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

Campaign Report 43

To: Regional Command
Attention: Lt. Hawksclaw
From: Ranger Headquarters of Echer’Naught

This report begins on the 5th of Red Wolf — The day in which we were summoned into Regional Command by Eris at behest of Lt. Hawksclaw (who was officially declared as of the 1st of Red Wolf, until further notice, acting Regional Commander to be made permanent if Col. Baron Wolfhave is unable to be recovered). The good Lieutenant seemed more stressed and pressed than I had ever seen him and it was with a grave tone we were introduced to our next adventure.

Reports had increased from the Wild Land region that bandits had been striking at villages and cities at random. One of the more common things were gathering hostages and offering ransoms to return them. That and simple plundering. With the Rangers stretched thin, it fell on our shoulders to endure the burden and handle the mess. Nothing we could not handle, obviously.

It was at this meeting that I met Master Trokash. He later revealed himself to be a “trader of goods and services of all varieties”. And very adept at it he is. Along with us we would have the Ogress Fekla, and Master Von Deidrich as well as Trokash. The severity of the issue demanded we depart that night. I admit that, with the stress that one could visibly see in the Lieutenant, I wanted to brighten his spirits and offer him a taste of the bitter thing called Hope. So, I made it a point to purchase a fine bottle of Elven Wine and personally deliver it. It’s for our celebration for when things finally settle down and we actually have time to enjoy ourselves. Not at Rangers, but as brothers. I hope that day comes sooner than later.

I will make note that Master Trokash, in our departure, transmogrified himself into a raven and took flight. The aura of his magic was more of an Amber color. I shall have to make it a point to pursue what, exactly, are the origins of his powers or, at the least, identify his particular form of magic.

On the 10th of Red Wolf we arrived in Kator. Master Trokash and I divided ourselves, I asking the common folk while he went with the more…unique persons (unique being the polite term). He was able to identify the region of the bandits with his searching in a more fined tune effort than I. He learned that they were to the southwest in the foothills.

We departed Kator and continued to make our way unfettered towards these foothills. Our travels were a bit slow so we were forced to make camp on the night of the 10th.

We woke on the 11th and Master Trokash took it upon himself to create breakfast. I say create because the concoction, though inventive, was, to say the least, exceptionally unappealing. Fekla seemed to enjoy it though. Which, in hindsight, should say a lot about the meal. Over breakfast (if you want to call it that) we devised a strategy to help get us close to the bandits.

Trokash was to masquerade as a Merchant (which, as it were, wasn’t really a lie) that was on the market to sell some very particular things to very particular people. I was his Quartermaster, Rildrirr his Captain of the Guard, Thorgram the Porter, and Samira and Rysak as guards. Von Deidrich, I think, was to be a guard as well though, to be honest, he seemed to more so loiter around. He has a knack for disappearing and re-appearing without warning. He reminds me of Longtail in that regard.

With the help of Trokash’s familiar and Sarin, we were able to locate a village as our next destination, though Sarin had to stay far from the people as his very presence seemed to cause them great discomfort. All in all we made excellent time and arrived in the town by Noon.

It was at this time that Trokash revealed his gift of the tongue and his cleverness. The man not only got a lead, but had us openly spend coin in excess to bait the bandits. It seemed he suspected they were either watching or had someone in the village who would tip them off.

We set off for our recommended destination and, as night came, we set up a camp and continued to play the part of the wealthy merchant caravan. We even set up a bonfire. Still, despite the obvious “Here we are, come rob us” sign, the night went without complaint.

On the 12th of Red Wolf, Thorgram took stock of the wagon to verify the supplies and, at the end of it all, asked me to follow behind him. I am exceptionally glad I did for I found a note neatly tucked under one of the boxes that was written in a sloppy hand. “We see you” was all it said. Master Trokash, as it were, was delighted but had us press on.

We found a small hamlet at this point and “set up shop” as it were. The village was very sketchy, so much so that at night the barred their doors, but it seemed Trokash was able to generate a profit with these people. Be it in trade or in sells directly.

On the 13th we depart from this Hamlet, Trokash having once again assisted in finding the right information to lead us where we need to go. I can see now why he was brought in for this mission. On this morning, however, another note was found saying “Rangers go home”. It seems we had been had as during the night they managed to go through our belongings and discovered our identities.

Not discouraged, Trokash pressed us on to the Bandit Camp. Here, with the use of a unique brand, he was able to get an audience with the bandit leader. I know not what was discussed but he got us exceptionally close. Then we sprung the trap.

The battle was over as quickly as it began, with the enemy having only a single survivor who was left go to warn the other bandits about the abilities of our unit, let alone other rangers. He seemed legitimately terrified and was given a message that the surrounding area belonged to Red Store.

A few things of note occurred on this attack to the bandits One, Samira’s bow flew true and strong, felling a mage from a long distance. Secondly, in a miracle that is unto itself, Fekla found something using her eyes. It was a small lockbox that, clearly, had to have been taken from some other raid of sorts.

When we opened it a terrible wave of absolute, unbridled rage swept over me and began to eat at my mind to consume and motivate me. To help conbat the sensation used a powerful burst of magic. This box, it seemed, contained a drug called Fire Storm which is apparently a concoction that will generate blind madness. With the bandits in the south thoroughly subdued, and a message to the lone survivor to deliver his other compatriots done, we began to leave.

Our return was on the 22nd of Red Wolf where we had the day to unpack our things and settle in and on the 23rd of Red Wolf that we learned that an increasing number of Fire Storm addicts had been rampaging in the South and West. It was becoming a regional issue quickly.

I think I have an idea of what might be next on our to do list….

With Regards,

Corporal Evoran Que’kasaars
Stewart of Echer’Naught

Campaign Report 42
Misplacing the Colonel

It is the 7th of the Planting Moons and we are preparing for our assault. Our enemy has us beat in terms of technology while we clearly outnumber them. Unfortunately their technology can slay dozens within seconds. The situation, at best, is grim. Still, we have no choice — we must stop the tempest portal.

The plan is simple: Assault with three waves.

Wave one will be lead by Thorgram has been given command of the first wave. Rysak Ironblood will charge with him and Samira will command the archers for support. They are to crash against the enemy forces and then retreat tactfully away. While they strike, Longtail and her unit will infiltrate the back of the base and try and wreck a little chaos inside before they too will retreat.

Wave two will consist of Sarin and myself. We are to lead the second assault with 20% less of those than who retreated. We are to continue to cause damage and keep the enemy focused in our direction. After we crash we too are to withdraw.

Wave three will be lead by Lt. Hawksclaw himself and, like the first two waves, will crash and then withdraw.

This is to keep focus off of Colonel Wolfhaven who plans to sneak into the base and, somehow, collapse the portal. Most of us do not like this as it likely will trap the Colonel in the Tempest realm or kill him. Neither are acceptable. But, unfortunately, we do not have a say in the matter and we have our orders.

Samira had taken a forward position with the archers and, because of this, noticed the enemy was coming to greet us. She quickly summoned for Lt. Hawksclaw and we rallied and prepared for what was surely an impossible battle. What we saw on the scene only confirmed our fears.

The enemy had filed out into three units, each with about forty men bedecked in full legion armor. Likewise each unit had two storm mages as support. With such precision they lined up, struck up a shield wall, and began a slow, impending march towards our location. The unison in which they moved had to have taken years to perfect and my keen eyes noticed not a flaw in it. They moved and worked as one. We were not as precise but we were determined and steadfast in our resolve.

And thus it began. The first wave charged ahead while the archers let their arrows fly true. Unfortunately the torrents of wind swept aside the arrows (likely from the Storm Mages) and tumbled needlessly to the ground without any use. The enemy retaliated by unleashing a rain of Archfire back towards the ranged unit. The ground troops ran hard and struck fast — only to bounce off of that impenetrable shield wall. They redoubled their efforts to break the line but were met with heavy amounts of Archfire cannons. The slaughter had begun… but still they retreated as they were told.

I left Sarin to lead as I needed to focus all my efforts into the charge. I reached deep into the fonts of magical essence that flows my veins and channeled it forth. I managed to break the enemy line and we wedged right through them and halted their advance. Unfortunately they responded aptly and surrounded us. We were now in a fight for our lives.

At this time Lt. Hawksclaw joined the fray and brought down our third wave. This, combined with me once again tapping into what was left of my magical resources permitted us to fall back in a tactful and smart manner.

As wave 3 retreated we caught glimpse of a cyclone forming: the worst possible thing for the enemy to obtain as this summoned lighting creatures from the Tempest plane as well as other abominations we were certainly not equipped to handle. Then, without warning, a large flash o white light smashed into the fort and the cyclone that was forming begins to retract. I can only assume, based on my past experiences, that this was Wolfhaven himself though I have no proof of the matter.

As the white light began to dissipate we began to see a shimmering wave rushing towards us. Things caught in its wake began to disappear. We road hard to escape it and it almost extended beyond the city (where the forces had retired to). Had we waited any longer there would not have been any haven for us… I dread to think what would have happened to us otherwise. It nearly claimed Hawksclaw. Half of his horse was snatched away in a blaring flash and he was thrown forth, barely able to escape.

I turned back towards the enemies fort, reaching out with my magical sense to try and find Wolfhaven, hoping that he had somehow beaten the odds. I gained the knowledge that the Tempest did not have him but, unfortunately, another realm did.

On the 8th of The Planting Moons we found that the townsfolk had returned and weather conditions had returned to normal. I went out with a scouting party to find evidence of the battle but nothing remained. Samira, whose keen eyes see all it seems, was the one who found it — the half torn cloak that belonged to Colonel Wolfhaven. It smelled of sulfer… which lead to only one possible conclusion: He had been pulled into one of the lower planes. Which one, however, we could not tell.

The immediate plan was to find a way to return him to us as quickly as possible. There was not telling who or what had gotten hold of him. The only thing is we would have to find and work with a summoner who specialized in Darkness and Flame — The very thing I had joined the Rangers to destroy. I was certainly not keen on the idea and I do not think I could have worked with them. Still, what choice did we have? How could we just let him remain in whatever horrible realm as the mercy to those diabolical forces? We set off for Echer’Naught….

We arrived on the 14th of The Planting Moons. A plan had been settled on: Perhaps Eris could contact Colonel Wolfhaven and we might find what realm he was in and thus, with the right preparation, we could bring him back.

On the 15th of Planing Moons Hawksclaw was given official capacity work operate the Regional Command Post in a temporary fashion until further notice.

I made it a point to take Samira, during our first free moments, to the Autumn Spring. I figured the poor girl could use a chance to indulge in a more civilized surrounding. It was here that I found Lt. Celebor. My impression of him…well I will keep to myself. I trust him, and he has earn his rank certainly. Beyond that I know nothing off him well enough to form a precise opinion on him.

I informed him that the Colonel had been…misplaced as it were and was residing, temporarily, in another realm of unknown location. He made a few comments before it dawned on him Lt. Hawksclaw was in charge. With a laugh he excused himself. I can only suspect he went and harassed Hawksclaw a little.

On the 16th of The Planting Moons I received a message to attend a gathering at the church on the 13th hour. This, it seems, was to be our first step in locating Wolfhaven. I, along with Sarin and Hawksclaw, attended. We were instructed to come up with a precise question. The question was " What is the name of the realm in which Colonel Baron Alexander Wolfhaven is currently located in"

I do not think we could have been more precise. And perhaps our precision had something to do with our answer (I do not speculate beyond that as these are forces I do not fully understand). Still, we got our answer. Colonel Wolfhaven was in Narkin Dar. And he is not alone.

For those of you who do not know, Narkin Dar is, essentially, adjacent to Hell itself. You could say it is like the Ante-Chamber to Hell. And it is here that we had misplaced Colonel Wolfhaven.

This place is speculated to be the possible birthplace of the Brinchie and it is wherre Chil-der are (think of them, simply, as demons to keep this simple). It is also known as The Hard Lands. Reports indicate people have gone their and returned. So that is, of course, a positive sign.

On the 17th of The Planting Moons Hawksclaw goes to ask Eris if she will do the Planar Contact. I had no doubt in my mind that she would do so for she, like the rest of us, want Wolfhaven back safe and sound. I was not keen on the idea of Hawksclaw being so close to Eris when she went through this process as I did not know what ill effects my become her and would prefer her not to get distracted should things go south with him. Her gift is being a Mentalist. Hawksclaw, though mighty, does not carry the mental fortitude as Eris. Eris believed she could do the task and was glad to do so. However she required time and it would not be until the 33rd of Planting Moons that she could do it.

Over the next few days we began to operate as smoothly as we could with the sudden shift in leadership. Longtail, who so nonchalantly revealed to me, is pregnant and due any day now, was in direct command of our outpost while Lt. Hawksclaw began to fill his regional duties. At one point a meeting was called to discuss training over the summer and what we would focus on. Then, without warning, Hawksclaw and Longtail put us through a test. We were to go up to the second floor and back down through the servants passages. I do not know what occurred during this test as it seems my mind does not desire to remember those ten minutes or so. I plan to make it a personal point to try and find those memories tucked deep within my mind… I do not like missing aspects of my life. It perturbs me.

On the 32nd of Planting Moons I received a personal message from one of my nameless benefactors. He was deciding to call in his favor. It was simple enough — cut through some red tape and allow an Ambassador from the elven lands to enter Echer’Naught unscathed and without disturbance. I was not keen on the idea as it did not give me further details than that, but I had given my word and was honor bound to complete it. It was to occur on the 33rd in the evening so as to be discreet.

I informed Hawksclaw of my personal errand and, with a flustered look upon his visage, he passed me a sack of coins and said go and purchase Longtail something nice. She was in the process of delivery. I found a rather exquisite short sword that might do her well and dropped it off, neatly wrapped, as a gift from the Rangers.

On the night of the 33rd of Planting Moons I went to the elven gate as asked and waited. Sure enough a carriage came towards the doors, pulled by a series of White Elven Horses. Gorgeous creatures whose poise and grace were unparalleled. The mounts the humans use are barbaric, though I must admit exceptional in their task. Though, despite my admiration of them, they will never be Elven Mares. To further indicate this was my mark was the Ironwood Carriage that was so heavily warded with magic that I need not even put forth an effort to sense it. It took only a few moments to get them inside and, like that, my debt was paid.

I made it a point to return to Hawksclaw in Wolfhaven Manor while the 13th hour approached. We were told to only think of Wolfhaven’s name as Eris performed her task (we did not want to distract her). Then, as the hour struck we felt the pressure in our heads. This time, though, it was unpleasant and discomforting.

I do not know what Lt. Hawksclaw saw but, by the expression on his worn features, I could tell it was certainly unpleasant. He told us only one thing. “Prepare. Something bad is on the way…”

I learned the next day that Longtail had had 2 boys and a single girl.

The 1st of Red Wolf was stifling hot and the town seemed as if on mute — that someone had taken it’s voice away. While I appreciated the quiet so that I could focus, it began to get a tad unnerving. As I worked I began to notice the daylight slipping away at an uncharacteristically early hour so I slipped outside to see if the weather had suddenly changed and I was greeted with an omen that chills me too the core.

The sun dimmed and vanished. Then a comet just as bright as the sun, streaked across the sky. Just as it vanished the sun returned and bestowed upon us its life once more…

Had I allowed something terrible into the city? Was it all a ploy? The hand writing and the filigree all fit an elven missive, but have I been tricked? I will need to talk to Streetrunner (since Longtail is out of commission for now) and see if he might be able to unearth anything about who I allowed into the city. Divines save my soul if I single-handedly allowed some terrible evil into our city…

Corporal Evoran Que’Kassars
Stewart of Echer’Naught

Campaign Report 41
Tempest Legionnaires

Colonel Baron Wolfhaven, Alexander
Commander of the Legio Heroes

Seventh Day of Planting Moons, Year 3124 Under the Light

It has been said that upon the eve of battle, one lives a lifetime and generally his own. Having stood upon the precipice of war so often before I have come to see the wisdom in the adage. My thoughts turn to my life and especially the events of the past few years.

I would never have considered in a thousand lifetimes that just two shorts years after my exile from home and heritage my title and lands would be restored, that I would command a Region for the Ranger Corps…or that I would found a women who both excites and vexes in equal measure.

It has been a good life…even if it soon may end.

This is no moribund defeatism, but a realistic assessment of our situation. Even should I manage to close the portal, there is every possibility that I will ultimately perish in the event or, perhaps worse, be carried away to whatever foreign realms these men, if they could be called so, call home.

What I find most curious is not that I have what one might consider regret about tonight’s action, but for what I feel that regret.

My life, I have no concern for its loss, something that I could not have said but a few months ago. At any point in my life, I would gladly have died for my country and cause, I am Olaran. And yet, I never understood how heavily the loss of my land and title had weighed upon my soul. I truly never had a fear of death, but I feared to die before restoring honor to my family, even if that goal seemed unreachable.

Until now.

With my house restored I know that I may die with the knowledge that I did not fail my father’s house.
Yet, I have no heir, so should I die, my house will continue with Alfred, Aradove and Rah’Sahn, but the blood of my veins will end with me.

And that is my only regret. It is hard to face them, even now.

I know they will have harsh words for me. It is their right. They are my vassals and my family. I owe them the honor of hearing those words even if I cannot allow them to sway me.

I do not want to die. I want to live. I want to have a son of my own one day. I want to teach Aradove’s children to ride horses. I want to stand with Rah’Sahn on the day he weds. I want to find the courage to tell Elyanna how I feel.

However, I will not allow any more of my men die for my hubris. I should have known having seen these villains before. Perhaps I was flush with our recent victories or perhaps I am fatigued from days in the saddle. Whatever the truth, our failure to ambush the Tempest Legionnaires is solely with me and it is upon my shoulders to atone.

From what has been reported, Lt. Hawksclaw departed in the morning on the 26th of Golden Eagle and made their way south and east. The closer they rode to the Howling River the greater the storms became. Soon enough they understood that our worst fears had been realized, the Tempest has returned.

On the 33rd of Golden Eagle under a storm thrashed sky, Hawksclaw’s scouting party came up on a village under siege. From a ridgeline a distance away they spied lighting striking the town in intervals too regular to be natural.

Under my orders, the Lt dismounted and moved forward in skirmish formation to scout the town. They met no resistance as they approached, but found no living thing moving outside or within the outskirts of the town. Penetrating further, following Evoran’s keen senses, they were led to the center of the vill which was, at that moment, overrun by strange warriors in heavy, arcfire armor. In their midst stood a standard bearer holding aloft a sigil of a lightning bolt on a midnight field, a Tempest mage robed in voluminous indigo robes and the commander of the unit clad in the finest Arcfire tech.

Hawksclaw wisely chose to avoid confrontation even as the Tempest Legionnaires rounded up innocents to be hauled off as slaves. In retrospect, I should have taken his cue, but my animosity toward the Tempest clouded my judgement.

My men helplessly watched as the Legionnaires marched away with their prisoners. After they were gone, the Rangers scouted the town and found the dead in many houses and in many streets. It would seem the raiders killed all who they could not capture. They did discover, on the advice of Thorgram that someone, likely children, had fled into the fields but they had not time to make a more thorough search.

With the rains growing worse, my Rangers were forced to abandon the search so as to not lose the Legion’s tracks. Following the invaders, they travelled further east in worsening conditions until they found the enemy base.

In a valley clearly marked by our maps was a hill that did not exist. Atop the hill stood an ancient weathered fort which appeared to have been constructed overnight. Worse, it seemed that the strange reality warping effect I observed during the war with the Tempest was emanating from this fort, or a portal within and was altering the very fabric of our world.

That night, the 33rd, Evoran marked the point at which the change from our world to theirs became notable. And then my Rangers camped that evening. In the morning, when they arose, they discovered to their great sorrow that the warping effect was expanding.

I was on patrol in the Elven woods of Landra’Feya with a fist of my Wolfhaven Free Company. We were sweeping the forests in search of the Deniers of Death. Though we found none, we did round up a good number of common criminals who we turned over to local Elven authorities. That night, Eris Moonsilver informed me that Hawksclaw had uncovered a Tempest base on our side of the veil.

Immediately, I ended my own mission, turning over all our prisoners and ordering my men to make a forced ride to Hawkslcaw immediately.

It is little known but a trained rider can cover up to 100 miles per day, assuming remounts and good roads. We covered slightly better.

Before we departed, I ordered Eris Moonsilver to contact Sergeant Minor Longtail and order her to raise a company and march to Hawksclaw’s position. She quickly mobilized the Echer’Naught militia under my authority and marshalled all available Rangers and Wolfhaven Free Company.

She departed Echer’Naught about the same I had turned in that direction with:

500 Echer’Naught Militia
50 Rangers
40 Wolfhaven Riders

When added to Hawkslcaw’s seven Rangers and my 40 Wolfhaven Free Company brought our forces to just around 600. Under normal circumstances 600 Rangers would be more than enough to deal with most any problem. However, we would soon learn this would not be the case.

On the 3rd of Planting Moons, as her column marched to support Hawksclaw, Longtail encounted unexpected allies. Eris Moonsilver had contacted the Shaman of the Stone Tower Gather and informed them of our situation. In response, the Mak Tokash himself, Grimbore, set out immediately with his personal Guard of seven behemoth ogres and managed to catch up with Longtail’s forces.

At mid-day on the following day, the 4th of Planting Moons, my column intersected that of Longtail’s and I officially assumed command. I could definitely see her relief. Odd to have such an excellent commander hate command so, or perhaps that is what makes her so good?

On the 5th of Planting Moons, together my riders, Longtail’s unit and Grimbore’s group met Lt. Hawksclaw at mid-day outside of the village he first discovered which had been quickly converted into his HQ. Our forces was spotted first by the keen eye of Samira Ravenwood. We met on the road as our army filed by in the miserable rain. I ordered Longtail to establish our camps while Hawksclaw and I returned to the HQ to strategize.

Eventually our command staff trickled in. What little they could tell me was that the Tempest forces had established their base of operations in a hill fort which sat at the epicenter of the “distortion.” They were raiding nearby villages for slaves or sacrifices, which we knew not. Hawksclaw estimated somewhere between 60-80 enemy combatants within the fort and posited that there must be a portal within. Given his limited contact with the enemy I was impressed by his intelligence report.

I concluded that we could not act without further intelligence and so I planned to send in a scouting party to recon the fort from the inside. Longtail volunteered to lead the scouting party. I was not surprised, though I loathe to send her into danger given her condition. Nevertheless, she and her husband Streetrunner resolved to make the attempt.

I ordered Hawksclaw to support her with a relief scouting party in case she might need someone to cover her retreat. Meanwhile I gathered the rest of our forces with Evoran’s able assistance, minus a small holding force, and began the long, slow, wet march east.

Longtail and Streetrunner arrived at the enemy fort during the 13th hour of Planting Moons 5th while Hawksclaw established a skirmish line, hopefully, out of sight of the fort’s defenders.

Under the cover of night, Longtail used her inestimable skills of stealth to quietly slip into the fort and relay information via Moonsiver back to Hawksclaw. Then as quietly as she arrived, Longtail slipped away never seen nor suspected by our enemies.

That was the single most successful portion of our mission.

We arrived in the wee hours of the morn, meeting Hawksclaw within a short distance, but out of sight of the enemy fort and made quick camp. Hawksclaw’s force was waiting. Without rest, we immediately convened a meeting of the commanders while our men settled in and cooked food.

Lontail reported that our estimation of number was, in fact, correct. The base held approximately 80 heavily armed Tempest Legionnaires. Worse, all four corners were protected by arcfire enhanced ballistae and within the center of the fort was a portal maintained by four storm mages. The lighting strikes we had been observing struck this portal increasing its power.

With this new intelligence, I resolved to attack the fort at the earliest opportunity using a decisive strike to break through their defenses in order to strike at the heart of the fort. Maybe we could end their arcane ritual.
As we spoke, a scout rode into camp with a report that a unit of 20 legionnaires had just exited the fort heading south. This was a golden opportunity to weaken our enemy and gain potential vital information. I ordered Hawksclaw to take 20 Wolfhaven riders, 10 Rangers and 10 of his command unit and intercept to destroy the Tempest raiding column.

It was, as we discovered a mistake.

At a few hours past dawn on the 6th of Planting Moons, Hawksclaw departed to intercept the slow moving infantry. Our Rangers easily overtook the Tempest column and set up the perfect crescent ambush where the road dropped between two wooded ridges. Hawksclaw’s plan was perfect.

In unison, the archers opened fire under Ranger Ravenwood’s command raining death upon the legion. Six fell under the first barrage alone. Then, before they could recover, the Wolfhaven Riders and the foot Rangers charged into their rear, slamming the door shut. It was perfect…

…and had not appreciable affect.

Without any hesitation, the enemy commander shouted a word and the legionnaires formed immediately into a defensive ring of shields and swords around their commander, standard and mage. Then, in prefect unison, they locked shield and stabbed. Rangers died.

Another volley of arrows. A few dead tempest, but their shield wall was now nearly impervious. Our riders bogged down, slogging to a stop as the tempest were able to thrust upwards at the exposed bellies of their mounts.

Another volley, another furious exchange of blows and more Rangers fell. The tide of battle changed.
Volley. Clash of arms and now the Rangers were on the defensive but holding on.

And then, Lt. Hawksclaw fell under the swords of the tempest. And our lines wavered.

From high on the ridge, Sergeant Minor, remaining aloof from battle watched as her forces began to falter. Experienced told her that staying any longer would be disastrous. With a heavy heart, she sounded the retreat and ordered the archers to cover the withdrawal.

As her Rangers pulled out, Longtail watched the Tempest forces completely ignore the retreating Rangers, collect the gear from their fallen and calmly turn their column back to their fort. If they were concerned about the presence of the Rangers, they showed no sign.

I was in my command tent sketching out a plan of attack to use our ogres to disabled on corner ballistae and then breach the walls of the fort. When the cry went up that our forces were returning I rode out to meet them. Just one look dashed any hope I might have.

Even with 600, we could never hope to defeat the Tempest while inside their fortress. At least, not with a direct assault. Longtail approached, her face a mask as she reported the loss and recounted the events that I have recorded here. I cannot know if her rage was at her inability to fight in her condition, or over the loss of so many good men, or if she had lost faith in my ability to command. I suppose it really doesn’t matter.

I nodded, and sent them to the camp to rest, heal and grieve. I wanted to say I was sorry, to apologize for failing my command. But, there are rules of being a commander and there are times when a brave face is worth a thousand swords.

As my men rested, ate and met with the healers, I stood on the ride atop my mount, Alfred just out of earshot refusing to leave my side. How long I stood, I cannot say by the time Hawksclaw roused me from my reverie the sky had grown warm with morning light.

While lost in my thoughts my mind wandered, thinking of my life and the many joys. My new found family, my command, my honor and lands. And, my Elyanna.

I knew what must be done, but I also knew that my commanders would not accept my decision without a fight. Hawksclaw would initiate my attack as planned, but his assault would be a ruse. With each successive wave he would bleed off 20% of his forces out of sight of the enemy. Those men would immediately withdraw making haste for the village.

When his assault reached its apex, Longtail would lead a raid over the walls to the rear of the fort. She would feint a surprise attack to hint at our attempted subterfuge. This too would be a ruse. The true dagger thrust would fall to me.

Using my, still unexplained, ability to teleport, I would port into their base and destroy the mages or any arcfire devices holding open the portal. My battle would give Longtail, Hawksclaw and the other time to clear the area of the fort. When the portal collapses I fully expect for much of this landscape to be whisked away with it.
It is morning on the 7th of Planting Moons.

Tonight, we attack. Tonight, I throw myself upon the alter of war. Tonight, no more Rangers will die if my life can be exchanged for theirs.

My those I love forgive me for what I do.

Your most obedient servant,
A. Wolfhaven, Colonel

Slayer Report 9
Ambush on the Road

Col. Baron, A. Wolfhaven

RFC. M. VonDiedrich

Golden Eagle, 22nd.

I wanted to address this to you, personally. Here is my report of our return, and my thoughts on the matter. I will be as brief as I am able.
Athrait, our party, and I left the ruined citadel nearly a week and a half ago. The first leg of the journey was quiet. We traveled by day, and set up a fortified camp each night. Having lost the two paladins, we pulled double guard duty. The whole trip, that red dwarf just sneered.

We were a day south of Harken when we were attacked. The night started quietly. I, and a Ranger Trainee took over the watch. I took a place at the rear of our wagon.
It was nearly two in the morning, and one of the Longarms saw a figure in the darkness. Luckily, this gave us a moment to prepare.
I told the other Trainee to fetch Athrait… He made it ten feet, before I herd his death gurgle, from the dark.

I strained to see into the night, as my anger swelled. From before me, a specter took shape, arms silently outstretched. I felt it coil, and try to wrest what was left of my soul from me. It drained my strength, but I was able to slash it, thus destroying it.
Each man was in a similar predicament. But, unlike me, their weapons were not Whitesilver. They had no defense. I hissed at another that was coming for me, but chose to aid one of the Longarms.
I dispatched the third, a moment later, and went around the wagon. As I did I herd the death whisper of a Shayakar.

I rounded the wagon, and found a desperate scene. Another Longarm was locked in a fourth specter’s grip, and the last Trainee was stabbing under the wagon. I freed the Longarm, and saw that the Trainee was fighting a troglodyte. He was bleeding, but still fighting. I stuck the diminutive thing, and it squealed it’s last.

That’s when I saw it.
From behind, a wraith, mounted on it’s skeletal steed, rode into the firelight. “Oh no…” I said.

It charged us and I braced in front of the others. It cleaved through my guard and into my chest. I thought the wound was mortal. It was not, fortunately, but my Nightshade was ripped from top to bottom. I fell to my knees.
From the darkness, Athrait slid next to me and covered us with his shield. His timing was impeccable, because the wraith charged again. Athrait began to pray, and I felt the healing that he invoked. Then the thing broke our small line again, cutting Athrait savagely.

I told the others to get under the wagon, because their weapons would not hurt the wraith. Athrait, managed to cut into it, and it growled in pain. Then he prayed and an angel blazed from the sky.
It looked upon the wraith with disdain.
“Finally, some relief”, I thought. But no. The ghastly rider sneered, and put it’s sword through the angel, shattering it like crystal. I herd Athrait gasp, and those under the wagon cry out. “No!” I screamed.
I looked to Athrait as it charged again, and said, “it’s been a pleasure.” I grabbed my sword in both hands, and at the last moment, lept toward the thing. For my effort, I cleaved into it, and it screeched before dying.
I landed in a bloody heap, and Athrait rushed over.

I looked to see the Longarms kneeling over the last Trainee. He was dead. Killed by the troglodyte’s poisoned knife. I slammed my fists into the dirt in rage.
Then I herd the dwarf snicker his disdain. My vision blurred with anger. I stood, and stalked toward him. I intended to carve that smile, permanently, into his face. Athrait grabbed me. “No! He is not worth it!”, he barked.
“And this is! All of them!”, I screamed!
He looked over the bodies strewn on the ground.
“Let’s kill the bastard. End it now!”, I said, trembling with anger.
For the first time, I saw Alystar look with empathy at me. “We have a job to do VonDiedrich. They’ve done theirs.”
“Fine” I said, through gritted teeth. I walked over to the Trainee’s body, and stared at the dwarf. I raised my sword and took the Trainee’s head.

From then, until dawn, we burned those poor boys bodies.
I wore their ashes and the stench like a mask of death. We all did. I have never grieved, but on that night, I did. Thankfully, that grief has been replaced with anger. Anger, I can deal with.

You know the rest of the story. We arrived, and reported to Sgt. Maj. Stormhammer.

I admit, I did have a difficult time bearing the loss of those boys. I understand that you know more about these things than I. However, I was trained to fight alone, so adjusting has been… difficult.
But, Colonel, I’ve taken the last two or three days to really sit, buckle down, and think.
I had a good talk with Miss Moonsilver, which gave me great insight into the troubles of others, including herself. She is a very dutiful woman, and I appreciated her time.
Then, yesterday, I spoke at length with the Sgt. Major. He was very candid, and helped me to find a direction for my anger. He is a good man, I think. I suppose you could say that he has helped me to regain my focus. I am appreciative for his time, and insight.

I now understand that we all have a job to do, a purpose to fill, and a calling to follow. I can accept the fates of others, and I will choose to accept mine. I do not expect to live for too long. But, with the time that I do have, I will serve.

Respectfully submitted,
RFC. M. VonD.

Campaign Report 40
Baron Alexander Wolfhaven

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

Twenty Sixth Day of Golden Eagle, Year 3124 Under the Light

I awoke well before dawn on the 21st of Golden Eagle, my first day of resumed command of the Regional Headquarters at Echer’Naught. Lieutenant Rah-Sahn Hawksclaw has command admirably in my absence. Should it be his desire, I will support his continued progress through the ranks. He would make a superlative Captain, though, I wonder if he might not prefer to remain at his current rank.

At any rate, I rose and had a quiet meal in my own kitchen. I was surprised by Lady Elyanna who it seems rises earlier that I. She prepared a wonderful bowl of corn meal, a curious dish but one I might grow to enjoy.
Within the hour servants, staff and hirelings began to arrive to continue preparations for the night’s banquets. Ranger Ranger Sarah had the detail well in hand, per usual. And, Olgor was ably handling the administrative details which left me with little to do. I find idleness does not agree with me.

Half an hour before the appointed time, I gathered Alfred and we rode down to the Ranger outpost in town. By the time we arrived, those Rangers not currently on duty had assembled. I could hear them stirring within. Alfred preceded me and announced my arrival.

When I entered, my Rangers stood at attention and for a moment, I was again back in the War with the grim faced Hammerfalls… I wonder if I am growing melancholy.

Taking my place at the head of the room nearest the large front door, I addressed my Rangers. The brief was straightforward. I began with promotions.

First, I promoted Ranger Thorgram Ramshorn to full Ranger status.

Second, I promoted Alfred Ranger to Ranger 1st class. In addition, I have adopted Alfred into my bloodline with full hereditary titles. He is now, and forever, Alfred Wolfhaven. It has been years since I was able to surprise the boy.

Third, I promoted Evoran Que’kasaars to Corporal and appointed him Steward of the Echer’Naught HQ.
Lastly, I promoted Sergeant Longtail to Sergeant Minor, much to her displeasure. I also appointed her to the position of Quartermaster for the Echer’Naught HQ.

It seems odd now, but we have all come so far…

After a few words of, what I hope was inspiration, I went over new protocols of military bearing, dress and discipline. All of which is covered in my addendum to Lt. Hawksclaw’s General Order 3.

With business concluded, I dismissed myself and allowed my Rangers their breakfast. I left as I entered, my Rangers at perfect military attention. Yes I know that the Ranger Corps behave more like Celebor most times, but someone must hold to a higher standard. That chance starts here. With us.

After departing I too went in search of a bit to eat. I find I am more than partial to Schenkle bread and treated Alfred Wolfhaven to a bite. He has barely spoken a word since his promotion. He walks as if in a dream.

Breakfast concluded, I sent Ranger 1st Class Wolfhaven to attend to his duties while I made an inspection of the men in the field. I first joined Rangers Ramshorn and Trainee Ironblood in the Low Town District. They were on foot patrol and I observed them passing, frustration plain on Ironblood’s features.

We spoke, briefly as we walked and I explained more of the operation of the city. I know that my education was learned in the field and in hindsight some forewarning would have been a boon. We walked together only a short while before I made my leave.

After this, I patrolled all four gates and spoke with the Rangers stationed there. Each Ranger performed well. I am pleased.

Leaving the surface streets, I took to the wall and came upon newly minted Ranger Ravenwood standing watch over the North Gate. We spoke briefly about home and family. I mentioned that she might want to consider visiting the Sacred Grove should she feel homesick. I also pointed her to the Autumn Spring which seems to be a gathering place for Elvenkind in Echer’Naught.

That done, I made the long, arduous trek to the top of the Beacon Tower and looked out over the city and the lands about her. Every field, every garden, every vine burst with riotous color and natural splendor.
Echer’Naught is truly a magnificent city.

At midafternoon I retired to my own house to ensure final preparations for the evening’s banquet were moving apace. I had little to fear for Ranger Sarah had all well in hand. Voices and laughter rang down the halls as servants, groomsmen, bottlers and hired staff swarmed like ants.

I…I confess, my thoughts were drawn to the past, but this time not to the war…but to the days in my father’s hall. I recall as a boy I would run through the halls, getting into everything and trying to steal sweets from the kitchen. My mother loved formal events nearly as badly as father hated them.
The light, the music, the dancing…

They were happier times. Or perhaps not? As I sat watching the bustle, Sarah’s beaming face, Alfred working with the staff, Gendarre and his men trying to goose servant girls who giggled back…

It was almost…


But that is the past.

By evening all was in preparation and I retired to dress. Sarah is truly a wizard with needle and thread. My new dress inform fit like a glove and, despite my reservations, looked rather dashing. Dawning my sash, sword belt and gloves I made my way downstairs were my uncomfortable Ranger staff were gathering in the fore hall. Hawksclaw and Evoran seemed the only two at ease. Of course Lady Moonsilver stood beside her dashing officer like diaphanous moonlight, pale and lovely.

Evoran looked the peacock, but not a stitch out of place. He has come far from the pompous Sorcerer who arrived in a dark hour. I have grown to greatly respect the Eldakar and see a bright future for him in the Rangers.

Upon arrival, I made an immediate check of all preparations. This dinner must go without complication or much face would be lost. So focused was I on the final details that I completely missed the arrival of my houseguest, Lady Elyanna.

I was the only one.

All eyes turned toward the balcony as she glided down the stairs. Raven haired, eyes sparking like emeralds in a dress of green gossamer and silk. For a moment, all lights, even those in the heavens dimmed as she floated to the landing.

In battle I have never faltered, against demons, horrors of the night and all manner of fiends from beyond the veil. I am undaunted. But when her coy smiled touched her rosy lips I fear all thought and awareness abandoned me. I was lost, adrift on a sea with only her star to guide me.

I was…enchanted.

How long I stood like some lovestruck schoolboy, I cannot say, but Hawksclaw’s gentle cough roused me from my stupor. I am not so much a fool to know that I had been ambushed and for a heartbeat, I had thoughts to be cross with my erstwhile friends. Until of course, Elyanna slipped her arm in mine and all such notions faded like morning dew in the face of the sunlight of her smile…

We received no fewer than fifty guest, among them the Lord Mayor, the Royal Sheriff, Lord RabenClau and even the High Druidess Treesinger herself.

I remember none of it. I am told that we were a most gracious couple, Elyanna and I. Perhaps that is true. Who can say.

All I remember his her gentle laugh, the warmth of her hand in mine and a scent of flowers hanging about her like the mists at the end of the world, obscuring everything but her countenance…

Eventually, I was rescued from my plight by the most innocuous of allies. Dinner.

We all gathered at my table in the Grand Hall and I was given the honor of welcoming my guests and introducing the assembled dignitaries. Then, food was brought and the feast was had. I heard few, if any, complaints.

After dinner, in the glow of the fire and our own full bellies, I rose again to make presentations. Again I greeted my guests and spoke of my admiration for the deeds of all those assembled. I spoke of my fondness for the city and her people and most importantly my Rangers.

With that, I unveiled my newest consideration, Battle Ribbons to be awarded to the men and women who risk so much that we may live in safety.

First, the Tempest Ribbon. It is a Lightning bolt in a Triangle representing the Storm and from it, an indigo ribbon.

This I awarded to all who fought the tempest including, Hawksclaw, Wolfhaven, Longtail, and Rildrirr.
Second, I introduced the Legios Heroes which I began during the Tempest crisis and officially inducted Longtail for she stepped beyond the veil to fight our enemies.

Third, I introduced the Rising Darkness. This is a Skull embossed Cup with a black ribbon. This was awarded to all the Rangers assembled who fought to defend the Eckhart Keep.

I also inducted Alfred into the Legios Heroes for his actions that day.

Lastly, the Crimson Crusade which featured a Broken Downward sword with red ribbon. This was awarded to Hawksclaw, Rildrirr and Wolfhaven.

And with that, I was to conclude when Hawksclaw arose to speak with a look which truly worried me. I could sense that he was up to some plan, but I could not guess as to what.

I was soon to discover.

With the help of Evoran, who stood with a scroll of documents, my Rangers proceeded to hand me the bill of sale, the deed and the original Charter for my home…the Wolfhaven lands…

Never in my life has anyone cared so much…given so much as these Rangers. When I turned my horse south so many years ago I knew, I KNEW, that I had failed my family and lost lands which had been entrusted to our line for 1374 years.

And now, with trembling hands, I held that land again…

My honor has been restored…

But my brothers were not yet done. Hawksclaw had one more surprise and I could see that even the others were not expecting this…

By order of Lady Harken herself, despite my status as a Ranger, my title of Baron with all right and privileges was restored.

And in that single moment, I was made whole.

Tears stung my eyes as I hugged them tightly. Words failed. How could I speak? How could I explain that they had returned to me something so precious that even my own life paled in comparison? How could I explain that they had returned honor to my family…to the Rangers…to us all.

I was…overwhelmed.

I admit that I was forced to retire for some time simply to grasp the enormity of it all. To even believe it to be real.

But it was. I am now Baron Alexander Wolfhaven.

And I am going home.

If the earlier portion of the evening went in a blur, after that I remember less. We managed to conclude the evening, though I had dozens of requests from nobles, merchants and commanders to speak the following day. I assented to them all and managed to finally extricate myself from the throng.

Later, in the Gardens of the manor, I sat along reading and re-reading the scrolls by moonlight. It seemed a dream. I was startled by a presence and looked up to see Elyanna standing beside the cupola. I invited her to sit and we sat there, just talking until nearly dawn…

She is a remarkable woman.

On the 22nd of Golden Eagle I spent the entire day going from meeting to meeting. Everyone wished to speak with me, some to negotiate alliances, some for favors, some merely to ingratiate themselves with me. It was rather tedious, but I suppose I must expect this from now on?

We left early on the 23rd and made our way north to the Wolfhaven lands. With me came Hawksclaw, Rildrirr, Evoran, Samiar, Thorgram, Rysak, and Sarah and actually Streetrunner, Longtail’s husband. It would appear that Rildrirr had something he wished to do.

We arrived at the end of my lands (I can almost not believe saying it) in the wee hours on the 24th of Golden Eagle. There, we found a camp and druids waiting. Apparently, Rildrirr had been busy setting up a special ceremony.

In the center of a large circle was a wooden pole carved with faces and animals. He called it a Totem. He asked us all to sit and then he stood and in his brief, straightforward manner explained that in his people, this ceremony would adopt us into his tribe, make us…honor brothers.

Then, he named us each and presented a personal Totem.

I was named Silver Fang and was given a large Dire-wolf tooth on a leather thong.
Longtail was called Swift Foot and Streetrunner received her totem.
Hawksclaw was named Soaring Eagle.
Evoran was named Owl’s Eyes
There was an Orc from the Stone Tower Gather who accepted a totem for Grimbore. He was named Standing Mountain.
Alfred became Young Pup.
Sarah became Sweet Doe. Fitting.
Stormhammer was named Hearthfire.
Olgor became Aged Oak.
And Rildrirr called himself Raging Bear.

Finally, Raging Bear presented me with an ornate knife from the leg bone of a Dire Wolf and called me his Brother.

I am well and truly honored. It is not easily to win the loyalty of a Northman, but once earned, I know that you have a friend for life.

After the Ceremony as we all sat around the fire, I felt urged to tell them of my family, and the story of how we came to become the Wolfhaven. Perhaps it was Rildrirr’s words, just being on my lands again, or perhaps I felt I owed them for coming together to return my home. I know how much it cost.

I told them the story of the she-wolf who gained the respect of the greatest hunter in my family’s history. How after generations of hunting and being hunted by the wolves, we learned to live in harmony with the land. I revealed that the Wolf on our crest is that She-wolf and that her courage, her wisdom lives on in all who bear the Wolfhaven bloodline.

That night I slept in the grass of my homeland, under the stars I had as a boy. As the sun rose that morning, the 24th of Golden Eagle, I rose as well, a new man. We reached the ruins of my home that mid-day and I discovered repairs already under way. Rildrirr explained that he and Hawksclaw had been recruiting wounded veterans from the wars and given them new purpose here as farmers and laborers.

I rode with my Rangers across the lawns and stables of my childhood. I stepped through the door of my father’s house, my house for the second time since giving it up. I knelt before my father’s chair and wept tears of joy.

Then, for the very first time, I sat in my father’s chair of stone…and looked down at the faces of my Rangers, my friends and my family.

The Wolfhaven’s have returned to their lands.

We could not stay, despite my desire and made a hard ride back, not stopping until afternoon on the 25th.
Reports from the south had been coming in of Bandits and rogue armies. I ordered Hawksclaw to prep his men and prepare to leave on the following morning of the 26th of Golden Eagle. After which, I returned home to find Elyanna waiting for me. We dined that evening, just the two of us.

I stood above the Southern Gate at dawn and watched as Lt. Hawksclaw led his troupe south. He was joined by Evoran, Sarin, Thorgram, Samira and Ryask. Longtail is now officially on light duty due to her medical condition.
Alfred and I are heading west into Landra’Feya. I hope that we might provide some assistance to the elves there. We will be leading the Wolfhaven Free Company. We depart tomorrow morning.

I have dispatched Sir Lugard with a group of Rangers to investigate another report of Bandits to the south and west in the direction of Greenvale. They will leave later today.

By the 30th I will be in the Elven lands and will continue operations there until I am satisfied that these Deniers of Death are eliminated.

Your most obedient servant,

Baron A. Wolfhaven, Colonel
Regional Command at Echer’Naught, Olara

Slayer Report 8
Mad Bomber

Report of Rngr. M. VonDiedrich

Undisclosed location in the
Southeastern Windlands

Date, undisclosed

To, whoever is in charge in Echer’naught, I am writing to provide important updates on our current mission. I suspect that it shall take us a week to return, after this message is received. If we are gone beyond that, we are probably dead. Or we are simply taking longer than expected. Either way, we ran into trouble.
I digress.

We departed Echer’naught, upon instruction from the good Corporal Alystar, and proceeded south. The past month had been very quiet. The good Colonel is away, as is that Hawksclaw fellow.
We only had a few errant zombies, ghouls, etc. etc., to keep us occupied. I assumed this was much the same. It was not. Cpl. Alystar seemed anxious to move, so we left that very next day.

I rounded up a Ranger, and two trainees. Alystar brought two Church of Light Knights, or whatever they were, and we were off. Along with us was a wagon, driven and guarded by a few Longhauls.
We traveled south, then east, and south, and east again. Then we went southeast. Eventually we left the roads altogether. I wondered wether or not this was a wild pheasant chase. Alystar had a map of sorts, and when we were well away from civilization, he called a meeting.

Unfolding the map, he laid it out on a ground cloth. He explained that The Rangers had received reports of strange happenings nearby. Apparently there was a derelict fortress, being occupied by an unknown group. That was not unusual. What was unusual, was that individuals had reported strange, dark apparitions in the woods nearby. Our job was to find the place, and ascertain the nature of the encampment.
We made camp, and began to scout the aria. It did not take long to find the place, as we had ridden to within nearly one half mile of it.

Sure enough, Alystar’s map was dead on, and we planned a reconnaissance. At nearly midnight, I took the Rangers and scouted about the place. It was an old outpost, which consisted of a stone wall, and ruined keep. The wall was in poor shape, but had been repaired with a wooden palisade. From within, we saw the light of a fire, and a single guard sat atop the wall. We crawled back and reported our findings.
Alystar ordered an immediate infiltration. I thought it odd that we would go so soon. I realized later why he was so eager.

We approached again. Our plan was for the Rangers and I to scale the wall, and open the gate so that Athrait and his knights could enter more easily.
Per our usual, it did not go well.

The Rangers covered me, and I scrambled up the rope. They managed to shoot two men who accosted me, but when I reached the top, there were two more waiting. I barreled past them and dove off of the wall. Of course, one managed to cut me, causing me to fall more than jump. And of course, I landed on my bum leg. I herd it crack, and fire ran up my side.
I limped unceremoniously to the gate, and an arrow thwacked next to my head. I knew that if I died, Alystar would never let me live it down, so I pushed up on the beam which barred the gate. Unfortunately, my rebroken leg would not allow me any upward force, and the bar did not budge. Then, more pain, followed by blackness.

I do not know how long I swam in the ethereal blackness, but it was almost comforting. My conscious mind tried to hold on, but the darkness was so inviting. Then, I herd a voice calling out.
It was so clear, that I knew it to be more than a dream. “VonDiedrich. Rise. Rise up”, it said. I tried to resist opening my eyes.
“Stay here”, I told myself. I knew that if I did rise, I might confront the Dark One, himself. But, the calling was too strong. My eyes flew open, and I stared into the face of something even worse…

Athrait was kneeling over me slapping me on the face. The others stood in a circle looking down.
“Damn”, I said. “Did we win?”
He stood and dusted himself off. “Yes. We won….”, he said shaking his head. “Now if you’re done laying around, would you mind checking out that tower?”
I grumbled and rose. It is sometimes nice having a surly companion.
He had healed my wounds, for the most part, so I felt some better. I went inside the ruins, and we began to search.

At first glance, there was nothing. We resorted to crawling through the old stones, and eventually found a strange square in the dirt. I pulled the dirt away, but the image of a square remained. Athrait called a paladin, or knight, or whatever he was over. He stomped the spot and it rang hollow.
He, then, hefted an axe and struck the square, dead center. It shattered and fell into an abysmal staircase. Apparently it was hidden by some kind of illusory magic. We lit torches, and with the knights in the lead, went forward.

We reached the bottom, and it opened into a darkened passageway. We followed it a short distance, when from ahead, we herd a distinct clacking. “Skeletons…”, I trailed.
No sooner had I spoke, they emerged from the darkness and into the torchlight. Their jawbones were set in an eternal grin, under hollow eyes. The two Ranger Trainees gasped.

Immediately, the knights set upon them. I drew my staff, and told the Rangers to aim for their heads. The fight, itself, was actually enjoyable. I am far more adept at fighting the bones of men, I suppose.
We dispatched them easily enough, and continued onward. The tunnel was a dead end. We searched, and found a stone which was out of place.
Using our hands and improvised tools, we managed to raise the thing. We threw a torch in, scrambled under, and found another stone hallway. At the end, we found another stone. Again, we pried it up, and crawled under.
Inside was a large, darkened chamber. We stood and formed a square.

We had gone halfway through, when we herd the grinding of stone. “Oh good”, I muttered. This was followed by the rattle of armor, and we tightened our formation.
From in front came five skeletons, each clad in ancient rusting armor. “Even better… Greater skeletons”, I said.
They wielded old style swords, and raised them in unison. Then they coughed a dusty battle cry (I still can not fathom how they do that, exactly.) and charged.

That fight was rougher. Laying about our group, the greater skeletons were taking a toll. We lost one of the Church’s warriors, and nearly lost a Ranger. But eventually, with Athrait’s spiritual assistance, we triumphed. The fallen knight’s head was taken, and we caught our breath. Directly, we found a heavy wooden door. Athrait was prepared to hack it down, but I offered to try and pick the lock.

I knelt and produced my rusty old lockpick. After a moment of fumbling, the ancient lockset yielded. I nodded, and Athrait stepped to the front. He pulled the latch, and the door grated loudly on it’s hinges. From within, light filtered into the ever widening crack.
We entered into the chamber slowly, and were amazed at what we saw. There were tables and benches set about the room. On each, was all manner of machinations, and trappings of automata. Some machines whirred, and clicked. Some glowed, and cracked with energy. Strewn about were wires, tools, and tiny flecks of what I assumed was cryserium.
Athrait said, “this is it. Use caution.”

We were about to search the room, when we caught glimpse of a dark shadow. Suddenly, an arrow sizzled form a dim corner. I snapped my head toward it’s origin, and saw the first of four assassins. “Shayakar!” I warned.
Athrait and his companion charged, and I kept my Ranger companions together.
Shayakar are lethal in single combat, so we swept left together. I knew that to defeat one, one must ruthlessly pursue them so that they cannot dance about. Their deftness is impressive, but does them no good when you trap them. So we rushed, one at the time.
For our trouble, we killed the four of them, but lost two of our own.

One of the young trainees, and the last knight lay dying. The trainee, a mere boy, could but sob, whilst the knight seemed at peace. It was a sore sight, I must say, as the trainee had been laid pretty well open.
I stood ready to take the boy’s head as soon as he stopped thrashing. As I prepared to deliver the merciful cut, Athrait stepped over, and away from the knight. He looked back, and the man nodded his final approval. Athrait laid hands on the boy and administered his Devine healing, while the other man died.
I am not generally impressed by death. It, in and of itself, is common enough. But, the way that the man faced it was nearly inspiring. Were there more men like that in the world, I might be out of a job. Let’s hope that does not happen.

So, once we’d cut off his head, we had a look about. On one wall, there were two cell doors. I looked inside the first and found nothing. In the second, however, there was a lone prisoner. A dwarf, of the red-skinned variety. He looked at me and sighed. Athrait exclaimed, “it’s him!”
I was confused until I began to fit the pieces, and reports together. “The Bomber” I said.

So, after that (and to make a long story short.), we set about gathering up anything that we could carry. One of the Rangers was dispatched to fetch the wagon.
We were quick, as we knew that others would be along soon. I communicated with the Dwarf through grunt and gesture, and he was actually quite helpful. He deactivated a teleportation device, blew up the stones blocking the hallway, and helped safely remove several Arcfire devices. Also, I was famished, so I sat and ate a hasty dinner with him.
But, I digress.

Outside, the wagon had arrived, and we loaded up. “The Mad Bomber” is in our custody, for now. The agents of Darkness want him, though. We are proceeding with all haste, but travel with the wagon is slow. I will report in as soon as I am able. Also, It would be wise to keep an eye to the southeast. There is still Darkness here.

Rngr. M. VonD.

PS: Cpl. Alystar sends his compliments… for what that’s worth.

General Order 3, Echer'Naught (Addendum)

Colonel Wolfhaven, Alexander

Commander of the Legio Heroes

Regional Command at Echer’Naught, Olara

Twentieth Day of Golden Eagle, Year 3124 Under the Light

Attention Rangers:

As you are all aware now, new structural and procedural guidelines are being implemented for our Regional Command Rangers. I direct your attention, once again, to Lt. Hawksclaw’s General Order 3, and I wish to re-iterate my comments concerning new Ranger protocols.

I will explain here in further detail.

As previously mentioned, we are instituting mandatory training for all Rangers assigned to the Regional Command at Echer’Naught. The purpose of this training is to ensure the highest proficiency among our troops and to exceed the ideals of the Ranger Corps. As such, each Ranger will be required to enroll in the necessary training courses until minimum qualifications are met.
Training courses will be held seasonally beginning on the first day of each season and continuing instruction until the last weeks at which time competency examinations will be administered. Rangers who qualify in a given course of instruction may then move on to the next subject until all minimum qualifications are met.

The subject of each qualification is based upon the most critical skills necessary for Ranger activities.

The minimum qualifications are as follows (in order of required acquisition):
Riding, average competence (d6)*
Survival, basic competence (d4)
Tracking, basic competence (d4)
Healing, basic competence (d4)
Stealth, basic competence (d4)
Kn: Law, basic competence (d4)

*Riding will be required for ALL Rangers regardless of race with the sole exception being Ogres who are physically too large for any mount.

Ranger Dress
As iterated by Lt. Hawksclaw, on-duty Rangers will be required to maintain the minimum of culturally acceptable attire for their race with the addition of the Ranger Cloak prominently and proudly worn. Off-duty Rangers will remember that they are, regardless, emissaries of the Corps and will behave accordingly.

NCOs (Corporal and above) and all Officers will also be required to maintain a “Dress” uniform which will consist of the Ranger’s choice of tunic and trousers, robes or dress as befits the Ranger. These uniforms will be of a uniform green cloth with black trim, black leather belts and black riding boots. Initial uniforms my be requisitioned from the HQ. All subsequent uniforms must be purchased by the Ranger. Official tailors will be made available.

Though it is oft a sore subject, discipline is a necessary part of Ranger life. The Code of Conduct is prominently displayed in all Ranger HQs and available in pamphlet format. Furthermore, the oath and code should be well familiar to each Ranger.

Minor infractions of the code will result in escalating levels of discipline.
First infraction, verbal reprimand
Second infraction, written reprimand
Third infraction, demotion/reduction of pay
Fourth infraction, potential dismissal

Major infractions, depending on crime, my result in immediate dismissal or even incarceration.

Should you have any questions, I encourage you to speak with your NCO’s for guidance. I know that we shall all do our duty

Your most obedient servant,

A. Wolfhaven, Colonel

Regional Command at Echer’Naught, Olara

Campaign Report 39
Phoenix Moth

We resumed our journey on the 2nd of Golden Eagle, venturing forth to, hopefully, find answers to the strange occurrences of this Archfire/Necromancy hybrid and to the excessive pulses of Life Magic. Our journey brought us to an old logging camp—abandoned roughly a year ago(and of illegal operation). Many broken saw blades were around, and some trees even had broken blades within them. It is unknown as to what exactly caused this sudden abandonment (however, I do think the good Lieutenant may know a little bit about it given his sudden interest in moving on).

It was reported by our scouts that, ahead, there were sounds of explosions and with it being our duty to investigate, we pressed on. It was well within the night when we came across the scene—Archfire/Necromancy Hybrid Cannons.

There were creatures with this golem attacking a small unit of what we later learned were druids. Our quiet approach gave us the drop on the enemy and, systematically we began to pick them off. Samira, whose arrow flies truer than the sun rises and sets, felled her mark with a single blow.

We made very short work of our foes and found ourselves with an old druid settled against a fallen tree. Yet, despite it having been a dead tree, it blossomed with foliage and resonated with unparalleled levels of Life Energy. This tree, or rather what resided within, was the source of the disturbance I had felt. The old druid elaborated upon the source—A Phoenix Moth.

The Following information is to never be discussed outside of the Ranger Corps itself and, even then, to the minimal extent necessary

The Phoenix Moth is a rare occurrence. It exists outside of our reality, for the most part. However, there comes a time where it phases into our own from the veil and begins to feed upon the unused life energy around it using the laylines and loci of the land during its larva stage. It is said that it is a child of The Dawn Bringer.

The Phoenix Moth is extremely important—for when it evolves from its larva stage it unleashes this life energy back into the realm and with it a massive boon of life occurs. However, there are dangers to this Moths existence.

A group called the “Deniers of Death” (of whom apparently eat people in some cases) are trying to taint the Phoenix Moth. Killing it leads to it’s resurrection as a Death Moth. So does starving it of life energy or corrupting the area around it. A Death Moth does the exact opposite of the Phoenix Moth or, if you needed it simplified, the “Life” Moth.

The Druid who remained had sent for help from the Druid Council but, alas, that help never arrived. By the time of our arrival the Deniers of Death were in the process of performing a High Ritual to corrupt the land with Darkness and convert the moth to a Death Moth. The reason they were able to establish such a strong foothold within the region was that, as of last Harvest Moon, the Grand Druid had been slain. Because of this the old druid even believed the woods to be lost to Darkness (and it is worth having the near by Ranger unit to investigate further with extreme detail to make sure that does not occur or can be reversed).

After a bit of debate it was determined that we had only one plan of action_ No matter what we did, if the tree remained where it was at we would fail. So, the plan was hatched to place the Tree of Life unto one of the old logging wagons we found back at the abandoned camp. I, with my familiarity of the paths of magic from my previous studies, would direct the wagon to make sure the moth did not starve. It was going to be a slow, and painfully long trip.

Painfully because during the first night of our journey we were attacked by three Archfire Hybrid Golems. The fight was brutal and, iy used all the skill we had and even that was not enough. Miracles, feats of skill and power that had never been seen before, and a lot of luck were what held us together. At least long enough for the reinforcements to arrive.

Sergeant Longtail arrived with 40 mounted riders who helped in assisting with dispatching the Archfire Hybrid Golems. And, even then, I still think that the divines were gifting us with their blessing. Many times I swore all was lost. Hawksclaw fell once only to rise again and press on. Thorgram fell and likewise rose.

Let it be noted that Samira’s arrows continued to fly true for she fired only one shot in this battle (she was driving the wagon) that, when it flew it slew one of the golems. She was promptly field promoted to full fledged Ranger by the wounded Lt. Hawksclaw. And let it also be noted that Thorgram’s valor in the battle were unparalleled. He persisted in standing between the wagon and the cannons of the golems as they tried to damage the tree. Through sheer might alone he was able to shrug off many of the blast. I commend them both on their skill and bravery.

We took the cargo to a secure location where, with many druids, adepts, and sorcerers, we watched them plant the tree and, with reverence and awe, watched as the Moth was born.

I do not disclose the location of the Moth for fear of the documents being filtered through unauthorized hands. But know that it is safe, and we succeeded.

  • Dates omitted to protect location of the Phoenix Moth***

The 13th through the 18th of The Golden Eagle we did our usual duties as the Ascension Festival took place. Flowers were in full bloom, Crops were sprouting, and life was growing. As it should grow and flourish.

On the 20th of The Golden Eagle we were quickly summoned to our mounts and driven to an inspection formation. The good Colonel had finally returned.

The 21st of The Golden Eagle.

It was unusually early for this, but we were all mustered up for a meeting with Colonel Wolfhaven. I suspect mostly because he was a busy man and had pressing business to attend to (as is usual for a man of his disposition).

This meeting, however, held more significance than I originally thought or Wolfhaven was dressed in his resplendent armor.

One by one we were called to the front— Thorgram, Alfred, Longtail, and myself. We were each bestowed with a reward for our service.

Alfred, of whom is the squire to Wolfhaven, was given the promotion to Ranger 1st Class and, perhaps more importantly, was officially adopted into clan Wolfhaven. Tears ran down his youthful face. I am very happy for Alfred—his loyalty is unwavering and , regardless of the deed, he never falters in his duties.

Thorgram was promoted to Full Ranger. Something I think he is certainly worthy of with his courage and martial prowess. Despite his, shall we say, flirty nature with the Red Lamp, I forsee many tails told of this lad.

Longtail was given the rank of Sergeant Minor and took to the position of Quarter Master for our regiment. For some reason I do not think she ever wants the extra responsibility but, despite this, she never says no. (A side note—she is being awfully…tending? I’ll have to look more into that..)

And I was given the rank of Corporal with the honor of being direct aid to Lieutenant Hawksclaw as well as given responsibilities of the purse for the Ranger Unit as reward for my contributions during the battle with The Butcher.

Things in the world are changing. Life is thriving and the region shall experience a boom with economics and with new births. For once all seems right in the world. How I wish it would never end….

Corporal Evoran Que’Kaasars
Stewart of The Rangers of Echer’Naught.

Campaign Report 38
Buying a Barony

Much has happened since my last report and, due to the magnitude of these events (most of it paperwork) it has kept me away from my reports. The Ranger Garrison has grown dramatically and we have had to requisition large sums of gear for the new trainees and handle the paperwork for their induction into our ranks. Had I not had assistance from Olgore I am afraid I would be unable to keep up with the task. I shall have to find a way to personally thank him for helping. When it comes to paperwork he is second to none.

But, never the less, I have had a chance to review the reports of our rangers. It seems they have encountered the Dragon Cult—a collection of diabolical persons who, up until now, were thought to have been cleansed from the lands. Their arrival is only a herald, I think, to the greater evils to come. To my recollection they are so vile and hated that they were able to unite opposing forces. Force that, normally, would strive to destroy one another. Those forces united to abolish the Cult from the world. Alas, it seems a few lived on. We should take heed of anything related to the Dragon Cult as they are a force to be reckoned with.

On the 21st of The First Hunt we received some unusual reports of shadow-like figures near Eldara/Landra Feya. It was enough to raise our interest, at least. We were given orders to prepare for a march in two days time. During this time I took to my personal matters and went to The Sacred Grove. Here I learned of something that seemed to coincide with these unusual figures: The Druids were excited about something. It was Life Magic, but in such an unusual sense that they felt it might have been a literal manifestation of it. Something they were unsure of but were investigating. I made it a point to share my discovery with Lt. Hawksclaw since he is familiar with druidic ways in a hope that his senses might find something of it.

Before we were able to depart, however, Lt. Hawksclaw summoned me for an important matter of the logistical sense. It turns out that, due to diplomatic immunity (from treaties that had been signed) that Stallhiem was able to bring in 50 exotic beasts within the walls of Echer’Naught. The only reason we had no advanced warning of them was it was only mentioned in a personal missive to Col. Wolfhaven (and we only know that because we had to go to his personal desk to look for clues. My apologies to the Colonel for the intrusion).

I was tasked with procuring the proper requirements to move the beasts. They are a nocturnal creature and, because of this, we had until nightfall to make proper arrangements. Lt. Hawksclaw was summoned away for pressing business that required immediate attention and that left the endeavor to fall on my shoulders.

We gathered 30 veteran riders and 30 of our newest recruits to handle the beast as well as used a favor from one of the stockyard families to house them until more permanent boarding could be established. Given the fact that no one knew anything about the creatures, I would say it went off rather well. A few injuries here and there (a man had his skin licked off, unfortunately) but we managed to get them inside the warehouse. We had to make it a point of effort to keep Samira away. Everytime she drew near the entire lot seemed ready to devourer her. However, her skills proved to be indispensable as we boarded up the opening to make area more suitable for the mounts. The Breeder and Trainer provided a list of supplies and put them to use to make them right at home.

Because we worked well into the next day, I gave the Rangers of Echer’Naught a day off (seeing as the Lieutenant had not yet returned). I, however, still had things to complete. A man, who was expecting to meet with Hawksclaw, came to inquire about the purchasing of the horses for his men. He needed around 250 at the current moment and said the longer we waited the more difficult it would become to train them. So, with request on a crash course about what he needed, we set off to locate a potential vendor. The Orc (or was it a half orc? I can not recall directly) was illiterate and deaf. This gave me an entire day of being shouted at. Now I know why Hawksclaw is always on edge…

Still, the purchase was done and we were able to start the training program on time. The less delays the better! The paperwork was finalized on the 23rd of The First Hunt.

On the 26th of The First Hunt, Lt. Hawksclaw makes his return, having finished his business two days prior. I debriefed him of what had occurred during his absence and that most of his paperwork had already been completed. I suggested we have a Ranger social and later that night we had a collection of Dwarven Ale. I made it a note not to imbibe as it would be inappropriate for someone in my position to be compromised. I know far too much on individual files than I care to let on.

On the 28th we departed for Landra Feya and road for two days before we entered her boarders. On the 31st we arrived at the town of Erda’Meias. A very small ranger contingent was established here. Hawksclaw, Samira, and myself went to inquire while Thorgrum, Rizak, and Sarin went to speak with the people.

The Corporal, Cpl Goldleaf, who ran the place was, shall we say, a bit sloppy. His organizational skills were extremely lacking and he seemed more interested in trying to court Samira than actually helping. And should he read then perhaps he may actually improve his logistical skills. I did the work for him, after all. I don’t suspect it would be too difficult to follow.

While I searched through his reports, Hawksclaw went and spoke to a local druid. He was informed to head south of the city and he should be able to sense the life energy that the others were feeling. The reports did not suggest anything that we had not already discovered, but one thing of note did resonate with me. A deer had been found drained of blood but the body was left unharvested. That is not typical of an Eldakar. The entire body of our hunt is used and very little is wasted. It should also be noted that game in the area is starting to get sparse.

On the 32nd of The First Hunt we began to head south. It was not until the 1st of The Golden Eagle that we had our first major break.

An Archfire Golem had been laying in wait within the woods. It had been, to my assumption, stationary in the woods, awaiting its prey. None of us saw it, but we heard its thunderous movement. Actually, we could not tell if it were actual thunder or wardrums before it fired and destroyed a tree near us.

Our horses scattered, fearing for their lives (and rightfully so). Much of the party was separated and, glancing back, I saw Sarin shot from the sky by the Golem, his body smoldering. I leapt from my mount, letting it ride off, so that I might try and regroup with my friends.

I had encountered an Archfire Golem once before, and it was a durable and fearsome creature to say the least. This one, however, was different. It radiated Necromancy that had been sadistically interwoven with the Archfire to create an abomination that transcended all other vile things I had encountered before. It’s cannons ripped through trees, spreading its taint.

I was cautious in my pursuit of it as I was not sure its directive. When I finally found it my friends had laid it to ruin, leaving only a smoldering, broken body upon the forest floor. Unfortunately the decaying body would corrupt the land. I could not allow this to happen and offered my services to deal with the body.

The Que’Kasaars blood flows heavily through my veins and affords me prowess over the arcane few else can tap into. Despite my pristine visage and delicate demeanor there lies within me forces so potent and of such magnitude that I am able to accomplish things only others can dream of. Most of the new recruits knew only that I possessed a specialty of logistical skills and knowledge, but there comes a time where one must peel back the delicate demeanor and reveal ones true nature—the Nature of Sorcery. Wreathed in my arcane powers I was able to demolish the rotting abomination of this golem into a pile that was easily set ablaze by normal fire. I suspect by the looks of the new Trainees they had no idea I was capable of such things. I admit this brought my a degree of amusement.

The endeavor, however, did weight heavily on my form and I required rest. So we took to making camp. After we had settled in for the evening, I was able to feel it in the air—the collection of Life Magic that wreathed the lands in a way I had never felt. With it I also felt the looming poison that was Necromancy.

We planned to continue our journey on the 2nd of The Golden Eagle. We still had much to discover…

Ranger 1st Class
Evoran Que’Kasaars

Slayer Report 7
Meeting Wolves

Gray Winds, 3123 Under the Light

Holy Father,

I am not embarrassed to say that I was unable to find the were-wolf in the city of Echer’Naught as we discovered, shortly after the search was concluded, that he was NOT in fact within the walls as he promised the Col. during their “meeting” in Center Pointe.

In fact, we were called into the Cols office mid Gray Winds and given a coin from Wolfhaven’s own hand and ordered to undertake a simple, but curious mission. Apparently, the were-wolf had not gone far, taking up residence in the city of Harken so as to be close enough to intervene should his sister require; it being only a days run for one of his kind.

I was surprised to think that the Col would consort with such as he, but desperate times, I suppose. Von D and I departed and made the quick ride in a little over a day to the city where we followed our instructions. To my, not quite surprise, we found the beast sitting pleasant as could be in a tavern near the western gate. Approaching we offered the coin as assurance of our intentions.

He seemed…relaxed. Perhaps he expected this turn of events? Regardless, the were-wolf agreed to speak with us.

We were authorized to reveal that our scouts had been, yet, unable to locate the central keep of the Blood Lord’s forces and asked if he might know more. He did not, but agreed to seek out contacts that would likely not speak with out kind. With that, we departed back for Echer’Naught and our next mission.

It should bother me more, this consorting with Evil, but try as I might, I cannot find fault with the boy. He neither asked for his condition, nor has he used it as an excuse for barbarism. End yet, I cannot deny the drive to slay him as a creature of Darkness out of hand.

War makes strange bedfellows does it not?

A. Alystar


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