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

Campaign Report 51
Velkalar's Vengeance

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

Twenty Second Day of Dancing Clouds, Year 3124 Under the Light

After completing my General Order on the 19th of Dancing Clouds, I summoned Sergeant Que’kassars to my office for the first of what I hope to be regularly scheduled weekly meetings. While waiting for my adjutant, I had the pleasure of speaking with Commander Schenkle about the readiness of the Town Militia. And, per his daily routine, he presented a letter of formal protest for the treatment of former Ranger Sarah Longtail and a demand for a detail be dispatched for her immediate recovery. His dedication to his beloved is admirable. I only wish there was more I could do to put his mind at east.

On Eric’s heels came an envoy of Lord RabenClau with a document witnessed and signed granting the young Lord’s estate all mineral rights to the land beneath and immediately surrounding the city of Echer’Naught. How he managed to negotiate such a deal with the Dwarven Clans or the Duchess Harken is beyond my ability to reason. However, I could see no good reason not to approve what so many of the city’s most noble had arranged. He left seeming pleased and very nearly collided with Evoran and Thorgram.

I am happy to see that my Rangers continue to obey the edict forbidding Rangers from operating alone.

They entered, but it was clear that things were not going well in the city. I knew as much already. Sergeant Que’kassars reported that the situation in Low Town was reaching critical levels. Already deaths were on the rise and many citizens had been attacked. From our informants on the street, Low Town was being divided up by competing gangs. Open violence was common and the locals were quickly losing faith in our ability to keep order.

We also discussed obtaining more information about the new “King of Low Town”, though from what little Longtail revealed, the man is not to be trusted. I sincerely hope that we are not faced with a war within the walls so soon.

After the situation report, I informed Evoran that I would be presenting my first major public address as Lord Mayor. And, despite our desperate manpower shortage, I would require my elite team on guard duty as so many dignitaries would be assembled in the Mayoral Manse. We quickly sketched out a security plan.

Before he left, Evoran asked after Eric Schenkle and Lord RabenClau’s representative and I explained their purpose. With that, he and Thorgram departed. The remainder of my day was spent in meetings, making arrangements for announcement and conferencing with Fateweaver on proper protocols. The man is a political genius.

It makes me wonder why he hid in Low Town for so many years? I am certain there is a story worth hearing there. Funny how his own life is the only topic he simply refuses to speak on.

The following morning, the 20th I had the pleasure and honor of summoning Ranger 1st Class Ravenwood to my office. Shortly after her return from the mission in which Captain Hawksclaw was captured, Samira, with some help from Evoran and Aradove, proposed the creation of a unit within the Rangers dedicated to archery.

I was curious to see if she would have the initiative to complete all the necessary paperwork required for such a venture. Samira was more than up to the task and, with my recommendation, her proposal was approved. And with her new command came a requisite promotion to the rank of Ranger Corporal.

Samira seemed genuinely pleased. I fear though that Ranger 1st Class Silverfeather was less so. He has been with us for quite some time. He arrived Festival Moons 26th, 3123 just under a year ago. And yet, from the first, he showed little interest in command, preferring to spend his time at the Church of Light with his brothers. However, from what little I saw, I feel that his attitude my be changing. If he is willing to accept some mentoring I have faith that he can achieve his goals.

We agreed that the training session would take place on the 22nd, the morning after my formal announcement. Samira herself would oversee the archery portion of the assessment, I would judge the combat portion and Sergeant Major Stormhammer the final “obstacle course”.

The rest of my day was again busy with meetings, petitioners and planning sessions. Most of my business involved the 21st and all the myriad preparations surrounding the event in question. Food had to be shipped in, damage in and around the Manse repaired and proper accommodations found for all the various guests.

These meetings continued throughout the night and into the morning of the 21st. I was finally forced to excuse myself for a bit of rest before the actual event. However, despite my sincerest desire, the evening finally arrived and I was trussed up like a festival goose and escorted by an obscenely heavily armed contingent to the Mayoral Manse for my first “public address”.

Though I have never felt uncomfortable speaking before large groups, I must confess that addressing soldiers is far easier than the assembled that night. Any slip, any lapse on my part would be set upon like a pack of wild dogs. These people were infinitely more dangerous than all the arclancers in the Prelacy of Camon.

My remarks were brief. I outlined the currently held positions within my interim administration and announced what positions were still open for nomination. Also, I addressed the state of affairs in the city, and though I desired to announce my negotiations with Stahlheim I felt it was premature as final ink was not yet dry.

It pleases me that this announcement was better received than my appointment to the Lord Mayorship. After the speech, we held a small reception for continued debate. Mostly, I just mingled with the crowd and let Fateweaver and Lady Elyanna speak on my behalf. They are far more suited to this battlefield than I.

I did not reach my chambers until well into the morning and was forced to rouse quite early for Samira’s assessments. Fortunately, Sergeant Stormhammer brewed the blackest coffee to stir my senses.

We had seven recruits arrive that morning. They came from all walks of life in the city, and all showed great promise. Corporal Ravenwood and the Sergeant Major both seemed quite enthused despite the earliness of the hour and the chill in the air.

After the first test of archery skill, one man was eliminated. I believe he was a Blackthorn Guard from the Sacred Grove, though everyone performed well. The second test, combat, proved quite exciting. Each participant fought with ferocity and skill, though the victor was a mercenary who has served with the Olaran army in numerous conflicts. Our final test, the obstacle course, pitted two teams of 2 men in a footrace through parts of the city. In truth, the test was more to determine the participants cooperation skills and teamwork.

Though the first team was victorious in the race, it was the second team which showed true promise, sacrificing the victory to help each other. In the end, Corporal Ravenwood awarded the victory the second team, though by then, two members had already made the cut from the previous events.

In the end, we were left with three men who made the cut. With the assessments complete, I turned over the rest to the Corporal and I and the Sergeant Major returned to out work. What I did not know was that, at that time, Rangers 1st Class Ramshorn and Ironblood were in low time on extra patrols. Seeing how short staffed our forces were, they had volunteered for extra duties. Ranger 1st Class Von Dietrich was also out patrolling and all three entered Sergeant Que’kassars office that afternoon to report on the deteriorating conditions in Low Town.

While I was in the Mayoral Office, Malcome received a package from a post rider and entered the city HQ to deliver it to Evoran. Meanwhile, Corporal Ravenwood was meeting with her three victors and briefing them on upcoming procedures.

None of us knew what was coming next. As Evoran opened the package to find the five severed hands of a squad of Wolfhaven Free Riders, Samira was alone in the room with an assassin. Evoran immediately identified the ring on one of the hands as belonging to a Sergeant in the Riders. But, when he ran to assemble his team, he discovered Samira had been stabbed AND poisoned in the next room!

By the time Eris Moonsilver relayed the event to me, Sergeant Que’kassars had already escorted Ravenwood to the apothecary and taken his team south to investigate the hit on the Riders. When I ordered Eris to put me in contact with Sergeant Que’kassars, she could not make contact. Something in my gut told me there was more to this…Samira’s attempted assassination, the bloody hands shipped to Evoran…there was more at play.

I was on the rode, with Alfred who refused to remain behind despite his condition, within the hour. When we arrived, we found Thomas alive and Rysak on his last leg. Sarin had flown for help, which was already on its way.

The attack was a trap, the bodies had been rigged with arcfire devices to detonate when anyone touched the flag staff rammed through the body of the Rider Sergeant. Though there was little left when I arrived, the scene of torture and horror described to me by Thomas and Ryask was enough to boil my blood. With the help of some local farmers, we managed to get the team back to Echer’Naught and into the Church of Light’s infirmary. However, the wounds they suffered, nearly fatal, will remain with them all a long time.

Counted among the fallen: Sergeant Que’kassars, Corporal Ravenwood, Rangers 1st Class Von Dietrich, Ramshorn and two Riders who joined them on the hunt, both dead. With Captain Hawksclaw missing, the command team is now reduced to Sarin and a wounded Rysak.

This so called “Lord” Velkalar has done more damage to this team in a few short months than the entire Army of Flame during the siege.

As I sit beside their beds and hour grows late, I feel the weight of this newest tragedy weighs upon me. How many more losses must we suffer?

In the morning, I must go, and yet, how can I leave now? The weight of command…who would ever desire such a horrible thing?

Your most obedient servant,

Lord Mayor Wolfhaven, Colonel

Regional Command at Echer’Naught, Olara

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Stahlheim Echer'Naught Trade Agreement

Captain Fyrforg

Fifth son of Oracyon Fyrforg, Commander of the Greyson’s Grey Rangers in Stahlheim,

Brother, the road has been long and negotiations intense, but I feel what we have achieved here will leave a lasting legacy of friendship and cooperation between our two peoples. From the day I dispatched my messenger Raven on the 5th of Festival Moons describing to you the utter devastation of my home city until the completion of our negotiations on the 20th of Forest Dance, 3124 our conversations, though lengthy have born fantastic fruit.

As the Lord Mayor of the Olaran City of Echer’Naught and officially authorized by Grey Ranger Lord Commander Lady Valinda Norwood Grayson, I have fully authorized the shipment of 200 tons of Whole Wheat Grain for the baking of bread and brewing of ale from the Harvest Surplus in 7 shipments over a period of many months.

The first shipment and largest of 50 tons of grain hauled by 12 heavy dwarven wagons guarded by 100 professional LongArm caravan guards will depart collection warehouses in Echer’Naught Raining Leaves 20th by the West road toward Erda’Meias with an estimated delivery date of on/or before Raining Leaves 33rd. At the same time, a shipment of Dwarven cut block will depart the Stahlheim city of Stone on an opposite trip toward Echer’Naught in the company of Soldiers of Stahlheim and professional dwarven engineers with families seeking employment opportunities in the rebuilding of Echer’Naught.

Three months after this first shipment of 50 tons, beginning in White River and continuing through the harsh months of winter through Planting Moons (6 months), one additional convoy per month of 25 tons of grain from Echer’Naught and 25 tons of smaller cut stone from Stahlheim will be shipped between our two nations.

By this method, both our great states benefit as Echer’Naught is made whole again by the superlative skills of your native craftsmen and your people are fed by the bounty of our fields.

Let this stand as a testament to the friendship between our two people.

Your most obedient servant,

Lord Mayor Wolfhaven, Colonel

Regional Command at Echer’Naught, Olara

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General Order4, Echer'Naught
CAWDC193124

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

Nineteenth Day of Dancing Clouds, Year 3124 Under the Light

By the grace of her Lady the Duchess of Harken and the favor of Lord Commander Lady Valinda Norwood Grayson, I have been appointed to the position of Lord Mayor and Supreme Commander of all Ranger forces in the region. With my elevation comes the transition of Civil Authority within the city of Echer’Naught from Olaran forces under the Duchess of Harken to administration directly by the Ranger Corps. All Royal appointments under direct authority of the King, Banrick XIV, shall retain their positions with all rights and privileges accorded them by royal decree.

Such a transition shall require new challenges and expanded roles within our ranks as we must fill the roles of protector and administrator. The Regional Headquarters will be moved from the Wolfhaven Manor house to the Mayoral Manor. Once the physical transition is complete, my first task will be to establish an administrative staff to assume duties of civic management, though the preponderance of city positions will still be held noble appointees. In truth, a list of capable individuals is already being considered for final approval.

This also necessitates a change in the our manner of dress and deportment. All NCO and Officers assigned to the Regional Command must wear full dress honors as duty attire. So too, the Chief NCO and Officer in command of the City Headquarters must also dress in formal attire while on official duties within the city.

In addition, rank and promotion will not be based upon Ranger seniority as they are so often thought. Elevation will depend entirely upon quality, duty, training and desire to lead. Ranger NCO’s and Officers will oft be called upon to command and train city units and Olaran levies. As such, cooperative attitude and professional demeanor will be paramount to all Ranger NCO’s and Officers stationed in Echer’Naught.

At the writing of this directive, Ranger ranks have been much depleted by recent actions. However, in time, our numbers will grow and with new personnel will come new challenges. Dorm space within the Mayoral Manor will be converted for use by Rangers assigned to regional duty. The same will be said for the city HQ. Also, standing agreements must be reached with other lodging establishments within the city for overflow numbers and guests of garrisoned Rangers.

Extant City Positions:

  • Lord Mayor-Baron Wolfhaven
  • Royal Shire Reeve (Sheriff)-Sir Halten
  • City Steward-
  • Intendant of the Civil List-
    • Commandant of Defense-
    • Treasurer of the City’s Civil List-
    • Civil List Adviser-
  • City Constable- Commander Eric Schenkle
  • Captain of the Watch- Captain Vasser
  • City Seneschal- Therel Fateweaver
  • City Bailiff

In addition, Training and Discipline will be strictly enforced. See: General Order 3, Echer’Naught.

At this juncture I feel it necessary to clarify certain situations which have recently developed to as to avoid further rumor and heresay.

Former Lord Mayor Von Haber has officially been charged with desertion and suspicious of treason, though any allegiance to the Criminal Organization known as Red Store is merely speculation. A warrant has been issued for his immediate arrest and he is wanted in connection with numerous crimes.

The Red Lamp is now off-limits to any and all Ranger personnel. Patronage of a known Brothel is not in keeping with the high standards of the Ranger Corps. Violation of this directive will result in reprimand (see General Order 3).

Ranger Sarah Longtail is charged with attempted murder of a fellow Ranger. She is considered armed and dangerous. A warrant for her capture ALIVE has been issued and any and all sightings are to be reported immediately.

Active recruitment will begin immediately with all able-bodied applicants screened. Remedial and specialized training will be administered on a needs basis. Priority recruitment will be towards Specialized units (see Wolfhaven Free Company).

it is my sincerest desire that the Ranger administration be one of prosperity and security. I call upon all citizens of Echer’Naught and Rangers to unite in the common goal of seeing this vision a reality.

Your most obedient servant,

Lord Mayor Wolfhaven, Colonel

Regional Command at Echer’Naught, Olara

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Von Dietrich Letter
Report on Activity

Colonel,
You are busy, so I will be forthright. I understand that the business of Echer’naught takes precedence right now. But in my opinion, you will be in error if the elite team is left in the city.

I have been catching up on your reports from the past months, and I feel that another, perhaps darker, crisis is creeping upon us.
In brief, we have;
-The dark happenings in Galaea, which I believe, aren’t isolated incidents.
-The bandits in the Wildlands that killed the Captain. His arms and equipment are mostly surplus from the Blood Lord’s territory. That is reason enough to think that dark agents are at work.
-The Farwatch Baron is still on the loose.
-Numerous warnings. Some from creatures of Darkness, themselves.

Basically Colonel, the signs are too numerous to be ignored. We see what has happens when past evidence has been looked over…
Echer’naught has already been cooked. Perhaps we might prevent it from now being devoured. For my part, I will do what I am able.
That is all.

Respectfully Submitted,
M. Von.D.

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Memorandum, Dancing Clouds 3124
Implementation of Special Forces

To Lord Mayor Col. A. Wolfhaven
From: Rangers of Echer’Naught HQ
Subject: Implementation of Special Forces

This is a written notice of request for acquisition of funds to establish a unit that specializes in tactical infiltration, espionage, and intelligence gathering. The funds shall be procured to further help locate suitable members for such a team as well as offer additional training for specializations so required.

These persons are to be hand picked and further selected through test that shall be established through discussions through both Ranger First Class Samira Ravenwood and, when able, Sergeant Minor Ardove Longtail. The identity of those so enlisted shall be kept as confidential information and shared only through the immediate upper levels of command to limit the spread of information about such a unit.

It is also requested that, as time permits, Sergeant Minor Ardove Longtail be advisor to such a creation of the unit as well as aid the unit commander, Ranger First Class Samira Ravenwood, in establishing connections in which this unit will utilize for purposes that serve the units established purpose and needs.

Request written by Sgt. Evoran Que’kaasars
Request brought forth by Ranger 1st Class Samira Ravenwood

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Hawksclaw's Folly
Message to Eris Moonsilver

Forest Dance 3rd, 3124
Recovered Thunder Hawk 17th, 3126 (mind-link upon recovery of Hawksclaw from Velkalar’s Keep)

Capt. R.S. Hawksclaw
Via Eris Moonsilver


Eris…
Are you there?
I feel you. I love you, Eris.

It hurts.
I don’t know. Can’t think. I… They drug me. Jumbled together, my thoughts. Tell Highwall. No, that’s not it…
Tell Evoran. Are they ok, Eris?

I can’t find Flit…
It made me so happy. Thank you.
Yesterday, in the Grove, you made me so happy… I think the Captain… I’m sorry. Colonel Wolfhaven should officiate our wedding. That will be nice. It should be in spring, I think.
Have you gotten word from our family? Are they safe?…
I can’t hear you so well. They’re blocking you somehow.
They locked me in a stone cell. Iron bars.

The stone isn’t Dwarf… Dwarven. There are runes all over it. Strange…
She named him Rah-Sahn, Eris… That makes me happy… Tell Evoran to look up…

I keep breaking the chains and stone. They just pull apart. All except for the ones with the runes… I think the drugs are wearing off… I’m sorry.
Tell Evoran to look up the marks. I think Olgor will know. My head hurts so badly.
I lost Trokash. We got separated in the camp. Are the others alright? I tried to get them out, but I don’t know if we will make it. The city is surrounded… The Butcher has Aradove. He took father too…
…no. It isn’t right. I’m sorry.
I’m trying to remember, but I can’t. I Wish I knew more. Tell my Rangers to be careful. This place. They can’t come here. It hurts here. They’re my friends, Eris. Don’t let them hurt them… I love them too… Warn Ryzak… No, not him… Thorgram. Warn Thorgram about the fire. It’s dangerous… Tell Samira that it is alright. I’m not cross with her.
Evoran should share the wine with Saron… I won’t be back in time for the party.

My eyes don’t work all the time, but the marks. On chains. Walls. Everywhere.
No, They’re coming back. More of the drug. I’ll pretend to be asleep…

They’re gone.

Have you asked Sara about decorating for the wedding? I don’t mind, if you haven’t yet.
Did Alfred make it back?
I… I can’t focus.
Not long.
Eris, I’m sorry. I’m trying.
Eris… I…

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Campaign Report 50
Lord Mayor Wolfhaven

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

Seventeenth Day of Dancing Clouds, Year 3124 Under the Light

My party returned to Echer’Naught on the 5th with Alfred. He was immediately placed under home care within my Manor House under the close supervision of priests of the Church of Light. With my son’s care secured, I returned to my duties within the city.

Our situation is dreadful. The breach the north wall is massive, large enough to drive a wagon team through with room to spare. Repairs on such an edifice will require enormous expense and months of work by a team of Dwarven craftsmen. Our own city brick yards lack the capacity for such an enormous endeavor. There is also the conspicuous lack of suitable stone material in sufficient quantities.

Nearly 1/3 of our warehouse storage was destroyed during the Demon’s rampage through the city. This included much of our dwindling food stores and supply caches. In addition, many privately held warehouses were also destroyed, most belonging to powerful nobles and merchant lords. Though the legal details elude me, apparently, they are seeking to hold the city responsible for their personal damages. Those experts with which I have spoken confirm that many of the petitions have legal basis, and those which do not have the political clout to make lives difficult.

There was also the complete and utter loss of the city stockyards. Between the fires, attacks, storms and other calamities, not a single beam of the fencework remained. And, following orders, Fekla had long since “relocated” the stockyard water tower. Without water or fencing, the yards were little more than a vast, sun baked eye-sore. Fortunately, the actual stock had been herded south of the city, but complaints mounted from the local lords who claimed compensation for the grazing of private animals on their lands.

Our various merchant districts were more, or less, intact with some looting and pillaging but very little structural damage. This, of course, excluded Baker Street which had been badly burned and ransacked during the riots leading up to the attack. Worse, yet, Schenkle Bakery, our long-time friends, had completely lost their bakery to the flames. With bread being the cash cow of the city, the Duchess is keen to have the ovens returned to service immediately. Though, the harvest was still months away.

City populations were also devastated. Prior to the siege, the former Lord Mayor Von Haber had departed the city on the 5th of Thunder Hawk with nearly 2,000 men, women and children, civilians unable to fight. Even before the first stone fell flaming from the sky, the total population of the city was reduced to somewhat fewer than 4,000 fighting men and supporting population. With the addition of Hammerfall Riders, Wolfhaven Riders, Church of Light and Rangers, our fighting force at the start of battle was right around 4,570. Yet, with 23% slain and another 25% that left 1052 slain, another 1143 wounded, and only 343 of those expected to recover.
By the time the siege was finally broken on the 22nd of Thunder Hawk, Echer’Naught’s population had fallen from over 6000 to around 2720, a little more than 45% of the original, in 19 short days.

And as reported before, 12 Rangers dead out of 50, with another 12 incapacitated for some time, some permanently. I had only 26 Rangers for the entire city. Of the City Guard, 58 dead and another 63 out of the fight, reducing our civic forces to 129 City Watchmen for the entire city and wall.

Worse yet, the near total annihilation of Low Town left little, if any, housing for the few who remained. As refugees tricked home, they found the lives destroyed, houses gone and industry at a near standstill. The former Low Town quickly developed into a wretched and dirty tent city full of crime and deprivation. With so few Rangers and City Watch, there was little to be done.

Before their departure, the Elves and other allies remained a few weeks to help maintain order, but by mid Festival Moons, all had departed and out troubles compounded.

There was good news. Due to the bizarre method of travel employed by Kal forces the countryside had been barely touched. And, with the incredible spring, the harvest would be a bumper crop once it was collected and processed. We just had to last so long.

Compounding the issues, Eris lost contact with Captain Hawksclaw on Thunder Hawk 29th and with him, his entire team. Even the joy at recovering Alfred alive could not assuage my concern at the potential loss of my entire alpha team. By Archanon’s providence, Eris was able to regain contact with Sergeant Que’kassars by the eve of Festival Moons 1st.

We were able to eventually determine that Hawksclaw’s Sacrifice had transported the entire team, minus the Captain and Trokash, 360 miles to the East. They wound up in the southern reaches of the Silverthorn Forest about a day’s ride south of the Elvish city of Ey’Solus.

By fortune or design, they arrived within a half day’s ride of an encampment only to discover Von Dietrich already encamped. He had just parted company of a caravan bound for Archanaya and the great Cathedral of Light. His group departed Echer’Naught on the 12th of Thunder Hawk and by heading East through Harken and all the way into Galea by that road.

The caravan had left his camp less than a day prior to my Rangers appearing nearby. Clearly Landra’s hand moved their fates. Von Dietrich informed the Sergeant Que’kassars that villagers in the area reported strange nightly occurrences and many recent disappearances and deaths. They could offer no explanation but believed that Darkness had befallen their land.

Von Dietrich, a known slayer of Darkness agreed to investigate. With no hope of returning to the Bandit camp before the prisoners could be moved far out of reach, Sergeant Que’kassars agreed to aid in the investigation.
They resolved to camp there the night and begin the investigation in the morning. However, as the night grew longer, all sensed a change in the wind, a chill crept over the camps. By the 13th hour, a supernatural fog crawled across the forest floor. By this point, the Rangers were ready, weapons drawn. Then, mixed with the howl of wind through creaking branches, they heard a sound. A low, moaning wail.

Before any could react, a creature appeared, clad in Black Iron chain with a stench of death. It lashed at the party and soon, more of these undead horrors appeared. Von Dietrich identified them as Wights and the mound they had emerged from was, in fact, a burial barrow. They encountered five Wights the night of the 1st, one more powerful than the rest. In truth, that single Wight very nearly slew the entire party. Only Samira’s keen archery saved them all from certain death.

Eris Moonsilver re-established contact the following night, the 2nd, where the party was camped near Vale, south of the attack. She relayed the outline of their encounter and confirmed that after examining the barrow that morning (2nd) that they discovered obscene runes in blood and evidence of dark rites. With the Wights destroyed, the spell was broken, so they left them intact for local authorities to know with what they must content. At Vale, the Sergeant reported this all to the local who then passed the information along to the nearest Rangers.

What I discovered via Eris, weeks after that was that on that night, and many nights after, more Wights attacked local town, farms and villages. In truth, Rangers and Knights of Galea are still hunting down the last of the cursed tombs as more people turn up missing or dead.

I know from his report that Sergeant Que’kassars briefed the team as to Sarah’s betrayal and the warrant for her arrest. It is a difficult thought for any of us to bear.

On the 13th of Festival Moons, a bedraggled and half starved woman staggered into Ranger patrols outside the city. She was immediately escorted to my office as she claimed to be Gwynlyn Argus, Ranger 1st Class and the last survivor of the Rangers of Sun’s Crossing. Her report was both harrowing and crushing. Sun’s Crossing and all her Rangers were no more. They died trying to destroy the Temple to Ceynara. She alone survived. I have added her to our rolls, but taken her off active duty. Once the situation in Echer’Naught is secured, I will send a larger force to deal with the temple. Just one more piece of unfinished business.

Nevertheless, while I toiled here to bring order to the city and find some semblance of a working relationship with Sheriff Halten who already considered himself the next Lord Mayor, my Rangers rode hard and fast back home. They arrived in the evening hours on the 6th of Dancing Clouds, 38 days after their sudden appearance in Galea.

When they arrived, I was forced to reveal to them the current poor state of affairs in the city. Worse, I was also forced to inform the team that I had strong evidence to the fact that Lady Lithillien of the Red Lamp was, in truth, a Shayae, potentially Shayakar, and that she knowingly employed were-wolves as her security force.
During the siege, my Elyanna had worked with others at the Red Lamp, using it as a staging point for civilian casualties. She identified the Lady of the Lamp as one of her own kin. This merely confirmed suspicions raised many months ago by Von Dietrich who had guessed that her guards were creatures of Darkness.

My first inclination was to establish a strike force and burn out this evil nestled in the heart of the city. But, I was given pause. First, to my knowledge and, indeed, based on extensive investigation, the Lady has committed no crimes. Quite the contrary, she and her people have been constant allies of the Rangers. In each and every crisis, her support has proved critical to our success. Add to this, I currently have given haven to a Shaye and had willingly and knowingly collaborated with a were-wolf to gain access to the Blood Lord’s keep during that crisis. If I were to hold her criminal for her nature, I would be forced to do so for myself, my love, Von Dietrich and anyone else who failed to slaughter any touched by Flame or Darkness out of hand.
However, the decision was not entirely mine. I sought the counsel of my Rangers and they concurred to remain neutral on the issue until the matter of the Mayorship was settled.

I must note here a rather vehement protest from Ranger 1st Class Ramshorn. His family had been slaughtered by were-wolves and I know of his hatred of their kind. Despite his protest, however, he agreed to abide by my orders, though I can see potential issues in the future.

Rangers from this point forth will be barred from patronizing the Red Lamp and may only enter the establishment on official Ranger business.

Based on the meeting, I ordered Sergeant Que’kasaars to go with Von Dietrich in the morning (7th) and explain our knowledge and our position to the Madame. After which, I turned the discussion to the recent political unrest.

The Duke of Harken was still in the city and he had yet to make a determination as to the position of the Lord Mayor, however, rumors indicated that Sir Halten was all but guaranteed the appointment. That being said, there was a great deal of opposition to the Sheriffs appointment. It would seem that the Duke was intentionally stalling.

Many of my Rangers, and my own Lady, had expressed a belief that I should petition for the position. I must state emphatically that I have ZERO desire to attain any political position now or in the future. It seemed prudent to reiterate my stance and to order Sergeant Que’kassars to issue an official statement on behalf of the Rangers stating our neutrality in the appointment of the Lord Mayor.

No Ranger shall knowingly involve themselves in the political processes of a sovereign nation. We enforce laws, we do not see to their creation or adoption. That issue thoroughly handled, I handed assignments for the next few days and then released my tired Rangers to their beds.

On the 7th, Sergeant Que’kassars and Ranger 1st Class Von Dietrich met with Madame Lithillien who admitted to being a Shayae and confirmed that her guards were were-wolves. But, she denied any nefarious intention. In fact, she offered to vacate the city with entire staff should her presence be deemed illegal. And, she offered Von Dietrich her solemn vow that she would not act against the Rangers of Echer’Naught.

He explained that we were to remain neutral but would support the new Lord Mayors decision once he was appointed. She understood and agreed to comply.

On the 8th, Sergeant Que’kassars published our official stance on the political unrest in the city. All Rangers were ordered to abide by the order.

I was informed that a couple days later, on the 10th, Fekla bestowed upon Thorgram a token, an ancient piece of a Dragon’s scale long held by her gather Kolfis. With this token, he was then adopted into her Gather. I know it pleased him greatly.

On the 13th of Dancing Clouds the Duke officially announced that he would be revealing his appointment to the position of Lord Mayor. This, though long expected, brought the political maneuvering to a new high. The City Watch was forced to intervene in a number of duels between young nobles. The last thing the city needed at this point was MORE unrest.

To make matters even worse, it appeared that there was a growing movement in support of my appointment. Despite my best efforts, and firm condemnation of Rangers involving themselves in the process, clamor grew. By the evening of the 15th, they night before the announcement, Evoran entered my study while I reclined with Lady Elyanna. He delivered an impassioned speech on my behalf. What he did not know was that I had spent most of that evening receiving much the same speech from Elyanna.

Under constant assault, I consented that I would not campaign for any position, but should I be appointed, I would do my duty.

What neither knew was that the Duke had invited me to the Mayoral Manse on the 12th. He asked if I might be willing to retire from the Rangers in order to accept the position of Lord Mayor. I was forced to decline. My oaths to the Cloak prohibit me from leaving the Rangers for any political position.

Nevertheless, the 16th came soon enough and that evening, every noble, merchant lord, political sycophant and royal appointee gathered at the Mayoral Manse. The procession took nearly 4 hours as the wagons, carriages and envoys arrived in a slow, lumbering procession. I arrived close to dark surrounded by Gendarre and Anaxelum’s men wearing the Wolfhaven standard and with Lady Elyanna looking resplendent on my arm. From what I have heard, we cut quite the figure. I owe the display to the Lady.

She seemed to think that I needed to dress for the position I was going to attain. I had my doubts, but she has not steered me wrong. Sergeant Que’kassars was tasked with providing security for the gathering. Every Ranger, City Watch and Royal Guard was pulled in. We were surrounded by a veritable army.

The actual conference did not start until late in the evening and ran even longer than the arrivals. Every petty noble and bureaucrat argued endlessly, running round and round in circles. Half a dozen names were proposed, but the only serious candidates were Lord Eric Halten, Sheriff of Echer’Naught and myself, Lord Colonel, Barond Alexander Wolfhaven.

After hours of argument, the Duke of Harken finally stood and brought the room to order. His remarks were brief and I was too fatigued at that point to record them exactly, but he indicated that the Royal Sheriff had a strong claim to the position and that I too had been considered. He revealed to the assembled that he had even asked whether I would take off the cloak in order to assume the position, but I had, of course, declined.
He explained that my allegiance to the Cloak prohibited my appointment to the position and so long as the City was administered by Olaran authorities, I could not hold the position of Lord Mayor. He then went on to explain that the cost for rebuilding the city was prohibitive and that the Rangers at Kythros had offered a potential partnership. In return for a century lend-lease of the city, they would pay for the rebuilding of the damaged areas. In addition, the city would pay a sizable fee to the Harken Duchy for the privilege of managing the city of Echer’Naught.

I was stunned.

Then, I was named Lord Mayor and the city was officially declared a holding of Grayson’s Gray Rangers for the next 100 years or until both parties mutually agreed to a parting. Echer’Naught’s lands and titles would remain with the Harkens, but the city, in effect, was mine.

My feelings were a mixture of awe, terror and excitement at the prospect. I was in the minority, however, in those pleased by the news. The room erupted into uproar, shouting shook the halls. Man came to blows and at least a few personal guards were forced to escort their patrons from the building for their own safety, or to prevent incidences of violence.

Finally, I felt compelled to quell some of the potentially fatal fury. I rose and spoke, ensuring the assembled that, regardless of my oaths to the Rangers, I was and always would be Olaran. I reminded them that I yet served the King and that, though the Rangers would assume administration of Echer’Naught, the city was Olaran. It was at this juncture, Sir Halten stormed out of the room trailed by his entourage. After which, my personal guard escorted me out of the building for my own safety.

I retired to my Manor, still reeling. My Rangers remained behind continuing to provide security in an attempt to re-establish order. Grievances spilled into the streets and by morning, six nobles were dead in duals and one manor house was burned to the ground.

As for my part, I remained at home with Elyanna, quietly discussing the monumental task before us. We were visited by Fateweaver who, after condolences, settled in to map our plans for the future. Despite my reservations about the man, I trust that he is equally nonplused at being thrust into the center of politics as I am.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring? We still must locate and arrest Sarah and confirm whether or not Hawksclaw is truly dead. Alfred is yet to regain his strength and the city is in shambles. My term as Lord Mayor could not have come at a more difficult time. And, there are so many tasks left unfinished. This so-called Lord Velkalar must be dealt with and soon. Someone must take a force to the far north and make some sense of the reports from that area. There is also the rise in crime within the city and the strange occurrences like the Wights in Galea that have suddenly seemed to rise in frequency.

I am chilled by a warning offered by Madame Lithillien…something dark is coming…

It seems I have been chosen for this task and so I must do my duty.

Your most obedient servant,

A. Wolfhaven, Colonel
Echer’Naught

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Campaign Report 49: Addendum
Alfred Lives

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

Fifth Day of Festival Moons, Year 3124 Under the Light

While in my office on the 32nd of Thunder Hawk putting together reconstruction assessments I was contacted by Eris Moonsilver with a report that Sergeant Longtail had recovered Alfred from the bandit camp. He was alive, thank Archanon. She had retreated to the Stone Tower Gather and placed him in the care of their healers.

Immediately I turned over operations to Sergeant Major Stormhammer and summoned my Riders. We were riding south by early afternoon the 32nd of Thunder Hawk. Riding all night, we reached the Stone Tower gates by mid morning on the 33rd.

I found Alfred lying comotose in the healers hut. He was breathing, but little else. Occasionally he would mumble nonesne in a fevered dream. The shaman told me that he had been too close to the other world for too long. That it had a hold on him. Only his own spirit could see him return.

Ordering my men to establish camp outside of the gather, I remained with Alfred. Two days later, on the 2nd of Festival Moons, Longtail arrived in the company of Grimbore and his warriors.

They had made a visit to the bandit camp and from her report, the Stone Tower had destroyed the camp utterly. She was unable to find Sarah, Hawksclaw or Trokash, but during her report she did mention freeing a number of catured women and children.

Sending a runner to fetch them from my saddlebags, I showed Longtail the sketches of all the reported kidnap victims. Surprisingly, three of the women Longtail freed were the captives Hawksclaw had originally been sent to rescure back in Red Wolf.

Up until this point, we had no idea where any of these women were and Longtail had simply openned their cell doors and let them go. I rushed out to speak with Grimbore and he informed me that his scouts had been sent to escort the women and children to their villages and towns. He promised me that they would, “Go home safe.”

Then I heard Alfred raspy voice from inside and ducked back into the hut. My son was sitting up on the pile of skins, coughing and begging water. I handed him a skin and urged him to drink slowly. After a time, he began to relate his story.

He and Sarah were ambushed in Echer’Naught before the Kal army had arrived. They were knocked unconcious. When he regained conciouness he was bound and in a strange room. His captures seemed agitated and he overheard conversation that they had to escape the city before the Kal arrived.

They were drugged and when he re-awoke, he could tell they were in a wagon, moving. Over the course of days, or weeks, he was routinely drugged, then waked and tortured for information. How long this lasted, he could not say.

Eventually, however, the constant pain and disorentation wore him down and in his delerium, and facing an Adept, was forced to reveal critical information about the Rangers and, specifically, our team. Sarah fared far worse…

Suffice to say, by the end, she just wanted to the pain to stop. So, she turned on Alfred and joined the Bandits. Her final test was to kill him.

Alfred’s last memory was Sarah stabbing him in the chest with a dagger. By Archanon’s Grace, the blade missed his heart by a hair. Due to Longtail’s heroism and the Stone Tower healer, Alfred was pulled back from the bring of death.

But I fear we may have lost Sarah.

Truthfully, she cannot be blamed. Anyone would break under such torture, but she has betrayed her oaths and attempted to kill her fellow Ranger. She must be captured, tried and given the chance to answer for her crimes.

We stayed until the 3rd, feasting the night of the 2nd with Grimbore’s people. By early morning we rode north to Echer’Naught. It may be some weeks, or months before Alfred is fit for duty. Sarah’s betryal will take far longer to heal.

Taking out time, we arrived in Echer’Naught mid-afternoon on the 5th. Alfred was immediately taken to an upper room and a healer from the Church of Light requested for constant care. Now to the issue of Sarah, and others…

Your most obedient servant,

A. Wolfhaven, Colonel
Echer’Naught

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Campaign Report 49
The Day After

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

Twenty Fourth Day of Thunder Hawk, Year 3124 Under the Light

I woke on the 23rd before the dawn, sore beyond all reason and forced myself to rise despite the agony of every fiber of my being. It helped to remind myself that at least I could still feel the pain. Others had not been so fortunate.
Breakfast was a simple affair, made more pleasurable by Lady Elyanna’s company. She protested that I was far too weary to resume my duties so soon, but assured her that I was able, and that I would take things easy for the next few days. Mollified, but not satisfied, she retired to make herself presentable.

I find myself depending upon her company more every day. However, duty called and so I fetched Malcom and instructed him to round up Hawksclaw’s team and meet in the Library.

They trickled in one by one, none looking well save for, perhaps, Longtail who made a surprise visit after a rather lengthy and mysterious absence. My first order of business was to invite volunteers to stand Olgor’s watch the night of his Last Call. Predictably Hawkslcaw, Longtail and Rildrirr stepped forward as did Evoran, but he would have other concerns.

I informed them all that we would host the Last Call for all of the fallen that very eve and that I was allowing each mess to attend to their own fallen privately. We at the HQ would toast Olgor here while I and my three volunteers would stand watches at the gates. I would hold the North, Hawksclaw the West, Longtail the East and Rildrirr to the South.

The rest of the day would be their own to do with as they pleased, though they would be required to procure a certificate of health from the Infirmary at the Church of Light before I would allow them to resume duties. I also informed them that as soon as the funeral arrangements were seen to that I would dispatch Hawksclaw south to recover Sarah and Alfred, or barring that, bring to justice the monsters who took them.

And with that, I dismissed the group. Before she left, however, Longtail asked to speak with me in private and, to my delight, asked that I be Godfather to her eldest, Alexander. I felt a sense of overwhelming join and pride, but a pang of loss thinking at that moment of Alfred and Sarah.

Of course I accepted such an honor with a glad heart. I know one thing that her children will never want for anything. She seemed as happy as I and left to attend to whatever business she now conducts.

Excusing myself, I retired to the yard where the fallen had continued to gather. When we closed the gates in the face of the Kal we had:

750 Militia Men under command of Cmdr. Schenkle and Sgt. Vasser
250 Town Guard under command of Cmdr. Schenkle and Sgt. Vasser
50 Rangers under command Col. Wolfhaven and Lt. Hawksclaw
50 Wolfhaven Riders under command of Col. Wolfhaven
100 Priest/Paladins under command of High Priest Vallandrian
20 Riding Lizards under command of Col. Wolfhaven
200 Hammerfall Riders under command of Field Marshal Graf von Wrangel
3000 Civilian Auxiliary under my command

All told, our forces numbered around 4,570 men and women at arms. After just four days of fighting, our losses were staggering. Overall, we lost 23% dead and another 25% wounded, some never to recover.
I lost 24 Rangers, 12 dead, not including Sarah and Alfred who I still hold out hope are alive. I lost the same number of riders and 9 of our lizards during the fighting.

Across the city over a thousand men and women lie dead, one sixth of the total population of the city before this most recent attack. I only hope that we will be able to recover.

Now we are left with the grim task of recovering the dead and seeing to their mortal remains.

Preparations for the evening events I left entirely to Lady Elyanna. In truth, I simply lacked the strength to see it through. Without her support I would be well and truly lost.

Mostly, I wandered through the house, keeping out of everyone’s way and meeting with those who wished to speak with me. I had quite a few visitors, everyone uncertain and in need of some support. Also, my Rangers trickled in bringing with them their certificates from the healers. All went well, save for one; Thorgram.

It would seem that his encounter with the Demon of Echer’Naught left a mark. Time will tell how this might affect the young warrior, but I must watch him closely. Perhaps speaking with others who have been marked by their encounters with the enemy might help him through this most dangerous battle.

By evening, all were in attendance as we gathered to toast our fallen friend. I took the honor speaking first and recounted to all of Olgor’s final deeds on this earth. And then we drank and dropped coins into his mug, dented and scratched from decades of wear.

Then Hawksclaw spoke, and Evoran. Rildrirr’s comments were brief. Longtail said nothing, but I could see the pain in her eyes. And then it was over, for us at least, and we left the manor house to stand our lonely watches.
Over the last years I have stood hundreds, maybe thousands of watches and I remember very few. But this night will linger long in my thoughts.

Smoke skill hung low in the streets, obscuring everything under a gloomy pall. And yet the night was cool and clear, the crispness of autumn just in the air. All throughout the city I could hear the revelry as the fallen of Echer’Naught were celebrated one last time.

Tomorrow, the funerals would begin and we would say goodbye.

I stood long and watched as dawn peaked over the hills to the East. My relief came soon enough and I retired home to find Lady Eyanna waiting with a warm cloak, mulled wine and breakfast. We ate together again quietly and out of the way.

I allowed my Rangers until mid-morn on the 24th of Thunder Hawk to assemble for our daily briefing. They all seemed tired, but some of the desperateness was gone, and with the new day dawning, hopes began to turn a bit brighter. I informed them of their mission again and revealed that our agent Trokash would be waiting in the roadside inn two days south of Echer’Naught.

They seemed EAGER for the task at hand, but I had one more order of business to attend to before they departed. Calling the team to order I announced the following promotions:

Hawksclaw was promoted to Captain
Thorgram was promoted to Ranger 1st Class
Samira was promoted to Ranger 1st Class
Rysak was promoted to Ranger 1st Class

It has been a long time coming, but they definitely deserve the recognition for their exemplary service. From her on, however, I fear there might be some dissention in the ranks.

Up to now, promotions have been out of necessity to establish a command structure here in Echer’Naught, but we are now well established. Ranger 1st Class is assured to any man or women who does their duty to the fullness of their ability. However, moving forward, promotion to NCO status will be reserved for those who express a desire to attain rank, display the leadership qualities needed for such an honor AND, most important, comport themselves as Rangers with respect to all and obedience to the chain of command.
This is something I must stress in our next meeting.

With that, I dismissed the group, though taking a moment to speak with Thorgram about his results and taking a moment to inform Samira that I expected a write-up of her proposed unit for review and approval.
They left, after that, the new Captain Hawksclaw at the lead, quite nearly glowing in joy. I have little doubt they will find our lost friends and bring them home safely. As for me, I must now begin the long and arduous process of rebuilding all that was lost.

That, and figure out what to do about the Lord Mayor post that will certainly be a driving force in the days to come. Perhaps I will speak with Therel Fateweaver?

Your most obedient servant,

A. Wolfhaven, Colonel
Echer’Naught

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Campaign Report 48
The Razing of Echer'Naught

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

Twenty Second Day of Thunder Hawk, Year 3124 Under the Light

These are the days whose deeds echo into myth and legend. A day of heroes.

Even as I sat to record the past week’s events, flaming concoctions of death and destruction rained down upon my city, reducing her once proud monuments to smoking ruin. Yet even this was but a prelude to our destruction. For nothing, not the days of constant bombardment, not the waves of Childer, demons and Kal-A-Nar soldiers compared to the horror that was unleashed upon us…

It was a demon, well over 20 feet in height, perhaps so tall as 30. Our first warning was a bellowing in the darkness which rumbled like thunder. Then, heavy footfalls, like an earthquake shook the very walls. From my vantage, standing on my balcony I watched in muted horror as Ceynara’s brood crashed through our great barrier wall as if it were made of kindling rather than the finest dwarven stone.

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My Rangers, led by Lt Hawksclaw, were at that moment recuperating from the latest assault on our walls at the north gate. From where I stood, I feared that they had been destroyed with the collapsing wall. Despite the loss of many good and honest soldiers, my team was not listed among the dead.

Rather, they flung themselves from the top of the wall in a desperate attempt to escape the demon’s wrath risking great injury but preserving their lives.

Seeing the breech in our walls and the flood of Childer, Abyssal spawn and Kal soldiers beginning to pour through into the city, I sprinted to the war room beneath my manor where Sir Lugard and Sergeant Gendarre had kept vigil over Eris during the entirety of our siege. Through her connection to Hawksclaw I learned that he and his team had survived, but that their position was untenable.

I ordered Eris to establish a mental network to all the commanders within the city and begin to relay my orders. The task would be tiring and I could not know how long she could maintain the spell under such conditions, yet we had little choice. And then I sprinted for my horse and rode hell bent for leather toward the Beacon Tower.

That climb was the longest of my life and, despite the physical training I endure, I was nearly spent when I reached the top. Spotters manned every station, a team of roost masters frantically launched messenger birds to every post in Olara and Lamplighters poured fuel on the beacon fire. From the tower, I had a clear view of the city and the surrounding land, a frightful sight at that moment.

Echer’Naught was surrounded in all directions, the highest concentration of troops at the North and the West. Most of the enemy army was mobilizing to the north around the three strange flaming peaks and marching directly for the breach in the wall. The Elven gate was in flames despite Ranger Silverfeather’s sanctity, though the Dwarven and southern were holding well enough. Harken’s men knew their tasks and performed them well.

The beast had breached just west of the North gate and was beginning a thorough destruction of the city’s brick yards. Our forces were thin in the warren of warehouses just south of the brickyard and the terrain made containing the creature there was impossible.

Through Eris I ordered Hawksclaw to establish a base camp between the North gate and centerpointe to link up with Field Marshal Von Wrangel and establish a fire break along the North Barony Road from Centerpointe and along the Greenway Road between Centerpointe and the Elven Gate. I hoped to cut off the Warehouse District, but even if we could contain the lesser creature and soldiers of the Kal, we had no hope of stopping the Demon, not until we knew how to destroy it.

The task of determining the demon’s weakness would fall to Evoran. He alone had the clinical disposition and patience process through elimination, even if it cost precious lives. The rest of their team, Thorgram, Rysak and Samira would help establish the fire break, with Samira manning the City Watch tower at Centerpoint as a defensive tower.

To Fekla I assigned the most difficult task…slowing the beast. Sophia Longarm was known to employ an Ogre named Transom, at least the size of Fekla. Fortunately, Transom was in Echer’Naught and Lady Longarm agreed to task the Longarm bruiser to assist Fekla. I knew they could not stop the beast, only slow it, and that for only a short time. In all likelihood, I was sending her to her death, but Fekla would have it no other way.

I watched as my Rangers retreated before the Kal soldiers, Hawkslcaw heading straight for his post, Fekla doing the same. Evoran disappeared into the Church district, I assume to find reinforcements. Fekla and Transom vanished into the blast zone of the demon’s path. All I could see through the smoke and darkness was that the creature’s progress had slowed.

Fekla.

My elite team in place, I issued orders to all available units to begin evacuating to our fallback position in High Towne. I sent Anaxelum and his men to secure the Red Lamp along with Elyanna who demanded I allow her to assist. Despite every fibre of my being compelling screaming to lock her in the command room, I relented. I seem to have no will to deny her.

The druids, through their spirit, informed me that they would secure the Sacred Grove and I need only dispatch a detail to help move the wounded to our rally point.

With men and women flooding through the two gate into High Towne and the Dwarven Gate close pressed, I dispatched the LongArms to secure High Towne’s North Gate.

Troops moving into position, I again turned my attention north. It is strange to watch a battle from the vantage point of a general, to see the different units shifting across the ground like set pieces in a child’s game of toy soldiers. There is a sense of power controlling the fates of so many, but there is also a sense of hopelessness watching your friends and colleagues suffer and die knowing there is little you can do but put them in harm’s way.

I watched as troops fled from our southern and western positions toward High Towne carrying with them our wounded. They looked like ants fleeing a rising stream. All along the walls men battled Gargoyles and Ratzin as more incendiary devices rained down. It was a scene from the Abyss. And all the while the beast raged, wreaking destruction with every step. Only through Eris’ connection did I know that Fekla yet lived.

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My most disturbing report came from Ranger Silverfeather who informed me that our local Ranger Outpost had been taken by an elite team of warriors and adepts. I suspect Tor Mastak. No doubt they were keen on capturing vital intelligence. Ranger Silverfeather had the presence of mind to gather all the most important documents and evacuate them with young Malcom. Thwarted in their mission, they still very nearly managed to take Silverfeather’s wings as a prize. Narrowly he escaped.

This meant that the enemy was well and truly behind our lines executing acts of sabotage. A quick check of other high value target teams confirmed that, at present, only the Local HQ was compromised, but with everything on the west side of the city was already abandoned I had no means to verify.

Hours passed and I watched as the positions on the walls began to fall. The west gate fell first, the last soldiers and civilians fleeing before a horde of Kal. Members of the Town Militia fought a fierce rear-guard action, holding back the tide of Flame. Our east-west defensive line collapsed along the Greenway Road, falling in back in good order; the north-west line holding fast.

Low Town was in flames, but Fekla’s warrens slowed the enemy advance to a crawl. For the moment, Harken held, but the beast continued to cut a bloody swath through all defenses. Nothing seemed to work, not white silver, not spells. The creature was unstoppable.

And then, the word came from Evoran. He knew how to kill the beast. It cost the lives of his entire team of priests and paladins, and the lives of hundreds of soldiers, but at long last, we could kill it. Blessed heavy weapons were the beast’s only weakness.

Unfortunately, the gargoyles had targeted our weapons, taking out most along the north, west and southern walls and what the flying devils had missed, the Kal siege engines had finished. Our siege engines along the High Towne walls were yet untouched and we still had a few operational ballistae around the east gate.
Time. It was all a matter of time.

I gave the word to double guard on all remaining siege weapons and salvage any that could be repaired. Sophia LongArm’s men were to secure High Towne’s north gate and establish a shield wall to protect evacuees. Word came again through Eris that Transom was down, dead or incapacitated, no one knew, but the demon was coming.

And, all our preparation would be for naught if we could not lure the creature into range of the weapons. Evoran, Rysak and Fekla were still in position, so to them fell the grim task of baiting the beast. To the west, our defenses collapsed. We were out of time. My final order was for every available priest and druid to assemble at the siege trap and prepare.

From the peak of the tower to my horse lasted no more than two or three minutes. The ride to the north gate no more. Yet every step, every second weighed heavily upon my soul.

By the time Thunder skidded to a halt, blood spattered and sooty figures swarmed the walls, frantically securing the siege weapons as the skies filled with the leathery wings of gargoyles. Leaping from Thunder, I sprinted up the narrow stone steps to the top of the wall just as the demon came thundering into view. Its towering form was crashing through Centerpointe.

With a single swipe of its massive flaming sword, the demon toppled the City Watch tower like it was a toy. Just before the stones shattered, figures hurled themselves from the upper windows. I prayed to Archanon that Samira and her team had made it out in time.

We all watched in muted horror as the demon thundered its way down Main Street, melting paving stones with each step. Running just ahead were three figures, one towering Ogre, staggering almost spent, the flapping robes of a sorcerer and the small squat figure of a dwarf. Fekla was staggering her wounds were clearly serious. She managed to just reach the mark when her monumental strength finally failed her.

How she had stood for hours on end against a creature our own walls were powerless to deter I may never know. But, her sacrifice had bought us, bought me, the time needed to finally stop the creature once and for all. I stood powerless atop High Towne’s gate as the demon raised is flaming sword, Fekla prostrate in the dirt before it.

Everyone froze in terror as our most stalwart defender gave her life for a cause she did not even claim as her own. I know that Fekla came to this city to prove her brother’s innocence. And as I helplessly watched the killing blow, I felt a sense of failure. She sacrificed all in the faith that I would avenger Grimbore’s would be executors.
And then, before our stunned eyes a long figure sprinted across the road, hurling itself between the demon and Fekla’s lifeless form. As the flaming sword crashed down, Thorgram Ramshorn stood alone, his Targe shielding Fekla from the demon’s wrath. And then, all vanished in a maelstrom of heat, smoke and dust as the street disintegrated into shrapnel.

I leaned forward, my fingers digging into the stone parapet. Had I lost another?

And then the cloud dissipated and time seemed to slow…

The beast pressing downward, almost confused at the sudden resistance to his attack. And there, beneath the savage sword a defiant Thorgram, body in flames, but unyielding.

I have seen many great and wonderful things, many sacrifices on the battlefield, but this act of defiance in the face of oblivion rivaled them all. Before this act, we knew only defeat…

But one man refused to break…and in that moment I knew that, come what may, we would stand to the bitter end.

“Beautiful,” I whispered and then signaled the attack.

Beams of pure white light exploded from the hands of priests along the walls, met by equally brilliant streams of pure emerald energy from the druids. One by one, ballistae thundered hurtling their arc-fire enhanced ammunition each man-sized spear blessed by Archanon’s Light or the spiritual power of Landra.

Fire rained down, staggering the beast. More beams, more enhanced heavy darts slammed into the creature. Yet, it refused to fall. Already I could see the demon rising again…

There was no choice. I leapt into the saddle, spurring Thunder down the parapet and up the narrow stone stairs to the first, and nearest, tower. Ignoring the shouts of alarm, I pushed my mount up and over the wall.
No other horse would have trusted a rider so. No sane man would have attempted what I in my desperation attempted.

Reaching deep inside, I summoned that power which I seem to carry and stepped. Again I felt the surge of energy and the world blurred for a heartbeat and then I was there, handing in the air beside the demon’s head. With all of my might I leaned into the stirrups and swung, my father’s blade flashing white as it bit deep into the demon’s flesh.

And then the pull of the earth grabbed me and I began to plummet to the ground. Digging deep I grabbed the power and stepped…

…and felt Thunder’s hooves striking sparks on flagstones.

Releasing the power the normal fatigue washed over me from the strain of stepping through space and time. Behind me, the demon bellowed once, then sagged to its knees, angry orange flames gouting from the wound on its neck. And then, it toppled forward, smashing the street to bits under its bulk.

Our relief was short lived. Kal forces had already reached CenterPointe and would be on us in minutes. I sent an order through Eris to have all forces fall back, but her mental network had fallen silent. So, I shouted to every commander in earshot retreat behind the walls of High Towne and spurred Thunder to where Fekla’s body had fallen.

With immense effort, we managed to drag her through the gates just as the Kal army reached our position. They were boiling over and howling for blood. The thunder of their blows on the stout ironwood gates drowned out the frightened babble of voices sheltering behind the walls.

As I stood looking back at the defenders of Echer’Naught I was struck by their uniformity. When the siege had started we were divided: Rangers, City Watch, King’s Guard, LongArms and mercenaries. But days of constant battle had stripped us of our ranks, scorched our tabards and leaving our soot covered clothes a uniform gray, stone gray.

To the east a thin, lightening line presaged the dawn.

As the first light of dawn stretched across the land I came to a decision. If Echer’Naught were to fall that this day, I would ensure that this army broke on the stones of our walls. Turning I asked for volunteers to join me in this our final hour. Bloody, but unbroken, my Rangers stepped up, one after the next. Soon, others followed.
If we were to die, we would die together. I ordered the gates open.

As the doors swung open, I could see the hungry gleam in the eyes of the massed Childer and they howled in victory surging the through the open gate. I spurred Thunder forward and charged.

Behind me the Defenders of Echer’Naught roared and drove through the enemy. Time slowed as it does in the heat of battle. Arrows buzzed around me like hornets, purple eldritch energy crackled, white light so bright it left stars in my eyes exploded as a choir of angels descended from the heavens.

Our cry was answered by a horn from the east as the forces of Harken and Ranger broke through the Dwarven gate. From the west came the elves, their arrows falling like rain. From the south, Grimbore led the Stone Tower gather like some avenging avalanche and by his side, Rildrirr wielding his icy demon’s bane.

A heartbeat stretched to a minute, a moment became hours. By the time the battle was through, I could barely sit my saddle. Covered in blood, soot, and ash, I swayed drunkenly, my arms so tired they felt as if they were made of stone. Around me, soldiers collapsed where they stood, all life finally spent.

It was with the greatest effort that I dragged myself from the saddle to meet with the other commanders.
Field Marshal Von Wrangel, surly as ever. There was an elven military commander, an Eldais I had never met. Lord Haken himself commanded the relief force from Harken. Mak Tokash Grimbore met us as well and declared it a good fight, though with Sheriff Halten’s ultimatum that he would only delay Grimbore’s arrest.
Our meeting was brief, though productive. Each army separated and went into quarters outside the ruins of our city. I requested that they dispatch fresh units to secure the city and begin re-establishing order within the city allowing my own weary forces a much needed rest.

My men seen to, I walked Thunder to the nearest well, drawing enough to bury my head in the cool water. As I sank down beside the well, it occurred to me that the temperature had finally broken, much as the Kal army. Autumn quickly approached, harvest season.

Leaning my head back against the warm stone I considered the task before me. No Mayor, a town in ruins, nearly half the population missing, dead or permanently relocated. Not to mention, I had heard nothing from the Sun’s Crossing Rangers…

Closing my eyes, sleep finally overtook me there, slumped against the well beside the road, Thunder breathing heavily beside me. Days of fighting with no sleep had taken its toll.

It was late afternoon before I finally roused myself, cold and overlooked by the swarm of men and women already beginning to clean. Sore and hungry, I made my way back to the outpost, but approaching the gate I knew there was a problem.

Dread filled me to my very core. Entering the house, I found the bodies of my Rangers already laid out in rows in the yard. Looking into the faces of the survivors I knew something was horribly wrong. Evoran met me, his face a mask of pain and anguish.

Olgor was dead.

The little goblin was laid out in the library, a blanket covering his frail form, so small in death. Hawksclaw was absent and after a quick search I found him asleep beside the comatose form of Eris Moonsilver.

Evoran filled me in. During the final assault, agents of Tor Mastok had assault the HQ, fighting passed my House Guard and raiding my home. Lieutenant Olgor defended the library alone, fending off a team of Kal agents. In the command room beneath the Manor House, agents managed to force their way into Eris’ room, but were stopped by Sir Lugard and Gendarre himself.

Eris eventually succumbed to the stress of maintaining the bond too long and rendered herself unconscious. It would be some time before all of our dead could be dug out of the rubble.

Standing among the dead and dying I was overwhelmed by sadness. I should have been here. Why would Eris not have alerted me to the attack?

But I knew. Even at the risk of her own life, Eris would not have distracted me from my duty. She only informed Hawksclaw due to their connection. And he stood beside me even as the woman he loved could have been dying.

I have not cried in a long time. Despite everything we have survived, tears have seldom come. I am not ashamed to say that I knelt among the bodies of my men, MY MEN, and wept like a child. How long I remained, I cannot say, but it was well past dark when Elyanna finally put an arm around me and pulled me from the field of dead.

I write this report in the library that my friend Grizhnak saved at the cost of his own life. My second in command and my Farspeaker lie incapacitated upstairs and my city burns around me.
In truth, I have little to report. Perhaps tomorrow.

Your most obedient servant,

A. Wolfhaven, Colonel
Echer’Naught

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