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

Field Report: Echer'Naught Free Company
Thorgram Ramshorn and the Ghoul pack

Journal entry 1

I’ve never really been an individual to express my thoughts and exploits through pen and paper, but many of my fellow comrades say it is a good way to stay sane in our line of work. It’s funny as to how we can only describe this as our job but there seems to be not much else to describe it. Either way I seem to be wandering from the point.
I and a few fellow soldiers were sent to scout a road about 2 miles outside of Echer’naught. Not long into our journey we were attacked by a pack of ghouls. Sadly most of the others were killed by the vile creatures, however there were signs that one had been taken captive. Luckily I had some experience in tracking as me, father, and my brothers had hunted regularly. It is funny how even writing about them is almost unbearable. It’s hard to believe that two months have passed since they were slaughtered. Everywhere I look I can see their faces, even hear their voices, but I know it is only my imagination getting the better of me. Regardless I began to trudge forth to find my comrade.
As I continued into the bitterly cold night I was blinded by the snow and wind until a flash of pure white light caught my attention. Hoping it was my friend signaling for help I quickly ventured towards it. As I neared the light I could make out many shapes and realized that this was no call for help but instead the call of a battle. Once I had realized this I quickly picked up my pace and raced to the aid of whoever needed it. Finally it seemed that I was nearing the battle and above my head was an angel raining down bolts of light upon troglodytes and trolls. It seemed that I was to have the upper hand to one of the trolls as it had its back to me and was clueless to my nearing presence. With all my will I leapt towards its massive back and with my axe I split its back right down the center. As it fell with a roaring grown it acted as a curtain revealing the two warriors who were facing it and its allies. In front of me stood two peculiar characters. One seemed to be the one endowed with the powers of light, and must have been the one who had summoned the angel, who had now vanished with our foes vanquished. The other seemed to be his slayer comrade. Soon they asked to why I had been in the area and I explained to them of how I was searching for my comrade. Surprisingly they agreed to accompany me in my search.
With their help we were able pick up the trail fairly quickly. Soon we came to a thicket and could tell that he was there. As we drew closer we found him, however he had been sacrificed upon an altar of darkness. I felt sorrow for my comrade as we stared upon his mangled body but we were too late. Soon my two new comrades urged me on to the city and we continued into the night.

Thorgram Ramshorn

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Field Report: Church of Light, 4
The Blood Chalice

White River 26th, 3123 Under the Light

Holy Father,

I am not one to take offense at not being fully aware of the details of my missions, but I must admit discovering that our entire trip to the Elven Nation was a farce put me off. Even so, I must say I found a certain pleasure in discovering that even Lord Colonel Wolfhaven was also kept in the dark about the true whereabouts of the girl. I suppose we may discover what happened to the girl eventually.

After returning to the city of Echer’Naught on the 6th of Gray Winds, I joined my Brothers of light to scour the city for any trace of the werewolf or the Shayakar agents. Predictably, we found neither. I am not much surprised.

The month was pleasant enough with plenty of time for prayer and reflection. Reports from the south were hardly encouraging. By the 9th of Gray Winds, all roads has been cut off. By the 26th, the final assault had begun. I did not learn more until I returned nearly a month later.

However, my personal respite was not to last. Around the 29th (Gray Winds), Col. Wolfhaven called Von Dietrich and me into his office. Reports had reached the good Colonel of a possible “Chalice” somewhere near the coast of Galea. With little more intelligence to go on, the Colonel dispatched us to Karas to link up with Rangers there to continue the search. We departed Echer’Naught on a blustery afternoon and began the long slow ride.
Though cold and miserable, the trip was uneventful and the roads good. Despite the weather, we made good time. Traveling east from Echer’Naught, we first passed through Harken, then Hale, turning south we passed through Southgate and finally entered Karas on the 10h of White River.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the Karas Rangers had already completed our mission. From their report:

“The Rangers tracked down the chalice being protected by a hidden goblin gather called the Two Rivers Gather. They had a large cave that they held scary dark items in to keep them safe. They caught up with the place just as the Red Store was storming it and came across orders on some of them men indicating that the Rangers of Echer’Naught were seeking to retrieve it before they did. With the blessing of the goblinesh ghosts and spirits within (which they got because of the paladin and druid types present) they left with the chalice and Sabine sent word that they had it and wanted to see it in the right hands.”

There was a spot of confusion when we arrived. Apparently a flight of Aevakar was arriving at the same time. Archers atop the walls appeared a bit excitable. For a moment, I feared we would be filled with arrows, but it was soon sorted.

We made our way to the tower held by the Rangers of Karas, and were quite impressed by the new construction (the place was certainly very changed from the last time either had seen or heard of it) and spent much of our time learning about the Karas unit and their improvements. With nothing pressing, we took a tour of the city. We departed Karas on the 12th of White River with the chalice in hand. I confess, the pall of death wreathing the artifact unnerved me. As usual, Von Dietrich took it in stride. Before we left, we had an opportunity to consult with the Karas rangers on their battle plan for the impending Prelacy return.
Of those we met, we mostly interacted with Sabine (the paladin and priestess), Carn Mindrill (the master Wright) and Solvayus a Kor Druid and practitioner of The Way. I found the priestess a delight and avid listener. Before departing, I offered her my holy symbol. She accepted, but insisted that I take hers in exchange. I asked…if I could write her. She acquiesced. Von Dietrich says I am a fool.

After another long and bitterly cold trip, we arrived to within a day of Echer’Naught on the 25th of White River. Though we might have reached the city that night, we chose to camp in a familiar location and warm ourselves by a fire.

Whether it was a mistake or not to camp, I know not. However, that night agents of Darkness attacked us in our camp. It started with a small skittering sound and a sense of evil. In moments, poisoned knives hurtled from nigh invisible shadows. I roused Von Dietrich who stood too almost instantly. This is apparently becoming routine.

They came at us in waves, Troglodytes, Hobgoblins and a Troll. I called the power of Archanon, letting his light fill me and strike awe into our foes. In answer to my prayers, he dispatched an Angel to aid us. It appeared in a burst of celestial light, blasting away at the Darkness.

Even with our combined might we might have perished were it not for the timely, and surprising assistance of a young half-orc name Thorgram. He was apparently a scout serving with Lt. Hawksclaw’s Free Company recently arrived from their victory against the Blood Lord’s forces.

He had been part of a five man patrol who were attacked by ghouls. These beast, though, had collars and chains. Clearly they were horrific hounds of some foul master. Though Thorgram himself had killed three of them, his companions were less fortunate. Though they slew half a dozen, they were, in turn, slain.

After our rescue, we aided the young man in tracking down the ghoul master. Though we found no sign of the creature’s controllers, we did discover the evidence of their camp and the site of a profane ritual. Though I am no Necromancer, I’ve seen enough to know that this was a summoning ritual. No doubt, the Necromancer who “owned” the ghoul hounds was also responsible for the party which attacked us.

Of Necromancer and remaining ghouls, we found no discernable sign other than the remains of their victims. Our mission took precedence and so, sadly, we left these villains to other forces and made all haste to Echer’Naught, only arriving on the 26thof White River.

We found Wolfhaven in good spirits and the other Rangers celebrating their victory and life. For Von Dietrich and I, this was hardly a time for celebration. The “Blood Chalice” as we know it to be called had nearly cost us our lives, not to mention the lives it cost in Karas. From the Colonel we learned that, though his army was defeated, the Blood Lord escaped.

Clearly, he still had agents in the area. I wonder how many of his people are still in Echer’Naught. Nevertheless, the Chalice is now under guard and deep in whatever hole the girl vanished into. From Wolfhaven’s previous ignorance I wonder exactly who is securing these things.

Nevertheless, Wolfhaven was able to determine the nature of the cup, or cups as the case may be. As it happens, there are at least two. During the battle in the south, one of the Blood Lord’s agents, the Baron of Farwatch, attempted to use another of these Chalices to turn a young Ranger, Maggie Silver, into a Vampire.
Worse, through the combined efforts of Ranger Silver, Brother Thaleon and the legendary Shayline, we learned that the Blood Chalices not only create Vampires, but apparently make those turned into thralls of their new master. Worse, these artifacts can convert anyone.

A close review of historical records suggests that these Chalices may have existed since the Age of Darkness; perhaps even earlier. How many exists is not known.

Perhaps we will be dispatched to discover more.

Obediently yours,

A. Alystar

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Campaign Report 34
Dead of Winter, Vampire's Heart

Colonel Wolfhaven, Alexander

Commander of the Legio Heroes

Eckhart Keep, Wildlands

Fifteenth Day of White River, Year 3123 Under the Light

“In honour I gained them, and in honour I will die with them.”

I once swore that I was done with ordering good men to their deaths while I stood by and did naught. And now, I have made a liar of myself and sacrificed those that mean more to me than anything in the world.

The Accords were signed on the 3rd and by the morning of the 4th, I was gathering an army larger than I have ever fielded. With me were the Hammerfalls, eager to avenge their fallen brothers. So too the Lord Mayor sent a large contingent of his personal guard. From Sun’s Crossing came 20 of the Sun’s Guard militia. And from across Olara came nights, nobles and free-swords, all seeking to heap glory and honor upon themselves.

I cared little for honor and glory. Saving my family was all that mattered to me.

Looking back I realize now I was a man obsessed. Longtime associates and battle brothers seemed to give me space as I worked tirelessly to forge the coalition force. I know now that politics are of little interest to me. Only my duty.

And so, for a week, as the emissaries of foreign nations toured my home, gathered their tribute and began their long treks home, I gathered men, forged and army and turned south for war.

We stepped off to the beat of the drum on the morning of 8th of White River, pushing hard each day. Those primarily Cavalry, my force contained a significant force of foot and supply, but their orders were simply to reach the Eckhart keep and hold the line.

As for my Vanguard, we barely slept, eating in the saddle as I pushed them to the point of exhaustion and beyond. I for one cared little for food or sleep, keeping in the saddle even when my army was forced to halt. Some questioned my sanity, I know. No one questioned my orders.

Upon the 13th hour, the witching hour, my vanguard crested a rise just North and West of the Eckhart keep. What appeared below me chilled me to my very bones. Surrounding the keep was an army far larger than even my estimates had ever considered. 8000? 10000? From my vantage it appeared that the keep was a single point of failing light amid a sea of inky blackness.

Cold white rage settled over my heart for I knew I was too late. Perhaps by minutes. Perhaps by hours. I had failed Hawksclaw. He held for me. But I did not reach him in time.

My last order before all thought abandoned me was to break my cavalry force in two, sending the flanking part under command of Brevet Captain Panta around the enemy force to the west to swing back and hammer them as I drove them from the field.

After that, everything else seemed to happen out of time.

Shouting in anguish I put spur to flank feeling Thunder surge beneath me. We charged down upon the enemy like an avalanche, slamming into their disorganized rear guard and grinding them beneath out hooves. I could hear and feel the ground shaking as thousands of heavy horse followed my charge forming a tight wedge which carved through the Troglanesh like a blessed blade through corrupted flesh.

How long we rode, how many we slew, to be honest I know not. It seemed but a moment between heartbeats before I was there, amid the heart of the carnage to find Hawksclaw lying dead upon the field, the “Butcher’s” blade Souldrinker up to the cross guard in his gut.

Time froze.

Dimly I was aware of the battle still raging around me. I could feel Alfred, my squire, standing guard. But at that instant, there was only me and my fallen brother.

Vaguely I recall dismounting and crossing the ichor soaked ground to where his body lay. Over him stood Evoran. Blood spattered, find robes in tatters, the Eldakar sorcerer stood as defiant as a mountain in the face of unspeakable horror. His eyes were clear, his jaw set. He would die before he allowed the body of his commander to be taken.

I owe him magnitudes of debt.

Yet, at that moment, I had no thoughts of Evoran, or Longtail whom I could not see. Only my Lieutenant. My champion.

Dumbly I reached down and clasped the sword which pieced him. Yet when my guantleted hand touched the foul artifact, I nearly recoiled in agony. It felt as if my very soul were being rent by unspeakable forces. It took all my will just to prize it free and let it fall, blood soaked to the ground.

Despite the pain, I lifted Hawksclaw’s lifeless body into my arms, laying his fathers sword upon his breast and carried him in state into the shattered keep. There, I laid him upon the map table and knelt to pray.

Though I know the Lord of Light does not bargain so, I offered my own life for his. Unsurprising, Hawkslcaw’s patron had other plans. I know not what happened in that room. Only Evoran knows. But I felt life return to my brother.

Rising, I turned to Evoran expressing my sincerest gratitude for the sacrificed of my men and apologizing for failing to return in time. He nodded his understanding and I nodded mine. With that, I departed, striding quickly for my mount.

On either side of the road, I became aware of throngs of people standing in silence, but by this point my thoughts were far to the south. All my energies aimed at seeking out and destroying the Blood Lord.

With a shout, I spurred my vanguard forward, turning south, we sped away from the keep and rode south driving the enemy before us. With their leader gone and our army on their heels, the Blood Lords forces broke and fled.

Within the hour, I rejoined Panta’s force and together we rode them down. Dumbly, somewhere in my mind I knew that our victory came to easily. Should the horde turn, they would easily overwhelming out smaller force given surprise was no long on our side, but they continued to flee.

We rode for hours until our horses began to flag and many sword arm began to falter. Idly, I began to wonder if there was a plan afoot. Perhaps a trap. Only then did a warning cry from our mages alert us to the presence of a gateway ahead.

I had expected this. What my companions did not know, could not be told was that my entourage included one of Vainar’s own servants. The De’Lear wolf, the girl’s brother had joined us. He had briefed me on the possibility of the enemy’s use of ebonways. He was correct.

He also assured me that he could get us through…a prospect I loathed, but Von Dietrich assured me that I could trust this beast up to the point of slaying the Vampire Lord. And so, we charged straight into the Void.

It felt like dying, unnatural cold. My breath was ripped from my chest. Every fibre of my being screamed with the wrongness of it…and then I appeared outside the gates of a massive Builder Keep. I knew that we were underground, but other than that, my sense of location was entirely skewed.

Standing beside me were the incomparable Murvoth and the esteemed Shayline, warriors I have come to know and trust. As to the others, Macha Panta, Thaleon, Sir Landen, Ranger Silver, Cedruss, Chuck, Alfred, Whit, Ash, Bait, Gratien or the Wolf I knew not.

However, standard before our triad was an entire pack of Werewolf Alphas led by the Blood Lord’s personal protector, the Werewolf Lord known only as “The Wolf”. I cannot say if they were surprised by our sudden appearance or simply waiting to shred us with tooth and nail. I can say that whatever they expected nothing could have prepared them for what they faced.

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We struck as one. Murvoth a whirling dervish of destruction, Shayline the very fount of healing energies, sealing would almost as quickly as we received them. As for my part, only that my father’s sword sang in my hands as I cleaved through their corrupted bodies.

The battle raged for hours, but soon enough, all that remained of the Blood Lord’s personal guard were rapidly cooling corpses. We beheaded them and burned them with Archanon’s light so that they could never return from whatever pit their immortal souls had fled.

Power flowed through me, a river of strength I could scarcely describe. It was as if every part of my being was resonating with some arcane force. Drawing deeply, I kicked the Black Iron doors with all my might and felt them give way beneath my heal.

Then, together, we strode confidently into the Blood Lord’s Grande Hall.

Clearly this citadel had been crafted by Builder hands. Each column rose so high above our heads that their tops were lost in shadow. And each was nearly as big around as the Beacon Tower of Echer’Naught. Behind my feet, the flagstones were huge beyond imagining. What kind of monstrous magic would be required just to maneuver a single one into place?

Running in a row along the red carpeted hallway leading to the throne were massive Arcfire generators of some kind. I could feel them dulling and deadening my senses. It was Shayline who realized their purpose and with a shout of pure power shattered those flanking the Blood Lord’s throne opening a way to reach him.

Only then did I notice the body of Cedruss floating near the Blood Lord’s throne, caught in waves of Darkness.
He was alive and that was no small thing.

Three Rangers against one of the most powerful servants of Vainar in recorded history. I smiled. Turning to my companions, I gave them orders.

I would draw the Blood Lord’s ire, while Murvoth flanked and closed. Shayline would provide support and keep his dark power at by. And with that, I reached inside myself, drawing on a power I had used first against the Tempest and more recently against the Builder Golem at the road. I held my breath and leaped…

…appearing above a very surprised Blood Lord’s head.

Raising my father’s sword high over my head, I brought it down with all my might. White light and Black smoke roiled and sparked as the power of Light and Dark clashed. From my right, Murvoth, shining with silver light hurled himself bodily at the Blood Lord. From somewhere above Shayline rained down silver bolts of pure White Silver light.

The battle of the Blood Lord was joined.

How long we struggled, I cannot say. Only that I could feel my life’s energy bleeding away like the tide before the dawn. Again and again I slashed, and again and again the Blood Lord rent my very soul. Were it not for Shaylines healing powers, we would all have certainly perished.

But, there are few beings indeed who can stand before three such as these. And, after very nearly shattering the eons old Grand Hall with our combined energies, the Blood Lord was struck down by a titanic right hook from Murvoth.

His body broken, his spirit fleeing, the Blood Lord began to laugh. And the, before our eyes, his body melted away leaving only a broken indistinct husk of a creature…but certainly NOT a Vampire Lord. Cedruss’ voice rang out of the shadows. This creature was a Shade, an impersonator. Powerful yes, but the Blood Lord had escaped once again.

Then the world began to crumble. Slaying the Shade had triggered a fail-safe system. If the Blood Lord’s minions could not destroy us, he would simply let us fall into oblivion. What is the cost of a single fortress, not matter how grand, if it means the utter annihilation of your greatest foes?

The trap was sprung.

I shouted for Shayline to find the others who I hoped beyond hope still lived. Then, I called Murvoth and Cedruss to my side. Grabbing them, I reached inside to that burning ember of power and stepped…

…into blackness.

What happened next, I only heard about later. Apparently, Panta and Thaleon were making quick work of the enemy army when the Silver Unicorn appeared and spirited away much of the enemy force. We discovered later that they were found wandering the snow fields cleansed of all corruption.

I managed to reach the army, but collapsed from my wounds and exhaustion. Sir Landen plucked me from the ground and pulled him onto his horse. At the same moment, Ranger Silver appeared clutching a half burned rag doll…and one of the Blood Lord’s Chalice’s.

She prayed to the Silver Unicorn as the ground we stood upon began to fall away. Whether it was divine intervention, or some quirk of the power, our entire force managed to ride along with the Blood Chalice when it teleported away from destruction.

The next thing we knew, we all stood, or lay as in my case, in an open snow blanketed field with perhaps 5000 dazed and confused Goblinesh. Shayline quickly healed my physical wounds bringing me back to consciousness. I fear my spiritual wounds my never heal.

When I woke, I found most of my elite force intact, though many worse for wear. As for my army, we had lost nearly 1/3 dead and at least that many walking wounded. After a brief conversation I learned some fascinating and troubling information.

The Chalice apparently could be used to create Vampires that are bound to their creators. Thralls. Ranger Silver promised to take the one she recovered to Kythros. Of the Blood Lord’s minions, The Wolf, Fiend and Butcher were dead. The Vampire Morden, The Baron of Farwatch and the Mechanist were still at large. And, of course, the Blood Lord himself had not yet been found.

However, his army was shattered, many of the corrupted Goblinesh had been returned to the Light and it appeared that the immediate threat was over.

Thaleon and Ranger Silver…or Branowen as she revealed had much to discuss. It appears that the Baron of Farwatch made a visit to Farwatch recently and that he MAY be Ranger Branowen’s former betrothed. Or he could be a Shade wearing the boy’s face. Either way, they departed together to deal with it.

Shayline, Murvoth and Sir Landen joined my and Alfred on our way back to the Eckhart keep. I need Shayline’s help to secure the “Butcher’s” blade. I also need her to repair any long term damage to my men should they require.

After saying my goodbyes and thanking my fellow Rangers, I turned north for the long trek home as it appeared that whatever portal we had stepped through had deposited 100 miles south of our previous point, somewhere in the Northern Hills foothills just west of Silverport.

Slowly, wearily, I turned my horse North and began the long, slow ride. It was not until the 15th of White River that I saw the crenelated keep of Eckhart.

Your most obedient servant,

A. Wolfhaven, Colonel

Regional Command at Echer’Naught, Olara

Associated Reports
The dawn is brightest after the darkest night.
Darkness Everywhere
The Blood Lord falls?
Darkness down South

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Campaign Report 33
Last Stand of Eckhart Keep

Mother,

What shall I say? What might I tell you that would help me convey what is in my heart?
We are alright.
I have no doubt that you have herd of our expedition to the Eckhart lands. Details have been scant, I can imagine. I am sure that many in Echer’naught are worried. They are right to be. If you are able, please go to them. Go to the people and tell them that their fathers, sons, brothers, and husbands are coming home. Or, those that are left will come home.
Mother, we lost so many.
Our cause was just. I believe that. We did or job. But many are gone. We know how that feels, you and I. You can help them.
We are still picking up the pieces here. I don’t need to tell you what it is like. You, no doubt, remember the War of Flame, and the aftermath. So I cannot say how much longer we will remain.
I wanted to write you, though, to recount what has happened here. I want to let you know, so that perhaps you will understand.
The man who killed Father is dead by my hand. My vow that I took so many years ago, as a child, is fufilled. Everything which has defined who I was for my adult life is now over. A weight has been lifted, it feels. But now I feel a new one in it’s place. I hope that through my actions, I might prevent another child from being forced to take that same vow.
But, in the end, I did not kill him out of revenge, or anger, or even to avenge Father. I killed him to protect those I love. To protect those who, yet, live. I know why Father sacrificed himself, now.
When I herd that Aradove had been killed, I was beside myself. I had lost all hope. I could not help her. Not her, nor Evoran, Eris, Ryldryrr, Alfred, or Colonel Wolfhaven. I thought us all finished. I would imagine that Father felt much the same. Hopeless.
But then, when their armies had surrounded the keep, and their victory was nigh, we saw her. The Butcher brought her out and tied her to a post. He was going to burn her alive… alive.
Aradove was alive. Mangled, and broken, but alive. Hope surged anew. I looked to Evoran, and he to me.
From below us, we herd a mighty shout. Grimbor was surging toward the gate, and none could stop him.
In my mind, I knew that the end would come soon. But I reasoned that it would be better for those that could bear arms to do so, and die on the field. At least they would not die trapped within their own walls. To that end, I had previously ordered the armory cleared, and all the weapons had been distributed. The stage was set for our final act. The Butcher had Trogledesh, Vampires, werewolves, legions of undead, Builder Gollums, and all the creatures of Darkness and Flame leveled against us. We had a few hundred worn and bloody men, Elves, Brinchee and Goblinesh. This was the time. The last ragged breath of resistance.
But in that, there was hope. For behind Aradove, stood The Butcher himself. I reasoned that if I could stop him, or at least slow him, my friends might make it back to the keep where they could last for perhaps one more day.
I turned and ordered the attack. I dropped my rope over the wall, then Evoran and I rappelled down.
Mother, at that moment, something happened to me. I felt the presence of Leandra as I have never felt in my life. As I dropped to the ground, I became wreathed in the aura of life, itself. I, for the first time, I could feel the struggle of life and death around me. I could sense the darkness and flame as they tore the souls from the bodies of my men. I felt the suffering of my friends. At that moment, Mother, I knew why I was born. I was given this power by Leandra, herself, to protect the lives of others. I am meant to try to guard the souls of the innocent, even if it means forfeiting my own life. This has humbled me greatly. From now, until my end, I will ever draw my blade and wield Leandra’s power as a Warrior Druid, to protect her children. In this I shall not fail.
All this, as we sought to pry apart the jaws of death, itself…
We came up just behind Grimbor and our men surged around us. Grimbor was trying to clear a path through the center of their line. He was making headway, so Evoran and I called upon our power to help him. But, then the pyre under Aradove was lit. I watched, screaming, as the flames danced to life roundabout her, and her fur began to smolder.
Tears welled, and I began to despair. We had to make it. I could see her face as the flames rose to consume her, and behind the pyre I saw him. The Butcher.
With a sudden push and some well timed explosions of energy, a small gap opened in their line. It was the only route, but it was closing quickly. The Trogledesh were cutting a swath through our thin line, and blasts of Arcfire leveled friend and foe alike. Grimbor made for the gap, and I took to his heels. Evoran held his ground. Our trip would have no return, and he was the last who could command what was left of our force.
With that Grimbor and I raced forward, through the carnage. It was a horrendous thing. On all sides, the bodies of friends and foe laid atop one another. The ground heaved with the concussion of Arcfire. Blood ran in rivulets under our feet as bodies were cut in half by scorcery and blades. The screams of the combatants mixed with the groans of the dying to create the cacophony of slaughter. Then I felt the heat of the inferno which was building around Longtail. I looked up to see her staring into the flames. Her joints had been wrenched apart and she was unable to even try to stomp at the flames. I felt anger, and fear rising in my gut. I swallowed them back. There was no room for those emotions. I fixed myself on the hope that I could buy Grimbore time he needed to get to her. Then, I saw him.
I broke through the gap, and before me stood The Butcher. He looked at me with a muted scowl. It was a stare that one might give an insect before they crushed it. That was his intention. Not only to cut me down, but to destroy me in full view of my friends and allies. He did not want victory over us. He wanted utter annihilation. With a wave of his sword, he cleared the field between us. Even his own troops stepped away, lest he cleave into them as well. For a moment I stared at him. I expected the anger, or fear, but I felt neither. It was right, no matter the outcome. I would succeed or fail, live or die, but I would fight for their lives, not my own. It was not, nor had it ever been about me, or my vengeance. I would fight for my friends, my loved ones, and for all those whose lives might depend on it. At that moment, I was at peace.
I took a step forward and simply said, “You killed my father.”
I looked up, into his face, and realized that he was no longer a man at all. He had been consumed by Flame. There was nothing that remained except for murderous rage. This realization made my vow against him seem hollow.
I expected him to lunge at me, but instead, he pointed his sword at my chest. As he did, a rush of energy slammed into my chest and drove me to one knee. I coughed and tried to catch my breath. I rose as he began to stalk forward. I had to give Grimbor time. I knew that Evoran was doing his best to hold, but it wouldn’t last much longer.
For his part, The Butcher was in no hurry. He would kill me, and then walk into the keep itself. He had time to kill.
This time, he swung his sword at me. It was a great, blackened, and razor honed instrument. It radiated a powerful heat and I could hear it cutting the air as it came down upon me. I swung to meet him, and our blades crashed together. I could see the energy emitting from them.
It was as if Life and Flame, themselves, were locked in combat and we, their mortal instruments.
I was driven back, and he was on me before I could regain my footing. I tried to intercept, but he was too fast. He swung again, and his blade cut through my armor. As my chain fell away from my chest, I became suddenly aware of everything around me. My senses focused. I could hear the battle, smell the sulphur, and in my peripheral vision, I could see Aradove on the pyre.
I knew why, in an instant. He had beaten me. I looked down, and his blade was sunk into me, just under my ribs. The pain had not come, yet the blood was already pooling on his sword. I was dying.
I looked up, and his expression was unchanged. I coughed and the blood splattered across his breast-plate. Then he began to lift me toward the sky. That’s when the pain came. I felt the tears, hot on my cheeks. My feet left the ground, and I dangled on the blade. He was going to show the world that he would not be beaten. He would take my life, and next he would take my friend’s. I knew that there was only one thing I could do.
I beseeched Leandra, herself, for strength, one last time. I dropped Colonel Wolfhaven’s dagger, and with trembling hand, grabbed the hilt of his sword. I could feel his blade leeching at my soul, and I knew that my time was short. I looked him in the face, and spoke weakly, saying
“You can’t have them.”
With that, I raised the sword of Ferradin Hawksclaw, and pointed it toward his throat. I aimed for the gap between his helmet and breastplate, and with my left hand, I pulled my body fully to the cross guard of his sword. I felt his blade exit my back, and I screamed. My blade found it’s mark, and I drove it through until it exited his neck. His eyes went wild with bewilderment, and my own vision dimmed. The noises and sights around me faded to black, as we slumped together, onto the snowy dirt.
I felt myself slip away, into the inky black. I closed my eyes. My heart was no longer beating. My breathing had ceased.
Suddenly, I opened my eyes. I was laying flat. When I looked I saw a canopy of towering trees.
I blinked to clear my vision. I wondered if it was all but a dream that I’d just waken from. But, then, I felt the burning in my chest. It was dull, but present. I could feel a void within myself. It was as if a piece of my very soul was gone. I knew that to be true. The Butcher had robbed me of it.
But, even with that, I was at peace.
I stood, and surprisingly, I felt little pain. I looked about me to see trees and plants of ancient and colossal size. A cool breeze blew across my face. I knew that I was in Leandra’s realm.
I was in the First Forest.
There was a path in front of me, and without knowing why, I knew that I should take it. It seemed that I walked for hours. But, then again, it seemed that I walked but for a short time.
It was then that I realized a great truth. Time has no meaning in the realm of life. Life is perpetual, and ever present. While a single entity may die, another life will take it’s place, and thus, is fragile yet everlasting.
I pondered this as I walked, and soon, I came upon a clearing. I herd a soft rustle, and looked to see Her. Leandra. She was grieving, I could tell. Tears streaked her face, and her expression was sadness. I went to her, as she rose. She looked down but I could feel power emanating from her. I wanted to speak, but I could not.
Without a sound she reached, placing one hand on my shoulder. With the other, she touched the wound that The Butcher’s sword had made. She looked up, and even in sadness, was beautiful. Leandra stood on her toes, and pressed her cheek to mine. She whispered in my ear,
“Not yet.”
She kissed my cheek, and then.
Pain.
I returned to semi-consciousness, and I knew that I was alive. I could feel the burn of the sword wound. Also present, was a deep sense of loss. I felt, and still feel a void within my own soul. I herd muted voices, but they seemed very distant. I strained to listen, and words began to form. I knew it to be Evoran. But there was another. It was Colonel Wolfhaven!
I commanded my body to move, but it would not. I tried to speak, but I could not. How I wanted to see and talk to the Colonel! To tell him what happened, and more importantly, to ask where Aradove was. Did she live? Did we succeed?
But, alas, I could not. I was trapped, nearly conscious, in my own body. For three days, this condition persisted. Each day, however, I became more and more aware. On the second day, I herd Longtail speak. I was happy, but I could do nothing.
I still could not hear Eris. I suppose it was due to my mind’s isolation. This pained me greatly. I knew that most of my friends were alright, but I wanted to hear her voice.
Then, on the third day, a miraculous thing happened. As usual, I tried to command my body to move. When I did, I was able to make my finger twitch. When I did, I began to fight. I tried to tear away the veil that separated my mind from my body. As I did, I herd Evoran shout. “He is awake! Hawksclaw is awake!” I herd Aradove near me, and I knew I was close.
Then, with a push, I opened my eyes.
What followed was a joyous time. I was able to embrace my friends. My family. I could feel Eris. The joy washed over me in waves. We were alive. Together.
When I was able to stand, I embraced Evoran. I grabbed his shoulders, and spoke as firmly as I could. “I am still in command here.”, I said.
He looked surprised.
“So, with that in mind, I hereby promote you to Ranger First Class. However, you will, act as brevet Ranger Sergeant, until I feel better.”, I finished.
He smiled, and I laughed. It hurt tremendously to laugh, but at the same time, felt glorious.
We sat together, and Evoran recounted the events which followed our “last stand”.
Suffice to say that Col. Wolfhaven was, as always, better than his word. He came for us.
The man has my unyielding affection, and I will be ever grateful to him. The Colonel is a force of the Ascended, and is a true patron of Light. He has, now taken a large army south. I pray for their safety and success.
Now, mother, I am sitting on a wheelbarrow, with Longtail. She is unable to move, due to her heavy bandaging. I shall find a stick, with which to prod her. Grimbor is close by grinning. Evoran is scowling, shouting orders, and searching for a clean set of robes. Ryldryrr is off somewhere with our remaining men. The Colonel is marching south to deliver righteous justice.
And myself… Well, I just finished a Goblinesh newspaper, drank a cup of ale, am enjoying the sunshine, and chatting with Eris. My pipe is broken, but it will still smoke. Father’s sword lays beside me.
This blade, retempered by Flame, will ever serve to remind me of who I now am. A warrior Druid, blessed by Leandra, sent to guard the lives and souls of all that I am able.
Meanwhile, in Eckheart, life is resuming. Life has triumphed.
For our part, we are, thank the Ascended, alright.

Your son,
Rah-Sahn

View
General Order, Echer'Naught
Brimstone Modifications

On behalf of the Rangers of Echer’Naught, per the formal request of Lord Colonel Alexander Wolfhaven, the following alterations and improvements will be implemented immediately in the defensive readiness of the city.

  • Corporal “Whit” Brimstone’s “modified aiming devices” will be standard issue for all trebuchets and catapults.
  • Windage flags will be standard issue on all siege engines and placed at regular intervals along the walls.
  • Range marking stones will be re-placed for the most accurate distances and readings.

In addition, every effort will be put forth to acquire Arcfire weapons capable of defense in the case of Builder siege engines.

View
Campaign Report 32
The Echer'Naught Accords

Colonel Wolfhaven, Alexander

Commander of the Legio Heroes

Regional Command at Echer’Naught, Olara

Third Day of White River, Year 3123 Under the Light

It is done. The Accords were successful and now both Stahlheim and Eon’Voltuh have signed the New Ranger Charter. Though, in truth, both have had long standing relationships with the Corps. The Royal Family of Eon’Voltuh has served with the Rangers from their founding, according to their own records.

I know I should feel elated, we have achieved something spectacular, a lasting peace, strengthened our borders and, I believe, adequately feted the heads of state of at least half a dozen nations. By any measure a resounding victory.

And yet, I can think of nothing but my men fighting and dying in the south. My heart is with them.

But, as to the Accords.

Sir Dane Landen arrived early, coming from Camp Wolfhaven. He, I tasked with patrolling the festival grounds north of town for any signs of Builder sabotage. Others trickled in over time.

Our first delegation to arrive was that from Stahlheim. They appeared a few weeks before the Accords. When news reached my office of their arrival, I rode to meet them on the Northern Barony road just outside the city walls with a full retinue of Hammerfall Riders.

At the head of the Stahlheim column was the King himself, Clan Chief Oracyon Fyrforg. With him was his grandson, Rorauk Fyrforg. Both dwarves carried themselves as doughty warriors, but with the regal bearing I have come to associate with those we carry the weight of state upon their broad shoulders.

I welcomed the King and his heir to our city and escorted them through a passageway of arched lances in the formal tradition of the Hammerfalls. As we approached the north gate, a horn sounded and, on cue, huge banners bearing the crest of Stahlheim were unfurled. Starting above the gate and rippling out from there, by the time the King ducked his head beneath the capstone, the entire north wall of Echer’Naught was emblazoned with the yellow and red of Stahlheim’s noble standard.

As we passed under and through, throngs of well-wishers lined the streets and showered the caravan with fresh blossoms even in the midst of winter. Soon, the horses hooves trod over a carpet of flowers to the roar of the crowd.

Regally we rode, turning left at Center Pointe and right up to the gates to High Towne where a full company of Royal Guards stood ready. As we passed through the smaller, narrower gate, we rode up the hill flanked on both sides by rows of horsemen, men-at-arms and crossbowmen in perfect ranks. Representatives from the Rangers, every noble house, the Hammerfall Riders and the Lord Mayor’s personal guard.

Within sight of the Lord Mayor’s Manse, we stopped and turned to the left before the gates of personal manor house of one of the Dwarven Clan Chiefs who enthusiastically offered his home up for this momentous event. Designers and merchants had been hired to study Stahlheim culture and standards to furnish the home in exacting detail. From the personal comments of the King and his grandson, Rorauk Fyrforg, the rulers were well pleased.

It took little time for Rorauk Fyrforg and his entourage to discover the Hammer and Anvil. With him came Murvoth, well known as a fierce warrior and stalwart companion.

After the Stahlheim delegation settled in, more dignitaries arrived. Shayline made an appearance, one of the few guests that received personal invitations. Ranger 1st Class Maggie Silver also arrived.

I admit, I was concerned about this particular meeting. Her invitation to the event was more of a pretext to cover her arrival. Based on intelligence reports gathered over the past few months, unconfirmed rumors indicated that Ranger Silver might have some connection to a figure known as the “Baron of Farwatch” who, in turn, appears to sit upon the new Blood Lord’s Council.

I turned over our intelligence reports to Ranger Silver and requested that she inform me if anything caught her attention.

So too, Ranger 1st Class Ash, with his loyal hound Bait, Corporal Withenbrow “Whit” Brimstone and Ranger Gratien Lucien Frédéric Lambert Bonné also arrived from Loreli. I was pleased to see my former comrades in arms and particularly interested in speaking with Whit. I had previously invited the renown siege engineer to review Echer’Naught defenses. I hoped that he would have an opportunity on this trip. We planned to meet on the wall that evening.

Gratien and I had struck up a previous correspondence in regards to Masterbreed horse, a personal interest, and once family business. I directed him to the Hammerfall’s camp as I had not the time for a more in depth discussion at the time. He did, however, leave me information about a man in Loreli who might arrange for me to purchase horses from the Desert Princes. This is something I very much wish to do.

After their arrival, another man entered, Frederick I believe. An Olaran scribe. He spoke briefly with Sergeant Major Magor Stormhammer and then departed for the Lord Mayor’s office as a scribe and chronicler.

Later that evening, I met Whit on the East wall overlooking the Dwarven Gate. At that time, I handed him a vellum sheet that had a charcoal drawing of a Siege Golem. The drawing had actually come into my possession from an operation somewhere in the north behind enemy lines. The details were classified even to me. Nevertheless, what I asked of Whit was to provide recommendations on strengthening and improving the cities defenses to counter a potential Builder attack. He readily agreed.

Some days later, word arrived that the second delegation been spotted closing on the city. Again, I rode out to meet the dignitaries with a unit of Hammerfall Riders. We met on the East road within sight of the city.

At the head of the column was the Queen herself, Her Majesty Silverclaw Panta and with her Brevet Captain Grande Prince Prince Macha Panta the 21st. I was thrilled to see my lieutenant again.

I greeted the Queen and welcomed her to my humble city. Again, as we approached, the standard for Eon’Voltuh was unfurled above the massive Dwarven Gate. By the time we reached the gate, the entire northern wall was covered in the white and black of Eon’Voltuh’s standard.

Again, the streets were thronged with crowds showering the procession with garlands and flowers. We rode in along the Greenway Road, turning left toward High Towne. And again, companies of Royal Guards flanked the streets in perfect formations. This time, we stopped on the right, at another house, just a few blocks up from my own.

As with the Stahlheim delegation, designers and merchants had been specifically tasked with furnishing the house in the tastes of Eon’Voltuh. I have assurances from members of the delegation, including Macha Panta that the work was well received by the Queen. When I Ieft them on the 33rd of Gray Winds, the Eon’Voltuh delegation appeared to be settling in rather well.

That evening, all of the delegations relaxed and enjoyed being celebrated as last minute preparations were being made.

The morning of the 1st of White River dawned crisp and bright. A thick blanket of snow covered the land in a downy blanket. I awoke before dawn and proceeded with a thousand minute details of the event to come. I also penned various letters to visiting knights, nobles and war leaders seeking an audience to discuss future campaigns.

At 8 AM, messengers were dispatched to all delegations alerting them of the Grand Convocation which would official begin the ceremony. By 10 AM final preparations were made and at Noon, everyone gathered at the Grande Hall in the Mayoral Manse for the opening ceremonies.

I stood with the Marshal of Ceremony and the Lord Mayor upon the raised stage at the head of the room as representatives from Olara, Galea, Landra’Feya, allied Wildland nations and Ranger officials along with hundreds of local lords, barons, knights, and warriors from across the Southern Kingdoms gathered on either side of the room created a red carpeted path that lead right up to the dias.

First the delegates of Stahlheim were called forth to great fanfare, King Fyrforg and his grandson paraded down the carpet and joined me on my right. And then, Eon’Voltuh was called with Queen Silverclaw Panta and her son striding regally down the carpet to join the Lord Mayor on the left.

The ceremony began with brief words of welcome from the Marshal of Ceremonies and then an introduction of the dignitaries. The list was rather long. Including:
On behalf of King Banrick XIV of Olara, Grand Chancellor His Excellency, Lord Helmut Van Bach (human male, age 72) will act as official envoy of the host nation
Representing her own Duchy (in which the city resides), the Duchess of Harken Lady Valenia Harken (human female, age unknown) will personally attend with her husband the Duke.
Representing the city of Echer’Naught, Lord Mayor Heinrich Von Haber (human male, age 42)
As Signatory for Stahlheim, Clan Chief Oracyon Fyrforg (dwarf male, age unknown)
As Signatory for Eon’Voltuh, Queen Silverclaw Panta (brinchie female, age unknown). Her son, Grande Prince Prince Macha Panta the 21st (brinchie male, age unknown) will act as her “Voice.”

In addition, though they declined to sign the Charter, the independant Kingdom of Jasara has sent an enjoy including:
Brandon Makeel – Human agent of councilman Georgio Brandus
Galdorn Darktunnel – Dwarf agent of councilman Bale Darktunnel.
Sergeant Major Balorin Randel – Veteran ranger and experienced Human Olaran Crossbowman for security.

In addition, Field Marshal Graf von Wrangel, Commander the Hammerfall Riders will also provide additional security and personal escorts for the dignitaries as they move through the lands of Echer’Naught.

After formal introduction, the ceremony broke for a few hours of meeting and greeting, a more informal setting. A buffet was set and all parties intermingled in a quite setting, music softly echoing through the hall.

In a first, Jok-tar Firebeard, a corespondent from the Goblin Gazzet from Sog, was given exclusive access to the assembled diplomats for candid interviews. By an large, the representatives were very indulgent.

During the party, Ranger Silver pulled me aside, quite troubled and asked to speak to me about the situation in the south. At the time, I felt the environment was too open to discuss such sensitive matters. We made a date to speak later that night.

I was also stopped by Frederick who had some questions about the Lord Mayor. Apparently he had detected some political tension around the Lord Mayor. I was politic, but I intimated that the Lord Mayor had allowed the nephew of the Duchess Harken herself to come to harm during a confrontation with the Flame Ranger. Since then his political aspirations had waned. We also agreed to speak later.

After the brief mingling, the room was once again called to order and gifts were presented to the delegations of Stahlheim and Eon’Voltuh. First, the Chief Caskmaster of the Hammer and Anvil stepped forward and presented five Tun Casks each containing 260 gallons per of Echer’Draught, Echer’Naughts finest dwarven ale. In total, that is 1300 gallons of ale per delegation. Second, the Master Breeder of the Echer’Naught Stock Yards stepped forward with a pair of horses, one mare and one stallion, both black coated Masterbreed Echer’Naught stock. Each delegation was granted two stallions and four mares to breed their own herds. Lastly, Tarok Kilnfire, Chief of the Kilnfire Clan stepped forward and presented each delegation with two tons of Kilnfire Brick. The brick produced by the Kilnfires is of the highest quality, though not as “hard” as stone, it is uniform in shape and size, and unique in that it can survive temperatures that would even crack “normal” stone. That, and unlike stone, it can be produced.

After these presentations were made, the gathering was broken up to allow the delegates to attend private and personal meetings.

I was required to remain at the party for many hours, and then attended intelligence briefings, drinking engagements and entertain personal guests and inquiries. I was not able to return home until just after dark and was met at the door by a very agitated Ranger Silver.

We met in the Library. What was discussed was of a personal nature, however, I can say that it has a direct bearing on the war to the south with the Blood Lord’s army. Ultimately, Ranger Silver agreed to join the force I have been quietly building to counter the threat in the south.

As I exited the room, Frederick joined me and we spoke further on the Lord Mayor. I was then able to further explain to him that in addition to the wounding of the Harken nephew, the Lord Mayor was also under suspicion of corruption. No evidence has been forthcoming, but many unexplained events have been occurring and all too many seem to be linked. I tasked him to continue to monitor the Lord Mayor for any indication of corroboration.

My night passed quickly, but without sleep. Eris Moonsilver just informed me that Lt. Hawksclaw’s assault had failed and with it any hope of a breakout. Worse, Hawksclaw, Longtial and even Rildrirr had fallen, though not dead. Worse, Lontail had made an attempt on the Butcher alone…and failed. So far as we know, she is dead.

How can I live with this burden?

I swore that I would send no one else I loved to their deaths, and here I have doomed what remains of my family.

At least there have been no recent attacks by the Shayakar. Presumably our plan was successful, though I am curious as to what really happened to Elyanna. So many questions, so few answers.

If Hawksclaw can but hold out for a few more days….

The morning of the White River 2nd was a bit warmer, with the sun shining brilliantly off the snow. This day was a day for recreation. Representatives of the delegations including Rorauk Fyrforg , Macha Panta, Ash, Murvoth Sir Landen and many others joined a boar hunting party. Whit remained to work on the defenses, Shayline also remained at the Chapel of Light to assist in healing.

I have heard that the Rangers from Loreli also have gone in and purchased a mare and stallion masterbreed Echer’Naught warhorse for their own stables. Should they have any questions, I hope they will come to me.

The day was unusually warm for winter. We tracked the beast, but it was Ash who found it. A massive boar with razer sharp tusks. It charged. The onslaught of arcfire crysalites, arrows, bolts was terrifying. And yet, the beast shrugged off the blows.

It was Rorauk Fyrforg who landed the killing blow, splitting the boars skull.

After the hunt, while the servants dressed the kill, we established a camp and celebrated our prowess. And while I ate fruits and cheeses, far to the south…

That night, I returned alone to prepare and plan. I had managed to secure promises from dozens of minor nobles and a few key diplomatic figures. Will it be enough, I do not know, but Sergeant Vasser is moving heaven and earth. Even the Lord Mayor has been indispensable. I feel that with his recent diplomatic issues, the Lord Mayor may be grasping for allies.

White River 3rd was cold but clear. It was the final day of celebration. In the morning, everyone migrated north of town to the tent village to attend the games. A huge arena has been erected and throngs of nobles and peasantry flocked to the stadium to witness the event.

Though there were many events and magnificent displays, three events in particular pitted heroes from the Stahlheim and Eon’Voltuh delegations together for contests of honor and glory.

The first was an archery demonstration of preeminent skill. This contest was one by Sir Dane Landen on behalf of Eon’Voltuh using an elvish Longbow. For his victory he was awarded a quiver of white silver tipped everwood arrows.

The second was a footrace. In this unusual contest, Ash’s familiar Bait, for Stahlheim, challenged the Queen Silverclaw, for Eon’Voltuh. Though the Queen one, I feel it was the hound who one the crowd’s heart. For her prowess, the Queen won a drought of Speed. Bait received a golden laurel that was placed around his neck like a collar. He wore it for the remainder of the day as a king would a crown.

The final contest was that of arms pitting Murvoth for Stahlheim against the Grande Prince Macha Panta for Eon’Voltuh. The prince bore his traditional weapons, Murvoth clad in pugilists gloves. The fight was fast and furious with both warriors trading savage blows. It was a close contest, but in the end Murvoth landed the final blow, felling the mighty Prince.

Priests, Druids and healers rushed to the Princes side to ensure he was uninjured in the the fight. In truth, he was but winded and quickly on his feet. The crowd roared to see such a find display and both champions stepped forward to receive their reward.

To Macha Panta a golden axe. To Murvoth a white silver shield emblazoned with the crest of Echer’Naught.

By mid afternoon, everyone returned to their houses or tents to warm themselves and prepare for the final event. Then, at an hour before sundown, all gathered one last time at the Grande Hall.

Again nobles and dignitaries filled the hall. I stood with the Lord Mayor as the Marshal of services addressed the crowd speaking of the momentous event to take place. Then the Lord Mayor spoke in welcome. As before, Stahlheim entered to great fanfare followed by Eon’Voltuh.

On the dais stood a table and upon that ancient wood the charter. First, stepped forward, all eyes upon me. With solemnity I signed and then handed the quill to King Fyrforg who followed in turn. I then passed the quill to Queen Silverclaw who signed.

Once all parties signatures were penned, the Lord Mayor took up a pitcher of ale and poured into the first cup of Peace.

The cups had been hand crafted from white silver imported from Stahlhiem with everwood stems from Jasara and pink pearls from Eon’Voltuh. Around the cup were the filigreed standards of Eon’Voltuh, Stahlheim, Echer’Naught and interspersed with the seal of the Rangers. They had been further enhanced with magic making them indestructible and rending any poison, mundane or magical, inert.

Lord Mayor Von Haber passed the first filled cup to me and then passed the empty goblets to the King and Queen respectively. I took my cup and poured ale into theirs in a symbol of brotherhood. And then, with the sun setting behind us filling the room with warm light, we drank together forever sealing the pact made that day.

Afterwards, the King’s Feast was held and the mighty boar, now roasted was brought forth. Its head, stuffed and mounted was presented to Rorauk Fyrforg. He raised it high to the great acclaim of all assembled.

And then we feasted.

But my mind was elsewhere.

Far to the south.

My task here is done. Details have been assigned and the safety of the delegations is in good hands. Engineers and craftsmen stand by to work with the representatives from both nations for the construction of their embassies.

All that will happen without me.

For tomorrow, I gather an army.

Soon, I will strike south and ride for Eckhart lands

If they can but hold just a little more…

Your most obedient servant,

A. Wolfhaven, Colonel

Regional Command at Echer’Naught, Olara

Associated Reports
Ranger 1st Class Maggie Silver
Ash
Murvoth

View
Campaign Report 31
Final Siege of the Southern Eckhart Barony

As a brief prologue to understand the events as recounted.

Allied forces:
380 Foot
170 Horse
700 Goblinesh
15 Church of Light

Gray Winds 27th-

Under complete siege, the Ranger commander Lt. Rah-Sahn Hawksclaw was forced to witness as hundreds of civilian captives of the Butcher’s army were slaughtered for fodder.

That evening, undead began assaulting the outer lines in never ending waves.

Gray Winds 30th-

As if in answer to prayer, a thick fog bank rolls through blanketing the land and providing a thick screen to cover an advance. Under the cloud cover, Lt. Hawksclaw takes about a 3rd of his forces and makes an aggressive strike against the enemy forces.

Thought the initial plan was to break through the enemy lines to attempt to roll up a portion of the enemies lines, the allied forced made no more than 500 yards from their own lines before becoming bogged down by overwhelming enemy forces.

At the peak moment, Nell, in the tower, cleared the skies allowing for the greatest possible advantage for the allied forces, but it was not to be.

Fighting throughout the 30th, Hawksclaw’s army showed incredible valor, but numbers and time simply took their toll. By late evening, the allied forces were slowly pushed by to their own lines only to break under constant onslaught at the final moments.

Lt. Hawksclaw himself was severely wounded helping the last of his forces over the berm.

At the same time, Sergeant Longtail engaged a creature within the tower we believe from reports to be a Spectral Lord. She managed to protect Nell during her ritual, but was felled by the creature. Only the timely intervention of an allied assassin saved her life.

In all, the allied force suffered 277 causalities in the days fighting, 113 of those dead.

Yet even as the commander was rushed to the healers, the enemy made a surprise counter attack pressing on all fronts. The fighting lasted till the early morning, but by then the town was in flames, the camp ruined and all allied forces fell back to the keep’s walls.

During the night, in the street to street brutality, the allied armies lost an additional 287 casualties, 257 of those deaths.

Gray Winds 31st-

Waking from her repose and seeing the devastation around her, Sergeant Longtail, with the aid of the assassin, made an attempt upon the life of the Butcher. She failed and was presumed dead.

That evening, the drums of war began and would not cease until many days later.

Gray Winds 33rd-

The Butcher released thousands of starving and naked civilians, families of those inside the walls. Unable to bear their horrible death by exposure, Lt. Hawksclaw orders them allowed inside. Fear abound that the refugees might be corrupted.

Within a few weeks, the new mouths consume what little reserves remained within the keep. The defenders ran out of food, clothing and medical supplies.

White River 11th-

With the setting sun, the Butcher’s men create a massive funeral pyre. Upon a single standing log, they lash the broken and bloody body of Sergeant Longtail, still alive, though in great agony.

The Butcher himself lights her pyre.

In a fit of rage, the recently recovered Grimbore, Mak Tokash of the allied Goblinesh kicks open the posturn gate and launches a suicidal attack to save the life of the Sergeant.

Without supplies and facing starvation or death, Lt. Hawksclaw orders a final charge against the enemy forces…

G. Olgor

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Slayer Report 6
A Deal with Darkness

For the eyes of Col. A. Wolfhaven
Report of Rngr. M.Von Dedrich
Colonel,
31st of White Stag
After questioning the lady, I have a few answers, but more uncertainties. Her brother, she believes, is trying to protect her. I can correlate this to my knowledge that Werewolves are, in fact, capable of some level of rational thought, even when turned. He was obviously doing what he thought was in the best interest of his sister.
She revealed, after some time, that her name is Elyanna, and that her family has lived in the Wildlands for centuries. I asked her family name, and she was hesitant, at first. Finally, she said that she was a descendant of the De’Lear family. She had said that her family estate was, actually south of Eckhart. Ironic… I said that the name sounded familiar. She added that her line of De’Lears were once a noble line, but their titles had been stripped many years ago.
Then we discussed the specifics relating to her capture, and how she had come to be in the Vampire Lord’s carriage. They had been attacked, at their estate, at night. She could not see clearly, as the assailants came on quickly, but she identified several different creatures of darkness. She was able to name off several types of the creatures, Troglanesh, and the like. I noticed that she seemed to have a working knowledge of the creatures of Darkness.
She said that her family had been put to the sword, and that she had believed her brother to be dead, as well. After the attack, she was captured, and loaded into the carriage. Her captors would not reveal their intended location, but only that “they were going to see the master.”
It was at this point that things began to come together in my head. I had my doubts but I played my hand anyway. “You are a Shayakar”, I said bluntly. She nodded and even gave a half smile. That confirmed, I proceeded with a fresh perspective.
She told me of how her family, vassals of the De’Lears, had remained in the Wildlands after the forces of Darkness had returned to Shaynor, centuries ago. Their refusal to leave their home had been the reason for their noble title stripped… interesting. As a side note, I believe that also means that her blood would be relatively unchanged for the past several hundred years. Just a thought.
She said that she would be hunted without mercy, and I believed her. We discussed the possibility of her going into hiding. A decision was made to make an attempt to extract her from the city using a ruse. We ended her “soft interrogation” in the pre-dawn hours.
32nd of White Stag
I spoke with Sgt. Maj. Stormhammer about procuring any necessary equipment to better affect an escape. He said that he could, and we left it at that. Other than resting, the day was uneventful. Alystar took to the city in search of her brother. His intention was to destroy him. I thought his plan a bit one dimensional, but that is how the man operates. No flare, no frills, and straight up the middle.
In the evening, I visited Madame Lillithian, and she expressed concern that more assassins were en-route to the city. I also spoke with her about the Hanzes. I told her that I did not believe that they presented any immediate threat, and that she was probably safer keeping them on her payroll. The thanked me, and I was on my way.
Late that night, the commotion started. I saw orbs of energy, and I knew it to be Alystar. He was chasing the Brother, and heading toward High Town. I ran to intercept, and a brief foot chase ensued. To make a long story short, I found him, alone. It did not go well.
When I awoke, I was bleeding profusely. I was, however, bandaged. I know not by whom. I can only assume it was her brother, as Alystar did not arrive until after I had arisen. This only served to confirm my inkling that the Werewolf’s only purpose was to protect his sister. I expressed this to Alystar, and he reluctantly acknowledged.
When we returned to the manor, I questioned Elyanna as to whether she thought it possible to communicate our intentions to him. She said that it was, and even though it went against my every instinct, I told her that I would accompany her. It was decided that we would “stroll” into the market in hopes of raising him. Alystar and a small team would shadow us in case of any trouble. She asked whether or not I trusted her. “I do”, I affirmed. What choice did I have?
1st of Grey Winds
We put our plan, such as it was, into action. We walked arm in arm down the thoroughfare, and went… shopping. I must admit, I was enjoying myself. Elyanna had just bought a scarf, when suddenly, I felt her tense. I looked left, and he was there, cowl drawn, and unmoving. Elyanna turned to face him. I heard them speaking. For most of the conversation he was staring at me, and I at him, and both resisting the urge to strike.
She finished speaking, and he nodded slowly. “Take care of her slayer”, He finally said. I nodded, took Elyanna by the arm and to maintain our appearance, we finished our “stroll”. Arriving back at the manor, we rested for the evening to come. That night we were to depart, and Alystar had chosen Erdemeas as our destination. Upon my insistence, we were to travel at night. It would be slower, but we would be able to rest easier during the day. Before we parted, she handed me a large coin. “Keep this. It will help keep you safe”, she said. I thanked her, and put it in my pocket. I should have looked more closely, but I was fatigued and needed sleep.
At dusk, we donned our robes, and mounted. Elyanna was wrapped so that her face was obscured, and she was wearing a plain dress. We traveled without being harassed for the entire night. During the entire trip, Elyanna had said not a word. I took it to mean that she was in a pensive or nervous mood. We camped that next day, and were off again at sunset.
We were within sight of the Elven Forrest when things started going badly. From behind us, we could sense the approach of several figures. We tried to spur forward, but the figures were on us. Werewolves. One alpha, and four common. They lurched forward and caught us immediately. The alpha went straight for Elyanna’s horse and brought it down, which sent her toppling to the ground. We drew our weapons, and I dispatched one of the lesser beasts from horseback. Alystar hacked at another, but the alpha was nearly on her. That was when Elyanna produced a sword…
The alpha, taken aback, ripped with its claws at her robe. She struggled away and as the robes pulled free, Alystar, myself, and even the beasts stopped dead in our tracks. Before us stood… Alfred. He smiled at the alpha and said, “What? Expecting someone else?”
The alpha, looking as confused as ourselves, began snarling and backing away. I watched them disappear into the darkness, and began to laugh. Athrait just shook his head. Alfred, panting, and smiling said “That went well!” I stared at him. “So where is she?” I asked. Alfred cocked his head “I don’t know, actually. Stormhammer just told me to go with you guys…” Again, I just laughed.
“Well, who wants to go to Erdemeas?” Athrait asked. We all shrugged and remounted.
6th of Grey Winds
We returned to Echer’naught. Now that she is secure, we may resume our business without distraction, or werewolves, for that matter. But, then again, (I cannot believe I am saying this.) what if we were to try to contact him? He has many reasons to want revenge on the Blood Lord… I think I will try to learn more about this coin.
Respectfully Submitted,
~M.Von Dedrich

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Slayer Report 5
Saved by Werewolves

For the eyes of
Col. A. Wolfhaven,

From, M. VonDedrich, on the evening of 31 White Stag.

Col.,
These are the events which have transpired, since after our arrival. I understand that your time is limited so I will try to be as concise as I am able.
On the 16th, I gave my armor to the Sgt. Major for repairs. Also, I had a spar with young Alfred. I mention this because the young man has skill. That, combined with his natural disdain for creatures of Darkness… I believe that he would make a formidable Slayer, given the proper training.
In any event, having secured the lady, we set on our tasks. Athrait headed to the Chapel of Light, and I began researching all things related to the crisis in the south. Alas, my skills are not of the “bookish” variety, and I do not believe that I have accomplished much.
On the 19th, I had dinner at the Wayfarer’s Rest, and headed towards The Red Lamp, to relax for the evening. Upon my arrival, I noted that the guards (the “Hanzes”) had a strange demeanor about them.
(I have confided this to you, and the madam. I shall consider the matter closed, until I am told otherwise.)
I spent the evening there, and returned early, with said report.
I was instructed to frequent “The Lamp”, and keep tabs on that situation. (Who would have thought that being a Ranger had this many fringe benefits?)
I visited that place between the 20th and the 26th, and noticed nothing that would raise an alarm.
Sometime around the 24th, we received a report from the Eckhart lands. This is discussed elsewhere, so I will not expand on it further. I will, however, say that I hope the expedition meets with success. If not, we may be fighting their corpses later.
On the 26th, I visited the Red Lamp, as had become my custom. I asked her about the aforementioned individuals. I was as frank as I could have been, and she assured me that she would take the matter under advisement. She is a shrewd businesswoman, but her candor leads me to think that she can be trusted within reason.
Nothing since has been worth noting, until tonight. I was, again, at “The Lamp”, and had only just arrived when I felt a pair of eyes at my back. Not wanting to cause a scene inside, I headed out, and towards the HQ.
I had gone nearly a block, when up ahead, there was a dark clad figure blocking the street. I recognized him as a possible assassin, and knew that there would be more nearby. I dropped my cloak, and my hand hovered at my blade. Just then, the individual looked past me, and hesitated. I looked back to see two of the “Hanzes” standing in the street behind me.
The assassin growled, and turned back toward the shadows. I looked toward the Hanzes, and gave them a nod of thanks. They returned it, and departed silently. This incident confirms, in my mind, both of my assertions.
Forgetting my cloak, I slipped into an alley, and managed to quietly make it back to the HQ. I knew the lady was in danger, so I rushed to her chamber. I threw the door open, and found her kneeling on the floor. In the corner, loomed a dark figure. I knew there would be more, but there was no time. I drew my blades, and stepped in. Sure enough, two more stepped from either side, and attacked. The fight began, and I knew immediately what they were. Shayakar.
We traded blows, but they were quickly overwhelming me. I herd the others coming, but soon it would be too late.
All of a sudden the window on the far side of the room shattered. I shielded my face from the glass, and looked to find a hulking, white Alpha Werewolf standing in the center of the fray. His fangs and claws shone in the moonlight, and I thought it was about to be over. But, as soon as he’d gained his bearings, he ripped one of the assassins nearly in half. I was surprised, but used the moment to strike at another.
At that time, the rest of you made it in. I called for to not strike the werewolf. I feared that doing so would cause it to turn on us. It dispatched another of the Shayakar, and the other fled in haste. I suppose, now, that the werewolf had no intention of killing us, as he too fled. I did notice that it looked, for a moment, at the lady.
If you will remember, you said “Someone tell me what is going on. Now.”, to which she replied, “He is my brother.”

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We will begin questioning her in just a moment. We need answers, and those right soon.
I will have those findings submitted as quickly as possible.

Respectfully submitted,
Rngr. Mugen VonDiedrich

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The Rising Darkness
Compiled reports and information

Comprehensive Summary Report of the emerging threat

The Rising Darkness

by Ranger Evoran Que’kasaars and Lieutenant Grizhnak Olgor

The first signs of associated Corruption reported to Echer’Naught occurred on the Eighteenth Day of Falling Ice, 3123 during the Shadowboar incident. Though the Rangers under the command of Col. Wolfhaven were successful in ending the threat, further incidents of corruption continued to occur in the lands south of Olara kept in check primarily through the efforts of the southernmost Eckhart Barony who began to fortify their lands against a southern invasion.

For the next five months, the world shaking Tempest ended the investigation into the encroaching Darkness. What we now suspect is that forces of Shaya’Nor used the cover of the storm to infiltrate agents into the southern kingdoms.

Then, at the close of summer as the nations recovered from the cost of the Storms, reports (1, 2) indicated taht Agents discovered an ancient sarcophagus being escorted by Shayakar agents. Our team recovered the sarcophagus, but this was but the first of many reports of Shayakar agents digging in the area of Olara and northern Wildlands.

Then, in Dancing Clouds 4th, Brother Athrate Alystar led a team into Northern Wildlands on the trail of disappearing Gathers. What they reported were agents of Shaya’Nor excavating an ancient temple that predated the fall of Vainar. Within the temple, Alystar reported an arcane and obscene ritual in which avatars for each of the ascended were ritually sacrificed to raise what appeared to be a Vampire Lord of impossible power.

At roughly the same time period as Alystar began to assemble his team, a slayer from Nazatir, Mugin Von Deidrich, arrived and encountered forces of Darkness far to the south. Copies of his journals (1, 2, & 3) have been included.

After joining the Rangers, Von Deidrich joined with Brother Alystar to continue the investigation into the connection between the Shaya’Nor agents, the rising Corruption and the disappearing Gathers. He returned to the Northern Wildlands and assembled a new team. Per their report, they tracked a group of Shaya’Nor agents who were using a strange black dust to corrupt Goblinesh into Trogladesh. From a recently fallen gather, the team continued to track the enemy agents to what appeared to be an ancient Builder site. On Dancing Clouds 27th, per their report, they encountered a Flame Warlord, rumored to be the “Butcher”, thought to be leading a band of Shayakar and Trogladesh who in turn captured a Builder mechanist, rumored to be the “Mad Bomber” of Echer’Naught.

Concurrently, Rangers of Illiana’s Point discovered the influence of Darkness in their own area. In the report, they recount that during a hunt to track down thieves they uncovered a lair of Necromancers. They managed to clean out the lair, but in the process discovered evidence of a dark and powerful Vampire of ancient lineage. Leaping through portals, they returned with the stolen property, but many questions.

Throughout the fall as the road project between Echer’Naught and Farwatch grew closer to completion, Trogladesh and Shaya’Nor agents increased their attacks seeing to sabotage and slow down the progress. Near Farwatch, the Shayakar used a ruse to convince the local security forces that the attacks were being committed by local Goblinesh to drive a wedge between the Gathers and the town. Col. Wolfhaven himself led the Farwatch Rangers in the strike to discover this information, per their report.

From the 5th of Raining Leaves until some time around the 10th, the Rangers of Greenvale, while scouting the area themselves ran afoul of corrupted creatures and werewolves, per reports (1, 2 & 3). Thought their connection to the larger plot has yet to be confirmed, it seems at least reasonable that the corruption might have spread farther south than previously theorized. This bodes ill for the Rangers as that would indicate a much larger area of saturation.

It was not until the 12th of Harvest Moons, late in the evening when Brother Alystar, Von Dietrich and the ogress Fekla arrived at the Echer’Naught temporary HQ that the true size and impact of the threat of Darkness was revealed to us. So focused had we, and other outposts, been on the Storm, the Builders and the Crimson Crusade that corruption was allowed to flourish. And while each outpost was aware of their own encounters, no large scale coordination had been conducted. It was not until this meeting, reported here, that Col. Wolfhaven began to understand the true gravity of the situation. After the meeting and Alystar’s departure, Col. Wolfhaven task Evoran and myself to pull together all available resources regarding the Rising Darkness in the norther Wildlands which prompted this missive and compiled reports. It is no understatement that, while not yet a global catastrophe, this danger threatens to consume the entire region.

As fall turned to Winter, the incidents of corruption seemed to increase. Agents in Sun’s Crossing while involved in operations within Landra’Feya uncovered the tomb of an ancient and powerful Wraith known now as the “Fiend”, reports included (1, 2 & 3). He has been linked to the Heraldry discovered by Rangers of Illiana’s Point and the Vampire Lord who managed to escape Athrate. Through great sacrifice the Fiend has been defeated, but his presence begs questions.

Also, in early White Stag Rangers of Farwatch discovered a small town north of Farwatch. Upon investigation they found more evidence of Necromancy and Zombies. Apparently, forces of Darkness had long since been in operation in the region. Though they again ended the threat, the true source of the corruption eludes us all.

As the Rangers of Farwatch battled the forces of Darkness in their area, Lt. Hawksclaw led an army south to support the Eckhart lands which we learned had been under aggressive attack from Trogladesh for some time.
Meanwhile, Col Wolfhaven joined with the Rangers of Farwatch to provide security for the final completion of the road project, report here. As expected, the gathering was attacked by Trogladesh, but this time they used an ancient Builder War Golem, no doubt supplied by the captured Builder. This is further evidence of the connection between what might otherwise be unrelated events.

Back at Echkart lands, after establishing a base of operations, Hawksclaw dispatched scouts, all of which were attacked by forces of Darkness. They did manage to discover an enemy camp. Taking with him a sizable force, Lt. Hawksclaw assaulted the camp but found himself in a trap devised by the “Butcher” now known to be leading the Trogladesh forces. By his report, Hawkclaw’s army escaped with heavy losses and began preparations to hold of the forces of Darkness at the Eckhart Barony.

While the Rangers of Echer’Naught battled for the lives, Athrate Alystar and Von Dietrich arrived suddenly with a mysterious women in their care. As reported, they too discovered an enemy encampment by way of being captured. They managed to escape and during their wandering back ran across a lone black carriage. Von Dietrich noted the crest upon the door to be one of an Ancient Vampire Lord from the Age of Darkness. However, no vampire was within, but the strange woman who herself purported to be a prisoner of the forces of Darkness. Her story and origins are, at the time of this report, unknown. How she ties into the overall plot remains a mystery, but clearly she is a key part.

More disturbing yet, my research indicates that during the Age of Darkness, a noble family of Farwatch, the Ermengilds, may have made a deal with their dark overlords. If this is true, which I believe it is, then a known member of what is called the Dark Court, the Baron of Farwatch, may in fact be a member of this line…perhaps one turned to Darkness? The Butcher we know, and the Fiend. What of the Wolf? I have read reports of the few survivors of attacks on human and elven settlements that a large White Werewolf leads many of the raids. Of the Vampire known as Morden, I can only surmise that he or she is connnected to the Blood Witch of Evershade Forest I have heard rumor of. Even within Echer’Naught we have found a floater called the Scarlet Dram which reeks of a yet unknown corruption. And the Mechancist could be the “Mad Bomber” or an equally vile Builder…

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In summation: I have few facts, but drawing corollary lines indicates that the scope and range of this corruption is farther and deeper that we could imagine. If correct, we are facing forces that walked these lands during the Age of Darkness. Perhaps there is a push to return to those dark days? Understanding that we cannot fight a war on two fronts, I feel that addressing this threat is of primary concern to all Rangers within the affected areas. I recommend this threat be elevated and all effort made to root out this corruption before it spreads beyond hope of redemption.

G. Olgor

Compiled Reporting on the Rising Darkness And Associated Events
(Falling Ice to Dark Moons, 3123)
By Ranger Evoran Que’kasaars & Lieutenant Grizhnak Olgor
For Official Records
Echer’Naught Regional Ranger Outpost
C.O. Col. Alexander Wolfhaven

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