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

Campaign Report 60 Addendum
The End and The Beginning

Lord Mayor, Colonel Baron Wolfhaven, Alexander
Commander of the Legio Heroes
Regional Command at Echer’Naught, Olara

Thirty Third Day of Dark Moons, Year 3124 Under the Light

On the afternoon of the 31st of Dark Moons I was summoned to the Stahlheim encampment where Sergeant Rorauk Fyrforg. When I arrived, I found him in conference with Rallidon Fyrforg, a dwarf I have not seen in some time. The reason for my visit was to address his troops regarding the upcoming march north. However, before that I have a more pressing matter to discuss with the two commanders.

Before I could speak, however, we summoned Ash to secure the tent against magical eavesdropping. After a masterful, if flashy, display of power, I had the tent cleared save for the commanders. It was then that I revealed to Rorauk that I was putting together a secret mission behind enemy lines. Rorauk would be allowed a ten man detail. Due to the highly dangerous nature of the mission, participation was entirely voluntary.

I laid out the details which will be explained in a future report. After the meeting, we stepped out of the command tent to address the assembled force of Dwarves.

The mission is simple. By the first thaw columns of troops will march out of Echer’Naught by various roads heading north. The Soldiers of Stahlheim will head north and then west, passing through Rhion and Jasaram where we hope they will joined by another column from Stahlheim, before marching up the length of the Northern Gathers until reaching the Gather of Jurg. At Jurg, the force will turn east, crossing the Shanair and traversing the east-west road as far as the Clanhome of Stonefinger. In its entirety, the trip from Echer’Naught stands at just over 820 miles, the last 1/3 through territory already contested by the enemy, and the final 75 miles over rough, broken terrain without the benefit of good roads.

With full troops and heavy wagons, they can expect, during the mushy, muddy spring thaws to make 15 miles per day, if VERY lucky. The last 75 miles will be more like 10. To reach Irdok, where the column leaves the main highway, I expect the trip to take 50 days, at least putting them at Irdok on or around the 16th of First Hunt. Another 8 days to the site, puts the column arriving at or around the 24th of First Hunt, 3125. This assumes that they leave by the 1st of Falling Ice as planned.

My own forces will ride hard due east to the coast. Catching ships with supplies, we will disembark just north of Vor. With luck, we will arrive soon after the Dwarves. Granted, this expects all parts of a complex plan to move smoothly. We shall see.

Nevertheless, my plan is to establish our base, a standard fortified field encampment in the valley north of the road above Stonefinger (as terrain allows). My inclusion of the Dwarves of Stahlheim in this endeavor is only partly due to their prowess in battle and construction. My hope is that the incorporation of the independant Dwarven clans in my army will encourage the Clanhomes of Stonefinger and Ironspear to serve as supply bases, field hospitals, and rally points in the case of complete failure.

All of this information was included in the maps and scrolls I left with Rorauk, along with a promotion to Lieutenant in the Ranger Corps. Of course, I told little of this to the troops. Rather, I sketched out the barest details of the march, lest foul ears hear, and reminded them of their duty and their strong name. It had the desired effect. Then, with a bit of a flourish myself, I mounted Thunder and departed camp for my own home.

Yet, in my heart, I felt little but dread. My mission to Shaya’Nor weighed heavily on my mind. And, should I even survive the next few days, I faced the prospect of leaving Olara for what could prove to be an extended tour. M heart aches, but I have my duty, and like my Dwarven brethren, I will not fail.

Your most obedient servant,
Lord Mayor Wolfhaven, Colonel
Regional Command at Echer’Naught, Olara

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Campaign Report 60
The Beginning of the End, 3124

Lord Mayor, Colonel Baron Wolfhaven, Alexander
Commander of the Legio Heroes
Regional Command at Echer’Naught, Olara
Thirty Third Day of Dark Moons, Year 3124 Under the Light

It just before dawn on the first day of the new year; which should be a time of hope and renewal as the winter snows thaw and bitter cold gives way to spring. Yet, this year bring with it little hope. Rather, we are facing what may yet prove to be our greatest challenge.

Vainar has returned…

Even speaking the words fills me with dread. Our most ancient foe has risen and now the forces of Darkness threaten to engulf the world. Yet, hope remains.

Pieces move into place. Allies marshal forces to a common cause and even former foes may be relied up to stand with us.

At home, things return to a semblance of normality. The inquest is gone, but questions remain. I will begin at the beginning.

On the 1st of Dark Moon, 3124, I summoned my Lead Ranger team to discuss the recent events and reassure my men that we were not to be separated. In fact, the team is to be expanded. With so much new blood joining it seemed most advisable to pair experienced Rangers with the new blood. Much like the Knight-Squire relationship, but with far less menial labor.

I placed the Dwarven Sorcerer Drainer with Sergeant Que’kassars. It made a kind of sense. Young Alfiem I paired with Corporal Ravenwood. Both are elves and both archers. They will work well together. Perhaps most unusual, I placed Ranger Toma under Ranger 1st Class Thorgram’s tutelage. Both men have much to learn from each other, and a history they have yet to explore. Time will tell if either man will be the first to begin healing old wounds.

The second duty I had the pleasure of performing was the promotion of Ranger 1st Class Sarin Silverfeather to Corporal. His tenure with the Rangers began rocky, but he has shown stark improvement and continued to grow as a team player. Command is more difficult than any man understands. I wish him the best.

We also introduced a transfer, Ranger Amelia Whitestone. She spent the last three years serving in Kythros. The 1st was her official re-up date. According to records, she personally requested the Echer’Naught command. I look forward to her contributions. Pairing Ranger Whitestone with Corporal Silverfeather was convenient, but I also hope that her experience and obvious bearing will be a good match for the new NCO.
For me, the hardest impact of the month’s long investigation was that I was sequestered away from the new Rangers. As I read reports and approve patrols I recognize so few names. I promised myself that I would never be the commander who lost touch with his men. For me to utilize them best, I must understand first how they function.

Beginning on the 6th, I began assigning myself to rounds with the newest Rangers. One of the first was Dakota Afliem. Corporal Ravenwood had “administrative” duties to perform so I was able to join Ranger Alfiem on the main street route.

She is a Legacy, unusual here in Olara. More than that, I find her an intelligent and contemplative individual, if guarded. Though, we all have stories and it took me many years to be open about my own past. If she remains, she could be a great asset to the team.

Two days later, on the 8th, I joined Ben Toma after our morning prayers. He wears his faith like armor, seeking the calm in all situations. It is admirable in its way. I pray to Archanon he can retain his center in the future.
Drainar was easy to speak with as he posted guard outside the Local HQ. He speaks little, but I imagine his time is spent in study. He will be a great aid to Evoran.

The next few weeks was spent re-organizing the Corps. Many Rangers were left uncertain after the events of the past months and I had a long way to go in earing their trust and respect. Fortunately, the final month of 3124 was, for the most part quiet. A terrible herald of things to come, I suppose.

I did receive word that Sergeant Que’kassars took Corporal Ravenwood to a formal dinner at the Lamplighters Guild Hall. Clearly the good Sergeant has become far more political of late. Perhaps I should speak with him…then again, perhaps not. I trust his judgement. I have to. With so many gone, he has become my right hand. So, I will leave it be. At least Corporal Ravenwood had fun getting to know Field Marshal Von Wrangel.

Curious

That was on the 15th of Dark Moons. It was about this time that reports came in confirming what we only suspected. Shaya’Nor was on the move, planning something larger than we had at first realized. More to the point, our agents confirmed that this group of Star Watchers was reaching out to us through back channels.
I beseeched the Rangers to permit me to undertake the mission. They were leaning to tasking Artivan, but I understand he was called away suddenly. Preparations then began in earnest. Stormhammer was busy working on some new gear for the operation and I dispatched Alfred to deliver letters personally.

How he has grown. I only hope that his experiences to not leave him so hard that he becomes brittle. I am pleased to see him bond with the new Rysak Ironblood. They are a good team. Until I am certain of Rysak’s mental health, he will stand with Corporal Wolfhaven and his team (Ranger 1st Class Sir Lugard, Ranger 1st Class Gwynlyn Argus of Sun’s Crossing).

My most enjoyable, if awkward moment of the month was joining Samira and Anaxelum at the Wayfarer’s Rest on a double outing. In truth, we just traveled together; staying in compliance with the ordinance. Elyanna and I had a WONDERFUL time. I know things are difficult with Samira, but I pray she finds what she seeks. After dinner, we walked the walls. Elyanna looked like an Angel, her hair powdered with snow, her eyes sparking violet in the moonlight. I fear I am struck.

The last two weeks of preparations were frantic as forces were moved into place. Already soldiers gathered, supplies stocked and orders cut for the White Silver Wolves Mercenary company to depart for the Northern Gathers. I even received missives from Kassagore seeking aid. Rorauk Fyrforg and his Soldiers of Stahlheim had done their part for Echer’Naught. Now it was time for war.

At the same time, I gathered the heroes of Shaintar, warriors like Murvoth and Whit, spellcasters like Thaleon and Ash. All old friends and comrades alike answered my call once again. So much to do. My only real regret was spending so little time with Elyanna.

Each day I cherish her wisdom, her patience, and her love more. Archanon grant that I return from this war, for I do not wish to spend another lifetime without her by my side. Let me stand the breech this one last time, my people need me. But when this is done, I must follow my heart.

On the 31st of Dark Moons I joined the Soldiers of Stahlheim in their camp where I laid out final arrangements for the march north and was honored to give a brief speech to the men. After which, I returned to my manor and put together my Last Will and Testament and crafted orders for Evoran should the worst happen.
All that was left was to spend a couple days with my beloved before my mission North on the 33rd of Dark Moons and pray.

Your most obedient servant,
Lord Mayor Wolfhaven, Colonel
Regional Command at Echer’Naught, Olara

Addition:
Falling Ice 1st, 3125
Our mission was a success, but our worst fears have been realized. Vainar has returned and Shaya’Nor threatens to consume Camon. I go to join my column. The Soliders of Stahlheim are already gone. Alfred is furious that I will not bring him, but he is too important here. Elyanna, is sad, but bears it well. She may be the strongest of us all.

I leave papers with Evoran. Orders and my will. He will see it done. I trust him.

I will miss my home; fresh baked Schenkle bread, Alfred’s constant presence as familiar as my own shadow, watching the Rangers train, or just spending time with my men. Even Anaxelum’s stilted and awkward conversations. But most of all, I will miss her. For the Rangers, for Olara…for my love…

I go. May Archanon protect me. Protect us all.

See:
Campaign Report 60 Addendum
Vainar has Returned!
A Friend in Need…
White Silver Wolves Mercenary Company Marches North

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Campaign Report 59
End of an Investigation

Lord Mayor, Colonel Baron Wolfhaven, Alexander
Commander of the Legio Heroes
Regional Command at Echer’Naught, Olara
Thirty Third Day of White River, Year 3124 Under the Light

A bit of an aside; Mugin Von Dietrich’s Last Call on the 9th of White River last long into the morning. Many worthy words were spoken for our fallen comrade, the Golden Gryphons who sacrificed their lives for ours, and for all those lost in recent months; far too many.

The evening was soured only by the looming cloud of the Ranger Investigation Team. And with my Alpha unit finally returned from their too-long vacation, the time for their interrogation fast approached. Per our custom, the evening revelry of the Last Call gave way to the somber tomb side service the following morning on the 10th.

For such an odd fellow, he had many friends. I guess it is true with Rangers, as different as we are, we are all one. Bishop Vallandrian sent one of his Last Rites Priests to oversee the prayers. I hope that Von D would appreciate the gesture. The entire unit, plus a few others he knew attended, including Corporal Alystar.

I worry for that man. He seems more brooding, almost…dark. Perhaps he cared more for his partner than he oft let on. Or, perhaps, there is another, more sinister cause. Whatever the case, he remained for the reading of the Will before storming off. Later, Evoran mentioned that he suspects the Priest seeks justice for Von D.

At first I thought that Von D’s choice of executor odd. I never knew that he and the Sergeant were all that close. But on reflection, who else would the Slayer trust?

For the time being, my top team was benched on administrative leave. Three days later, on the 13th, the first to leave. Ranger Thomas Zulcrum entered my office with a request for extended leave: arcfire training. I provided the necessary forms and he left.

As I understand, he made a bee-line straight for Sergeant Que’kasaars in his office downtown. Once again, a Ranger sought the Sergeant for legal advice. This time, Thomas asked Evoran to put his small in-town home up for sale. I suppose he is serious, or that his gambling has led him to lose everything.

That evening, I was visited by the Chief Inspector Ss’kar na Ssavassaran and his chief interrogator, Alfonze. The man was pleasant enough, six feet tall, blonde hair, blue eyed and spoke with an unmistakable Freeland’s accent. He greeted me warmly, apologized for inconveniencing me and requested to conduct their interview.
The cordiality ended there. With the Dregordian Inspector hulking in the corner, his slit eyes burning into my mind, Alfonze proceeded to lay bare the entirety of my two years in Echer’Naught. And that is all I can reveal about my interview. Though, when repeated to me, I confess that despite the unpleasantness of the experience, I feel the Investigation to be vitally necessary. I have made mistakes.

Beginning the following morning on the 14th and following through to the 17th the Alpha team was brought in for interrogation starting with Ranger 1st Class Silverfeather. They spoke with almost everyone, Corporal Ravenwood, Ranger 1st Class Ramshorn, Ranger Zulcrum, Ben Toma, and finally Sergeant Que’kasaars.

I understand that they continued to question Ranger 1st Class Ironblood in his cell. It was during this time that my son, Corporal Wolfhaven approached me to begin training Rysak as a Darkness Slayer. At first I was confused, as I understood that it was the Shade who made the request, not Rysak, but Alfred made a salient point. There was no better way to reacclimatize the dwarf than combat training. So, I approved.

In retrospect, this might have instigated some ill will between myself and the Inspector. Shortly after this order, I was asked to refrain from further actions which might be construed as interfering with an active investigation. It was STRONGLY suggested that I take some personal time.

I did not, though I did give way to my office. In truth, I have other operations to oversee and I had faith that my Rangers could handle the stress of the interrogations. If Kythros was to be mollified, I needed to be seen as utterly cooperative. So, I retired to my home to conduct “other” business.

Guards at the barracks informed me that Corporal Ravenwood and Anaxelum had a “conversation” outside the barracks on the 18th. Though, they were not privy to the content of the conversation, I can guess. My theory was nearly concerned by a second report that Anaxelum had immediately walked across town to conference with Sergeant Que’kasaars in his office for many, many hours.

Despite the obvious potential risk with keeping Storm Legionnaires here in Echer’Naught, I do hope that Samira is able to find some happiness. If it is with the Praetorian, so be it. I trust that she will always place her oaths to the Rangers first.

Two days later, on the 20th, the Inspector approved Ranger Zulcrum’s administrative leave. From what I understand, the Sergeant had managed to sell his house for a tidy profit. I only hope that Thomas does not come to regret giving up his life here. But, that is his choice. I did very much the same and things have worked out well enough so far.

Three days later, on the 23rd of White River, two new recruits and a Stahlheim transfer joined our ranks. Dakota Afliem, an Eldakar shootist and Benjamin Toma both took the cloak of the Ranger. Drainar, a dwarven sorcerer from Stahlheim, officially transferred to our command. My only regret is that I was not on hand to witness the oath myself. In all of this, that is the most grievous wound.

This new blood, as happy news as it is, cannot cancel the fact that Thomas is gone and Fekla Kolfis declined my offer to take the cloak as her brother once did. Though I respect and understand their choices, I admit that I am saddened. Added to the loss of Von D and Rysak’s current state…the team is more than decimated.

In two days, on the 25th of White River, I received “word” that an arrest had been issued for Sergeant Longtail’s husband, Streetrunner and that Ranger 1st Class Sarin Silverfeather had been placed in charge of the execution of the warrant. On his team were the new recruits Ranger Trainees Toma and Afliem along with Ranger Drainar.

I confess I had a moment of doubt. Streetrunner is well known to us. He has been both ally and enemy in the past, but Longtail would not marry anyone who was not exceptional. If things turned violent, my Rangers might suffer. Though I questioned the wisdom of sending such inexperienced Rangers to support Sarin, I was not in command of the operation.

As it happened, my concerns were unfounded. After a tense standoff, Streetrunner surrendered himself into Ranger authority.

Here, I must add a commendation for the actions of Ranger 1st Class, Sarin Silverfeather. Not only did he execute a politically volatile warrant with skill and efficiency when many of his fellow Rangers expressed outrage, he also competently secured cooperation from our Stahlheim allies in Low Town, and managed to negotiate Streetrunner’s surrender.

That known associates of Streetrunner quickly informed me of the situation is, to my knowledge, unattributable to Ranger 1st Class Silverfeather.

It was upon returning with Streetrunner, that the rest of the Alpha Team learned of the warrant and, due to an involuntary admission from Ranger Alphonze that Sergeant Minor Longtail was also under investigation and a warrant had been issued.

That was news to me, though, not surprising. The last I heard Longtail was headed to Lanthor following up on leads related to Velkalar. With the expansion of the Charter, the Freelands do fall under Ranger jurisdiction, though their fierce independence has made cooperation difficult. If Longtail was involved in counter espionage and an investigatory team attempted to apprehend her, I can imagine her reaction. Disappearing comes to mind.

By reports, Streetrunner remained with the Inspector, who he demanded to speak with alone, for seven hours. I need to imagine what details he revealed during this time. Nevertheless, the interview with Streetrunner concluded the investigation. It took no time for the Inspector to reach his decision.

The announcement fell the following morning, the 26th of White River. All Rangers, except those on critical assignments, were invited to the Regional Headquarters where the Inspection team would make its official announcement. Though the decision of the Inspection Team was only a recommendation to Kythros, I had no delusions it would have a strong bearing on my future.

I assembled with Alfred and the Inspection Team atop the courtyard steps as the Rangers assembled below. Rysak was present under guard by the Inspection Team.

Lieutenant Alphonze made the opening announcements. He revealed that those affected by supernatural powers, Thorgram and Samira, would be remanded to a facility in Kythros better able to content with their condition. He also informed the assembled Rangers that we had lost Fekla and Thomas. Lastly, he revealed that the official recommendation of the Investigation was that I be reassigned to a field command and that temporary Regional Command would transfer to Chief Inspector Ss’kar na Ssavassaran until such time as a permanent replacement was appointed.

However, when Lieutenant Alfonze turned to the Chief Inspector to address the assembled, the Dregordian inexplicably flew into a rage, attacking me with his Kayakor. Though every instinct screamed to defend myself, I could not be certain of the Inspector’s intentions, so I allowed events to unfold. My Rangers, however, reacted instantly.

Before the Inspector made more than two paces toward me, Sarin appeared before me taking the Kayakor’s blow to the chest. Arrows lanced from both Samira and Dakota, the first hobbling the massive Dregordian’s leg, the second piercing his arm forcing him to drop his weapon. Ben, somersaulted the crowed and interposed himself, not threatening, but ready to intervene.

I am particularly proud of Rysak who, shackled and unarmed, dropped all seven of her guards and sprinted for the stage to aid her fellow Rangers proving that my instincts were correct. Thorgram launched himself atop the man, pinning his arms and dragging him down.

The fight ended when Eris exerted her considerable will, seizing control of the Chief Inspector. By this point, I could see the fight was gone in his eyes, so I ordered him released into custody of his own men. As he was being taken inside, I commanded Sergeant Que’kasaars to lock down the grounds and not let anyone in or out.
We spent the next days treating the Inspector’s wounds and scanning him for any evidence of having been influenced by an outside source. Nothing we tried revealed anything. It appears that the stress of the investigation momentarily caused him to lose control of his bestial nature. As I was the target of his…focus, he natural attacked me.

This is the official explanation, though I have difficulty believing an adept of such power would so easily succumb to his primal instinct. Still, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, that is the explanation with which we must go.

It took hours to clear everyone in the courtyard, but eventually everyone was cleared and we confirmed no intruders. While we investigated the event, I ordered my Rangers to return normal duties. It took nearly two weeks for the Investigation to wrap up.

In light of the Inspector’s behavior, the case was tagged for reassignment. Though, any further action would have to wait until the present team was fully debriefed and investigated. With the extreme political pressure, the embarrassment of the Chief, and the exemplary actions on behalf of my team, I imagine it would be some time before anyone elects to move on this investigation.

So, I remain in command. For the moment. However, I am unsatisfied with the conclusion of this investigation.
I believe that the Inspector was sabotaged. There is further evidence of betrayal, but until I have concrete proof, or can certainly identify our mole, I will refrain from action. But, I am close. And I will not fail.

White River comes to a close and the present crisis is, for the moment, abated, but Velkalar is at large and more Rangers have fallen to his bounties. Darkness is on the Rise and we are hearing reports of strange activity to the north.

Your most obedient servant,

Lord Mayor Wolfhaven, Colonel

Regional Command at Echer’Naught, Olara

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Well...that just happened...

So, I get a missive from Wolfhaven, first contact I have had with him in months. He tells me to head to the Regional HQ because he is mobilizing a strike force for some mission. Normal Wolfhaven half talk, but I know it is something important by his rushed delivery of said missive so I make haste and fly my ass there as fast as Zavonis will take me.

When I arrive I see that the strike force is already assembled, and it contains damn near an army from Stahlheim, and also the Prince Brinchie from our other campaigns. Included were a couple other familiar faces, and also noticed two other familiars whom also had reached Archon status within the Church. Knowing this, I was pretty sure where ever we were heading, it was going to take some of Archanon’s wrath to solve so I smirked as I made my way to greet Wolfhaven.

As we got underway, things moved in a blur, and the feeling of using one of those damn Arcfire gates is one I won’t soon forget, and won’t soon want to ever use again…. that one wasn’t even the weirdest one of the trip, but Ill get to those in a minute. When we landed, we were pretty much smack dab in the middle of Shaya’nor, and like seems to happen every fucking day, a group of batshit crazy cultists where chanting away. It took every ounce of my being not to light the fuckers up with my wrath, but thought better of setting off a Giant Light Beacon for all the nasties of Shaya’nor to home in on. We were instructed to “bear witness” to something that was through an Ebonway portal…. Well with the one we found in Farwatch, I am glad that we didn’t end up using that one, because let me tell you, those ebonway passages are things of nightmares! It didn’t as much cause physical pain, but the stench and rotting feeling of my soul will linger for days! Where we arrived was quickly explained as the Greylands… Now I know I have slacked in my Cosmology readings, and hell even in my Magical Academia, but I have no clue in the entirety of Shaintar where we were, until someone quickly mentioned that this is where Vainar was entombed…. Yeah, so there was that… we are where the betrayer was dormant. Great, time to head out…. nothing to see here…. until we found a giant ruined circle with hundred of bodies inside. We figured that this was a great source of necromantic ritual power, and were greeted quickly with the sight of Darkness opening up a storm of fury to the east. Being the heroes we all were, we of course headed directly in that direction. Soon we found out that we may have stumbled upon something that will shake the entirety of Shaintar.
As we approached we all heard the chanting, which is usually always something I hear when dealing with the Flame or Darkness, but this one made me pause for a second as I heard the simple number of chanters….over multiple thousands! And these weren’t just run of the mill cultists, no we had the cream of the undead crop there, and well, that is when we heard what they were chanting….. Vainar….Vainar….Vainar….and well thats when we realized….he isn’t dormant anymore….
Now I am not quite sure how, or what was said, but we all decided to make a “tactical withdrawal” back to the ruins to make preparations for our trip out.
We just had to stem the tide of the small undead army, that pretty much saw us as a tasty snack waiting to be swallowed. I know most of the next couple minutes were a mass of motion, but the main thing I can attest to was that the full force of Darkness beared upon us, and we did not flinch. We readied ourselves and with the skill and power of Archanon, we blasted and slashed everything we could muster. I was able to call upon the Lord of Lights blessings in a magnificent way, by obliterating a giant corrupt Troll with the fury of White Silver right between….and through his beady souless black eyes. Also got to see Wolfhaven cut one down in a single swipe…. I still think my kill was more stylish, but will give the man his Credit.

Soon after we turned the tide, Ash was able to dispatch the necromancers that were trying to halt our departure, when a Very Large and seemingly angry Vampire Lord started stomping his happy ass towards us. I quickly readied myself in preparation against the great foe, when in normal Wolfhaven fashion, he went all sparkly and we were quickly relieved from that hellish plane and were standing outside of Echer’Naught, and Wolfhaven turned to us and said somberly, let EVERYONE know that Vainar has returned.

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Campaign Report 58
Method and Madness

Lord Mayor, Colonel Baron Wolfhaven, Alexander
Commander of the Legio Heroes
Regional Command at Echer’Naught, Olara

Tenth Day of White River, Year 3124 Under the Light

With any operation there is inherent risk and commanders must be willing to accept losses or he will quickly lose control. That said, when faced with a pattern of high risk, poorly executed operations with unsustainable losses, something must change. For this reason, I contacted Kythros via Farspeaker on the 1st of Gray Winds 3124 and requested an investigatory team be dispatched to my post for a complete top down review.

Despite every precaution taken and complying fully with all rules and regulations I continue to feel a nagging suspicion that my command has been compromised at the highest levels. Such paranoia has even cause my behavior to grow erratic as I tilt at windmills and jump at shadows. And yet, the thought that any of my Rangers could be colluding with outside forces fills me with sorrow.

I received word almost immediately, as if plans were already in the works, that a team would arrive by late Gray Winds. That issue in progress I turned my attention to Echer’Naught, the war in the north, and plans for my coming sortie. With the additional forces already dispatched from High Command, the unit brought in from Camp Wolfhaven, not to mention the Herculean efforts by my Stahlheim brothers, Echer’Naught was better staffed than it had been since before the Kal breached the walls.

Already, civilians, merchants, artisans, and soldiers arrived in growing numbers. The Low Town Housing Blocks near completion, good news as the tenement town in that district is filling to burst. And between the various forces at work within the city, our detention facilities are also quite full.

My own residence has received the highest levels of security housing as it does some of our most precious personnel: Hawksclaw’s family, my son, Lady Moonsiver (our only Farspeaker) and, of course, my dearest Lady Elyanna.

Plans move forward with the northern excursion, ships chartered, supplies stocked in Camp Wolfhaven. Barring any unforeseen circumstances the project should be ready to move forward by year’s end. I am worried though how my command staff will take this new mission. Assuming, of course, my command survives the coming investigation.

And, lastly, there is the delicate issue of Lady Moonsilver. A topic of which of which I will elaborate in due time.

Firstly, however, I must speak to the mission to recover Ranger 1st Class Rysak from captivity at the hands of agents of Darkness. My last report ended on the 15th of Gray Winds in the city of Paradise with my Rangers having recovered Rysak, or what was left of the Dwarf after the villains had scooped out his mind, and were holed up planning in their base of operations in the fetid, reeking yurt behind the tanning yards.

They rested for the day, lying low making plans.

In the wee hours of the 16th of Gray Winds, Evoran was collecting the private funds of the Rangers in the hope of scraping enough money to afford passage out of the Paradise Ports. Our new ally Jade Flame Adept Benjamin Toma, Longtail’s newest hire SwiftBlade (the Brinchie), and, of course, Fekla who could not fit inside the Yurt were all on watch while the remaining team, Sergeant Que’Kassars, Corporal Ravenwood, Rangers 1st Class Silverfeather and Ramshorn, and Ranger Zulcrum planned for their escape with the Dwarf.

They were in the middle of discussions when things, as usual, went south, hard. Unknown assassins attacked the sentries outside. Both Toma and SwiftBlade had their throats unceremoniously slit. Fekla was blinded by some alchemical concoction. She, of course, bellowed.

Alerted to the danger, the Rangers leaped into action. Sarin reacted quickest, bursting out the door. His action, however, perplexes me. Seeing Fekla beginning to succumb to rage, he elected to shoot her in the leg. This did little damage but immediately provoked her into attacking. Since she could not see, she simply smashed everything in the vicinity.

Thorgram exited next and, assessing the situation, elected to drag the wounded Adept back into the tent for healing. And proceed to do so. As preoccupied as he was, he missed the alchemical bombs being tossed into the tent over his shoulder.

Evoran spotted them just as they exploded in his face, destroying the tent and blasting everyone inside. Even as the bombs sailed through the air both Thorgram and Thomas reacted with lighting speed each using his own body to shield an ally: Thorgram protected his patient and Thomas threw himself in front of Samira who, though blown out of the tent, was unharmed.

Both men survived their heroics, though I understand that Thomas was “hurled like a man sized discus.” As the dust settled and Evoran began to dust himself off and stamp out the fire engulfing his robes, Samira noticed that one of their number was decidedly absent: Rysak.

In the explosion, the Dwarf had freed himself and escaped. Fortunately, his tracks were easy to follow. There were precious few soot footed Dwarves running around Paradise.

After calming Fekla down, Evoran left Thorgram and Samira with Fekla and the downed sentries (Toma and SwiftBlade) to oversee their treatment and to keep Fekla from going berserk while he, Thomas, and Samira tracked the mad dwarf. The diminutive warrior had not made if far. Obviously the explosion had done serious damage.

The trio came upon Rysak raving in a pit left over when a building burned to the ground. The dwarf was pain crazy and clawing at the sides like a blind man. Thomas volunteered to climb down into the pit to retrieve the Ranger. The Olaran easily slid into the pit just in time to be brained by Rysak who had picked up a piece of charred wood. That sparked the fight which continued to rage.

Two heavily armed Rangers slaughtering each other in the pit began to attract unwanted attention. A crowd gathered, coin changed hands, and I understand that local hawkers even began selling food like the fight was some planned public spectacle.

Eventually, Evoran was forced to act. Despite the inadequacies in their arms, the two warriors were simply too evenly matched resulting in a prolonged and public put the team in greater and greater risk the longer they remained. Worse, agents of Darkness could arrive at any moment and the rest of his team were back at their former camp at less than half strength. With few options remaining to him, Evoran ordered Sarin to end the fight.

As usual, the Paladin executed his duties with ruthless dispatch. Rysak went down like a sack of oats and Thomas dragged the Dwarf’s lifeless body out of the pit. Everything seemed to be turning around…

However, back at the camp site things were not going as well. Under normal circumstances a raging Ogress would probably have sent the locals packing. However, this was a den of prostitutes, thieves, floater dealers, and their addicts. By report, her ruckus even broke up an attempted murder of a John by his harlot.

These unhappy souls were very put off being disturbed from their vices and began to gather with violent intent. After seeing to the wounded, Thorgram felt the best course of action would be to scare the growing crowd away with a well-timed intimidation. A sensible plan which failed utterly.

Rather than scaring off the crowd, his actions provoked them to rage. A crowd became a mob and attacked. Suddenly the wounded Adept and Mercenary found themselves under attack again. Thorgram, seeing his only option would be to slaughter civilians, turned tail and bolted to find the Sergeant. That is what I choose to believe. SwiftBlade also chose the better part of value and followed on his heels.

Unfortunately, this left a wounded and dazed Ben, a helpless Samira, and a blind, and pissed off Fekla behind to face the mob alone. It really didn’t matter. As soon as Fekla came under attack all reservation fled and she set about killing everything. This managed to break up the mob, but not until she had murdered at least two dozen citizens of that city.

I imagine that she will not be welcomed again.

Evoran, on his way back, look up to see a fountain of blood and a spooked half-orc running in his direction. The reunion was far from joyous as the Sergeant manhandled the Ranger BACK in the direction of the mass slaughter. By the time the team reunited, the battle was over and the field was a thick soup of blood, offal, and charred remains from the blast.

Now the entire city was aware of their presence and all of the collected money had been scattered by the bombs and much picked up by the rioters leaving the Rangers stranded in a hostile city with little hope of escape. They were saved by the timely intervention of a friendly forces in the guise of a woman named Danica, a member of the Golden Gryphons.

Apparently, they stationed a team in the region keeping tabs on enemy activity. My Ranger’s somewhat raucous activities impelled them to act on our behalf lest the entire unit of Rangers get themselves killed. Danica led the team to the Gryphon camp outside of the city where her Captain Rhine spoke with Evoran.

He agreed to escort the Rangers and their captive to a nearby independent port town of Tovin. The Rangers had to agree to follow his commands and keep in line. Evoran readily agreed. And so, the Rangers began a week long hike along the coastal road out of the Desert Princes.

However, by the first night Danica had spotted an enemy column following the group. Each successive night, the enemies came closer. On that first night, Corporal Ravenwood was able to stealth into the enemy camp and observe their number. It seemed that they had been lighting more than twice the number of campfires at night than would be required for a force of their size in an effort to psychologically intimidate the Rangers. Worse, they were carrying with them the means to animate powerful Undead servants.

For three days and nights the enemy column marched in perfect close order, quickly establishing their faux camp and running the Rangers into the ground. The Shaya’Nor unit executed Olaran tactics as if trained at the Helt Academy.

On the third night, the 18th of Gray Winds, the Captain Rhine told Evoran that he expected an attack that or the following night. And, should things turn ugly, Evoran was to lead the Rangers out while his men covered their retreat sending only Danica as a guide. His words were prophetic.

In the pre-dawn hours on the 20th, Darkness attacked.

Thorgram was on the line, when the Troglanesh surged out of the woodline. After four days without sleep, both Sarin and Evoran were unconcious due to fatigue. Ben had just awakened from 18 hours of fitful sleep due to the blood loss of his severed throat.

Weary, battered and demoralized, the Rangers managed to form ranks and engage the enemy advance. Fekla, frustrated by the days events charged into battle with abandon. The Rangers survived the first onslaught, but more enemies surged and with them Bone Golems which engaged Fekla and pinned her with their bone-whip tentacles.

Roused by the sounds of battle, Evoran and Sarin staggered to their feet. Evoran rallied his men while Sarin soared in and summoned the power of Archanon to blast the Bone Golems with sheering white Light. The beasts were staggered and eventually released under onslaught.

2016BoneGolemJJ.jpg

However, Sarin took four bolt of Black Iron to the chest and began to fade. Evoran, realizing the situation called for withdrawal. Even as he was laying down fire, a new figure, the enemy commander strode onto the field. He was a creature unlike they had ever seen, clad in black armor with a flowing black cape.

On he came, neither quickly or with hesitation, but stalked forward with a slow steady pace. Captain Rhine charged to meet him and was easily, and unceremoniously bisected by a single, casual backhanded blow from the villains enchanted sword.

With that, Evoran ordered his men off the field and the Rangers turned and left the last two Gryphons to by a few precious seconds with their lives. It worked. The Rangers reached the port of Tovin without encountering any further attempts by Darkness.

By the time they reached Tovin on the 21st, Fekla was carrying over the team who had passed out from exhaustion. They were forced to collapse in an inn until everyone had time to recover. Fortunately, the stay in Tovin was without incident and Danika was able to secure passage on a freighter headed to Eastport.

The group sailed out of Tovin on the 23rd and arrived in Eastport without incident on the 31st of Gray Winds after a boring 11th day journey home. Picking up their mounts, they headed home via the Eldara road. Again, this leg of the journey was completed without interruption, thank Archanon, and my Rangers arrived ragged and tired, but triumphant on the 9th of White River.

When the team entered, not having even stopped to change, I already had a guest, the Inspector, a Dregordian Adept who leads the most successful, and thorough, investigation team in the Corps. He and his team had arrived in the city on the 21st of Gray Winds (22 days before) giving them ample time to begin their investigation.

Their first major breakthru was to discover that the Red Lamp had simply vanished. Not the physical structure, but the entire building had been cleaned out and there staff, Madame Lithillien included, had simply vanished. No one that could be reached knew anything. The only evidence found was that they had closed their doors “temporarily” for some renovation (post invasion) and never re-opened.

Of note, Sergeant Minor Longtail’s husband, Streetrunner, also vanished and is wanted for questioning.

The investigation team, with nearly a month, had already perused our entire library of reports, going through all unit and personal records, spoken with most of the key figures in the town and started Mind Reading the newer recruits.

The Inspector has also issued an order that non-Rangers will be excluded from High Level Ranger missions until our security situation can be addressed.

Even with the spectre of the inquest in the room, my Rangers delivered their report with professionalism to make me proud. The investigation team took custody of Rysak to begin his interrogation while I dismissed my men to get cleaned up and eat something hot.

I did ask that Evoran would accompany me for a brief moment for an important mission.

For months I have been keeping Eris Moonsilver away from her fellow Rangers. In fact, she has not had personal contact in over four months. We also increased security and provided round the clock protection on her person.

When Evoran entered the room where Hawksclaw’s family stood around Eris who held a baby boy in her arms born the 6th of White River, 3124. Hawksclaw’s son. If our enemies had learned that our only Farspeaker was entering the end of her pregnancy, they could have planned coordinated attacks while our communications were down.

Worse, they might have attempted to kidnap or harm woman or child. When I realized that a Shade had replaced one of our own and that I might be allowing the enemy access to the mother, I, perhaps, overreacted. Nevertheless, I feel confident that now that my team understands the reason behind my bizarre behavior they will forgive any harshness in my attitude.

With security still at a premium, only Evoran was allowed direct access to the child. But, with the Last Call that evening for Von D and all our recent fallen, I felt it a perfect opportunity to allow the Sergeant make the announcement.

I must admit that sitting in the room with all my Rangers listening to Evoran announce the birth and seeing the great joy on everyone’s faces warmed my heart and gave me hope. It was only marred slightly by the figure of the Inspector lurking in the corner like a ghost.

We have much to do and I still cannot shake this nagging suspicion that we are betrayed. I only hope that if and when such is revealed, the fallout will not irrevocably damage this unit. I would rather take the fall than break up what has become a family.

Tomorrow is the 10th of White River. A new day and we have new potential recruits. Danica would be a solid asset, as would Ben. I have hope for the future.

Your most obedient servant,

Lord Mayor Wolfhaven, Colonel

Regional Command at Echer’Naught, Olara

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Into Darkness
Rysak Ironblood
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Campaign Report 57
Paradise Lost

Lord Mayor, Colonel Baron Wolfhaven, Alexander
Commander of the Legio Heroes
Regional Command at Echer’Naught, Olara

Fifteenth Day of Gray Winds, Year 3124 Under the Light

My Rangers awoke just outside of Anasia on the 22nd of White Stagg and began the long trek home through the Elven woods. For the most part, the trip was uneventful, save for the night that they lost nearly all of the tomes they had lost so much to retrieve. At the time, they were awoken on the night of the 24th in the woods between Ey’Dreigh and Greenvale by the sight of a small bonfire in the distant woods.

Ranger 1st Class Ironblood and the newest addition Ben Toma were on watch. They immediately alerted Sergeant Que’kassars. The good Sergeant ordered Ranger 1st Class Silverfeather and Corporal Ravenwood forward to scout as he readied the unit.

What they discovered chilled their bones, causing Sarin to make haste back to the camp with word that the bonfire was, in fact, a book burning…possibly those books they had been charged to protect. Evoran frantically checked Fekla’s sack to find a neat cut in the weave and the vessel entirely empty of books. In a mild panic, the Sergeant deployed his Rangers to the bonfire where he rescued as many books from the fire while the team formed a perimeter.

With the package secured as well as possible, the Rangers searched the area for tracks and found few; all of which vanished within a short distance. Now wide awake, the Rangers pushed on, though for the duration of the trip, the last few books were kept at all times with whomever was on watch so that at no time were they “out of sight”.

They arrived here in Echer’Naught on the 30th of White Stagg, fatigued and in pain from their recent loss. I had ordered our flags lowered to half mast as soon as I was notified of Von Dietrich’s death and I hoped that our collective mourning might ease their pain. Que’kassars’ debrief was short, and rather succinct; a sure indicator of his suffering. As usual, I gave his team leave while they recovered from the mission. I also planned to have Von D’s Last Call and funeral in the next few days, once everyone sufficiently rested.

After the general meet was over, I spoke privately with Corporal Ravenwood concerning her…affliction. With Von D’s recent betrayal, I benched her until she presented a reasonable plan for controlling her burgeoning abilities; whatever those may be.

I was surprised and pleased by SwiftBlade’s skill and ability during this entire episode and, after the recent crisis is abated and he is found loyal, I intend to offer him the cloak. We shall see if he accepts.

Also, I know that Sergeant Que’kassars took the opportunity to pull Von D’s Last Will and Testament. His request was that only the Sergeant was to handle his affairs.

Of note, I understand that Sarin Silverfeather has been promoted to Curate of the Church of Light. He is owed congratulations. He performed a difficult duty without hesitation and deserves our gratitude. Although, I fear that not even Sarin was able to destroy Von D. There will come a reckoning.

With things moving apace at the HQ, I elected to go ahead and have the Last Call the following evening on the 31st of White Stagg at my own home in the city. I was inside with most of the Rangers when the alarm bell was sounded at the front gates. My men responded with surprising alacrity, easily beating me to the door.

By the time I arrived, the battle, such as it was, had moved across the street and down an ally where Rangers and local guards were clustered around a pile of what looked like armor. Something about the scene disturbed me and as I rode in, they parted slowly before me. At a glance, I noted the armor and weapons belonged to Ranger 1st Class Rysak Ironblood, but of the dwarf, there was no sign.

From the shocked and agitated expressions, I braced for the worst. It was Fekla, however, who revealed to our company the true horror…

For some time, likely long before leaving the Island, Rysak had been replaced by a creature of Darkness…a Shade…

I had now lost TWO Rangers to Darkness and all for a handful of water and fire damaged tomes that may, or may not, be of any use. Could I have been deceived? Could Von D have been working against us for longer than we surmised?

Immediately, I sent Sarin to the Temple of the Silver Unicorn to enlist the aid of her Paladins. They, above all, could hunt this beast. And then a new horror dawned…

Despite our careful observations and routine mental and spiritual examinations, the potential that I had willingly allowed an agent of Vainar’s will to manipulate me so completely. It was then that I realized if two of my Rangers were now in league with Darkness, more could be. I made immediately to my manor and had it further locked down.

Now, at all times!

Rangers, Gendarre and Anaxelum’s men scoured the manor finding now further evidence of infiltration, but to be sure, I evicted all by my most trusted agents.

Shortly, my Rangers arrived to find me deep in thought. My mind spun, plotting and counter plotting the moves. What information had our enemy gained, how would they use it, how must I maneuver to stop them. A thousand thousand scenarios played out, each one more dastardly than the last…

I am locked in a deadly game with formidable foes on all sides and already I have lost Olgor to Flame, Hawksclaw and Sarah to Velkalar, and now both Von D AND Rysak to Darkness…

It required all of my will not to succumb to the righteous anger that very nearly overwhelmed me. As it was, I fear that I spoke too harshly to my men who had only ever acted to the best of their abilities. Evoran braved my attention and I demanded a report.

He confirmed the worst, that Rysak was gone and we had a Shade loose in the city. And, it seems that it was the Shade who mostly likely stole and burned the books, though, I cannot dismiss that our newest addition, Toma, was on guard as well.

I cannot afford the luxury of trust. With so much at stake, I could not permit this team, compromised as it was, to remain within the manor. Until such time as I could form a reasonable plan moving forward, they would have to be confined to quarters at the Regional HQ for their safety and for ours.

As they departed, the crushing weight of responsibility crashed down. So many lost, so many enemies worming their way into our ranks… Losing Rysak seemed the straw to break me. Who can I trust now?

There was a time when I knew each Ranger by name, and by heart. Rah-Sahn, Aradove, Rildrirr and even Evoran had served with me in the trenches. By now, from my desk atop the hill I had become an imperious, faceless overlord. And in return, I had lost any sense of the heart of my men…

At least, there are still a few who I have shed blood with and who have never failed me, Rildrirr, Alfred, Evoran…to lose any one of these…or worse, to lost faith? I do not know if I could recover.

I presumed Ryask to be lost to us…but it would appear that might not be the case. Though I am loathe, I cannot reveal my source here, but a little bird whispered that the Shaya’Nor fleet from Nazatir had made berth in the Desert Princes port of Paradise, an ill named city if I had ever heard.

So, on the 1st of Gray Winds, 3124, I summoned the Alpha team, plus Fekla, SwiftBlade and Ben Toma to my office. Their choice was simple. They could embark on an unsanctioned, potentially suicidal, mission with a barest hope of recovering our lost Ranger and in doing prove their loyalty…at least somewhat. Or, they could remain in protective custody until the Ranger Investigation team arrived.

All chose to go and I have them leave. They would travel west to Eldara, catch a boat south to Eastport and then take a ship west to Paradise where they were to recover Rysak, if possible, or destroy whatever he had become. Samira, however, had a choice to make, to embrace her Tempest and follow Nell’s path, or to seek Anaxelum’s mental discipline. She chose the latter.

Of note, Ranger Zulcrum has elected to continue his arc-fire training with Sergeant Major Stormhammer, assuming he returns.

My Rangers were gone by mid-day, riding hard and fast. Moving fast on horse-back, they could make it to Eldara in 4 days and 2 more would have them in Eastport.

While they embarked on their mission, I turned my attention to other matters. The recent setbacks had shaken me deeply. So much so, that I sent a message to Kythros requesting an official inquest into my leadership and the Rangers under my command. It is only a matter of time before the ills that have befallen my command to demand direct action from Kythros. So much better that I request an investigation into my leadership and cooperate fully.

On a better note, the Rangers of Stahlheim have proven their worth again. The construction projects move forward apace and they have managed to triumph over the forces of Darkness and corruption within the city. They even captured a potential source of information, if we can keep her alive and away from her former comrades. Below are enclosed reports.

South to Echer’Naught

Accounts to Echer’Naught: 10th of Harvest Moons

Elak’s Log: Harvest Moons the 1st – 15th

Grum’s Thoughts on Re-Building Low Town

Account of LowTown Squabble :Harvest Moon 33rd

Patroling Low Town

Mission Log: Forest Dance the 13th.

Account of Investigation

Low Town patrol

Account of Nightguard Bounty

Typical night in Echer Naught…….

Account of Nightly Avenging

Meeting The Most Important Person

Second Nightguard & Tweaking Hitler

Potential black eye averted?

My Rangers arrived in Eastport on the 7th of Gray Winds and were able to charter a boat through Pirate infested waters to Paradise. By some miracle, they arrived without incident and made port in Paradise on the 14th of Gray Winds 3124. I have never had occasion to enter the Desert Princes, but from everything I have learned from the Olaran soldiers returning from the country, the land is only marginally preferable to the Empire in that, at least in the Desert, the ruling powers are not trying to enslave you…they simply don’t care if you are enslaved.

Language would be an issue and it fell to Thomas and Thorgram to speak for the group. As I understand via Ms. Moonsilver, the group was “made” by end of day and the local refused to work with them. Left with little choice, the Rangers gathered at a local watering hole in hopes of posing as Olaran mercenaries to find work. This too was short lived as Trolls from Shaya’Nor agents within the city attacked Fekla starting a brawl which attracted far too much attention.

Worse, during the ensuing fight, some party attempted to kidnap Corporal Ravenwood, likely to sell her into slavery. Alone, now outed, the Rangers were in dire straights…only to encounter an individual I cannot say I am happy was in town.

Longtail’s friend, the assassin arrived and offered his assistance…for a hefty fee. Looking back, I can see that my tolerance for allowing my Rangers to work with such individuals has come at a high price. Yes, there are those such as Fateweaver and Streetrunner who have eventually made for themselves a better life. Yet, I cannot help but feel that I have been far to lax in regards to protocol. Consider my agreement to allow the Red Lamp to continue operation within the city.

When the Ranger inquest arrives, I feel that many of these policies will be subject to change.

Nevertheless, with few options, Sergeant Que’kassars agreed to the mercenary’s terms. In return for providing safe housing and information on Rysak, we paid him a king’s ransom. Per usual, he was good as his word and set up the Rangers in a foul-smelling hovel behind a tannery. Despite the foul stench, I understand that it was surprisingly secluded and relatively safe.

Meanwhile, the assassin made inquires and discovered that the Shaya’Nor fleet was still in port, for once intelligence live up to the hype, and that the dignitaries were staying in a local complex owned by one of the city’s powerful shieks.

He also revealed that they had a company of Dwergs, corrupted dwarves, in their company. His deal complete, he left the Rangers to plan their next moves.

Attacking the ships was out of the question and the complex would be a tough nut to crack. So, the Rangers decided to try and find the Dwergs outside of either location. And, as Dwergs are still technically dwarves, bars seemed the most likely locale. Leaving Fekla and Corproal Ravenwood to secure their…base, the Rangers went hunting Dwergs.

Perhaps unsurprising, the Dark dwarves were not trying to hide. They were partying at a tavern within a short walk from their own complex. However, the situation proved more dire when Thorgram noticed that one of the 7 dwergs in attendance was none other than Rysak himself…

…another of our company had joined with Darkness…

Targets located, Ben approached the barkeep who was more than happy to keep tabs on the dwergs, for a large purse. With that, the Rangers collected their allies and made ready the ambush.

In the wee hours of the 15th of Gray Winds, the Rangers of Echer’Naught fell upon the unsuspecting villains as they staggered back from a night’s carousing. The plan: Take out Rysak quickly and finish off the other dwergs, though they understood their orders and were prepared to kill Rysak if necessary.

As it happened, the ambush was textbook and Rysak went down early. Moping up the other dwergs was not difficult, and they might have even had some help from our “friend”. With Rysak bound, they retreated to their tent to make preparations to leave the city. Unfortunately, when they attempted to wake Rysak for questioning, the dwarf thrashed and spat like a mandman forcing them to knock him out.

My latest report was just before dawn, Eris relayed that they were going to attempt to book passage on a ship home. I hope they are successful. A land route home would be…problematic and long.

I am left with too many dilemmas. So we have recovered Rysak, but his mind is gone, consumed by the monster which is still, presumably, in my city. I am unsure whether I can trust my top team and I am now more concerned whether I should even allow Thorgram and Samira to remain on active duty, considering what happened with Von D. Can I afford to lose their skills?

Darkness is rising and Velkalar kills Rangers by the day. I pray Longtail’s mission is successful. We need a victory.

May Archanon guide me.

Your most obedient servant,

Lord Mayor Wolfhaven, Colonel

Regional Command at Echer’Naught, Olara

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Last Will and Testament of RFC Mugin Von Dietrich
Perished in the line of duty, 11th White Stagg, 3124-13th hr

Official eyes only

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Campaign Report 56
Death of Mugin Von Dietrich

Lord Mayor, Colonel Baron Wolfhaven, Alexander
Commander of the Legio Heroes
Regional Command at Echer’Naught, Olara

Twenty First Day of White Stagg, Year 3124 Under the Light

From the evening of the 10th until the morning of the 12th I had no word, no information as to the condition of my men. I was started in my study on that brutally cold morn when Ranger Malcolm dashed into my office. Lady Moonsilver had made contact with Sergeant Que’kassars, but the images were disjointed, rushed almost as if the Ranger were…fleeing for his life.

It took some time to piece together that the team had survived but were just then being hunted. Then, Sergeant Que’kassars abruptly broke connection. I feared he might have fallen…

We waited, with great unease for nearly four hours. Only then was Eris able to make any kind of connection to Evoran’s mind. And even that at great effort as the Sergeant was barely standing from wounds and fatigue. However, we learned what we required…
…one of our company had fallen.

Two days prior late on the 10th of White Stagg, Sergeant Que’kassars team made landfall on the beach of Von D island. They were faced with the choice of proceeding into the Darkened jungle or waiting on the beach until morning. With a strict 3 day deadline from the captain before they would be stranded, the team decided to enter the jungle a few hours before dark.

Team: Sergeant Minor Aradove Longtail, Sergeant Evoran Que’kassars, Corporal Samira Ravenwood, Rangers 1st Class Mugin Von Dietrich, Rysak Ironblood, Sarin Silverfeather, Ranger Thomas Zulcrum, and ally Fekla Kolfis. In addition, Longtail had managed to pick up another mercenary, a Brinchie called SwiftBlade.

They made it nearly half way to the central mountain before making camp in the overgrown ruins of one of the Island’s former villages. That night, they were attacked by a swarm of what they later identified as Trogolodytes, though some bizarre island savage variety. As the entire island was cloaked in Gloom, the creatures were rendered nigh invisible making combating them nigh impossible.

Ultimately, the Rangers set fire to the jungle around them denying the savages their greatest advantage and, thereby, managing to survive the night. The next morning, the 11th, the Rangers arrived at the base of the island’s central mount. There, they negotiated a treacherous switchback trail up many hundreds of feet before arriving, tired, wounded, and soaked before a set of massive gates.

Even as they began to consider how to scale the wall, the gates opened to reveal a welcoming committee of Shayakar Nightguard. As the team stood stunned, Von Dietrich was cordially invited into his home. In confused silence, they were led into the courtyard filled with enemy Shaya’Nor combatants. Strangely, the assembled army of Darkness made no move to harm or imprison the Rangers. Rather, they seemed to almost expect the team’s arrival.

After walking through the courtyard, they were led into a main hall where a High Level meeting was taking place with representatives from across Shaya’Nor and more. We are still waiting for a full debrief. Nevertheless, the team discovered that Mugin’s older brother, Mortis, was collaborating with Shaya’Nor.

He greeted his brother warmly enough. Despite the potentially violent situation, all parties acted with admirable restraint. Mortis Von Dietrich invited Mugin into their home and offered on night of sanctuary for the entire team. With that, they were all escorted to Chambers, though, again, no move was made to harm them in any way.

Despite the fact that the team was in no immediate danger, Mortis was unwilling to allow the team access to the Library or armory, though he did offer to return their father’s sword to Mugin. Unwilling to allow our only chance to access the vital Von D records slip away, Mugin, without consultation, challenged his brother to a duel for ownership of the keep and all contained.

In return, should Mugin have fallen, the lives of his entire team would have been forfeit. Perhaps I placed too much importance on the secrets we could glean from the ancient tomes… That is the only possible reason I can think that would compel my Ranger to make such a reckless decision. No secrets could possibly be worth the lives of the entire Ranger team.

Or, perhaps, the jealous brotherly rivalry. On reflection, I must consider that the impetus for the challenge was, at least in part, Mugin’s quest for resolution over the death of his family and the betrayal of his brother. I cannot hold Longtail or Que’kassars culpable as they had no notion of the particulars until it was far too late. And had Von D returned, I would have been required to reprimand him for circumventing the chain of command. In the balance, I will only postulate here, but refrain from entering any ruling in Mugin’s official file.

While the rest of the Rangers remained confined, but comfortable in Chambers, Von Dietrich was allowed to prepare for the impending duel in his father’s room attended by family servants. From what we gleaned, both Evoran and Sarin sensed a major ritual of Darkness happening beneath their feet somewhere within the Von D manor. We are still uncertain as to the nature of the ritual being performed.

At the breaking of the 13th hour, all were fetched and led to a balcony overlook where the agents of Darkness had assembled. Both duelists, Mugin Von Dietrich of the Gray Rangers and Mortis Von Dietrich of House D, were announced as were their seconds. Sergeant Que’kassars, as it happened, performed the duty for his brother in arms.

Once both duelists had taken their places, the fight began. I have few details on the actual bout other than that Mortis was a strong practitioner of Necromancer with a preference for summoning. By all accounts Von D fought valiantly, but in the end, Mortis was simply too powerful.

With the lives of his friends and the failure of his mission in the balance, Mugin Von Dietrich was backed into a corner I can scarcely comprehend. And, again, there is the ever present brotherly rivalry. In the end, Ranger Von Dietrich felt compelled to sacrifice himself for what her doubtless perceived as the greatest good.

I regret that in the moment of dire need, Von D willingly submitted to the curse that had so long plagued him by uttering one word: Vainar.

In that moment, Von D ceased to be our ally and brother in arms and instead joined the ranks of Darkness. However, the power that he received imbued him with the power necessary to slay his brother and, thereby, win the duel. At the moment of victory, Ranger Silverfeather, under my expressed orders, executed the fallen Ranger with a single arrow to the back of the neck.

Needless to say, the hosts were displeased at this event and violence very nearly ensued. Worse, whatever power possessed Von D, was released in a blast which caused a reaction within everyone in the radius sparking and involuntary reaction of their own powers, Evoran was engulfed in purple, eldritch energy and Sarin was wreathed in Light. More troubling, however, Samira seemed to be possessed of the Tempest, a crackling storm and all, Thorgram was consumed by the heat of Flame so intense that it cracked the flagstones and Aradove simply vanished…

And then, all powers, were snuffed out in a single handclap as a man descended the steps down to the party. One must assume that he is some powerful agent of Vainar with High Magic powers. His identity and ultimate role to play is not yet known. He did, however, prevent any bloodshed and, stranger yet, bound the assembled agents of Shaya’Nor to the agreements of the duel. Why, I cannot say. He even had Von D’s effects, including his sword, returned to the Rangers.

As the bodies of the brothers were taken away, Vainar knows where, my Rangers committed themselves to accomplish their original mission before dawn as the agreed upon sanctuary ended promptly as the rise of dawn over the mountain. Breaking into teams, Evoran and Sarin in the Library, the rest in the armory, my Rangers quickly gathered vast knowledge, and what few remnants of the ancient Von D arsenal, all in the nick of time.

At an hour before dawn, they descended the mountain, reaching the base as the first rays of light peaked over the horizon. In that same instant, a cloud of winged creatures (crows…bats?) burst from the highest tower and began to swarm above the keep in an ever expanding cloud which cast an ominous shadow which crept down the mountain and threatened to blanket the island in a shroud of Darkness.

My Rangers realized their peril instantly, but the sudden rustling in the trees about them eliminated any doubt. As one, they turned and fled, running pell mell through the thick and rotten undergrowth. With every step they were hounded and harassed by swarms of the barbarian Troglodytes. Four nearly four hours they ran, scrabbled, climbed and fought their way clear…

By the time the reached the beach, stumbling into the light, they were exhausted and most badly wounded. Sergeant Que’kassars had the worst of it. Yet the Shadow stalked them spelling doom. Everyone dashed for the Long Boat, SwiftBlade seeming to know how best to handle it. Fekla just forged into breakers, quickly disappearing beneath the waves.

They all reached the boat, thank Archanon. Captain Smith was already nearly under weigh as the Long Boat and Fekla were winched aboard. Then, they turned their bow east and sailed home.

Nine days it took to reach Anasia once again, arriving as they did on the 21st day of White Stagg. It was, mercifully, a trip without incident. The Rangers disembarked easily enough. Though, Samira had a surprise waiting. One of her people was waiting to meet the group.

She, Longtail, and Que’kassars returned to the same bar they had nearly destroyed to find a friend waiting. He reported that, at long last, they had tracked the villain who stabbed and nearly killed Samira on orders from Velkalar to the city of Lanthor. Interrogating him was the first step to finding the master criminal. However, our war with Darkness could not be ignored and the tomes recovered from the Slayer Library might hold vital clues to combating that Darkness.

Longtail agreed to take the agent to Lanthor and capture the assassin while Sergeant Que’kassars brough the tomes here for study. Smith’s ship was still in harbor and she was on-board by nightfall and on her way to Lanthor. As their previous visit had wrought destruction on the city, the Rangers were asked to camp outside.

While in camp, another Agent dispatched by our Church of Light, and on my approval, met the group. His name is Ben Toma, an adept with the Church. He is young, and inexperienced, but uncorrupted by the war. So many of my best have been marred by constant struggle with forces far beyond our control. Ben, for the moment, is pure. So, we will use him.

It is late and so much rides upon the coming days. Reports roll in each day of new cults of Darkness, strange signs in the North and even here, in Echer’Naught, the Dwarves of Stahlhiem encounter forces of Darkness within these walls.

But that is not my greatest concern. I have lost Hawksclaw, dead?, and now I have offered up Von D to the Darkness he has spent a lifetime fighting. Thorgram is scorched by Flame, Samira consumed by Tempest, Longtail…Archanon knows what. Rysak has stared too long in the abyss. Only Sarin, Thomas, and Evoran appear to have avoided some darker fate.

How many more must I sacrifice? Too many…

Your most obedient servant,

Lord Mayor Wolfhaven, Colonel

Regional Command at Echer’Naught, Olara

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Campaign Report 55
Isle of Von D

Lord Mayor, Colonel Baron Wolfhaven, Alexander
Commander of the Legio Heroes
Regional Command at Echer’Naught, Olara

Elevnth Day of White Stagg, Year 3124 Under the Light

As this morning, Farspeaker Eris Moonsilver has lost contact with the team moments after confirmation that they have arrived at their destination.

Now, it seems is the time to break the seal of silence regarding this operation. For the past months I have received disturbing reports about increased encounters with creatures of Darkness across the Southern Lands and beyond. Worse, as my long recon confirmed, armies of Shaya’Nor are on the march threatening the Northern Gathers and potentially invading as far south as Camon.

While many theories exist to explain this sudden new aggressiveness, we have few, if any, hard facts. Therefore, intelligence gathering has been at the forefront of our mission. To that end, I have been speaking with our resident Darkness expert, Mujin Von Dietrich with the hope of finding new sources of information and weapons to fight this ancient foe.

It was Von D who revealed that his family estate in the far off nation of Nazatir contained a massive and ancient library dedicated to the study and defeat of Darkness. Many of these tomes date all the way back to the Age of Darkness. So, in secret, we developed a plan to dispatch his team to Nazatir to recover what remains of the family archives and their whitesilver weapons cache. Due to the increased threat of infiltration by enemy agents, we agreed to keep the full nature of the mission secret even from our own people. Only Eris, Stormhammer, Von D and I had full knowledge of the mission.

As noted previously, the team departed Echer’Naught early 25th of Harvest Moons 3124 and made the trek south through Farwatch and Greenvale and then west to the port of Anasia. The trip was uneventful until reaching the port.

However, as reported by Sergeant Que’kassars, things become difficult upon reaching Anasia. Less than an hour in the town and three Rangers had violated the protocol of always travelling in pairs: Ranger Thomas Zulcrum, Ranger 1st Class Sarin Silverfeather, and even, much to my disappointment, Sergeant Evoran Que’kassars himself. I have scheduled additional security briefing upon the team’s return.

While the Sergeant went to spend time with his own “people”, Ranger 1st Class Silverfeather arranged accommodations in a nicer part of town, and young Ranger Zulcrum went looking for trouble…
… and he found it.

According to the report, Zulcrum entered a seedy, dive bar seeking a game of chance. What he found was local muscle in the employ of the self-styled crime boss Lord Velkalar. No sooner had Zulcrum entered the tavern when he was attacked by a dirty dwarf wielding a warhammer and a one-eyed orc with a battleaxe. Before he could recover, more patrons rose surrounding Zulcrum. Wounded, alone, and outnumbered, Zulcrum might well have died were it not for the timely and surprising intervention of Sergeant Minor Aradove Longtail.

I am still unsure why Longtail was in Anasia, nor how she was able to intercept my team. More curious, Eris Moonsilver was unable to contact Longtail…something I had not thought possible. Nevertheless, Longtail killed the dwarf by decapitation and scared off the rest of the gang. Zulcrum suffered minor injuries and a bent helmet nose piece. At this time Longtail also picked up local muscle, a mercenary Brinchie called SwiftBlade. I am unsure whether he was a plant by Longtail or a genuine local hire.

Much time has passed since a young Brinchie rogue joined my team. Though I trust Longtail implicitly, there are times I question her methods. Especially, more recently.

Longtail, Zulcrum and SwiftBlade found Sergeant Que’kassars speaking with local security. They had just enough time to brief the Sergeant on the event when a hue and cry rose from the wharf front. While the Sergeants were meeting, the rest of the Rangers, Corporal Ravenwood, Rangers 1st Class Ramshorn, Von Dietrich, and Ironblood had been drinking. However, upon seeing the gangers fleeing down the street, made their way to the scene of Zulcrum’s attack.

In their typical subtle way, they approached the dwarf’s headless corpse that had been tossed into the street for the undertaker. As they stood around the body, which had been stripped of valuable armor and weapons, they noted an embroidered strip of gold cloth with a detailed V in sky blue…tucked into his shirt. Knowing full well the danger they face, the group immediately froze not wanting to accidentally set of any hidden arc-fire devices.

This was the scene Sergeants Longtail and Que’kassars encountered as they returned to the bar; the entire troupe of Rangers standing comically frozen around the rapidly cooling corpse of the headless dwarf. At times I wonder. Nevertheless, Longtail secured the body and declared it free of devices. Evoran took the kerchief for future study, and Von D took the head.

This crises averted, Sergeant Que’kassars took Thomas Zulcrum to the local tailor to investigate the cloth. Samira and Thorgram went to recover Silverfeather and Fekla. The ogress had apparently stumbled upon the same fine establishment as the Priest and she made herself at home, much to the irritation of the proprietors. The rest of the team, under Longtail, secured multiple lodgings for the team. That evening everyone stayed together and compared notes while Fekla helped load the ships on the docks…for some reason.

In the morning, the 1st of White Stagg 3124, the Rangers departed on the Waverunner under Captain Smith. their trip was mostly uneventful with one glaring exception. Sometime late on the 8th of White Stagg Corporal Ravenwood suffered a horrible nightmare that the ship was destroyed by a powerful water spout that seemed to attack the ship. Waking the others, they made their way to the deck and informed the crew. Though skeptical at first, the ship’s own weather mage, a member of the The Navaquilera (Sea Eagle) Mage guild, confirmed the dream was more than just that.

By way of a quick course correction the ship was able to avoid the storm which would have surely sunk her. Thought I am pleased that they were able to avoid the calamity, my fears are now confirmed. I will speak with Anaxelum. He has much to answer for.

Two days later, on the 10th of White Stagg, the ship arrived at a small island of the north west coast of Nazatir. Here, Captain Smith agreed to wait 3 days. After which, he would leave with or without the team. Despite arriving late in the evening, the Rangers decided to begin their trek, time being an issue. Our last report was that they were entering a corrupted jungle heavy with shadows of Darkness.

It is now late on the 11th and I have heard nothing. Eris cannot contact the Rangers. Archanon protect them.

Your most obedient servant,

Lord Mayor Wolfhaven, Colonel

Regional Command at Echer’Naught, Olara

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