Campaign of the Month: June 2018

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

Campaign Report 228
Elven Abduction Part 6

Filed: Forest Dance 25th, 3131

Continued…

Forest Dance 17th, 3131

Again, RFC Pit Gravelheart and Yrsa Torbjon were on watch when the unnamed Elven contact returned, riding his horse silently into the front yard of the Floater House. The rest of Alpha Team were inside waiting for Anders to finish cooking dinner. Only RFC Shakhira Karma Kes Naser was downstairs with the women, giving Adalaide Morningside a rest in her constant vigil.

RFC Pit escorted the elf inside where he wearily took a seat. The alakar looked as if he had not rested in days. After calling his Rangers to eat, Sergeant Starwind offers the elf a seat. He gratefully accepts. Ser Frederick Krieger suggested he take a spare room and sleep a few hours, but the elf declined. Rather, he explained that he had far too much to do, that he was only there to brief the unit on plans and deliver supplies.

Per usual, Anders provides Ser Krieger a healthy vegetarian alternative as to not upset his “delicate sensibilities.” Ever since his objection to drugging the young women packaging the Euphoria Floater, Anders had fed the knight nothing but forage from the forest. Adalaide Morningside declined to share her meat this time. Apparantly, she had cooled toward Kreiger. For his part, the knight seemed to care little.

Sergeant Starwind swapped his own plate with Ser Krieger’s, before splitting the salad with the elf. Farspeaker Adalaide seemed annoyed at Sergeant Starwind for “helping” Ser Krieger.

After a quick dinner, the Elf delivered the Debrief:

The Great Conclave is Gathering. The mission Target, the Immortal, would be on of the last to arrive. Several other immortals, at least 3, were coming late, under heavy security. Because they travelled via magic and Sacred Groves, interception was nigh impossible. The best opportunity to get close would be when they were vulnerable, secured by High Council guards. As counter-intuative as it may have been with all the added security, with the influx of people into Eldara and the palace, reaching the Immortal would be easier there, than “on the road” against a small, private band.

The final itinerary for the Conclave and suite assignments had not be publicized and were under direct and sole authority of the Chief chamberlain, Eldias Amrylia. As an added security measure, no written records had been made leaving but one means of gaining the information. An Adept would need to get close enough to Eldias Amrylia to steal the knowledge directly from the chamberlain’s mind.

The elf turned to Farspeaker Adalaide and explained that, as a standing member of the Farspeaker Guild, she would have unique access to the Conclave. At least, she could join the prior night’s invocation. She alone could get close enough to the Chamberlain to gather the intel.

To maintain her cover, the Elf encouraged Farspeaker Adalaide to ply her trade. She would appear far less suspicious. However, she would be going in under her own name, so she needed to avoid any actual engagement.

Another “friend” would make contact and, when Adalaide was in range of Eldias Amrylia, they would engage the Chaimberlain in a conversation which would draw their thoughts to the Immortal. Once Farspeaker Adalaide secured the information, she could then, under the guise of her role as a Farspeaker, transmit that information to the rest of the Team.

Once done, her part of the mission would be done. Adalaide could then simply depart the party, join a guard and leave. Hopefully unnoticed before the true mission began.

The elf and his “friends” had managed to determine that four suites would be dedicated to the most exalted guests of the Conclave. All overlooked Lake Shaintar with covered balconies, and enhanced security. Each could be accessed by a single raised walkway with one entrance guarded by Palace Guards, two or three standing just outside. There were rotating patrols, and other junctions secured by squads of two to four guards.

To successfully extract the Immortal, the remainder of Alpha Team would need to be divided into two squads. Squad 1 would be required to infiltrate the palace, avoid the Palace guards and ariel Aevakar patrols, and guardian druids, and make their way to the covered balcony. That was the single “weakness” in the defenses, though with deadly archers in close proximity and aevakar sweeping by in regular patrols, it was hardly an EASY entry point.

Squad 2 would be required to infiltrate via another route, gain access to the secured palace and make their way to a guard station. There, they would need to steal uniforms and impersonate a rotating squad until they could gain access to the access gantry. Their mission was straightforward.

Once they reached the outer doors to the Immorta’s chamber, Squad 2s job would be to assault the guards, prevent them from making an alert or interfering with Squad 1, prevent any reinforcements from entering, and, if possible, gain entry to the suite and assist Squad 1 in their mission to take down the Immortal.

To assist, the elf’s “fiends” would supply the team with a special potion, one heavily masked which would create an area devoid of sound. This would allow them to take down the guards without nearby patrols hearing. And, the potion was created to emit as little magical signature as could be done.

The rest of Alpha Team would need to remain mundane until the assault began. Unfortunately, any overt use of magic by either Squads could alert the Palace Guards to their presence. The elven Palace Guards were specifically and uniquely trained to deal with magical threats. Farspeaker Adalaide COULD use her Farspeaking abilities, so long as it was “believable” to be part of her normal duties.

Squad 1 had the most intense mission. Once Farspeaker Adalaide had secured the location of the Immortal, and Team 2 had begun their assault on the guards, Team 1 would need to gain access to the covered balcony and make an immediate assault on the Immortal.

To assist, the elf and his “friends” would provide a Tempest Mage Collar and a high magic stunning rod. Sergeant Starwind would be given the rod, as his power was sufficient to power it. Another member of Squad 1 would carry the collar.

Timing was vital.

There were a few issues.

One, Squad two would need to pass as elves, if even briefly. That ruled out RFC Pit Gravelheart, Tearrag Twitch, and Phesus. And, as Sergeant Starwind would need to be on Squad 1, that left RFC Shakhira Karma Kes Naser, Yrsa Torbjorn, and Ser Frederick Krieger for Squad 2.

Squad 1 would consist of Sergeant Starwind, RFC Pit Gravelheart, Tearrag Twitch.

Phesus would be assigned to protect Adalaide and ensure her escape from the party.

There was another issue. The elf and his “friends” had yet been able to secure a route for Alpha Team into the Palace. Magic would be both useless and counter productive. Sneaking in would be exceedingly complicated and too risky. They also did not have sufficient plants to guarantee that should Alpha Team be smuggled inside sealed inside a container that they could control where they would be placed. In the worse case scenario, locked in a crate or barrel, they could find themselves trapped, dying starving and dehydrated in the dark.

It was the weak link in the plan. Twitch commented that he could cross over on a wire and it sparked inspiration. The team could infiltrate via the air. He suggested that he could arrange dwarven wright wings. Alpha Team was skeptical, but the plans were put into motion.

As for getting out the Elf promised to provide an amulet of teleport, though he feared the magical defenses would prevent its use. As an alternate, they would need to dive off the balcony into the lake below. Friends would be on hand to fish them out down river. They need not fear for the Immortal. Water would never harm him.

In six days from then, Alpha Team would leave their base of operations and make their way to a staging area where he or another friend would be waiting with their supplies and the dwarven wright gear for the Team to practice before the actual assault.

They would only get one day of prep. He suggested they spend their time preparing and finalizing their memorization of the Palace and guard rotations. Then he got up and left, fading into the trees.

Forest Dance 23rd, 3131

In the morning, Alpha Team rose and prepared to leave. Before departing, Sergeant Starwind had RFC Karma incinerate all the paperwork, information, and evidence of their involvement in the plot. He also spoke with Anders. Sergeant Starwind promised that, should he remain and watch the girl, that when they made it back, he would help him cover his tracks, and ensure he didn’t earn the ire of Red Store and the Mad Adder.

As a parting gift, Anders gave Ser Krieger a sack of trail food, oats, dried fruit, nutes, all flavored by honey. The knight seemed genuinely grateful.

Before dawn, Alpha Team departed, Yrsa and Twitch ranging out in front as scout.

They turned south and east, heading deeper into the elven forest. The trees grew to impossibility immense proportions, towering hundreds of feet overhead. The canopy so high it was little more than a dark sky. They were nearly overrun by a herd of stampeding deer, or moose, some larger than a small house.

That evening, they found an encampment in a small clearing. There, sitting alone surrounded by tents and crates, an elf watied. As the Team crept forward, remaining cautious. Just as they entered the tentline, the elf greeted them by name and welcomed them to camp.

He invited them to sit and eat. Food was already bubbling over the fire. As they laid down their kit and ate gratefully, he explained that all the supplies were there. Dark suites for Squad 2, their requested special gear, the magic items promised, and, of course, the dwarven wright wings.

Forest Dance 24th, 3131

In the morning, the elf helped the Team break out and strap on the wings. They all, save for Adalaide, Phesus, and Baby Bear, climbed to a platform over a hundred feet in the air. They slowly climbed above and stood on what had APPEARED to be a small platform, but was actually the size of ship’s deck, sitting on branches thicker than a ship’s mast.

From the platform, they could see a clear path through the trees to a clearing several hundred yards away. There, white stone markers indicated a “landing site.”

Everyone strips off excess gear, restraps their wings while the Elf ensures that each frame is correctly attached. Ser Kriger steps up and hops off the platform, gliding to a gentle landing right in the circle. One by one, each member successfully makes the glide…until Pitt steps up.

The dwarf, rather than leaning forward steps right off the platform, plummeting straight to the earth. At the last minute, he managed to pull up, but still hit the ground with enough force to shatter his arm. Adaliade and Sir Krieger rushed to his aid, with Adalaide offering magical healing. Even as they helped the dwarf to his feet, Yrsa slammed into the ground now far away.

Fortuantely, she was uninjured. And miraculously, neither of their rigs were damaged. Both Rangers too the brunt of the impact to their faces.

However, as they had failed the test, they were required to climb back up to the platform and make a second jump. Both did, and all members of Alpha Team passed their training.

Forest Dance 25th, 3131

Before leaving, Alpha Team dropped any excess gear with their elf allies. Wagons had pulled up nearby and porters were already loading gear and supplies into the wagons. Squad 1 took the first wagon, Squad 2 the second. Farspeaker Adalaide mounted a horse, and Phesus plodded along beside her.

For the rest of the day, the teams alternatively bounced along in their wagons, or ate road dust from the back their horse, joining the throng of visitors to the biggest event in Eldara for centuries. Inisde the city, Farspeaker Adalaide headed into the center of the city, looking for other members of the Farspeaker’s Guild.

The wagons split up, each heading to a different part of the city close to pre-scouted access points nearest their landing sites on the Palace roof.

Adalaide arrived first, finding a trio of Farspeakers dining outside a cafe. They recognized her badge of office, inviting her to sit and dine with them. The leader of the trio introduced himself as Farspeaker Eassman. He seemed quite taken by young Adalaide and paid for her meal, also inviting her to join them at the Palace reception. She accepted and entered the inner courtyard of the palace. Here only the elves and dignitaries such as the Farspeakers guild were given access. Security was extraordinarily tight. Everyone was magically scanned, and their credentials thoroughly vetted.

Squads 1 and 2 found their way to outdoor festivals. Dozens of other wagons, tents, and revelers had gathered to enoy the festival around the Conclave. They were outsiders, non-elves, and the lesser citizens of elven society, everyone NOT welcome at the Conclave itself. All night, the team sat, ate, and drank, watching the city come alive with fairy lights, streamers, and music.

With darkness falling, elven “friends” led each Squad to their staging points. Squad 1 was taken to an empty hut high in the trees east of the city, overlooking the palace. Squad 2 holed up in a small stone courtyard west of the city, crouched behind a low stone wall. Both teams quickly unloaded their kit, and strapped on their rigs. Then, all they had to do was wait.

Phesus was stopped at the gates and forced to join the other guards and porters outside the palace gate. Farspeaker Adalaide made her rounds, and then joined her fellow Farspeakers in the inner courtyard for the opening convocation. She made her way through the gathered, making small talk, Eassman staying close by her side.

In order to achieve her mission, she begged his forgiveness, but asked to strike out on her own. He graciously consented, but kept an eye on her. Undaunted, Adalaide located the Chamberlain Eldias Amrylia and moved into position. In moments, a young elven maiden approached the Chamberlain, handing him a message. The Chamberlain was clearly annoyed.

In that moment, Farspeaker Adalaide reached out and reached into his mind, sifting through his thoughts and plucking out the location of the Immortal. Distracted as he was, it was easier than she expected. Chamberlain Eldias Amrylia never sends her intrusion as he left to go handle some issue. Once a safe distance away, Adalaide sent the information to both teams. Then, making no commotion, turned to leave the party.

She very nearly made it out, but was stopped by Farspeaker Eassman who, as a gentleman, insisted he escort her at least to her guard. There was no polite way to refuse, and so, together, they exited the party.

In the shadows of the trees, Squads 1 and 2 moved into position. Each watched the sky, counting the seconds between flying patrols, and marking the shadows of guards on the towers and walls. One by one, each member dropped silently into the sky, gliding silently to their marks on the roof of the Palace.

Six wraiths glided through the night sky, landing softly on the roof. The landing went without hitch, but as RFC Pitt was unstrapping his rig and moving down the roof into position, he slipped on the slimy surface and lost his footing. In a heartbeat he was sliding quickly over the edge of the roof and down to the deep lake below. Before Sergeant Starwind could even react Twitch had already sprinted down the roof, spun, dug his claws in, and grabbed the dwarf just as he skidded out over nothing.

However, they were out in the open as a trio of Aevakar guards winged overhead. Thinking fast, Twitch nimly flipped UNDER the overhand, dragging Pitt with him. The brinchie warrior hung here, holding both them in the shadows of eaves as the aevakar winged overhead.

On the far side of the Palace, Squad 2 dropped down on a shadowered parapet and made their way down the staris to a small door set into the shadowered side of a small tower. They rapped on the door. Moment later, a young elf servant unlocked and opened it, leading them inside.

They follower her, padding silently, stopping to let patrols pass by. She led them to a small guard room and bade them don the armor quickly. They did so, Sir Krieger barely managing to squeeze into his.

Once appropriately kitted, the Trio exited the room, now dressed as Palace guards, and made their way toward the door to the Immortal’s room. Yrsa palmed the alchemical potion, and prepared to silence the guards. Squad 2 turned the corner and stepped onto the raised gantry.

Not far away, but high overhead, Squad 1 secured their lines and inched cautiously into the fast running water of a waterfall that spilled artfully over the balconies canopy and hung over the drop, ready to rappel down. Everything now depended on timing. They had to trust Squad 2 would be in position.

The time had come…

Malcolm

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Campaign Report 227
Elven Abduction Part 5

Filed: Forest Dance 11th, 3131

Continued…

Dancing Clouds 27th, 3131

After the intensity of the battle, and the personal fallout among the Rangers, the mercenary Captain Anders pulled Sergeant Talh’aer Starwind aside to discuss the plan moving forward. The resupply caravan was expected within the next three weeks. Anders explained that, so long as the “girls” kept producing the Bliss, euphoria floater, when the caravan arrived, Anders believed he could explain away the death of the former boss as an “unfortunate ancient,” with the floaters. It had happened.

Unfortunately, it would not buy much time.

But, IF they all played their parts, they MIGHT survive the encounter.

The briefing was long, covering the likely makeup of the caravan, the number, and distribution of the mercenary’s defenses, schedules, and supply lists.

After the brief, Sergeant Starwind went to the ogre Phesus to attempt to explain the situation and why it was necessary to prevent him from leaving. Though, the communication barrier made the explanation difficult. Eventually, Phesus understood, in essence, the importance of the team’s mission and agreed to remain to help. He wanted to be a hero.

Following that conversation, Sergeant Starwind sought out the knight Ser Frederick Krieger to make peace overtures. Ser Krieger too wanted to make amends, not for his position, but for the way in which he handled the confrontation. The conversation was tense but amicable. Sergeant Starwind did not fault Ser Krieger for his reaction, that he too was wrestling with the morality of his decisions, and his oath to fight Flames. They agreed that Sir Krieger would surrender his sword and remain below with the captive women, taking Phesus’ place.

Farspeaker Adalaide Morningside had assumed the responsibility of caring for the women, as the Team’s healer. She discovered in her time below that there were at least three different floaters present, all marked with the black snake symbol of the Mad Adder. The first, the Flame Horror floater which they found a few small packets near the guard’s weapons. The second, the Bliss being extracted from crystal sea salt and purified in a slurry solution, before being dried on screens, ground and packaged for distribution. The third, and final, whatever floater had been keeping the women docile and compliant.

According to records found in the “kitchen,” the Mindless floater needed to be carefully measured and mixed with food or drink to have the correct effect. They needed to be dosed twice a day for full effectiveness. Precalculated weights and measures were listed along with the floater and a feeding schedule. All Alpha Team needed do was to follow the instructions. That would mean dosing the women, however.

Sergeant Starwind asked Adalaide if she could administer the drug. While she could, she requested to not be given the responsibility. so, he studied the instructions.

As it was his plan, and his responsibility, Sergeant Starwind agreed to dose the women. Any fallout from their actions would come back on him. It was already late evening and the woman grew agitated, clearly suffering from withdrawal. Sergeant Starwind followed the instructions and prepared the evening meal.

As she watched him work, a thought occurred to her. So, she connected with the mind of one of the women and observe the effects of the drug. What she observed horrified her more than anything she could have ever suspected. The mind of the woman went from chaotic and pained…to utterly calm. There was no bliss, no happiness, no sadness, no desire of any kind. She was utterly and perfectly content in every way. A calm, peace only imagined in the afterlife walking the domains of the Ascended.

In all her imagination, she could never have conceived of anything so…perfect.

Even tearing herself away was an effort. She reported her experience to Sergeant Starwind and explained the terrible truth. Even if they could somehow ween the women off of the floater, there was every possibility that they would immediately relapse, even going so far as to die trying. They were not suffering…in fact, they were more content than anyone alive. If it did not simply kill them outright.

The implications were horrible. Mindless rendered all higher functioning silent, achieving a perfect state of being while leaving autonomic functions unaffected. The perfect slaves. If this were to spread to the Kal-A-Nar Empire…it could spell the end of rebellion…the end of the Unchained.

Moreover, removing the floater would be far crueler to the women than keeping them dosed.

Hearing this, Ser Krieger suffered a crisis of conscience. He truly believed that forcing the women to consume the floater against their will was evil. However, if they were, in fact, not suffering…and the floater actually eased their pain… Then, should he not oppose the plan? Which was crueler.

Agonizing Death…or a life of pure contentment condemned to serve as a mindless automaton.

Tearrag Twitch asked RFC Shakhira Karma Kes Naser to examine several of the floaters found on the bodies of the mercenaries. RFC Karma explained that the potion was necromantic but labeled as a healing potion. Anders, after speaking with Sergeant Starwind, took up the post as the cook.

Weeks go by as everyone falls into daily routines of training, patrols, and floater preparation. Fifteen days later…

Forest Dance 10th, 3131

While Pit and Yrsa Torbjorn were just going out on patrol early in the morning, they spied a large wagon train rolling up the road toward the house. They made it back in barely enough time to warn the Team. Anders and Twitch went out to meet the caravan while the rest of the Rangers assumed the positions of the former mercenary guards.

The caravan consisted of 3 massive covered wooden wagons each protected by four massive ogres in heavy armor. Leading the train was a well-dressed man and a pair of heavily armored warriors. Anders ventured out to speak with the caravan master. Their conversation was in Malakaran, so only RFC Pit Gravelheart could understand, but he was stationed back at the house.

To almost everyone’s surprise, Anders came through and convinced the caravan master that the previous boss had been killed in an accident, and to accept the floaters for supplies. Despite a truly terrible performance, the caravan master delivered his raw supplies and took the prepared floaters as agreed, after carefully inspecting the goods. He swore to return within six weeks and bring with them a new boss and operators.

Without incident, the caravan rolls out, heading back down the road.

Anders and Twitch break out and organize the supplies which, as promised contain food, clothes, medicine, raw materials for the floaters, beer, and wine, and many “personal” items for the mercenaries, very unsettling items.

After the caravan departed, RFC Pitt reported that he recognized the caravan from rumors. They were one of Red Stores’ most prominent supply trains. Which suggested that great resources were being expended on the operation. This also suggested that when they returned, they would do so in force. Time was of the essence, and Alpha Team still had no notion of how long they would be stuck.

The same evening, Forest Dance 10th, Phesus was standing out front, ostensibly on guard, when he was surprised by the sound of a horse neighing softly behind him. Turning, he saw a cloaked figure sitting a small pony. The figure dismounted and asked to speak to Sergeant Starwind.

Starwind grabbed Yrsa and Karma and strode out to meet the intruder. The elf before them was entirely non-descript. His clothes, bearing, gear…manner were all entirely unremarkable. None of the others recognized him, but Sergeant Starwind did so. All retired inside, save Phesus who remained on watch.

Within, the elf sat and regarded the group, identifying all, save for Anders, who he did not recognize. Once everyone was vetted, and Anders had moved away, Sergeant Starwind reported on their progress, the addition of the ogre, Anders, and the enslaved women below. The Elf seemed concerned but unsurprised. He asked Sergeant Starwind to gather his team.

He was aware of the likelihood of the slaves. And, he knew of the drug used to control them. Apparently, the Mindless floater had begun to spread, more of the Mad Adder’s poison. Upon hearing the report, the elf turns the conversation over to the Team and offers to answer what questions he may, to assuage the Team’s concerns.

He apologized to the team for the nature of the mission but stressed the necessity. The elf further revealed that the Legio Heroes’ had lost control of Og’M’Drakar and lost contact with their forces on the Tempest Isle. The Kolfis Guardian Gather stood on the brink of collapse, having been under near-constant threat for over a year. Should the gather fall, the Tempest forces in the Defiant Lands could link up with their forces on the Dragon’s Eye isle and threaten the entire realm. The Wild swept from the north, threatening both the Kal AND the Unchained. Shaya’Nor had been quiet, but there were rumors of movement in Shivok Novos, the Gray Lands. At least 2 or 3 of the Desert Princes had been corrupted by Xaos.

Closer to home, the White Silver Wolves mercenary companies had been pushed back, the Grayson’s Gray Rangers were stretched thin, and all allies were losing on the high seas.

The elf’s “friends” believed that the enemy was preparing to make a big push, very possibly Tempest. He further explained that many of the strongest magical protections ins Shaintar were keyed to Landra’Feya, the ancient elven stronghold. Should the immortal elves fall, the passage into Shaintar would be thrown wide open.

As to the mission, the elf explained that his network of friends suspected that one fo the most powerful and respected elven immortals had been seduced and corrupted by evil. However, without unassailable proof, any move against the immortal would be unthinkable. So politically and socially powerful was the immortal, that even a hint of their efforts would be condemned by the entire elven race.

Their only hope was to abduct the immortal and determine for certain whether they had been turned. IF proof could be attained, that evidence would be turned over the High Council. Only then, would their mission be sanctioned? Failing in any part, or should the Immortal NOT be proved corrupted…they would all suffer the consequences. The elf promised to do his best to help them, but the mission had to be voluntary.

The arrival of the Tempest was heralded by the Tidal wave that destroyed White Bay. What the Rangers did NOT know was that that wave had been summoned by Gaius the Steady, a druidic defender who had sworn to Defend Shaintar, but had come to possess a trident weapon, which turned out to be turned by Tempest. That one druid destroyed a town and opened the way for the Tempest invasion. Should this Immortal not be stopped, they could do magnitudes worse in Landra’ Feya.

Sergeant Starwind was selected for the mission because he was an elf, but not of Landra’Feya. As an Ironwood Elf, he shared the racial impetus but lacked any loyalties to the immortal. Alpha Team had been chosen due to their long track record of success, and ability to succeed in impossible missions.

They all have one shot at the mission. The immortal, like all of his ilk, was kept hidden for the security of the elves, and the realm. But, a network of friends had managed to arrange a summit to address the various threats facing Shaintar and summoned the Immortals to weigh in. The Summit was to be held in two weeks in the heredity palace deep within the capital city of Eldara.

The Immortal had been confirmed to attend and was already in motion, though their final plans had yet to be revealed, due to security concerns to protect an attack such as Alpha Team were planning. Only upon arrival in Eldara could the Immortal be approached, at one of the most heavily defended summits in several generations.

The plan was NOT to harm the Immortal, but to gain access to them at the summit, abduct them without bloodshed, if possible, extract them back to the black site, and confirm certainly had they been turned. As a living repository of knowledge, history, and culture, no permanent harm could come to the Immortal lest a precious living library is lost.

The summit was to be held in 2 weeks. The elf and his “friends” were working hard to learn of the final arrangements for the immortal. All he could offer were maps of the palace and information on already established security protocols. All of which he offered to Alpha Team without reservations, only that they keep the information from Anders and Phesus, and that they destroy all before embarking on the mission.

He implored them to study the plans, prepare to incapacitate the immortal and follow the plan. As he and his “friends” learned more, they would present a more detailed plan. If they were successful, and the Immortal was found to be untainted, the elf and all his “friends” would turn themselves over to Elven justice, throwing themselves on the mercy of the High Council.

There was one final complication. As this summit would be once in several hundred years, other factions might ALSO be attempting to capitalize on the gathering to enact their own subversion. The elf implored the Team to avoid interaction or being drawn into any other events. Focus on their own mission and pray to the Ascended for aid.

Forest Dance 11th, 3131

After turning over the high-level intel, the elf remounted his pony and disappeared into the darkness. The documents contain details on elven security, the location of loci and magical defenses, and other top-level elven defenses. Proving the elf and his “friends’,” incredible access.

Alpha Team begins to study for the next couple of weeks…

Malcom

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Campaign Report 226
Elven Abduction Part 4

Filed Dancing Clouds 28th, 3131

Continued…

Dancing Clouds 28th, 3131

Before Alpha Team could act upon Sergeant Talh’aer Starwind orders to clear the building, half a dozen flame horrors crawled up through flaming scorch marks on the floor. The Rangers were clumped up in small pockets as the smoldering talons clawed at their legs. RFC Pit Gravelheart, Yrsa Torbjorn, and Adalaide Morningside had bunched up at the back of the room, cut off from any real escape. A pair of horrors crawled up around them.

Sergeant Starwind and Twitch Tearragg were still standing near the Mercenary Captain. The trio was also surrounded as horrors crawled up through the floor. Nearer the hole in the in-house outhouse, Ser Frederick Krieger and the newly arrived ogre, Phesus, had their own horrors to deal with. More appeared in the rear of the building, and another outside on the porch.

The fight, up to that point, had been brutal. The Rangers of Alpha Team were tired and spent, but now they were cornered and the flame horrors gave them no quarter. So, the Rangers, and their unlikely allies, turned back to back and fought through. Around them, the room shimmered with heat and smoke.

Before things went horribly, Sergeant Starwind managed to empower his weapons and those of Twitch and Ser Krieger. Everything then devolved into flame, pain, and blood.

The horrors resolved four armed bipedal demons, with bright, red scaley skin, almost snake-like, but striated through with fire lines. Their bodies sparked and smoldered with suffocating heat. Their claws were six-inch black hooks, sharp enough to separate chains and split plate. On their heads were a crown of hours, dominated by to curved spikes that rose from each side into an impressive rack. Each stood over eight and a half feet tall, towering over most of the Rangers.

Ranger weapons sparked off the hard skin of the horrors, while the enemy’s claws tore through their armor like hot knives through butter. The skirmish was hot and heavy. First to fall was Ser Krieger to a nasty slash of horror’s claws. Sergeant Starwind suffered a debilitating rake on his right arm, leaving him heavily impaired. Yrsa took a claw across the face, opening her up from the hairline down to her chin, barely missing the eye. Without serious magical healing, she will bear the hideous scar for the remainder of her life.

Interestingly, the Mercenary Captain proved quite useful. He managed to bring down one of the horrors and even reached the room with RFC Shakhira Karma Kes Naser’s hole. Rather than flee, which one might expect, he turned and provided crossbow support for RFC Pitt, Yrsa, and Adalaide.

In the rear of the room, RFC Piitt’s group were hemmed in on all sides. Yrsa fired arrow after arrow. RFC Pitt laid about himself with axe and crossbow. Adalaide did her best to keep the team on their feet. The mercenary’s support was well-timed.

From the middle of the room, RFC Karma fired beam after beam at the horrors, hitting them hard, but not enough to bring them down. And then Sergeant Starwind went down.

The fight turned hard. One of the horrors grabbed Pitt and meant to drag him down into the basement. Another pounced on Adalaide to do something worse. To his credit, after finishing off the horrors around him, Phesus sprinted across the room and slugged the horror dragging RFC Pitt, preventing the dwarf’s untimely demise.

The remaining Rangers on their feet continued to struggle with the dwindling horrors. RFC Karma managed to reach Ser Kreiger and get him on his feet, just in time to engage another horror coming in from outside. Yrsa and the Mercenary Captain pinned down the horror trying to assault until Twitch arrived.

Under heavy fire, the horror wrestling Adalaide was brought down…and exploded into flames and smoke. However, another horror hooked Twitch and brought him down, after he had laid several low.

Almost half the Rangers were on the floor, but more than half the horrors had been detonated. Phesus managed to bring down the beast dragging RFC Pit, freeing the poor dwarf. The tide had turned and among the remaining Rangers, and allies, the last horrors were dealt with.

Adalaide quickly moved around the field, administering healing, and getting Sergeant Starwind back on his feet. The rest of the Team brought their downed teammates around and everyone quickly patched up wounds.

When the Team was ready, Sergeant Starwind sent Karma and Phesus down below to check on the women. They found them naked, huddling in a locked cell. Adalaide headed down below to check on their health.

They had been roughly used, and malnourished, but not in immediate danger. However, they were utterly docile. Whatever floater they had been fed robbed them of any self will. They sat dumb and mute, accepting whatever the Rangers planned to do to them.

With the building secured, the Rangers turned to the Mercenary Captain and the ogre. The Ogre introduced himself as Phesus. The mercenary as Anders. Despite having remained to help the Rangers against the horrors, Sergeant Starwind refused to allow him to leave. Surprisingly, Anders seemed uncharacteristically accepting of his sudden imprisonment.

Phesus, however, was very distressed to suddenly discover that he had NOT been freed, but only changed jailers. No one explained to him the situation.

Offering a surprising olive branch, Anders, the mercenary, explained that IF the team wanted to hold the building for any length time, they would need to keep the women drugged and producing product. At some point in the next few weeks, a caravan would arrive to pick up the finished products and drop off food and raw materials.

If the Rangers wanted to maintain their ruse, and not draw unwanted attention, Anders offered to serve as an intermediary with the caravan leader. He believe he could convince the caravan that the actual boss had been killed in an accident and, IF the team managed to meet the expected quota, they MIGHT be able to hold the house with no one the wiser.

Ser Kreiger immediately objects to keeping the women imprisoned. The rest of the Team questions why they are even there, if NOT to end the operations. In the heated exchange, Ser Kreiger revealed that they were Grayson’s Gray Rangers in front of Anders, who did not appear surprised, or even interested.

Sergeant Starwind sequesters Anders and Phesus before explaining the next phase of their operation. He explained that a Highly Ranked member of the Elven aristocracy was believed to be compromised, likely have Tempest. Should this elven commander not be taken out of play, they might compromise Landra’Feya’s defenses and could result in a holocaust far worse that the Maelstrom’s butchering of elves during the War of Flame.

The Rangers needed to hold the floater house as a staging point and eventual black site for when they managed to abduct the compromised leader for interrogation. But, to do so, they needed to maintain the strictest stealth and operational control. Any hint that they were there MIGHT tip of either the criminal enterprise that had set up the house OR the elven VIPs own informants. Either would result in a mission failure and the potential death of thousands of elves.

Upon hearing the stakes, most of the Team accepted the station. Some more readily that others. However, Ser Kreiger vehemently opposed any further incarceration of the women. Rather, he said they should be freed, taken off the floaters, and they should simply attack the caravan when they arrived. The elven nation could fall and thousands enslaved or slaughtered, but he would not continue any acts he deemed evil in the here and now.

Once he realized that the rest of the Team were willing to go along with Sergeant Starwind’s plans, he spat at the Sergeant’s feet and went to sit outside, considering his next actions. Theoretically under guards, but not closely watched, Phesus considered how likely he could escape his new, crazed jailors.

Anders, surprisingly, accepted the situation with aplomb. In fact, other than being “captive,” he appeared to enjoy himself. He seemed amused at Ser Kreiger’s outburst, and had little, if any, thought for Phesus’ predicament.

RFC Karma and Adalaide did their best to ensure the women were comfortable and make out what floater they were addicted to using. The rest of the Rangers began to clean up after the battle. Ser Kreiger and Phesus considered next actions.

Malcom

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Campaign Report 225
Elven Abduction Part 3

Filed: Dancing Clouds 28th, 3131

Continued…

Dancing Clouds 27th, 3131

The outside had been swept of mercenary enforcers, but the lone survivor had managed to retreat inside and provide vital intel on Alpha Team’s attacking force. The defenders doused their chimney and prepared to repel the Rangers. Parlay broke down, so there was nothing left but to attack.

Unfortunately, the initial fight had been close than Alpha Team would have preferred. RFC Shakhira Karma Kes Naser’s storm had turned the soft ground to mush, and the darkness created havoc with the humans on the team’s combat effectiveness. Sergeant Talhaer Starwind listened to concerns and elected to postpone the attack till first light.

Alpha Team resolved to camp near the house, keeping a close eye on the area lest the mercs try something clever. The magic users replenished their magical reserves, while the weary warriors ate hot food, tended wounds, and prepared for the slaughter to come.

Dancing Clouds 28th, 3131

A few hours later, weak light filtered through the trees around the glade, announcing the arrival of dawn. Sergeant Starwind rousted the team, made one final check of the area for surprises, before stacking up on the door.

There had been much discussion about how to assault the building. Sergeant Starwind had proposed breaching a wall to catch the enemy unawares, but Ser Frederick Krieger had cautioned that, as they had not idea of the internal layout, such an assault could end up in a dangerous bottleneck. Other options were discussed: coming in from above, using magic, burning down the house with the mercs inside… At the end, Ser Krieger’s direct assault was accepted.

It would concentrate the most force at the weakest point, the front door. They knew the enemy would be waiting on the other side. But, Alpha Team hoped their overwhelming firepower would quickly provide an advantage.

So, with the first rays of dawn peaking through the trees, RFC Karma blew the front doors off their hinges with a devastating jet of Life energy. Tearrag Twitch leaped through first and quickly vanished into the darkened interior. Seeing nothing untoward, Ser Krieger followed, flanking left.

From their vantage outside, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. However, inside the house was an entirely different story. Twitch and Krieger stumbled into a sphere of impenetrable darkness. They could see nothing, not even their own forms. Worse, the inky blackness deaded not just sight, but sound. Blind and deaf, they stumbled forward, quickly losing orientation. Unfortunately, the enemy was not so impeded and both warriors were attacked out of the blackness, cut deep by swords they could not even see!

For the Rangers outside, everything appeared to be going according to plan, as they could hear no signs of distress. Though, it WAS a bit quiet for a battle. Adalaide Morningside followed quickly behind Ser Krieger and was immediately swallowed by the same darkness.

The rest of the Rangers stormed up the steps, with RFC Pit Gravelheart reaching the doors next. He finally realized their danger and shouted a warning. Rather than establishing a typical barricade within the doors, the mercs had dropped an alchemical zone of darkness and silence. Anyone entering through the front door would be left blind and deaf, easy prey for the mercs lurking within.

The dwarf’s warning came heartbeats before the front of the building was engulfed in a massive explosion. Someone inside had rolled a Mad Bomb into the charging Rangers for predictable effect. Alpha Team was blown backward in a terrific arcfire explosion, being tossed, still smoking, across the front “lawn” of the house. Only Twitch and Ser Krieger remained within, beset on all sides by unseen attacks.

Unsupported and ensorcelled the warriors were quickly pressed hard. Without some miracle, they might be cut down before the others could even enter the building.

Irritated by the turn of events, Sergeant Starwind picked himself off the ground, swatted his smoldering clothes and ordered RFC Karma to open another breech. She turned to the left and blew a MASSIVE hole in the left hand wall. What the Rangers could not have known was that the house has originally been constructed with an internal latrine. However, after months of heavy use, the room had been boarded up and an exterior latrine dug.

RFC Karma’s HAD penetrated the wall, opening up a hole. It had ALSO blow the overflowing latrines into chunks of offal and stinking vaporized mist. For the unfortunate warrior inside, partially those caught in the area of darkness, the alchemical power had no effect on the sense of smell.

So, Ser Krieger was, in addition, to being blind, deaf, and facing a determined foe, was now showered by something viscous which SMELLED like superheated shit. Luckily, so was the mercenary attacking him.

Outside the building, the rest of Alpha Team looked on in disgust as the stinking, bubbling, gurgling hole through a lake of boiling offal elected to wait for a better entry point. This, of course, left the two warriors trapped in the dark, on their own.

Under orders, RFC Karma turned and fired a jet at the OHTER wall, managing to punch a small hole just big enough for a dwarf…or a small brinchie. Sergeant Starwind would unlikely fit through in his kit.

Inside, Ser Krieger fought on valiantly, cursing every decision which brought him to this low. On the other side of the room, Twitch managed to work his way around his foe, and out of the immediate effect of the alchemical potion. This, of course, brought him into range of the hiding crossbowmen who immediately perforated him with bolts.

On the right, RFC Pit, Adalaide, and Yrsa squirmed through the small hole into an interior bedroom. Already, they faced another locked interior door, slowing down their assault even more.

Outside, Sergeant Starwind had enough of the slow attack and swallowed his pride, charging straight through the testing pool of gurgling offal.

Now the Rangers had three prongs of assault. On the right, RFC Pit led Adalaide and Yrsa through a series of locked rooms, slowly making toward the center. On the left, Sergeant Starwing waded through a pool of shit. In the center, Twitch and Ser Krieger waged a bitter fight against the mercenaries in the main ahll.

Twitch managed to drop the first guard on the right. Moments later, Sergeant Starwind kicked open the interior door of the latrine and cut down the mercenary harassing Ser Kreiger, making room for the knight to clear the alchemical field. From the far side, RFC Pit hacked the door down. Yrsa and Adalaide spilled into the central hall.

Alpha Team had breached the walls.

Mercs fired from behind tables and hurled themselves at Alpha Team, but without their alchemical tricks, they were little challenge for hardened Rangers. One after another, they dropped until all that remained was their leader, the same man who had parlayed hours earlier.

NOW, he changed his tune. The mercenary captain dropped his sword, put up his hands, and promptly surrendered.

While all of this was transpiring on the ground floor, another drama unfolded below. Some time previous, the floater dealers had delivered an enslaved ogre with a shipment. Added muscle should the need arise. The mercs had chained him in one of the larger rooms in the basement and kept him around in case of emergency.

His cell happened to be just INSIDE of the latrine. When RFC Karma blew a hole through the latrine, much of that ichor had poured down the wall of the ogres sell, coating him in weeks old, rotting, fetid, offal. The blast also weakened the wall, loosening the bolts and pinning him in place.

With a might effort, the ogre managed to rip free and climb up through the now-damaged floor. He could hear the battle raging just on the other side of an interior door, but, having been imprisoned for so long, had no idea who was fighting whom. This was just his best opportunity to escape, so he lumbered toward the door.

On the other side, Alpha Team was arresting the last surviving mercenary and questioning him on what they might expect in the floater processing factory below. Ser Krieger, standing nearest the door, heard something heavy shuffling in one of the rooms. Shouting warming, he stacked up on the door and hurled it open to reveal the shit-covered ogre who looked like some sort of latrine golem. Ser Krieger was having none of that.

The mercenary Captain recognized the ogre through his disguise and was just explaining when every magical active member of the team stiffened. Something powerful and horrific exploded into existence below. Flame and thaumaturgy seemed to roil from below the floorboards. Everyone looked down to see the soles of their boots smoking as the wood boards began to blacken and smolder.

Sergeant Starwind suggested the mercenary Captain pick up his sword because no one would be spared by what was coming. He shouted the order to retreat, but only Adalaine and Yrsa were close enough to an escape path to even begin to retreat when burning holes appeared in the floor and Flame horrors began to crawl out.

Whoever had remained below, rather than die by the Ranger blades, had chosen to take the Mad Adder’s concoction turning them into lumbering horrors of flame and terror. Dozens crawled out of the rings of fire in the floor, glaring balefully at the Rangers with rage, hunger, and pain.

Back to back, the Rangers prepared to face the new threat and prayed their flames would not engulf the entire house.

Malcolm

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Campaign Report 224
Elven Abduction Part 2

Filed: Dancing Clouds, 27th, 3131

…Continued…

Dancing Clouds 27th, 3131

With Ranger Tearrag “Twitch” watching the Floater Factory, Sergeant Talhaer Starwind sorted Alpha Team’s camp and planned for the coming night. Newly raised Adalaide Morningside and RFC Pit Gravelheart would circle the house around near the outdoor latrine. There, they would have the task of picking off the first several guards needed to relieve themselves.

Ser Frederick Krieger was to take Yrsa Torbjorn around the southwestern edge of the house and approach from near the “front door.” They had tree cover until they reached the fence. From the northwest, more or less the direction of the camp, Sergeant Starwind and Twitch would approach.

RFC Shakhira Karma Kes Naser would remain in camp and cover the battle in a storm.

Once night fell, Alpha Team moved into place. They only had to wait a couple of hours before the front door opened and two men exited the building, heading for the latrine. From the cover of their trees, RFC Pitt and Ranger Adalaide watched as one man took up a guard post by a large rock. The second man stepped onto the boards across the pit, squatted, and began to relieve himself.

RFC Pitt elected to hit the crapper first, taking careful aim, and he dropped the man in a single shot. His tumble, however, alerted the second guard who became alert at the noise. RFC Pit fired again, but his shot whined off the rock, giving the guard time to shout an alarm.

Stealth was no longer an option. Things quickly got loud.

Ranger Adalaide sprinted from cover to close on the guard. RFC Pitt continued to fire. Together, they managed to bring down the guard, but not before two more men appeared from the shadow of the house’s eaves. One took up a post by the fence line and started firing on RFC Pit. The second sprinted through the fence and attacked Adalaide.

Overhead, the thunder rumbled and thick, fat drops came pouring out of the sky. RFC Karma’s storm was beginning.

Through the lightning flashes, the other Rangers saw the house stir and knew it was time to attack. Ser Krieger marched forward, nearly blind in the dark, as Yrsa took aim at shadows moving around the house and fired.

Twitch spotted more men on the north and west side. Sergeant Starwind descended the hill to engage, firing his magic at the moving shadows.

Everything descended into shadows, flashes, and confusion. Archers on the west side started firing at Ser Krieger and Sergeant Starwind. The big knight took several devastating shots, but kept moving forward. Sergeant Starwind paused to summon up his magical armor, but no sooner had he done so that an enemy stepped from the shadows to his left and splashed him with an alchemical concoction that tore down his defenses.

These were no mere Randits.

Twtich charged down toward the men firing from the back of the house. He engaged one in a vicious melee, eventually taking him down. But immediately coming under fire from more further back.

Ser Krieger managed to engage one of the mercenaries down near the south west corner of the building, but was stunned by a blow and the man slipped around him to attack Yrsa. She attempted to fend him off but took a savage blow. Ser Krieger turned to help, and together, they managed to take out their attackers.

Sergeant Starwind stalked the guards along the west side of the building, trading blows with one, and shots with another.

On the east side, Adalaide found herself double-teamed and in real trouble. She went down under a flurry of blows. Fortunately, RFC Pitt arrived and engaged them, taking down one after a hard fight.

To the north, Twitch was under heavy fire. He managed to drop the nearest foe, but shots still came in from further back. One nearly killed him, driving him to one knee. Somehow, he mustered the strength to throw off the pain and charge the man. It was a savage melee, but Twitch emerged the victor. Cut to bloody ribbons, he appeared on the east side of the building

Sergeant Starwind, Ser Krieger, and Yrsa played cat and mouse with the last merc who moved and shot, keeping them at by. All were badly wounded, but eventually, the stoic elf and massive knight cornered the man, Ser Krieger landing the telling blow. With that, the west side and north side of the house were secured.

On the east side, RFT Pitt finally dropped his own foe, before kneeling down and providing magical aid to the unconscious and bleeding Adept, Adalaide.

The battle appeared to be over. So, the Rangers began to move toward the front of the building and the single known point of entry or exit.

Unfortunately, there were two more guards stationed out front, holding the main door. As RFC Pitt approached the porch, he was fired on from the shadows. Another figure appeared and slashed through his armor. Had it not been for the newly healed Adalaide, RFC Pitt might too have fallen.

But, with magical healing on his side, RFC Pitt managed to stagger the melee fighter, and Twitch, dropping from the roof, ended his life. However, the crossbowman ducked through the door, providing the interior defenders with critical intel on the Ranger’s team.

More cautiously this time, they checked the perimeter and determined that it was, truly, secured. Ser Krieger suggested they call off the Storm, and so Sergeant Starwind ordered Adalaide to contact RFC Karma and kill the waterwork.

Unnaturally quickly, the clouds rolled back and the sky cleared. Everything was mud and blood, but the exterior of the house was theirs. Alpha Team took a moment to heal their wounds, search the bodies, and prepare for the assault.

Once everyone was ready and stacked near the door, Sergeant Starwind attempted a parlay.

From within, a deep voice answered. Sergeant Starwind demanded their surrender and promised to only keep them incarcerated for the time the Rangers would hold the house. The man inside declined, and offered, instead, to allow the Rangers to try and dig them out.

The attempted parlay failed, and Sergeant Starwind began to deploy his forces for the final assault. The defenders within also made preparations, dousing their fire to prevent the Rangers from attempting to “smoke them out.”

Sergeant Starwind called up RFC Karma for her magic to blow holes in the walls, and the Rangers examined the house closely for any potential weak points.

…to be continued…

Malcolm

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Campaign Report 223
Elven Abduction Part 1

Filed: Dancing Clouds, 27th, 3131

There comes a time in the life of each iteration of Alpha Team when they are called upon to embark on truly monumental missions. Such missions most often carry with them the risk of dire consquences for many innocent lives. Unfortunately, such missions, more often then not, require the greatest sacrifice of the Team itself.

I pray the price for their current assignment does not prove too high to pay.

Dancing Clouds 2nd, 3131

On the morning of the 2nd, Alpha Team woke in their barracks at the Regional Command Center of Echer’Naught. Ser Krieger approached Corporal Starwind to inquire how long the team would be on relieved duty. He had some calls to make in the city. RFC Shakhira Karma Kes Naser had agreed to accompany the knight. She too wished to see where the political lines lay.

As they prepare to depart, Karma and Ser Krieger notice members of the Lamplighters Association in their archaic and bright dress marching in lock step toward the beacon tower. Corporal Starwind explained that before the city was even here, the beacon tower was manned by a small force of volunteers.

At that time, the tower was on the very frontier and the men knew that should danger arrive, their only job was to light the fight and hold off the enemy long enough for the flame or smoke to be seen. They also knew that help would never arrive in time to save them, but their sacrifice might prevent the farms and town in the area from being attacked.

After the founding of the city, and watch duties taken over by the municiple forces, the descendants of the original watch keepers formed a Minor Order and have continued to maintain the beacon fire at the top of the tower for centuries.

They have maintained that sacred duty for generations. The last time a member of the Lamplighters was not on the tower was during the Godstrike Tempest when they were all electrocuted by the Tempest Magus.

And though they have an important, if ceremonial role, the Lamplighter Association is wealthy and powerful fraternal order in the city.

Ser Krieger and RFC Karma departed to find Malcom as the knight sought calling cards to be made. In addition to his other talents, Malcolm is a renowned scrivener. So, Ser Krieger saught him out.

After a brief discussion, the scribe hand wrote 8 very attractive calling cards on Olaran paper, in a fine script. Ser Krieger paid for his prize and the nobles debarted.

They first paid a visit to the Lady-Mayor of Echer’Naught, Gwyndolyn O’Meyer. At first she was concerned as traditionally a visit from members of Alpha Team presaged doom. But, once they allayed her fears, she welcomed the visit from the Rangers and suggested that perhaps they arrange a more organized gathering. At least she recognized that Alpha Team, despite the collatoral damage in their wake, had saved the city, Kingdom, and world on many occasions.

Unfortunately, she was only able to meet with the members of Alpha Team for a short while, as she had much business to discuss. After thanking them for stopping by, she eased them out of her office.

From there, Ser Krieger and RFC Karma headed to visit Ser Halten, the Royal Sheriff of Echer’Naught. At Sir Halten’s house, he found the Sheriff out, but was able to give his new card to Sir Halten’s man, Ostermark. The Royal servant was in court, but Ostermark promised to deliver the message as soon as his master returned.

Per usual, Ostermark moved with all of the speed an alacrity of a truculent glacier. But, he managed to get the card and begin the long journey back across the courtyard.

When the Knight returned, he informed Corporal Starwind of the Mayor’s regards and RFC Karma mentioned the possibility of a forthcoming social event.

On the same day, Tearragg “Twitch” spent his time cleaning and reparing the barracks. He did a solid days work on the cleaning. RFC Pit Gravelheart relaxed and wrote letter to his sister, inviting her out for drinks. He also asked Corporal Starwind to help file paperwork so that RFC Pit could get training from the Order of the Closed Eye.

Dancing Clouds 4th, 3131

In the morning Alpha Team resumed normal duty rotation. Corporal Starwind paired up his team for duty.

Morning (Low Town) – RFC Pit Gravelheart & Trainee Adalaide Morningside
Day (Main Street) – Yrsa Torbjorn & Twitch
Evening (High Towne) – Ser Krieger & RFC Karma

After his morning shift, RFC Pit began training with the Order of the Closed Eye.

Twitch took Corporal Starwind to get his plate armor down on Smith Street to inspect it.

Dancing Clouds 6th, 3131

Corporal Starwind was recieved the expected invitation to the Autumn Spring for an evening meeting. He selected Twitch as his escort. The two of them arrived before the appointed hour at the Autumn Spring. There were few non elves to be found.

Corporal Starwind was escorted to a back room while Twitch was given a seat at the bar, food and ale. Before disappearing into the back room, Corporal Starwind asked the barkeep to aid his friend, Twitch, who was seeking calm enlightenment.

In the back room, Starwind found Lady Merigold, her bodyguard at the door, Lady Treesinger, and a pair of elves; one male, and one female. They sat around a living table sung from a living tree.

The pair were unremarkable, commonplace looking elves. But, they carried themselves with poise and grace indicating someone of great status. All conversation was done in Fae.

Lady Merigold revealed that she knew about Corporal Starwind and Alpha Team’s encounter with the Mer-Folk, though she was careful not to ASK for confirmation and force Corporal Starwind into a conflict of interest.

As far as this meeting went, Lady Merigold informed Corporal Starwind that he was allowed to report that they had met, if asked, and further explain that he had met with Lady Merigolf, High Druidess Treesinger, and Emissary’s from Landra’Feya.

However, the details of their discussion was to be kept solely to himself. To that end, she would not reveal the identity of the two elves, nor further information about her involvment.

Once Corporal Starwind had agreed to those terms, and he had been briefed about as much from a very concerned Colonel Morrow not a few days before, he agreed.

At that, Lady Merigold quickly outlined the issue at hand. The elves, she and her conspiritors, required Alpha Team’s assistance in dealing with a very complex and potentially catastrauphic political issue in Eldara.

The elves requested that Starwind lead a mission to kidnap one of the elven Elders. The conspirators have gained intelligence to to suggest that one of the most influential, and powerful, elves on the councils may have been compromised by evil; Flame, Darkness, Tempest…though they suspect Tempest.

If true, this elder would be in a position to severely damage any defense against incursion, sow confusion among the allies nations, and potentially lead to the fall of Shaintar. Such a betrayal would be worse than the incident of Thundering Skies.

They approached Corporal Starwind because Lady Merigold, and the others, fealt that his dealings with the Mer-Folk, his team’s restraint, and the fact that he was an elf, but not of Landra’Feya meant that he had a personal stake in the crisis, but no direct connections.

In essence, they needed a trustworthy elf, but an outsider to their lands. And one with the resources and backing capable of achieving such a mission.

Should the mission fail, they would not be able to provide any cover for Alpha Team. Though, elven law forbids execution. They WOULD, however, use whatever influence they could to direct as much responsibility to Starwind himself, and not his men. Then, if fortunate, he would simply be eternally banished from the southern elven enclaves. He could, obviously, return home to Tar’Imas.

But, there were no garuntees. If caught, they might all be imprisoned for life… And for an elf, that is a long time.

It was a difficult decision, but Corporal Starwind accepted gravely.

Upon his acceptance, Lady Merigold handed him a coin and instructed him to hide it where none shall find it on his person. Should worse come to worse, if someone were going to die during the mission, he was instructed to give it to the elves and it might spare bloodshed. But, it might lead Landra’Feya and Galea into war.

Once he received his orders, he and Alpha Team were to ride to the city of Erda’ Meias. There, one of the two elves he had yet to learn their names, would meet him with additional information.

The first part of their mission would be to clear out a Floater House to use as a staging ground for training, and a black site for questioning, assuming the mission went well. He was to keep details from his team until they were already on their way toward the first objective with the additional intelligence.

Corporal Starwind was told to wait for orders to depart, and he agreed to do so.

Outside, per Corporal Starwind’s request, the elves of the Autumn Spring had provided Twitch a book on ancient elven though and philosophy. An invaluable tome he was leafing through when Corporal Starwind exited his meeting and came to collect him.

Corporal Starwind immediately retunred to report to Colonel Morrow confirming the meet. He also requested an Operational Manual for Delta Team and to formally submit his -non-lethal training manual draft be reviewed, edited and publish for formal adoption. Securing those promises, he asked to spend the net week with his team on non-lethal take down tactics, as well as, Delta Team Operational procedures. Colonel Morrow agreed to all requests without complaint.

At that, Colonel Morrow expressed his graittude that Corporal Starwind had kept his promise to keep Alpha Team on a tight leash. He also had put in formal paperwork to promote Corporal Starwind to Sergeant. Likewide, Trainee Adalaide Morningside had cleared her Trainee statuse and Corporal Starwind should begin thinking of his second in command for promotion.

Corporal Starwind thanked the Colonel and promised to submitt he paperwork immediately.

Dancing Clouds 7th, 3131

Delta Team Operational Manual arrived, as well as a draft copy of the Non-Lethal Tactics and Take-Downs.

“When given an impossible task, when asked to do what cannot be done, break the rules” Sgt Major Nichts, Delta Team.

The Delta Operational Manual covered mobilzation of local resources, motiviating operators, and cultivating irregular assets for completing deniable mission objectives.

It also covered how to procure and hide money. How to locate and cultivate informants. It even covered methods to achieve plausible deniability. One of the first lessons, “Abandon Ranger gear. Wear and eat only local gear and food.”

Over the next week, Corporal Starwind and Alpha Team trained in a Ranger modular training warehouse, reviewed elven maps with the team for navigational purposes, and discussed the basics of elven language and culture. They covered 6 days of intense training to prepare the team to operate within Landra’Feya.

Per the Delta Manual, Corporal Starwind even used deniable cut outs to procure their “native elven” gera for when the mission went live.

Dancing Clouds 9th, 3131

On the morning of the 9th, the orders came down. The team would be departing on the 12th.

Dancing Clouds 11th, 3131

In the morning, Corporal Starwind and Trainee Adalaide went to Colonel Morrow’s office.

  • On Dancing Clouds 11th, 3131 Corporal Tahl’ear Starwind was promoted to Sergeant
  • On Dancing Clouds 11th, 3131 Trainee Adalaide Morningside was promoted to Full Ranger status

Dancing Clouds 12th, 3131

Early on the morning of the 12th, departed from their warehouse, wearing none of their Ranger kit, heading west toward Erda’Meias.

They wore all elven gear and rode elven mounts.

That night, they stopped at the Elven Waystation and were greeted by the other, mostly elven travelers.

Dancing Clouds 20th, 3131

In the evening, Alpha Team arrived in Erda’Meias. Crossing the border was easy, they provided offical “non-Ranger” papers. After entering the city, they selected an inn to stay in to continue “blending in.”

Alpha Team ate in the main hall and rented benches near the hearth. The temperature was not cold, but the chill of fall had begun to set in.

While reclining in the tavern, Sergeant Starwind spotted a familiar face enter, the male elf from his “meeting.” The elf sat nearby and, causally, made eye contact. At the signal, Sergeant Starwind told the team he would be taking a moment to “stretch his legs.”

Not long after, the elven male found Sergeant Starwind and handed him the mission information. He then turned and dissapeared arouund the corner.

The sergeant peaked inside and saw sheeves of paper and 100 in elvish gold. It also had maps and intelligence reports. Per the information, reaching the target house would be a seven day ride, and off the beaten path.

They returned to the inn to sleep that night.

Dancing Clouds 21st, 3131

The team departed before dawn, heading west, then north off the main road. After a few hours past the city, Sergeant Starwind halted the Rangers and divided their operational funds. He also, at this point, explained they would receive mission details later.

Dancing Clouds 23rd, 3131

Two days later, in camp, Sergeant Starwind revealed the target and details of the first leg of their Operation. They were clearing out a manufacturing, packaging, and distribution center for floaters. There were, according to intel, 20 guards and an unknown number of slave workers.

Ser Krieger suggested the option of the blowing the house, but, as a druid, Sergeant Starwind had sworn an oath to protect Life. Wanton slaughter was not an option.

Ultimately, they outline a rough draft of the house, and a plan to recon first, and then develop a plan.

Dancing Clouds 27th, 3131

They arrived near their intended house. Leaving the rest of the Rangers behind, Sergeant Starwind took Twitch forward for recon.

They arrived under cover of night. Several guards stood around the house’s perimeter. The windows were boarded up, leaving arrow slits, but preventing the Rangers for seeing deeper inside. Outside the front door, there appeared to be no other obvious way inside.

The guards carried no torches, so either they were well trained or had night vision.

Smoke coiled from the chimney suggesting that there were more inside. From their vantage, they spotted guards on the north and east face of the building, but from their angle, couldn’t see other facings.

They appeared to have posted 2 on each wall, and guards on the corners, but as they were sticking to the shadows under the eaves, it was difficult to say for certain.

The sky showed a single moon, and was slightly overcast.

Sergeant Starwind and Twitch remained on station for an entire shift change, which they did at full light. Throughout the night, they rotated out every two hours, but were careful to always double vulnerable points during any changing of guards.

All told, Twitch identified about 15 unique faces, that always exited and entered via the main door, which was guarded at all times. They never opened the shutter, even during the day. Their latrine was military distance off to the southeast.

The guards were a mixture of orcs, elves, dwarves, and humans. None of them were floaters users. They were all professionals, soldiers or mercs. Definitely not Randits. Some wore full helm coverings, but not all.

After the scouting party returned, they spent much time discussing the plan. Ultimately, Sergeant Starwind made the call.

Karma would summon a storm the following night to provide cover.
They would send a kill team to the camp latrine and take out the first one or two mercs to arrive.
Any mercs sent to investigate the dissappearances would similiarly be taken out.
When the Mercs got wise, Alpha Team would move in and secure the perimeter, taking out guards in the open.
Once they controlled the ground, they would take the building by storm or siege.

All they had to do then was wait for night fall.

Malcolm

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Campaign Report 222
Phatique and Nostolgia

Malcolm,

Filed: Dancing Clouds 1st, 3131

His Majesty Darien Argon married the Olaran Lady, Fara Messner, Harvest Moons 5th, 3126, making her the reigning monarch, fortifying the alliance between Galea and Olara. King Darien’s oldest and most trusted advisor, Simon Aladay’s younger cousin, Lady Sylvania Merigold, had long been friends with the Queen and her younger sister. A suspicious person might suspect that the Aladay’s “encouraged” the close friendship between Lady Merigold and the future Queen. In fact, within a year, Simon Aladay wed the Queen’s sister, putting young Lady Merigold at the heart of Galean power.

Despite this, young Lady Merigold has avoided the public eye, though almost always in the company of the Queen, or her trusted advisor, her own sister, Lady Aladay. But, without the expectations of duty, Lady Merigold is given great freedom to travel about, often on the business of the Crown. Though she lacks the official posting, she is considered one of Galea’s most important and trusted Ambassadors.

Which makes her involvement in the current situation all the more curious. Lady Merigold’s life is a matter of public record, due to the prominence of her family, and her ties to the Crown of Galea. And yet… little if nothing is truly known about her. She has not consort or scandal of any form. And, by all accounts, she holds no heavy official office, meaning her work on behalf of the Kingdom is all informal. She is a dilatant and cultural emissary, or so we are to believe.

If the King in the East is involved, I fear there is far more at stake here than a simple courtesy escort. Alpha Team might soon be drawn into situations that could affect the carefully cultivated relations between Kingdoms. Now would be a terrible time for the alliances to waver, as we are pressed on all fronts by powerful forces beyond our control.

Festival Moons 24th, 3131

Alpha Team woke in the morning with plans to escort Lady Merigold to Echer’Naught, per her request. Upon waking, Corporal Tahl’haer Starwind ordered Trainee Adalaide Morningside to contact Regional Command and inform them about Lady Merigold’s requested escort to the city. Basically, he wanted to ensure that Colonel Morrow was aware that an associate of the Royal Crown of Galea had personally requested Alpha Team to escort them across Olara to Echer’Naught; so that he could be prepared. The Captain of the Watch ordered Alpha Team to proceed with the escort pending further orders.

When they exited their quarters the sky was gray and the day was wet with a light drizzle. In the main hall of Baron Warrick’s keep, Alpha Team found the Baron eating with several of his knights and sworn at a lower table in the hall, a far cry from the pageantry of the previous night. The hall was unusually quiet with only the muted sounds of chewing, clatter of dishware, and the grinding clank of armor.

Alpha Team sat and were quickly fed a hearty Olaran meal of eggs, sausage, soft bread, hard chees, and morning ale. Wine of the elves. The Baron and his men finished quickly before exiting the hall. Alpha Team downed their meal and stepped into the rainslick courtyard where three groups of horses had been groomed, saddled, and gathered. On one side of the small square yard were the Olarans on their destriers. Heavily armed knights in plate and fur. In the “middle” Alpha Team’s own gray Masterbred Harken horses pranced. They wore green and lighter armors. And, on the far side, a small group of elven mares, white or black waiting for Lady Merigold’s party.

The Galean Lady exited her chambers and she an her entourage, unarmed or armored, mounted their horses. Her stalwart guardian, the Knight of the Gleaming Shields, look odd in the company as his horse was several hand taller and he was bedecked in white silver plate and chain. His polished silver shield clattered against his left thigh covering a sword whose hilt was never out of reach.

Before the assemblage departed, Baron Warrick asked if the Rangers wished to dispatch outriders ahead and behind. An overabundance of caution, to be sure, but given the guest in their company, no road was safe enough. Not even a main highway in Olara. Corporal Starwind agreed and sent RFCs Pit Gravelheard and Rat Hammerclaw ahead. He and Trainee Adalaide remained closer to the head of the column. The rest of the team, RFC Karma, Yrsa Torbjorn and Tearragg “Twitch” brought up the rear guard. Baby Bear plodded faithfully alongside his mistress.

Baron Warrick rode beside Lady Merigold at the head of the Olaran column, behind them were the Lady’s escort and the Baron’s herald. Behind this, a column of mounted knights, their mounted sworn, and finally a double column of billhook-wielding citizen soldiers and their crossbow counterparts. These last carried heavy crossbows over their shoulders and pavise shield slung over their backs.

All told, there were more than 40 armed men surrounding the petite Lady Merigold who exchanged phatigue conversation with the Baron as they rode toward the rising sun.

For the Rangers, the tramp of hooves, stomp of the foot, and clatter of arms created a terrible din. Armies are loud. Olaran armies are louder than most. There would be no chance of health given the racket. The wet road also sucked at shoes making loud, sickly squelching noises.

Otherwise, despite the light rain, the ride was pleasant enough. The column arrived at the city of Hale mid-afternoon. Waiting beside the road was a welcoming committee.

First to ride to greet them was an older battle-axe of a woman and her husband. Corporal Starwind recognized her as Lady Rebecca Warren, Governor of Hale and Baron Warrick’s liege lord. The Corporal dropped back to alert the Baron who asked the forward scouts to move off the road. He, Lady Merigold, their personal entourage along with Corporal Starwind and his adept would approach the Royal Governor. The Corporal returned to Trainee Adalaide who contacted the forward scouts. They were more than happy to comply.

That done, Corporal Starwind and Adalaide joined the Baron as the column continued. and there, before the gates of Hale, Governor Warren welcomed Lady Merigold into the city of Hale. After much small talk, Governor Warren offered Lady Merigold a formal escort into the city. The young Galean accepted heartily and the column got moving. Though, as the conversation wore on, Corporal Starwind noted the set of Baron Warrick’s jaw. Clearly, the man disliked being a pawn in a battle he knew nothing about.

RFCs Pit and Rat waited for the column to pass before falling in with the rest of the Rangers in the rear. Alpha Team followed the cavalcade through the city and up to the Governor’s estate. The city was nice, having grown wealthy on trade, though not a large city. As the column entered the Hale Estate courtyard well-dressed footman of Baron Warrick approached the Corporal offering a formal invitation for he and his second to join the welcome feast at the great hall. He went on to suggest that the REST of Alpha Team rather join the Warrick Sworn in town for a drink.

Corporal Starwind and RFC Shakhira Karma Kes Naser elected to attend the festivities and retired to nice quarters to clean and prepare. The rest of Alpha Team drooped their kit in their rooms and ventured out to join a group of seven burly Olaran sworn on a tavern crawl in town. The Sergeant at Arms notes the Rangers and seems pleased they decided to drink with his men, rather than party with the high and mighty.

The Sergeant at Arms explained that there was a traditional tavern crawl of 7 establishments and asked if the Team was up for it. They all agreed, but only Pit and Adaladie accepted the challenge. The rest followed along, drinking modestly and enjoying the food and entertainment.

The Rangers certainly made a herculean effort, managing to reach the final stop, before doing a strip tease on the bar while singing and ancient Olaran folklore before puking and passing out, thus failing the challenge. They were not alone, however, of the seven Olaran sworn, only two survived. The others falling to pretty, soft company, hunger, or passing out somewhere along the route.

After the fun, the rest of Alpha Team carried their fallen comrades to their rooms for them to sleep it off. It should be noted that both Pid and Adalaide earned renown among the other drinkers and many offers of welcome should they decide to return.

Meanwhile, at the Manor, Corporal Starwind and RFC Karma enjoyed the night, music, food, and conversation. RFC Karma dressed to the nines, gaining quite a few admirers among the assembled. While not at the head table, the Rangers were afforded a decent seat. They had a good view of the dais and the four hours of peaches, welcomes, and normal political theater.

Corporal Starwind and RFC Karma didn’t beat the Team back by much, the rest of Alpha Team stumbling through the door less than an hour later. RFC Pit and Trainee Adalaide were laid down on their beds while the rest of the Team discussed the night. They were disturbed by a commotion outside. RFC Karma went to investigate. Upon opening the door, she found a group of sworn, all drunk, standing outside. One was on his knee at the door, offering flowers and drunken protestations that no one sober on the Team could translate.

The noise attracted the attention of the Sergeant at Arms who arrived to chastise his men for breaking the peace. He explained that the Sworn was professing love for one of the Rangers that had joined them on the tavern crawl, but he could not tell if the man meant Pit or Adalaide. For their transgressions, the Sergeant at Arms, showing no ill effects from the night, had them run laps around the keep’s walls till they puked. Then had them run it again.

Alpha Team retired.

Festival Moons 25th, 3131

In the morning Alpha Team was woken by the city bells. Pit and Adalaide found them to be uncomfortable given their hangovers. Alpha Team quickly readied themselves and ventured out to the feast hall to break their fast. As they cross the quart yard, they spotted the Sergeant at Arms running his Sworn through a rigorous calisthenics routine. They looked rough.

Pit sipped his flask as he passed them.

Entering the hall, they spied Baron Warrick who gave them the “head nod.” Apparently, they had earned some respect from the Olaran lord. Meal done, they join others in the courtyard where their horses are saddled and waiting. RFC Pit and Trainee Adalaide struggled a bit climbing into their saddles, but work it out. Much of House Warren’s nobility attended the send-off. The Governor, her husband, and Baron Warick mounted to escort Lady Merigold to the edge of their territory.

All ride out with Lady Merigold roughly a mile west of town, where the Olarans stop to bid her safe travels and polite invitations to return. Lady Merigold warmly thanks them in high-born Olaran before turning and riding on with only Alpha Team and her own escorts. When Corporal Starwind requested what pace the Lady would prefer, she answered that the Rangers should set the pace and she and her would match it.

True to her word, despite the speed the Rangers flew down the road, her entourage never faltered.

At night, the Rangers set camp, Yrsa taking a lead along with the assistance of Twitch. Lady Merigold and her company, however, did something the Rangers had yet seen. They built a camp, but instead of bedrolls or tents, they hung special hammocks in a circle around their small fire. Curious, the Rangers gathered to test the hammocks, and safe for RFC Rat, all pronounced them wondrous. They were procured from some form of spider silk, light as a feather, but strong and resistant to tearing. Corporal Starwind considered how such devices could make his team faster and lighter.

After this, Lady Merigold invited Alpha Team to sup with her people. One of her entourage was an accomplished chef who procured deliciously spiced meals. She showed the Team her spice case which impressed even RFC Karma whose people were masters of spice.

The trip from Hale to Harken took five days. Each night, the Rangers dined with Lady Merigold’s people before setting watches around both camps.

Festival Moons 30th, 3131

Toward the evening of the 30th, Alpha Team arrived at the city of Harken. The Captain of the Gate appeared to welcome Lady Merigold, and had his men escort them to the city’s keep. The Knights formed up and cleared the path to the Keep. It had not changed since the Team had been there seven months prior for Lady Wyvern’s wedding. Though, it seemed a lifetime. Alpha Team was even given the same room.

This time, all of Alpha Team was invited to the welcome feast for Lady Merigold. It was much like the dinner at Hale, with a bit richer food, music, and decor. Duchess Harken is a Duchess, of course, and Governor Warren is just a Governor. Everyone had a pleasant evening, but the Rangers were eager to return home.

Festival Moons 31st, 3131

Everyone rose in the morning. Again, the Olarans dispatched an armed escort to accompany Alpha Team and Lady Merigold to the edge of the city’s territory. After which, Alpha Team rode hard for the Wyvern Estate. They arrived that afternoon and were greeted by Sir John Wyvern and Lady Wyvern, formerly Sergeant Lilah Harken, commander of Alpha Team. It was a happy reunion. The Sergeant appeared to have adjusted well to her new life, though she did appear in full armor.

Lady Merigold was entranced by the Wyvern Estate, particularly the “real” wyvern skull over the hearth. After an extensive tour of the grounds, and setting up the Rangers in the rose compass room, everyone headed across the street where RFC Pit and his sister Cairn reunited. Lady Merigold and Alpha Team were afforded a taste test of the newest Grimm and Grapple Brews. Pit and Cairn argued over the finer points, but for the most part, everyone had a pleasant evening. Both Grimm and Cairn Grappleheart are former members of Alpha Team, as was Sir John Wyvern years prior.

The Grimm and Grapples brew appeared to the road front as a giant ale barrel. Behind the facade appeared a normal brick building. Just in the front door was an ample tasting room. Off the right, behind the bar a conference room. Out back, an expensive viewing window that overlooked the main operation and brewing floor. Each still has ingredient boards listing the motes and notes of that particular brew. There is a separate lab for alchemical experimentation.

They tested a new brew for fall which has a brief incorporeal effect. Obviously, such offers are far outside the price range of the average Olaran citizen.

Lady Merigold was fascinated and displayed a remarkable understanding of the brewing process, complementing the dwarf on many of her innovations. After the taste test, Alpha Team returned to the Wyver Estate for a proper meal and joyous conversation into the night as the current iteration of the Team discusses, what they can, of their recent exploits. As always, Lady Merigold was a delgiht.

Everyone retired refreshed that evening.

Festival Moons 32nd, 3131

Despite fears of a repeat of the last celebration at the Estate, the night passed without incident. Alpha Team broke their fast with the Wyverns and mounted up to depart. RFC Rat seemed particularly keen to return home.

Festival Moons 33rd, 3131

In the evening, Alpha Team arrived at the eastern (Dwarven Gate). The Gate Sergeant greeted the Team warmly and waved them through. As they entered the city, they passed a hulking Murvoth striding through the crowd followed by Kujo, his scarred bear. In fact, with Baby Bear, that was two large ursine creatures standing on Mainstreet and none of the Olarans seemed the least bit concerned, or surprised.

Corporal Starwind took Yrsa as his second to accompany him and Lady Merigold as RFC Karma led the rest of the Team back to the Ranger Headquarters. When Alpha Team arrived, most dropped off their mounts at the stables before heading to their barracks to settle in. RFC Karma took RFC Rat into the HQ to report in. They are asked to wait about half an hour, during which dime they see Captain Vasser of the City Watch pass by.

Eventually, they are escorted into a room with the Watch Captain and Vasser. RFC Karma files her official written and verbal report. Then, RFC Rat is given transfer paperwork.

  • Festival Moons 33rd, 3131 RFC Rat Hammerclaw formally transfers from Alpha Team to the City Watch of Echer’Naught.

Captain Vasser personally came up from the Watch Station at Centerpointe to welcome the new Watchman. Rat turned over his cloak, pin, kit, and white silver dagger. He took a minute to return with RFC Karma to the barracks to fetch his things, and wave farewell before leaving with Captain Vasser who explained his new role as they headed back into town.

Due to his rank and experience, he would be entering the Watch as an NCO, a Squad Leader. At the Watch Station he is issued his new uniform, club, and badge of office. All weapons larger than daggers must be secured at home, or in the station armory. Only officers carry swords outside of extreme situations. Once sorted, Captain Vasser gives Squad Leader Rat Hammerclaw 48 leave before he should report for formal training and assignemnt.

Rat immediately runs to see Fitz as the Wyvern’s town home in Echer’Naught. At long last, they have settled together in the city.

Trainee Adalaide headed to the Farspeaker’s Guild with RFC Pit to check in. There, she met Taka, a former Corporal of Alpha Team. He welcomed her, took her report, and arrange for greater healing to repair her injuries.

Twitch took RFC Karma to Smith Street to find plate male for him. It was a huge cost, but he managed to get a set made. It would take a couple of days before he could pick it up.

Lady Merigold, Corporal Starwind, and Yrsa arrived at the Sacred Grove for the Lady to meet High Druides Treesinger. The lady showed true wonder at the transition from city to grove, that magical barrier behind which the noise and bustle of Echer’Naught vanished into the quiet, natural sounds of an ancient elvish forest. During their walk, Corporal Starwind discussed the curse upon his people, the Ironwood Elves. Their hatred of the Kal-A-Nar Empire for the atrocities committed during the War of Flame had driven many to fall from the Path…some even turn to Ceynara.

Only by letting go of the bitterness and rage, could they truly heal. Lady Merigold expressed deep admiration for his wisdom and hoped that more of his kin would hear his words, and accept.

Within the heart of the Grove, Corporal Starwind introduced Lady Merigold to Treeingers, but Treesinger quipped they had already met. Though, apparently when Lady Merigold was a mere child then. Lady Merigold turned to touch Corporal Starwind’s hands, gave them a kiss, and said he had done something monumental for his people…more than he would eve know. Then, she and Treesinger walked away deeper into the Grove.

After they departed, Corporal Starwind and Yrsa heard the deep snore of a bear nearby and spotted Voltagg, McKenzie Shan’s companion asleep sprawled out on the grass. He scratched idly and growled in his sleep.

As they left, Yrsa pondered the Corporal’s words, as she too was an Iron Elf and filled with the rage of her people. When they returned, RFC Pit and Adalaide were at the Hammer and Anvil drinking. They returned several hours later. By then, a message arrived for Corporal Starwind with the official seal of the Rangers. It informed him that in the morning, he and RFC Karma had an appointment with Colonel Morrow. The rest of the team was placed on standby for the next 48 hours.

Dancing Clouds 1st, 3131

In the morning, Corporal Starwind and RFC Karma headed to their meeting with Colonel Morrow. They waited a quarter of an hour before being summoned into the office. Colonel Morrow offered a light breaking of fast while he wrapped paperwork up with Malcolm. After this, he congratulated both on their escort of Lady Merigold. She was quite complimentary.

He then offered a replacement for RFC Rat Hammerclaw. There was already waiting warrior with true combat experience. He had also battled forces from outside Shaintar, so would work well with Alpha Team’s mission. The recruit would add another heavy hitter to the Team’s roster.

Colonel Morrow had the man summoned and all could hear him clanking down the hall in heavy armor. He entered and introduced himself as Ser Kreiger. He was tall and broad, clad in knightly armor and colors. Of note, a Tempest lighting bolt with a series of hash marks was etched into his breastplate. He introduced himself and heartily shook Corporal Starwind’s hand. The Corporal asked about the Lightning Bolt, and Ser Krieger explained that he had won it by taking a Tempest banner in the Attack on Jurg in the Northern Gathers under the banner of the White Silver Wolves.

Colonel Morrow explained that his service with the White Silver Wolves carried over and swore him into the ranks of Alpha Team.

  • Dancing Clouds 1st, 3131 Ser Krieger transfers from the White Silver Wolves to Alpha Team of Echer’Nuaght.

Once formally inducted, and given his cloak, pin, kit, and white silver dagger, Colonel Morrow asked RFC Karma to get him settled into the Alpha Team barracks. After they departed, Morrow asked the Corporal to speak candidly about his escort of Lady Merrigold.

Corporal Starwind did so honestly.

Then, the Colonel revealed that Corporal Starwind had been requested to meet with the emissaries of Landra’Feya. It was not an order. Colonel Morrow further revealed that he did not know the nature of the meeting, but there would be high-profile figures such as High Druidess Treesinger, Lady Merigold, and others. It was a sensitive diplomatic request from Kythos. He went on to explain that Corporal Starwind would be representing the Rangers. Whatever gag order the operation demanded by the Elves, Corporal Starwind was to abide by, even if that meant not telling Ranger Command. Though, he requested that all available information be shared.

Corporal Starwind agreed to the meet and departed the office. Before returning to his team, he approached Malcom about charitable donors to help create, or host, an event that permit them to gather funds to donate to the Wildlands town they had recently attacked and then forced to sign the Ranger Charter. He worried that the financial burden of paying back penalties to the Kingdom of Olara would economically cripple a generation.

Malcolm agreed to put together a list of potential donors.

After that, Corporal Starwind returned to his Team in the barracks to help welcome their newest member.

Malcolm

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Campaign Report 221
Bandits vs Beaurocrats

Malcolm,

Filed: Festival Moons 23rd, 3131

…continued from last…

Festival Moons 18th, 3131

The bridge had been taken with light casualties. Trainee Adalaide Morningside had taken hard hits and would have gone down, were it not RFC Rat’s timely intervention. Otherwise, Alpha Team took only minor injuries. The Randits, however, half a dozen slain, 2 captured and their forward position taken in less than a minute.

Undaunted, however, they fortified the town’s perimeter and waited for Alpha Team to reach them. Tearragg “Twitch” was the first up the hill. He was met with arrows, ballista bolts, and magic. So much so, that despite the Ramshorn Shield, he had to seek cover behind outlying buildings.

Just behind the brinchie charged Corporal Tal’haer Starwind and the rest of Alpha Team. RFC Rat flanked left, and made his way around the wagon blocking the main street…behind which the ballista sat. Around the Corporal, the rest of Alph Team moved into a rough skirmish line in the road leading to town.

Several enthusiastic Randints charged the Ranger line, inflicting minor injuries before being brutally cut down. The ballista continued to fire, bolts bouncing off of Corporal Starwind’s shield of protective purple energy. Sir Yorik was not so well armored. A close-range shot brought the big Olaran knight down in a clatter of armor. Yoirk was not dead, but out of the fight and bleeding out without medical attention.

RFC Pit Gravelheart and Yrsa Torbjorn traded shots with Randit archers on the roofs of the outlying buildings. The Randits fire was accurate, but the Rangers punched harder. Torbjor took cover behind a tree on the right while RFC Gravelheart found a shallow rise on the left. RFC Rat sprinted around the town defenses and caught one of their archers off-guard as the brinchie thief appeared above him.

Unfortunately for RFC Rat, a second archer, hidden in the farmstead behind him, fired directly into RFC Rat’s back. Even as RFC Rat turned to fall back, he spotted something troubling. Behind the hastily erected barricades inside the town, local villagers loaded arrows, tended wounded Randits, and carried buckets to put out fires. The town itself was fighting the Rangers!

The enemy caster took down Corporal Starwind’s energy shield, forcing him to seek cover behind the wagon barricade. Good news, of course, the ballista couldn’t depress low enough to hit someone lying right under the table. RFC Rat found him there and shouted over the din that there were civilians fighting with the Randits. AlphaTeam’s missions are rarely straightforward and Corporal Starwind began to suspect that they were not completely informed about the situation in the town.

Alpha Team pushed forward. Twitch flitted into and out of the Randits on the right flank, trading blows, but giving far better than he received. Trainee Adalaide Morningside found herself again trading blows with a Randit, this time though she ws supported by the rest of the Team. It was a slog, but one by one the Randits went down.

Finally, RFC Shakhira Karma Kes Naser launched a devastating attack on the ballista and wagon protecting it. Both went up in an impressive explosion scattering the front line of the Randit defense. Archers laid down covering fire while the survivors pulled back deeper into the town. The center was open and the Rangers prepared to drive the Randits out of town.

When, without warning, Corporal Starwind shouted for everyone to stop fighting. He ordered his Rangers to pull back. To their credit, the headman of the Town, also the lead Randit, also ordered his men to fall back. Their ground forces pulled back toward the central courtyard, their bandit archers taking up positions on the rooftops.

During the ceasefire, the Rangers administered first aid to Sir Yorik who…almost immediately rose and made to charge the town again. Only after direct orders from Corporal Starwind did he consent to stand down…

Both sides were given time to regroup their forces before an impromptu parlay was established in the town square. The town headman spoke for both the villagers and the Randits. Corporal Starwind negotiated for the Rangers, and the Olaran.

Corporal Starwind explained that they were dispatched by the Rangers on behalf of the Olaran Baron Warrick to apprehend bandits attacking merchants entering Olara across the southern road at the bridge outside of town. The Corporal also suggested that the townsfolk had intentionally built their town in the area just west of the Howling River and at the contested borders of Olara, Galea, and the Wildlands to avoid taxation.

The Randit leader appeared to expect this and haughtily explained that, no, the town was built outside of Olara because of the high Olaran taxes and unsympathetic Barons and across the river from Galea for the same reason. They had moved south in the Wildlands to be free. However, bandits, and worse, tax collectors from Olara, Galea, AND the Rangers had plagued them since. The Randits, formerly bandits themselves, had originally sought to fleece the town, but after a short time, realized the greater value in protecting the town, rebuilding the bridge, and charging a toll to cross. The toll paid to cover the cost of construction and maintenance of the bridge. And, since they were in the Wildlands, the Olaran Baron had no jurisdiction.

Corporal Starwind countered that, while true, they WERE fleecing Olaran merchants on the borders of Olara, and as an unrecognized entity, regardless of location, was still banditry in the eyes of the law, even the Grayson’s Gray Rangers of the Wildlands. But, Corporal Starwind conceded that they had not been provided a complete picture of the situation and offered a compromise.

He would contact the Rangers and petition for a parlay for the town, the Olarans and the Rangers to sit down and hash out details without further bloodshed. The Randits agreed, and so Corporal Starwind contacted Command via Trainee Adalaide. Command ordered the Rangers to stand down and pull back out of town. They would arrange for a Ranger negotiator and Baron Warrick to attend a summit among the various groups.

Alpha Team obeyed, fell back, and established a camp just southwest of the town on a rise overlooking both town and bridge.

Festival Moons 20th, 3131

Two days later Alpha Team was met by a small trio of Rangers arriving from the south west. Their leader, Lieutenant Arnor gave a briefing on the situation, confirming the meeting would be happening that day, and the Baron Warrick was arriving to represent the Kingdom of Olara. As the first Rangers on the scene, and those responsible for the peaceful talks, Alpha Team was offered a seat at the table. “Neutral” observers. Lieutenant Arnor would represent the Rangers and the Randit headman would represent the town.

The entire team, save RFC Rat and Yrsa Torbjorn, along with Baby Bear, headed down into the town. Baron Warrick arrived with only a single bannerman, and Sir Yorik as his entourage, displaying his disdain for being summoned to such a mudhole. The Olaran Lord further explained that he had only come because his agents “hadn’t been as thorough as they should have been.” The village headman, Amaroth, turned out with his men, and the entire village in support.

Alpha Team had little involvement in the negotiations, other than to confirm or refute aspects of various sides of the story. Despite being Rangers, they appeared generally disposed to the village, despite having ben killing each other 48 hours prior. The negotiations went long into the evening, but ultimately, things wound up as they always must.

The Town agreed to enter the Ranger Charter and thereby gain legitimacy. This also prevented the Olarans or Galeans from laying claim to the town for taxation. They would then be allowed to exact tolls on the bridge. However, as they were “incorporated” previously and had not ground to exact tolls, they were forced to pay restitution from the prior theft of Olaran property. The Kingdom of Olara and the Rangers would then negotiate fair trade across the border, and a percentage of the tolls would go to the Rangers as a tax.

For at least a generation the town would be financially crippled by the restitution to the Olarans, but the bridge would offer continued revenue which would benefit future generations. The Rangers vowed to offer protection and service to the town, and legitimized the Randits as Watchmen with full legal authority to police the town.

Festival Moons 21st, 3131

The following morning, everyone gathered for the official signing of the Ranger Charter. After signing, Baron Warrick approached Corporal Starwind and made an unusual request. As Alpha Team would be passing his manor on the return to Echer’Naught, he requested Alpha Team stop by as he had a guest that Baron Warrick believed the Corporal, in particular, might find interesting. To maintain diplomacy, Corporal Starwind claimed he would be honored for the opportunity and agreed to accompany the Olarans back to their keep.

With that, Corporal Starwind orders camp broken and Alpha Team prepared to depart. They were stopped by Lt Anor who suggested that Alpha Team avoid this route for a while. The villagers were still pained over the death of so many loved ones, and though they would not take direct action, seeing Alpha Team might strain already tenuous relationships. Still, he congratulated the Team on a job well done.

After this brief interview and bidding Lt. Arnor and his squad farewell, Alpha Team formed up around the Baron’s wagon, a first “tribute” from the town, and headed north into Olara.

The trip took two days with the heavily laden wagon.

Festival Moons 23rd, 3131

Alpha Team, escorting Barwon Warrick, arrived at the Baron’s Keep. He instructed Alpha Team to freshen up and then come back to the hall for a late supper. Once they had reassembled, he would inform his guest of their arrival. Corporal Starwind instructed the Team to clean before dinner and makes a point of wearing his “NCO’s formal.” RFC Karma wore formal attire and Trainee Adalaide wore her dress uniform, as befitted a Galean.

Late in the evening, Alpha Team arrived for dinner. Several of the Baron’s knights stood waiting. There was no formal announcement, as this was an ad hoc gathering, the number of knights and highborn guested clued Alpha Team that whoever they were there to meet was someone of status and power.

The Baron arrived and everyone snapped to attention waiting for him to assume his seat at the head of the hall. Alpha Team was led to a table near the front, but not on the dias. They were honored guests, but not of the same rank or importance as whoever had stirred the Olaran keep. A herald entered the hall and announced something in Olaran, Trainee Adaliade translated.

The herald introduced “Lady Merigold.”

Entering through the main doors and gliding to the table of honor was a group that, at first glance, appeared to be eldakar. As they came closer, however, Corporal Starwind noted that the one in front was a young woman of about 5 and a half feet in height with a slight elvish frame, was actually a Galean woman, by her colors, though she appeared so luminescent it was clear she had evlish blood. By her demeanor, entourage, and attire, she was Galaen nobility at the very least, if not royalty.

Behind her, a step to the rear and to the left was a tall, attractive knight in gleaming armor with a fine surcoat over his armor adorned with heraldry the Rangers felt they should recognize. He also carried a shield polished to an eye-watering gleam. Behind him flowed half a dozen robed figures, her staff. Their faces were obscured by their packed hoods, but they moved with elvish grace.

As the young woman passed, she glanced over and graced Alpha Team with a radiant, and genuine, smile. And then she was past, gliding onto the dais to sit beside Baron Warrick in a seat of honor. Her guard took up post behind her, and her entourage fluttered and lighted at their seats like a flock of swans.

Baron Warrick invited his guests in a booming voice, had a prayer offered by a Priest of Light and a benediction by his court Druid, before asking all to be seated and food served.

Trainee Adalaide informed the Team that the guard was a Knight of the Gleaming Shields, the order specifically tasked with protecting the Royal Houses of Galea. More curious, the lowly Baron Warrick would not warrant the visitation of such a personage, not outside of a major political event. For her to be here, alone, was unthinkable.

As the dinner went on, Alpha Team could hear snippets of conversation from the head table. The girl, Lady Merigold, spoke in a lilting voice and laughed with real joy. She captivated Baron Warrick, speaking fluent Olaran, and all his court. She was obviously well-educated and perfectly at ease among the burly, somewhat stiff Olaran knights. More curious, while her entourage sipped wine, and her guard ate and drank nothing, she drank rich Olaran ale as heartily as the Baron’s best knights.

Eventually, however, the hour grew late and the Baron rose to excuse the Lady for the evening. After she departed, so did her. And, in true Olaran fashion, once the Lord left the hall, the knights let down their hair and truly partied. Alpha Team was considering retiring themselves when minutes later a page arrived at Corporal Starwinds elbow requesting a private audience with the Baron. The invitation included the entire team.

Bizzare subterfuge from the typically direct and laconic Olaran. Still, Alpha Team complied, if warily. They were escorted deeper into the keep, within the lower rooms of the Baron’s tower itself to his private parlor. Like most Olarans the decor was heavy iron or stone furniture, thick tapestries of victorious campaigns, furs, and suits of armor.

They found the Baron standing by a large hearth sipping ale. In his private, high-back padded chair sat the woman, Lady Merigold, her guard standing behind her. Nothing about the situation made sense, so Alpha Team remained cordially reserved.

Lady Merigold greeted the Team and Corporal Starwind in particular speaking pristine Fae. In fact, she spoke better than he. She revealed that she had heard Corporal Starwind recently spend time at sea. Corporal Starwind replied yes, and he was honored to speak with her. After this brief exchange of pleasantries, she spoke with each Ranger in turn, conversing in their native tongue, and displaying a suspicious level of information about them personally, and Alpha Team in general. Though, there was no malice or innuendo in her conversation.

Finally, switching to Galean, she asked Alpha Team for a personal favor. Lady Merigold explained that she was heading to Eldara, through Echer’Naught, and asked Alpha Team to escort her across Olara, at the Regional Headquarters was the westernmost city in southern Olara before crossing the border into Landa’Feya.

Corporal Starwind readily agreed, though clearly suspected ulterior motives. Someone of her station would rate a small army. She hardly needed to beg a lone team of Rangers to escort her through what SHOULD be an allied nation. Nothing about the situation made sense. She thanked the team and retired to meet that at down the following morning.

After she departed, the Baron finally spoke, looking confused and concerned at the same time. A rare admission for an Olaran. He explained that he would personally escort Alpha Team and Lady Merigold to Hale and to arrange lodging. After which, her safety fell to the Rangers. Baron Warrick stressed that NOTHING could happen to her, and seemed to want to offer a warning, but fell just short. Alpha Team’s horses would be prepared for them in the morning.

Baron Warrick bid them farwell, and Alpha Team retired for the evening. Perplexed about what the morning would bring.

Malcolm

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Campaign Report 220
Randits at the Bridge

Malcolm,

Filed: Festival Moons 18th, 3131

Continued…

Festival Moons 18th, 3131

After dining in the hall of Baron Warrick, of the House of Lady Rebecca Warren, Governor of Hale, under the banner of Duke Oleph Unger of Stagg. Alpha Team slept in the Keep of Baron Warrick, well fed and safe. On the morning of the 18th, they woke, having confirmed orders from Colonel Morrow’s office in Echer’Naught to follow Baron Warrick’s orders to recover the taxes stolen by the border bandits.

Alpha Team rose, broke their fast with the Baron and his hall. It was at breakfast when Baron Warrirck introduced his cousin, somewhat removed, Yorik. A daughty, if simpleminded warrior. Baron Warrick’s Lady had commanded that an Olaran accompany the mission to ensure the Realm’s interests were met.

Thaning their host, they mounted and rode south. It was a bit over half a day’s ride back to the border from the Warrick Keep. Over the course of the ride, Corporal Tahl’aer Starwind went to great pains to explain to Yorik their plan. Alpha Team planned to dispatch scouts to approach the bridge under cover and get close to the randits. They arrived, just north of the ridge, dismounting and posting pickets. It was still just after high noon.

Alpha Team debated launching an immediate attack, or waiting until the cover of darkness. An immediate attack would have surprise. However, Corporal Starwind decided to wait until night for the benefits of stealth. And so, Alpha Team bedded down in green grass by the road leading to the bridge. All, except for Yorik and Baby Bear.

Sir Yorik elected to stand beside the road as a statue, “keeping watch,” until one of the Rangers tossed a cloak over his head turning him from stature to lumpy, mischapen stone. The effect was somewhat ruined by the adolescent brown bear squatting beside the “rock.”

Corporal Starwind divided the Team into two squads.

Team 1: Corporal Starwind, RFC Pitt, Twitch, and Sir Yorik.
Team 2: RFC Karma Nes Naser, RFC Rat, Yrsa Torbjorn, Adalaide Morningside

After dark, Corporal Starwind announced the attack, sending RFCs Pitt Gravelheart and Rat forward as scouts. At the signal to advance…Sir Yorik drew his sword and marched headlong over the ridge and into battle. It occurred then, to the Team, that perhaps Sir Yorik did not speak Galean and was only being polite as he had nodded along to Corporal Starwind’s review of the plan.

South of the ridge, the radits were guarding the bridge as before. Or so it appeared. Sir Yorik charged in, striking at the first bridge guard. Battle was joined. And, as they had gone “loud,” Corporal Starwind ordered the rest of Alpha Team into battle. yet, even as they charged, fired, sneaked down the hill, they too were being flanked by well hidden archers in the trees.

The day prior, on the 17th, Pitt had been spotted skulking about. In response, the randits had posted further guards in the trees. As Alpha Team sprinted down the road, they were fired upon from all sides. Which, would have been trouble for most, but for Alpha Team…it was super easy, barely and inconvenience.

Over the next several minutes, Alpha Team proceeded to systematically slaughter the Randits one by one. On the left flank, Trainee Adalaide got into single combat with one of the Randit archers. It did not go well. She was cut down, and would have been slayed if not for the timely blade of RFC Rat, who, aftering felling his own archer, turned back to save her. RFC Karma arrived with a healing potion to save the girl.

On the right, RFC Pitt and Yrsa picked off the Randit bowmen one by one. In the center, Corporal Starwind, Tearragg “Twitch” and Yorik simply walked through the Randits on the bridge. They even managed to capture a couple, rather than kill.

While the Rest of the Rangers scrambled across the river, or the bridge, and Corporal Starwind secured the prisoners, Twitch and Sir Yorik pressed forward, undaunted. Twitch, being faster, managed to reach the edge of the village first, and sprint around the curving street branching off the main road, up the rise into the village.

Alone and unsported, Twitch entered the village to find it heavily, if hastily fortified. The randits had a ballista. It his him right as he came into view. Were it not for Corporal Starwind’s protection, he might have been pinioned. However, moments later, the Randits mage dispelled the protection even as more arrows rained on him.

Twitch flanked right, taking cover behind a tree. A tree, a randit assassin was also taking cover behind. He and Twitch traded blows, before the brinchie moved deeper through the village gardens. Down below, on the bridge, Corporal Starwind heard the telltale “thunk” of the ballista and ordered Alpha Team to rush forward.

Twitch fought for his life, taking on two more Randits even as he ducked behind houses for cover from archers. More Randits closed from all sides and the enemy mage fired spells.

Alpha Team charged up the hills and straight into the teeth of the Randit defenses. Yorik went down to arrows fire from roofs. RFC Rat flanked left, came around buildings and dropped onto a Randit, only to be shot from behind. The ballista sang again and the Rangers were forced to stand too…

The fight for the village had truly begun.

Malcolm

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Campaign Report 219
New Day, New Team, New Mission

Malcolm,

Filed: Festival Moons 18th, 3131

Every cycle, Alpha Team sees a great refresh, or reset. I’ve opined on this before, but it seems not to be accelerating. Each time the Team ventures out beyond the confines of the city, they return beaten or corrupted… There are times I wonder why any continues to sign on. And yet, it is still one of the most sought-after posts.

Festival Moons 5th, 3131

After the resignation of former Sergeant Lilah Wyvern and former Corporal Taka, Alpha Team and their allies retired to the Wayfarer’s Rest to eat, fellowship, and bid farewell.

The current team consisted of Corporal Tahl’aer Starwind, RFC Rat, Fitz, and Twitch, though both Rat and Fitz were strongly considering leaving the Team. Joining them were Lady Lilah Wyvern, Shakhira Karma Kes Naser, Thane Bjorn the Berserker, Farspeaker Taka, and Alena Harcourt along with baby Takiko “Taki” Charlie Harcourt.

As normal, Alpha Team was given the back room for the large gathering. Ivan “The Lighthouse” Sokolov greeted the Team warmly and gave them royal treatment. Everyone ordered sea bug and sea spider. Lady Wyvern flinched at the mention of spiders, causing Corporal Starwind to burst out laughing. He quickly mastered himself and apologized, having forgotten about her traumatic experience in the forest.

For the uninitiated, the veteran Rangers explained that Sea Bug and Sea Spider were not, in fact, bugs and spiders, but shrimp and crab. Though when pressed, none really knew what the creatures were…though, they all were reminded of the giant corrupted crab people in the Mer-Folk’s lagoon.

While the party was just getting into swing, Alena Harcourt arrived carrying her, and Taka’s, son Taki. Taka cautiously approached and greeted his son, seeing him for the first time ever. Though apprehensive of the strange man, Taki took a sweet treat from Taka. The trio, mother, father, and son, then went to sit in the corner and talk.

The food was just arriving when Malcolm appeared in the room. It was strange for many of the Rangers to see him out of the office. He quietly approached Ysra Torbjorn, the iron elf war maiden who had hooked up with Alpha Team down in the Pirate Archipelagos. Malcolm presented her with papers identifying her as a Ranger Contractor to secure her pay up to the date, including back pay from her first accompanying the Team. He further explained that should she desire to continue working with Alpha Team, she would need to officially join. Before he was able to finish his statement, she took the paper and signed on. Malcolm thanked her for her decision and informed her to attend Colonel Morrow’s office in the morning.

After Malcolm departed, Lady Wyvern introduced Karma Kes Naser to Corporal Starwind. At this point, Karma announced that she was actually Shakhira Karma Kes Naser, a lady of the Desert Princes. She also explained that she was formerly a member of Delta Team, which was at the point missing.

A bit later, Corporal Starwind elected to pass the Ramshorn Shield on to Twitch.

Late into the evening, the party was interrupted by a commotion out back of the Wayfarer’s Rest. Starwind took all active members of the Team to investigate. They found the City Watch taking statements from several witnesses. A dead street walker lay in the street. Her associate, inconsolable tried to answer the watchman’s questions.

At the arrival of the Rangers, the Watch Sergeant approached and asked if the Rangers were taking over the case. But, since the current iteration of the Team had no one able to speak Olaran. So, as a last duty for her team, Lady Wyvern joined in to translate. However, after scanning the bodies, Alpha Team discerned that there was no Flame involvement. And so, they declined to take over the case and, instead, returned to the Wayfarer’s Rest.

The night ended. Taka and Alena bid farewell, likely for the last time. Before departing, Lady Wyvern offered RFC Rat and Fitz a position to watch her husband’s house. It would also provide pay and free housing. They heartily agree.

  • Festival Moons 5th, 3131 Fitz retires from Alpha Team

Rat decided to remain until his transfer to the City Watch was processed.

Festival Moons 6th, 3131

On the morning of the 6th, Alpha Team returned to regular duties and patrols. Corporal Starwind headed to Colonel Morrow’s office to file formal paperwork for Fitz’ resignation, along with Yrsa and Karma both assigning the paperwork and taking the oath.

Colonel Morrow waited in his office. He bid farewell to Fitz, thanking her for her service. Then, he leads Karma and Yrsa through the oath and officially inducts them into Alpha Team.

  • Festival Moons 6th, 3131 Yrsa Torbrjon joins the Rangers.
  • Festival Moons 6th, Karma Kes Naser transfers to Alpha Team

After Colonel Morrow dismissed everyone save for Corporal Starwind, he prested files for new Rangers to replace Alpha Team’s losses. On the top of the stack, Pit Gravelheart, brother of former Alpha Team member Cairn Gravelheart.

Additionally, a young Farspeaker Adalaide is introduced, a scrawny blonde-haired Galaen girl. She was transferring from Galea. Corporal Starwind agreed and both Adalaide and Pit are brought to the office. Took about twenty minutes for the dwarf to arrive. They are sworn in and signed on.

  • Festival Moons 6th, 3131 Adalaide joins the Rangers
  • Festival Moons 6th, 3131 Pit Gravelheart transferred to Alpha Team

Colonel Morrow dismissed all the new Rangers to head across the courtyard to Alpha Team barracks while he had a final word with Corporal Starwind at the eldakar’s request. Corporal Starwind vowed to keep Alpha Team on the straight and narrow. Corporal Morrow simply responded, “See that you do.”

With that, the new members of Alpha Team joined the last few old members in the barracks, selecting racks that had been, just yesterday, the home of former members.

Alpha Team now consisted of Corporal Starwind, RFC Karma, RFC Pit, RFC Rat (temporarily), Twitch, Yrsa, and trainee Adalaide.

Corporal Starwind debriefed the Team and had the team introduce themselves and share their skillsets. Outside, Yrsa’s Little Bear munched on a side of beef in the Team’s barracks.

Festival Moons 7th, 3131

Corporal Starwind and RFC Karma went to accept their newest assignment. A local Olaran Lord had sent a request for the Rangers to deal with a group of bandits on the Olaran/Wildand border. Because the attacks happen outside Olaran territory, technically only the Rangers had jurisdiction.

Alpha Team was ordered to be cautious of jurisdiction as the assignment. The Olaran Wardens could not legally cross the border, but the bandits had no such constraints. It was a quick seven-day ride to the eastern border of Olara and another seven back. Corporal Starwind sent RFC Karma to pull supplies for the two weeks, plus extra days for any complications.

Everyone seemed to be going well. Corporal Starwind was just commenting on that fact when they were interrupted by a knock at the door of the barracks. Outside, they found an attractive, even by human standards, orc. Some of the veterans recognized him, Trokash.

Trokash introduced himself as a long-time friend of the Team. Corporal Starwind recognized him from the large ship they had encountered while serving on the Harpy. Trokash mentioned that former Ranger Sylvia “Harpy” Vex was doing well and that she and her husband were having successes against the Tempest navy. But, he was there for other business and handed Corporal Staring a package.

Inside, Corporal Starwind found a porcelain blue and white mask of Benjamin Toma. He presented it to Adalaide, the team Farspeaker, and informed her of its unique abilities and a bit of its history. He only knew a bit as it had been lost on a mission shortly after he had joined Alpha Team.

Festival Moons 8th, 3131

The gear RFC Karma requisition was waiting for the team in the morning, along with the Team’s assigned war-trained mounts, pack anima, and standard gear. Additionally, each new member was given standard White Silver daggers that had been turned in by each retiring member, a gift from former Team commander Sergeant Egon Mansfried. Sergeant Mansfried had been dragged through a portal by a hellish blade demon in the under sewers of Kythros years before.

Corporal Starwind was also given a greater healing potion along with his standard issue potion, another gift from former Alpha Team members, this being Gilbur Gil Grimm, the Alchemist. Lesser potions were handed out to the other members of the Team.

Alpha Team mounted up and rode out through the Eastern/Dwarven gate by dawn and started along the Greenway Road toward the city of Harken. They make the Wyvern Estate by that night. Sir Wyvern’s staff welcomed them and put them up in the tower rooms. The same rooms they had previously inhabited before succumbing to alchemical candles which caused murder and chaos some years before.

Festival Moons 9th, 3131

In the morning, Alpha Team rode out again and reached Harken by that evening. Again, they were welcomed at the Ranger HQ in the city.

Festival Moons 10th, 3131

In the morning, Alpha Team road out east on the long, empty rode to Hale. It would take 5 days. Hale did not have a Ranger outpost.

Festival Moons 15th, 3131

On the evening of the 15th, Alpha Team arrived in Hale. As they found a place to eat and drink, they heard various odd reports. There was the usual gossip of infidelity among the locals. And, that livestock was being stolen. Everyone seemed absorbed by their own problems. Nothing actionable.

They stayed that night.

Festival Moons 16th, 3131

Alpha Team turned south toward the border. The road was wide and flat, but the terrain was increasingly wild.

Festival Moons 17th, 3131

By mid-day on the 17th, Alpha Team arrived in the area of the border. Corporal Starwind deployed his scouts to begin searching for the bandits by teams.

Twitch & Adalaide
RFC Rat & Pit
Corporal Starwind, RFC Karma, and Yrsa

They had a plan. Corporal Starwind, RFC Karma, and Yrsa took the right side of the road. Everyone else on the left. Within minutes, Yrsa spotted a column of smoke, all collected together on the far side of the ridgeline. It indicated a small community. Corporal Starwind sent RFC Rat and pit forward to scout the site.

On the far side of the ridge, the scouts spotted the bandits, aka Raiders, Bandits, or Randits. They seemed to seized control of a nearby bridge over a river. There were well-armed and alert guards at both ends of the bridge. Beyond, lay a small, quiet village.

After a brief discussion, RFC Rat headed back to report to Corporal Starwind as RFC Pit continued to watch the bridge. Only, while he observed a shift change in the guards from more bandits from within the town, one of the randits must have spotted her and started firing into her cover. RFC Pitt retreated.

Back at the rest of the Team, RFC Rat was just finishing his report when RFC Pitt arrived, breathing heavily. The Randits were aware of them now. Corporal Starwind checked the position of the sun and decided to fall back and recross the border to speak with the Olaran Lord who had requested their presence. They should be able to reach shortly after nightfall.

As planned, that evening, a bit after dark, Alpha Team arrived at the Border Keep in Olara. Olaran guards checked their papers and cleared them through. It was at this point, when the others struggled to speak with the guards, that Adalaide revealed she spoke Olaran, along with Elvish and Dwarvish.

The Keep was a simple motte and bailey, though of strong Olaran stone. It was a small border fort, typical of Olaran Lords or Barons. By virtue of owning land and a keep, the Lord should be formally recognized as a Baron.

Once dismounted, they were escorted into House Warrick. They were expected. Sitting on an ion chair at the end of his hall and middle-aged Olaran warrior, Baron Warrick. He dispensed with any formality, a typical Olaran attitude, and demanded to know of the Ranger’s mission and why it had taken them so long to respond. Corporal Starwind assured the Olaran Lord that the Rangers had waited just long enough to send Alpha Team, a great honor to the Lord. The Baron laughed, knowing the Bear Killers’ reputation, apologized for his gruffness and ordered food and drink for the Team.

Alpha Team was fed well, and the ale was good Olaran stock. While eating, a dwarven Loremaster appeared in the hall, holding a large, bound book on a chain. He asked to speak with Corporal Starwind, in elvish, and introduced himself. He asked to preserve the lore of the team and their visit. Alpha Team was happy to share, some of their exploits. The Lore Master greeted each team member in turn and record their names and stories.

Once dinner was done, Baron Warrick explained that the bandits had set up shop just across the border near a river town. They had been fleecing merchants trying to cross into Olaran territory before they reach his keep and town. The lands they had chosen were contested territory between Galea and Olara, meaning jurisdiction was politically difficult. So, to avoid a political nightmare, he had sent for the Rangers to intervene.

The village claimed Galaen citizenship. Olarans and Wildanders were able to do anything about the bandits. The villagers had likely set up their town where they had to avoid taxation as they fell in the political gray area. Baron Warrick made sure to inform the Rangers that any seized duties/extortion the bandits had fleeced were to be reported and turned over to him. He would handle any disagreements with upper command structure…Olaran or Rangers.

Via Adalaide, Corporal Starwind filed a report regarding Baron Warrick’s demand. Colonel Morrow’s office instructed Alpha Team to obey his demands unless further countermeanded. That night, Alpha Team bedded down in the House Warrick keep, making sure to set their own watches…until the morrow.

Malcolm

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