Lord Mayor, Colonel Baron Wolfhaven, Alexander
Commander of the Legio Heroes
A’Davar, Eternal Sands
Twelfth Day of White Stagg, Year 3126 Under the Light
There is a legend of a great general in the ancient past. It is said that he was the greatest military mind of his generation, that he never lost a single battle. And yet, in the end, his legacy is ultimately a failure. Each victory came at a price so high…that in the end, he left his cities defenseless. Is that the legacy that I will leave when history is written of me? That is how it would seem.
White Stagg 1st, 3126
Victory was ours, how bitter it tasted. We broke Xaos’ forces, and sealed the tear… However, we were abandoned by Tempest, and the Desert Riders and outmaneuvered by the Kal. Lorask ki Gult, Warlord, or some creature wearing his name has nigh managed to achieve what has eluded the Empire for 564 years since the last Grand Warlord of the South, Soman ki Akara, turned on the Empire freeing the Youlin Aradi.
Using the Xaos storms as cover, the pretender to the title, Lorask ki Gult quietly took Birr and Mara. When our Rangers defeated Xaos, the Dair-Az revealed his master stroke, summoning a Maelstrom army from…somewhere. Caught between the Kal army, and Maelstrom reinforcements, Prince Morok ki Anzher, Emir of A’Davar’s army was severely outnumbered. The Prince had no choice but retreat, and I, no choice but to screen his withdrawl as best I could.
By the Ascended, I should have SEEN it! But, the cloak of the storms hung like a Veil, and it took all out energies to suss out Xaos’ designs. And WHERE in the Abyss did Lorask ki Gult hide an ARMY!?
In the early hours of the 1st, all we could do was throw everything we still had in the way of the approaching Maelstrom. The Kal forces were distracted riding down the fleeing Xaos forces, buying us a narrow window. Prince Morok ki Anzher committed his own personal guard. I sent my Wolfhaven Free Company Riders, mounted Rangers, and the few standing members of the Alpha Team (being Cav trained). Only Corporal Daynore, RFC Grendel, Ranger Serys, and Trainee Ranna remained. Lieutenant Volstagg, Sergeant Amaroth, and RFC Danica were all down, being evacuated with the wounded.
And, RFC Zalthan Nexus, of House Wolfhaven…has been taken. At the time, we knew not by whom, but she was last seen fighting Flame. We feared the worst.
While the Rear guard fought a desperate, but futile action against three times their number, A’Davar’s army retreated in good order. We made near 15 miles, impressive for foot in the desert. Not even Olarans could easily match the feat.
That even, Liutenant Volstagg awoke. He was badly burned, wounded, but cared only for his team, his wife. A true Olaran.
I chose honesty, complete. Our situation was dire, and without water, the army would never reach A’Davar, Maelstrom or no. And, his wife was missing. However, we only suspect that she was taken by the Kal. In truth, any of the myriad allies and enemies might have taken her. Though I know this only via reports, I understand that her child is unique, and powerful.
Lieutenant Volstagg took it well. As well as could be expected given the circumstances. However, without knowing where his wife was being held, or by whom, there was little we could do for her at the moment. I had already dispatched scouts to track the movements of the various armies, but I held little hope. Lady Moonsilver already bent her powers to locating Lady Volstagg. I needed Volstagg here, now.
Alpha Team, under Lieutenant Volstagg would take a team of A’Davar’s riders, and Wolfhaven Free Company riders to escort 50 camel water bearers to the nearest oasis, some 20-30 miles east of the column. They would be on of three such water raids, but the largest. However, before such enterprises, there were recognition that were far passed due.
Ranna had been but a Trainee when she departed Echer’Naught Festival Moons 10th, 3126, and during the entire mission, first through Almahrad, into the desert, the paperwork had never been submitted to promote her to full Ranger. Operational oversight, but a regrettable one.
As of White Stagg 1st, 3126:
Ranger Trainee Ranna was promoted to Ranger, and then, immediately to Ranger 1st Class
RFC Lady Nexus Zathlan, House Volstagg was promoted to Corporal
In addition, commendations were placed in the files for:
Lieutenant Gunther Volstagg
Sergeant Audric Amaroth, Sworn of House Wolfahven
Corporal Durlan Daynore, Farspeaker
Corporal Lady Nexus Zathlan, House Volstagg
RFC Danica, Goldne Gryphons
Alpha Team was given the evening to rest, recoup and resupply. I attended to the dispensation of the army. Mostly, I sat the night astride Thunder on the south flank of the army and observed the Maelstrom army mass. In a pitched battle, they outnumbered our forces three to one. And they were better supplied and rested.
White Stagg 2nd, 3126
Early in the morning, Alpha Team gathered with their allies and the camel caravan to begin the raid for water in the nearby oasis. The team would be gone for days. What transpired only learned when they returned. Lieutenant Volstagg dispatched the A’Davar riders north to screen for Maelstrom. To the south, the Wolfhaven Free Company Riders.
White Stagg 3rd, 3126
After a hard ride, the Alpha Team reached the outskirts of the Oasis by mid-day, but found the locals already under attack by Maelstrom forces. The Oasis was in flames, palm trees burned, houses engulfed. The locals were being slaughtered. Without the other teams, they held the camels in reserve and attempted to secure the Oasis themselves, per orders. To save innocents. And my orders, again, nearly cost them their lives.
The Rangers rode out, charging into the Oasis. They were met by a Minotaur, Ratzin, and Thratchen. Lieutenant Volstagg and Seyrs reached the Minotaur first, but in a single blow, he beheaded the horses, and very nearly slew both Rangers. The rest of the team arrived quickly, but the battle turned badly. Ratzin swarmed them, Thratchen popped in and out, tearing through them.
Against the might of the Childer, the Rangers were over matched, and waging a losing battle. Brutalized, fatigued, and overwhelmed, the Childer stood on the verge of wiping out Alpha Team entirely…
…and then simply faded away in smoke, ash, and fire.
Corporal Daynore was unconscious, so the team caster was unable to determine if a Dispel had been used, but the rest of the team confirmed no Acolyte in the area had been killed. From Lieutenant Volstagg’s report, the timing and circumstances were ominous. However, the Rangers were in a poor position to look a gift horse in the mouth.
With the Childer dispelled, the water bearers moved in and completed drawing water by late that day. The Rangers provided security and rounded up the displaced villagers, rescuing not a few from burning buildings. Once the operation was completed, the team returned. It took two days.
White Stagg 5th, 3126
Alpha Team arrived late, or early depending on how one approaches such things. Of the three teams sent to recover water, only Alpha Team was successful. All the other teams were destroyed. But, they lost over half o the A’Davar and Wolfhaven riders. All reports indicated that the Maelstrom were spreading out, encircling our position, driving us ever north toward A’Davar. We were being herded.
Over the last few days, I had met with the Prince and other commanders to formulate a plan that might provide us the room we needed to reach A’Davar before being encircled and destroyed by the Maelstrom army. A’Davar’s scouts knew of a rocky region about 50 miles south of A’Davar, within three days hard march of our current location.
With the alchemy, arcfire, and sorcery available, the plan was to mine the largest defiled. If we could lure the Maelstrom army into the pass and trigger the explosions a the right moment, we could bury the Maelstrom, or at the very least buy enough time and distance.
Unfortunately, we had to survive the next three days. No small feat.
My plan, poor as it was, was to assemble the remainder of our cavalry forces in a mobile regard under command of Lieutenant Volstagg. Their orders were simple. Harass and delay the Maelstrom for three days. On the third, the rear guard was to break and fall back.
False retreats are only useful if the enemy has reason to believe the ruse. Fortunately, there was little fear the Maelstrom would not believe the rear guard collapsed. The true danger was the rear guard actually collapsing.
Alpha Team rested a few hours, but our army marched out by 3 AM on the 5th. Alpha Team and the rearguard sat the morning, watching the main force march north. At dawn, the Maesltrom’s childer attacked, swarming the cav under Volstagg.
Outnumbered more then three to one, the defense nearly collapsed were it not for Ranna holding the line. Barely, Volstagg’s command survived the first day. Barely.
White Stagg 6th, 3126
On the 6th, the enemy struck before dawn, nearly catching the rear guard by surprise. Fighting was intense and Volstagg was forced to fall back many miles, but the rearguard held.
White Stagg 7th, 3126
Day three was the most worst for Volstagg’s forces. More than once they were forced to cut themselves free from the press. Late in the day, unexpected allies arrived. Desert Riders, those who accompanied the team from Paradise to A’Tora. Even with the added might, they were massively outnumbered. Still they held. Despite losses, they held…until dusk. As darkness fell, Volstagg’s rearguard shattered, per orders, and rode hard for our camp miles north.
They arrived late, battered, tired, but alive. Pausing long enough to eat, drink, and resupply, Alpha Team now accompanied Guardian Archmage Val’rethael Que’kasaars and the engineers north a few miles to the rocky pass.
White Stagg 8th, 3126
While the sappers worked, Alpha Team took up watch. The skies were gray in the morning, and they almost missed the Gargoyles circling overhead. Without warning, six of the winged beast dove on the team.
Sergeant Amaroth was hit hard, hurled off the cliff. Corporal Daynore summoned his power and dove after, calling upon his mental powers to catch him. Unfortunately, no sooner had he managed to grab the unconscious Sergeant, he was struck again. Both men plummeted to the sandy floor far below.
RFC Ranna, down to a single bolt, dropped a Gargoyle. Serys a second. One by one, the Rangers dropped five the six Gargoyles. The last gargoyle engaged Lieutenant Volstagg, driving him back.
Here, my only information comes the eye witness who survived the subsequent explosion, Val. According to the Guardian Archmage, the sapper team was just finishing their work as our main column marched through the pass below. Val’rethael Que’kasaars was overseeing the last of the work when Lieutenant Volstagg shouted warning.
When the Guardian Archmage looked up, he saw what had alarmed Vosltagg. Dozens of Thratchen approached from the back side of the ridge, closing rapidly on the sappers. They would be overrun in seconds…and with them any hope to stop the Maelstrom.
If the trap failed, the Maelstrom which had already entered the pass on the heals of our forces would catch and overwhelm our forces. I cannot imagine the choice Sir Volstagg was forced to make. Standing on the bombs, he had to choose whether to trigger the explosion and spring the trap early, taking out his own team, or watch the sappers die and then the army enveloped.
Volstagg made the difficult choice, signalling the Guardian Archmage to trigger detonation. The explosion rocked the ridge and showered massive stone onto both armies below. We lost nearly a hundred men…
Maelstrom, five times that number.
The pass was filled with smoke, dust, sand, and death. We lost the entire sapper team, only Val survived. And, we lost Alpha Team. Despite the main Maelstrom force being shattered, their gargoyles and thratchen were still closing. We had no choice but to use the time purchased at such a high cost to escape.
White Stagg 10th, 3126
Our column arrived in A’Davar late in the day. Over the course of a the 10 day trip, we lost over a hundred lives, but the city was secured. And, the Maelstrom force, now only a day behind was reduced to half its strength.
Unfortunately, when we arrived, scouts from A’Davar warned that a second force, the Kal armies original rear guard were also closing on the city. We had only speculation about their troop strength.
Any hopes of staging a rescue, or even sending scouts to search for survivors were dashed. Our duty was to the people of A’Davar. No matter the cost, A’Davar must hold. We will NOT abandon the Youlin Aradi to domination by the Empire. I will not.
I only pray that Celesia keep my Rangers safe…wherever they may be.
Your most obedient servant,
Lord Mayor Wolfhaven, Colonel
A’Davar, Eternal Sands