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

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.

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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

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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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Slayer Report Four
Dark Carriages

Report of Mugen VonDedrich, on the events of 13, Harvest Moons, thru 17, White Stag.

Addressed to Col. A. Wolfhaven

Colonel,
Per the discussion we had, upon our arrival, I will lay out the events which transpired during the aforementioned dates. Hopefully, they will serve to help piece together what larger plots are laid against the region.

On the 13th of Harvest Moons, Lt. Allistar and myself departed this place, and traveled south, toward Farwatch. Using the new road we made good time, and within a day, had reached the work camps. Reading your team’s reports on Trogledesh movements in the aria, we decided to inhabit the place. Our hopes of catching the bastards during one of their raids, were ultimately rewarded.
On the 15th, we herd a commotion, a good distance away. We moved to observe, making sure not to be seen. There we witnessed your man, Rildryrr, ably fight off no less than four Hobgoblins. We saw him fall, and knew not if he was alive. It pained me to sit idly, in the shadows, but that fight was not ours.
Once the fray had ended, and the man had been carted away, we moved onto the scene. In the darkness, the creatures’ movements were impossible to track. But, by first light, we found the path that they’d taken, and set upon it.
For the next two days we made good progress, and on the 17th, found a recently used staging aria. I can only assume that it had been used as a base from which they had been launching some of their raids. It was plain that the Trogledesh had used it regularly, due to the large amount of human sized remains strewn about. Near that place, we set a cold camp where we could observe any movements in the vicinity. Again, our efforts were rewarded.
That is the night that we were attacked, and we started on this strange course of events. During the night, we were assaulted by a passel of Hobgoblins. Lt. Allistar and myself sustained several injuries during the fray. We were nearly able to beat them, but the last one standing managed to bludgeon us to the dirt. I thought we’d be laid low, but the beast had a more sinister purpose.
I came, fully, to my senses nearly three days later. I suppose it was around the 20th. I realized, to my chagrin, that we were inside the walls of a pin. I’ve read the most recent reports, in which these prisons are called “camps”, but in reality they are stock yards. For within, the bastards hold other beings as a food source. I cannot begin to describe the conditions inside the palisade. Humans and Elves crammed together, starving, freezing, and nearly naked. If I’d needed another reason to hate the corrupted, I’d have it.
I found Allistar in a similar condition. We agreed that any attempt at escape would need to happen soon, otherwise we’d be too weak. He assured me that given the chance, he could make a way to get out. His plan was a sketchy one, but given our options, I agreed. Serving as nourishment for the bastards that I’ve dedicated my life to killing seems far too ironic.
In any event, I set to convincing the other foodstuffs of our plan, while Allistar set to praying. I am not sure if I have a golden tongue, or if the sounds of their kinsmen and friends being butchered alive did the trick. Either way, the herd was with us. All within elected to escape or die on their feet. Interesting how certain doom inspires men to such heroic acts… So, for three days, we waited.
On noon of, what I presume was the 23rd, we acted. It happened quickly, but the Lt. called down a celestial ally which blew apart a section of the wall. From there the race was on.
Allistar had felt the calling of his pendant, and so we had an idea of where the gear was piled. To reach it, we had to thread a maze of assailants which were in something of an uproar. The “Angel” and throng of escaped captives provided a good distraction, so we ran. Allistar managed to bowl one over, and another tried to give me a shave, but we reached the gear pile intact. I found my sword, and turned to provide cover for the Lt. No sooner than he’d made it, one of the beast reached us. I drew and cut, felling it. We managed to find our armor and most of our weapons, but no more. We decided that it was better to cut our losses, so again, we ran.
Fortunately, the lesser corrupted are not the sharpest implements, so we were able to make good on our escape.
I doubt many, if any of the others survived. I am, however, glad that they died well.
The next three weeks, we lived as fugitives in a hostile country. We managed to stay headed in a northerly direction, and the abandoned farms along the way provided for ample scavenging. In this fashion we continued, until sometime around the 6th of White Stag. It is here that events took an odd turn.
We found a small road, and had decided to follow it. We kept to a rise which paralleled the path, as to avoid detection. As the afternoon wained we sat down to rest. The snow had started falling again, and traveling was becoming more difficult. Suddenly, my ears picked up the faint sound of hooves and carriage. I was confused. I alerted the Lt. and we took cover to observe.
From the forest came a black carriage, drawn by six black steeds, carrying three guards and one driver, all dressed in black. We were in disbelief. As we watched the carriage, I began to note several features.
The horses were corrupted beasts, and the men on board were of a deathly countenance. Then I saw the crest hanging on the carriage door, and for the first time in many years, I was afraid.
I had looked upon the crest, for many years, as a child. It was stitched into a tapestry which hung in my family’s home. A tapestry which depicted an ancient battle, from a time before Olara, the VonDiedrichs, or anything we know existed. A time, nearly forgotten, except by scholars and storytellers. But this was no story. This was very, and terrifyingly real. This was the crest of one of the ancient ones. A true immortal. One that had seen the dawn of the ages, and the fall of empires. A true Vampiric Lord. The horrors that a creature like that is capable of, are too unfathomable to put to paper. Any slayer knows that to face a being of this magnitude, with anything less than an army, will mean certain and eternal death.
I informed Allistar, but he held. I was more than perturbed at this. He closed his eyes, and seemed to be thinking. I thought he might remain frozen there, but he suddenly looked up at the carriage. “It isn’t him.”, He stated matter of factly. By now, I was sure that the Lt. had lost his wits. He continued, “I have felt his presence before, and I would not mistake it… It is not him.”
Thus explained, I had little argument. “Then we take the coach?”, I asked. He nodded. He asked me to buy him a minute’s time and I departed, informing him that he had thirty seconds. I donned my cowl, and took leave of him.
I skirted the hill, and stepped free of the trees about forty paces from the coach. The driver locked his wheels, and issued a challenge. In answer, I drew my blades and stood firm. The die was cast as the two rear guards dismounted. They stalked forward, and began to change forms into common Werewolves. I was relieved, oddly. They drew near, and I greeted them as any VonDiedrich ought. With a flash of steel and claws, the fight began.
I was able to dispatch one quickly, but the other was more troublesome. For a few moments, I was alone. But with a shout, Allistar came to view. Along with him, one of his celestial allies. The odds had grown better, and I began to enjoy myself.
For nearly a minute Allistar, and myself traded blows with the men and beast. But soon, the celestial being gave us the upper hand. It was able to block the carriage in place, which allowed us to finish the job. Once the party was dispatched, we approached the carriage with great trepidation.
The Lt. placed his hand on the latch, paused, and we readied ourselves. With a jerk the door swung open and we received another surprise. Within was the most beautiful Elven women I’ve ever seen, and obviously uncorrupted. We stepped back puzzled, as she looked at us with a calm and resigned expression. “Are you here to kill me?”, she asked in way of greeting. We looked to one another and shrugged. I turned back to her and I said “Well, I’m not.”
She nodded, but her expression remained unchanged. She simply sat and looked at us. “Who are you?”, asked Allistar.
“I am the last of my people.”, she stated, matter of factly.
He looked to me, puzzled. We asked several more questions, and she managed to evade all of them. I tried to think of any reasons why an uncorrupted individual might be sequestered by an Undead Lord. I offered several reasons, but she never confirmed a single one. She did offer us food and wine, to which we both declined.
We decided that we had wasted enough time, and that to remain in that place was dangerous. I set about beheading the fallen escorts, and Allistar made the carriage ready to travel. When we returned to her, she asked “Am I your prisoner, now?”
Her wording intrigued me, and I answered in the negative. The Lt. suggested that I drive the carriage, as I “looked the part.”
Reluctantly, I agreed. He moved to enter the coach, and I to the reins.
In this fashion we traveled for some time. Nearly two days later, we reached a proper road. We encountered a number of travelers, and we were able to determine that we were near Kator. Most of the passers-by avoided us, which suited me. I suppose the sight of a black carriage, drawn by black steeds, and driven by a black clad, pale faced figure was enough to ward of the casual inquirer.
We neared the city and Allistar suggested we swap places as to make our appearance less menacing. I climbed in the passenger compartment, and we were off. As I spoke with the woman it became clear that she was very well educated. I do not know much of Elven society, but I think she is of a superior class. I joined her in having wine and meats, and I must admit that they were delicious. Within two hours, we were in Kator.
The Lt. Departed to check in at the Ranger post, the lady stayed in the coach, and I set to the task of slaughtering the corrupted steeds. It was not an easy task as I had to behead the team and then burn the carcasses.
When that was complete we rallied and took the lady to an inn, where Allistar had secured a room.
We entered amidst much curiosity, and made haste to avoid any questions. Once inside, we set our plans. I would secure new vestments and traps for the three of us, the lady would remain, and Allistar would stay with her. She had implied that she would be followed. We decided that she should not be left alone.
I turned to the Lt., and asked “How shall I pay for all this?”
We realized that we had not a single coin between us. The lady extended to me a small velvet purse, and said “Here. This should suffice.”
I opened the bag, and was taken aback. Inside were no less than twenty platinum pieces. I estimated them to be worth nearly two-thousand gold. Reaching in, I took one and figured it would be enough to buy the whole shop.
It took going to the Ranger post to even make change. But once I had, I made my purchases and returned to the inn. We tried to rest and prepare for the next day.
In the early morning I was looking out of the window. In the street below, there was a man walking. I watched him and noticed a pair of dogs move away to avoid him. I recalled that dogs will often avoid the corrupted, and will always run away from a werewolf. Thus alerted, I woke Allistar and the lady. She did not seem surprised, and this confirmed what she’d said. She was being tracked.

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I volunteered to fetch our mounts, and left. I frightened the boy at the Ranger outpost as I burst in, but he quickly gathered the horses. I led them back to the inn, and without ceremony we mounted and rode away. The lady rides better than anyone I’ve ever seen. She attributed this to her good education. So, with an eye behind us, we rode out of Kator on the 12th.
We pushed ourselves and the beasts to the point of exhaustion. Now, on the 17th, we have arrived here. We were not attacked on our journey, but there was an unease about the entire trip. Safely in Echer’naught, we will continue our work. Who is this woman, why was she there, and what is her secret? Perhaps we will uncover this.

M. VonD.

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General Order LRHGW253123
Defense of Eckhart Castle

From: the desk of Lt. R.S. Hawksclaw,
Commander of the combined allied forces engaged in the defense of the Eckhart Keep.

To: All allied commanders:

For immediate release to all allied forces, effective on 25, Grey Winds.

To the Soldiers, Rangers, Horsemen, and all combined Men at Arms engaged in the defense of the citizens of Eckhart, I present greetings, and my compliments.
To my fellow soldiers:
We are engaged in a fight, not only for our very lives, not only for the lives of those we’ve come here to protect, but also, for the safety and livelihoods of those that we love in Olara. Our situation here is bleak. This is a bare fact. We are beset on all sides by those who wish to destroy, poison, and corrupt our brethren.
Yet, for the past weeks we have stood resolute in our defense of this place, and her people. Moreover, every day that we hold here, we provide another day of freedom for those we hold dear. So long as we remain a thorn in the side of our enemy, we can keep their armies occupied, and thus, unable to continue on their march of annihilation. We have been tasked with checking the advance of Darkness, and we have done so.
I have asked much of you all, and I will ask more before this contest is decided. You have made all of Olara and her allies proud. Already, your names are being sung in the streets, taverns, hills, and dales of your homes. We are not forgotten.
Finally, I ask that each individual among you remember why they are here. I ask you all to think fondly of your homes, and those within that we will spare from this evil. I ask that when we meet the enemy, we do so with a song of home in our hearts. If we fight with this purpose, our enemy shall never taste victory, for even if they triumph over our corporeal forms, our hearts shall remain unbowed.
I am humbled by each person here, and their devotion. Together we will declare, for the world to hear, that we are of one heart. We will scream into the face of Darkness, our battle cries. We will live as men, women, Goblinesh, Human, Elf, Brinchee, Olaran, and Wildlanders, unchained by the shackles of corruption. We will ensure life for those we love.
May the spirits of your ancestors, and The Ascended, be with you all.

Your obe’dt Servant,
Lt. R. S. Hawksclaw
Allied commander, of the defenses of Eckhart

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Campaign Report 30 (Farspeaker)
Dead of Winter

Colonel Wolfhaven, Alexander

Commander of the Legio Heroes

Regional Command at Echer’Naught, Olara

Twenty Sixth Day of Gray Winds, Year 3123 Under the Light

(As relayed by Eris Moonsilver, Farspeaker)

The Battle for Eckhart Keep

After the events surrounding the Road Completion ceremony on the 6th of White Stagg and ensuing battle I returned as quickly as possible to the Echer’Naught with the Lord Mayor and his retinue. We made the trip in four days, arriving mid day on the 10th. We were all in a hurry to reach the safety of the cities walls, though for me, my heart was with my men heading into danger in the lands of Eckhart.

Winter snows began to fall.

Meanwhile, my Rangers reached Echkart in two days, arriving on the 8th to find Lt. Hawksclaw deep in preparations for war. His forces had already established a fortified camp south and east of the castle. Apparently, Baron Eckhart was more than willing to allow the Rangers full control of reconnaissance as his own attempts had resulted in near disasters.

They resolved to send out two recon teams utilizing Longtails “team” and a decoy column of horse led by Rildrirr. Each departed the castle grounds at down on the 9th and headed south. Rildirr’s column made nearly 25 miles before they were attacked by a horde of Trogladesh. The Hammerfall Riders broke free with little issue and returned. The second scouting party never made 30 miles before they were ambushed in the night by an unknown creature or creatures and all but one of the team was killed. She did not stagger, half dead, into camp until late into the night on the 14th, but passes out at the gate. Longtail’s recon was the only success. According to her reports, her team managed to get within eyesight of an abandoned ruin atop a hill overlooking what appeared to be a large enemy base.

However, before they could close and get any further recon, they were forced to retreat or face annihilation. Over the course of the 14th, the teams returned. Rildrirr with no losses, but many wounded, Longtail losing six and the final team reduced to one on death’s door.

Yet, with Longtail’s information, they finally had a target.

In the morning of the 15th, the lone scout of second team awoke to reveal the existence of the unexplained shadow killers. Priests of the Church of Light expressed that the crippling wound in her back had become infected with Darkness, but that she was physically hale. Whether she would live or die depended on her own strength. What the infection would ultimately lead to was anyone’s guess.

With reservation, she was cleared for duty.

Three days later on the 18th, Lt. Hawksclaw led a reconnaissance in force mission to scout and potentially eliminate the enemy encampment. They departed in two groups of 200 foot, with 75 Hammerfall apiece leaving a 25 company of horse for screaming. Total troops: 400 foot, 175 horse and 25 Church of Light with the remaining of Longtail’s “Dirty Dozen” now only 7.

Weather poor, snows continued to fall.

Leaving the camp, they first headed south along the Kator road before turning West to approach the enemy camp from that direction. They marched for five days making good time to arrive within site of the enemy camp on the 23rd of White Stagg. As they approached, the army slowed, forward company in shield wall formation facing the fort, reserve company in two platoons affecting a loose formation with archers in a line behind the wall, and flanking the reserves. The Hammerfalls provided screening and rear guard.

Forward scouts deployed to recon the enemy position only to reveal the enemy encampment appeared to be abandoned. However, the scouts reported something unusual about the camp’s defenses, though at 150 yards, the scouts were unable to ascertain what.

The field was snow covered, about a foot deep in most places. Lt. Hawksclaw called halt at 300 yards from the encampment, outside of bow range to plan with Sergeant Longtail about recon. It was the lone survivor of B company of Lontail’s recon group who noted first the disappearing scouts. She sprinted to command to warn, Lontail running to meet, but this signaled their awareness of the ambush.

In that moment, the skies opened up and black iron arrows began to fall.

The trap was sprung, Trogladesh leaped out of snow blinds and rushed the rear force as the arrows fell among the more tightly packed forward shield wall. Realizing his situation, Lt. Hawksclaw wisely ordered a breakout rush for the enemy camp. Hemmed in on all sides, the forward element crashed over the walls to land in a sea of corpses.

The base was a concentration camp where captured villagers had been kept in pits for food, sacrifice or turning. Desiccated bodies adorned the gates, piles of discarded bones, dwarf, human and elf lay scattered around the complex. Worse yet, the cold barely held back the stench. Worse yet, it became apparent why the defenses looked so odd from the recon. This was a prison, not a fort. All of the defenses were designed to keep people in, not out.

All of this was barely noted as men fell to arrows and Trogladesh poured in from all sides.

No sooner had Lt. Hawksclaw’s men entered the complex then chanting started resonating from the ruin on the hill…and the carpet of bodies began to twitch. The jaws of the enemy’s trap slammed shut. Trogladesh without, a horde of zombies within…Hawksclaw was trapped and his entire was forfeit.

Outside, hundreds of yards distant, a figure astride a horse rode into view. He drew a flaming blade so massive it was clear from the walls of the prison. With a wave of his sword, the chanting crescendo’d.

The dead came to life.

Lt. Hawksclaw assessed the situation and ordered Evoran to blow a hole in the rear wall of the prison. Sergeant Longtail took her team and the remaining scouts through the break to clear a path. With an exit, Hawksclaw ordered his men to pull out while he and Rildrirr held the rear.

From there, the mission became a running battle as unit cohesion broke down. Hawksclaw’s men cut their way free of the trap. Evoran and his mages used the last of their strength to collapse the breach they had just formed to slow the undead horde. It was a running fight for a day and most of the night, but by late on the 24th of White Stagg, the enemy seemed to have fallen to the rear and Hawksclaw’s weary band staggered home.

It took days of harsh marches through knee deep snow. Many wounded fell along the way to exposure. The army did not arrive back at Eckhart lands until the 33rd of White Stagg, only to find the castle in an uproar. A few day before on the 31st, Baron Eckhart was assassinated by a poisoned blade within his own chambers behind a locked door. He was survived by a nephew being protected far to the North.

Weary, wounded and wrecked, Lt. Hawksclaw suddenly found himself in command of the entire region’s defense. The remains of his forces collapsed and a counting of the butcher’s bill was tallied.

Hawksclaw’s force had suffered 35% casualties, 30% of those being dead or captured by the enemy.

The foot had suffered worst losing 120 dead. The Hammerfalls suffered the least with about 10 troopers wounded too badly to fight. The loses brought Hawksclaw’s force of foot to 380 total. Longtail’s unit was nearly combat ineffective and reports indicated that the enemy was massing along the southern border.

Also included in the dead were all of the subordinate commanders of the Hammerfalls and Hawksclaw’s own foot. His men were, other than the Ranger unit, leaderless as were the Eckhart’s men.

That said, I have no doubt that I could have hardly performed more admirably given the situation. Hawksclaw’s decisions were sound and he held together his army under extreme duress. More important, his men learned a great deal.

The enemy had large staging points for those elements of their armies requiring food. They had annihilated the nearest. More important, they also learned that the commander’s of the force were not present at that location. I agree with Hawksclaw’s supposition that the enemy Lord is using some subterranean Builder lair as his main fortress.

Having no choice, Hawksclaw restrained his men, licked his wounds and planned for the inevitable attack. Outnumbered at a minimum seven to one and facing a superior tactician in the “Butcher”, Hawksclaw planned to launched a series of delaying attacks with his forces to winnow down the enemy army as he retreated to his base.

The weather turned ugly as White Stagg turned to Gray winds, but it also brought fresh hope.

On the 2nd of Gray Winds, riders alerted Hawksclaw that an army approached from the North. Riding out, Hawksclaw discovered a force of around 700 goblinesh wending its way toward the castle. At the armies head was none other than Grimbore, presumed dead.

Not only was he very much alive, but he appeared to be the Mak Tokash of what was, to all appearances, a new gather: The Stone Tower Gather. He intimated that he had gathered many of the refugees from the Blood Lord’s attackers and forged them into a strong force. And now they had joined the fight.

More interesting, and troubling yet, the Malakaran Assassin who had killed Longtail and more recently helped end the assassin threat arrived with Grimbore bringing warning of an assassin in the area seeking a large target. Sadly, he arrived too late to save the Baron, but he elected to stay on and help out.

Hawksclaw met with Grimbore on the 3rd to strategize and our old friend, and fellow Ranger, agreed that it would be best to meet the enemy in the field. So, with that in mind, the various forces set to work reforging the armies into a cohesive force and making final preparations to repel the army of Darkness. All the while reports came in of the slowly tightening noose around the castle.

It was also on the 3rd that Hawksclaw requested Nell’s, the orc storm druid’s, presence on the field. I personally visited the sacred grove on our behalf and petitioned for her assistance. Not without reluctance, she agreed, more swayed by the plight of her people than any loyalty to our cause I suspect.

Even so, she and her party were the last to make it through enemy lines on the 9th before the northern road was completely cut off. Hawksclaw’s men were forced to sit and wait in the bitter cold for the final blow to fall even as every night men disappeared or were found torn to shreds.

The Lieutenant reported that morale was low, supplies failing, but the defenses were prepared to the best of their abilities. Slowly, over the next weeks, the enemy encircled and reduced the countryside. By the 25th, the Eckhart defenders could see nothing but enemy fires in all directions from the keep’s tower. That night, hordes of undead began striking their outermost defenses.

At dawn on the 26th, the final battle for Eckhart would begin.

It pains me that I am not with my men, standing to the hazard, but my place is here. If anyone can galvanize the reluctant nobles to war it must fall to me. More so, the summit is upon us and should it cost us the Eckhart lands, we cannot afford to lose three entire kingdom’s support. As my men, my family bleeds and dies, I feast…

It is hard, though, I see it now, to stand by while others do the dying. Hawksclaw’s final words haunt me still…

“We will hold.”

And hold he will, if it costs him everything.

My the ascended forgive me…

Your most obedient servant,

A. Wolfhaven, Colonel

Regional Command at Echer’Naught, Olara

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Campaign Report 29 Addendum
Completion of the Road Project

Colonel Wolfhaven, Alexander

Commander of the Legio Heroes

Southern way-station, Wildlands

Sixth Day of White Stagg, Year 3123 Under the Light

After the departure of my Rangers on the 33rd of Harvest Moons, I gathered with the Lord Mayor Von Haber and the chief members of our Merchants council to make final preparations to depart Echer’Naught for the long anticipated completion of the southern road project. Accompanied by Merchant House Guards and Von Haber’s personal retinue, we traveled south along the newly constructed road making excellent time.

We arrived late on the fifth day to find the representatives of Farwatch already in camp. Over the past month I have worked closely with the road engineers to create the seeds of what will some day become the southern road waystation. More in response to the attacks, but looking to the future I had the men construct an enclosed embrasure some fifty yards along the road and some thirty yards deep encircled by a dry moat four feet in depth, an earthen berm seven feet in height with headlogs protected by a thick carpet of abatis. At each angle I had placed dwarven scorpio, small ballista. I also instructed the engineers to create large firepits with overlapping field of illumination along the perimeter and braziers at regular intervals creating a near complete field of light within the camp at all hours. From Brother Alysar’s reports, I have well learned that light is the greatest bane to the forces of darkness. While it might not keep them at bay, it certainly steals from them their greatest asset, shadow.

Within this field fortification I had constructed large, well lit, tents, pavilions and flys for all manner of comfort. Each delegation was offered two enormous tents well large enough to house their diplomatic groups. Behind this rows of smaller, still large, tents were erected for the guards, soldiers, servants and aides to the various nobles, merchant lords and courtesans in attendance. Add to this a significant force of Olarans, dwarves, Merchant guards and, of course, the Rangers I had hoped to provide what security I might in such trying circumstances.

I had hoped to convince the Lord Mayor to cancel the event and begged that he arranged similar concessions on the part of Master Valarious. However, my entreaties were to little avail. And so, on the blustery evening of the 5th I found myself riding into the small fort.

Despite my trepidation, I was gladdened to see Longtail, not a week gone but already sorely missed. Also, my good friend and boon companion Thaleon with Sergeant Stormcrow at his elbow. Being among my true friends was a balm to my troubled soul.

I dismounted and greeted my old friends. Begging just a moment I, and my squire Alfred, stepped away to secure our honored charges and to see out hour horses. Then, once all was secured and the gate wagons had been rolled into place, I returned to the company of the Rangers.

I must confess that not since my days in the field during the War of Flame did I feel such a sense of easy camaraderie. There was the comely Goblin Gabby, Stormcrow and Thaleon, the Brinchie Darkstryke and the Paladin Soyrn. On my side, Alfred Ranger, Sergeant Lontail, Rildrirr and Evoran. The food was hot, the drink stout and the friendship genuine.

After a brief reunion, I dispatched our scouts, Darkstryke and Longtail to secure the perimeter. I confess Longtail’s affect on the opposite sex, especially those of her own race is…impressive. And troubling. Still, our tent secure, I brought out meeting to order.

What I learned from Sergeant Stormcrow filled me with dread. In the elven woods they encountered corrupted trees, beneath their feet in Farwatch they unearthed corrupted creatures of strange make and in a nearby town, more corruption, necromancy and possible corrupted wells. I revealed to them our own encounters with darkness and those reports Evoran had compiled. Little was clear save that Darkness was Rising.

After our intel share, we spoke of the event to come. I informed them that the delegates would begin their ceremony in the late morning, with the final laying of the stone to be at high noon. While the individual house guards and hired muscle would handle their personal security, our mission would be to secure the area to the east of the road from whence an attack would likely come.

I revealed to them my belief that given the high value of the potential targets so exposed here, I felt that it was far too tempting and offer for our foes. With that in mind, had the fort constructed in such a away as to make attack from any direction other than the east foolhardy and unlikely. With only one avenue of attack, I felt certain my Rangers could entrap the enemy, should he show his face, and annihilate any force before the lives of the dignitaries were jeopardized. Ideally, none should even be present, but if the politicians refused to abandoned their “moment” the least we could do would be to use the situation to our advantage.

With that, the Rangers all went on patrol while I and Rildrirr remained in the camp to forestall any night-time attempt. It appeared that my plans and precautions were successful as the night passed without incident. My Rangers did note the evidence of enemy forces close at hand, but no attack or attempt was made.

In the morning, on the 6th of White Stagg, my Rangers began preparations for the day and by mid morning, the dignitaries were safely escorted to a trio of raised and covered platforms from which to observe the proceedings. On schedule, the event began first with a historian from Echer’Naught speaking of the history of relations between Farwatch of the Wildlands and Echer’Naught of Olara. Following this speech the two chief engineers, both dwarves, from both ends of the road spoke each at length about the details of the road’s construction. Finally, Lord Mayor Von Haber and Master Valarious stepped onto the crimson carpet for the final moment, both grasping the final flagstone to be placed in the road for completion. It was at this moment, high noon, when the celebration was interrupted by the sudden appearance of a storm of crows appearing from east a thin line before filling the sky and blotting out the sun.

In the shadow beneath, creatures of Darkness surged as if from the very ground, charging from east into the line of green cloaks. As I spun in the saddle, I spied massive trolls, savage hobgoblins and Shayakar foot soldiers crashing into my Rangers in a wave of blackness and death.

So sudden did they appear and without so much as a whisper of warning that the politicians stood dumb for critical moments.

There were dozens, maybe a hundred or more and they overwhelmed our lines in seconds. Lontail was cut off and surrounded, as was Rildrirr. Stormcrow and Gabby fought back to back while Sotyr slashed and cut. To the south, Darkstryke fell back as an entire horde swung up from the flanks and cut off retreat. I spun and charged north, cutting off the northern encircling arm as Thaleon took the sky burning the Darkspawn with Archanon’s holy light.

Stormcrow and Gabby, working in unison felled a troll and reaped twice their number in hobgoblins. Rilrirr alone stood against a band of the beasts. Longtail, beset on all sides, slashed and parried, winnowing down her foes while Darkstryke cut beasts down with arrows. In the middle, Evoran, our last line hurled arcane bolts at the enemies.

One by one the agents of Darkness began to fall when something was spotted overhead like a falling star, all smoke and flame it crashed to earth throwing up gouts of dirt and flame nearly knocking us off our feet. Even as the battle raged round, a figure of brass and orange fire loomed out of the cloud of smoke and a Builder War Golem stepped out of the crater and turned toward Evoran.

I shouted and time seemed to slow.

Darkstrike was leaping on the southern most platform to get vantage on his enemies. Longtail, with Thaleon’s aid was just breaking free. Rildrirr’s sword, as if made of ice was slashing through a hobgoblins. Somewhere I could hear Stormcrow, Gabby and Sotyr shouting in triumph and pain. But, on Evoran’s face I saw shock and sudden dread as the shadow of the mechanical monster settled over him like the pall of the grave.

And then it fire…but not at the sorcerer, past his head. Twin beams of pure arcfire nearly as thick as a man’s torso slammed into the guard towers flanking the front gate of the field fort. One moment, they stood topped by half a dozen men each, and in the next heartbeat they disappeared in a cataclysm of fire and death.

And then the Golem began to move, a shambling step at first, it began to pick up steam charging straight for Evoren and the exposed camp beyond.

Ripping my blade from the corpse of a hobgoblin, I spun Thunder and charged across the field hoping desperately to intercept the monster before it crushed Evoran.

Around me, my Rangers held the line, throwing back the darkspawn with every moment. I screamed the order to fall back to the road, desperately hoping to snatch victory from defeat this day and save the lives of the men under my command. With reluctance, they obeyed.

Thunder’s muscles bunched beneath me as I covered the ground bewteen myself and the Golem. As I raised my father’s sword I shouted Archanon’s name praying for his strength to save my friend and Ranger. A heartbeat later, I slammed into the 14 foot monstrosity and brought the crackling blade down across it’s back.

What happened next, I only know from speaking with my men.

Somehow, my father’s blade breached the constructs defensive shields of protection and bit deep enough to rupture the arcfire generator which powered the Golem. In that moment, the entirety of the 14 foot beast erupted into a fireball in my face.

In the distance, I heard Evoran’s anguished scream as he was hurled back across the road by the force of the explosion. I vaguely remember seeing Longtail staggering through the smoke.

What I do know is that my Rangers, trained for this moment, fell back per my orders, drawing the darkness spawn into the road. I, with Archanon’s blessing, managed to teleport away from the explosion with Thunder and Longtail. Just in time, I saw the remaining half of the dark spawn approaching, feral hunger spread across their countenance.

Only then did the jaws of my trap close. As the moment they attacked, Eris Moonsilver contacted my squire, Alfred Ranger who stood by with a fist of Hammerfall Riders waiting in hiding to the north. With my command, they began their charge south.

As the hobgoblins and Shayakar stepped into the perfectly smooth and hard-packed road, they signed their own death warrants. Like a wave, the column of horsemen thundered down the road and shattered the dark spawn, churning them to bloody mash beneath their iron hooves. A few managed to crawl away from the slaughter, but they too fell by horse and bow.

And with that, the battle was done.

I turned, and much relieved, saw that none of our honored guests had been harmed, though they had been forced to take cover beneath the gate wagons. I fear what Master Valarious will say. No doubt he will work to expel the Rangers of Farwatch, though it was his and the Lord Mayor’s insistence to hold this event which endangered their lives.

Still, if he is man enough, he must admit that his dirty robes compare nothing to the lives of his men that were snatched away in his defense.

Doubtful.

As far as the Lord Mayor is concerned, I expected to receive quite a reprimand, though I feel more and more that the Lord Mayor sees myself and my Rangers as his few allies left in Echer’Naught. For that reason, I expect only a verbal reprimand. Time will tell.

Nevertheless, I immediately ordered Sergeant Stormcrow to escort his people out on the fastest horses and Sergeant Longtail to do the same. If we hurry, we can have our vital guests far away from here before nightfall. I will leave closing of the camps to the soldiers and servants.

Half the Hammerfall’s I sent with Thaleon to ensure safe travel. Half I took with me.

As for my Rangers, despite everything that has happened, they have a more pressing duty in Eckhart lands. I only pray that we can put and end to this threat of Darkness…before it costs us more than we can bear.

Your most obedient servant,

A. Wolfhaven, Colonel

Southern Way-station, Wildlands

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