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

Campaign Report 78
Black Snow

Lord Mayor, Colonel Baron Wolfhaven, Alexander
Commander of the Legio Heroes
Regional Command at Echer’Naught, Olara
Twenty Fifth Day of White Stagg, Year 3125 Under the Light

By the grace of Archanon, the lord of Light, and the agape of my lady, Celesia, the Silver Unicorn, I am renewed. Thank the Light.

Such time has passed in my absence I scarcely know where to begin. I suppose, as the great poets say, one must begin at the beginning. So for me, that beginning, is the end…

My last waking thoughts were far to the north in the White Silver Wolves encampment just north of Stonefinger Dwarven Clanhome. I was recently arrived, my column reaching the finely fortified encampment just seven days prior. Already we had engaged in a handful of skirmishes with the forces of Darkness as we scouted Shaya’Nor’s positions not far to the north.

Odd, I took little note of him at the time, as he was but one knight amid hundreds, but twelve months later I would find this same knight of the Crimson Wall among the Rangers of Echer’Naught’s Alpha Team. Fate is a curious thing. I think, at the time, I nodded to Sir Volstagg on some bloody field. I must remember to inquire what, if any, he remembers of me during those brief moments of violence.

At any rate, I was tired and saddle sore by the 33rd and lay down for some rest before that evening late night meeting. Rest, however, eluded me. I recall being beset by the most vivid and horrifying nightmare. Thought the details elude me, I do recollect a nightmarish scenario in which creatures more powerful than Tempest had all but conquered the lands, and most of the greatest heroes had long since fallen in a desperate war.

I vaguely remember that I was to lead a team, not of allies and heroes, but the greatest villains known to me, though I now could not tell you who. Somewhere, in the deepest recesses of my consciousness, a worry niggles…as if the dream were something more? Whatever the case, the events of the next few hours, and indeed months, have all but washed away any truth to be gleaned from one night’s lack of sleep.

I awoke, prepared, and joined my staff in the command tent to lay out plans for the defense of the Southern Kingdoms. New arrived, dwarves arrived, and an aevakar? I apologize, much of what happened next is but shadow and smoke.

A threat was made upon my life. Hardly new. But this news came with much urgency, and the deaths of at least two Rangers in the attempt to warn me. My Rangers took no chances and warded me well enough to stop the most determined assault upon my person.

Sadly, even that was insufficient. I must inquire as to whether we have yet determined WHAT manner the enemy used to fell me that night. I certainly have not even a shadow of an idea. All I know is that one moment, my men fussed about me, rushing to secure my personage, and the next…
…pain.

But not just of the physical form, though, there was such in abundance. Something so deep and so cold, it seared my very soul. My my screamed and I felt the chill hand of death clutching about my heart, my mind…I was not just dying, I was…falling into Darkness. Not falling, being pulled by some inexorable force…

And then a flash of light, so hot, sure pure… Not warm like the Light of Archanon, which feels almost like the kiss of a warm summer’s sun on your face. No, this was…harder, sharper, more…sidereal.

Then, there was nothing. But…not nothing…

I existed, and I was not alone. But I was not me, or not only myself. I was part of a chorus of voices, but more thought, emotion, all swirling. Like melting into a pond. At once me, and also everyone.

Time lost all meaning, as did space. There was no concern, for if there is no time, if you have all time, and none, what matter is to worry? No care, or pain. No, without feeling, nor feeling of bliss…just, an enduring contentment. A knowing.

Knowing. To know all, but to retain none. Imagine the entire flood of history sifting through your mind, like a sorcerer’s illusion. Seeing everything and everyone. All moment happening at once, but also, not.

Words fail. Some experiences go beyond the realm of language. Something must be, well, experience to be understood.

But there were voices, among the throng, that seemed louder, or stronger. Familiar voices, like those of my father and mother. Speaking kind words, loving words, proud words, I so long to remember… Sadly, that, along with almost everything else is gone now, faded even as I settle again into this…heavy form.

Still, there are things I do know. I know that Vainar has returned and that he is growing in strength. There are pieces of his designs that, even now, I can almost fathom. Just, what is endgame?

I know that my Rangers have suffered long in my service. I could feel their pain even there. Wherever there is. So much loss, so many fallen.

And yet, there was one voice conspicuously absent from that chorus. My friend, my brother in arms, sworn to my House, Rah-Sahn Hawksclaw was not among the dead. Of that, I am certain. Now, more than ever, I am determined to find him and bring him home.

But, those concerns were so far away that I was all but lost to wordly concerns when a voice, sweet and tender, whispered to me. Not a voice I knew, not the clarion sound of the Silver Unicorn, or the quite whisper of the Raven. No…this was something different, and older.

Druidess.

And then another voice, one from FAR distant…so faint, I almost missed it for the crowd, but this voice I knew. It trembled in fear, but not of self, of love…for…a child.

Ranger Afliem? But she was not of the dead.

And then I heard more screams, Rangers dying, explosions, the raucous and jarring clash of arms. In that final moment, between the here and there, that soft voice spoke again, “Go. Your task is yet done. Go Wolf and protect them.”

The next moment, pain, almost as searing as my death. My strength drained from my body. I felt suddenly weak, feeble, and oh so heavy. Meat, bone, sinew…such clumsy constructs. It felt almost like being squeezed into an overstuffed sausage.

And then the pain receded to a dull ache, in my bones, my knees, my back…

Light pieced my eyes as they opened, bursting with the light of a thousands suns…and yet, it was but a candle. I blinked away tears of pain, loss, and joy. I was alive, so. painfully. alive.

And then another voice, whispering from the shadows at the corners of my vision. “He is awake, tell the others.”

My mind swam. Others? Who awakes? Groggily, as the cobwebs of my mind cleared after months of ill use, I struggled to rise.

“Where…am…I?” I managed to croak through parched lips, raspy dry throat.

A figure appeared beside me, kneeling. “My Lord! You live?!”

Things began to align within my mind. I had been killed. I died. But, not?

In the the light of the candle I looked down to see my armored body, just where I expected it to be, no obvious wounds, no blood leaking from the seams of my armor.

“Where am I?” I demanded.

“Echer’Naught, my Lord, within the Temple of the Silver Unicorn. You have been..unresponsive for many months.”

Time finally began to speed up. “How long have I been…dead?”

More footsteps now, whispered voices. A doorway, a slightly less darker patch of shadows off to the side of the…was I lying on a stone slab. Then I understood, I was in a mausoleum.

Charming.

The Paladin kneeling before me considered. “Twelve months.”

I clutched my chest. Twelve MONTHS! How could that be possible…my family, my Rangers…the WAR?! I very nearly swooned, then I saw my hands…

Strong but aged. Thick veins, splotchy. The hands of an old man. “What happened…?”

The room shook. Dust most drifted to the floor. “We are under attack.” It was not a question.

Before, the kneeling Paladin nodded. “Yes sir, but you must re…”

“My Sword,” I ordered.

With a pained look, he nodded to the slab beside where I had lain. I could clearly see an outline of my body in the dust. And, right where my right arm had laid, my father’s sword.

“My Lord,” the Paladin protested, but I ignored him, staggering to my feet, I reached out and grasped the sword.

Power, thoughts, energy flooded through my body. Like a lightning bolt. Fatigue and pain washed away in an explosion of Light.

Like scales being ripped from my eyes, I could see the battle before me. Hordes of Darkness surrounding the walls of the Church…and elsewhere. And then, a familiar presence…once an ally…now a mortal foe who I personally abandoned to Darkness.

Through the flood of Light, I felt a gentle nudge against my knee. Looking down, I peered into the too blue eyes of Sasha, the Northern Wolf I had “acquired” during our march through the gathers to reach the White Silver Wolves encampment. I nodded.

Go, find the trees. Help the Druids. I don’t know how, but she seemed to comprehend and bounded out of the room, nearly toppling a handful of warriors clustered in the doorway.

“My horse…”

The Paladin rose. “Preparing now. We…”

Voices screamed in the night chill. Whispers in the Darkness. That voice, “You must go…”

I gripped my sword and strode for the doorway, not looking back. “Protect the Church, you must not let the enemy enter this Holy ground. I must stop the Lich.”

Behind me, I heard protests, but I had no time for discussions. Though a series of White Silver doors, up a set of stone steps, and ducking under a tapestry, I found myself in the deceptively small Chapel of the Silver Unicorn.

Outside, towering Trolls battered at the walls as a handful of defenders tried to push them away with flaming polearms. Where are were all the Paladins of Light?! Behind me, Silver Paladins appeared and rushed to the wall’s defense. I strode out and whistled for Thunder.

Barded and saddled, he skidded to a halt beside me. Mounting, I spurred him on and we surged forward, bounding up a stack of stone and leaping the wall. On the far side, we crushed a handful of undead as Thunder muscled his way through the enemy ranks and sprinted for High Town.

Cutting through Center Port, I noted a lone Ranger standing somewhat befuddled, wreathed in magical energy. He watched me as a I rode passed. Onward, I passed another group of Rangers battling a Troll outside a half destroyed Barracks.

Bloodied but unbowed, Thorgram Ramshorn stood before the beast, shield broken. I could see the rage in his eyes, but felt no hint of Flame. It would seem he, at least, has learned to tame the beast within. Another Ranger battle near him, though her face was a blur as I rode past.

My heart ached to stop, but my true foes stood before me and so long as they remained…

So on I rode, powering up the hill into High Towne, whose gates stood open. Guards battled a died. A line of Rangers struggled to cut through a group of Hobgoblins. Thunder bunched and leaped, clearing the heads of the Rangers and Troglanesh by a foot. My loyal mount. Even after all this time.

Hooves sparked as we hit the ground. Ahead of my I saw a desperate fight. One lone knight stood within a ring of zombies as he fought to protect something at his feet…

…and then I saw her. Ranger Ravenwod. Samira. Did she live? Duty compelled me to ride past…for my true target stood there.

Clad in full Black Iron Plate, cloak billowing in the wintry wind, black snow swirling about him as he strode through the blood and death…Mugin Von Dietrich.

I felt his power, radiating in cold waves, like the chill of an icy grave. He turned as I rode… But, there was a shimmer, behind him. Unseen, but felt. Clever. Von D was always the cleverest of us.

Flashing past, I brought my sword down in the space behind Von D, and steel met flesh as I cleaved the Necromancer Warlock in half. Kill the caster, Kills the spell.

I felt Von D’s defenses drop as the Warlock’s spells faltered with his dying breath. Even so, Von D had far surpassed himself in power since last we met. I wheeled and struck, a glancing blow which staggered, but did not fell the Undead Champion.

Spinning Thunder, I threw myself at Von D. His sword was quicker, raking me across the ribs. Pain exploded, but I pushed on, bringing my sword down hard, punching through his armor. This blow staggered him. Lighting, from the Tempest curse ripped through him.

Leaping free, I raised my blade. “I release you, my friend.” I slashed and severed undead Von D’s head from his body. Then, reversing, I stabbed downward, piercing his body. Channeling all the newfound power through the blade, I summoned the power of the Silver Unicorn to smite and banish the corrupted abomination before me.

The corpse exploded.

I could feel him fading, being consumed by the same Darkness which sought to claim me. With every fiber I reached out, grasping…and felt him…the true Von Dietrich…my friend. I felt his soul burn bright, then ascend. In my mind, my soul I heard his voice, free of Darkness… “Protect the child.” And then, he was gone, passing into the next life.

Releasing the power, feeling like a blast of energy, I turned to see a battle in chaos. Black snow drifted down, Rangers battle everywhere. Darkness threatened to consume all.

Reaching out with my mind, I called upon Eris Moonsilver, hoping that she could feel me, connect…but I heard nothing but silence…

A strange power, like static in the air, seemed to cloud my thoughts, like a faint but persistent buzzing. Powerful, too powerful to be accidental.

No Battle Net. The enemy came prepared. Curse Vainar!

Turning, I raised my voice so that all Rangers could hear me and take heart. “Follow me, my Rangers.” I said, hoping that my return my offer some small encouragement.

First, the battle at hand. Leaping again upon Thunder, we rode down the zombies threatening to devouring Corporal Ravenwood and this young knight. Thank Archanon and the Silver Unicorn, she was alive, and fighting. She felled 2 or 3. I know the knight, Galean by heraldry, Ranger by cloak, handled himself well.

That handled, Thunder and I rode down the last of the Troglanesh holding back reinforcements. I was at this point that I saw Sir Volstagg standing with the Rangers, his chest plate cracked, his cloak in tatters, a Ranger nonetheless.

There was Thorgram, looking somewhat stunned. Likely at my arrival. At least, that was the assumption. Arrows rang off my armor. The fight was far from over.

Forces of Darkness were overrunning the Sacred Grove, where I had sent Sasha, the militia and townsfolk were fighting losing holding actions at the Muster Grounds and the new housing blocks in Low Town. The Regional and Local Headquarters were under assault. Adepts were blocking Eris from establishing any semblance of communication…

…and worst of all, Von D’s older brother, the Lich of OUR making, stood atop the tower weaving the Darkest of spells. I ordered Corporal Ravenwood to take her team to support the Town, picking up what support she could on the way.

Thorgam began protesting, then speaking nonesense, then hugged me. I embraced him back. My stalwart defender. He will never know the sense of relief I felt knowing that he still stood in defense of my Rangers.

Then, I wheeled Thunder and galloped for the Regional HQ. Behind me, I could hear Thorgram protesting, but his voice was lost in the howl of the wind, the rasp of my own breath in my helm, and thunder of Thunder’s hooves.

We had all but reached the HQ, when I pulled up short to see Sir Halten leading a wedge of Olaran knights as they cleared the streets. I saluted, though I might of cause him to misstep and almost take a fatal blow. Still, it heartened me to know that he was on had to secure High Towne.

Werewolves scrabbled up the walls, Trolls battered at the gates while Shayakar on rooftops laid down a deadly fire on the Ranger defenders. Coming from behind, and unawares, I charged the forces at the gate, scattering them, then summoned the Power of the Unicorn I teleported to the far side MUCH to the shock of the Ranger defenders.

One young trainee actually shot me. Fortunately, his arrow had little effect. The two MOST shocked at my sudden arrival were Celebor, Captain? there’s a story, and Sergeant Alystar. Both nearly died from shock. More, they nearly died because they stopped to stare.

With no time, I shouted to Celebor that Adepts were targeting Eris and they needed to be dealt with. Also, that Alpha Team was headed into Middle Town to reinforce defenders there. He shouted something particularly unflattering back, but duty compelled me to ride on.

Through the scramble of Ranger defenders, through the hail of arrows I rode for the Beacon Tower. Dismounting, I kicked open the door and started to ascend. Whatever power was sustaining me began to flag as I charged up the tower.

Rangers at the lower floors moved aside at my passing, but by the fifth platform, all I found were the dead and undead. Fighting through, I forced myself to the peak.

What defenders had been on post when Darkness attacked, now were slain. Most had been turned into mindless Zombies, a few had been used to fuel the profane ritual now being cast by the elder Von D.

Hovering above the beacon, he hung there, snow swirling around him, black robes flapping. Laughing, he ignored my presences as if I were but an insect while he continued to chant and gesture. Overhead the black clouds swirled with malice.

He was protected by the same spells that Von D had used, but the Lich required no other to fuel his magic. With me was but my sword, long though it may be, the Lich was far to high to reach. I considered, for a moment, going back down in search of a bow, but what good would it do?

Celebor perhaps, Samira certainly could make that shot. But I am but a cavalryman and poor archer. Casting about desperately, I was very nearly despair when I noted the Beacon. Beside it, a young man, face pale in death, lay, his hands still clutching the ever burning torch that would light the signal fire.

Even in death, the Lamplighters continue to defend their city. The first defenders and the very last line. Ignored by the Lich, I snatched the torch and hurled it onto the pitch soaked beacon. From one heartbeat the next, the fire roared to life, blasting high into the sky with a searing heat, and catching that flying fiend in a column of pure, white fire.

He screamed. It would seem I now had his attention. Concentration momentarily shattered, he slammed to the earth…well within range of my blade.

I charged hoping to catch him stunned, but he merely raised a hand and blasted me clear across the tower. I skidded across icy stone, by armor sparking as I crashed into the far ramparts.

Wreathed in hellish smoke, eyes burning green with hate, the Lich rose to its feet and glided toward me. Pale, clammy skin stretched taut in a rictus smile, the creature raised it hands and unleashed an onslaugh of black bolts of energy so cold it burned.

On the night air I could hear his hoarse mirthless laughter. Rising to a knee, I fought with all my strength against the sheer power of his attack. It felt as if I were battling to lift the entire tower…

…but somehow I gritted my teeth and staggered to my feet. Inch my inch I closed to distance between us even as my tabard, cloak and skin where savaged to ribbons.

Almost…

…finally, I was just in reach. Surging forward I swung hard. My blade slammed into his side, hard, but rather than soft flesh the blade rebounded as if I had just tried to bisect an anvil. Black smoke coiled and wreathed his body.

He rasped another laugh at my expense…then clenched his fist. Pain exploded in my chest and I was driven to my knees. He twisted his hand and I felt my heart being ripped from my chest.

In short order I experienced the THIRD most excruciating pain of my life. In that moment, I pondered if there were, in fact, some profound truth in the sum total of my most recent, to me, experiences being of pain and suffering.

I tasted copper and coughed, splattering the icy stones with bright red blood. Over the sound of my own heartbeat racing, I could hear his voice, dripping with scorn. “You will make a find servant.” And then he jerk his hand up, and I was lifted off the ground my chest collapsed within my armor…

My vision dimmed as I felt the life being, literally, crushed from me. Focusing on the two green, glowing points swimming in front of me, I summoned the last of my strength, called upon the Unicorn and stepped…

The sound of ripping was…sickening. I may never really know, but at that moment I was CONVINCED that he had just ripped out my heart. Nevertheless, I appeared behind him and had just enough life left to make the swing.

Archanon and the Silver Unicorn were with me. My blade caught him from behind, piecing his armor as lighting from a sudden storm blasted him where he stood. My vision swam and, I fear, I blacked out.

How long I was out, I cannot say. Minutes, days, hours? Truth be told, since my return, what, a hour before, my sense of date and time was still fuddled.

All I know is that I jerked awake, rain pelting my face. I could smell Tempest on the winds. Samira… So another has learned to use their powers. My Rangers have certainly come far in this last year.

The pain in my chest quickly subsided, so I grabbed my sword and started to rise again. From across the top of the tower, I heard the rustle of cloth and the clink of masonry shifting. Quickly, I sprinted over, slipping on the wet, and icy stones.

Rounding the quickly dying beacon, I skidded to a stop just in time to avoid being blasted off the tower by another volley of black bolts. It would appear Lich’s are as notoriously difficult to slay as reported. Like my own, his wounds appeared to be healing quickly, though, I could feel his power waning.

Ravenwood’s Storm, with all the energy spent on the ritual…and my small contributions had sapped much of the foul creatures power. He was growing fatigued. I, however, was not.

I launched at him, pressing the attack. He surprised me. I would not expect a caster of any kind to be so well versed in combat, but he handled his Black Iron staff as well as any warrior I have faced. Back and forth we battled, but his strength comes from Darkness and vile magics.

Mine, comes from Light, the Silver Unicorn, and the strength of my brothers and sisters. Blow for blow, bolt of bolt, his attacks grew weaker by increments, while I drew deeper and deeper upon the power within.

Again, I know not how long the contest lasted, but with a final blow I dashed him to the floor. It lay there a moment, glaring up at me. Then, with but a whisper summoned a portal, an Ebonway, like a pool of infinite blackness directly behind him.

I struck a heartbeat too late. He was gone, but striking the Ebonway had a gratifying effect as it exploded into smoke and with that, his power was broken, his profane ritual disrupted. Suddenly weary, I crossed to the east battlement and looked out over my city.

Battles yet raged, but I could see Rangers, knights, guards and citizens all banding together, pushing back Darkness step by step, inch by inch. Stepping up on the wall, I raised my father’s sword high into the air, letting its light shine like a beacon and shouted the one word that would stir my city, and strike a blow to the very heart of the enemy.

VICTORY!

Better than I could have hoped, enemy forces began and immediate, but rather coordinated retreat. Apparently Von D had planned for all contingencies. Had he even predicted my return? Who knows what other secrets he revealed to the enemy during his time as their slave.

I fear it may be quite some time before we truly realize the full extend of this attack. For I fear, that rather than a random raid, this coordinated battle had much more tangible purposes. What those may, or may not be, I hope time will tell.

Nevertheless, with their Lich and Champion vanquished, the lead elements of Darkness retreated leaving behind hordes of undead to secure their withdrawal. I retraced my steps back down the tower, as quickly as I could, though admittedly, slower than my ascent. Reaching the ground floor, I joined the Rangers in securing the Regional HQ.

Celebor, as ordered, had gone hunting the Adepts and Alystar was focused on defending the most critical guests of the manor. It took some time, but High Towne was cleared. I left Sir Halten in charge, after a few brief words exchanged.

Commander Schenkle had the middle of the city well buttoned, so I rode into Low Town to offer my assistance there. Most of the rest of the night was spent in fierce street to street fighting with Undead and a few Shayakar Nightguard left behind to achieve some vital missions.

By an hour before dawn, I found myself at the Local Headquaters, that small warehouse which now had grown in size and number of Rangers. Most of the command staff was in the field, so I lent my expertise organizing relief efforts and triage for the wounded.

They tore through our potions and elixirs before I even arrived. Most of the Priests and Druids were far too exhausted to do much more than offer words of comfort, so we switched more more mundane methods of treatment.

I do not know if this is comforting or not, but being there, on the ground, organizing my force had a strange sense of rightness. There was no confusion or panic, even amid the chaos. One battle is more or less like another.

An hour or so after dawn, who should drift into the the HQ, but Corporal Ravenwood and the rest of Alpha Team. They looked tired, bloodied, but triumphant. Seeing me, again, was something of a shock.

I feared the might be running on courage alone, so bade them sit and drink. Hawkclaw’s young sister had arrived once most of the fighting had died to help. She proffered drink for the team, and I took a brief moment to rest with them.

So many questions, so many expressions and emotions at once. I greeted Volstagg like an old friend. For the rest, I tried to explain what had happened, but we were all tired. In time, I will put their minds at east to the best of my limited ability.

Beside Volstagg was a man, an Olaran who seemed to be struggling to place me. When he did, however, he immediately pledge himself to my service. I accepted his oath on the spot. However, I will need to make that legal as soon as I am able. Whenever my status in the city is determined. After all, I did, in fact, perish.

But, there was one piece of information that, even as the knowledge of my experiences beyond faded, I held, clutching with all the strength within.

“Hawksclaw is alive,” I said, “I don’t know where. I don’t know when. But we will find him and bring him home.”

Those that understood looked understandably stunned. As for the rest, they will learn. However, I also explained that things would likely be confusing for a while considering my status within the Rangers, in fact, my status as a legal citizen was in question considering my recent circumstances.

No sooner had I made the statement then the door behind me burst open and a very bloody and very pissed Celebor appeared as if summoned. He stormed up to me, shouted me down and called me some rather inappropriate things, then threatened to quit if I did not immediately assume command of Echer’Naught and relieve him of command.

Stunned, and concerned he might ACTUALLY quit, I relieved Captain Celebor of Command. This being on the 25th of White Stagg, 3125, the day after I returned from the grave.

Then, he shouted something about tracking down a lost goat on the Everwall, said he would see us again in 10-15 years and stormed out. I actually believe he is serious?!

Well, now officially in charge, I had a duty to assume command as someone would need to organize the unmitigated chaos that follow any such battle. Corporal Ravenwood bade me rest, but, truth told, I felt fine…other than being a 50+ year old man… ascended my knees!

I was about to leave, when the young sworn, Amaroth, pointed out that I required an escort as the rules, I had written, stipulated that no Rangers were to travel alone. Good man. He will be a fine addition to the Wolfhaven House.

Thanking him profusely, I invited a nearby Trainee to escort me. I do believe the young man may have wet himself. But, he tagged along.

I was…almost out when Corporal caught me. In a quite voice she explained the situation with her husband. My heart warms to know that she has found a life and partner. Despite his former allegiance, Anaxelum is a good man. Still, it is criminal how he has been treated. That, I must ruminate upon.

But first, I must report to duty. Put to rights my command. And then…I have a Lady to see…

Light but I have missed her. Even in death, hers was my own regret…

My heart would have me abandon all other pursuits and ride to her side, but honor compels me otherwise.

So much to do…and then, Vainar.

Always Vainar.

Your most obedient servant,

Lord Mayor Wolfhaven, Colonel

Regional Command at Echer’Naught, Olara

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Rogue Faction Play Three
Winter 3126
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Campaign Report 77
Peace and Betrayal, Part Two

Malcolm Report, Part Two

Harvest Moons 29th, 3125

So many questions left unanswered. So many…moments. But, life is but moments. Fleeting motes of time that we grasp, then let slip through our fingers. Sadly, I am not paid to wax poetic. I am only paid to record and file.

At the conclusion of my last report, Harvest Moons 2nd, 3125 the day began in the Abyss. Smoke, fire, and blood rained down across middletown. Smoke and fire from the arcfire blast, blood from my brother Rangers.

The previous night, before or after the 13th hour, Anaxelum Regillus, currently in Ranger custody, “went crazy” screaming about Corporal Ravenwood and a Ranger team in imminent danger. He then, proceeded to rip the ironwood door out of the stone wall and threatened to “report directly to Captain Celebor” if his message was not immediately delivered.

He did not offer further resistance and was placed under heavy armed guard.

Celebor arrived on scene while Lady Eris Moonsilver was informed of the situation and alerted to contact Corporal Ravenwood to determine the veracity of Citizen Regillus’ claims.

I was awakened to facilitate coordination with Ranger units as Captain Celebor called up all active duty and emergency teams to a rally point at Regional HQ. Fast response teams were active within minutes.

Lady Eris Moonsilver established a Battle Net and confirmed that Corporal Ravenwood was approaching a warehouse in Middle Town and that four Rangers, RFC Ironblood, Rangers Zulcrum, Afliem, and Kura were engaged with enemy forces and required immediate assistance.

Lady Moonsilver was unable to contact the Rangers inside to provide further intelligence about situation. So, with a potential invasion situation, Captain Celebor used Corporal Ravenwoods position, relayed via Lady Moonsilver, to coordinate fast response teams.

First teams on the ground reported arcfire weapons exchanges. Captain authorized full mobilization, stand by, reserve, off-rotation, he called up all Rangers, sending in teams to secure the area around the warehouse and pull out our men inside.

We were nearly fully mobilized when Ranger Nazir spotted lurkers around the warehouse holding back at least two blocks away. Something in their demeanor alerted her to danger. She shouted a warning to Lady Moonsilver who immediately recalled all Rangers from the warehouse. Without the alert, everyone inside the warehouse would have been killed.

As it is, we lost 27 Rangers killed, another 13 severely wounded requiring immediate medical attention. Those counts did not come for hours. Medical teams pulled the last bodies out of the rubble 12 hours after the explosion.

When the explosion happened, we lost all contact with teams on the ground. Even Lady Moonsilver was overwhelmed by the backlash. It was nearly an hour before we were able to determine if the Captain, who was inside the warehouse at the time had survived. All available teams were pulled back to forma perimeter and to sweep the area for the “lurkers”.

Whoever Ranger Nazatir had seen, were gone by the time the dust settled from the explosion. We must assume they were spotters, or enemy agents. We made a full sweep of the area, only frightened civilians and Rangers.

The blast was seen and heard across the city. Captain Vasser arrived with City Guard units. Even Commander Schenkle arrived with full time soldiers from the milita. Relief operations were initially under command of Captain Vasser until Captain Celebor staggered out of the smoke, waved off healing, and assumed command.

Once some semblance of order was made of the situation on the ground, I was tasked with discovering which operation had gone so horribly wrong. Since the Captain was unaware of any active operations which would involve this warehouse, the assumption was that it was either off-book, or lost in the shuffle. The more I researched, the more I came to fear that the four Rangers of Alpha team were engaged in an unsanctioned mission.

Relaying that information to the Captain, I was ordered to write detention orders for Sergeant Amelia Whitestone, Corporal Samira Ravenwood, RFC Rysak Ironblood, and Rangers Thomas Zulcrum, and Dakota Afliem. Security teams under command of Chief Investigator Lieutenant Barand. The Lieutenant and a Ranger Adept conducted interrogations with the Rangers involved, beginning with Sgt. Whitestone. During her interrogation, a new order was sent requesting detention orders for Ranger Gunthur Volstagg.

By mid-morning, most of Alpha team was waiting interrogation, with the exceptions of Corporal Sarin Silverfeather working healing at ground zero, RFC Thorgram Ramshorn and Ranger Audric Amaroth worked security at the sight. I was in my office overseeing coordination efforts when a casualty report crossed my desk.

Ranger Kura’Kai Afliem was confirmed killed in action, his neck pierced by a Ranger arrow, his body then blown nearly apart by the subsequent explosion.

The interrogations took most of the day. I am not privy to all the details, but what has been released is…telling.

Due to frustration at the apparent lack of action on the part of the Ranger Corps in regards to the multitude of threats against the city, Ranger Dakota Afliem approached RFC Ironblood about engaging in an intelligence gathering mission to find those responsible for the atrocities in the city. RFC Ironblood agreed. He in turn recruited Ranger Zulcrum who maintains contacts in the city from his time in the Guard. Ranger Afliem recruited her husband, Kura’Kai.

At the time of this agreement, Rangers were still barred from engaging in any unauthorized operations, including intelligence gathering missions.

Not much came of this operation, though on at least three occasions Ranger Afliem approached Ranger Volstagg. According to Ranger Afliem and Ranger Volstagg, he was unaware of the extent of the operation or the conspiracy to defy orders. Though, he approached Sergeant Whitestone with suspicious of illegal activities, yet failed to report on his fellow Rangers.

I believe it was the attack on the Thieves Guild Headquarters which altered the situation. At the very least, it pushed the conspiracy to more reckless action. After the attack, however, the Rangers changed their stance on independent intelligence operations. In meetings both with Captain Celebor and with Sgt Whitestone, Rangers of Alpha team were informed that they would be permitted to gather intelligence from local sources, but would not be allowed to any direct action.

This, effectively, authorized the previous activities of the conspiracy. Had they stopped there, even had their efforts been discovered, they were tacitly in keeping with their orders.

We know that sometime during the 1st of Harvest Moons a local citizen approached Ranger Zulcrum with information regarding a high level meeting of criminals happening in a warehouse that evening. During his interrogation, Ranger Zulcum offered a description of the citizen who provided the information. The man’s body was discovered by Ranger patrols four days later, on the 5th of Harvest Moons, murdered by a knife through the heart.

That afternoon, the conspirators gathered to plan their action. All conspirators agree that Ranger Afliem had second thoughts and attempted to convince the others to take their evidence to Sergeant Whitestone. At this point, RFC Ironblood took command of the conspirators, ordered no one to speak to the Rangers and planned a raid on the warehouse that evening, on the 1st of Harvest Moons.

The conspirators removed their cloaks, and made their way to the warehouse. Outside, they spotted sentries disguised as vagrants. Without sufficient forces to take the warehouse by force, the conspirators elected to sneak into the warehouse through a roof access. They found a meeting of half a dozen men in a central “office” protected by six patrolling arclancers.

The plan was for RFC Ironblood and Ranger Afliem to cover Rangers Zulcrum and Kura’Kai’s assault on the office. The plan failed before it was begun. Halfway to the office, Ranger Kura cut Ranger Zulcrim from behind. He then turned and charged RFC Ironblood, taking him down quickly. Arclancers opened up and in the crossfire, Ranger Alfiem went down.

It was at this moment that Corporal Ravenwood arrived through the same roof access the conspirators had used. Seeing Ranger Kura’Kai about to execute his own wife, she fired an arrow, felling him. Then, she attempted to provide cover as Captain Celebor’s reinforcements began to arrive.

We have only her word as to how she came to know of the plot as all conspirators confirmed that she was never approached. It would appear that she was in bed, early on the 2nd of Harvest Moons (or late eve on the 1st), she was awoken by a Ranger messenger who informed her that “someone” wished to speak with her.

Why Corporal Ravenwood would willingly leave her home in the middle of the night to meet with a stranger is a matter of debate. However, as the messenger was a Ranger, she followed orders.

It would appear that the meeting was NOT a sanctioned Ranger appointment and, rather, a man representing “concerned citizens” informed her that at that moment a group of Rangers was entering a warehouse on information to raid a high level criminal meeting, but that the entire event was a trap. With no time to return to the Rangers with this information she “contact” her husband who was still in his cell, and ran immediately to protect her team at the warehouse. And so she arrived in time to prevent Kura’Kai from killing his wife and team.

This all brings us back to the beginning. Citizen Regillus alerting the Rangers of the danger and Captain Celebor sending Rangers into the warehouse.

A complicated plot to be sure. Further complicated by the fact that, this concerned citizen does not appear to exist. His description, his identity is a complete mystery. Worse, half of Ranger Kura’Kai’s mask was discovered broken and charred in the rubble. However, both Lieutenant Barand’s adept and Corporal Silverfeather both agreed that the mask found, the one Kura wore into battle, was a fake. Every effort both mundane and magical was employed to locate the true mask. To no avail.

Even Lady Moonsilver was tasked on the 3rd to track it with Corporal Silverfeathers assistance. All efforts failed. Mystery piled upon mystery.

On the 5th of Harvest Moons, I wrote orders for the arrest of RFC Ironblood, and Rangers Zulcrum and Afliem. They were taken into custody in Ranger detention to await court martial. Trial date was set for the 11th of Harvest Moons.

Advocate Evanor Qularian was appointed to speak for the accused. An Eldakar, newly from Kythros, I conducted a quiet review of his resume and could find no fault with his credentials. Despite their actions, they will receive the best representation possible. Well, other than, perhaps, Evoran. But, we cannot always have miracles.

On the 11th of Harvest Moons, 3125, I attended the formal Court Marshal of RFC Ironblood, and Rangers Zulcrum and Afliem. Few others were in attendance. The remainder of their team, Captain Celebor, a handful of Rangers, and the Royal Sheriff, Sir Halten. It was presided over by a Col. Ashford, a Major Karlax, and a Captain Gissold, all representatives from Kythros.

I note that these were the very same men who attempted to extradite citizen Regillus to Kythros after his capture during the Tempest battle. Seeing those three on the bench did not instill me with great confidence for the fates of the Rangers on the stand. Still…

Advocate Qularian entered a plea of guilty for all parties. It seemed they were not going to fight the court’s justice. Just as well.

Without much deliberation, the Court Marshal sentence each of the accused to two years incarceration in Kythros. RFC Ironblood and Ranger Zulcrum were to be remanded immediately. Ranger Afliem was allowed to remain, turned over to custody of the Sacred Grove to tend to her daughter until the child was old enough to survive without her mother. I see High Druidess Treesinger’s hand in this.

But, if half the rumors about the child are true…

Thomas and Rysak were led out in chains. Druids arrived and quickly shuffled out with Dakota. Sergeant Whitestone, in her finest dress simply sat, stone faced, lost in thought.

As I left, I noted that Sir Halten and Ranger Volstagg having a private word. The two had grown close, so I thought nothing of it at the time. I should have known better in Echer’Naught.

Then came the hard part. I was unable to release any “evidence” until after the court marshal which included Kura’Kai’s remains and belongings. As soon as the trial concluded, I sent word to those closes to Kura to attend a private Last Call for him. It pained me that Dakota would miss her own husbands funeral, but she chose her actions. He his.

We met that night, on the 11th. Sokolov was kind enough to rent out the entire Wayfarer’s rest for a very reasonable rate. I only invited a few guests as I paid for the affair out of pocket. I admit, I was upset to see Thorgram arrive with so many uninvited guests, but I suppose we all grieve in our own way.

I tried to speak. Failed miserably. Others spoke more eloquently. Ranger Amaroth gave quite the rouser, starling Thorgram’s flock of sycophants with a Kura Kai! warcry. Last to speak was Sergeant Whitestone who arrived late. She spoke well, as a soldier. Honored her fallen and then left.

I worry for her. More for what came later. But, I get ahead of myself.

Kura’Kau’s ashes will be held for his daughter until she is old enough to choose how they will be handled. And, since we do not know his religious practices, if any, no real funeral was held. Though, I asked a priest to say prayers for him on the following morning in a very very private ceremony.

Late on the 14th of Harvest Moons I was asked to write a bizarre set of orders. The remaining members of Alpha team were being sent on a “team building” exercise somewhere on the Wildlands border…

As I understand, they met on the 15th, the following morning, and Sergeant Whitestone gave them the odd news. En mass, the team agreed and headed out to the camp on the morning of the 16th of Harvest Moons, 3125.

I know it was a two day trek and they arrived on the 19th of Harvest Moons. I know that the leader of the camp was a Dregordian adept known as Sssvaren ran the camp which specialized in treating crippling wounds, physical, spiritual, and psychological. He assigned the daily “exercises” such as they were.

On day one, the 20th, he organized a hike that only Corporals Ravenwood and Silverfeather attended.

On day two, the 21st, they were tasked with “going to a warehouse.” In truth, from reports, it was a logic puzzle which forced the team to choose between failure or sacrificing one of their own? I am confused as to the details.

On day three, the 22nd, they were sent on an errand for Sssvaren to a neighboring town to get his tea herbs???

On day four, the 23rd, they were sent to over a few hills to a sacred spring to bring back water. As it turns out, the task was impossible to complete. Thought they stayed until the 24th trying to complete it.

On day five, the 25th, they were allowed to return home after answering two question, “Who are you?”, and “What do you fear.”

And that was it…

I will note that during most of their tasks, save for fetching the herbs, the party ended up split. On the first task, most of the party simply ignored. The barn/warehouse required one to be left behind and they chose Ranger Amaroth. Odd, though, at the spring, Corporal Silverfeather abandoned his team to sleep at the base of the hill rather.

Perhaps that is the lesson? That they continue, even after the loss of their comrades to work together? I fear it will only get worse.

By the 28th of Harvest Moons, the team arrived in Echer’Naught to be assigned light duties. I had my hand full. While gone, I processed paperwork transferring citizen Regillus to Olaran custody, specifically that of Sir Halten.

His connection to Corporal Ravenwood made them both a massive security breach and the Rangers felt that the Olarans would have more “latitude” in ensuring operational security. Meaning, I gather, if he causes a problem the Olarans would not hesitate to execute him.

I am not privy to the means by which they plan to sever the mental connection between Corporal Ravenwood and her husband, but knowing now HOW it was created, I am concerned for them both. Loss after loss. Not only is her husband in prison, now, because she wished to save her friends who had betrayed her, she lost him all over again. No legal gymnastics could prevent this.

Worse and worse, after years of a spotless record, I authorized a written reprimand for Lady Eris Moonsilver who performed the ritual that bound Samira and Anaxelum. So many people hurt. So much loss. I understand that her Guild is revering her Bond to determine if she violated the terms of her contract with the Rangers. If they rule against her…we may lose Eris too.

And things only got worse. On my desk was an official request from the Olaran crown requesting that Sir Halten be placed in charge of a “joint task force” of members selected by the Sheriff to “deal with the continuing crisis in Echer’Naught.” Not even then did I put it together with Ranger Volstagg…not until the following morning.

On the 29th of Harvest Moons, a bitterly cold day, I was called into Captain Celebor’s office for a meeting. There, I was joined by the Captain, Sir Halten, Sergeant Whitestone, and Rangers Volstagg and Amaroth. Only then did I begin to see the Sheriff’s brilliant maneuver.

He formally request approval of his proposal for the task force. Given the grievous losses and the current climate within the Rangers, Captain Celebor demurred. His rationale was that the timing was not right. He hoped to get his own house in order before having his authority undermined.

And then Sir Halten played his trump card. Sir Volstagg stepped forward to endorse the plan. With Rangers support, if Captain Celebor denied the request, Sir Halten would have all the leverage he would need to show that the Ranger command no longer spoke for the best interest of its own members. Certainly, we could fight the Olarans, but to what end?

In a last attempt, Captain Celebor asked Sergeant Whitestone if she considered such a drastic shift in command to be appropriate at this time. All she said, in typical Olaran stoicism, is that she followed orders. If these were her orders, so be it. Crestfallen, Captain Celebor ceded Ranger authority to a visibly giddy Sir Halten.

After they all left, Sergeant Whitestone fuming, Sir Halten actually whistling, I noted Celebor slumped in his oversize chair, head in hands. Out the open door, Whitestone stalked away, Volstagg and Amaroth sauntered off together and Sir Halten…began preparations.

As for me, I returned to my small desk and stared at the mountains of paperwork stacked around me. What was it all for?! Was it worth the price?!

The irony is that after examining the bodies of the “merchants” killed in the explosion, we have confirmed that no fewer than two have confirmed links to Red Store. So, the conspirators were right about the meeting. This information, couples with the staggering amounts of Arcfire, all-but certifies that they DID raid a high level meeting of criminal operatives. The sad part, if they had approached command there is every likelihood that our enemies, who have certainly compromised our ranks, would have learned and alerted the perpetrators. At the very least, the meeting would have been cancelled and we would have lost the opportunity.

And yet, what have we gained?! So, we killed three criminals. That hardly stops crime in Echer’Naught! And with them all dead, we have no new leads. So…we gain, in essence, NOTHING!

But the price…

Captain Celebor is badly wounded, worse, the blow to his command is such that I fear he may simply resign from the Rangers rather than continue.

I know that Sergeant Whitestone’s request for transfer have been denied. As an Olaran, I can almost guarantee that her resignation is not far behind.

Ranger Kura’Kai Afliem is dead, and with him, Toma’s Mask is gone, so, in effect, we lost two Rangers.

And, now three Rangers are in prison, and Dakota’s daughter has lost a father, and will lose her mother during her most formative years.

Then, there are the 27 Rangers KIA whose names I am sorely tempted to list. Thirteen had spouses, 11 had children. One had just mustered out that night…he was celebrating his 11 year tenure in the Rangers when the call went up. He didn’t even have to go. But instinct, loyalty, and training.

Corporal Ravenwood was forced to fire, again, on a comrade and this time kill them. And, now, her husband has been locked away in some Olaran secret prison for magic users.

Lady Eris Moonsilver MAY just lose her Farspeaker’s bond over this, and with it, her career, reputation, and position within the Ranger organization.

What of the remains of the team? Thorgram will take this hard, more the loss of Toma’s mask. And Volstagg is now Sir Halten’s man. I’m not sure if the Rangers, or Whitestone can trust him anymore? I suppose Audric, Sarin, and Leora are going to be alright. Ranger Leora Nazir is in for promotion for her part in the peace talks between the Elves and the Olarans. So, one small bright spot.

All of this, all the death, all the loss, all the broken trust, and shattered friendships…

…to kill a dozen men who may, or may not, have been key players.

Evoran help me.

Malcolm

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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

View
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

View
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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Rogue Faction Play Two
Fall 3125
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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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