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

Campaign Report 88
History Repeats itself Again

Malcolm Report

Ninth Day of Red Wolf, Year 3126 Under the Light

It is odd. History is my world. Reports, documents, tomes, ledgers, books, all. I know more, sadly, of the events of a thousand years ago than I do of my colleagues, having little time for friends and social activities.
What continually strikes me to the core is the repetitive, cyclical nature of the flow of time and events. What was, will eventually be, again, and again. Live long enough, and I am certain that life devolves into just a series of inescapable routines. Like an endless repeat of a bad mummers performance.

Red Wolf 2nd, 3126

My recounting of events follows upon the heals of my previous report of Red Wolf 2nd. Colonel Wolfhaven had arrived with a contingent of Wolfhaven Free Company of Riders, along with the young Brinchie scout, Newt. In the immediate aftermath of the the “unpleasantness” caused by the rogue adepts mass-puppet Discipline. At the time of his arrival, Alpha team was separated.

Sergeant Volstagg was in the main hall, recovering from his wounds. He had yet to obey Colonel Wolfhaven’s command to see a healer, but he was soon to rectify that oversight. Grendel waited in the courtyard just outside the main hall’s open doorway where the ogre had apparently been patiently waiting for two days while the rest of the team conducted their investigation. Newt also waited outside, with considerably less patience. Having been given no further orders than to “wait,” the young brinchie stalked the open door like a housecat waiting to be allowed inside.

RFC Daynore had just been ordered to begin to secure the hall until Sergeant Volstagg was fit for duty. The rest of the team waited below in the keeps dungeon with the unconscious and incarcerated Sir Halten, Royal Warden and Sheriff of Echer’Naught.

Colonel Wolfhaven proceeded downstairs to verify Sir Halten’s condition and to check on his team. Meanwhile, the Wolfhaven Free Company of Riders proceeded to “secure” the keep and attempt to prevent the assassin from escaping. Though, as it happens, they were unsuccessful.

Once assured that Sir Halten was secure and did not require further medical attention, Colonel Wolfhaven ordered the remainder of Alpha team to join Sergeant Volstagg in the main hall and assist in securing the keep. He requested that Brother Sebastian remain with Sir Halten and monitor his condition.

Back in the main hall, Sergeant Volstagg had finally managed to find a healer and was just finishing up. Newt prowled around, having been permitted inside by Sergeant Volstagg. The noble assemblage had also vacated, most returning to their rooms, or offices to discuss the “situation.” Colonel Wolfhaven reminded Corporal Amaroth to of his orders to secure the keep before taking Sergeant Volstagg aside to ascertain what travesty of events had led to the current crisis.

The exact conversation has not been recorded, but leaving the meeting, Colonel Wolfhaven departed to join the other nobles in discussion and Sergeant Volstagg exited to deliver a new set of orders to his team.

Newt and Grendel were ordered to make their way back down to the village in case the assassin/adept attempted to steal transportation. From subsequent reports we learn that the pair arrived shortly thereafter and arrived upon the scene of a band of five toughs, hired men-at-arms for a few low status knights attending the funeral, assaulting and robbing the local inn. Grendel and Newt immediately attacked. Grendel shoving his face in the doorway and unleashing a horrifying bellow which unmanned the thugs, and Newt drawing her blades with heedless abandon, rushing, and cutting down the nearest with two strikes. Only by the grace of the Ascended did the man not perish and place the team in even more legal jeopardy.

The remaining four fled out the back, Grendel chasing them to the edge of the yard. Wisely, he chose not to pursue, but returned and picked up the wounded, but still living man. Newt patrolled the streets while Grendel cuddled the unconscious man.

RFC Daynore and Ranger Serys were tasked by Sergeant Volstagg with tracking down the adept using Daynore’s abilities. They searched the entirety of the grounds but found no sign of the adept, or anyone under the assassin’s influence.

RFCs Moldova and Zathlan were ordered to find the page who had assisted in sneaking the girl out of he keep and finding the hidden passage through which Sir Halten had murdered Lady Bolen. Having had time to consider, Sergeant Volstagg suspected the page of potentially being the assassin, or, at the least, involved. Of all the searches, this was the most profitable as the page was readily available and willing to cooperate.

At Sergeant Volstagg’s request, and with permission from the man himself, RFC Daynore mentally scanned the page determining that he was not, in fact, an assassin. Which, odd enough, was corroborated by the page who was very forthcoming. RFC Amaroth believes him to be a sworn of the house, a member of the House Guard. I suspect otherwise.

Sergeant Volstagg took brother Sebastian to find the young girl. Corporal Amaroth had brought her to the keep just before the skirmish. She managed to slip away during the fighting, but had not gone far. She was cowering in a corner and wept when Sergeant Volstagg approached, though threw herself into Brother Sebastian’s arms. The girl secured, Brother Sebastian elected to take the girl to the village in, taking one of the Wolfhaven Free Company Riders for company.

All that was left was to secure the keep and wait.

Shortly after nightfall, horns were heard and the guards signaled riders approaching. Everyone rushed to the main hall just as a column of riders rode into the courtyard. At the head of the column, Lord Garren Olar, Captain of the The Royal Guard, Lord Commander of The Order of The Bear, and King’s personal bodyguard.

Before departing Echer’Naught, Colonel Wolfhaven cautioned that with the death of a member of the Royal Family, no matter how distant, under the charge of a member of the Order of the Bear, it was highly likely that the Crown would send an official representative. To send the King’s own bodyguard…the situation was far more politically charged than even he had presumed.

Lord Olar arrived without comment and ordered Colonel Wolfhaven to conference with him, charging HIS men with securing the Keep and the main hall. Having nothing more to do, and considering that the castle was now the most secure hold outside of the King’s own tower, Sergeant Volstagg ordered his team to get some well deserved rest.

Naturally, he and RFC Zathlan remained in the keep. Corporal Amaroth led the rest of the team back to the inn. For once, the night passed without incident.

Red Wolf 3rd, 3126

Before dawn, Sir Volstagg, and apparently RFC Zathlan, Sir Hevain woke Sergeant Volstagg with a summons from Lord Olar. Sir Hevain assisted Sergeant Volstagg don his armor while the page, who followed shortly, aided RFC Zathlan dress. Dressed for war, Sir Hevain and Sergeant Volstagg attended a tribunal held in the former Lord Erlgen’s office at the base of the keep.

At the head table sat Lord Olar and Colonel Wolfhaven presiding over the tribunal. Beside the Lord Commander, at a lower table sat Sir Bolen, Sir Barrough. Against he back wall, fumed Sir Mathras. Also in attendance, though not directly involved, Lord Boer of Reinhart, Dame Gaulouen, and Lady Halten.

Sir Halten stood before the high table, hale, and not in irons, though clearly judgement was being passed. Through Colonel Wolfhaven’s report, we gain a glimpse of the proceedings. Jurisdiction over the legal hearings was still contested between the Olaran and Ranger courts. However, the matter of the transfer of ownership and Lord Erlgen’s outstanding debt was not up for debate. If the Crown could not have his life, they would certainly have his fortune. Every creditor called on their debts. If Sir Halten could not pay, he would face debtors prison and be held there under Olaran law until such time as he could pay. The Rangers would have to wait until his debts were settled before the issue of his legal culpability in the murder would ever be decided.

As underhanded as it may seem, the Olarans WERE denied their straightforward resolution by Ranger interference. It would appear they are learning to play the Ranger’s games against them. Still, through some means, Sir Halten settled all debts levied against his estate, through "aggressive’ sale of most of his assets. If this was a targeted attack against Sir Halten or his team, he retains his life, and freedom for the moment, but her is effectively neutralized as a participating member in whatever future drama might unfold.

All of which occurred before Sergeant Halten and Sir Hevain ever entered the room. Just at dawn, Sergeant Halten was called before the tribunal. Lord Olar addressed the assemblage and informed the knights that the legal matter of which justice Sir Halten would face had been postponed until a higher court could rule on the matter in Olara itself.

However, charges against Sir Volstagg’s honor had been leveled. Lord Olara wanted to know from Sergeant Volstagg’s own words whether he acted with honor in respect to the Order of the Crimson Wall, and House Volstagg. I am still attempting to fully grasp Olaran law and justice, but if Volstagg did NOT act in accordance with his knighthly oaths, then I am unsure whether Lord Olar would have ruled that he could be challenged, though Sergeant Volstagg would almost certainly have been stripped of his title and disavowed, very likely exiled.

On the other hand, if he defended his actions as knightly, and faced the accusations as a knight and member of the Order of the Crimson Wall then he was subject to challenge. So, if he hid behind the cloak, he would be dishonored and exiled, if he did not, he would risk death. Hmm.

Ultimately, Sergeant Volstagg defended his decision as both a knight and Ranger, refusing to hide behind the veil of legality. With that, it was a matter of whose claim had most precedence, Sir Bolen for Sir Volstagg preventing his avenging the brutal slaughter of his wife, Sir Barrough for Sir Volstagg preventing his duties as an officer of the Crown, or Sir Mathras whose claim was now clearly not considered worthy. After all, his greater failure was that to his Lord, and allowing the Rangers to interfere in THAT investigation. Another matter most assuredly to be laid on Colonel Wolfhaven’s feet.

Of the two, Sir Barrough was the senior knight, a trained killer, and a calm strategist. Sir Bolen, by contrast, was barely 22 years old, recently knighted, and mad with rage. When it seemed that Sir Barrough had all but convinced the younger man to stand down, Sir Volstagg did something remarkable and uncharacteristic. He baited the boy, slighting his honor and driving him into a rage. With that, the boy challenged Sir Volstagg outright which Sir Volstagg accepted before any could object.

To reject such a challenge would be a loss of too great face, and so, with reluctance, Sir Barrough ceded his claim to the boy. With sorrow and pity Colonel Wolfhaven refused to object, deferring to Olaran justice in matters of honor. With that, Lord Olar allowed Sir Volstagg to choose time and place. He chose the following morning, at dawn, in the courtyard. Sir Volstagg chose Sir Hevain as his second, who readily accepted. Sir Bolen chose Sir Barrough unsurprisingly. Lord Olara recessed the room without fanfare and the assembled broke into hushed conversations as the various Lords, Ladies, and knights exited.

Outside, RFC Zathlan met Sergeant Volstagg and Sir Hevain in the cooridoor where they revealed the truth. Sir Hevain invited them both to join him at the inn for a drink, and the trio rode Sir Hevain’s carriage into town and joined the rest of the Rangers in the inn for a drink.

I believe Grendel, RFC Moldova, and Brother Sebastan were absent. But, the others sat and listened to Sir Hevain explain the situation and regale them with his own exploits while Sir Volstagg sat quietly and reflected on his impending duel. The drinks cold, the meal hot, the team relaxed for the evening. though, Corporal Amaroth did hire a local seamstress to sew a standard for Sir Volstagg in the crest of House Volstagg as he had no official representation at the duel.

Red Wolf 4th, 3126

Before dawn Alpha team rose and donned their finest gear. Brother Sebastian again remained with the girl. In the keep, again, Sir Hevain assisted Sir Volstagg prepare and together, Sir Vosltagg, Lady Zathlan, and Sir Hevain joined the already assembled court in the courtyard. There, Sir Volstagg, Sir Hevain, Sir Bolen, and Sir Barrough took their positions with the various onlookers standing in the unseasonably warm morning air.

In typical Olaran fashion, each knight was introduced without flourish, the charges read, and the men ordered to stand ready. And then, Sir Volstagg and Sir Bolen proceeded to attempt to hack each other to death. I am certain others could provide a rousing account of the actual duel filled with the gory details. I will say this. By all accounts, Sir Bolen acquitted himself well. But rage and anguish are no substitute for age and experience. In the end, Sir Volstagg cut the young knight down by cleaving through his shoulder and rib-cage. And then, for added effect, kicked him off his blade as if he were an unwanted carcass.

With a simple bloody act, Sir Volstagg was now cleared of any charged of dishonorable action. But, the bloodletting was far from done. As Sir Barrough moved to collect his fallen charge, Sir Hevain offered one final quip about the dead boy’s manhood. Already enraged by Sir Volstagg provoking the impressionable youth, and then so brutally killing Sir Bolen, Sir Barrough lost all composure for a moment, and in that moment he spoke out of anger, challenging Sir Hevain…who accepted.

It was a lapse of judgement on the part of Sir Barrough, but the challenge was uttered before witnesses. And like Sir Bolen, he could not withdraw his demand without server loss of honor. He too went to his death for it.

Now Sir Hevain and Sir Barrough squared off on the same killing field still wet with blood from the previous duel. However, this duel lasted but moments. Sir Hevain quickly outmaneuvered and with bloody efficiency cut down a member of the King’s Guard before his own Lord Commander. Then it was over. Olaran honor had been satisfied in the blood of two fine men and knights. All told, the death toll had climbed to four now, Lord Erlgen, Lady Bolen, Sir Bolen and Sir Barrough. Five if you count Lt. Halten who had yet to be interred.

If find I have lost any patience with Olaran funereal custom.

Lord Olara declared the matter closed and informed the crowed that he and Colonel Wolfhaven would be taking both Sir Halten AND the young girl to Olara where matters of justice would be decided. As the keep no longer belonged to Sir Halten’s family, the Rangers’ invitation had been withdrawn and they were ordered to depart within the day, unless they had a warrant.

Colonel Wolfhaven asked Sergeant Volstagg to see to his wounds and when he was able to ride, to assemble his team and return to Echer’Naught via the most expedient route. Then, he assembled his own men and returned to the keep. He and the Lord Commander would be departing for Olara first thing that morning and riding hard for the capital along with Brother Sebastian who would see to the girl.

I will note a couple curious exchanges. One, before storming off, the Lord Commander threatened Sir Hevain that “His Lady would hear of his actions.” The irreverent knight replied simply that “She already knew.” Also, the self-same Hevain apparently addressed RFC Daynore in Malakaran. His behavior becomes more suspect by the day.

Sergeant Volstagg had Alpha Team riding out of the village by nightfall taking an overland route home.

Red Wolf 5th, 3126

Making good time, the Alpha team cut cross country and crossed the Kore-Harken road. By their reports it was unseasonably hot for this early in season. All was well until just after mid day. The first indication of any trouble was Ranger Newt on point suddenly being hurled the ground. Heartbeats later, Sergeant Vosltagg was lifted from his saddle and slammed backwards by something passing straight through him armor at high speed.

Reacting quickly, Corporal Amaroth dropped from his saddle just as something punched through his body. He reports feeling a burning sensation and his strength sapping. Most likely poison. One of the oxen head exploded and Grendel took fire.

The Rangers scrambled, waking to the very real threat of a sniper somewhere in the area. Ranger Newt managed to dive into the grass as other Rangers scanned for the shooter. Grendel flipped the wagon as a makeshift barricade and the Rangers began to fall back to cover.

All except for RFC Moldova who stood in her saddle to get a better vantage and very nearly took a bolt through the eye. Instead, RFC Daynore dove to cover her and went down, as his standing orders were to protect the magic user.

By now, the others managed to reach the wagon. Ranger Newt elected to try and run out to scout the flank, maybe circle around the shooter. However, when she broke cover, a pair of bolt dropped her yards from the upturned wagon.

Sergeant Volstagg then decided to provide a distraction so his team could fall back out of range. Whistling his wartrained mount over, he quickly leaped into the saddle and galloped away, making it half a dozen yards before his mount went down. He sprang from the saddle and recovered his feet making another couple yards before taking a bolt in the chest and going down.

Now in charge, Corporal Amaroth asked for a volunteer to try and crawl slowly away from the cart, using it as cover long enough to clear the shooter’s range. Ranger Serys volunteered but asked for orders once he got away, assuming he was successful. They were days from any village and their Farspeaking adept was down. Corporal Amaroth had no answers.

Fortunately, RFC Daynore managed to contact Lady Moonsiver even in his condition. She tried to reach Sergeant Vostagg. Failing that, she contact Corporal Amaroth. Once briefed, she ordered him to remain behind cover while she tried to find reinforcements. For seven hours the team baked under the grueling summer sun. By night fall, Lady Moonsilver alerted the team that allies were enroute but would take hours to reach them.

Red Wolf 6th, 3126

Corporal Amaroth wanted to see if the sniper was even still out there. He held out his cloak on a stick. The answer was a bolt smashing though the cart inches from his ear. Only Ranger Serys managed to get any sleep that night. At dawn, RFC Zathlan heard a strange sound. Then, all heard it again. A horn, followed by the sound of thunder…no hoofbeats.

In the distance, the Alpha team spied a line of cavalry approaching their position at a full gallop. The cavalry line swept over their position and rushed the ridge line a few hundred yards away that they thought might hide their sniper. At the head of the cav rode Sir Halten!

He managed half a dozen yards beyond the wagon before he and his standard bearer were cut down. The rest of the cavalry thundered on and nearly reached the ridge when the ridge exploded into an arcfire fireball. The cavalry slowed and began to mill for a moment. Alpha team broke cover seeing as the threat had been neutralized. Serys woke at this time, confused, but rested.

RFC Moldova, and Rangers Serys and Grendel ventured out to recover Sir Halten’s body. As it happens, the body was not Sir Halten, but a young man wearing his armor. A Decoy. Bodies and armor were recovered. RFC Zathlan spied a lone rider approaching who was a Harken knight. The young man reported in and ordered the Rangers to gather their things. He also reported that the sniper had rigged the ridge behind him, catching the flanking scouts in the blast. The Olarans were searching, but so far there was no sign of the sniper. Presumably, he escaped during the confusion.

Within minutes, fresh horses were brought and the Rangers, other than Grendel, mounted and began much slower march home. The wounded, Sergeant Volstagg, RFC Daynore, and Ranger Newt were treated by healer and then expertly strapped to their mounts for travel.

Red Wolf 9th, 3126

The Alpha team arrived at the East Gate of Echer’Naught late in the afternoon. The Harken escort broke away at the gate and rode hard north. Ranger healers immediately descended on the team and placed the wounded on litters bound for the Echer’Naught Hospital (Formerly Red Lamp).

Sergeant Volstagg had to be literally cut from his armor and suffered major heatstroke by being left to bake in the sun. RFC Daynore and Ranger Newt’s injuries were less severe, but still serious. The rest of the Rangers, all suffering from heatstroke and severe burns, were treated at the Regional HQ’s infirmary. It will be weeks before the Alpha team is operational again. How long will it take them to recover emotionally, who can say. I hope we do not have a repeat of previous member’s behavior…

Before nightfall, RFC Moldova sought information on her brother. Sadly, he and his entire detail are still missing. As are many other’s in town. Rumors of bounties on key members of Echer’Naught governance and the Ranger command abound. Also, Sergeant Ravenwood is under heavy guard, her child coming soon.

Of interesting note, there is some serious discussion as to what to do for Madame Lillithien. She is, still, a “guest” of the Rangers. Arrest seems unlikely as she has not been charged with a crime, but she is a know agent of Shaya’Nor. With the current war ongoing. releasing her is bad press. Add to that, her asylum.

Nevertheless, the Echer’Naught Civic Building is complete, wrapping up phase two of his overall city improvement plan. Upon his return, Lord-Mayor Wolfhaven has announced a new plan of governance for the city. How recent events will play into his designs, remains to be seen.

Retired Captain Celebor, by all reports, is settling in to his new life as a civilian well. His exact whereabouts are a closely guarded secret due to his likely being a target for reprisal in our current situation. Though, there are many former member families still unaccounted for. No one has seen or heard from Streetrunner for Longtail’s kits in almost a year.

Grimbore’s Stone Tower Gather appears to have yet been hit, but Rangers have been dispatched just in case. Corporal Rildrirr continues to manage affairs at the Goblinesh Waystation south of Echer’Naught. Corporal Silverfeather continues to work feverishly with the Church of Light running messages between the local parishes and the rebuilding efforts in Archanaya. Sergeant Alystar also reports work on the city’s rebuilding efforts are going well.

Sir Regillius has almost completed repairs and improvements to the Wolfhaven Barony. He returns frequently to be with his wife, especially given her condition. RFC Leaora also continues her work, though with both High Druidess Treesinger and Sir Halten out of action, command of the joint efforts falls more squarely on her shoulders. She has been kept extremely busy of late.

I recently hear from Sergeant Whitestone. She is settling in well in Kythros. In fact, she has taken charge of the hunt for the escaped prisoners, vowing to bring back Ironblood, Zulcrum, and even Afliem. Eve is currently mia. We assume she hunts for her mother, but Treesinger is in no condition to track her down.

Also, it would appear that the Thieves Guild MAY be making a resurgence. At the very least, the King of Low Town has survived. We have confirmed reports of nightly sightings. However, we have attributed no fewer than a dozen reprisal attacks for the torching of the Thieves Guild headquarters. With the War in Camon, the situation in Archanya and Mindoth’s Tower, and, of course, the ever present Velkalar situation…not to mention growing unrest in the Desert Princes and Defiant Lands, local resources are simply stretched too thin to end the killing.

Fortunately the shadow war in the city has turned cold. While bodies drop, they do so without civilian causalities, or much notice. Count our blessings where we may?

In sum, there is a mix of good and bad. The city continues to grow and prosper despite all.

Malcolm

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Campaign Report 87
Three Deaths and a Funeral

Farspeaker, Eris Moonsilver

As relayed from Echer’Naught Alpha team under command of Sergeant Gunther Volstagg (via RFC Daynore)

Compiled by Ranger Malcolm, Scribe

Second Day of Red Wolf, Year 3126 Under the Light

Having received numerous reports from various sources, Colonel Wolfhaven, Ranger Serys, Corporal Amaroth, and a curious unwashed flagon from a Sir Hevain, I have requested of Ranger Malcolm to consolidate and organize the various reports into a more clear and concise accounting of the events of the funeral for Squire Averan Harken.
-Farspeaker, Eris Moonsilver

Planting Moons, 27th, 3126

Per the last report, dated the 27th, the Alpha team, departing a camp just north of the city joined Squire Averan Harken’s funeral procession under command of honorable Royal Sheriff of Echer’Naught, Sir Halten. The funeral party departed at 10 AM from the Dwarven Gate heading east on the Harken Road. From there, it turned north, heading in the direction of Tarnn before turning off West, just less than a day’s ride north of Harken.

Olaran Honor Guard:

  • “Fallen Mount” Squire Lt. Halten
  • Royal Sheriff (Warden) Sir Eric Halten
  • Sgts Hareson and Markar (Sworn of Halten)
  • Obermark (Scribe)

Ranger Detail:

  • Sgt Sir Gunther Volstagg
  • Corporal Amaroth
  • RFC Daynore
  • RFC Moldova
  • RFC Lady Zathlan
  • Ranger Serys
  • Ranger Grendel
  • Ranger Brother Sebastian

Planting Moons, 30th 3126

The trip took three days by horseback, and wagon. During this time, Sir Halten’s man, Obermark, the Sheriff’s personal scribe, provided the Ranger Detail an overview of Olaran customs and procedures during the funeral. In truth, as I understand, his counsel was speak only when spoken too, do not enter into any agreements, do not allow yourself to be separated, and avoid becoming involved in the political games of the houses.

I do believe that the team failed spectacularly on each point, but that is to be revealed.

The funeral procession arrived at Lord Erlgen’s keep at mid morn on the 30th of Planting moons. A vassal of House Olar, Lord Elgen’s holdings reside on the border between Olar and Harken lands, over a squat, hill-keep and its surrounding farmlands and village. In proper Olaran fashion, the entire community mourned the loss of the young lordling, all banners dipped, crimson ribbons tied along the streets.

Sir Halten was greeted by the Lord of the Manor, Lord Erlgen, of Olar, his sister, Dame Gaulouen, Dame Gaulouen’s escort, Lord Boer, of Reinhart, Lady Halten (sir Halten’s wife), and Squire Harken’s three sisters in mourning.

Here, a brief summary of the assembled nobility.

  • Lord Erlgen of House Olar. Grandfather to Squire Averan Harken, Lord Erlgen served his king well and was rewarded. Married to a daughter of House Eckhart, the Lord and Lady had several children, most died young. Squire Averan Harken’s mother, sister to Lady Harken died in childbirth giving birth to the young squire. His father never returned from campaign. Lord Erlgen took in the boy, and his sisters eventually securing his position as squire to Sir Halten.
  • Lady Halten, of Harken. Formerly of House Erlgen, Lord and Lady Halten have several children. She is aunt to Squire Averan Halten and daughter to Lord Erlgen.
  • Sir Halten. Royal Sheriff (Warden) of Echer’Naught. Vassal of House Harken, Sir Halten wed Lady Halten and took the fatherless Squire Averan Halten into his household as a squire, giving him a name.
  • Sir Bolen, Order of the Golden Stagg, Sir Bolen grew up with Squire Averan Halten, serving as training partners as youth, being a scion of House Eckhart, the house of Squire Averan Halten’s Grandmother.
  • Lady Bolen, of Olar. Wife to Sir Bolen and under protection of the Order of the Bear. More to be revealed.
  • Dame Gaulouen. Sister to Lord Erlgen and widow of Lord Gaulouen, aunt to Lady Harken and great aunt to Squire Averan Halten.
  • Lord Boer, of House Reinhart. A family friend of the House Erlgen, and escort for Dame Gaulouen.
  • Sir Mathras. Sergeant at Arms of Erlgen Keep and Captain of the Erlgen House Guard.
  • Sir Barrough. Captain of the Bolen House Guard, and member of the Order of the Bear.
  • Vicar Olman. House Erlgen clergy.
  • Sir G. Hevain, of Harken. Sir Hevain served with Sir Halten during their early days of campaign. He has served in most military action by Olara during the past 4 decades. In between wars, Sir Hevain has served in numerous mercenary companies. All further requests for information about his House, or Order are met with tactful, but absolute refusal. No record of the initial G. Curious…

Formalities done, Sir Volstagg and Lady Zathlan were invited to enter the keep, in honor of their title. The remainder of the Rangers, under command of Corporal Amaroth were instructed to billet at the local inn, a two story converted and expanded merchant’s dwelling. Due to his size, and the general disdain for goblinesh, Grendel was encamped in the stables. RFC Moldova accepted responsibility for his upkeep.

Unfortunately for Alpha Team, the inn was also the billet for untitled knights and sworn of the attending nobility, over-filling the establishment with raucous and quarrelsome Olarans. Sir Volstagg and Lady Zathlan were given adjoining rooms within the keep, though only Sir Volstagg’s room was properly made. It would appear the assumption was that they would share a bed.

While the rest of the team secured their room and settled into routine, Ranger Serys joined with a table of Olaran knights, matching drink for drank and earning their respect though the durability of his fortitude.

Meanwhile, Squire Averan Halten’s effects were taken to the chapel along with his three sisters and the Vicar who would pray overnight. The rest of the keep, by nightfall, gathered in the great hall to participate in the Squire’s Last Call. Begun by Lord Erlgen, the Last Call raged all night, both within the keep and the town (read inn). Alpha Team slept little, being awakened at nearly 4 in the morning when four drunken Olarans delivered an unconscious and badly bleeding Serys to their room. Serys having not recovered from wounds received during his battle with Korash.

Planting Moons 31st, 3126

Around a AM, the stillness of the keep was shattered by a blood curdling scream. Donning but his small clothes, Sir Volstagg rushed out the door in search of the trouble as alarms bells rang. He was joined by an entirely nude Sir Hevain. Both men followed the rushing guards through the main hall to the base of the rear tower. Therin, they discovered a growing throng of people standing outside Lord Erlgen’s bedchambers, at the head, Sir Halten. Pushing to the front, Sir Volstagg entered the room to find Lord Erlgen lying dead in his bed, a weeping girl in a shift at the side of the bed.

It appeared that the aging Lord had “overtaxed” himself with the girl and his heart had given out. Considering the scandalous nature of his death, and the sudden death on what was to the morning of internment for Squire Averan Halten, the chambers were cleared, Sir Halten placing Sir Volstagg and Hevain guard to the hallway. Long enough for Sir Halten to make the necessary arrangements.

While standing guard, reports indicate that Sir Volstagg was “accosted” by Lady Halten who demanded, at length, that the girl be arrested and convicted of murder. She seemed uninterested in a trial, only that the girl pay for the murder, if only by her youthful stamina and exuberance. Sir Volstagg declined to comment, weathering the tired for, if rumors are to be believed, four hours.

Meanwhile, Sir Volstagg, at the behest of Vicar Olman, sent a runner to fetch brother Paladin Sebastian from the inn to assist in moving and praying over the newly deceased Lord Erlgen. At, or about, 7 AM, the runner reached the inn and Corporal Amaroth dispatched Sebastian to assist in caring for Lord Erlgen’s body. Within the hour, the Vicar, Sebastian, and members of the Erlgen House Guard, under command of Sir Mathras, moved Lord Erlgen’s body from his bedchambers to the chapel. Here, they were asked to be sure not to disturb the four grieving sisters who had now lost their brother and grandfather. Brother Sebestian remained within the chapel a few hours before returning to the keep. There he joined Sir Hevain, and at times, Sir Volstagg.

With the sudden loss of the House patriarch, Sir Halten (heir to the estate), Lady Halten, Dame Gaulouen, Vicar Olman, Sir Mathras, and Lord Boer all closeted themselves away in the keep’s inner chambers to discuss the future of the House and Lord Erlgen’s funeral arrangements.

Sensing that the young girl’s life might be endangered if Lady Halten was able to convince the assemblage that she had killed the Lord, Sir Volstagg dispatched a messenger to Corporal Amaroth in town with orders to come to the keep and take custody of a witness. Meanwhile, Sir Volstagg dispatched Lady Zathlan to fetch the girl and secret her outside the keep. He then returned to his duties, and to await an audience with Sir Halten

Upon receiving orders, Corporal Amaroth assembled the Rangers and marched to the gate. On the village side of the drawbridge, Corporal Amaroth left RFC Daynore, and Rangers Serys and Grendel. Corporal Amaroth and RFC Moldova proceeded directly to the keep demanding entry. The guards, having orders to secure the keep, refused. Sir Volstagg joined them and engaged the guards in a heated debate.

Meanwhile, Lady Zathlan round a page willing to direct her to the girl, but the guards would not allow outsiders into the more private areas of the keep. Here, again, Sir Hevain arrived and “assisted” Lady Zathlan by implying, I am to believe, they were involved in an elicit sexual affair. The guard, not wishing to get involved, permitted them to pass unmolested.

She found the girl in quarters surrounded by other maids. The poor child was petrified and feared for her life. Zathlan took the girl to her own quarters, passing the same guard who now believed that Sir Hevain was assembling a harem. Within chambers, Lady Zathlan disguised the girl. Sir Volstagg arrived and ordered Lady Zathlan to secret the girl out of the keep and to Corporal Amaroth. Sir Volstagg then departed to distract the guards at the gate.

Lady Zathlan, with aide from the same page, snuck the girl out a servants entrance to the main courtyard with the aid of the Paladin Sebastian. All the while, Sir Volstagg and Corporal Amaroth argued with the guards at the keep’s main doors. Once the girl was clear, Corporal Amaroth returned to meet them at the inn, while Sir Volstagg re-entered the keep.

Terrified, the girl and brother Sebastian arrived at the inn followed in short order by Corporal Amaroth and RFC Moldova. Due to here excitable nature, RFC Moldova attempted to calm the girl with disastrous results. As I understand, the girl now breaks out into hysterics every time RFC Moldova enters the room. Fortunately, the girl passed out from exhaustion, but RFC Moldova elected to move out into the stables with Grendel who, it would seem, has begun to believe that RFC Moldova’s limberjack “Jack” is fully possessed. It seems to move on its own.

Keep in mind, the entire purpose of the wooden doll is to provide RFC Moldova with an object to animate. So, I am unsure of Grendel’s superstition.

At the keep, it would appear that, fatigued from waiting, Sir Hevain offered dinner to Sir Volstagg and his entire team. That eve, at or around 7PM, Sir Hevain, Sir Volstagg, and Lady Zathlan took a carriage to the inn to be joined by Corporal Amaroth, RFCs Daynore and Moldova at a table within the inn. Rangers Serys and brother Sebastian remained to protect the girl.

Upon discovering that their ogre member, Grendel, would not be allowed to join, Sir Hevain ordered the table to be dragged into the street and Grendel joined the rest of his team for a long and luxurious dinner. By all accounts, a good time was had.

Late that evening, 10PM or later, Sir Hevain, Sir Volstagg, and Lady Zathlan returned to the keep. There, Sir Volstagg was alerted that Sir Halten was “out of chambers” and would meet with him. Both he and Lady Zathlan departed Sir Hevain’s company and headed to private quarters to meet with Sir Halten.

Lady Zathlan found a cold reception from the Erlgen clan and so elected to excuse herself and return to her quarters. From what I gather, Sir Volstagg found Sir Halten in terrible spirits, especially considering his sudden inheritance, and, if rumors are true, the compromised nature of his father-in-law’s demise. There seems to be little love lost between the two men.

In fact, Sir Halten appeared utterly despondent. Though details are sorely lacking, it is believed that Lord Erlgen might have been in debt upon his passing. Those accounts passing then to Sir Halten. If such reports are to be believed, it might explain the Sheriff’s black mood. He spoke at length with Sir Volstagg before both retiring from the evening.

Due to the tense atmosphere in the keep, and the Rangers giving sanctuary to the girl, RFC Daynore began contacting Farspeaker Moonsilver twice daily until the Rangers departed Olaran territory.

Red Wolf 1st, 3126

Lord Erlgen’s body lay in state for two days while arrangements were made, and the official matters of state were navigated. However, it was announced on the last day of Spring, Planting Moons 33rd, it was announced that Lord Erlgen’s Last Call and funeral would occur on Red Wolf 1st. That was the plan…

At or just after the 13th hour, the very first minutes of Red Wolf 1st, the keep was awakened by alarm bells and the sounds of heavy boots in the corridors. Again, Sir Volstagg and Hevain, this time better dressed, rushed out to find the source of the newest alarm, Lady Zathlan following behind. This time, they reached the far side of the keep to find a growing crowd outside one of the guests quarters. Muscling their way through the crowd, Sir Volstagg and Sir Hevain entered the private chambers of Sir and Lady Bolen.

This scene war far more gruesome. Sir Bolen was on his knees wailing beside the bed where his young bride lay hacked to bloody pieces in their bed. Blood soaked the sheets, the mattress and sprayed about the room. Not among the crowd were noted Dame Gaulouen and her escort, Lord Boer, and Sir and Lady Halten. Nor were the three mourning sisters in attendance.

Sir Barrough, the Bolen House Guard, and Sir Mathras were already assembling forces to hunt down and slay the assassin. Sir Volstagg noted that there was no blood near the windows or door meaning that the assassin had not entered the room via a “normal” portal. This left magic or…
He also spotted the same page who had so easily led Lady Zathlan out of the keep earlier. When pressed, that servant revealed a hidden passage in the corner of the room. There was a clear blood spattered trail leading into the darkened confines of the corridor.

Leaving Sir Mathras and Sir Barrough to secure the room, and Lady Zathlan, dressed in but a shift, to secure the secret passageway, Sir Volstagg and Sir Hevain charged after the assassin. In the darkness, they relied upon the stench of blood to track the killer. Coming, soon enough. to a half opened door, light spilling through the crack Bursting into the room, both men were shocked to find Sir Halten standing along within his chambers.

Sir Halten, almost drunkenly, as if waking from a dream, demanded to know why they had so rudely intruded into his private place. It was only then that the two men noted the blood coating Sir Haltens chest and arms, or the blood sword still dangling from his hand. Sir Halten appeared oblivious as well.

When Sir Vosltagg forced him to examine himself, the Sheriff appeared genuinely shocked and confused, allowing the bloody sword to clatter to the stone floor. The situation was dire. Clearly, Sir Halten had murdered the young Lady, but he appeared to be under some influence, magical or otherwise. With Sir Bolen, Sir Barrough, and Sir Mathras out for blood, it was only a matter of moments before they arrived and executed Sir Halten out of hand.

Ceding authority to the Rangers, Sir Hevain suggested that Sir Volstagg arrest the Warden and place him under Ranger custody while he returned to the scene of the attack. Without quarrel Sir Halten immediately surrendered and submitted to Ranger justice. Without bindings, Sir Volstagg arrested the Royal Sheriff and exited the chambers to escort him to the dungeon only to find Sir Bolen and others prowling the halls in search of the killer, having failed to pass Lady Zathlan.

Finding the blood covered Sir Halten, they demanded Sir Volstagg to stand aside upon the King’s orders. Volstagg refused and a standoff almost turned violent when Sir Hevain arrived behind the Olarans. Sir Volstagg claimed Ranger authority and refused to submit. So, Sir Bolen ordered the keep to be secured, no on in or out. With bad grace, they stood aside, but promised that there would be swift retribution against the Royal Sheriff AND the Rangers.

Through RFC Daynore Farspeaker Moonsilver was alerted of the alarms in the keep. She immediately contact Sir Volstagg, who was at the precise moment facing down Sir Bolen, and Sir Barrough in the hallway outside Sir Halten’s chambers. With Sir Hevain’s aid, Sir Volstagg managed to reach the keep’s dungeon where an amiable, if unconcerned jailer locked the dazed Sir Halten into a cell.

With a moment to breathe, Sir Volstagg reported to Farspeaker Moonsilver. The Royal Sheriff of had murdered Lady Bolen, presumably under the influence of an Adept. Sergeant Volstagg had stepped between Olaran “justice” and the life of Sir Halten at the risk of his own life and that of his team. And then, he requested assistance at a level sufficient to deal with a potential war with Olara over Sir Halten.

I would be remiss if I did not take a brief moment to describe the situation in Echer’Naught at the time of this unusual request. Upon receiving Sergeant Volstagg’s request, Farspeaker Moonsilver contacted me directly and requested I relay the message to the Colonel. Doing so, I found the good Colonel in a pleasant mood. He was, as usual, in his office, even at such a late hour. His recent repast with his bride, sitting well. For once, the she-wolf beast, Sasha, seemed inclined to permit idle petting.

In a word, bucolic. I was loathe disturb such a peaceful scene, but duty required. Colonel Wolfhaven took the news of a potential pitched battle between the reigning “Alpha Team” and a who’s who of Olaran nobility better than I had expected. Though, having served with the Lord-Mayor long enough I detected a note of frustration, though not incredulity. Sad as it may be, hearing that his Rangers had managed to convert a funeral detail into a full blow international incident was entirely unsurprising.

To his credit, Colonel Wolfhaven paused only long enough to wake his wife and bid her farewell, before summoning a detail of the Wolfhaven Company of Free Riders to his door and riding east at full gallop. From there, I returned to the HQ in order to begin researching the Erlgen estate and background information on the potential players in this sordid drama.

Wolfhaven departed Echer’Naught at, or around 1AM First Hunt 1st, 3126, for reference.

While Wolfhaven was preparing to leave, and Sir Volstagg and Sir Hevain were preparing to defend the Erlgen keep’s dungeon against a small force of armed Olarans, Farspeaker Moonsilver contacted Corporal Amaroth with orders to assemble the Alpha Team and reinforce Sergeant Volstagg’s position in the keep. This would, of course, require the Rangers to enter the keep with the Olarans under orders to prevent anyone, in particular the Rangers, from doing just that.

As soon as Alpha Team received orders, Corporal Amaroth assembled the entire team and, taking the young girl along, assembled to march on the keep. Serys managed to roust a handful of Olaran warriors who he knew to be loyal to Sir Hevain, or willing to fight for coin, and convinced them to join the Ranger assault on Erlgen Keep.

Again, they were challenged, but this time before ever crossing the moat. However, this time, Corporal Amaroth refused to relent. Without reinforcements Sergeant Volstagg would almost certainly be overrun. In the name of the Rangers, Corporal Amaroth ordered the guard to stand aside. I imagine the hulking ogre and Ranger Serys’ drawn bow only helped encourage compliance.

With access to the keep, Corporal Amaroth left Grendel outside in the courtyard and entered the keep proper, this time, without issue with the rest of the team. There, Sir Hevain met to lead them to the dungeon and Sergeant Volstagg. I can only imagine that Sergeant Volstagg relieved at the arrival of the rest of his team.

Together for the first time since arriving in Erlgen lands, minus Grendel, the team discussed the current situation. RFC Daynore was easily able to confirm that Sir Halten had been under the influence of an adept. Armed with this knowledge, Sergeant Volstagg ordered RFCs Moldova and Daynor to seek out the presence of an adept within the keep. Corporal Amaroth and Ranger Serys detached to go canvass the area and question the guests at the party. Surely someone saw something.

The rest, Sergeant Volstagg, RFC Zathlan, brother Sebastian, and Sir Hevain remained behind to ensure no move was made against Sir Halten. The search took time, almost the entirety of Red Wolf 1st.

Red Wolf 2nd, 3126

Early in the morning, the team returned to report RFCs Moldova and Daynore had found evidence of an adept, but the essence was quickly fading. No sign of the assassin. Corporal Amaroth and Ranger Serys returned with a list of everyone in the castle and a list of those who were NOT seen in and around Lady Bolen’s room on the morning of her death, including, but not limited to, Lady Gaulouen and her escort, Lord Boer, Sir and Lady Halten, Vicar Oman and the three mourning sisters.

It was at this that brother Sebastian interjected. He suddenly recalled that during the hours he spent praying over the body of Lord Erglen, after having been moved to the chapel, that there were FOUR small, feminine figures praying the chapel. Interestingly, with faces shrouded, none of the Rangers had ever seen any of the women’s faces. No one but the assassin would dare to impersonate one of the mourning sisters of Squire Halten, and no one but an adept would not have been immediately spotted and called out!

With this new information, and running on no sleep, Sir Volstagg and Sir Hevain left the team within and went to round up all the women in the keep that MIGHT meet with this description. Sir Bolen, Sir Mathras, and Sir Barrough, not to mention Lord Boer, made such a procedure next to impossible. But, through charm, guile, and sheer belligerence, all the young women of the keep were finally assembled in the great hall in the late afternoon of Red Wolf 2nd. RFC Daynore even brought the young woman from Ranger custody, just in case, though she had been scanned with no results.

All the nobility assembled, most to watch Sergeant Volstagg fail. Everyone was in attendance, save for the Alpha team, the jailer, who continued to sit whistling idly, and Sir Halten still incarcerated. At Sergeant Volstagg’s signal, RFC Daynore began his scan of the crowd…

From what information can be gleaned, the instant RFC Daynore openned his mind, a powerful spike of The Way overwhelmed his senses and, momentarily, blinding him to the room. At the same instance half the assembled lords, ladies, knights, dames, sworn, and citizens, warrior or not, turned on the other half. Sir Hevain and Lord Bolen immediately attacked Sir Volstagg who was momentarily stunned by the sudden attack.

RFC Daynore immediately moved to extract himself from the press of bodies. Sergeant Volstagg went on the defensive, warding off blows in the hopes of understanding what was happening. It became painfully obvious that someone had just puppeted half the room, if such a thing was even possible.

Fending off Sir Hevain, Sir Bolen, with Sir Mathras and Sir Barrough not far away, Sergeant Volstagg was fortunate to survive. As the melee began to take its toll above, below, the Alpha Team was suddenly dealing with their own crisis.

Unaware of the battle raging overhead, they were suddenly shocked when Ranger Serys calmly turned his bow and shot Sir Halten in the throat. The Royal Sheriff, utterly unprepared, toppled backwards off his small cot and collapsed to the floor in an expanding pool of his own blood. Reacting instantly, brother Sebastian tackled Serys trying to drive him to the ground. A heartbeat later, Corporal Amaroth also jumped upon the elf.

RFC Zathlan took a different approach. Waiting for an opening in the scramble, she laid one clean blow on Serys’ shooting arm, shattering the elbow and rendering the bow useless. At first, Serys seemed to ignore the blow, but moments later, as if waking from a dream, he screamed and collapsed to the ground as RFC Zathlan coquettishly tried to hide the massive warhammer behind her slim form.

Above, the battle raged on, with Sergeant Volstagg managing to drag Sir Hevain to the floor, but suffering severe wounds from numerous sword blows. RFC Daynore broke free of the melee and turned to head downstairs, already reaching on to summon reinforcements. Outside, after sitting alone in the courtyard, abandoned and forgotten with only the creepy limberjack for company, Grendel arose to the sounds of battle within the keep and the scent of blood.

Lacking orders, Ranger Grendel elected to break open the door to the keep in hopes of reaching his team. With two great blows, Grendel smashed the door open, but before he could hope to try squeezing through the portal, the Cavalry arrived.

Having ridden almost nonstop since early morn on the 1st, Colonel Wolfhaven arrived at the moment Grendel forced open the keep’s doors. His way so courteously cleared, Colonel Wolfhaven rode into the main hall and summoned the power of Celesia to break the adept’s hold over the minds of the assembled.

Free of influence, the hall fell into stunned silence as the assembled nobility, sworn, and citizens collapsed in fatigue, or staggered drunkenly, nursing wounds. Sergeant Volstagg lowered his guard and sagged to a nearby bench. RFC Daynore alerted the Colonel of the attack on the dungeon.

Colonel Wolfhaven ordered Sergeant Volstagg to receive medical attention, an order I believe he disobeyed. He then ordered RFC Daynore to secure the hall and to arrange medical attention for the assembled. From there, Colonel Wolfhaven turned and strode toward the stairs to the dungeon.

Below, a different drama unfolded. Free of his compulsion, the injured Ranger Serys screamed at RFC Zathlan while Corporal Amaroth demanded the keys from the jailer who seemed most amused by the entire performance. Door open, brother Sebastian rushed to Sir Hatlen’s body, taking a healing potion from RFC Moldova. Using all his knowledge, brother Sebastian desperately tried to stop Sir Halten’s bleeding. Among the potion, brother Sebastian’s skill, and pure luck, Sir Halten took a ragged breath.

He was alive. Brother Sebastian helped him onto a cot where he continued to cough and sputter, weak from pain and blood loss. All seemed to have turned better, when the team heard the sounds of approaching armored boots. Unaware of the Colonel’s arrival, or the nature of the fight above, Corporal Amaroth ordered his men into position. They waited, gravely, as the footsteps grew loud until the figure of Colonel Wolfhaven filled the doorway to the dungeon.

Relieved, they immediately lowered their arms. Colonel Wolfhaven dispatched the Corporal and most of his team to the main hall to support Sergeant Volstagg. Brother Sebastian was to remain with the Royal Sheriff and the girl below.

As of the writing of this report, Colonel Wolfhaven is command of Erlgen Keep and overseeing the search for the assassination, the deaths of the assembled and negotiating with the Olaran nobility.

However, upon his arrival, Colonel Wolfhaven DID secure a public pronouncement from Sir Bolen admitting that the death of his wife was the result of Puppeting powers of an adept. Should this go to trial, that admission, in addition to his succumbing to the same powers in attacking a Ranger Sergeant will go a long way to securing an innocent verdict for Sir Halten.

Thought, I sincerely down that any of this will go to trial. Should Sir Bolen demand a trial, the indescretion of Lord Erlgen will become the humor of the courts, as will Sir Barrough’s inability to protect a member of the royal family. Let us not forget that to accuse Sir Halten of weakness or moral fraility in the face of the adept would only open every noble, knight, and sworn to similar accusations. No, this will never go to trial, but I can assume that the reputations of Sir Barrough and Sir Halten will likely never recover.

Sadly, a lack of trial does not greatly improve the situation. First, Lady Halten’s family has been disgraced. This will cause tremors throughout local Olaran politics creating instability and ill will. I fear that no small number of challenges will result. The killing is not over. Olaran pride being what it is.

Second, assuming the Crown allows Sir Halten to inherit the property, as is his right, assuming no challengers, I fear that his financial situation will preclude his ability to hold the land for long. Again, this is merely an educated guess, but if what appears to be true IS true, then Sir Halten may be required to sell of large portions of his holdings to remain solvent. The Erglen Keep with its stigma will be the first, I imagine. This diminished Sir Halten further and strains his finances. Sir Halten, as a player in the fight against Velkalar is now over, at least for the time.

Third, the Olaran Crown is not well disposed to treat with the Rangers. Regardless of whether or not Sergeant Volstagg was in the right in regards to the Royal Sheriff, it cannot be overlooked that he defied Olaran justice within their own holdings. Worse. he embarrassed the Crown and through his actions allowed an assassin of Royal Blood to go free. I have confirmed that Lady Bolen, of Olara, was a favored cousin of the Queen. If the Rangers sought aid from the Olarans, that aid is likely to be denied.

As to the cause of the conflict? Who can say. The death of Lord Erlgen was a tragic accident or a calculated assassination to embarrass Sir Halten, or the Rangers, and set up this unique series of events. Then, the murder of Lady Bolen was either an assassination of a key Olaran political figure by political rivals within the courts, or she as killed in order to set up Sir Halten and remove him from play. Even failing in that, the damage to his reputation is done. He is a Royal Warden in name only.

Unless the subsequent investigation gleans some new information, we may never the know the cause of this series of deaths. If they are a series of unconnected events, so much the worse. But, if this is a coordinated attack by one of our myriad enemies, then it is doubly concerning for A) it subtlety and brilliance, B) access to hidden information like Lady Bolen’s true identity and the hidden passages of Erlgen Keep, C) the wide ranging ramifications to Ranger operations.

Honestly, I cannot say with any certainty which case would be worse? Perhaps it would be best if this was just a series of very unfortunate events. Time will tell, I am sadly sure.

Not to add to our collective woes, yet there are other forces at play that, if we are not careful, will be overshadowed an examined in the light of such high profile events.

First, as of the last report we indicated that High Druidess Treesinger had departed Echer’Naught to assess the damage to Evorn Que’kassar’s Sacred Grove. Predictably, she was attacked in the attempt. Unpredictably, however, the assassination attempt was very nearly successful. While working in ruins of the grove around the 25th of Planting Moons, High Druidess Treesinger came under fire from an assassin using crossbow bolts coated in a highly lethal toxin for elves, added to that, we believe, Vainar’s Bane Plague. It was less the toxin, and more the rapid assault that very nearly killed Treesinger.

She was rescued by Eve, who ALSO was wounded by the attacker, though her immense recuperative abilities prevented her death. She was unable to pursue as she was bringing High Druidess Treesinger back from the brink of death. Apparently, the elven maidens has pre-planned this rescue in the event of an attack, at Colonel Wolfhaven’s insistence that Treesinger was a target. That said, Evoran’s Tree was not just burned, but destroyed. High Druidess Treesinger has been tight lipped during her recuperation, but her words, ominous as they may be, “Life Prevails” may be an indication that she has some means of repairing or replacing. Not a high Ranger priority.

However, this situation highlights an equally disturbing report. We have learned, recently, that the prison caravan carrying former Ranger Dakota Afliem was hit enroute to Kythros. Worse, due to the nature of the attacks, and the unpredictability of Eve, the prisoner escort was of the most highly trained Rangers available at the time. Of high skill and experience, these men were completely over matched and slaughter by what appears to be a single attacker, if analysis of the scene is true.

Sadly, we do not know when Dakota Afliem was abducted as the attack was only discovered when the prison transfer failed to reach its scheduled destination, we are fairly certain she was not killed in the attack. To what end, we know not. Wounds on her guards are consistent with a long, thin blade. It cannot be lost upon the Rangers that the MO resembles one of Velkalar’s known associates, the duelist Alphonz Domingo Ferrara Diego Castellano. Though that attribution is merely suspicion, not fact.

Equally troubling news out of Kythros. In the wee hours of the 20th of Planting Moons there was a prison break. Numerous guards were injured, three killed. Of the list of escapees, only a few seem relevant to our operations. Two of note, former Rangers Rysak Ironblood and Thomas Zulcrum. I have only RECENTLY learned of an additional fact of note. A few days prior to this breakout, Zulcrum requested to speak with Ranger Command in regards to information that might be of assistance in our investigations surrounding the person or persons known as Velkalar. Within days, and before he was allowed to make this pronouncement, he, along with a handful of prisoners “escape.” The coincident is not lost upon this command.

In rapid succession, Captain Celebor is laid low and forced to retire, Sergeant Major Stormhammer is also captured and gravely wounded in his recover, in which we lose RFC Ramshorn. Now, Treesinger is all but lost, and all three incarcerated former Rangers escape or are abducted by unknown forces. Sir Halten is all-but ruined. And, lest we not forget, RFC Moldova’s brother is still unaccounted for.

Our pieces are being swept from the board faster than we can assess our next moves. To make matters far worse, we have just received unverifiable reports that a new wave of bounties have been issued for high members within the government of Echer’Naught and the Rangers. Even if we had the Rangers to spare securing everyone within the government, if the prison transfer of Dakota Afliem is any indication, we are woefully inadequate to the task.

The War promised Sergeant Volstagg is now in full swing. If a resolution is not reached, we may, in fact, lose. But, if all of our supposition is correct, then we have begun to develop a pattern of movement for key resources of our enemy. Kourash was last seen in the Dominion and every resource is being spent to locate and track his movements. It should NOT be hard. And, IF the attack on Squire Halten’s funeral IS the work of V, then that accounts for the Adept. Add the crossbowman who attacked Treesinger and the duelist who hit the prisoner escort… Our enemy is close at hand. If only we can get a decent shot.

Malcom

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Campaign Report 86
Korash, Army Slayer

Farspeaker, Eris Moonsilver

As relayed from Echer’Naught Alpha team under command of Sergeant Gunther Volstagg (via RFC Daynore)

Edited by Ranger Malcom, Scribe

Twenty Seventh Day of Planting Moons, Year 3126 Under the Light

Planting Moons 2nd, 3126

After discovering the destruction of the Volstagg Estate (formerly Wyvern), Alpha Team rangers fortified and encamped in the ruins while tending to the bodies of the fallen Rangers.

Planting Moons 3rd, 3126

Farspeaker Eris Moonsilver, upon informing Sir Eric Halten, Sheriff and Royal Warden, was informed to relay orders for the Alpha Team to hold position and await reinforcements. The Royal Warden was, at the time of the communication, still returning form his, self proclaimed, victory over the goblinesh marauders assaulting Rangers along the roads to Rhion. With Ranger assistance, Royal Sheriff Halten summoned reinforcements form local Olaran Wardens and dispatched his squire, and nephew, Lt. Halten along with a team of five Halten Sworn and ten wardens to reinforce Alpha Team.

Meanwhile, RFC Daynore reported that Alpha Team was engaged in fortifying their position, training, and resting from their recent ordeals. Notably, Sergeant Volstagg, having acquired an Enhanced Arcfre Handcaster from Luc Gendarre, Sworn of House Wolfhaven and Captain of the Wolf Guard, furthered his training in the art of Shooting. RFC Daynore also reported constructing a large “limberjack” for RFC Moldova, ostensibly for future animation.

Planting Moons 5th, 3126

Three days after receiving orders to hold until reinforced, the column of mounted Olarans arrived at the ruins of Volstagg Estate under command of squire Lt. Halten. Sheriff Halten’s orders were kept confidential until after the team was dispatched, but we have since learned that his mission was to hunt down Korash, the Slayer of Armies, one of Velkalar’s known associates and the suspected agents responsible for the utter annihilation of the Ranger outpost at Volstagg’s Estate. The column departed within hours heading for Stahlheim and the Bridge of the River Shanais.

Ranger Seyrs had located Korash’s tracks heading west and south. With the column mounted, Ranger Newt began following the giant’s prints in the direction of the river. Grendel, however, remained at Volstagg’s estate with Ranger scouts who accompanied the Olarans. They assessed the damage, recorded the names of the dead and, with Grendel, returned to Echer’Naught.

Planting Moons 7th, 3126

Two days later, the column reached the bridge crossing between the Fae nation of Landra’Feya and the dwarven kingdom of Stahlheim. There, Ranger Seyrs, with RFC’s Daynore and Zathlan approached the elven guards seeking to learn if Korash had used the bridge. The guards indicated no, but they had heard rumors that a “giant” encountered elven scouts near the Shanais lake, just south of the bridge.

Planting Moons 10th, 3126

Following this information, the column crossed the river and headed south west to the dwarven clanhome of Crag. There, they made contact with the local Ranger HQ three days later and received scout reports of the incident with Korash. The Rangers confirmed that dwarven guards along the border spoke with their elven counterparts confirming the rumors that Korash has forced his way through the elven lands heading for, it appeared, the Malakar Dominion by way of the north bank of the Shanais Lake.

The majority of the team, under Corporal Amaroth stayed with the Rangers. Sergeant Volstagg, and RFC Zathlan, took a room in the inn rented by Lt. Halten and his men. By all accounts, the Sergeant and the Ranger First Class shared accommodations.

Planting Moons 11th, 3126

By morning, the column was prepared to depart again, this time south into Elven lands. The trip took less than a day, with the Alpha Team and their Olaran allies finding an elven fishing village on the north bank of the lake. There, elven scouts and rangers were recovering and treating their wounded after attempting to intercept Korash as he strode through their lands. From the elves, the team learned that the Ogre had brushed them aside and strode into the lake, heading, as was believed, into Dominion territory.

On a positive note, he did not appear to be heading toward a city or fortification. If the Rangers could close his lead, they might intercept him before Dominion troops were even aware of their presence and mission.

With this information, and after consulting Corporal Amaroth, due to his knowledge of mercenary companies, and RFC Daynore, due to his local knowledge of the Dominion, Sergeant Volstagg and Lt. Halten elected to enter the Dominion via the Crag/Malak road posing as mercenaries. The column turned around again, riding north to just outside of Crag where they camped for the night. RFCs Daynore and Moldova forged documents while Sergeant Volstagg and Corporal Amaroth procured more suitable arms and armor for the Olaran wardens.

Planting Moons 12th, 3126

By dawn, the column, now posing as a mercenary company, and leaving their gear with the Rangers of Crag, rode out for the Dominion. They passed into the country later that day, with little trouble other than standard bribery and “floaters” being found in Serys’ gear. After that, they turned south and began tracking Korash.

Planting Moons 13th, 3216

Dawn the following day, they found him, not far west of the Shanais lake. Korash was sleeping in a small field, when Newt very nearly ran into him. She managed to stop the column before they gave away their position, but in their attempt to retreat, RFC Moldova’s mount caused a collision which woke the giant. As Korash was rousing from his slumber, Lt. Halten ordered Sergeant Vosltagg to send his assassin forward.

Serys took his cue, closed on the ogre even as he woke and put an explosive arrow under the beast’s helm. The shot was true, and obviously wounded Korash, but not hardly enough. As Lt. Halten and Sergeant Volstagg tried to array their men, Korash stood, took up his tower shield and mace and the smashed Serys nearly to pieces before charging into the still scrambling Olarans, scattering Rangers and Olarans like, trampling two of the wardens.

From there, the fight turned ugly for Alpha Team and the Olarans. They were too close and Korash moved surprisingly quickly. Were it not for Moldova stunning Korash with her magic, all might have been lost. With that slight distraction, Lt. Halten gave the order to “scatter” as he and Sergeant Volstagg engaged the beast in an attempt to distract and slow him.

Rangers and Olarans obeyed, each trying desperately to get clear of Korash’s mighty reach. Even so, the ogre pursued them, charging through their lines and trampling them with ease. In a last ditch effort to save his men, Lt. Halten gave the order to withdraw and charged into Korash’s legs, managing to place his blade in the gaps behind the ogres knee armor. The wound was not mortal, but it did injure and slow Korash. It also managed to change the ogres focus from smashing RFC Zathlan to Lt. Halten who hung from the back of the giant’s knee like a parasite.

Torn, Sergeant Volstagg obeyed his final order and ran to fetch Serys while Sir Halten was swatted aside, losing his sword arm in the offing. His last moment, as purported by Sergeant Volstagg and the Olarans was Lt. Halten, lying on his back, bleeding from his missing sword arm, screaming at Korash as the ogre crushed him flat under food.

With that, the battle was over. Sergeant Volstagg managed to reach some horses and the Olarans pulled Serys onto a saddle. Everyone rode out, but in the confusion, the group got separated. Most of the team managed to find each other over the course of the morning using RFC Daynore’s telepathy, but Sergeant Vosltagg was unreachable and presumed lost.

Corporal Amaroth was just about to order a search, when Sergeant Volstagg arrived, fully healed, his armor mended, but far more bitter and angry than even previously. From what little has been said, he was “visited”, but little more is known at this time.

Five Olaran Wardens, along with Lt. Halten were killed. The five Sworn and five of the Wardens survived. No Rangers were killed, though Serys was badly wounded.

Planting Moons 15th, 3126

The trip back was slower, and the team crossed the Malakar border early on the 15th and arrived back at Crag that evening. They received accommodations, healing, and their returned gear from the Rangers. Sir Halten’s men held a soldier’s Last Call at the Ranger outpost. All Rangers attended.

Sheriff Halten was informed of the death by the 14th, and by that same evening, vigils and honors were being held at his Estate in the city. The reputation of his House has been greatly improved by the death of the young squire heroically wounded an unkillable monster. Politically, it has played well for the Sheriff, though his personal feelings he keeps to himself.

Planting Moons 17th, 3126

Alpha Team and the Olarans remained in Crag as guest of the local Rangers for two days to heal and rest. On the 17th, they departed for Echer’Naught again, taking the most direct route through Eldara. The trip took nine days and occurred without incident.

Planting Moons 26th, 3126

After a month in the field, Alpha Team returned, tired and discouraged. They first reported to the Regional Headquarters, however, Colonel Wolfhaven was away at Camp Wolfhaven overseeing matters of the War in the North. After reporting to the duty officer, the Alpha Team made their way to Sir Halten’s office at his estate.

The exact transcript is unavailable, but we are aware that he is pleased with the Ranger’s performance as they were invited to his family’s keep to participate in the official funeral rights for his squire. No sooner had Alpha Team left his offer when Corporal Amaroth was dispatched to pull a month’s worth of rations. Nothing Sir Halten had said, to this point, warranted such an extended mission. We are still seeking word if Alpha Team is to be temporarily stationed elsewhere. Though, given Sergeant Volstagg’s state of mind, and the renewed conflict with Velkalar, it may be assumed that he is beginning to act irrationally.

I will send a request to Sir Halten’s office for a full mental evaluation of the team.

Alpha Team departed the city that eve and camped just north.

Planting Moons 27th, 3126

Sir Halten’s office alerted our office that he, and the Alpha Team, would be departing the city for an extended stay. They would provide security for himself and his family during the funeral of his nephew. Rangers at the gates confirmed that Sir Halten met with the Alpha Team north of town, then returned for about and hour, before rejoining the Alpha Team at the dwarven (east) gate around 10 AM. The team departed Echer’Naught again after remaining one day, and not even within the walls.

Three Notes. First, Sir Halten made an official request for RFC Zathlan’s full file. We are aware he has been in contact with her House in Galea. Though not officially under the charter of the Rangers, rumors have spread about a potential liaison between Sergeant Volstagg and RFC Zathlan. It can be surmised that Sir Halten is laying the ground work for a petition on Sir Vosltagg’s behalf. Second, though not public knowledge, we are now aware that RFC Moldova’s brother, who serves in the City Watch, has no reported to work for several days, nor has this squad. Captain Vasser has declined to request Ranger assistance. Third, around Planting Moons 5th, while Alpha Team was preparing for their hunt of Korash, rumors spread that former Ranger Evoran Que’kasaar’s tree had been attacked. I can, sadly, confirm that unknown assailants using arcfire have burned the tree and the grove. High Druidess Treesinger has reportedly left Echer’Naught, presumably to tend to the loss of Evoran’s Tree. Though little evidence exists, it is believed that Velkalar’s agents are responsible.

In response to the attack on Volstagg’s estate, Evoran’s tree, and the potential kidnapping of RFC Moldova’s brother, the Rangers in the city are on high alert. We are taking extra precautions to ensure the safety of all former members of Alpha Team, and securing anyone close to those Rangers. Extra guards have been placed at their homes and Kythros has also been alerted to be watchful of an attack on former Rangers Ironblood, Zulcrum, and Afliem.

Farspeaker, Eris Moonsilver

View
Campaign Report 85
Bradshaw, Bergham, and Randall

Farspeaker, Eris Moonsilver

As relayed from Echer’Naught Alpha team under command of Sergeant Gunther Volstagg (via RFC Daynore)

Edited by Ranger Malcom, Scribe

Second Day of Planting Moons, Year 3126 Under the Light

First Hunt 19th, 3126

Sergeant Volstagg reorganized his team into patrol pairs and established new patrol areas and times.

RFC Moldova and Ranger Grendel were assigned to the First (morning) shift in Low Town

RFC Daynore and Ranger Nest were assigned to the Second Shift (evening) shift in Low Town

Corporal Amaroth and RFC Nexus were assigned to First (morning) shift along Mainstreet

Sergeant Volstagg and Ranger Serys were assigned to Second Shift (evening) on the Wall.

Reports indicate that Commander Schenkle and his father’s bakery have recently seen a massive uptick in commerce due to his warhero status and the connections he has made in the city; least of which his numerous direct contracts with the Rangers of Echer’Naught. Per “rumor”, the Schenkle bakery is quickly upsetting the current power structure of the Bakers and Bread-makers Guild usurping control through sheer market share. Though at present a merely economic and political struggle, there is a the very real possibility that the unrest could turn violent. Significant sums of money are at stake, as is great political power within the city.

Of note, Schenkle has opened a secondary location primarily as a baking and delivery operation. The first such outlet branch for a local bakery. They have also contracted with local muscle to provide “security.” Troubling, I Ranger recon units have linked at least some of the "muscle’ to the goblin fight promoter, Mitty. A supposed associate of Velkalar within the city.

Trade caravans originating from the Desert Princes region continue to increase, as does the frequency of “Sun Gold”, as it has become known. In that last months, several entire grain shipments were purchased from the city stock fully by coinage stamped with the ancient symbol of the Empire of the Golden Sun. Still, all known recon efforts, save the Long Recon Team have failed to return with any relevant evidence.

Plans are currently under way to form a dedicated recon unit to establish a formal presence in the region.

First Hunt 20th. 3126

At 11 AM on the 20th, three teams, Ranger Malcom’s research team, Sergeant Volstagg’s Alpha team, and an At Large team under command of Corporal Smith gathered in the courtyard behind the Ranger Regional Headquarters. Truth be told, the teams were assembled hours in advance, all dressed in Ranger Dress Uniforms. Each member of the team was awarded a Silver Shield medal from Colonel Wolfhaven and Sir Halten, the Royal Sheriff for services in rendered in eliminating “Vainar’s Bane”, the plague corrupting and killing elves within the city. Afterwards, there was a small luncheon attended by local luminaries and reporters from the new Echer’Naught Watcher publication. On an unofficial note, both Sir Volstagg and Lady Zathlan made quite an impression on the assemble nobility, both gaining many favors and not a few invitations to parties.

It should be noted, that while we celebrate our victory of the Elven wasting plague, a new outbreak has occurred in the city of Lanthor. Our own reserves were too limited to offer more than advice on procuring their own remedy. May the Ascended have mercy on the poor elves of that metropolis. There is also more troubling news from Lanthor, a new faction, the ominously named Shadow Legion, has gained a strong foothold, consolidating many of the smaller gangs, formerly under sway of Red Store. Recent information suggests that there might be an all new Shadow War similar to our own brewing there. Great care is being taken to determine any possible links between this new syndicate and the Velkalar crime family, if any.

First Hunt 21st, 3126

Sergeant Volstagg conducted interviews with his team. Paperwork was filed to promote RFC Audric Amaroth to Corporal. In addition, it is believed that it was also on the 21st when Sergeant Volstagg received the engraved invitation of the Intermediary Corporation, Bradshaw, Bergham, and Randall. Surprising little information about this enterprise is publicly available. I leaned from Baroness Wolfhaven, and confirmed via Madame Lillithien, that Bradshaw, Bergham, and Randall is a high profile, though discreet, business which serves as a go-between for nations, powerful syndicates, companies, and royalty when direct contact would be illegal, unseemly, or impossible. They are a Holding Company for the most powerful players in the lands. And, they invited Sir Volstagg for a personal meet in the port city of Centerport, at his earliest convenience.

Sergeant Volstagg reported this to Colonel Wolfhaven, then to Sir Halten. Ultimately, he, and his team, were given leave to attend.

First Hunt 22nd, 3126

Sergeant Volstagg informed his team of the new meeting in the Malakar Dominion and set them about making preparations for a long ride west. Also, on First Hunt 22nd, 3126 RFC Audric Amaroth was promoted to Corporal and assumed the duties as XO for Alpha Team.

Sergeant Volstagg further organized his team into two Squads. First Squad (Assault)

First Hunt 23rd, 3126

In the early morning, the Alpha team departed Echer’Naught, mounted with Grendel in a heavy wagon, heading west along the Greenway Road toward Eldara. From the the E’N to Eldara was a trip of about 200 miles, taking 7 days. They reached the city by the evening of the 30th of First Hunt. In Eldara, the crew rented a barge to transport the horses and Grendel’s wagon down the Shanais River to the sea port of Eastport. They departed the capital city early on the 31st of First Hunt.

It would appear, however, that the Alpha team’s involvement with curing Vainar’s Bane plague garnered them local support from the elves. They were met with less suspicion that most travelers these days. That coupled with RFC Nazir’s efforts bridging the rift between the Olarans and the Elves within Echer’Naught have obviously gone far to improving relations between the races. At least, locally.

Golden Eagle 5th, 3126

Eldara to Easport was another trip of about 7 days, taking a slow barge south. They arrived in Eastport by river on the 5th of Golden Eagle, 3216. and immediately set out to make arrangements with the local Rangers. While it is well known that the aggreement signed with Eastport greatly restrains what, if anything, the local Ranger HQ is allowed to do, Lieutenant Even Granger’s command is oft considered one of the least capable. The reports of drunkenness, disorganization, and outright insubordinate behavior has no excuse.

Seeing that the local Rangers would be of very little aid, Corporal Amaroth established the Rangers in the outposts stables with the mounts while others, namely RFC Zathlan acquired necessary items for their mission. By reports, she procured a very passable gown to pose a noble dilettante. I am curious how that will go with her war hammer, however?

Golden Eagle 7th, 3126

Two days in that squalid mockery of an outpose would have been intolerable. Mercifully, by the dawn tides on the 7th of Golden Eagle, the Alpha team departs Eastport for Centerport on board a semi-reputable freighter.

Golden Eagle 11th, 3126

Four short days later, without incident, the freighter docks at Centerport and the Rangers disembark, without their signature cloaks and pins. Their immediate concern to find lodging happens with only minor incident. Apparently Sergeant Volstagg gets momentarily separated from the team and is beset by thugs, but manages to scare them off with little more than a throbbing skull.

Most of the team, under command of Corporal Amaroth find lodging in a suitable inn a few streets away from the seedier establishments of the wharf. The team elected to pose a mercenaries, to the point where the pacifist RFC Moldova demanded the Corporal Amaroth strike her about the face. By all accounts the Corporal did not hesitate. They managed two rooms for the team, with Grendel in the stables just below the windows.

Meanwhile, keeping to their characters, Sir Volstagg, Lady Zathlan, and their bodyman, Daynore, arrange FAR more suitable lodging in the upper parts of the city, well away from the poor and the stench of fish and sea. They spent the remainder of that day and much of the following morning seeing the sights and spreading their ample funds around in a display of wealth.

Golden Eagle 12th, 3126

Late morning on the 12th, Sir Volstagg and his entourage ventured to the established meet, which happened to be a dive bar not far from the docks. By all appearances it was FAR below the standard of their dress. Upon entry, however, they were met by a man, impeccably dressed, who announced their full names, titles, Ranger Rank, and even indicated RFC Daynore’s Adept abilites to the assembled neredowells and knuckdraggers. Much to the surprise of the team, though no one made a move to accost them, yet. The man, who would later introduce himself as Vess, offered them both a seat and refreshment.

After a passable meal, Vess got right to the point. He was an agent of Bradshaw, Berhan, & Randall. They represented a party, designated V, who wished to offer Sergeant Volstagg an cessation of all hostilities between V’s organization and all current and future members of Alpha Team (including their employer, Sir Halten and his resources). In return, V promised to offer a sizable monetary donation to the Wolfhaven Refuge for Children, The Grizhnak Olgor & Evoran Que’kasaars Memorial Library, Echer’Naught, and a number of civic works, including construction of more Housing Blocks in Low Town. Unfortunately, the deal also stated that all property, persons, personnel, territory, businesses, and properties currently held by each party would be formally granted them in perpetuity. Meaning, of course, that any prisoners, Captain Hawksclaw, would be forever lost to Alpha Team. Furthermore, this would prevent the Alpha team, or Sir Halten’s office, from protecting or even intervening should V (Velkalar) make attempts on the lives of Colonel Wolfhaven or Sergeant Ravenwood.

It did not bind the Ranger Corps as a whole, but seeing as the Alpha team has had the most success, after the deaths of Bravo team, to locate and thwart Velkalar’s efforts, and the Rangers were too occupied with the war with Darkness and rebuilding Archanaya and Mindoth’s Tower, agreeing to the deal would hobble Alpha team and Sir Halten effectively giving Velakar free reign.

By accounts, Sergeant Volstagg greatly considered signing the deal, but ultimately, he could not stand by and allow evil to flourish. So, he declined. With that, Vess touched the contract to a lamp on the table and let it burn to cinders in his fingers. Then, he thanked them politely for meeting him, closed up his papers, and departed. Before he left, he warned them that the locals “appeared restless” and that they should make a quick escape before coming to violence.

No sooner did he step away from the table, then the thugs about the room attacked. RFC Daynore at the bar, and Sergeant Volstagg and RFC Zathlan at the table sprinted for the door, overturning furniture in their haste with a room full of brigands closing in on them. Both RFC Daynore and Zathlan reached the door without injury, but Sergeant Volstagg was violently struck from behind. Just as they tumbled out the door to the tavern, Vess shouted a final warning, “Sir Volstagg, you should see to your estates.”

With that, the Rangers spilled into the streets and barely managed to lose their pursuers in the narrow alleys of the port district. Just after noon, Grendel rapped on the window of the second story room alerting Corporal Amaroth that the party had returned. Moments later, the three staggered into the room. Immediately, the Rangers began to bind Sergeant Volstagg’s wounds as he gave orders to prepare to leave. He answered few questions and forbade them from using the name of Velkalar while still within the city.

With luck, and a small fortune, Sergeant Volstagg managed to book a night passage on a smuggler’s vessel. And with that, the team departed Centerpor on the 12th of Golden Eagle.

Golden Eagle 17th, 3126

Five days later, they arrived back in Eastport without incident. There, they reacquired their mounts and elected to leave the very same day, fearful of pursuit. Rather than take the planned route home, Sergeant Volstagg elected to follow the river road north toward Eldara, but to continue north from there making for the Gather of the Broken Chains and then to Rhion. The trip would have taken about 15 days, putting them at the gather on the 32nd. Sadly, they never arrived.

Golden Eagle 31st, 3126

A day short of the Gather of the Broken Chains, the team was camped near the Shanais River when their campfire exploded, stunning the team, and plunging them in to supernatural silence. Sergeant Volstagg and Seyrs were on guard, but were caught completely unawares. The rest, save for Corporal Amaroth were in their bedrolls, unarmed.

No sooner had the blase occurred, then Orcs poured from nearby woods and began to attack the party. Grendel took the worst of it, all fighting valiantly, but the tide turned with a monster of an Orc, huge and black skinned, felled, but did not kill, Grendel. It them demanded through sign that Sergeant Volstagg should put down his arms, or the brute would execute Grendel.

Having little choice, Volstagg lowered his weapons. The others, save for Serys followed suit. Serys, with a back to Volstagg, managed to kill one of the orcs before he realized the conditions. No sooner had they surrended, then they were roughly bound, hooded and dragged a distance away. There, things took a strange turn.

Serys was hauled away from the group, un-hooded and beaten by the lead Orc. After a brief exchange, it became obvious that the massive orc blamed Serys for the death of the orcs brother. Serys admitted to “murdering” many, but could not place the orc, or his death kin. At that, the story became more clear. The Orc bandit accused RFC Zathlan of being a “she-bitch” who seduced his brother only for Seyrs to murder him.

It was at this point that Seyrs, at least, appeared to understand the situation because, by accounts, he began laughing. He informed the Orc that, A) he had nothing to do with his brother’s death, B) he too had tracked this unit to gain vengeance for his OWN sisters death, C) that he could never exact satisfaction, but the Orc could because there was one person who was involved in his brother’s death still on the team. Serys went on to explain that this person had befriended the orcs brother, then allowed his murder.

Here it should be noted that the dead orc is likely none other than Kura’Kai, wife of Dakota Afliem, explaining the orc’s confusion with RFC Zathlan. Also, he might mistake Ranger Serys for Sergeant Ravenwood.

Serys promised to give up the name of Kura’ betrayer if, and only if, the brother would allow everyone else save for himself, Seyrs, and the betrayer to leave. The Orc refused, but Seyrs challenged his honor and courage. Eventually, it was agreed that the Orc would challenge his brother’s betrayer to battle. If the betrayer won, all the Rangers would go free, unharmed. But, should the Orc win, the Rangers would be given over the warband to be abused and killed at their amusement…

As much as he could, Sergeant Volstagg, now realizing the horror of the situation, agreed. Serys indicated Sergant Volstagg as the betrayer and the orcs pulled the Sergeant to his feet, unbound him, unhooded him, and handed him his weapons. Before attacking, the Orc demanded to know if he was well enough to fight. Sergeant Volstagg affirmed, and attempted to reason with the Orc, but there was nothing he could do but defend himself from the violent assault.

The Orc used nothing but his fists. However, due to his size, skill, and ferocity, he was very nearly a match for the armed and armored Knight. However, Sergeant Vosltagg was victorious and managed to slay Kura’Kai’s elder brother in single combat. True to the orc’s word, the other orcs released the Rangers and knelt to begin preparing their leader for burial…

…when Sir Halten and his forces exploded from the woods on horseback to ride down the brigands. No orc or goblin was spared. While his men slaughtered the goblinesh, Sir Halten spoke with Sergeant Volstagg and the Olaran healers began to treat the wounded Rangers.

Sir Halten had been tracking the Rangers for a while, expecting an attack at some point. Unfortunately, when Sergeant Volstagg deviated from the established route, Sir Halten was unable to reach them in time. Nevertheless, Sir Halten congratulated the Sergeant on his peerless victory and gathered his men to return to Echer’Naught. Now on foot, he suggested that the Rangers head to Sir Volstagg’s nearby estate to rest and recuperate.

Golden Eagle 32nd, 3216

The following morning, Grendel awoke with a headache but no more worse for wear. The Alpha gathered the supplies provided by Sir Halten and proceeded on foot to Sir Volstagg (formerly Sir Wyvern’s) estate. The trip took three days.

Planting Moons 2nd, 3216

Three days later, Newt and Serys in the forward scout position crested a hill to see the former keep utterly in ruins. Suspecting a trap, Alpha Team deployed and cautiously approached the pile of smoldering rubble that was, a few days ago, a functioning Ranger outpost. There were no enemies therein, but nor were there living Rangers. Twenty four Rangers, along with six staff were brutally slaughtered, most crushed to death, a few clearly crushed slowly as in torture.

Of the keep, no two stones remained stacked. The entire keep, main hall, and walls had been toppled like children’s blocks. In the very heard of the devastation a single sky blue flag with a gold V embroidered waved lazily in the late spring breeze.

Tired, defeated, and in pain, Sergeant Vostagg posted guards, and ordered his Ranges to see to burying what was left of the dead while he contact Lady Moonsilver for orders.

Though we lack definitive proof, there is clear evidence that the destruction of the Volstagg Keep was wrought at the hands of Korash, the Destroyer of Armies, one of Velkalar. Also troubling, Seyrs recent admission. Also, the death of Kura’s brother, after those bitter events will likely be source of great anguish for the team, at the very least, Sergeant Volstagg.

Farspeaker, Eris Moonsilver

Addendum: First Hunt 20th. 3126

Prior to the Silver Shield ceremony on the morning of the 20th, Colonel Alexander Wolfhaven entered Echer’Naught’s Sacred Grove by his own request to personally oversee the transfer of former Ranger Dakota Afliem into Ranger custody. At 8 AM, citizen Dakota Afliem was remanded to Rangers to begin her two year prison sentence in Kythros to officially end, First Hunt 19th, 3128 (2019).

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Campaign Report 84
A Flower and a Cure

Report Filed 18th First Hunt 3126

Sergeant Minor Amelia Whitestone

18th of Falling Ice, 3126

RFC Zathlan, accompanied by Paladin Sebastian Surname, and our guide, Serys (a surly Alakar archer) departed Echer’Naught on horseback riding to meet us in Tar’Imas.

20th of Falling Ice, 3126

We were politely asked to leave the Gather of Fylg by the morning of the 20th. Everyone was, more or less, healed so I chose not to press the issue. Of course, not knowing what awaited us on our next mission, I tried to give the team enough time to sort their equipment while I conferred with Lady Moonsilver. Despite the utility of Farspeakers, I find the mental intrusion disquieting.

My new orders were to head west to the Aralon forest and wait for allies in the elven city of Tar’Imas. I was also under strict orders to keep our destination and mission secret. Which was easy to do considering other than “meet allies in Tar’Imas” I knew no more than my team.

After everyone saw to their gear maintenance, we gathered at our temporary shelter and were “walked out” of the Gather. That was an interesting experience. Though, I was not sorry to depart.

We marched West taking the northwest road from Fylg to Char for four days, the westernmost Guardian Gather. From there, we turned due west, travelling to just outside of Hispan in two days. Along they way, about a day outside of Hispan, my team entered into the Defiant Lands, a harsh and lawless region historically contested by the various local powers. Here, we doffed our Ranger kit and went as travelers. Per orders, we avoided the independent city. Turning north, we entered the Aralon forest.

Our greeting from the local elves was only slightly less inviting than our welcome to Fylg. These people were less hospitable than a Steiner in the Crimson Wall. Nevertheless, my passphrase, provided by Lady Moonsilver, was enough to prevent our outright execution. With no fanfare, we were escorted by our “hosts” into the elven woods and just outside the city of Tar’Imas, an ancient and well defended city. From what little I knew of this place, they had survived the War of Flame, despite Kal attempts to torch the woods. We arrived late on the 6th of First Hunt.

All in all, the trip trip took 20 days by foot. Our mounted allies were not far behind.

7th of First Hunt, 3126

The day after we arrived, our allies arrived, bringing with them a guide and my special package. First order of business was to introduce the new members to the team. Starting with Sebastian, a male, human Paladin who had recently served under the Colonel during the stand against Darkness. Considering our upcoming mission was Light oriented, I hoped his connection with “higher powers” would come in handy. Our other addition was an Alakar with connection to the local elves and a knowledge of a potential location for the Life-toched Angel’s Trumpet.

My second order of business was to pass on the “special package.” When RFC Ramshorn died, he left his sword and axe to the Colonel. After a conversation I had with the Colonel I deliberated long about who I might pass the shield on to. Ultimately, I elected to give the shield to RFC Daynore. Neither I nor Sergeant Volstagg needed the shield. RFC Amaroth could use it, but also did not necessarily require it. Of late, RFC Daynore has been useful in protecting our mages and healers, namely RFC Moldova. With this in mind, I handed him the shield with instructions that when a new member entered the team, he would pass the artifact on to that individual. Then, we set camp for the night while I discussed our plans with Serys.

8th of First Hunt, 3126

We departed by first light. Serys up front, Newt bringing up the rear. RFCs Audric and Zathlan took the flanks as we took the forest path north from the city. The elves seemed pleased to see us go.

10th of First Hunt, 3126

We arrived at a location two days north of the city in, or around, the area which Serys claims legend speaks of a tomb of one of Archanon’s first followers, right within a sacred grove. For reasons, the elves have abandoned it, letting Life take its course. How Serys knows of this place, I was cautioned not to press. Nevertheless, I ordered Sergeant Volstagg to break the team into pairs to increase our search area.

RFCs Amaroth and Daynor, Sergeant Volstagg and Ranger Newt, Grendel and Sebastian, RFCs Moldova and Zathlan; I was paired with Serys. We split up, staying in range of voice. It took time, hours, but RFC Amaroth spotted a circular glade from an arete line and alerted the team. By late afternoon, regrouped and made for the “glade”. Our unit was moving north and east, across broken terrain, crisscrossing the river in a winding path. Though more direct, it was also more treacherous. We were crossing yet another log bridge, when Sebastian lost his footing and plummeted into the river, wearing full armor. Before any of us had a chance to react, Serys pulled rope from his shoulder, tossed the end to Grendel and dove off the log into the river below. In moments, he reached the struggling Sebastian who thrashed so violently that Serys was forced to render the man unconscious. All was going well, when the rope slipped from Grendel’s hands.

Now, without anchor, Seyrs tried to maneuver both bodies to the shoreline, but fought the raging current. We, immediately back tracked and started down to them. It took the better part of the afternoon, but we managed to find them both, Serys had pulled Sebastian from the river, stripped his armor, breathed life into him, before wrapping the Paladin in his own cloak for warmth. RFC Moldova verified that the young man would live. We made camp that night.

11th of First Hunt, 3126

We resume our journey.

13th of First Hunt, 3216

It took two days, but we arrived without incident. Walking the river path, we descended ancient and weathered stone stairs. I sent Newt to scout the area and she returned with a report that the glade was a circle within the forest. There were eight stone structures, four arches framing kneeling stone statues (Paladins) and four straight standing stones. Within the center was a tomb, and a circle of flowers.

Finding no hint of danger, we sent RFC Moldova forward with Sergeant Volstagg in support. She entered the sacred glade with little issue, though indicated feeling power. With nothing doing, Volstagg entered the glade and things immediately went sideways. No sooner had Volstagg broken the boundary, when the four massive statures rose from their kneeling position and attacked both RFC Moldova and Sergeant Volstagg. Surrounded, I sent the rest of the team in to support. Serys and RFC Daynore remained behind in support.

RFC Amaroth charged in, trying to draw off the Celestial Stone Guardians. He managed one. We engaged the rest, but our weapons were of little help. Even if we could harm the statues, they almost immediately repaired themselves. From behind, Seyrs peppered them with explosive arrows which SEEMED to have an effect. Watching the battle for a time, I realized that no matter how we maneuvered, the Celestial Guardians always placed two guardians between the tomb and our forces while the others engaged. Considering how unintelligent they appeared, that was obviously programmed. And since they seemed to have a taste for RFC Amaroth, he would prove excellent bait.

I ordered my team to fall back, Serys providing cover. As I hoped, as soon as we left the circle, the Guardians resumed their vigil, two by the tomb, the others closest to our larger force. On a hunch, I sent RFC Moldova with Sebastian and Seyrs around the far side, one Paladin, one Blessed by Archonon, and our only hope of successfully recovering the flower. The others, I stacked near the rode. Simple plan. Sergeant Volstagg and I would try and take out two of the Guardian’s legs with our arcfire bombs. The rest of the team would split, Grendel vs one, the others vs the second and they would engage the remaining two Guardians. With two disabled and two under attack, I hoped the Serys could reach the flower, take it, and then Sebastian could recover it before the Guardians turned on them. Archanon willing, of course.

The plan worked, more or less. RFC Amaroth entered the sacred circle and immediately two of the Guardians attacked. I took one, Volstagg the second. My bombs did their work well. Both dropped to their knees. Unfortunately, I and Amaroth were caught the blasts. Volstagg weathered it well. The others struck and pinned the remaining Guardians. Serys broke for the flower while we held our ground. It seemed an eternity, but he did was was required, and Sebastian sprinted, vaulting the tomb grabbed the flower and escaped.

We withdrew, and once clear of the circle, the Guardians repaired themselves and resumed their post around the tomb. We took stock, and retreated.

15th of First Hunt, 3126

We arrived back at Tar’Imas two days later, Newt in the lead this time. Serys in the rear. RFC Moldova held the flower and water. We were just outside the city when I realized that the team was halted in the road. When I arrived, I found a creature, vaguely female with the body of a young child, but somehow…older. It, she, whatever, was engaged in conversation with my men. Volstagg, in particular, seemed frustrated. The creature, calling itself Eve, informed us that it, she, was not an enemy and that it, she, could aid us in returning harm. RFC Daynore contacted Eris, who contacted the…thing. In the end, Lady Moonsilver vouched for the creature and Eve led us into the city, right passed the guards. They seemed to part for this…girl.

Eve entered the sacred grove of this city, and there, we gathered into a circle. Even spoke and we rippled through space, arriving within Echer’Naught sacred grove. Lady Treesinger greeted us upon arrival. We were invited to stay within the grove, but, instead, I ordered my team back the barracks to clean, repair, and rest. Eve disappeared and we left the water and flower with the druidess. I, Sergeant Volstagg, and Seyrs went to report in, finding Colonel Wolfhaven in attendance.

16th of First Hunt, 3126

After the beating we took over our most recent two missions, I felt it appropriate to give my team some down time. Sergeant Major Stormhammer agreed to allow me to send them on Pub Patrol. More a ceremonial beat. Olaran commanders sometimes reward their best by ordering them to keep the peace within the keep, or city’s, taverns. My team was expected to break up fights, but were also allowed to drink, within reason.

I also welcomed Sebastian and Serys to the team as official Rangers of Echer’Naught. Also, I was informed by my men that someone was creating icons of the Colonel, clay, wood, pewter, and if you were rich enough, White Silver. Also, Sergeant Volstagg prevented Grendel from stealing one of the icons. Apparently, he knows nothing of commerce.

That same night, at 10PM, we arrived at the Sacred Grove to witness the ritual we sacrificed so much to achieve. The elves here were actually hospitable, but I was more interested in getting on with it. We witnessed the usual swaying, singing, chanting and magic. Sometime during the 13th hour, the Everwood bowl, the water of pureness, fine raw crysarium powder, Archanon’s Light, the Life-touched Angel’s Trumpet were all joined. Interestingly, High Druidess Treesinger gave up her station in charge of the ritual to the girl-creature Eve.

Sometime late into the 13th hour, an elf was brought into the Sacred Grove, clearly afflicted with the plague. The woman was given the water, and we all were allowed to take hammocks within the grove to wait. I admit, while first skeptical, I had one of my most peaceful night’s sleep while there.

17th of First Hunt, 3126

Early in the morning on the 17th, High Druidess Treesinger informed us all that the cure was successful. Though, full healing would take time. I dismissed my team to take the day off while I spoke with Colonel Wolfhaven, and Sheriff Halten about future plans. It was during those meetings that my approval for transfer to Kythros was accepted. Colonel Wolfhaven, Sir Halten, and I discussed the future of the team. Sergeant Volstagg has proven more than capable and, clearly, Sir Halten prefers him to me. The team has meshed well over the last months and the new additions are working well. Time will tell if they will survive as a team.

Nevertheless, my appointment was always intended to be temporary. And, with a new leader emerging in Volstagg…the time had come for me to move on. I debated calling the team together and telling them like Rangers are accustomed to doing, but time is pressing. I knew Volstagg would handle things.

Odd enough, later that evening, Sergeant Volstagg himself arrived in Colonel Wolfhaven’s office as we were wrapping up the details of the transfer of authority. I bade him farewell. It was notably Olaran. I respected that. Should he ever find himself in Kythros, I will treat him to a drink.

18th of First Hunt, 3126

I was gone by the morning, but I know that my Rangers would be meeting Sir Halten for the first time under Sergeant Volstagg’s command. I wish them well. My Hunt continues.

Final Report as Echer’Naught Alpha Team Commander

Sergeant Minor Amelia Whitestone

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Campaign Report 83
Tall Drink of Water

Report Filed 20th Falling Ice 3126

Sergeant Minor Amelia Whitestone

15th Falling Ice, 3125

The day after Trainee Grendel arrived, I assembled my team for our morning brief in the back room of the Barracks, only to realize that we could no longer meet inside due to the Ogre. So, we retired to the unsecured courtyard where I addressed the team and introduced out newest recruit, Newt.

Newt is a Brinchie merc who joined the Rangers after action fighting during the recent holding action against Shaya’Nor. On her paperwork, the 14th of Falling Ice, 3126 is her official date of duty, as with Grendel the Ogre.

Once normal introductions were completed, I explained out new mission. As has been noted, the plague referred to as Vainar’s Bane or Vengeance has burned through the elven population, particularly within the city. Over the course of two years, various research projects and the sacrifices of numerous Rangers resulted in a breakthru in which Malcom, our resident scribe, determined that the plague was, in fact, an alchemical construct, a poison as it were.

A the time, he lacked the information on combating such a weapon. But, after further research, and information gleaned during our recent food investigation, it would appear that a ritual has been constructed to create an antidote of sorts.

Most of the ingredients for said ritual have been reported as “standard”, whatever that may mean. However, two items in particular were deemed as critical: “Water of absolute pureness”, and “a sprig of Life-touched Angel’s Trumpet found on the highest peaks, in the darkest jungles, or within a forgotten glade.”

Few, if any, guidelines were offered. As Malcom explained the translations were mostly guesswork and ancient alchemical manuscripts are universally frustrating and poetic. With no further information I put it to the team what they wished to investigate first. After RFC Amaroth flipped a coin, we settled on the water.

A number of plausible ideas were offered, but the most likely was Sergeant Volstagg’s suggestion that such a think MIGHT be found on the isle of Og’M’Drakar. Having never personally visited the isle, though always wondering at the challenge, I approved the mission. There had also been reports of Tempest units spotted or encountered on the island. Regardless, this would prove to be an interesting mission.

I left Sgt Volstagg in charge of acquiring the necessary gear while I arranged “transportation” with Sgt Major Stormhammer and consulted with our library for the most recent maps of the island.

16th Falling Ice, 3126

We met before dawn the following morning. Per arrangements with Sgt Major Stormhammer, my team hiked to a location north of the city where the Sgt Major and his team were setting up an Arcfire Teleportation device. RFC Amaroth questioned the Ranger’s posession and use of such a device. In truth, there are many among the upper echelons who dislike use of arcfire, particularly Col Wolfhaven. However, high monetary cost aside, I have read reports which indicate the utility and accuracy of this device in particular.

So, I assembled my team in the ring of arcfire pylons while the Sgt Major powered up the machine.

Our raiding party consisted of:
Sgt Minor Whitestone
Sgt Volstagg
RFC Amaroth
RFC Moldova
RFC Daynore
Ranger Newt
Trainee Grendel

Sir Stahn has been pulled for active roster, RFC Zathlan is on medical leave.

The device fired, and my team was teleported, rather violently, to a location just south of the southernmost Guaridan Gather, Fylg. We were met by a Defender of the Gather, an Orc who never bothered to give his name. So too, we were “inspected” by a Shaman, female Orc, who seemed to allow our passing.

Once the inspection was completed, we were led through the Gather to a location north and just inside the outermost ring-wall. There, we were told to wait in a small, stone structure, a crude imitation of a human dwelling. I focused on prepping my gear. The others amused themselves, while Grendel waited outisde.

Just after dark on the 16th, we were summoned by the Orc and led out of the Gather to the bank of the Lake. There, we began a short few hour run around the south-west bend of the lake to a location away from the Gather. The hope, as I understand, was to avoid detection by any enemy, see Tempest, forces on the island.

One the spot was chosen four Orcs lowered a wide, flat bottomed boat into the water and my team, Grendel included, boarded. We were ordered to sit silently while the Orcs gingerly rowed us across, making sure to make no noise in the effort. I am impressed with their skill and discipline.

It took hours to reach the far side. We arrived sometime in the 13th hour.

17th Falling Ice, 3126

Beaching the boat on the sandy shore, I sent Newt ahead to scout out landing while the team gathered their gear and prepared to offload on the beach. We never got the chance. Newt had barely reached the berm when about 60 yards insland, arclances opened up on our position.

Most of my team was struck, though not badly. Two the Orcs were killed instantly, a third mortally wounded. I ordered the team to seek cover behind the berm as tracer fire lit the night sky. Then I heard the horn. So much for the Element of Surprise.

Even as we hit threw ourselves down in the sand, Newt flow over head, in flames, headed for the lake. She doused herself in the water, before being plucked from the lake and thrown to safety by Sgt Volstagg.

Pinned as we were on the beach, ever second brought enemy reinforcements closer. Our enemy were sitting in a rough, wooden tower across a fairly clear killing field. Three arclancers.

I sent Newt around the flank to try and scale the tower. I ordered Grendel and the Orc to wait for her distraction before rushing the tower. Volstagg, Amaroth and I would make a zigzag run, cover to cover, to try and draw fire away from Newt. Daynor and Moldover would provide ranged and magical assistance.

On my order, Newt took off and the distraction squad broke cover. We ALL came under immediate and accurate fire. Newt took hits, Volstagg was riddled with arcfire and one crysalite punched straight through Amaroth, armor and all.

My shield was cut to ribbons as I took the center path toward the tower. But, we had numbers and sheer dumb luck. My team survived, if barely, the enemy fire and Newt reached the tower, though she was, again, in flames.

As soon as she reached it, I ordered an all out assault. My plan of her climbing the tower and engaging the arclancers in melee did not work, but, to her credit, rather than put out the flames, she actually used herself as a living torch to light their tower on fire. Hell of the thing.

The rest of us assaulted the wooden supports, hacking furiously at the bindings while Grendel suppressed the arclancers. Daynore managed to drop one of the arclancers with a bolt, and distract a second.

We had almost managed to bring the tower down when one of the arclancers hit a kill swith immolating himself and his comrades in an arcfire cataclysm. Though badly singed, we all survived the blast.

The Orc fell back to the boats to seek reinforcements from the gather. My team took a few moments to quaff healing potions and tend to wounds, Newt being mostly burn tissue before we formed up and struck out inland.

Tempest forces had been alerted to our presence, but they did NOT know our destination. That gave us a chance to reach the sacred spring located on the map I had procured. Whether we would be able to get out again, that was a the question.

We hiked for about 5 hours. The terrain was savage, and wild. I could see the strain the magic of the place put on Daynore and Moldova. Even I could feel the energy of the place, chaotic and oppressive. Just after mid day, we arrived at the location indicated on the map and I could feel the change in the atmosphere. Things here felt, calmer, more…alive…

At the center of a glade was pool of pure, crystal clear water fed by a spring of melted snow… The first thaw of spring, fresh, untouched snow. It could get no more pure.

I stepped forward to fill the whitesilver canteen I had procured from Stormhammer when I felt a heavy hand on my shoulder. Sgt Volstagg nodded to Moldove. “She should do it. She has never taken a life.” I was impressed by the wisdom of the thought.

So, without comment, I passed the canteen to her, and ordered the team to spread out and form a perimeter. She seemed a bit unsettled, but, resolved. I could hear her praying to Archanon, odd, I never knew she had faith. And then, she dipped the canteen in the water, filled it to the bring without actually touching the pool. And it was done.

We were about to form up when Daynore asked whether that damned flower might also be located here. I ordered a five minute search. We found nothing, though our scout Newt alerted us to advancing Tempest troops.

Immediately we turned south and headed for the nearest beach. Speed was of the essence. We travelled another two hours before Newt fell back to warn us that the Tempest forces were setting up a wide search grid. The look on Volstagg’s face confirmed my worst fears. Not knowing where we had gone, they saturated the countryside in small teams working a careful search pattern that eliminated any real means of escape.

We had to punch out. Volstagg agreed. And so began the mad, harrowing run for the beach. We ran for over two hours, encountering Tempest ambushes every few minutes. Arclancer tracer fire light the forest, starting fires and shattering trees. Everyone was hit. Volstagg, to his credit shielded our most vulnerable members.

And, miraculously, we made it to the beach, and ALMOST escaped intact What happened next, I can only report as it was reported to me.

I had just hit the beach when an arclancer caught me from behind. I went down and my world went black. So too, Volstagg went down. I think Moldova as well.

Even as our bodies hit the sands, Orcs rose from the water where they had lurked for…hours? They rushed the Tempest forces closing on our position. Even as the Fylg Defenders engaged the Tempest, more Orcs threw sand blended covers off boats and ushered us onboard, dragging the fallen. As their men died on the beaches, we were rowed to safety.

Once on the far side, late on the 17th, we were again taken to the small, human barracks and our wounds attended to. Here, RFC Amaroth took command and acted ably.

20th Falling Ice, 3126

I and the others remained unconscious until early on the 20th. It has taken some time to recover, but I am well enough to move now, and so file this report. While I was out, Daynore contacted Lady Moonsilver and delivered our report.

I must say, Sgt Volstagg’s suggestions and willingness to protect his team, RFC Amaroth stepping up to command in our absence, RFC Daynore taking care to report with me out of commission, RFC Moldova’s actions during battle and her action at the spring, Newt’s selfless act by using herself to burn out the enemy, even Trainee Grendel following orders and holding position until commanded…I believe they are now ready.

That said, I have received orders to wait until the team is ready, I would say two more days. After which, I must take the team out and head west. A new ally and RFC Zathlan will meet us at our new location.

I will give Tempest one thing, they know how to fight like Olarans. Come to it, I am not sure in an all out war we can win. Not without help. I fear only the Kal Empire might have the military might to stop them. That is a sobering thought.

Sergeant Minor Amelia Whitestone

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Echer'Naught Watcher, 1
Issue 1, Falling Ice 1st, 3126

EcherNaught_Watcher_Issue_1.png

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Campaign Report 82
The Changing of The Guard

Report Filed 14th Falling Ice 3126

Sergeant Minor Amelia Whitestone

2nd Dark Moons, 3125

As mentioned in my previous report, my team, minus RFC Ramshorn, returned through the Ebonway to the basement safehouse of the, as of yet, unidentified criminal empire to rejoin our “allies” the werewolf brother of the new wife of our commander Colonel Wolfhaven, who also happens to be the absentee Lord Mayor of Echer’Naught, the Necromancer hired to transport us, and the smuggler/criminal Trokash who it seems has regular dealings with both the Col and Alpha team during prior missions.

The Werewolf, Necromancer, and Smuggler all survived the mission without injury.

We returned with Sergeant Major Magor Stormhammer who, other than nakedness and some loss of hair, survived the extraction well. He had previously received a mortal wound to his abdomen which he informed me he would get immediately treated.

Again, as mentioned, the Werewolf brother-in-law to Colonel Alexander Wolfhaven murdered the Necromancer in cold blood before leaving our company. Of the Smuggler, I know not. He managed to slip away quietly during the confusion of our return. I have no doubt that he will be a regular contract for out team, based on the Ranger’s current operational standards.

While the rest of my team recovered from their wounds, I exited the criminal safehouse to recon the area. Farspeaker Moonsilver had been in constant contact and had, per agreement, dispatched security and healers to our location as soon as we made the gate. They arrived within minutes, Wolfhaven Free Riders establishing a perimeter and Ranger Healers tending to my wounded.

Sergeant Major Stormhammer refused any onsight healing and, taking Ranger Moldova’s cloak, stomped his way back to the city. After which, I lost all contact until returning over a month later.

Once our immediate medical needs were attended to, I assembled my team, mounted up, and headed north to the Wolfhaven Barony. Considering the recent mission, and the fact that our activities were still “off-books”, my standing orders were to retreat to the Wolfhaven Barony and wait for further orders. As my team required to time heal and process the recent events, I declined to object. However, while Colonel Wolfhaven is in command of the Rangers, but pretends to maintain his Olaran duties as separate, as evidenced by the travesty of a court, it is questionably ethical for him to use his private residence as a retreat for his “favored” Rangers.

It being winter, and the ground still snowed, we made roadside accommodations along the way at a couple of inns that have begun to thrive on increased traffic from Echer’Naught.

4th of Dark Moons, 3125

On the 4th of Dark Moons, 3125 we arrived at the Wolfhaven Barony at just after dark. My team was given quarters according to station, not position within the Rangers. Corporal Ravenwood-Regillus joined her husband in their private suite. Corporal Volstagg and Ranger Nexus was also affored private quarters due to her elevated station. Even Sir Stahn, who had been in charge of securing and transporting our gear to the Manor also received his own accommodations.

Ranger Amaroth, as a Sworn of the House was bunked with the other Sworn in the barracks. Rangers Moldova and Daynore received smaller accommodations. I was offered a private room, but I declined opting for an office with a cot and a fireplace.

A few hours after arrival we were summoned to attend Baroness Wolfhaven. She graciously welcomed us to her home and provided refreshment. After which, my Rangers retired to whatever tasks or relaxation suited their interest and I resumed communication with Farspeaker Moonsilver and received updates on the war and other situations of potential import.

Of note, while making my rounds, I noted that the Wolfhaven Barony has been recently rebuilt using Stonesingers from Stahlheim, no doubt gifts from the Colonels many admirers. Though, I find it odd how little furnished the manorhouse has remained. It seems uncharacteristic of the Baroness to allow such details of fashion to escape her attention. Also of note, the defense of the Manor House has been assigned to Sir Regillus. He is, as of the 4th, only beginning work on the walls and ramparts, using, I might note, Tempest design and techniques with further assistance from Stahlheim.

We remained on “leave” for two more days before I received an emergency assignment from Farspeaker Moonsilver. A “package” was being stored at a nearby farmhouse and required Ranger security until it could be examined and retrieved. I was ordered to assemble my team and proceed east. From there, I would be given more instruction. Also, I was to inform no one outside my team, not even our gracious hosts.

6th of Dark Moons, 3125

I complied. We departed with an hour of receiving orders and proceeded on a days ride cross country until we reached the farmhouse. The trip would have taken half the time were I not forced to stop and wait for more direction at each leg of the journey.

7th of Dark Moons, 3125

Regardless, we reached the farmhouse late on the 7th. I approached as ordered and found RFC Leaora Nazir waiting at the farmhouse. She had no fire, no lights. I ordered Corporal Volstagg to stable the horses, Corporal Ravenwood to scout and I entered to find out what our mission was.

I should have been surprised to discover that the “package” was an overweight Olaran merchant, but I was not. I was, however, surprised that RFC Nazir was equally in the dark. She seemed to know less that I. Standard Ranger Protocol.

My orders were to secure the package, and so I posted Corporal Volstagg and Ranger Amaroth in the room itself with our “guest”, Rangers Moldova and Zathlan took the main room/kitchen. Corporal Ravenwood and Ranger Daynore took the back and front of the house, respectively, outside. I took RFC Nazir with me, not fully trusting her, away from the house. I had strict orders NOT to send or receive Telepathic communication from near the farmhouse. So, we marched out into the night to wait for the scheduled report.

We were gone just over an hour. When we returned, I found the entire situation had gone straight to the Abyss. We had just cleared the treeline when I spotted Ranger Amaroth, covered in wounds and blood, standing over the body of Ranger Daynore. Amoroth seemed out of it, possibly berserk. No sigh of other activity.

I posted Nazir to my right with orders to drop anyone coming at us, and approached Amaroth, sword drawn and ordered him to drop his weapon and surrender. He seemed…dazed, confused. Clearly he was not in his right mind. Due to his most recent mark with Flame, I was forced to assume that he had snapped and gone over completely.

His eyes started to focus and he seemed to regain some awareness, then, in shock, dropped his bloody sword into the snow by Daynore’s cooling body.

At about this time, Corporal Ravenwood turned the corner of the house. Following orders, Nazir hit her with a knife, Ravenwood responded by firing an arrow through Nazir’s arm. If the Corporal were fallen or puppeted, this situation was truly tossed. I gave Corporal Ravenwood a single order to stand down. She complied, to my relief, as did Nazir.

I am glad. My only other option would have been to close the distance fast enough and kill Ravenwood before she could loose one of her arrows.

Ravenwood stood down, but I did not lower my guard. I ordered Nazir to clear the house. Though I could not trust her, I at least knew that she had been with me when the attack happened AND if she were my enemy, she could have more easily attacked me while alone. In fact, I had hoped she would try.

Nazir emerged from the house and confirmed my fears. My team was down, the “package” gone. Though, strangely, though all had suffered head wounds, none were slain. Odd.

Nazir was wounded and, again, the most trustworthy at the moment. I ordered her to secure Amaroth and remain at the house while I tracked our attacker with Corporal Ravenwood. I ordered the Corporal to take point. If she were going to make a move, it would afford me a few precious seconds to reach her before she loosed.

Without error, Corporal Ravenwood tracked the attacker and the “package” to a clearing not far away. There, we came upon the “package” standing alone in the snow, gazing up at the sky, unmoving, not even to shiver. His posture reminded me somewhat of Amaroth’s, but far more…permanent. I approached while Ravenwood covered me. If that were a mistake, it would have been my last.

Coming around the man’s front I could tell he was dead. His lifeless eyes simply stared up. I touched him lightly and he toppled backwards into the snow with a wet thud. Stranger. He had not a mark on him.

In the dark, we could find no more tracks, so I shouldered the corpse and trudged back to the farmhouse with Ravenwood on watch.

Arriving, I dumped the body in the snow nearby and began to collect the other fallen Rangers and lay them in their bedrolls, making sure to cover them well. No sense having them die of exposure or frostbite while unconscious.

We tended to them, RFC Nazir, Corporal Ravenwood, and myself, all maintaining suspicious watch over each other. Ranger Amaroth shivered and remained silent, contemplative. We tended his wounds as best we could.

Over five hours later, Volstagg stirred. His body I had been forced to roll into the cot in the back. He was too heavy to move in his plate. Upon waking he shouted for me. When I entered, he accused me of attacking him and taking the man. At which point, I honestly had nothing to counter other than I knew that I had not.

We convinced him to at least entertain the idea that I was not an assassin and coaxed him out. He informed us that he had been watching the man read, Amaroth alseep in the cot, when I had knocked on the door and asked to speak with him. He let me in, I questioned him about the man, what he was reading and if he had checked for weapons. When I ordered him to search the man, he turned to comply when I struck him in the back of the head and made a move on the man.

Some time later, Ranger Moldova awoke and also accused me of attacking her. She said that I had returned from my trip with Nazir, asked her about her condition, commented on how quickly Ranger Zathlan had slept before knocking her out too. And then, presumably, striking Zathlan who was still out.

Ranger Daynore awoke next and provided the most useful intel. According to him, something posing as me had approached him and demanded a report. He was just informing it, me, that neither he, nor Corporal Ravenwood out back had seen anything when he realized that I had called Ravenwood by her first name, Samira. I am not wont to do so. That tipped him that it might be an imposter.

Sadly, the imposter realized this, “turned into a puddle?”, appeared behind him and struck him down just like the others.

Eventually, Ranger Zathlan also awoke, but she had little to offer. She had been asleep when struck.

As for Ranger Amaroth. He claims to have gone to sleep in the back room to get rest before his watch and then awoke standing in the yard, bloody, wounded with me threatening to run him through. He had no memory of the attack, how he received his wounds, whose blood was on his sword…nothing.

8th of Dark Moons, 3125

Before the excitement, Farspeaker Moonsilver had informed me that we would be receiving special reinforcements. A few hours after dawn, Ravenwood and Nazir alerted us that a stranger was approaching from the woods. I posted in the door, Ravenwood covered from a window.

The Stranger was a human man, dressed in nondescript travelling clothes, gray cloak, wide hat, and staff. I have less suspicious-looking ratzin. As soon as he approached, I gave him orders to halt while I sent RFC Nazir to confirm his identify. I had a feeling she would somehow know. I was proven correct.

However, he seemed equally suspicious of our team. And since we did not know him and he knew nothing of us, and Nazir’s word notwithstanding, he demanded that we submit to an immediate mind scan. And Adept. Unsurprising.

What was surprising is that he permitted Daynore to scan him first as a sign of good will. Once Daynore gave the nod, the Stranger proceeded to scan the team, starting with me and working around. He hung up on both Ravenwood and Amaroth, not unexpected. He also found Daynore of interest, but apparently, none of us were enemy agents. Though, he admitted any of us MIGHT be shades. Lovely.

Once done with the mutual mental under and over, we explained to him the situation, the attack, and the missing package. He immediately demanded to know if any of us had memory loss. I found his question suspiciously on point. We indicated Amaroth. Without asking, he probed more deeply and confirmed what we all suspected, Amaroth’s mind had been wiped.

So, with that news, the Stranger and Nazir went off to track the assassin while my team healed and made preparations to leave. Without a package to secure, our presence was hardly required. Only RFC Nazir returned, about a half our later. She explained our mystery reinforcements was tracking the attacker.

At this point it was fairly obvious that someone was running an operation that we were but disposable parts. In truth, I have little issue sacrificing myself or my team in defense of the Rangers and the Southern Kingdoms. I have zero patience for cloak and dagger missions. As the too neatly ordered farmhouse, conveniently well maintained but suspiciously empty was obviously some form of waystation or safe-house for such operations, I felt it only appropriate that we be compensated for our time. If my team is to be treated as mercenaries, then we may as well behave as such.

Before we rode out that morning on the 8th, we took all the supplies we could carry. I am certain the costs will simply disappear into whatever hole all the other costs for shadow mission fall.

10th of Dark Moons, 3125

We arrived back at the Barony on the 10th, and took up residence. Each day I requested orders and each day I was ordered to hold and wait. So, we waited. more than four weeks. At some point, I learned that Corporal Volstagg and various female members of our unit availed themelves of the “bathes” in the manor for a group drinking session.

It is not my purview to regulate the private lives of my men. And, we have been on leave for some time. The Rangers lax attitude toward fraternization, that said, I find it highly disturbing for members of the team, in particular one bent on attaining command to have such casual relationships with those he ostensibly does and will command. Though, I am in no position to comment or reprimand. It is simply a situation I must contend with and, inevitably, deal with when it presents issues. I much prefer the Olaran system.

13th of Dark Moons, 3125

Three days later, on the 13th of Dark Moons, 3125, Ranger Amaroth entered my office, early, to inform me that his memories had flooded back. He confirmed that my doppelganger had attacked. He awoke to find “her” lowering Volstagg’s unconscious body to the floor, no small feat of strength. Then, when he rose to engage, the “package” fled like a coward.

He and the attacker exchanged blows, but she/it, retreated to chase down the man. Amaroth gave chase, found himself outside nearly stumbling over Daynore’s body. Pausing to confirm if his teammate was alive or dead, he was struck from behind, then all went black. His report merely confirmed what we already knew. Though, still no word on who the “package” was, why RFC Nazir was involved, or who our “special reinforcements” actually was.

I doubt I will ever have clearance to know. Not that I particularly care.

1st of Falling Ice, 3126

We continued to wait, as stated for weeks. At the turn of the new year, 3126, Corporal Volstagg, again, hosted a Ribald. He invited the entire team, myself included. They attended, I did not. I believe Corporal Ravenwood also declined. By all accounts, most everyone had fun, got drunk, and generally made the fool. I am glad they are healing so well.

Both Ranger Amaroth and Corporal Volstagg sought me out to wish me well in the new year. As much as I appreciate the sentiment, I could not care less about the date, or celebrations. A month we have sat on our hands. Rest is one thing, this… We are being sidelined. And command refuses to provide any information.

I also think my Rangers are concerned about my well-being. Again, sentiment is appreciated, but their ministrations are ill-placed. The fact that a commander maintaining military bearing and non-fraternization with the troops is viewed with such pity spells doom for the Corps as a whole. If Corporal Volstagg is to be the measure of inter-unit relations, I fear I have no place here. Odd, I never suspected the Col of such liberties, despite his many other faults. Perhaps I am entirely wrong about him as well.

9th of Falling Ice, 3126

On the 9th of Falling Ice, 3126, Baron Wolfhaven returned from the the front with fanfare appropriate to his station. As per protocol, we attended his arrival. He conducted his greetings with an admirable efficiency. Then, invited all to eat. While dining, he expressed his desire to get on with the reading of RFC Ramshorn’s will as soon as possible. I could not have agreed more.

After a brief respite to change and clean, the Colonel invited us all into his private office. We were also joined by the Ogress Fekla who has been an on-again, off-again member of the team. She crouched outside while we all packed into the room.

I will leave the details for the Will to stand alone. His shield I turned over to the Colonel, per RFC Ramshorn’s wishes. After the reading, we hosted the last call. Baron Wolfhaven opened the floor, explaining his exemplary record. Nearly everyone spoke, even Sir Regillus. I spoke last. Despite my misgiving about his flame-touch, and his criminal record, Ramshorn had ever done his duty and he died as an Olaran. I could ask for no better.

During the evening, the Baron returned the shield to me and instructed me to pass it on to the newest of my team which used shields. And as each new member added, the shield would be passed on, protecting the least experienced of the group. I accepted with honor.

I left about the same time as the Colonel, though in the hall, I noted Corporal Ravenwood also stopping to speak with him. After enough campaigns, you get a sense of which attacks are going to go wrong, and which of your men have seen enough.

Feeling reflective, I went out to sit in the cold, and allow the brisk air to focus my thoughts. After some time, I was joined by Corporal Ravenwood. She informed me of the deal struck with the Colonel. Ravenwood, Lady Regillus, was transferring out, taking a desk job back in Echer’Naught. More important, she was with child. I hope only the best for her. She will be missed.

10th of Falling Ice, 3126

The following morning on the 10th, a small service was held in the Chapel, some of my Rangers failed to make it due to excess the night before. The Baron stayed only long enough before leaving for the front. Just before noon on the 10th, I called the team together.

First, I informed them that, at long last, we were to return to active duty in Echer’Naught. Second, all of those participating in the mission received a promotion.

I was promoted to Sergeant Minor

Corporal Samira Ravenwood Regillus was promoted to Sergeant
Corporal Gunther Volstagg was promoted to Sergeant.
Ranger Nexus Zathlan was promoted to Ranger First Class
Ranger Gracelyn Moldova was promoted to Ranger First Class
Ranger Durlan Daynore was promoted to Ranger First Class
Ranger Audric Amaroth, was promoted to Ranger First Class

Also, we informed the unit that upon our arrival, Sergeant Ravenwood would be leaving our company and that she was with child. The fact that she would retire safely, and with the hope of a family seemed to cheer the group. I do not believe I have ever witnessed a unit more pleased to lose one of their own.

11th of Falling Ice, 3126

We left the following morning before dawn on the 11th and rode hard. Later on the 12th of Falling Ice, we reached the city of Echer’Naught.

12th of Falling Ice, 3126

As we entered the North Gate, we passed a new stature in the courtyard. It would seem that Sergeant Magor Stormhammer carved a likeness of Ramshorn twice his normal height, and placed it just inside the gate, facing inward; a constant guardian and reminder of sacrifice. The inscription our unofficial motto: “There is no heroism without sacrifice.” That and RFC Thorgram Ramshorn, 3125

That statue had a sobering effect on the team. But, we returned immediately to the Regional HQ where I took the liberty of my quasi-official status to deliver a verbal report to the acting Colonel. I informed him of our collaboration with Darkness to recover Stormhammer, and the loss of one of our own. I then informed him of our second off-book mission that might have been a complete failure, though being completely ignorant of the actual mission, I could not say. I did provide a location of the corpse should he wish to have it retrieved. I then explained that I was leaving his office to deliver the report to my true commander, Sir Halten, and that he had, maybe, 3-4 hours to decide how the Rangers wished to spin the events.

With that, I made good on my word, riding to Sir Halten’s estate. There, we were ushered into his office within fifteen minutes of our arrival, a small miracle. I delivered more or less the same report, informing him that I had previously reported to the Rangers. As I was leaving, he asked about the nature of Ramshorn’s death. I explained that he died as an Olaran. His only comment was, “Surprising.” He also congratulated me on a job well done, another shocker.

Exiting his office on my own volition, I dismissed my team and informed them that, until told otherwise, they were still on leave. I then left. I can assume they went off to drink. That seems to be their new norm.

14th of Falling Ice, 3126

Finally, on the eve of the 14th of Falling Ice I received orders to arrive at Sir Haltens. Upon arriving, I noted a Ranger Trainee Ogre in the courtyard. Clearly, this was a new member of my team. I could think of no other reason why Sir Halten would permit him entry to his estate. I met with the Sheriff while my team waited outside.

Grendel, as the Ogre was named, was only the first of my new recruits which would be straggling in over the next few days. We also had a new assignment to begin as soon as my team assembled. Malcom request my presence.

Exiting the office, I introduced the team to Grendel. After ordered them to get him sorted, I left to meet with Malcom secure that they would take care of the Trainee. Though I am non-plussed about our new assignment, anything is better than standing around useless for a month.

Time will tell how the new members fit with the group. With Lady Regillus gone, there is no one left from the original team. Sad to say, I doubt most of us will be here within six months. The Rangers of Echer’Naught are not an occupation for those who care to have long, productive lives.

I will add an addendum here: Let it be noted that Ranger Muriel, Ramshorn’s Donkey also received a promotion to RFC. Moreover, despite a deep depression following his death, reports state that she seems to be eating now and is working on the front lines near Bearheart. I cannot say why I would care about the drunk ass who caused more trouble than half my team, but part of me hopes she also finds a way to survive her service and live out a long, happy life.

Sergeant Minor Amelia Whitestone

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Last Will and Testament of RFC Thorgram Ramshorn
Died Dark Moons 1st, 3125

The Last Will and Testament of Thorgram Ramshorn

If you are reading this I am dead. In which I hope I did valiantly and for my friends. I’ve done what seems more bad than good in this world, and hopefully my death will settle any debts I owe the living. I don’t have much but what I do I would like to be given thusly.

To Samira, one of my oldest and dearest friends, I wish to give the dagger from VonD’s home. It’s nothing more than a simple dagger, but it’s all I have left of our dark demented comrade, who saved us from many a peril. And I hope to wish you a long happy life with Anaxellum. You two proved to me how love can bring together the greatest foes and make their bonds stronger than any hatred. Farewell my friend and I wish all the happiness to you and your loved ones.

To my dear friend Feklah, who once again gave me a gather to call my own, I wish to return the dragon scale. It is buried beneath Evorin’s tree for safe keeping. I hope I have done our gather proud and you also, wherever you may be. You gave me the gift of a gather, and I’m afraid that I will never be able to repay you this debt. Please remember me fondly and continue on the proud tradition of the kilt.

To Danica, I leave what may be more of a burden than a gift, but to her I leave Muriel and King. I heard during my absence you and Muriel had grown quite close, and I’m sorry that I never thanked you properly for looking after her. They seem like nothing more than simple mules, but in every since they were part of my family. I hope they both serve you well as they have me. Farewell my friend and watch after them both.

To Volkstagg I can leave only an apology. I know that those from the crimson wall have seen the horrors of flame and those touched by it, yet you still fought by my side. I am truly sorry for everything I have done because of this curse, the blood on my hands is thick and ever flowing. I hope that you may someday see us as comrades, no matter how different we were. Thank you for helping me protect my friends, for that I can never thank you enough. Farewell my large red comrade.

To Audric I am afraid that I have nothing to give, except my deepest gratitude for all you’ve done in protecting me and my friends. I know the pain of losing one’s family and I am deeply sorry for your loss. I wish you all the luck in finding those responsible and pray for your family to be avenged. Farewell my one-eyed comrade.

To Ryzak and Thomas I wish a swift and just sentence. I understand what it is like to be put in chains and wish you would not have had to endure such a thing. I believe what you did was only that which you felt was right, and I can think of no greater cause for action. I hope you both go on to live long happy lives filled with adventure and friends. Just know that you will always have a friend and brother in me, no matter where we are. Farewell my brothers.

To Dakota I wish her and her child a long happy life. I know you share the same fate as both Ryzak and Thomas, and again I wish for a swift and just sentence. I regret never meeting your child but I found great joy in knowing of another half-orc, and I am sure she will grow up to be as beautiful as her mother and as strong as her father. Take care of yourselves and know how proud I am to have known you and your wonderful daughter. Farewell my friend, may the ascended guard both you and your child.

Finally to the great colonel Wolfhaven, I return the magnificent shield you gave me and axe. I hope I was worthy enough to wield such a treasure, and I hope I was of some use in my time serving the Rangers and such a great man as yourself. Please pass this on to those who will continue to use it in the defense of others. I can never thank you enough for all you have done and sacrificed for me and all of Echer’Naught. Farewell my fearless leader and I hope you and the lady a long and happy life in Echer’ Naught.

I apologize to all those I did not mention by name, but I can never begin to thank all of you who have been part of my journey with the Rangers and within the walls of Echer’ Naught. I hope you all live long happy lives with those you love and cherish. And to my fallen comrades, I hope to see you soon with stories of all the great deeds done by the ones we have left behind. Farewell my friends.

Sincerely,
Ranger 1st Class- Thorgram Ramshorn

P.S. When you find Hawkesclaw, tell him I said hi.

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Campaign Report 81
Shivak Novos Echer'Naught Raid//Death of RFC Thorgram Ramshorn

Report Filed 2nd Dark Moons 3125
Sergeant Amelia Whitestone

2nd White River, 3125
Colonel Alexander Wolfhaven departed the camp, his wedding camp, just after dawn leaving his new bride and her retinue to make their own way back to Echer’Naught. The newly minted Wolf Guard broke down and Baroness’ caravan was gone by early afternoon. Sir Halten accompanied the good lady with his men. The Priest Thaleon and most of the others also departed by eve. Few remained.

My orders were to work with the “merchant” Trokash to begin preparations for our mission. Lady Eris Moonsilver contacted me, via Telepathy, and we arranged for constant contact from the point of the mission start. By necessity, Sir Regillus would also be aware of our operation, so he was instructed to establish a base of operations at the Wolfhaven Manor where the team gear would be secured until after the mission.

3rd White River, 3125
After a long night talking over all of the intelligence gathered by Baroness Wolfhaven, Madame Lillithien, and the Baroness’ brother during their pre-nuptial recon into Shivak Novos. I find her brother, Sir Lothal, to be arrogant and erudite, but factual, focused, and surprisingly easy to work with.

I must reiterate my severe misgivings about working with agents of Darkness, especially with the war on, but Colonel Wolfhaven gave me is personal surety that Sir Lothal, the Werewolf Lord, and brother in law to the Colonel, would cooperate fully. I have accepted this mission under protest.

Gathering the “Alpha” Team, we began to discuss strategy. Our most pressing issue would be to establish a entry point close enough to the city to make our assault possible, but far enough away that we would not attract attention.

Corporal Ravenwood remembered a conversation with her, now, husband during a romantic moment some time ago in which he mentioned that, were he to besiege Echer’Naught, he would select a position just north of the city as his avenue of attack due to the “unique topography” of the land. I would wish to point at that at the time of this conversation, Sir Regillus of House Wolfhaven was an enemy officer of Tempest, in the city without guard, currently in a romantic relationship with a senior Ranger NCO and was taking his personal time to analyze the most effective means of destroying the Ranger’s Regional Headquarters. Again, Sir Regillus’ surety, once again, came via Colonel Wolfhaven’s personal word.

However, the intelligence was accurate. I immediately dispatched Corporal Ravenwood with Rangers Amaroth, Zathlan, and RFC Ramshorn to scout the location and report back, It would be a 2 day ride both ways, with a day of work. I expected their return some time near the 8th.

Per reports of the scouting party: They arrived at Echer’Naught in two days, on the 5th. There, they scouted the ground north of the city and determined that it would provide sufficient, if not ample, coverage. I would also like to mentioned that we have been invaded multiple times via this exact route. I suggest, strongly, that engineers correct this error.

It was also apparent that the smugglers we have been hunting for months have also been using the route as it was close to and nearly directly North of the location they have been using to cross the wall. Something that should have been associated long before.

With this information, it seemed reasonable that the smugglers would also need a location to use as a jumping off point. And so, tracking back, they remembered an abandoned and razed farmhouse that had been an outpost of Red Store before being demolished by Captain Hawksclaw many years prior. Scouting the area, they found the foundations buried in snow.

RFC Ramshorn then discovered a hatch beneath the snow and when dug out, revealed a working cellar door locked with a new, dwarven lock in good repair. So, after over a year of frustrated hunting, we seem to have stumbled upon our elusive criminals, entirely by accident. Ranger Amaroth picked the lock, the scouts stacked up, and, without checking for traps, RFC Thorgram opened the doors which set off the alchemical bomb wounding Corporal Ravenwood and Rangers Amaroth and Zathlan.

The device also detonated secondary incendiaries within the cellar which quickly engulfed all the contraband ensuring that we will never know exactly WHAT is being smuggled. Though, we are certain it included Floaters as RFC Ramshorn elected to inhale the smoke deeply and subsquently suffered ill effects for some time.

Too injured to flee the scene, the Rangers waited for the Response from Echer’Naught via a Sgt of the Guard. He was easily convinced to forget the encounter and, after providing first aid, departed. With nothing else to do but wait, the scouts established camp and waiting for the flames to die. By that evening, they entered the charred cellar to find ashes, and a perfect location to launch our attack of Echer’Naught. It should also be noted that this would ALSO be a perfect location for our enemies to launch an attack against us. I formally recommend that we demolish this structure as soon as we complete our mission.

After this, the scouts left the next morning and rode two days to arrive back at our camp on the 8th.

3rd-8th White River, 3125
Basing our assumption that the north wall would be the best entry point, we began to plan our route through the city. Here, Ranger Moldova was invaluable. Together we mapped a route through the Warhouse District, across the Highway, through Middle Town to a position opposite the Sacred Grove. Corporal Volstagg offered his own house as a staging and rally point.

Due to the hazy nature of the correlation between our realm and Shivak Novos, we guessed at a great deal of the terrain as much might reflect the partially destroyed city from previous attacks. Here we analyzed and evaluated the intelligence provided by Sir Lothal’s “Team” and planned alternate routes should our initial become blocked.

We also spent a great deal of time discussing unique difficulties of Shivak Novos, prepped for dealing with the creatures and foes we would face on the other side. In general, we conducted the extremely meticulous planning that is the hallmark of Olaran battle tactics, rather than the looser, more impromptu Ranger methods.

Trokash also spent the time assessing our material needs and began to acquire our “specialty” items.

8th White River, 3125
Corporal Ravenwood’s scouting party returned, mostly intact. After a quick briefing, I ordered they clean themselves and see to their wounds. Afterwards, we reconvened and began to put the full plan into place. Also, the team made a list of what items they would need to trade in for Black Iron, as to not be detected, and took some time to arrange their Wills and Last Testaments. No one had any illusions that we might not survive this mission. However, our orders were to evacuate or, barring that, eliminate Sergeant Major Magor Stormhammer. Understanding, that if we were reduced to killing him to keep him out of enemy hands, we would also likely be destroying ourselves for the same reason.

8th-25th White River, 3125
It took Trokash over three weeks to acquire and smuggle our gear to our camp. Keeping in mind that he was illegally transporting Black Iron and contraband Arcfire so that we did not alert anyone watching the Ranger supply chain of our operation. I would like to point out here that, though it took him a few weeks, Trokash was able to easily evade all our customs efforts and deliver HIGHLY dangerous illicit goods on demand. I formally request that we review and improved our customs enforcement. If he can do so for us, then our enemies certainly are easily evading our efforts.

He also delivered specially designed arcfire blast belts which I distributed to Corporal Volstagg, recently arcfire trained. He took two, I took two, and two were secured in our gear as a last ditch failsafe. If any, or all, of the team required utter destruction to avoid capture or use by the enemy, these devices would ensure nothing would be left.

25th White River, 3125
Breaking camp, my team departed Evoran’s Sacred Tree for our staging area north of Echer’Naught. Due to last minute complications, Sir Stahn was dispatched with Sir Regilus to secure my team’s “normal” gear at the Wolfhaven Barony. Meanwhile, my team departed geared almost entirely in Black Iron, or other suitable materials. Of their “normal gear” only Thorgram brought his Shield and we had ensured that it would be protected from detection for at least 3 hours. Ranger Daynore also brought his Focus Crystal. Other than that, we took nothing of our own.

1st Dark Moons, 3125
Through waist deep snow we marched by foot to our staging grounds, arriving at night. Setting up camp within the cellar, Trokash departed to collect our final member responsible for “transportation” to and from Shivak Novos. We setting in to keep watch and wait. Sir Lothal declined to remain and “went hunting.” It required the strictest self discipline not to destroy the beast, but I was under direct orders, from Colonel Wolfhaven, to cooperate with this Werewolf. So, I obeyed.

2nd Dark Moons, 3125
Finally, Trokash arrived with a Necromancer who had agreed to operate an Ebonway for our use. Understand, that our lives depended on a “smuggler,” a werewolf Lord, and a Necromancer. My team operated admirably under such difficult conditions.

We gathered in the basement and everyone geared up as the Necromancer went to work opening a portal to the Gray Lands. I cannot put into words here the horror of watching the Necromancer work. I can only say that I was not reassured in the least when Trokash flippantly assured us that the souls used to power this profane spectacle came from no one we knew. Orders alone prevented me from ordering my team to eliminate them all.

But, the ritual was completed, as arranged and wishing to see this entire ill conceived travesty done with quickly, I ordered my team through the Ebonway, myself leaping first. Ebonways are cold, terrifying, and deathly. I am certain that just using one has corrupted my entire command.

Arriving on the other side intact, I was surprised to find that no one was waiting to ambush us. Within moments, the rest of the team arrived, the elves looking worse for wear. I almost considered that things could be turning around when Ranger Amaroth informed me that he was “flame touched.” Apparently the shock of the portal was nearly overwhelming. Only anger and rage gave him the strength to see it done. And that, it would seem, is all it takes to damn his soul.

Nothing to do but complete the mission. I sent Corporal Ravenwood to scout. She cleared the area and we left our hole and headed for the city.

Shivak Novos is dark, dreary, spooky, cold, and ominous. We could barely see a hazy moon in the overcast sky. The ground was blanketed in black snow, and in the distance werewolves howled. The city seemed the same, but twisted and evil.

Quickly, we made our way to the cut and went to ground. From there, Corporal Ravenwood made it to the wall, climbed the tower, incapacitated one of the Shayakar guards, and dropped the ladder for the rest of the team.

One by one I sent my soldiers up. First the knights in their heavier armor, then the lighter troops. Lastly myself. To my surprise, we all made the top without alerting any guards. I dropped the rope down the inside wall and started sending the heavies over the top. It took time, but eventually we all arrived, Corporal Ravenwood bounding down the wall last.

We were in. The next two hours were a harrowing series of near catastrophes narrowly missed. Much of the city was altered, more than we expected, but Ranger Moldova was determined and, with luck, we arrived at Corporal Vosltagg’s house without engaging any patrols. The mission was going far better than I had expected.

Another stroke of luck, Volstagg’s key worked in the lock. Corporal Ravenwood scouted, and found it filled with the refuse of half eaten carcasses of unfortunate souls but otherwise empty. Here, I sent Corporal Ravenwood, and Rangers Daynore and Zathlan to the roof. Being elves, they could not enter the corrupted groves, so they provided overwatch. Also, should everything go wrong, Corporal Ravenwood would be able to report to her husband before she was slaughtered.

The rest of our team, myself, Corporal Volstagg, RFC Ramshorn, Audric, and Moldova stacked up near the south window. With a bit of work, Volstagg and I pried the pane loose, providing ourselves a direct line of assault to the corrupted grove.

My team was going back over our plan when Corporal Ravenwood gave the go signal. With that, my team dashed across the street and into the grove…

…we were immediately engulfed by an impenetrable mist. I could only locate Corporal Volstagg and only because he stood right beside me. In fact, when he grabbed my shoulder I nearly ran him through. I ordered a halt, and one by one the rest of my team stumbled into us. Together again, we staggered through the fog near blind.

Our first obstacle was a dark and twisted tree that suddenly animated and tried to kill us. Breaking free its ensnaring roots, we pushed forward, the tree doggedly pursing. And then, suddenly, we were there.

Before my I saw a ring of Necromancers around two black obelisks. Chained between them was a naked Dwarf who was thrashing and writhing as Vainar’s servants attempted to cleave his soul. Around the dwarf were four black armored knights, and hovering above like putrefied crows, specters. There was also the corrupted tree hunting us like a hound.

RFC Ramshorn engaged the tree while I, Amaroth, and Moldova engaged the knights. Corporal Volstagg broke free, made and end run around the knights and hurled a belt of bombs under Stormhammer. At that instant, I assumed our mission would be complete and we would be down Volstagg, but miraculously, both man and dwarf survived the cataclysm though one of the knights. was less fortunate.

Freed, and angry, Stormhammer blasted the specters into vapor, ordered everyone to pull out and began to make his way back the way we had appeared, with Volstagg providing cover. I and RFC Thorgram eventually “killed” the tree while the others whittled down the knights and the necromancers.

Using another belt of bombs via a handoff from Volstagg, Stormhammer blasted one of the Necromacers and a knight while we took down or staggered the other knights. Then, with the leader of the ritual unleashing a torrent of black death, Stormhammer ordered us to run for it while he teleported out with Volstagg.

About this time, I took a bolt and lost consciousness.

However, I have since been made aware of what happened next. Miraculously, we the entire team made it out of the grove along with Stormhammer. RFC Thorgram carried me. As the team exited, however, a pack of werewolves waited, but were instantly cut down by Corporal Ravenwood’s team. Then, Stormhammer summoned his Hammer from…somewhere, entered Volstagg’s house like he lived there, and bashed open a drain to reveal access to the sewers. He ordered everyone inside.

Once below the streets, Sergeant Major Stormhammer put Volstagg, badly wounded as he was, and Thorgram up front to clear the way. Amaroth and Zathlan held the rear, while Daynor, Moldova, and Corporal Ravenwood provided cover. Stormahammer carried me and supported as he could.

The fight took over and hour as the team carved its way through sewers rotten with ghouls and zombies, but, just under four hours after arriving in Shivak Novos, the team arrived beneath the north gate.

Corporal Volstagg was badly wounded, Amaroth had taken blows and was shaken by his sudden new bloodlust, I was out, Stormhammer had a corrupted wound that weakened him, and the others were weak, tired and banged up, for the most part. Daynore and Ravenwood making out the best, I think.

Here, I failed…

If there were any chance for us to escape, someone would have to stay behind. I knew this going in. It was obvious. But, I expected, foolishly, that when this moment came I would take the gate. Better to die here..

But I was never given the choice. And so, RFC Ramshorn volunteered to die for us. And, that was it. Sergeant Major Stormhammer strapped his with the rest of the bombs and the team assault the gate from below.

RFC Ramshorn took out one of the guards while Amaroth and Volstagg the other. Corporal Ravenwood, Zathlan, and Moldova lay down covering fire as the team made a break for the portal north of town. Of course, everything went wrong there a the end. Volstagg and Moldova (I think) went down under a hail of fire. Stormhammer, having to make a choice, grabbed Moldova and Teleported away. But, the strain caused him to collapse just out of bow range.

Amaroth got clear. Daynore and Zathlan got Volstagg up and everyone staggered away while, alone, Thorgram faced the oncoming hordes.

He triggered his newfound power and literally grew to fill the gate preventing anyone from pushing past him. And then her fought, killing one werewolf after another as more enemies arrived. I was just being revived, when Thorgram finally succumbed to his wounds. Literally, as werewolves tore him apart, he pressed the button on the arcfire bombs and then vanished in a fireball of orange-white light.

Thorgram took out the wolves, the gate, the towers, the archers, the dwerges, and basically everyone within a few blocks. Eventually, the undead would crawl out of the rubble and come hunting us, but by that time, my team would be long gone.

In fact, we were all, those who could even stand, staggering to our feet from the blast when a meteor whistled out of the air and slammed into snow near me, smoking and hissing. I could scarcely believe my eyes. Thorgram shield, indestructible, returned to us. I hurled away my Black Iron piece of Shite, grabbed Thorgram’s shield and ordered everyone through the portal. We scrambled down into the cellar, and fell through that inky black hole, back into our own.

Most of the team was barely able to stand, and I know those wounds will become infected soon, if they have not already. We all just fell through, most lying where we landed, some crying, some angry, and some strangely calm. It was then that the Necromancer closed the Ebonway and turned to received payment. Sir Lothal thanked him, or her, and then beheaded them in a single blow, before saying to Trokash, “No loose ends.” Then he was gone.

Had I the strength, orders or no, I would have killed him AND Trokash. But, I could barely stand. So, I sat numbly holding Thorgrams, still warm Shield and felt the heat slowly fade. And then it went cold, dead.

Tomorrow morning we will begin our hike to the Wolfhaven Barony. There we will destroy this gear, reclaim our own and process what has happened. The only question now is how many others will we lose over this?

They would not accept my resignation before, but I am unsure whether I will give them a choice this time. Corporal Ravenwood looked sad or angry enough to quit. Volstagg, something happened during the battle and he seems more unsettled than I have seen. There is of course Amaroth’s “condition.” He will certainly ask for a leave, or quit. Moldova seemed…reflective. I know of her personal convictions. Perhaps this has shaken her? Stormhammer’s wound looks beyond infected. So too will all of ours, as I stated.

With the loss of Kura’Kai, and now this, we will be lucky if this team manages to retain three members by 3126. My money is on disbanding the team entirely. In fact, after the first few resignations, I will propose as much, before I tender my own.

I only pray it was worth it. It had better be.

Sergeant Amelia Whitestone

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