about the Sergeant. I told the best.

I said, “He was an Elf, he was a mage, he was a scholar, he was a warrior, he was a Ranger. He died well. Now he’s a tree.” Volstagg plays a mean lute. Everyone thought it was the best. Dakota seemed impressed. Maybe I will be an orator?

So, the night goes long and we drink and toast the Sergeant. They pile cups and pots full of money on the bar. Weird. Oh, and apparently the Sergeant always blew up when he was still and elf, and not a tree??? I don’t know.

At some point, the Corporal snuck of with her man. Probably to go have sex. She needs it. No offense if she reads this.

So, after the Last Call, my WIFE and I go back to have more sex.

[Morning of Festival Moons 25th, 3125; Echer’Naught’s Sacred Grove –Malcom]

Next morning, we go to the Sergeant’s funeral. This was in some place called the Sacred Grove. That scary elf druid who was the Sergeant’s woman was there. She seemed scarier. The elves ringed us in and started singing. Good thing I had my Chucktar. Dakota likes the grove.

I’ll learn to like it too.

Fateweaver spoke again. Then, another Ranger steps up. Turns out she is out NEW Sergeant. Seems capable enough. She’s no Sergeant tho. She spoke well. I like her.

Then the old Sergeant’s lady spoke/sang. I cried a little. I don’t cry. She’s really scary. The elves plant a tree. And then the old Sergeant’s lady walks off, nothing else said. The funeral breaks up.

While the others sip wine and talk, I go and try to get to know the trees. They don’t do much, but I want to meet all of my WIFE’s friends. There are a lot of trees. This may take a while.

Afterwards, we go back to the inn for more sex.

While we were having AMAZING sex, it turns out that Commander Kelles, that Olaran commander during the battle when the old Sergeant died sent us a painting of wolves killing a bear. He called us Bear Killers and said we should own the name. I agree. Kura’Kai, husband of Dakota Alfiem, Ranger, Bear Killer. Nice.

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[Morning of Festival Moons 26th, 3125; Baron Wolfhaven’s Estate –Malcom]

Next morning we gather at the Great Wolf’s home for the reading of the will. My Wife got some nice armor. Other ppl got things.

[Afternoon of Festival Moons 27th, 3125; Ranger Regional Headquarters]

Couple days later, I hear that the winged elf returned. Good?

[Afternoon of Festival Moons 28th, 3125; Ranger Regional Headquarters]

Then, a day after that, there is a huge commotion. My WIFE and I go to see what the fuss is about. Turns out another Ranger, this one a half-orc named Thorgram apparently just returned from prison. So THAT’S who the ass belongs too. I wondered about that.

We shake. He’s STRONG. I don’t understand much, but we went down to the dwarven alehouse, the Hammer and Anvil to drink and party. We stay a bit, my WIFE can’t drink. We leave to go have more sex.

Couple more weeks pass. I spend most of it in bed. I hear that the local Sheriff, a Sir Halten drags the half-orc through the streets every morning and every night in chains. I think I overkill, but these Southlanders do have odd habits. We don’t see anyone much.

[Morning of Dancing Clouds 2nd, 3125; Ranger Regional Headquarters –Malcom]

Not until we are suddenly called to the big HQ for an emergency meeting. Turns out our Moon of Honey gets cut short.

I’m ashamed to admit it, I was kind of happy for the break. I mean, I’m tough. Really tough, but Dakota is a Wyvern! Does she EVER get tired?! Maybe it’s an elf thing, or a druid thing. Or maybe because she’s with child. Whatever the case, I don’t know how much longer I could have gone…sometimes 2 or 3 times a day!

Thank the ancestors for missions.

So, we meet the elf commander, Celebor. He seems an odd choice. Tired. Also, our new Sergeant, Whitestone is there. A couple of guys and our new team.

Sergeant Whitestone, a human female. Olaran. Very military. Plate armor. The works. Stout. I like her.

Then, Corporal Ravenwood. She seems really sad. I’ll explain why.

Then the winged elf. He’s a Corporal too.

After that, there is the Half-orc Thorgram, Ranger First Class Ramshorn to be true, then a crazy looking dwarf named Rysak Ironblood, a Ranger First Class. Savage. Reminds me of these Dwergs out of Shaya’Nor.

Then the Rangers, a human in some old, scratchy black plate, named Thomas Zulcrum. Apparently he was a city guard before?

Leora, the bard, my wife, Dakota, and me.

Volstagg took the cloak and a new human man. One-eye. Very dour. He looks like fun.

That’s it. Our team.

And the mission? Get this! We have to hunt down Corporal Ravenwood’s man. Apparently he’s actually our enemy, but they were living together? I don’t even…

I enjoy killing. It’s what I do. But, now that I’m married, sex is better. Maybe I should suggest the Corporal to marry him instead of trying to kill him? Then the Rangers will PAY them to have sex!

I’ll ask Dakota if it’s a good idea.

Also, that Sheriff and his men will join us. Ranger First Class Ramshorn is still a prisoner? I guess he killed some Olarans. And now, they are sending the Sheriff to kill him if he gets mad?

What in the Abyss is wrong with all these people?

On second thought, I want to back to my room and have sex with my Wife.

But no. That night, we meet the Sergeant in the back room of the Barracks.

Ok, look. They have a back room. Why can’t I stay there with my wife?! Nothing in this place makes any damn sense.

Pre-dawn on Dancing Clouds 3rd, 3125; North Barony Road –Malcom]

I’m confused. But, orders are orders. We leave dawn the next day and ride hard north. I hope Corporal Ravenwood doesn’t get mad when I kill her man. I hope they had a good time during their Stay Leave.

Malcom says I should go back and sign all these.

[Ranger] Kura’Kai Alfiem

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Black Lantern Report 1
Elm Grove Listening Post

On the morning of Festival Moons 16th, Beta team was ambushed by a significant number of arc-fire wielding bandits whose description matches the bandits Thomas worked with during his “Leave”. Without the healer and heavy hitter, the team was eventually overwhelmed by arcfire. Malerie was flanking the enemy when a blast struck Alfred, Sir Lugard, and Gwyn. Malerie stayed only long enough to confirm Alfred’s death, smoking and cooked body in his armor, before cutting her way free and returning to Echer’Naught by the 19th. He wounds are consistent with her story. All attempts to reach Alfred via Telepathy have failed. All other means of tracking or confirming his status also failed.
Investigation teams on site within days recovered the torched remains of three bodies, the arms and armor consistent with Sir Lugard, Gwyn, and Alfred, including his trademark White Silver Boar Spear.
Last Call for the team was held on Festival Moons 20th with funeral rites on the morning of the 21st.

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The Last Will and Testament of Evoran Que'kasaars
Died, 2nd Festival Moons, 3125

This document stands as the Last Will and Testament for Evoran Que’kasaars. It is with this document I deliver to my family my last gifts and words.I name Samira Ravenwood Executor of this document, for my trust in her is supreme. Should she not be available for whatever reason, then I leave the task to my protégé’, Malcolm, for my trust in him is also unwavering.

My Dearest Family,

If you are reading this then I have, regrettably, perished in my duties. For placing that burden upon you, I am so sorry. It has made life harder, and that was never my intention. Truthfully, I never saw a point in these things until I lost my immortality. It was then I saw the beauty and horror of the mortal life.

I have been blessed for I have loved like no Eldakar ever could. I have been cursed for I have felt loss like no Eldakar could ever understand. Know that my curse is lifted and I am at peace. I am home.

In my passing, however, there are things that need to be addressed. Tasks that I have failed to complete in life. Ironic that my list is more of events, and things to offer as opposed to material possessions. One would think with my lavish taste I would have a lot more to give than I do.

To Sarin I leave my fine robes. I always had a spare remain in Echer’Naught. I leave these to you my friend. I know you will wear them well. Should they need tailoring, I request funds be used so it will fit him.

To Dakota I leave my Shay’von Armor. It has served me well in my endeavors. Hopefully it can serve you just as well. You are young. I hope this gift permits you the chance to experience happy moments in life. If this needs tailoring to her, I request funds be put aside to permit this as required.

To Thorgrim — Alas, I have nothing of a material to give to you my friend. Instead, you will find enclosed with this the papers that will allow Muriel to officially become a Ranger of Echer’Naught. They merely need a signature. She has been loyal to you and you to us. I only see it fit that she be taken care of.

To Eris Moonsilver I leave my Filing System — I request that a patent be filed. Since I am unable to be listed as the benefactor of any financial gain in death, I would like it to be filed in the name of Eris Moonsilver. She is to be the recipient of these funds with one caveat: So long as the Library stands and is successful, the funds will go to keeping it functioning. Should it fail, the funds are hers to do with as she sees fit. Malcolm should be able to file the necessary paperwork for this. Eris, I am sorry I did not find him, but I still hold to the truth that we will.

To Malcolm I bestow The Library — This was my dream passed to me from my Master, Olgore. I pass it down to my protégé, Malcolm. He has learned my filing system and I feel he would be the best at seeing to its affairs. I would request Malcolm file the necessary paperwork to create an order to be stationed at the Library. The purpose of The Library is to share knowledge and make it accessible for all, especially for The Rangers. The name of the order is to be The Order of The Open Book.

Attached also, my dear Malcolm, is the necessary paperwork for your promotion to full Ranger. You have served us admirably and no one can take that from you. With this I also gift to you a letter of recommendation. This letter of recommendation is for the position that I have now vacated, the Stewart and Scribe of Echer’Naught. I have taught you all that I can. I hope it is enough.

To Samira I leave my Whitesilver Rapier. It has never slain in my service with the Rangers, however, it is the closest thing I have to Hawksclaw as he used a similar weapon. With that being said I pass it on to you. I hope to start a tradition in his honor — passing this to the next leader. So take this rapier in honor of Hawksclaw, and as a symbol of my blessing. I think you will do well. Thank you for being there for me when I needed you most. My last request of you is to make sure my family back in Landra’Feya know of my life and deeds. I leave the method up to you.

Finally, to my love, Lady Treesinger — I leave to you, my most precious gift: My Everwood Staff. It is apart of me, bound to me. I give it to you so that I shall be with you always, even in death. Farewell, my Lady. Until our paths cross once more. I love you.

Thank you all, so much, for being my family. My time with you has been some of the most joyous experiences I could ever hope for. I am only sorry that it was as brief as it was. So I can only offer one final piece of advice that I have learned in my very brief stint with mortality.

Be stalwart like the Dwaves. Wise like the Eldakar. Swift like the Brinchie. Honorable like the Goblinesh. And passionate like the humans.

I love you all.

Farewell, my dear family.

Love,
Evoran Que’kasaars

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Campaign Report 70
Into the Underworld: Death of Evoran and Ben

Kura’Kai Report-Part Three.

23rd day of Festival Moons, Year 3125

This is my report

I would ask the Sergeant if my dates are correct. He is no longer able to answer questions.

We came out of the fiery pit like avenging demons from the Abyss. Our deliverance, as the Priests who visit our Gather like to say, was NOT at hand.

Thank the Ancestors, the battle I have awaited has found me.

Before us were arrayed three armies. Flame, Darkness, and Tempest. Matched set. I have underestimated these Southlanders, Rangers and Olaran both. The Northern Gathers have no absolute claim on courage…or sacrifice.

Commander Kelles, true warrior, commanded his men to form a shield wall and push the Childer and Undead hordes into the teeth of the Tempest Legion. It was a good plan. Not good enough.

Our healer, Priest Drainar was able to revive the Sergeant, but Brother Toma was done for, though we didn’t know it then.

Sergeant, Corporal, me, Wyvern, Steile, Drainar, Danica and Dakota joined with members of the Great Wolf’s army, the White Silver Wolves led by the Red warrior Volstagg.

Commander Kelles gave us the duty to hold the left, plug the holes and wait for an opening in the Tempest lines. Assuming we ever go there. We didn’t.

It was maybe an hour after the 13th on the 2nd of Festival Moons when we joined the battle. Words are poor substitutes for experience. I cannot TELL you what happened. You simply cannot understand. You read these words and THINK you know, but you do not.

Can you know the terror of the man beside you as he watches his life’s blood pool at his feet? Have you felt the cold touch of Darkness as the corpse of your best friend begins to tear out your still beating heart? What about the intense heat of Flame as a Thaumaturgist burns your unit to cinders…?

No?

Then what can I tell you here.

We fought. Like Lions we fought. Our lines pushed them back, slipping and sliding over the guts of our friends. And then we were throw back, forces back across the ground we spend a dozen lives to gain.

Back and force, churning the earth to a bloody froth, out legs stained to our crotch in the intestines of our brothers. Olarans fell, Ranger fought. My arms grew heavy.

It was maybe 200 yards to the Tempest lines. We never made is closer than half that. Olaran bodies carpeted the ground, but in the end, we ran out of men, and time.

Tempest Arclances cut bloody swathes through Flame and Darkness until only they, and we remained. Our numbers dwindled to a couple dozen, the Ranger forces battered and nearly broken.

Dawn brought death and Kelles gave the command, “Die with Honor.”

We would have too. Were it not for the Sergeant. Most of my kin think of Mage types as weak, relying on Magic because they lack the strength to lift a blade. I have learned otherwise.

Kelles gathered his men and made an orderly retreat, the Rangers held the rear. Sergeant walked alone into the valley of death and faced the Tempest forces alone. Such power.

At first, the ground rippled with eldritch purple energy, blasts, beams, and…what…I can’t say. Then, the Sergeant’s body began to dissolve, becoming more energy than flesh. Purple lighting rippled through him like waves of a storm…

By the end, I couldn’t see him, just light, flashes, and death.

One man defeated an army our entire force could not. It was a good death. His name will be long remembered. In the end, nothing remained but blasted wastelands.

We pulled back to a grove of trees created by the Druids. Commander Kelles had established a secondary relief location. Wise man. It was here, after being released from duty by Stiele. Oh, Sergeant dead, and the Corporal unconscious. I think she was doing something magicky with the Tempest Mage.

Released, I found Brother Toma’s body. Thought I’d saved him. Seems, I lack the strength of the Sergeant… I could save nobody. Even if I’d stayed behind, what good would it have done? I have always been the strong one, the tough one. That day, I was as useless as a corpse. No, I’d seen plenty of more useful corpses that day.

In my home, it is traditional when a brother falls to take a piece of his soul with you, and leave a piece of yours behind. So, I took his mask of blue and white and left mine of black and iron. It felt…right placing it on my face. Only later did I understand that the mask was not all I had taken.

I was given permission to burn the body. I would have done the same for the Sergeant, if there was a body left to burn. I remained with my brother until the rest of his spirit rose into the sky to join the ancestors. Then, I found a healer to bind my wounds. I would not let them waste their magic, or herbs on me. I was not worthy.

Then, I sought out Dakota. She was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen. Soot staining her pale face, eyes burning, even in spite of the disease wracking her body, she failed to retreat a single step. Something the druidess did to her had her glowing with power, life. I could not resist her. She, though, could clearly resist me.

It was not a no. But definitely not yes. Defeated, I retired to pray to my ancestors for strength and guidance. Sleep was long in coming. Before I passed out, I gathered the white dust from the mountains and made the oath. I failed to protect my Gather, and so I was unworthy of my life. I am now one of the dead walking, a ghost among the living, not alive, not dead. Waiting for the time when I can reclaim my honor and join my ancestors.

I was awakened mid afternoon by Dakota. She’d reconsidered. I’ll not say what happened. That is between us.

Strange. Among my people Marriage is unusual. We tend to breed for strength and passion, not contract. But here I am thinking only of being with her again, forever? And I don’t figure she thinks twice about me. Don’t know if I’m growing soft, or wise…

All of this happened on the 2nd of Festival Moons. Abyss, I suppose most of that last battle did. That afternoon, the Corporal, awake now, called us to a meeting. There, she informed us that the Olarans needed us to leave. Dakota still scared the elves and despite everything we had done…I may never understand these Southlanders.

Treesinger was there. She and the Corporal went off. Corporal came back with the Sergeants staff. I guess we’ll leave it to the Olarans to recover everything else from the fallen. We geared up and headed north. Wyvern’s home was having trouble and we had to deal with that before heading to the place called Echer’Naught.

Seems like the city is home to these people. Me, I’ve never been. But the longing look in their eyes when they speak of it makes me want to go.

Before we head out, I hear the Corporal asking around for a Far Speaker. Dunno what that means, but I know that I can help. Don’t ask how. Turns out, that mask has more than a piece of Toma’s soul. I think it may have the whole damn thing. Sure enough, I reach out and, WHAM, I’m hearing voices. Well, one voice.

Woman. Elf, I should say. Says her name is Lady Moonsilver. What kind of name…? Anyway, Toma knows her, trusts her. So, I relay what Corporal says to me to Toma, he tells this Moon lady and back again. I guess its faster than messengers, but leaves me with a damn headache. Can’t do that too much. Anyway, turns out I’m the new Far Speaker. Whatever the hell that is. Oh, and the Sergeant got off one final message before dying. Bastard filed a bleeding report!!!!

Damn, Sergeant. Hell of a thing. One hell of a thing.

Three days hard walk. Not bad, all things considered. Danica stayed behind with the Olarans and Steile returned to the forest with his kind. We did pick up the Red Warrior, Volstagg. Wyvern was hot to trot. Kept pushing to move faster. Seems he missed his home as well.

Anyway, 5th of Festival Moons we arrived. Right at first, something was off. Wyvern had left mercs to guard the place. Nobody was moving. Front gate wide open. I smelled a trap.

We moved in, cautious like. Corporal on edge. Half of us were still hurting bad from the battles. We get inside the courtyard…and nothing. Like nobody home. So, we spread out, I hold the center. First Dakota, then Volstagg, then Drainar shout out. Bodies.

Shite.

The place was a tomb. But no sign of battle, no burning, no broken arrows or discarded gear. Almost like everyone just keeled over and died. Spooky…

Wyvern lost it, took off inside the keep screaming for his maid, what was her name…Fella…no Feena. Maybe.

Anyway, Corporal shouts for me, so I follow. Inside, the same. Just more dead mercs and no sign of struggle. Then, we hear movement in a cupboard along the wall. Wyven throws open the door while Corporal covers him and I watch the room.

Feena, curled in a ball. She leaps into Wyvern’s arms, terrified. I’m just lowering my weapon when Wyvern screams, the little witch’s knife in his side. He drops. Corporal does her in.

That’s when I feel it…in my mind. Like a pressure. Not like Moon lady’s touch, which felt kinda nice. Gentle caress. Almost tender. No, this was like an dagger behind my eyes. Brother Toma was having non of it. Don’t know what he did, don’t barking care.

About then the Corporal shot me. I figured MAYBE she didn’t mean it, but when she nocked another arrow, I had to take her down. Was trying to be gentle…then Drainar comes in and starts shooting everybody. Corporal goes down. I think I may have done it. Maybe not. I was seeing red.

This was a bad place. Had to get out. Me and the dwarf traded blows. I nearly had him when Volstagg stepped in. Pushed us apart and started screaming. Ok, so maybe I over-reacted. Then HE bashed me upside the head!!!!

That’s it. They are all dead. And I woulda done it too.

But she was there. Tear running down her cheeks. Cut through the red haze like a chuktar through armor…

I’ll die before I see her tears again. Someone started shouting about adepts and mind control. Brother Toma told me we were in danger. Someone, Leaora, maybe Dakota. I don’t know. Someone said to run. Drainar and Volstagg grabbed the Corporal and Wyvern and followed the others out the door.

Toma said I had to fight or we were all dead. He said he could protect me…for a while. Also, said the bastard was upstairs. Dunno how he knew, but he was right.

I charged. Never saw him, but Toma could. Kept shouting directions. Kinda like a spotter. I trashed the place good. Dunno if I hit him or not. Toma said he was gone. Dead? Maybe, dunno. But, we were safe.

Outside again, we looked like hell. Wyvern was taken to his room. Corporal came around. I was on guard. Dunno much but I DO know that the next morning something changed in Dakota.

Later, the Corporal said that she was healed from the plague and now she was magic??? Elves are odd. But, beautiful. Never thought Dakota could be MORE so, but she is.

Damn I got it bad.

Volstagg gets us fed and Drainar keeps us alive. We salvage what we can and deal with the bodies. Wyvern comes around on the 10th. I was outside when that happened. We had left his maid’s body in state. Figured he’d need to see it.

He was on his way there when something broke him. When the Corporal saw it, she ordered an immediate retreat. We grabbed all we could carry and ran. Said it was a flag.

Obsessed with Wagons. Terrified of illness and flags. Strange band. But warriors. Damn good warriors.

So, we headed east and south. We travel days, weeks. Then, on the 23rd of Festival Moons, just after dawn, we crest a rise and there lies the city of Echer’Naught. Big, though not as big as say, Rhion. Still. BIG. Walls, flags, the works.

We enter the north gate and head straight for the Ranger Headquarters. There, the rest of us sit outside while the Corporal goes in to talk with the boss. I was real tired at this point. I know cause I swear I saw a goat wearing a green cloak leading a group of Rangers around the courtyard.

Anyway. Got a good look at my new home. One corner a massive tower reaching into the sky, two large barracks and a castle all sitting atop a hill. Decent defenses. Corporal comes out a bit later, tells us last call for Sergeant in two days. We are getting a new commander, someone named Whitestone, former comrade, and that she was denied command. What kind of bull…

Southlanders.

Still, we were given leave. Three weeks. Guess I need to find a bed, a bath, and a bar.

After everything I am left with doubts. Strange for me. Doubt is the death of a warrior, but as I am already dead… We think of these Southlanders as weak, with their talking and their politics. But I know better now. I know that they talk not because they are weak, but because they do not SEEK war. Yet, if war is called for, their strength, bound by love and honor, is more terrifying than anything I have witnessed. Perhaps, it is time I too gained some of this Southland “weakness”…

Also, how do you ask an elf to marry?

I should sign this

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Campaign Report 69
Into the Underworld: Part 2

Kura’Kai Report-Part Two.

Still, 1st day of Festival Moons, Year 3125

This is my report

We entered the tunnels and caves beneath the rocks. I led because I could see…and smell the enemy. My band, brave as they are, were simply not cut for this kind of work.

Mines. Been in places like this before. Back home, there was a goblin run operation south of my Gather. Way south. 2-3 days.

I was protecting a convoy for my Mak Torkash, picking up ingots and things for forging. Learned real quick that mines are no place for anyone. Place was crawling with rats the size of dogs, and worse.

The more things change, no? Lost half my band back then. Figured I’d lose more here.

This place was nothing but Darkness, and I’m not talking about the lack of light.

When we first stepped inside, the silence, well, dull roar, was almost deafening compared with the raging storm outside. Corporal’s got more chutzpah than even I gave her credit for. She would make a worthy enemy.

Wall of wind and water behind us, and dank, reeking mines ahead… Ancestors I love my jog.

Brother Toma lit his blade like a torch. Something to do with the Church of Light or his mind powers. Dunno. Magic is strange.

Didn’t bother me nun, till I heard them. Sounded almost like silk ripping over rocks, but faint like. A whisper. Then I saw the shadows, long spindly ones, moving against the light. One nicked the Sergeant, the other Brother Toma.

Dakota was behind me. Close. I could smell he scent of flowers, and decay. Flipped her to get at them. Shadow spiders. I killed one. Bard Leora did good with the Chuktar. Now I can kill anything.

Shadespider is what Danica yelled. So that’s what they were. More came, people got bit. Dakota too. Tough girl. Sad to think she will die soon. A waste.

We killed a couple, but they seemed attracted to the light. So, Sergeant said douse the blade. Well, Wyvern tossed his cloak to cover Brother Toma’s sword. The Brother looked a bit peeved, but he killed the light.

I didn’t mind. I can see in the dark. Better even than the elves. So, I saw what came next.

Can’t say that being in the dark was any better for us, but seems those Shadespiders need a least a little light. So, we defeated one enemy by making ourselves vulnerable to another. Fair trade? S’pose so. Not my call.

Next came the Arachnaurs. Two of them. One toward Dakota, the other on our right from another tunnel. Steile, I think his name is, he ran into the flamed thing. Don’t know who was more surprised. The strutting elf has moves, but he’s a depressed sort. Gets flustered easily. Not a warrior, but something else. He punches good enough.

I leapt Dakota again, got webbed, broke free and killed my spider. Stiele played around a bit, not real serious. Guess he’s not easily impressed, but he eventually got the job done.

Our soldiers mostly got stuck. I think Bard Leaora and the Corporal worked to get them unstuck in the darkness. Honestly, don’t know. I know we came out with fewer than when we went in, so, some of them may still be there.

So, we went deeper in the mines. Left first. I lead. Next tunnel, more spiders.

Me and the Sergeant got webbed. Bad. The others were cut off. I broke free and charged, cut down one of the spiders. Behind me, the Sergeant started talking to a horse? No, unicorn.

Never seen a unicorn. Some say they ain’t even real. Saw an ass with a horn glued to his head that the shyster claimed was a genuine thing. It wasn’t, though donkey doesn’t taste half bad.

Nor does shyster…

Whatever he said worked. Cause I could see. Not just the red blood of my enemies. I could see proper. Arachnaur’s are ugly brutes, I can tell you that. All of them we fought, women. Odd, no?

So, the others, behind the webs, start cutting through. Sergeant gets free, so does Brother Toma and Steile and the rest. Corporal and Bard Leaora stay well back. Helping the soldiers or hiding, don’t know, don’t care.

Onward to another cavern. This one is bigger. Left or right. Left smells bigger and wetter, right seems darker, closer in. Sergeant says right, so I go right.

Me and Danica get ahead, come into another chamber. Guess what’? More Arachnaurs. Almost like they live down here.

Behind us, the rest of the band got ambushed by waves of skeletons. I didn’t see the battle. Well, not till the end. They did well enough. Steile dropped one or two. The Sergeant did as well. Wyven didn’t die. The healer stayed busy, I hear keeping us all alive.

Eventually, the Sergeant collapsed the tunnel they was coming from. Not sure if I would have, but what was done was done. We killed out three bugs. Well, I killed two, Danica her one.

Regroup and re-think. Our bard figured the best way was left, but that was blocked, so we went right again, back past our spiders and then left. Tunnel looped around again and we entered a large cavern.

The mine proper. Tracks, carts, lamps, the works.

I also heard and smelled water. Brackish vile stuff, but water it was.

And bridges.

With lights came Shadespiders. Sergeant said push, so I pushed.

I made it across the rickety bridge, one of two, over the chasm. Sergeant and Danica with me and Brother Toma made the leap. We were met by crossbow bolt and Dwergs. Oh, and they dropped our bridge.

Never faced a Dwerg before but they are tough as reported. Steile leaped the chasm. Seems now that he can see proper, he has a bit more spirit. I suppose Sergeant’s spell missed him. Or, he wasn’t worthy. Dunno. Magic is odd.

I take on my handful, Brother Toma, the Sergeant, Danica, and Steile join in the fun. Drainer, the healer, runs around to cross the other bridge. Not smart.

Snickt!

Down it went with a surprised looking dwarf. And sploosh. Dwarves can’t swim. Oh well, there goes a perfectly good healer.

Dwergs maybe ugly as sin, but they hit hard as an anvil. And them crossbowmen were no joke. In no time, Sergeant goes down. Brother Tome tries to cover him, and then he goes down. Seemed almost like he off’d himself. Magic maybe? Odd stuff.

So, me, Danica and Steile have the Dwergs all over us. The Corporal is covering us. Not sure what Wyvern and Leaora are up to. Maybe they and Dakota are fishing the dwarf out of the drink? I hear a lot of shouting.

Course, then a lucky hit and I’m seeing red. Missed the next bit. Just know I cleared out the Dwergs just in time to hear some bloke laughing from the shadows ahead. I couldn’t see em, but I could smell the Corruption. Then, the rumble started.

It sounded almost like thunder, but this thunder came with smoke, fire and lots of rocks. We were trapped on this side of the river with the whole bloody place coming down about our heads. It was a neat little trap, I can’t lie.

I mastered myself in enough time to see Danica screaming. The Sergeant and Brother Toma were down. No WAY they were getting across that chasm. Steile made the leap. No hero there. Danica would have died with me, so I scooped them up and hurled them. That’s when the rocks came down…

Dunno what happened next. Swore I saw a Unicorn. Probably just hit on the head by a rock. Next thing I know, I’m standing on the far side, head just spinning.

Danica’s screaming, the dwarf is coughing up black water. Wyvern is dying. What in the Abyss was going on.

Leoara starts screaming about a rope, so she and Danica throw out a line and we all grab on. I scoop up the Sergeant and Brother Toma. I nearly dropped them the ground shook so bad. We had to hurry, pieces of stone the size of a Mak Torkash’s hut were crashing down all around.

I could at least see. Most couldn’t. Not sure who was luckier. So, I held on and ran trusting the Elf to lead us free.

Out through the tunnels passed the piles of dry bone, out passed the webs, out of the caves into the exterior mine. It too was coming down. Like the whole world was exploding around us.

We ran, slipped and clawed over a carpet of bodies, men, horses, corpses and worse. All the while the walls around us tumbled like a child’s toy knocked over by a prat.

Finally, through the smoke and dust, we could see the exit. I dropped the rope and sprinted. So did everyone else. Coughing, covered in soot and blood we staggered drunkenly out of the rocks to fine a wall of men…with their backs turned.

No more than a hundred Olarans stood shields locked facing outward. Beyond them, a scene of nightmare. Flame creatures and undead tore at each other, and the Olarans in a grande, bloody free-for-all. The Commander, Lord Kelles, nor horse or helm stood grimly surveying the field.

He seemed surprised out our appearance. I was just about to drop the two when a horn sounded in the distance. Coming over the ridge that we had camped on just last night, another army appeared.

Small, but very well drilled, above them rose a standard, a Lightning bolt on a Midnight field…

Tempest…

It is a good day to die.

… to be continued …

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