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

Campaign Report 67
Battle in the mist

Kura’Kai Report
30th day of Eternal Sun, Year 3125

This is my report

I have had the greatest day of my life! Had I known Rangers had such battles I might have joined years ago.

Strange, my companions found little fun in our glorious battle. Southlanders. I will never understand these people.

The battle began almost as I was concluding my previous report. As I put away my parchment I noted a sudden darkening of the skies. Sundown was at least half a turn of the glass away, so this was odd. More strange yet, mist began to coil about my legs.

We were under ATTACK!

My band seemed slow to respond. They were still talking about rocks. By the ancestors. I was considering shouting a warning when I found myself standing in a cloud. At least, I assume that is what it would be like. I am an orc. I don’t fly.

Maybe I’ll ask the winged elf. Come to think, where is he. I have not seen him around. Strange.

As I stood in the mist, enjoying the feeling, I began to smell the cold, rotten stench of death and corruption. We were definitely under attack.

My soul soared!

Gripping my chucktar, I planted my feet and waited for the strike that herald the bloodletting. Around me, I began to hear muffled sounds of combat as creatures of undeath engaged my band. I am ashamed to say that I felt a pang of jealousy hearing their screams. How fortunate to be the first struck.

Fortune smiled, I was quickly engaged by Trogolodyte by its putrid scent of sweat, corruption and boiled leather with a hint of cold, coppery metallic accents. It was a familiar stench.

Almost the instant I detected its presence, I felt the air caress my cheek as his axe blade nearly separated my head from my shoulders. Death had never been so close! Finally, some entertainment.

I unleashed my battle cry “KURA’KAI!”, and counter attacked. Maybe it is the southlands themselves, with their weak people, and lush, bountiful fields. The Troglanesh here seem somehow…weaker and more pathetic than those of my own lands. It was felled by a single blow.

Disappointing, but I had my first kill of the day. Actually, first of the month, I think. Well, at least many weeks.
Around me, I smelled blood, fear, sweat and undead. I think my allies were bleeding, sweating, and fearing. Can undead sweat? I shall ask the Sergeant. He is full of useless knowledge.

I stray. Nearby, I could make out the sound of the Sergeant and the not so quiet man engaged in battle. The Sergeant is easy to find. He makes the most feminine sounds in battle. That, and his constant muttering arcane gibberish. The not so quiet man is harder. He doesn’t say much. But, we have only two human males, and one smells like a winery.

No booze, no drunk.

So, my foe in pieces at my feet, I leaped to the Sergeant and swung wildly at the foes around us. I only ever faced a Wraith once before, but I was blessed by our shaman then. Apparently you need magic to kill Wraiths…and Specters.

That is something I must fix.

Though I could not see the others, I do recall the scent of flowers. Not sure about that one.

While I vainly battled the Wraith, the not so quiet one to grazed by the creature and decided to take a nap. We had been walking a long time, though I’m not sure that the middle of battle is the best time for a sleep. Anyway, he slept very soundly.

I felt so sorry for him. He missed the entire battle and claimed no kills for himself. Maybe, I could round up some undead so that he could get in practice?

At some point, Danica arrived. I know because she smells of woman and steel. I like it. She was battling too. I think that she and the Sergeant switched dance partners. Or maybe the Specter was too much for the Mage? Either way, I could hear, even over the clash of weapons that the thing had caught her up in its deathly grasp.
Once saw an Orc get sucked down to a husk by one of them things. Horrible way to go. Bout this time, the Sergeant lost his courage, again, and ordered us to flee with tails tucked.

Truly sad.

Not so quiet man was on the ground, but the Sergeant was groping vainly to find him. Danica’s pleasant bouquet was close. Only way to get away from of those things is by force, so I took a running leap and followed my nose.

Danica is surprisingly hard for a human woman. Stout. Heavy. I like that.

We hit the ground, but I could smell the blood and stress. Nothing doing, orders were to flee like frightened children, so I snatched her up and took off after the Corporal.

Now there is a scent if I’ve ever smelled one. She’s got that elf woman thing…sweet, floral with a hit of…earth? But the corporal also smells of boiled leather, wood and sinew from the bow, oil from the armor and ozone, like the air right before a rain.

Never smelled nothing like it in all my years.

Good thing though, hell of easy to find. It’s a wonder she isn’t hunted down all the time. Too easy to mark.

We make it out of the mist and I was happy to see that the battle wasn’t over!

To my left, the drunk was crying about a little arrow through his chest. Idiot. Further on, the Corporal was playing with a couple Shayakar. Looked like fun.

Nearby, Dakota stood with wild eyes. I’ve seen those eyes, right before some blood-mad orc decides to take on an entire Maelstrom slave column himself. But, at least she’s got some spirit. Odd though, none of the Darkness beasts showed much interest in her.

Probably cause she wreaks of corruption and death. Maybe there is something to this sickness? What a waste. I’m not into the elf thing, too easily broken. But…I dunno. Crazy can be fun.

Knew this orc shaman once. She hailed from a gather a few days south. Anyway, crazy orc tried to bed anything that slowed down long enough. And she wasn’t bad to look at. Trouble is, she stabbed every poor sod that rolled her. Got so bad, about half the gather sported wounds from her blade. Became something of a bad of honor for the gather. Women folk didn’t care too much for it, tho.

Anyway, she got older and it got harder for her to lure victims to her bedroll. After that, she just stabbed whoever she could get the drop on. It paid to keep a watchful eye out when trading with that lot, let me tell you. Old biddy was fast.

Dakota kinda reminds me of her somewhat. It’d be fun to go for a roll, but I should probably keep my armor on. To be safe, you know?

Oh, yeh. The battle. So, that all was going on off to the left. Ahead of me, where the horses were the Olarans had formed a shield wall and were being pressed by some more of Shayakar fellows. Behind them, the singing elf was singing to the horses, oh and the one ass. Muriel, not any of the Olarans.

Well, also that little dwarf was there. Turns out he can speak, but only when casting spells. He’s a healer and mage. I always figured you had to be one or the other. Turns out not. Though, seeing how much time it takes to master that stuff, who would want to try and do more? Dunno.

But, he’s pretty tough for a midget. I guess.

And, off to my right was the most beautiful sight my eyes have beheld. And entire army of Darkness marching down on us. Bone golems, trogs, and them black robed necromancers. Things were just getting good.

I thought about meeting them head on, get a real challenge, but remembered our orders were to run away. So, I dropped Danica and headed over to help the Corporal. I hated to ruin her fun, but she was taking too long with the Shayakar. If that army got there, no one would be leaving and the Sergeant would be pissed.
So, I gutted one.

Dakota blasted the other. She has that whatdya call it…Arcfire. What them Builder types use. Crazy little elf. Cute, full of fire, and fearless. Maybe I am a little into elves?

Well, the Corporal was free and the Sergeant staggered out of the mist lugging the still napping not so quiet man. Boy he can sleep.

We were having a moment, enjoying the evening air when one of them black robed necromancers cut down the Sergeant. Well, now I had him and the not so quiet human down. Ugh.

So, I snatched them up and jogged over to the horses. The Olarans were making a good show of it. As was the dwarf. The singing elf kept singing. Strange woman.

I dropped off the two bodies and turned to see Dakota running at the enemy army. Curse it, she’d gone blood mad. No reasoning with’em when their like that.

So, I jogged after her to bring her back. Sergeant said we all had to flee. Since she was touched in the head, I figured she’d not follow orders. Speaking of, the Sergeant was bleeding pretty bad from his eyes and ears. I think that last bolt might have done some head damage. I’ll have to keep an eye on him.

I knew this troll once, had a rock fall on his head while building a wall. Healers couldn’t find nothing wrong. Said he had a slight headache, but nothing doing. So, he rests a day and then goes back to work. I swear, a week later, he just keeled over. Dead.

Head wounds are like that.

Anyway, the Corporal and Danica laid down some cover fire as the drunk staggered to the ass and everyone else, save the Olarans, got to the horses.

As I ran, I noted the crazed little elf was fiddling with her arcfire thing… I wondered what that was about until she charged the Necro and set it off. I THINK she was trying to blow herself up, and take him with her. A plan I would definitely approve, but the cursed thing just popped and fizzled.

Kind a tickled, really. Didn’t do much to the necro, but it did send her flying back to me. Saved me a few steps. So, I tucked her under my arm and head back. Danica put an arrow or two down range, but didn’t do a whole lot.

The necromancer tried to drop me, but I guess he’s never faced an orc before. Pissant little spells don’t do an abyss of a lot. C’ept maybe piss us off.

Well, I got back and everyone was on their mounts or dancing around with their horses. With all the singing and dancing, maybe southlands have some kind of ritual they have to perform? We don’t really use horse much, but when we do we just get on, and get back off once we reach where we are headed.

These southlands have to wine and dine their mounts before they’ll do as their told. I really think that everything down here, people, trogs, and horses are all soft. Makes killing easier, though.

So, now we’re all mounted, save for the Olarans. Do I envy them. Such a glorious battle and a death worthy of a warrior. But no, I had to ride this flamed horse away while they hogged all the glory.

They got roasted behind us. Spooked about half the horses. The rest of us had to carry out those of us thrown. Made riding a pain. Horses struggled with all the weight.

But, we got out. The team, at least, not the Olarans. Most of my companions were banged up bad, save for me, Dakota, and the weird singing elf.

Ya know, come to it. I didn’t see either the flying elf nor the strutting elf. I know the flying one has been gone a minute, but I swear that strutting leaf ear was there right before the mists. So many flamed elves, hard to keep track.

We rode till the horses died, then we stopped. Some of the Rangers field stripped the horses. Honestly, I figured these soft southlanders would be too squeamish for that rot. But no. Color me impressed.

We made camp just after dawn and got some rest and healing. I stayed on watch mostly. Me and the singing elf. Seems she’s the only one who knows where to go.

Oh, and not so quiet man finally woke up. Seemed pretty well rested, though a little sad he missed all the fun. So, we marched and camped and whatnot.

That night, though, we were all enjoying some horsemeat or sleep as was our wont. The singing elf said something was coming, so Danica went out. Couldn’t see nothing, so the Sergeant, the singing elf, and Danica went out there while the rest of us got ready for battle.

Twice in two days! Was not to be.

Turns out it was some horsemen looking for us. Some free riders or some such. Anyway, they brought mounts, food and medicine. Course, nothing seems to help Dakota. She’s already got one foot in the grave.

After they talked, we broke camp and headed south and east. Seems there’s a fort there. An army is assembling so we can go back and attack an empty bunch of rocks. To my mind, that’s a bit of overkill, but these southlanders are a cautious lot.

So, that’s about it. I think once the army arrives I’ll see if that singing elf can help me scrounge up something to magic my blade. Was kinda sad not being able to hit the Wraith.

Other than that. I expect to have more guard duty and more sitting around waiting. Though, I am worried about Dakota. Maybe I should see if she’d like a roll? Before she goes.

About the band.

Sergeant has the power, but seems confused in battle. I was right about him being the academic type. Probably be better served behind a desk. That necromancer fellow didn’t hesitate none. I might see if he wants to train a bit. Nothing helps your focus like a chucktar flying at your face.

Corporal’s a tough one. Maybe the toughest elf I’ve ever seen. Abyss of a shot too. Not sure about he magic stuff, though. Reminds me of them storms a few years back. That was bad mojo.

Not so quiet human. What can I say. He’s got the magic. I’ve seen it. He’s got the skill. Something is holding him back. Seems almost afraid to unleash himself. One of these days he is gonna get himself or a friend killed if he can’t get over whatever thing has hold of him. Too much control. I’ve seen it before. Sad waste too. He could be a mighty warrior.

Danica. Good, solid warrior. For a human female.

Dakota. Lovely in a crazy way. Not long for this world. Sad waste. Funny, she’s got too much fire. Trying so hard to be mad that she can’t focus on any one thing long enough to make a difference. If she just had some control… Funny, isn’t it. Not so quiet man has too much control and not enough fire. Dakota the opposite. Wonder if there might be a way to rectify that… I should ask the Sergeant.

The drunk is a fool and not much more.

The dwarf made a good showing of himself. Half decent healer.

I don’t know what to say about that crazy singing elf, though. She has a thing about horses. But, maybe she can help me get better gear.

Strutting elf ran off before battle. Not much to say there. Always struck me as a poser.

That’s pretty much it. Been not two days since my last entry. Seems longer.

Pretty sure I should sign here somewhere.

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Ashley (Howard) Leuenberger Wedding Report
Non-game Report

Howard R. Brandon III, Gamemaster
July 1st, 2016
6PM

The day began like any Friday, work. Though, this day with the promise of an early release. My goal was to depart in plenty of time to arrive at the wedding site with time to spare. As these things go, a series of unfortunate plumbing events pushed my departure date well into the Red Zone.

Nevertheless, I persevered and was out with just enough time to make the wedding. Though, i had to pause to fetch my nav system from the other car. As it turned out, the errand was entirely pointless. Ashley Street or the Ashley Conference center does not, in point of fact, exist!

Sitting in the parking lot with a fussy Evie in back, I desperately searched my phone for information as the clock ticked ominously onward. As luck would have it, Ricky was enroute a few minutes before and, knowing more about the general area, he and I were able to guess a heading.

So, using my phone for navigation and maintaining contact with Ricky, I made my way uncertainly to the wedding. The timer on the trip said I would arrive by 5:58 PM. Hardly the buffer I had been hoping to have.

The route was an interesting one. Everything seemed normal until my phone abruptly signaled a right hand turn onto a road I had never traveled. I supposed that it to reach a place that did not exist, one must travel unfamiliar roads? So, I hung a hard right and very quickly regretted my decision.

Within 5 minutes I found myself driving through a parking lot, then loading docks, then a gravel road. I finally chose to turn around in the first lot I found when, low and behold, a lot appeared. The wedding at last, what fortuitous luck. And a Ricky.

Technically, I made it through the door at 6PM, so I was not late. Ricky, Evie and I found Jimmy, JJ and a lovely young woman Rebekah who it turned out was there with JJ. Actually, Jonas aside, JJ was the only one of us who came with a companion. Unless you count Evie. And, added bonus, Rebekah might consider joining our game!

So, we all sat, Evie playing as the wedding began. Andrew looked smart in his uniform, Ashley a vision in her dress. I’ll admit I had difficulty hearing the sermon, mostly due to a bug, but what I heard was lovely. I would rate this ceremony highly among the many I have witnessed. It was a joyous occasion.

And then, the after party, I mean reception. Jonas, Anna, and Tina arrived. They, sadly, were stuck on I-20 which has become something of a dead man’s land over the past few years. I don’t understand why, but that highway is HELL.

All together at least, sans Xavier, we enjoyed a wonderful evening. The music started a tad too loud, but after nearly blowing out their system once or twice, the noise was lowered to a respectable level. And Jimmy manned the bar! What?!

Note: If I ever have a formal party, Jimmy shall tend bar.

The only dark spot was that the Diet cokes took about an hour to arrive. But once they did… And Evie enjoyed running amok. I can only wonder what the guests thought of me out walking my bug despite how cute she happens to be.

The music was good. Dinner was excellent. Ashley’s first dance… I was reminded of my own wedding. She looked so happy.

My favorite moment of the evening was just after the dinner buffet was served. The line was understandably huge and so our little party elected to wait it out, enjoying the good music and excellent company. While sitting, I noted the happy couple were sitting alone at the head of the party while their guests slowly made past the buffet table.

So, I assembled the Rangers and approached the Head Table. I cannot be certain, but I do believe the groom looked…worried as we approached en mass.

Having experienced my own wedding, I know what a hectic rush it can all be. I remember the vows, the dance, and a few other key moments, but the rest is a hungry, tired blur of faces, conversations, and confusion. So, I hoped that in that moment, while the masses were distracted by food, we could have a brief meeting with our Corporal.

I hope that when Ashley looks back on this day that our short, but heartfelt private celebration will be one of her fondest memories.

Ashley_wedding_2016.jpg

Then, all that remained was the cake cutting, delicious by the way, and the end of a perfect evening. Due to having a guest waiting alone at my house, and Evie getting fussy and tired, I was forced to leave. Shaking the groom’s hand, and hugging the bride I made me exit.

With one last order to the assembled, “Ranger’s Dismissed,” I loaded a very sleepy bug into the truck and departed.

To Ashley and Andrew,

Congratulations! I could not be more happy for you both. May you have have happiness, health, and joy in your new life together. But never forget, no matter where you go from here, what new adventures you embark upon, you will always have a home, family, and friends here.

With hope and love,

Howard Brandon
GM

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Campaign Report 66
Finding Darkness

Kura’Kai Report
28th day of Eternal Sun, Year 3125

This is my report.

We left the drunk’s (Wyvern) gather (Estate) in the morning. Sergeant said it was Red Wolf 32nd. I guess he is right. The Olarans followed us. I do not think Helt likes our band, but he is a soldier. I respect him. The female (Kira) is not too bad to look at. Not as good as Dakota, but good.

It takes four days. I walk beside my horse mostly. The Olarans don’t ride, which is best. My band are all horse people. It is not natural.

Red Wolf 33rd…Eternal Sun 1st…Eternal Sun 2nd…Eternal Sun 3rd.

We arrive at the place the Olarans killed Darkness creatures and burned a wagon on Eternal Sun 3rd. It was empty. Seems a lot of trouble for an empty wagon. I haven’t killed anything in weeks.

I stand guard. Again. While there, the drunk (Wyvern) and the quite man (Toma) think about robbing an old farmer and his son, but the Olaran Captain (Helt) knows the old man. So, I don’t get to kill anyone. Again.

After that, we travel for a bit, camp, get up and travel again.

On the 4th (Eternal Sun) our forward scouts, Danica and the Corporal (Samira) spot another wagon in the middle of the road. I am considering going into the wagon making business. These southlands are obsessed with wagons!

My team rode back and for discussing the wagon for a while and considered how best to approach. I missed most of the talk because I was bored, hungry, and tired of staring at a wagon.

Finally, Sergeant (Que’kasaars) sent me and the drunk (Wyvern) forward to open the wagon. As we approached, I noticed that it had a lock under the latch. I was about to tell the drunk, but he kept jabbering on about stuff.

I try to be…polite. These southlanders are very weak and get offended easily. So, I wait. And wait.

Soon, the party behind us starts yelling. Then quite man, who is now not so quite, rides up and throws the latch.

Its locked.

I would have told him, but the drunk was still talking.

I think they both may have taken blows to the head.

So, now I tell them its locked.

We get shot at. Well, I get shot at. The not so quite man and the drunk get hit bad. I smell blood.

Battle!

Figures start charging us and an Ogre dressed in Full Albrecht Plate, a Tower shield of Dwarven design, and an enchanted Dwarven style warhammer TELEPORTS in front of the riders behind me. They were surprise.

I planned on killing the little people first, then taking down the Ogre.

The drunk holds his own mostly. The not so quite man’s horse takes off. As do most of the others.

I think only me, the drunk, Danica on an ass, and the Sergeant remained. We were surrounded and really outnumbered. It was going to be a good fight!
Then the Sergeant gets scared and tells us to run away.

So, I kill two of the little people and tell the drunk to follow. I am surprised that he does. Sergeant uses magic to teleport Danica and the ass out. The Olarans stay behind to fight.

Maybe I should join them?

It takes all day to find Dakota. She got lost. Cute as she is (for a leaf ear), I don’t know if she’s worth much in battle. Wish I could see her fight.

So, we camp and lick wounds. I stand guard. Think I smell something, but see nothing. Maybe I am getting jumpy like these pale skins?

Then we march again, this time more on foot. I like marching better than riding. I said that. Never mind.

Arrive at new camp…Sergeant says the 5th of Eternal Sun. I guess so.

We wait for reinforcements. And wait. I stand guard, maintain gear, and try to meditate.

The drunk can’t fight for squat and is pretty much useless, but he can cook. I’ll recommend we make him camp cook. Better with a spoon than a sword.

On the 11th, Dakota wakes up sick. Everyone starts freaking out. They say she is going to die. Maybe these pale skins die when they get sick? I’ve heard that elves are easily broken. I don’t know, but she does smell…odd.

Now, none of the other elves will get near her. Strange. In gather, we take care of our sick. I will never understand elves. Danica stays with Dakota who seems depressed. How do you cheer an elf, I wonder? Maybe she wants to talk to a tree? I see some nearby. I’ll ask the Sergeant if I can go get one.

On the 12th, more elves show up.One proud peacock. He is from the forest. Walks around like he’s a Mak Tokash or something. The other one is cute. She’s a bard. I guess she sings because she has a harp. Great, now I’ve to a singing elf, a strutting elf, a screaming elf, and a sick elf the other elves won’t even talk with anymore.

I spend time now with the dwarf. At least he’s quite. Maybe he can’t talk?! Hmm… I’ll stab him later and see if he shouts.

Big boss elf had four other elves, but they ran away as soon as they heard Dakota was sick.

So, we wait. I think the elves of this land want us to leave because one of us is sick. Apparently elves REALLY can’t handle being sick. Knew a goblin once who’s nose fell off. Still the best tracker I ever knew.

Elves…

So we wait two days until the 14th when MORE elves show up but they stay far away. Instead, they send a human man to talk with not so quite man. He is now in charge? I don’t know. They talk. Afterwards Sergeant tells me to kill any of our elves who try and leave the camp, or try and talk with other elves not part of our camp.

I am told to kill us a lot. I don’t mind, but these elves are strange. The Olarans seem to think it is all funny. Olaran humor I guess. I don’t understand them well either, but at least they like good things: battle, weapons, and ale.

Then the elves start making banners. We have to show other elves that Dakota is sick. Fine. Whatever. At least we are now moving…

Of course, we are marching right back up the road we came down. I think we are lost. Stupid.

…and we arrive right back where we were attacked by the Ogre and the other people. Yay. It is the 19th of Eternal Sun according to the Sergeant.

I sit down.

We make camp.

We split into search parties. I stay back and guard camp. I meditate. I wait.

Strutting elf finds wagon tracks. I was not surprised. Elves. Wagons. Sickness. Oh, and horses. This band is very messed up.

I think the tracks were found on the 23rd, but honest I wasn’t paying attention.

We break camp and start tracking wagon tracks. There are three. Sergeant says that the enemy used magic to make MORE wagons. As if they didn’t have enough already. Seriously, I am going into business making wagons.

Maybe the Dwarf can help. Dwarves makes things right?

The middle track ends in a field. Just ends. No wagon. Great.

We head south. I don’t know the day. This set of tracks ends near the forest. More elves. Great.

So we trudge north and find the last set of tracks end in a rocky outcrop. I sit. My feet are sore, I am hungry, and this is NOT what I joined the Rangers to do.

The Sergeant looks like he is going to cry and Dakota really does look sick. Maybe elves really are weak?

Anyway, it is the 28th because the Sergeant (Que’kasaars) said so. So that was what…23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28…1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6…

Six days we marched all over the abyss and back following magic wagon tracks in the ground. This band is…insane.

Not so quite man and the Sergeant (Que’kasaars) head off and have a private talk. I wait. The others stand around confused, except Danica and Dakota who. They look worried. Maybe because Dakota is sick?

I don’t know.

Sergeant (Que’kasaars) and not so quite man come back. Sergeant looks REALLY excited! Finally some action!

Then he shoots a rock with a spell. Nothing happens. Everyone starts to look pleased.

Then he blasts another rock with another spell. Everyone is REALLY excited.

I think my entire band have completely lost their minds. Could everyone be sick? Well, the dwarf seems the same. Always does.

So, I am finish this while they all discuss nothing happening to rocks.

I should sign this.

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Thomas Zulcrum Report 1
Personal Leave

Report Personal Time
Lt. Celebor,
It goes without saying that I have successfully completed my training to become Ark fire trained. However the time has left me a little weary of those who I do not know and I wish to start my post back with srgt. Evoren as soon as possible. The details of how I was trained goes as follows. I went south and found nothing. So I headed to another lead that winded me up into the valenwood forest where I was trained everything went without insedent.

Ranger,
Thomas Zulcrum

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Campaign Report 65
Wolfhaven Dishonored

Kura’Kai Report
32nd day of Red Wolf, Year 3125

I have been instructed to write a reports.

This is my report.

Even in my home gather, the legend of the “Bear Killer”s was well known. They were all followers of the Great Wolf, the slayer of gods, leader of the armies of the Southern KIngdoms. I knew I wanted to fight alongside these great warriors.

It took many weeks to arrive in Olara, but finding the Rangers was not difficult. Many in Olara spoke of the Rangers on trial for murdering Olaran citizens in cold blood. The “Bear Killers” I admire warriors who let no one, friend of foe, to stand in their way.

[Planting Moons 30th]
I arrived in Olara [capital city] late afternoon. On my way to the Ranger Outpost I encountered a battle in the streets. Two Ranger females were engaged in glorious combat with two Olaran males. One Ranger was viciously slain by a good stab through abdomen. The other Ranger, now outnumbered was certain to die gloriously.

As I was to join the Rangers, I decided to intervene. I hoped she would forgive my denying her an honorable death. The two Olarans die well.

After which, I noted that the dead Ranger was alive, though she was soon to join the ancestors. I suggested we depart. It seemed wise as I was already heading to the outpost. I carried the wounded Ranger.

We arrived at the outpost to find an Eldakar, an Alakar, and a Dwarf interrogating a drunk human. The Alakar was upset by my handling of the body. She instructed me to “cradle” the wounded woman like a baby. Noting the Corporal cloak clasp, I complied.

Leaving behind the drunk, the elf and the dwarf, the Corporal led me out back to a small shrine of Light. There I found a human male and an Aevakar, both bearing the symbol of the Church of Light and the trappings of the Rangers. Following orders, I lay the dying woman on the altar and allowed the Priest to do his work.

To my surprise, the pigeon saved the girl. Despite obvious relief at her being alive, the Corporal seemed very angry. I reconsidered my decision to save her life. Given leave, I returned to the main HQ to find the commander of the “Bear Killers”.

The Sergeant was the Eldakar. A mage, from his robes and staff. He was starring down other female Ranger I saved. the dwarf and the drunk hung back. I have difficulty understanding human behavior, but it seemed that they might soon come to blows.

Sadly, not.

I provided my papers to the Sergeant. He asked a few questions. Then, I joined the Rangers.

Shortly, the Corporal returned with the not dead girl. She and the other woman stood at attention while the Sergeant screamed at them. I understood little. It had something to do with a Longtail and disobeying orders. The Corporal eventually stood between and ordered the two women to their room.

After which, the Sergeant instructed me to prevent anyone from the “Bear Killers” from leaving the outpost. I was not allowed to kill. Only severely maim.

[Planting Moons 31st]
The following morning, we all gathered in the common room. The drunk cooks. Danica, the female Ranger not killed was issued a verbal warning for not maiming her partner. The resurrected Ranger was given a written reprimand for directly disobeying orders. And dying.

I was confused. Why was the criminal not simply killed? Understanding these Rangers was going to be more difficult than I imagined.

My hopes of glorious bloodshed dead, I ate and waited for orders. I waited weeks hoping that one of the team would attempt to leave. Perhaps the undead girl. I was to be disappointed.

[Red Wolf 4th]
One morning weeks later local Olarans came for the girl. I considered preventing them from taking her, per orders. However, having already killed two Olarans I felt sure they might take more slaughter badly. Olarans are known to get emotional. Also, the drunk was arrested for starting a row in the kitchen, and then nearly burning the outpost down.

He was arrested by the Rangers. I offered to take care of him, but they refused. I returned to my guard post. At first, this posting seemed good. Two kills on the first day. Now I am reconsidering.

When the Sergeant discovered two of his team had been arrested on the same day, he was put out. I was summoned to give testimony about the attack on the two Rangers weeks ago. All I could say was that the Rangers were losing a fight and I stepped in to prevent both women being slain. I never saw how the fight began.

Luckily, this disqualified me from visiting the girl in jail. Instead, the Sergeant, who cannot speak Olaran (how idiotic) took the Corporal, Danica (the female Ranger), and the Priest.

Here is what I know: A) the Olarans believe that the two female Rangers defied orders and went in search of some man named Velkalar, B) during this investigation, they are accused of slander against the crown and inciting violence, C) this group seems terrified of Velkalar.

The Sergeant was able to get the girl released, but it took two weeks. Odd, he did not seem happy about rescuing her. Every time I think I understand, I do not. The Priest saved the girl, but the Sergeant was mad. The Rangers free the girl, again the Sergeant was mad. Maybe he is just an angry elf?

[Red Wolf 16th]
It was another few weeks before the Olarans released the girl. The Sergeant waited until the girl returned before getting the drunk out of jail. Once again, we were all called together. This time, almost everyone yelled. Velkalar. Longtail. Wolfhaven.

This unit does more yelling than fighting. They also think they are to blame for dishonoring the Wolf…or Velkalar is? These people make very little sense.

The winged elf shouted at the mage elf and threatened to quit. The Corporal tried to calm them and was shouted at by the Sergeant. The human from the Church tried to be calming. The drunk and the dwarf said nothing. It was tiring and boring.

The Priest did quit. I was not sad to see him go. He seemed…prideful.

But, the rest of the team decided to leave the city which was good. Maybe we will finally see battle? We left that afternoon and headed south. We traveled many days by horse. I do not like horses.

[Red Wolf 31st]
We finally arrived at a dump on the edge of Olaran lands. If living with this unit was bad, travelling was worse. The angry, awkward silences.

Our new home belongs to the drunk which might explain sad condition. We found a group of Olaran soldiers sent to help us. They did not seem pleased. The Sergeant did not seem pleased that the Olarans called us “Bear Killers,” though I do not know why. I was not pleased to be there.

The Rangers bathed. I waited. We gathered again. This time, no yelling.

Here is what I know: A) this group of Olarans, commanded by Captain Helt, ambushed a Shaya’Nor wagon train heading south toward elven lands, B) my new team had, with Olaran help, destroyed some Shaya’Nor supply base north of us, C) there are local stories of haunted trees (stupid).

[Red Wolf 32nd]
We left early in the morning headed to place where the wagon was ambushed by the Olarans. From there, we would head south to meet a friend of the drunk’s Alakar houskeeper; some elf monk? Honestly, it will likely involve more riding and probably yelling.

Sergeant Eldakar: He seems smart, but angry. Always yelling, then feeling sad. I think he should drink more. I have not seen him in battle. Hopefully he is better in combat than in meetings.

Corporal Alakar: She seems competent. I have heard that her bow is death. Mostly she follows the Sergeant and tries to make people feel better about being yelled at.

Corporal Aevakar, Priest: Arrogant, but with good magic. He carried a bow, but seemed more of the healer type. Gone now.

Ranger Human male, Church person: Quiet. I do not know if just stupid, or nothing important to say. At least he does not yell. Hopefully he fights better.

Ranger Dwarf: Silent.

Ranger Human female, soldier: Danica can fight. But, she failed to prevent the girl from leaving. Maybe not smart enough, or simply unable to do what she must.

Ranger Girl: Brash, weak fighter. She taught me a “fist bump.” This is some form of bonding. Perhaps I will partner with her?

Drunk: Idiot.

View
Beta Team Field Report 1
MomoCon 2016

Corporal Wolfhaven, Alfred
Regional Command at Echer’Naught, Olara
Fifteenth Day of Red Wolf, Year 3125 Under the Light

We know Velkalar monitors our every move from the most critical missions down to our sanitary supplies. What most of our illustrious leadership seem incapable of considering is that Velkalar does not, in fact, have to even utilize his own agents to breach our security.

Our enemies are Legion. At least one Shade is known to be still within Echer’Naught’s walls. Petty men like RabenClau and Halten watch our every move. Red Store, Tor Mastak, Shayakar Nightguard, hells even our own town hore are all enemy agents. All Velkalar must do is watch the watchers. How many of our own little games have spun threads which hung our own kin? I wonder…

When I was found by the Ranger I was a terrified boy with no family and condemned to a life of brutal servitude to a master who saw me as little more than a slave. Wolfhaven, Hawksclaw, Longtail, even Highwall, these Rangers were like gods to a poor stable boy, invincible, immortal…

Time has proven otherwise. No being, no matter how powerful, cannot be destroyed. Even Velkalar has a weakness. And his, is hubris.

The plan was simple. Father always said the simplest plans were the most successful. Simple, yet elegant.
I approached Sergeant Major Stormhammer with a critical mission. New potential allies within Galea required a rare shipment. Also, I needed it expedited at the highest levels, but slipped through. No one other than we two would know of the mission.

He arched a brow at that, but complied.

The bait was set. By my estimation, Velkalar’s spies would discover the requisition buried among the mundane and quickly realize its importance. Therefore, I added a wrinkle. Stormhammer had less than 24 hours to process mission which included a large, heavy wagon, pack animals and funds for outside security.

Note I conveniently revealed the destination?

If our enemies were going to ambush us along the rode in our heavy, plodding wagon, they would still need to move very quickly to mobilize a force of sufficient size to ensure victory. That usually takes time. Time I was not allowing.

Men can be assembled quickly, but it is a messy affair and without finesse or subtlety. Certain my nemesis’ forces were already in motion set to meet me along the road, I began phase two of my little operation.
I failed to mention to the good Sergeant that there was no delivery as there were no new allies in Galea. The package was in reality my team: Lugard, Gwyn, and Rysak. For weeks I had them running routine duties under other commands. I, myself, took a leave of absence. More chum in the water.

The mission was submitted on the 29th of Planting Moons, with a proposed departure date of the 30th. Everything looked good until a wild, mountain man wandered into the HQ and very nearly ruined everything.
Thomas Zulcrum, fresh from his “leave” had decided to return at that precise moment. His sudden re-appearance might have spooked Velkalar’s network. If they were not already aware of his return, I surely was not going to let his blundering ruin months of planning.

Before he reached the front desk I quietly, if forcefully, escorted him out of the HQ and to the house of an acquaintance with no connection to the Rangers. There, he waited for the rest of my team that had orders to assemble at the loading site by separate routes just before the wagon was set to roll out.

An hour after I was to have departed with my team, now in the wagon, I informed Sergeant Major that unforeseen issues with security would delay my departure. He was kind enough to authorize a three day delay. Just enough time to collect a few low level street toughs that might make passable caravan guards.

It just so happened that Olara, in a fit of national pride, were hosting recruiting drives across the country in preparation for a war with Shaya’Nor, should it come to that. All I had to do was hang around the Muster Grounds looking for suitable candidates. I found three.

The first was an Olaran solider. Dommer…Donner? In any case, he was strong enough to swing a sword, and smart enough not to ask stupid questions. He hired on first. I barely had to ask.

The other two were a bit trickier: a dwarf and a brinchie.

Krivak was the dwarf’s name, a wright, engineer, and warrior from the Forgehome. He was, in all ways, a dwarf as so many are. But, I found him plucky enough and he passed the Esprit test with flying colors even if his combat abilities were uninspiring. A few ales, and he can’t even swing straight. He also has something of a mouth on him, one that will likely lead him into a scrap he’s not tough enough to survive. Time will tell.

The brinchie calls herself Softpaws. Like so many of her kind, she is far too pleased with her own cleverness. But, she can track, sneak, and fight. The girl has a savage streak, no doubt, but she is so fixed on being “terrifying” that she wastes precious energy in battle. That, and her little signature throat ripping move is going to lead her enemies right to her one day. If she lives long enough to get over herself, she might make a passable Ranger.

After passing their auditions, I invited them to a friend’s place and offered them a job. The Olaran accepted before I finished asking. Krivak more or less shrugged. If he was going to fight, might as well fight for me. Softpaws just wanted money. Piss poor reason to fight, but makes her easier to manipulate so I will not look a gift horse in the mouth.

They bedded down on the 33rd of Planting Moons. By my estimation, Velkalar, or his lackeys, had just enough time to roust out a band of thugs and send them scurrying off to intercept us on the road to Galea. If I was right, they would already be in the field when the spies learned of our unfortunate “delay”. Either they would have an adept or signaler in their party (unlikely), or not.

Either way, Velkalar’s band of bloodthirsty highwaymen would quickly find themselves waiting by a lonely stretch of road for a wagon three days away with nothing better to do than to gamble, drink, and fight. Three days was just long enough to encourage them to build a decent camp, but not long enough that they might think of packing up and leaving.

We left Echer’Naught on the morning of the 1st of Red Wolf amidst the early traffic. I doffed my cloak and none of my “guards” had any identifiable markers on them either. To everyone else, we looked like wealthy caravan guards protection some fatcat’s precious cargo. To Velkalar’s spies, we were chicken ripe for the plucking.

To be fair, I expected the hit much earlier. We were halfway to Hale, five days (Red Wolf 5th) when Krivak took the first arrow in the back. One minute, we are trudging along the road, the next all hell breaks loose. Arcfire blasts from the treeline to my right, and behind us, I hear the bellow of an Ogre.

I’ll give them credit. They put their three days to good use. The bandits had created hunting blinds around the ambush site. With a few quick slashes of a blade, walls of shrubs and limbs fell away to reveal dozens of armed men and women. It was a textbook ambush.

It was also a trap.

My trap.

As soon as I heard Krivak cry out, I put my horn to my lips and blew. The sides of my wagon shot up and my team leaped out, weapons at the ready. On the left, Lugard up front with Thomas in the rear. On the right, Rysak held the front while Gywn to the rear. Suddenly, the Olaran, Dommer, was flanked by a Paladin and a deranged Olaran in plate. Krivak found himself standing by a dwarf with filed teeth and a slight human girl with a bow half a head taller than herself.

Softpaw brought up the rear more or less by her lonesome.

I, out front, released the horn of Wolfhaven and readied my spear. It was time for some just deserts.

The bandits came in fast and hard, trying to overwhelm our defensive line while their archers, and arclancer, peppered us from the trees. At first, Softpaws took the worst of it as she was out of line and without support.
In waves, three brigands rushed her. She managed to drop two before the last, quite literally, ripped out her throat. How she remained standing, I’ll never know. The wound seemed less to kill her as it just pissed her off more. She went on a bloody rampage of throat ripping that would have shamed a vampire.

Krivak and Rysak cut their way through waves of bandits trying to reach the arclancer who was making scrap iron out of Rysak’s armor. Gywn handled herself well until Softpaw’s decided to start eating a bandit right beside her. I suppose I cannot hold the brinchie at fault. She couldn’t know about the girl’s past.

On the left flank, Dommer, Lugard and Thomas faced off against at least as many bandits as well as an Ogre in full plate. Lucky for them, the stupid oaf attacked the wagon first. I’ll bet the only orders it received was to stop the wagon. Dumb brute.

Once the wagon was kindling, it turned its attention on Thomas and proceeded to driver the Olaran into the ground like a tent peg. In the end, the Ranger felled the giant with a well-placed hand-caster shot that melted flesh and armor.

Note that Thomas appears to have received the Arcfire training he so desperately sought.
The Olaran did well enough, as did Lugard. Once I dispatched the two men blocking out path, I turned my attention to the enemy commander who was firing on us from a small rise to my left.

From his armor and bearing, I place him as a Maelstrom commander, or perhaps a true Kal warrior. Either way, I closed the distance quickly, hoping to catch him off balance. Instead, he recovered first and, dropping his bow, drew a Warhammer. His first blow caught me in the chest and ripped me from the saddle.

In the background I could hear my team mopping up the rest of the bandits, but their leader was tough. We traded blows, he using his weight and strength to gain advantage, I longer reach and an overwhelming desire to cut out his heart. In the end, I settled upon skewing him to the dirt and he upon gasping his death rattle like a poleaxed sow.

To my surprise, the entire time had come through more or less unscathed. Gwyn was frozen and Softpaw was bleeding out her gaping throat, but Thomas stitched her easily enough and Lugard coaxed Gwyn to moving again.

Minor medical issues managed, I dispatched them into teams: some to scout for more bandits and some to scour the area for the enemy camp I estimated would be within a few hundred yards. Before searching the area, I had the brinchie check the fallen brigands. None of the bandits survived. Afterwards, Softpaw found the enemy camp just over 200 yards to the south in a small copse of trees. She did have a devil of a time trying to explain that. He wound, it seems, has rendered her mute.

The camp was a sorry affair, but decent enough considering the inhabitants. Again, I dispatched my men into search teams. We found armor, trash, broken bottles and other bits of detritus. Softpaw managed to find coin minted in the northern Wildlands near the Howling River ports. That, along with the large swath of tracks leading to the south east provided our next heading.

We rested the night in the camp and started out on the 6th for Erimar. Six days across country, and an afternoon ferry ride found us in Erimar on the 12th. We entered Erimar late afternoon. I stayed at the docks with the team sending in only the dwarves. Krivak proved to be quite chatty and, posing as bounty hunters, managed to find information regarding someone who might know about Ranger bounties south of the town.
Our entire time in Erimar proved Velkalar’s influence. Everyone was armed and all treated us with suspicion. I was nearly positive our presence had already reach the ears of our enemy, but I was curious to see this farce through.

We made a half-day trek in half the time, climbing into the Northern Hills. It was around this point that Thomas revealed that he had learned on his quest of enemy agents in Montrel, just on the other side of this range. That squares with other reports I have read and the fact that the Blood Lord’s Citadel was buried somewhere under the Northern Hills.

If this isn’t Velkalar’s base of operations, then it is at least a stronghold.

Just as day faded to night, we arrived a large complex nestled in a small bluff overlooking Erimar. If it were not an enemy fortress, it might have even been charming. We sent Softpaw ahead to scout the ground while we waited a safe distance.

She reported back through some wild pantomiming that the complex appeared empty. So, I ordered my team inside, cautiously. Entering, it certainly seemed vacant.

There were two main structures. I sent Thomas and Rysak to investigate the smaller of the two. For some reason Softpaw and Dommer decided to follow. I considered speaking up, but decided to let things play out.
We had a brief start when Thomas bashed open the front door. Apparently he dislodged a broom which fell to the floor causing him to jump like a school girl seeing a mouse. Eventually he overcame his fear of rakes and headed inside with the others.

They were gone a bit when Krivak got impatient and decided to take Lugard into larger structure. Again, I elected to allow this brashness. Either the buildings were empty and I could address the insubordination at a later, more convenient, date, or, this was, as I suspected, a trap. In which case, they would at least flush out my enemies for me like good soldiers.

In the end, it was a bit of neither. I assumed Velkalar would use traps. He is nothing if not predictable. This is why I hired Krivak, the Olaran, and conscripted Thomas. They should, at least, soak up some damage.
What I did not expect was for Velkalar’s men to have mined the entire complex. That was an intriguing surprise. Krivak and Lugard apparently stumbled across many interesting things, finely sewn women’s clothing, no doubt stitched by Sarah and even rose scented water in the lavatory. But, their greatest discovery was entering a room filled with the stench of blood an offal.

Sadly, they retreated before actually seeing what was in the cells lining the room and, in doing so, set off booby-traps that obliterated both structures with everyone inside. I suppose we may never know how many prisoners we torched in that fire.

For the second time I was shocked to see that nearly everyone made it out alive. Only Thomas was badly wounded as he was weighed down so by his plate armor. The rest managed to quickly clear the buildings suffering only moderate to severe burns in most cases.

Our evidence slowly burning to ash around us, I ordered a retreat. No sense in giving Velkalar easier targets. We fell back to a good place down the mountains; easily defensible if need be. There, I forced Greater Healing potions down Thomas’ throat until the Ranger sputtered and coughed into consciousness. He truly looked awful, but he was conscious and that is all I required.

Before departing, I borrowed an arcfire teleporter from the Ranger HQ, knowing Thomas could operate it in the event we needed a swift escape. Now, I thrust the tangle of wires and gears into his hands and, with them, our lives. Impressively, he managed to activate the device through gritted teeth. I can imagine the pain he was in.

With a flash of Arcfire and our bodies being ripped to shreds before fused back together, we returned to Echer’Naught. The mission was hardly a success, but we did discover a great deal about Velkalar’s operations. We also managed not to lose a single soldier. Yes, Softpaw is permanently crippled, Rysak’s chest was badly burned by arcfire, Thomas has lost most of his skin, and even Krivak got badly cooked.

But, in most engagements with Velkalar we tend to lose at least one team member, so I will report this as a qualified success. Both Softpaw and Thomas asked to remain on the team after recuperating in the infirmary. Gwyn will not like working with the brinchie, but she will learn to accept, or not.

I am left with one question. How soon did our enemies know of my plans? Clearly they had enough time to abandon their outpost and even enough time to set their trap. It would also seem that they were unsurprised at our arrival in Erimar. So, did they get word during our week long ride south? Or, did we miss a scout at the ambush site; someone reporting our progress even before the attack?

Perhaps Velkalar is more clever than all that. Perhaps, he knew all along and simply sacrificed a few pawns to lure me deeper into his trap. He is truly a skilled gamesman.

This proves to be an interesting contest indeed.

Your most obedient servant,
Alfred Wolfhaven, Corporal
Regional Command at Echer’Naught, Olara

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Rogue Faction Play
Summer 3125
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Campaign Report 64
Evoran Arrested, Thorgram Convicted

Farspeaker, Eris Moonsilver

As relayed from Echer’Naught Alpha team under command of Sergeant Evoran Que’kasaars

Fifteenth Day of Planting Moons, Year 3125 Under the Light

There is no heroism without sacrifice. This, I find, is the most significant truism of my life. I have lost my love, my surrogate father, my sister, my niece, my dearest friends… Worse, sometimes, death is the easier burden to bear…

I contact Sergeant Que’kasaars as scheduled by dawn on the 3rd of Golden Eagle. He and his team were established in the Great Library of Rhion under the protection and graces of the Order of the Steel Quill. The Grandmaster himself ensured their safety.

Sergeant Que’kasaars and Corporal Silverfeather delved deep into the ancient lore of Olara seeking locations of potential artifacts, weapons, or hidden masters from the Age of Darkness and before. Their labors took a month, ending only on the 33rd of Golden Eagle, five weeks to the day. My last report, before the team closed down for the eve was that Evoran believed he was close, lacking on a piece of information that might break the case open.

Later, I discovered that the team broke late in the evening, Corporals Silverfeather and Ravenwood stepped away to have a quite tea and discuss the Sergeant’s levels of stress. The remaining Rangers, under the watchful eye of the Sergeant, retired to a tavern in a vain efforts to wash away their frustration with ale. All seemed well until they exited the pub sometime after the 13th hour.

As they made their way toward their inn, none noticed the army of thugs waiting in alleys and behind carts. Just a block from their destination, the party was attacked in the shadows of Rhion’s gritty streets. The attack was as brutal as it was sudden and, though the Rangers held their ground, numbers were stacked heavily against them.

Things seemed dire when Ranger Toma signaled Corporal Ravenwood telepathically and alerted her to the attack. As fortune would have, the Corporals happened to be just around the block. They managed to arrive in moments and take the enemy by surprise.

With death from the shadows, via the archers, and the Rangers rallying, the battle began to turn…when Ranger 1st Class Thorgram fell again… In a fit of berskerk rage, the Ranger literally ripped the enemy leader in half, spraying the team with gore. Corporal Samira, fearing that at the raging half-orc might turn on the Sergeant who lay bleeding nearby, took down with a well-placed arrow. His body fell heavily on the already wounded Sergeant.

Corporal Silverfeather flew in and summoned Archanon’s healing energies to soothe the wounds of the Rangers and recover the Sergeant from where he had fallen. Just as the Rangers were recovering, a soft clapping echoed through the suddenly quiet courtyard. A figure emerged, dark of skin and impeccably dressed, the duelist addressed Rangers.

He introduced himself as Alphonz Domingo Ferrara Diego Castellano, Diego for short. The Nazitiran apologized for the attack, but he needed to determine if the Rangers were truly worthy of his blade. It seemed that he was seeking Velkalar’s bounty on their heads. Fortunately for the Rangers, but not their pride, Diego found them lacking and merely departed with a sigh.

Shaken, and demoralized, the Rangers found a well to wash of the blood before delivering the unconscious thug to the local authorities. Then, hung over and sore, the Rangers returned to the Inn to discuss this newest development. Velkalar’s reach had clearly grown and the Rangers were now in serious danger in Rhion. Diego would not be the last assassin.

They had a fitful sleep waiting to hear from the Olaran Warden in the morning about the prisoner waking. Sergeant Que’kasaars was on guard when the hall outside their rooms was suddenly filled with the tromp of heavy boots. A Captain of House Olara, flanked by four Sergeants at arm, approached Sergeant Que’kasaars with an order for his arrest.

Ranger Toma fetched Corporal Ravenwood who officially took command of the Rangers on the 1st of Planting Moons, 3125 as Sergeant Que’kasaars was remanded into Olaran custody and led away in irons. Even as the Sergeant departed, a runner arrived with news that the prisoner was awake. Heavily fatigued, the Rangers roused themselves and headed to the goal.

The prisoner, a local thug revealed little. Diego had informed him, and his companions, of the large bounty on the heads of the Rangers. He knew nothing of Velkalar or Diego. More defeated than ever, the Rangers left the man in gaol. It was at this point that Ranger Toma contacted me and I, in turn, reached out to Corporal Ravenwood.

As soon as I was informed, I sent a runner to our local Olaran represented, the honorable Sheriff Halten who confirmed, rather gleefully, that Sergeant Que’kasaars was under arrest for the murder of an Olaran citizen and that he was being transported to the city of Olara for trial. Knowing how swift, and lethal, Olaran justice can be, Lt. Celebor ordered the team to Olara as well in the hopes that they could, at the very least, represent Evoran at the trial.

The trip was uneventful. They even managed to pass the prison wagon on the road to Kore. I messaged ahead so that a place would be prepared for the team at the Ranger HQ. It took the Rangers 5 days to reach Olara, Evoran arrived 2 days after that. The trial was set for the 15th of Planting Moons. For the next two weeks, Corporal Ravenwood required that the Rangers remain within the local HQ compound. There was no knowing how quickly Velkalar’s assassins would track them, but if Sheriff Halten in Echer’Naught knew of Evoran’s arrest, it was assured that Velkalar’s spies, not to mention Vainar’s, were also aware.

The trial on the 15th was as straightforward as expected. The Rangers were allowed to enter the King’s Keep, without weapons, to attend the trail in a small chamber used for higher level justice. Instead of a panel of judges, there was one Chancellor who heard Evoran’s case.

The Rangers spoke, one after another, recounting their memories of the battle and the events leading up to the tragedy. In all, the trial lasted less than an hour. After hearing all evidence, the Chancellor agreed that the incident was a tragic accident, but pointed out that this was the second time that Sergeant Que’kasaar’s team had killed Olaran citizens. As Evoran represented the Ranger Corps and large, and his unit in particular, the unit, under his command, was guilty of criminal negligence and subject to the king’s justice.

He was found guilty on all charges.

The Chancellor offered to allow Sergeant Que’kassars an official protest. He pointed out that the power and prestige of the Rangers would almost guarantee that his sentence would be lessened or possibly entirely commuted. None of Wolfhaven’s men would ever take that deal.

Therefore, the Chancellor prepared to issue his ruling when Ranger 1st Class Thorgram stood and addressed the court. It was he who slew the first citizens in a fit of Flame touched rage and so it was to him that the punishment should fall.

Over Evoran’s strident protests, Thorgram adamantly refused to budge. His duty is to protect his team regardless of the consequences. In the face of such selflessness, Evoran acquiesced and Thorgram was sentenced to six month hard labor in Olaran incarceration. With a last request to take care of Muriel, Thogram was led away in chains.

With that, the Chancellor declared the trial concluded and Sergeant Que’kasaars free to go. The Olarans left the courtroom to attend other business while the Rangers sat in silence. Evoran wept.

After a time, the Rangers, minus Thorgram, returned to the local HQ to discuss their next move.

There can be no heroism without sacrifice. Why must it always be those few who must do the sacrificing?

Farspeaker, Eris Moonsilver

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Campaign Report 63
Good men die

Farspeaker, Eris Moonsilver
as relayed from Echer’Naught Alpha team under command of Sergeant Evoran Que’kasaars

Third Day of Golden Eagle, Year 3125 Under the Light

I see, yet have no sight
I hear, yet there is no sound
I feel, yet may not weep
I act, yet cannot move

What follows is the truest accounting of the efforts of Sergeant Que’kasaars Rangers to seek out the forces of Darkness on a Long Recon mission to the north.

We resume on the 7th day of First Hunt while the Rangers grappled with Corporal Samira Ravenwoods miraculous, if troublesome, conversion into a Tempest Druid. Though her life was saved, the lingering doubts as to her fitness for duty only redoubles.

However, that same morning, workers at the Wolfhaven Barony reported the arrival of a boy, starved and scarred to death.

Sergeant Que’kasaars and Ranger 1st Class Ramshorn went to speak with the boy and, through translators, learned that he was the sole survivor of an attack on an Olaran village to the north west. The Rangers elect to investigate as is their mandate, leaving the boy at the manor. His name, I learned is Jaques and he, when stable, will be sent to the Orphanage here in Echer’Naught.

The Rangers departed on horseback around mid-morning.

At the same time, Corporal Sarin Silverfeather has a vision of impending doom. He rallies a member of the Temple of the Silver Unicorn, an Aevakar, to join him as he departs to warn the Rangers. It would appear the Celestial Halls foresee a great evil befalling our world and if the Rangers cannot stop Shaya’Nor’s forces from gathering powerful Relics from the Age of Darkness, all might be lost.

No relevant news until the 10th of First Hunt. Corporal Silverfeather arrives safely without incident.

No relevant news until the 12th of First hunt. As the party camps near where they believe the attack to have occurred, they are spotted and reconned by an enemy scout. A Troglodyte. The scout escapes to betray their position. Corporal Silverfeather scouts the sky and easily spots a swath of destruction. It appears that more than one village may have been raided.

The following day, around noon on the 13th of First Hunt, the Rangers arrive at the burned village. According to Sergeant Que’kasaars, the attack was definitely by forces of Darkness. All valuables, things normally taken by bandits, remained, but there were no bodies, dead or alive.

Ranger Danica suggested the team camp away from the village as Darkness often leaves buried corpses to act as sentries and shock troops to ambush enemy scouts. No attack occurred, and nothing stirred in the village that night.

The following morning on the 14th, the Rangers continued north following a set of tracks. There were at least two, if not three large tracks. The first, oldest, appeared to be made by the Darkness forces which attacked. Included were massive footprints of Trolls. Also, the shuffling gate of prisoners. Rangers found detritus, food, clothes and even children’s toys scattered where they were dropped by those unfortunate souls.

The second column of tracks ran parallel and appeared to be mercenaries. Who this was, and how they were involved was still a mystery. The Rangers also took a parallel route on the opposite side of the enemy’s tracks and rode north.

No relevant news until the 16th of First Hunt. Rangers spot an enemy encampment on a wooded hill just off the enemy route. The Rangers take up observational posts and monitor the enemy position. Later that night, or early on the 17th, the enemy forces dowse their cook fires and appear to leave before dawn’s light.

Just after light, on the 17th of First Hunt, Sergeant Que’kasaars orders his Rangers to scout the enemy camp in force. They manage to get within short bowshot when the Sergeant sees the glint of metal and realizes the enemy has set up an ambush. Exposed, on untested mounts and in a clear field of fire, he orders an attack.

The Rangers cut loose unleashing magic and arrows against the entrenched forces. Sergeant Que’kasaars himself blasts apart their barricade and the three men behind. Drainar answers with his own blast. Corporal Ravenwood launches arrows, bringing down more men.

Corporal Silverfeather calls upon Archanon’s power to cow the enemy into surrender, demanding they lay down their arms. The battlefield is filled with the peal of a horn, one which Danica recognizes immediately and shouts for the Rangers to call off the attack. Sergeant Que’kasaars relays the order, but the damage is already done.

As the Rangers drop their weapons, men of House Olar, the King’s men, step from behind the barricade. These are not regular soldiers, but Olaran militia. They are the survivors of the attack, men and women out in the fields or hunting when their families were butchered and enslaved. They had been tracking the forces of Darkness when they spotted the Rangers.

Fearing the Rangers were enemy scouts, they set up the ambush. Despite the best efforts of Corporal Silverfeather, only two of the men Sergeant Que’kasaars blasted could be saved. One man lost his life. However, the Rangers now had allies. With the battle over, both Rangers and Olarans departed by mid-day, tracking north.

No relevant news until the 19th of First Hunt when Ranger scouts spot an ancient hill-fort ahead. Corporal Ravenwood and Ranger Danica are dispatched to scout the keep. Corporal Ravenwood manages to penetrate their security, but the size and numbers of the enemy force give her pause. She is spotted and uses her new Tempest powers to escape. Danica is nearly captured, but manages to escape after a lengthy footchase.

They return, tired, on the 20th only to report that the keep is beyond the ability of even the combined forces of Rangers and Olaran militia. The following morning, the 21st, Sergeant Que’kasaars asks me to summon reinforcements from our own units and contact the Olarans. I do so, sending Wolfhaven Free Company Riders assembled at the Wolfhaven Barony to support the team.

No relevant news until the 24th of First Hunt when 20 Wolfhaven Free Company Riders arrive to support operations. Unable to assail the fort, they begin encirclement, preventing the enemy troops from escaping.

No relevant news until the 32nd of First Hunt when an Olaran column of Olar troops under command of a Helt, arrives at the Ranger camp. After a brief conference, the Olarans assume command of the operation and make their way north to attack the fort.

By the following morning, the 33rd of First Hunt, the Olarans begin sieging the fort by dawn. By mid day, the fort is in ruins, all within are slain. Sergeant Que’kasaars men take no part in the assault.

The Rangers are given free range to investigate the remains. Apparently, the base was a supply cache and fortified relay point for Shaya’Nor operations in northern Landra’Feya. Though we cannot prove so, the Rangers believe this is but one installation in a chain. From here, enemy agents are able to launch raids or attack nearly anywhere.

Being close to Rhion and the famed Great Libraries there, Sergeant Que’kasaars orders his men to ride north west to the Olaran river bastion. They depart the Olarans the following morning on the 1st if Golden Eagle.

No relevant news until the 3rd of Golden Eagle when the Rangers arrive in Rhion. They break into teams, Sergeant Que’kasaars leads the researchers to the Great Library, headquarters to the Order of the Steel Quill. Corporal Ravenwood takes the second team into the city in hopes of gathering local intelligence.

Sergeant Que’kasaars is tended to by the Grandmaster of the Order, Lord Lothar Mueller, Loremaster. It is from this great man that Evoran learns of Wolfhaven’s fate. Corporal Ravenwood must here it in a pub, from a barkeep.

As is well known, Colonel Alexander Wolfhaven was cut down by enemy forces while meeting with his commanders on the 33rd of First Hunt. I as ordered to withhold this information so as to not distract the Rangers in the field. I have always done as ordered.

The news was difficult to hear and I fear for my Rangers. However, I know they will rally, eventually, and carry on the mission. So much loss…

Sergeant Que’kasaars contracted an Olaran farspeaker to reach me so that I might confirm the news, which with breaking heart, I did so. That was the last communication I have received, though I know the Rangers intend to remain in Rhion as long as necessary to collect the information there.

I was also forced to reveal that the plague in Echer’Naught has only grown worse. We are now turning away Elves for their own safety. Small camps are appearing around the walls as Elves cling to the protection of the city, while avoiding her plague ridden streets.

Lt. Celebor, I and Lady Elyanna have so far been spared. I and the Lady have the highest protection available. The Lt., however, refuses. There is much concern about his situation and even talk about appointing a non-elf commander.

This has been most difficult for Corporal Wolfhaven. News of his father’s fall has been a crushing blow to Alfred. He has thrown himself into his duty. I fear for his safety, though I know he has good men by his side. In particular, Rysak Ironblood has taken on the role of his personal bodyguard. It is strange to see, but in some way, the dwarf seems more…at peace now that before? Or is it merely without the clutter of a past, he is filled with a sense of duty.

Whatever the case, I cannot believe Rysak would allow anything to happen to Alfred. I do hope.

With Col. Woflhaven, Lt. Olgor, Sergeant Minor Longtail gone, and Sergeant Que’kasaars away on assignment, many of the more junior NCOs have been forced to step up. I am proud of the Rangers of Echer’Naught.

The wraith is still at large, though no new bodies have appeared. Either it is gone, or it has chosen a permanent mask.

Our greatest healers can find no pattern to the plague or even a first victim. So far, only Corporal Ravenwood has lived once falling ill. And that at a terrible price. Evoran’s would-be assassin has also vanished, though the reports of dead Rangers begins to mount. Two patrols of Wolfhaven Free Company Riders have been wiped out, one, it would seem, by a single agent.

Archanon, hear my prayers and bring the Rangers home safely.

Farspeaker, Eris Moonsilver

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Campaign Report 62
Death and more Death

Lt. Celebor,

7th First Hunt, 3125
(transcribed by Malcom)

The 33rd of Falling Ice ended well enough, for me at least. For my Alpha team, not as much. On the 30th, Evoran received news that one of his oldest friends, Aradove Longtail had been killed. The news hit him hard.
I have known Longtail for years, but I would not say we were ever close. Wolfhaven cared for her greatly, as did Rah-Sahn. Her loss is a tragedy. Unfortunately, with the attack on the Red Lamp Infirmary, we were unable to hold a last call for our fallen.

So, on the evening of the 33rd, Evoran’s team and what turned out to be half the city, from nobles to paupers, gathered at the Wolfhaven Refuge for Children to toast the life and death of Sergeant Minor Longtail. Per tradition, I declined to attend. Truth be told, I find the Olaran obsession with death to be a tad too morbid for my tastes.

The toast were memorable I heard. Evoran, of course spoke. As did Fateweaver. I think he and Longtail were romantically involved before she married his best friend? In any event, the most surprising eulogist was Eris Moonsilver.

Since she discovered her pregnancy, the Farspeaker has not left the Wolfhaven Manor. And, with the plague targeting Elves, her security has been extraordinarily strict. In her first public appearance in almost a year, Lady Moonsilver made an appearance, if briefly, to remember her fallen friend. Despite the risk, she honored the closest friend of her lost beloved.

No one can accuse the Rangers of lacking loyalty.

In the pre-dawn hours of Falling Ice 34th, Festival Day, a small group gathered again at the Orphanage to hear the last rites performed. Again, I could not attend, this less to do with tradition, and more to do with duties. Despite my strenuous objections, the powers that be demanded Festival plans go ahead as scheduled.

I spent the morning going over security with Captain Vasser of the Watch, Commander Schenkle of the Militia, Sherriff Halten of the King’s Men, and Ranger team leaders. In respect for their loss, I gave Evoran and his team as much time as I could, but by dawn, I needed the on post.

Though I offered him leave to attend, Alfred refused. He said that Longtail would understand. After all, she trained him.

The last rites were conducted by a Druid arranged by Fateweaver. Something of a lush? But, he followed the path of Zavonis. How did Longtail get blessed by an Ascended?

I do know that her urn was donated to the family jointly by both the Kilnfire and StoneMason Clans. Apparently, they set aside their feud long enough. Considering Longtail’s history with the dwarves, I am surprised.

Nevertheless, Evoran and his team left the funeral and made their way to secure the new Stahlheim Housing projects in advance of the big Festival Day Grand Opening. Before riding off to vanquish Vainar, Wolfhaven made arrangements for a series of public works projects in cooperation with the dwarves of Stahlheim, our own clans and a number of business interests. These projects included the rebuilding of the Brick yards, the construction of a new stoneyard and siegemaster proving ground, the repair of the stockyards and warehouse district, the rebuilding and expanding of the Town Watch post, and construction of a new Town Hall building and a Chamber of Commerce.

However, his crowing achievement was the construction of two, and the ground breaking of a third, three story, stone and brick housing block complete with fire places and wells. These Housing Blocks were constructed in Low Town, with the assistance of many of the residents. For the last few months, hundreds of displaced citizens have been moving in.

Now, apparently it is necessary to commemorate this generous gift to the populous and I must oversee the ceremony. Not to forget that a deadly plague stalks the streets of Low Town, or that we are, once again, at war, or, mind you, that an insane self-styled crime lord has issued a bounty on Rangers. But no, let’s have a grand ceremony in the single most unsecurable place in the entire city.

Stellar idea.

And as luck would have it, things went about as well as you would expect.

Sergeant Que’kassars and his team arrived on station where Baker Street literally runs into dirt. This is also the intersection where the first two Housing Blocks were constructed. Luckily, Thorgram and Ben had had the presence of mind to establish City Watch station IN the buildings so we had local support. Bully!

They set up a cordon as I herded our dignitaries to the stage erected to make them the easiest targets possible. I considered issuing vests with painted targets, but thought it might be a bit gauche.

At any rate, things started well enough. Samira and Dakota were on overwatch from the Block House balconies behind us. Thorgram stood on the stage with a couple Rangers just in case there was trouble. Evoran decided to climb up on the roof to get a good view. Ben, with his partner took the back, while Drainar and another Ranger took up post on the Middle Town access street.

We also had local Watch support and plains clothed Rangers imbedded in the crowed. All in all, the best of a horrible situation. Then, Danica comes screaming down Baker Street with a couple of thugs hot on her tail and everything pretty much went to the Abyss…

All security immediately focused on the sudden commotion, but I noted a man pushing his way through the crowd making his way toward the stage. His cloak was bulging and his body language suggested that he was about to do something bad.

Drainar and Ben immediately assisted Danica who was down on the ground, fighting off her two attackers. Drainer fried one, Ben rendered the other unconscious.

As for me, I fired at the figure in the crowd, but missed trying to avoid hitting innocent bystanders. Rare for me, yes, but it happens. Fortunately, I wasn’t the only Ranger to perceive the real threat.

Evoran reacted instantly, unleashing a violent beam of purple Eldritch energy. The assassin vanished in a blast of arcane power. Of course, that sent a shockwave through the crowd resulting in a stampede to clear the intersection. Subtle Evoran is not.

Rangers in the crowd were nearly trampled desperately trying to at least direct the mayhem. My team on the podium, covered their assigned dignitaries as we made our way to a secure fallback position. I never even glanced back assuming Evoran had control of the situation.
I was wrong…horribly wrong.

From what I was able to learn after the fact, Samira, seeing all threats down, looked for Evoran to get new orders. What she saw made no sense. In the commotion, the Sorcerer had gone down and even from her vantage point high on the 3rd floor balcony, Samira could see rivulets of blood coursing down the gutters from the roof Evoran’s body lay upon.

Wasting no time, she leaned over and shouted for Darkota to remain on the 2nd floor balcony as cover. Then she sprinted for the stairs. On the ground, Danica, Drainar and Ben linked up, Ben taking custody of the captive, while Danica tried to explain that there was a problem at the North Gate.

Earlier in the morning, she gathered at the office of the goblin fight promoter, Mitty, to wait for her day’s assignment, being undercover as one of his hired muscle. She happened to overhear he and some of his toughs discussing a big event happening at some point in the day. They also made mention of one of their “special” clients. Danica assumed this had to do with Velkalar so she resolved to warn Thorgram when she was put on his detail.

As it happened, Mitty sent her with a group of hired thugs to the Festival Grounds, far away from Thorgram’s team. Worse, when she tried to slip away, the head man noticed her, losing Danica any chance for surprise again. That, and it dawned on her that she was in a group of Mitty’s most seasoned fighters, his top men. She knew she was in trouble.

With no other choice, Danica made her rounds as ordered, desperately seeking her team, or any sign of villainy on the part of Mitty’s men. It took her hours, but almost at noon, she realized they had been slowly but steadily fouling traffic at the North Gate increasing congestion and slowing the flow to a trickle. With a huge portion of available Rangers running security for the massive Fair Grounds, if anything happened IN the city, response time would be…hours?

That’s when she heard a town crier, hired by Fateweaver at Ben’s behest, announce the Grand Opening of the Stahlheim Housing Blocks. All dignitaries were to attend. Danica had no choice but to blow her cover and make a break for the city.

She was spotted immediately and two of Mitty’s goons were sent to chase her down. Which brings us back to the attack’s aftermath.

As quickly as possible, Danica tried to explain to Drainar the situation at the North Gate. He, in turn, looked for Evoran…only to see the post abandoned and no sign of his Sergeant. Leaving Ben with the prisoner, Danica and Drainar pushed through the thinning crowd, headed for Evoran’s last position.

They very nearly collided with Samira who was also just arriving. Seeing the blood, both Samira and Drainar shimmied up to the roof to find Evoran’s body growing cold and…gray. Also, there were two black, fletched arrows protruding from his chest, on buried deep in each lung.

Drainar, calling on his little Life magic, attempted to heal Evoran. However, as he later described, it seemed like trying to revive a slab of meat. Only then did they realize the horrible truth. Evoran was dead, or very nearly so. Far beyond their powers of healing.

Frantic, they discussed options when Eris, who had suddenly lost mental link with Evoran, contacted Samira for a report. In the matter of a thought, Samira relayed the situation. At which, and here is where I realized a problem was happening, Eris closed down the entire battle link.

At this moment, I was trying to calm down some VERY angry bodyguards when my connection with Eris went dark. Using my own abilities, I attempted to re-establish contact, but was soundly rebuffed. Confused, and now a bit concerned, I excused myself from the gaggle of screaming nobles and started making my way back to team.

Eris reached out to me shortly before I arrived and explained, quickly what had transpired and that Evoran was being, “handled”.

While I was enroute, Thorgram in tow, Eris re-connected with Samira explaining that they needed to get Evoran’s body off the roof and onto solid ground. An odd request, to be sure, but the Corporal did not waste time with pointless questions. She and Drainar immediately bound Evoran wrist and foot and lowered him to Danica’s waiting arms.

No sooner had Danica lowered his body to the ground than the earth began to quake. Well, that pretty much finished off any lingerers. Anybody left in the intersection or on the balconies simply scattered. The Rangers backed off as roots began to punch through the cobblestones.

With the roots came wildflowers which inexplicably grew, spreading out from beneath Evoran until he was lying on a bed of soft grass and wildflowers. Then, a figure emerged from the soil, part vine, part elf until the figure of Treesinger resolved. With a gentle hand, she reached out to touch Evoran’s chest and then, both sank into the earth and vanished leaving behind the little island of green and the stunned Rangers.

I then arrived, shortly after to receive a debrief from Samira. Danica quickly alerted me to the possibility of further aggression at the North Gate, so I ordered the team there to secure it while I went to coordinate our response with the Watch and Militia.

The rest of my afternoon was spent calming ruffled feathers, apologizing profusely, and generally dealing with pretentious idiots with less sense than a rock. Samira’s team spent their time unfouling the jam at the North Gate. Fortunately, there were no further attacks. Also, there were no more sightings of Mitty’s men. No surprise.
Falling Ice, 34th 3125 finally came to a close much to the relief of my Rangers.

Regrettably, no word on Evoran. So, on the 1st of First Hunt, I sent Dakota Afliem with another elven Ranger not diseased to the Sacred Grove to inquire of the druids Evoran’s condition. This being Dakota’s first venture into the Sacred Grove I have no doubt it left a memorable impression.

When she returned, Dakota informed me that Evoran remained with us, but he was neither alive. GREAT! Though the High Druidess has my complete respect, she can be utterly frustrating. At the same time, I asked Corporal Ravenwood, if she wanted a couple of weeks to track down information on Evoran’s assailant, or would she prefer to take on her next mission.

For the last few weeks we had received unconfirmed reports of vicious attacks, razed vills, and disappearances occurring all across the northern territories, not to mention the Ranger abductions and murders to the south. Key word, unconfirmed. Actual intelligence that could acted upon was infuriatingly absent. I needed SOMEONE to provide some semblance of a report.

There was also the small matter of any Ranger outside of the walls subject to murder by Velkalar’s trophy hunters.

To my surprise, Samira chose to take on the Long Recon mission north. It would take a few days to make arrangements. So, with Evoran, mostly dead? and Samira in command, but struggling with her own afflictions, I afforded the Alpha team some Administration and Training Time.

I hoped that we would get some word out of the Sacred Grove, an indication of Evoran’s condition. A day later, First Hunt 2nd, 3125, I received just that. Well, I actually received Evoran who, quite literally appeared at the Regional HQ.

When he was ushered into my office by a flustered Malcom, I nearly fell out of my chair. He looked…horrible. His robes were dirt and blood stained. I could still see the holes where the crossbow bolts hand pierced his chest. The Eldakar himself looked worse.

It took me a moment to understand why. I mean, yes, he was recently returned from the dead, but it was something else, something…ephemeral. When I looked at him, I mean really looked…I suddenly understood. Evoran was diminished…still Eldakar…but…mortal.

His expression revealed all. The price of his return was his immortality.

In a few words, he explained his miraculous return. I will leave those to his own words to follow.

At any rate, I asked if he needed time to recover or would he prefer to resume command. Wisely or not, she chose to rejoin his team, so we summoned Samira who was overjoyed at his return.

Together, we quickly filled him in on the mission and our preparations. He would lead a small team north whose mission would be to gather intelligence on reports of recent attacks and confirm or refute claims of agents of Darkness stalking the northern baronies.

If it was revealed that we WERE under attack, Evoran would use his judgment to determine whether his team could handle the situation. If so, all to the good. If not, he would wait until the following morning when Eris made routine contact. He could then request reinforcements.

Wolfhaven Free Riders had been making routine patrols between the Wolfhaven Barony and the city. They had delivered some of the rumors themselves, but their purview was to keep the roads open, not track down weak rumors of ghostly figures and arcane horrors. That task was left to the Ranger Corps proper.

Despite my concerns over the well-being of both Evoran and Samira, the two senior commanders, I authorized the team to leave that same evening, First Hunt 2nd, 3125, under cover of Darkness.

We know we are being watched. That much is a given. But, there was at least some hope that news of Evoran’s miraculous recovery might not have reached the ears of our enemy. So, taking what precautions could be taken on short notice, the team rode out the north gate with 3 extra Rangers pulled from the rotation to fill slots made absent by Sarin and Amelia.

From Eris’ reports, the team camped about an hour north of Echer’Naught the night of the 2nd of First Hunt before heading on the morning of the 3rd of First Hunt. By noon on the 3rd of First Hunt, they arrived at a small thorpe complete with an inn (a house that served some fermented draught and provided wooden plank benches by a small, piteous fire).

Danica, who actually speaks Olaran, and Samira entered the “inn” to seek out rumors. The innkeeper seemed amenable enough, if filthy, offered a few tidbits of info, one blood drained cow and a column of black smoke on the horizon to the west. Neither seemed that promising, but the cow was closer. So, after Samira spit out the piss-poor ale all over the innkeeper, the scouts returned to the team who had been watering the mounts.
Evoran elected to investigate the cow as it was closer and more indicative of Darkness activity in the area. Before leaving the hamlet, however, they had to locate Thorgrams ass, Muriel, who had managed to slip her lead and disappear. She was quickly located behind the inn consuming an entire crate of the same swill that was so foul it caused Samira to spray all over her host.

With drunken mule in hand, the team followed the spotty directions provided by the innkeeper toward “Farmer John’s” fields and the exsanguinated bovine. Sadly, the trip was interrupted midway when Muriel stubbornly refused to jump one of the farm’s stone walls and, instead, chose to plow right through.

The rest of the team settled down for an afternoon lunch in the sun while Thorgram restacked the heavy stone, cursing the entire time. Damage repaired, they proceeded to Farmer John who, by all reports, was an amiable fellow. He confirmed the cow story, but since the beast had since been butchered, there was little evidence of the crime.

He did add that all the farms had suffered increased predation lately, but had seen nothing out of the ordinary beyond that…and the blood drained cattle.

Evoran elected to establish camp on a nearby hill the farmer had indicated so that they team might set up a watch over the countryside. Farmer John was amenable, so the eve of the 3rd of First Hunt, 3125, the Alpha Team set up camp on a hill a day and a half’s ride north of Echer’Naught and proceeded to set watch over the farmlands.

All seemed well, no sightings of anything amiss, but the following morning, on the 4th of First Hunt, things began to go awry. That morning, Samira woke with a bloody cough, so imbibed one of the Greater Healing Potions her paramour, Anaxelum, had “procured” from Flamel’s Apothecary. All as the healers had proscribed. Unfortunately, it seemed to have little effect.

The next morning, on the 5th, her symptoms worsened. Still, no sign of Darkness in the surrounding county. Again on the 6th, her condition worsened markedly and again, the land around seemed unchained with no sightings of Darkness, cultists, or anything amiss.

However, by afternoon, Samira was bed-ridden, so Evoran made a call and had the camp broken quickly. The Rangers rode HARD for the Wolfhaven Manor, arriving late the evening of the 6th of First Hunt.

What they found surprised them all. It would appear that, in addition to his many civic projects in Echer’Naught, the good Col had ALSO been making repairs to his ancestral home as well. He had been a busy lad. Foremen, laborers, architects, stonecutters, and all manner of craftsmen had established a large, heavily armed camp and were already well on their way to renovating the first floor of the Wolfhaven Estate.

Most of these men had survived last summer’s (3124) attack by Flame and returned to resume their work. Farmers were already sowing seeds in once barren field. These men knew Thorgram well and invited the Rangers in with open arms, providing them lodging in a few of the completed rooms in the Manor House proper.

Danica and Ben stood watch, being immune as they were to the disease while the others spoke with the laborers, using Thorgram as a guide and interpreter in some cases. The Half-Orc speaks dirt.
That night was a long one with Samira growing ever worse…

…in the morning on the 7th of First Hunt 3125, she was dead.

Evoran clearly sensed her spirit fade and Darkness begin to overtake her. He was just about to destroy her body when it was consumed by power. Outside, the terrified workers looked up to see a massive Tempest Cyclone begin forming overhead.

Within the chamber itself, an even stronger wind picked up as lighting began to play over Samira’s corpse. Thorgram, having faced this before, shouted for everyone to take cover as the Rangers sprinted for cover in the Manor House.

In the room, Evoran ordered Danica out even as the gale-force winds threatened to slam them against the walls. Half of the Rangers were nearly killed by lightning strikes as the weather outside went haywire. Snow, sleet, and hail hammered the roof while rain poured from the sky and thunder and lightning created a deafening cacophony.

A little singed, the Rangers made it to cover to find Evoran and Danica backing away from Samira’s door. Dakota shouted over the din, demanding to know what was happening and Evoran was screaming back when everything went eerily silent. The rain stopped and the wind died leaving the team in deafening silence.
From the gloom of the chamber, a figure appeared in the doorway. Reacting to a potential attack, the team readied itself for war.

Ben stood, mask on, sword ablaze in blue/white light even as his cloak still smoked…

Dakota drew her bow cursing her fate of losing every new friend she found…

Evoran summoned his power, wreathing himself in eldritch protection…

Drainar summoned arcane armor and prepared for the worst….

Danica fingered her saber, readying for the rush…

Thorgram locked his shield, axe ready to hew…

And from the wreckage stepped Samira, very much alive, though obviously disoriented by the reaction of her team. From behind the group, the three Rangers stood stunned, unsure of what to do next.

Samira broke the spell, demanding to know why they appeared about to murder her. Only then, did the team relax, somewhat. Ben and Evoran maintained that she was now a threat and should be escorted back to Echer’Naught immediately. Thorgram jumped to her defense pointing out that she as not the only marked member and if they arrested every Ranger who was cursed by some power they would have no one left to fight.

The argument continued until Eris contact Evoran as scheduled. She, telling me later, linked with both Evoran and Samira allowing her to interrogate the one for the other. After a brief, but intense questioning, Evoran agreed to allow Samira to remain in the field, though he harbored deep reservations about her reliability now that she had willingly embraced the Tempest.

That crises resolved, the Rangers stood down and prepared to resume their breakfast that had been so rudely interrupted when the Foreman approached with grim news. A young boy had just been found, half-starved and terrified babbling about his village being destroyed.

Exhausted, hungry, half the team either suspect or devastated, the Alpha team put aside their own concerns to face what new horror awaited them.

Eris, of course, relayed this latest to me via her connection with Evoran. So much had happened over the last few days that I completely forgot to inform him of the most unusual event in a long string of unbelievable events.

The morning of the 1st of First Hunt, after I met with Samira, I had a visitor. Captain Vasser of the Watch arrived to personally deliver the previous day’s crime report. As he explained, the 34th of Falling Ice traditionally had the highest crime rate of any day in the year as it was the Festival Day and usually saw huge crowds arrive in Echer’Naught. With so many people spending so much coin and security stretched to the limit, it was always a busy time for the city’s criminals.

What Captain Vasser handed me, however, was a blank sheet of paper. Confused, I asked what he was about. With wonder, and a bit of a smile, he informed me that there was not a single reported case of theft from start of Sergeant Minor Longtail’s Last Call for the next 25 hours…

On the single most lucrative day, it seemed that every thief, cutpurse, draw latch, and pickpocket in the entire city simply…took the day off. No one ever explained why, and the Watch was at a loss to explain it, but Vasser and I both believe that it was Longtail’s “associates” way of honoring her memory, but honoring her commitment to the Rangers.

To my knowledge, and his, that was the only day in the city’s long history this ever happened.

What better tribute could there be?

Lt. Celebor

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