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.
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 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