Campaign of the Month: June 2018

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

Campaign Report 136
Battle of the Chasm

Lord Mayor, Colonel Baron Wolfhaven, Alexander

Commander of the Legio Heroes

Exile, Norcan Dar (Hard Lands)

8th Day of Falling Ice, Year 3128 Under the Light

Falling Ice 6th, 3128

We force marched through the night, even during the coldest, burning into our supplies of Crysalites. Dawn passed without comment, as we trudged south through the red, hot sands. By full light, and heat, we were within a few miles of the ravine. With the heat rising our choice was to find shade, or push on. In any other circumstance, we would have taken refuge from the relentless sun, but with the enemy bearing down on us, we had no choice.

Ranger Softpaws contacted me via Toma’s mask just after dawn. By the Light, they were safe, but in only a marginally better position that we. But I had an idea. Not a plan, but a notion. By our best reports, the bulk of the enemy forces were following our column south. Which, if I read our situation correctly meant that only a small party remained to hunt down Alpha Team. They had done their part, distracting the enemy, confusing their scouts, buying us time, maybe even enough. But, now, with the enemy army turning south, the Alpha Team was in a unique position.

Even after sending many of the civilians to live among the Forsaken, our supplies were beyond critical. Food was nearly gone and water had become a daily struggle. Worse, what crysalites we had managed to take with us during the evacuation would hardly be enough to last more than a few engagements. We needed resupply, and the ONLY source anywhere within striking distance was the enemy nipping at our heals.

But what if we could raid the Builders for supplies? We could both weaken their forces AND strengthen our own. It would take a miracle. Or, it would take Alpha Team.

Once certain the team was out of immediate danger, I asked to speak with Sergeant Blackstone directly. My orders were as follows:

A) Continue to evade the remaining enemy scouts and trackers.

B) Take his team back over the mountain ridge due west.

C) Locate the vast Childer horde which I suspected was close based on the arrival of Gargoyles during the previous day’s battle.

D) Lure the Childer horde toward the rear of the Builder army.

E) Eliminate the Builder’s rear guard to allow the Childer horde the element of surprise.

F) In the confusion of the Horde attacking the Builders locate the enemy supply chain and contact me via the mask.

If successful, I would prepare arcmancer teleporters and scout teams to port in, secure the supplies, and port out before either enemy force realized we were even there. It was arguably insane, a plan born of desperation. Yet, if Alpha Team COULD manage they might very well save the army, and possibly inflict devastating casualties. If not, we were all likely dead anyway.

Sergeant Blackstone accepted the mission without hesitation. That plan in motion, I focused on the task of luring the Builder army into a location in which we had the slightest chance of surviving a direct confrontation. By mid-morn, our forward echelon reached the precipice of the ravine. Staring down into the black abyss, I suddenly wondered if this is what one experienced when looking down from the top of the Everwall, if such a thing were even possible?

The Builders are efficient if anything. Within the hour intricate cable bridges were sliding across the chasm. It wasn’t particularly wide, maybe 3-400 meters. However, it WAS deep and ran for miles in either direction. It seemed almost as if a great beam of energy had simply carved through the earth like an errant sword swipe.

By noon, with Builders passing out from heat exhaustion, our rear guard opened fire on the forward scouts of the enemy Builder forces. We were out of time. With the last of our forces scrambling onto the swaying footpaths across the yawning chasm, I personally touched the Iron Golem and teleported us both to safety, though it left me weakened, near exhaustion.

A few gamely enemy scouts tried to make the crossing, but were dropped unceremoniously into the gap. We never saw their bodies hit the ground.

For the remainder of the day, our forces huddled in what shade could be found, the least exhausted digging in lancer pits covering the gap. From 500 meters away, we watched the enemy Builders arrive to establish camp just out of reach of our biggest guns. A few eager arclancers traded shots across the chasm, but for the most part, both armies dug in and prepared. Night fell cold. We could hear the enemy forces building bridging engines.

Falling Ice 7th, 3127

Early in the morning, even before the heat began to rise, Alpha team reported they had crossed the mountains and were splitting into two teams. Sergeant Blackstone planned to take the Explorer to locate and bait the Childer Horde, while Corporal Mansfried took the rest of the team, RFC Grimm, Ranger Gravelheart, Ranger Softpaws, Lady Killian, and Lady Que’kasaars southerly to find Forsaken scouts believed to be in the area. With the various forces scattered over several miles of broken terrain, without accurate local intel, there would be little chance of Alpha Team ever reaching the Builder army’s rear in time.

Within an hour of the call, pickets along the ravine raised the alarm as the enemy Builders began their crossing.

Unlike our forces who were forced to use conventional materials and means to bridge the chasm, the enemy Builders erected barrier machines which created solid sections of pure energy. These extended from the massive generators into glowing arcfire bridges. As they extended, Builder Juggernaughts in heavy armor, protected by massive shields rode the bridges across, while arclancers fired from behind their cover. By dawn, a dozen arcfire bridges spanned the gap with hundreds of Builder elites pouring across. The battle was joined.

By mid-morn, we had repelled four major assaults, each closer to reaching the far side than the last. Our Iron Golem had, itself, repelled two towering War Golems, but at a heavy cost. His left arm was gone, ripped off. And, one of his legs had been nearly shot away. Our losses were heavy, their, worse. The dead and dying broiled in the growing heat of Norcan Dar’s baking sun.

I get a report from the Sergeant that he and the Explorer had located the Childer horde not far from where I had surmised. He was moving to lure, but it would take much of the day to get there. We had to hold.

Both armies rested during the hottest hours of the day, tended to the wounded and stockpiled weapons for the resumed assault. Our ammunition reserves were critical and we were out of water entirely. Without supplies, this would be our last battle, regardless of whether we won or lost.

Before the sun dropped below the horizon, the attacks resumed. This time, however, the enemy began teleporting small units of skirmishers behind our lines to disrupt our defenses as they launched yet another series of waves across the chasm. The fighting was hand to hand. As the temperature dipped down well below freezing and their golems began to ice over, they managed to reach our side and breach out defenses. Only through great sacrifice were we able to push them back. Tomorrow would be the day.

That evening, I received confirmation from Sergeant Blackstone that they had managed to bait the Childer horde, but it would take several hours before the horde reached the rear of the Builder formations. He also confirmed that Corporal Mansfried’s team made contact with local Forsaken, but were first attacked by Builder arclancers, either rear pickets of the main force, or scouts specifically tracking Alpha Team, and then attacked by clouds of gargoyles. Lady Que’kasaars was very nearly snatched away by the gargoyles, but the team made it out, relatively unscathed.

Then, they engaged the rear pickets of the Builder army, that night. With a little help from opportunistic gargoyles, the team managed to quietly take down the arclancers. Sergeant Blackstone and the Explorer faced off against the rear guard commander, an arclancer. He was dispatched, but not without difficulty. The plan was in motion. Now, if only the childer would follow their baser instincts, we might have a chance.

While we huddled around small fires, and our foes across the chasm worked all night building ever nastier engines of death, Alpha Team tended their wounds and waited for thousands of Childer to descend upon them.

Falling Ice 8th, 3128

At around 3 am, the first groups of the main childer horde appeared from the north, sniffing for blood. Even in the dim light, Alpha Team could see the massive cloud of dust rising from thousands of clawed and cloven feet. Having survived the War of Flame, I am all-to-familiar with the horror of childer on the hunt.

Sergeant Blackstone elected to make their assault on the Builder supply lines just before the childer broke through their lines, rather than try to make their assault against two enemy forces. As the Builders were just waking to the threat in their rear, Alpha Team made a mad dash for the cluster of resting Calydoes that the Builders had enslaved to port their war supplies.

Alpha Teams assaulted under cover of night, sowing confusion as Sergeant Blackstone tunneled through the earth to the center of the enemy supplies. As the Builders turned on Alpha Team the horde exploded into their camps, wreaking havoc and drawing attention away from the Rangers. Using the distraction as cover, they assembled at the very center of 250 towering, slumbering Calydoes.

Sergeant Blackstone sent the call through Toma’s Mask.

Fifteen hundred meters south, I had spent most of the night assembling my strike teams. Our best lancers, and arcmancers cleared a “launching area” and assembled in a pre-arranged grid. Ten arclancer elites per arcmancer. Ten arcmancers for teleport. This would use up nearly all of our reserve crysarium, but if it worked, I prayed we would be amply rewarded. When the call came through signaled the arcmancers and in a flash of arcfire we appeared among the Calydoes, using Blackstone to guide us in. We hit as the Calydoes were waking to the scent of blood and the belows of their Childer bretheren tearing deep into the Builder rear.

My men spread out instantly, securing the area. Within moments, were were ready to teleport away. On my signal, the arcmancers triggered their devices and with another flash, we were gone, leaving the Builder army in a pitched battle with the horde. On our side, the bewildered beasts began to mill, some trying to break free from their control. In the center of all of this, a lone arcmancer wearing a strange device blinked in surprise. Having seen these devices before, I leveled my sword and gave him a simple choice. He elected to join our cause, and the Calydoes were quieted.

Alpha Team was dirty, shot out, hungry, thirsty, and exhausted. After a brief moment of sincere gratitude, I sent them to the healers, then for food. Around them, our army began a pre-planned withdrawal. Two hundred and fifty Calydoes laden down with as many supplies as they could carry lumbered south with the van. While my Rangers rested before the hard march, and my army melted away into the mountains, I stood on a high peak and watched the enemy Builders turn their weapons north and battle the horde. As I watched, their camp devolved into a charnel house. But, they did not break.

Their movements were precise. The engines of war designed to obliterate my army cut swaths through the flesh and fur of the childer. I could smell the familiar putrid stench from as far away as our lines. For a moment, the early morning gloom turned to day as the Builders rained arcfire hell upon the forces of Flame. Neither side ever wavered.

They were still killing each other when the last of my army pulled up stakes and slipped away south with the dawn.

When the battle started, my forces numbered about 2500, all told. The enemy builders had near 5000, and the childer horde near 4000.

Now, who is to say, we gained 250 Calydoes and their supplies but lost nearly 200 holding the chasm. If we are very fortunate, the two forces will decimate each other while we put distance between us and them both. However, I have no illusions we will see the Builders AND the childer before ere long.

That said, this was a victory and an important one. Without the heroism of Alpha Team we would be lose once again. When we have a moment to breath and take stock, they are long overdue for recognition of their services.

As for me, I just want to sleep and dream of my wife and children.

To see them again…

Your most obedient servant,

Lord Mayor Wolfhaven, Colonel

Norcan Dar

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Campaign Report 135
Valley of the Golems

Lord Mayor, Colonel Baron Wolfhaven, Alexander

Commander of the Legio Heroes

Exile, Norcan Dar (Hard Lands)

6th Day of Falling Ice, Year 3128 Under the Light

While my Rangers held the rear, delaying the Builder advance, I led out “army” away south and west. Forsaken scouts claim there is a ravine not far, that should we cross, we may hold against pursuit. If not, we are doomed.

Falling Ice 6th, 3128

Again, I awoke on the field. The 13 hour gone and done. It was the 6th, and we were to be overwhelmed. Already several Rangers has retreated to a triage station just around the ridgeline behind us, but it provided little cover. None against the torrent of artillery hammering away at us from artillery placed behind the enemy’s ridge. Unless we suppressed that artillery, there was little hope. In that moment, I had the notion of a plan.

Summoning what power flows through my blood, I tugged at the fabric of the aether around me. Just, got a nail under the edge, like prying loose a stubborn tack. With a rush of energy, I stepped through the narrow sliver and out beside Sergeant Blackstone in the rear of our formation. Laying my hand upon his shoulder, I transferred my Quickness, vastly enhancing his reflexes. And then, I pulled upon the spirit of the stone joined to mine and reached down into the earth. Grasping the iron bands of gravity pinning us the the ground, I pulled, hard, and felt something shift.

The air around Blackstone suddenly lightened, his heavy bones began to lift. With power and will I removed the chains holding him down, holding him back. Now energized with the energies of the Maelstrom, I ordered the Sergeant to burrow immediately to the Iron Golem charging into the enemy trap. He was to then submerge them both, re-emerging behind the enemy lines amid their artillery. Once it was thoroughly destroyed, he was to return immediately, with the golem, to this point. From there, the golem should be ordered to join up with our army, while he resumed command of his team.

With a nod, he was off, into the ground.

I turned then to Corporal Mansfried who was yet unconscious. With a trickle of healing energy, I roused him from his stupor. To him, I have command of the rear guard until the Sergeant should return. As we were already on the verge of a route, I ordered Sir Mansfried to execute a “false retreat.” In a “panic,” he was to order all remaining Rangers from the field and scamper away down the rockslide to the left of our position. However, as soon as they rounded the tip of the ridge, the Corporal was to send the team around the backside of the ridge, to scale and take firing positions awaiting orders.

He nodded, rose, and began the “withdrawal.”

At that, I tugged at the aether and stepped. This time, I landed in a blast crater on the far side, high on the ridge. There, Softpaws ducked low, watching the battle. To her, I gave the final order. She was to observe, and report regularly on the battle. When the time came, she would retreat with the Rangers and keep me informed of the enemy movements. Before I left, I dropped Thorgram’s shield behind her. When she needed him, Thorgram would be there. Not even death prevented the Alpha Team’s greatest defender from protecting his friends.

And then, I summoned my power and stepped again. As the world dissolved around me, I heard the sounds of gargoyles descending into the ranks of Builders. Small miracles. Perhaps that is the one truism of Norcan Darr. All are enemies.

I appeared amid the Maker’s personal guard. My sudden appearance very nearly got me shot. But, the arclancers were disciplined well. It seemed I had interrupted a war summit on how to handle the battle above the column. Most of the Builder arclancer commanders were of the mind to turn and fight. The Maker, however, was more cautious. I could see the relief in his eyes when I added my voice to his, though I won no allies among the commanders. Still, with my support, the Maker ordered the column to move out at best possible speed south where Forsaken scouts indicated that a large, deep, and wide ravine lay. If we could move our forces across the ravine, we could hold the gap against the enemy army, inflicting heavy losses should they attempt to cross.

They must either flank us, or force a crossing. According to our Forsaken scouts, any flanking could take days of travel through the mountains. Their numbers would be far less telling, and we could choose the ground of battle. Not ideal, but far better than facing an enemy above us behind natural fortifications.

All depended on whether my Rangers could hold long enough for our army to slip away.

Through Softpaws, I learned that the Rangers responded as ordered, falling back down the rockslide before maneuvering around behind the smaller ridge line. From the enemy’s vantage point it appeared to be a complete route. The only continued fighting on our side was the Explorer’s small mortar team at the crest of the rockslide, and Softpaws’ iron golem engaging the enemy Builder Golems behind the ridge. Though she could not see it, she could feel her new friend’s pain.

It had managed to take out the smaller battle golems the builders were using as mobile artillery, but behind the advanced team, three towering War Golems lumbered across the red sands toward our lines. One broke ranks and engaged the Iron Golem directly. The battle was brutal, with the Iron Golem taking heavy damage. But, it prevailed, ripping off the larger War Golems arm and downing the behemoth before being whisked away by Sergeant Blackstone back to our lines.

Meanwhile, the rest of the Rangers, with their arclancer allies ascended the backside of the escarpment, taking up positions just behind the crest. From across the field, the remaining two War Golems crested their own rise and pummeled our lines. Here, my eyes were blinded as Softpaws went down, injured, not dead. Even from my vantage I could see the amber tracers, feel the energy, and hear the screaming crysalite rounds.

Under the cover of their guns, the forward ranks of the Builders surged into the valley and charged at what they believed were our retreating lines. However, about the time they reached our former position in the valley, the Rangers and arclancer allies opened up, unleashing a torrent of fire into the face of the surprised enemy. It was a slaughter. The Explorer’s team obliterated the builder’s right flank, while the Ranger and Builder arclancers cut through their lines. Within minutes, only one or two remained.

Our losses included several Arclancers, Lady Que’kassars, and Softpaws. RFC Grimm revived the Rangers just in time for the retreat.

However, reinforcements arrived and descended into the valley under cover of their big guns, the War Golems. So, per orders, the Sergeant Blackstone called a retreat and began repelling down the escarpment on the backside of their ridge as the War Golems reduced it to rubble. They reached the valley far below as the walls rocks tumbled around them.

So focused were the Builders on destroying Alpha Team, they did not immediately notice the tail end of our column snaking its way into a ravine half a mile away. In the fog of war, we managed to slip away. Alpha Team, scampered east, drawing the enemy’s attention. Into the foothills, the Rangers retreated with Builder forces in hot pursuit.

During the running night battle, Corporal Mansfried was struck down, though not killed. Lady Que’kassars managed to port away, while the rest of the team disappeared into the broken terrain. As dawn approached, the Team and allies found themselves hiding in a cave system, huddled around a small fire for warmth. They are at least 20 miles from our column which nears the ravine. We should reach it tomorrow. However, our rear scouts report that at least some of the enemy Builder army is still in pursuit. They have not found us, but they are close, and closing.

If we cannot cross the ravine before they overtake us, there is little we can do. Though, should it come to that, at least Alpha Team would survive to return home. War is hell.

Your most obedient servant,

Lord Mayor Wolfhaven, Colonel

Norcan Dar

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To Hell and Back: A Magician's Guide to Norcan' Dar
Chapter 3

Every known “truth” I believed since coming here has faced utter scrutiny. The greatest challenge has been realizing that Shaintar and Norcan’ Dar are on the same plain of existence, something called a Planet. My first clue to this was we have come in contact with natives, a people called the Forsaken. They are a menagerie of races from shaintar that somehow found their way to this hellscape, wither through angering one of the Ascended or just simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. All I could think was how they got here, childer and demons don’t take prisoners and even if they did, these people were in no shape to fight back or even have the will too. Their leaders were an elderly human and orc, the orc was the most intriguing as she was a Shaman, a druid of the goblinesh. I had a chance to speak with her to learn of any knowledge of natural components that she would impart to myself, all the while my mind raced with how she was still able to commune with the Ascended here. With these clues I have the following theories and ideas:

1. Norcan’ Dar is in a way no different than Shaintar. Our world is closely related to the life affiliated spirits of the Ascended, making it easy to understand how life is able to thrive there as the energy that permeates from each of the Ascended’s realms is conducive to life. Norcan’ Dar must lie close to the Abyss, where the power of Ceynara and the demon lords permeate into it, explaining the abundance of flame influence.

2. We could travel to Shaintar. This I mean that in a simpler world of circumstances of course, we could “walk” to Shaintar. This opens new avenues as we wouldn’t have to break through a dimensional barrier but just traverse a great distance. this could also mean that we could contact our allies, I imagine that it would take a great amount of power but possible.

3. The veil may be here too. I’ve heard stories of individuals who have entered the veil appearing back in Shaintar, although they either return crazed, decades or centuries later and/or both, but with our current options it could be an avenue, if we find it.

Each of these thoughts and theories are just such, but I am determined to continue study and learn more as these give me some hope that we could find a way back. I just hope some luck finds it way to us.

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Campaign Report 134
Battle is Joined

Lord Mayor, Colonel Baron Wolfhaven, Alexander
Commander of the Legio Heroes
Exile, Norcan Dar (Hard Lands)

6th Day of Falling Ice, Year 3128 Under the Light

The armies have finally managed to stumble into each other amid the wasteland of Norcan Darr. I would have chosen any other field, any other circumstance. But such are the vagaries of war. The absence of nearly 300 unarmed women and children has certainly improved our combat readiness, but we are still at a severe disadvantage.

We cannot stand here. But, if we can draw our enemies to a ground more favorable… There are possibilities.

Falling Ice 1st, 3128

High in the mountains of Norcan Darr, we rested till the temperature rose and then broke camp. A new start to a new day, in a new year. Despite the hellacious circumstances, I started the day with a sense of optimism.

We had managed to negotiate an equitable arrangement with the Forsaken. Perhaps accepting the Builders of the Explorer’s Clan into their ranks might go some way in improving relations between the Builders and Forsaken. At the very least, they would no longer suffer in ignorance. Even that small victory could have wide sweeping ramifications across Norcan Darr.

More immediately, however, if the Maker managed to convince a majority of the civilians within our column to accept the deal, our chances of success increased dramatically. I would give anything to save them all, but the reality remains that we cannot feed them, nor protect them. Most of the civilians would be killed in a protracted war, if not through battle, certainly exposure and starvation.

I could not force them out, but I am glad so many chose life with Forsaken. As hard as it might be, they have a far better chance at survival here in the lands of their birth. Moreover, their knowledge and skills might improve the standard of living for the Forsaken and Builders alike.

If we manage to return, and our way back is not closed, I plan on returning, better armed and equipped. Come to it, perhaps the Long Recon Rangers could establish a permanent base here. I’ve long desired an outpost in Shivak Novos, why not Norcan Darr?

It certainly bears consideration.

High in the mountains, the nights were far more bitterly cold than even down the valley. We had little choice but build fires, or die. The Forsaken had supplied us with ample dried dung. From what beast, I did not inquire.

Nevertheless, our progress was tortuously slow. We managed about three hours around dawn and dusk. Even at six or seven hours of travel, we barely managed five miles through the rough and broken terrain high in the peaks. Every hour that passed I imagined horrible fates for those in the column. Had the enemy already found them? Were we returning to the dead?

Falling Ice 3rd, 3128

Toward dusk, Alpha Team forward scouts encountered a group of Builders heading toward our group, moving in the opposite direction. These were either our own people seeking to link up, our enemies seeking to destroy us, or a patrol of Builders from a nearby Citadel. Though, it was most likely our pre-arranged meet, any other situation would result in a fight we certainly did NOT need.

After a brief, tense standoff, Softpaws identified the newcomers. Though, I think the thin mountain air had begun to affect the team. Gravelheart nearly stove in Sergeant Blackstone’s head with her grapple were it not for Thorgram’s Shield. Unfortunately, the grapple hook got thoroughly lodged in the shield.

I pretended not to notice the…erm…antics. They needed the relief.

While they sorted themselves out, I proceeded to meet with the oncoming column. As expected, the Builders were those who chose to remain in Norcan Darr, rather than fight a running war across the wasteland of Norcan Darr. I greeted the head of their Patrol, a veteran Builder Scout.

Already the sun’s like began to die. Soon, we would all be freezing and there was very little cover. So, I instructed the Builders to join my group, while we dispatched our scouts to find a suitable location for the combined force to seek shelter over the darkest part of night. Returning to my lines, I summoned Lady Killian, the Explorer, and Sergeant Blackstone.

As the three representative commanders, I instructed my subalterns to form integrated scouting parties of Forsaken, Rangers, and Builders to scour the surrounding area for a suitable camp sight for 300+. They immediately went work, self organizing, before spreading out in a methodical search pattern.

It is a pleasure to work with professionals. Despite the vast differences in training, personality, and style they all work easily and well. While my teams went about their work, I welcomed the newcomers into our ranks and began assessing out needs. Housing 300 Builders involved more than simply a large enough cave.

Within an hour, my scouts reported a large crevice nearby that would work well. However, the sun was down and temperatures were dropping fast. So, we quickly moved everyone to the site and began the process of lowering all into the shelter of the rocks. Builders are, if anything, an efficient people. My own Olarans would be impressed.

We arranged the entire affair before the hoarfrost began to creep across the rocks. With the civilians nestled safely below, the scouts all all units, again integrated, established a series of nests along the rocks ringing our refuge. Any who wished to disturb our rest would face a gauntlet of arcfire. Again, everything was accomplished with celerity.

Falling Ice 4th, 3128

In the morning, three of the Forsaken scouts, along with a squad of Builder arcalancers escorted the civilian column down out of the mountains toward the Forsaken who would be expecting their arrival. The leader of the Forsaken had already dispatched runners to the tribe nearby. In time, the Builders would each be taken in by various Forsaken bands, lending their centuries of knowledge to the Forskaen spirit and defiance.

Meanwhile, our column, reduced now to six Forsaken scouts, twenty five arclancers, and Alpha Team began to make decent headway as we descended from the peaks toward where we hoped our column was wending it way through the mountains. Just a few hundred feet down and the heat grew unbearable.

Norcan Darr’s sheer extremes are oppressive.

Falling Ice 5th, 3128

The Maker’s instructions were to move southward as well as the terrain would allow. Moving slowly, I estimated that we could overtake them swiftly by cutting across their path. The mountainous region made maneuvering difficult, but inflicted the same logistic nightmare on anyone seeking to overtake us. And while we certainly moved slowly, a larger force pursuing us would have a less easy passage.

So, in the waning hours of the 5th, our forward scouts ranged looking for any signs of the Builder column. Even as we prepared to find a suitable encampment, arcfire lit up the night, striking our forward element, Killing, Softpaws, and Gravelheart. Despite its devastating accuracy, it appeared that only a handful, maybe no more than three shooters had taken position on a height ridge about 150 yards to our right…westward more or less.

Our own shooters took cover along a smaller ridge and returned fire while more arclancers scrabbled along the ridge to add fire support. Initially, we had success. It seemed that the enemy lancers were put to retreat, but moments later more intense fire lit our position, forcing me to send in more arclancers in response.

I could feel the situation slipping out of control quickly. Our allies were close, I could feel that, but where, I could not say. So, I sent the Explorer with a squad of scouts around behind our lines to continue moving south while I shifted our lines to cover.

Every moment brought more incoming fire, and then, the enemy started firing arcfire artillery. That is when I knew we had stumbled into more than a picket line. If I were correct, the bulk of the enemy army was camped just over the ridgeline. We were in for a fight.

As the Rangers moved into more secure positions, both sides started taking casualties. With my forces deployed, I moved to the front lines. Something about the haphazard nature of the battle convinced me that neither side had sought out the fight. I did not believe that they were even aware of our presence until their scouts spotted our moving through the rocks.

Be that as it may, they had our range now. Arcfire raked our lines as I dropped into hole beside the Sergeant. Before we could even strategize, a shot caught me in the neck. I may be able to recover from such normally fatal wounds, it still hurts. When I returned to consciousness, the Sergeant had already moved off to set up a small relief station for the wounded. Though, he left me the Ramshorn shield. I believe this is the first I have ever carried the storied artifact. I also noted a golem charging hard toward the enemy.

Again, I was rudely interrupted by an artillery barrage which decimated our forces and killed me again. When I returned from that short trip to the other side, the battle was well and truly joined. The golem of before was now an Iron Golem. The Explorer had a small artillery detachment devastating the enemy ridgeline, but more fire was incoming from behind their lines.

However, if we could fall back to the larger ridge to our rear, and eliminate the enemy artillery…

We are in for a fight, but I have the workings of a plan…

Your most obedient servant,

Lord Mayor Wolfhaven, Colonel

Norcan Dar

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To Hell and Back: A Magician's Guide to Norcan'Dar
Chapter 2

Recent encounters with the local fauna have only deepened my fears of the corruptive nature of this landscape. I was not present for the initial encounter but others in my ranger team encountered an extremely large and extremely aggressive inhabitant to the mountainous regions of Norcan’Dar. The beast must have weighed more than ten behemoth ogres and spanned from snout to tail nearly 50 feet if i had to estimate. From second hand accounts it appeared to be using the long spans of tunnels as a den of some sorts and the tunnels themselves may have been created by the creature.

The reason I find this strange is that It may have been a relative to the large reptilian creatures in Dregordia called Thunder Lizards, which from accounts I have read are large jungle dwelling reptilians found scattered through the dense tropical jungles of the Dregordian homeland. The most obvious question is how did it get here. The creature seemed perfectly adapted to this environment, showing evolutionary adaptations of an heavily armored hide and more drake like characteristics. this creature must have had generations of ancestors before it to gain these biological advantages, or my more disturbing theory is that the magic permeating this place mutated this creature into something almost unrecognizable from what I assume to be its closest relatives.

Our track through this hellish desert is nowhere near its end and each day I see something that challenges every magical law or theory I’ve known my entire life. I hope this makes it back to Shaintar, for I believe this place has many more secrets we have yet to find that may just shed the light on long forgotten or yet unknown things about our world and reality.

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Campaign Report 133
New Year in the Hard Lands

Lord Mayor, Colonel Baron Wolfhaven, Alexander
Commander of the Legio Heroes
Exile, Norcan Dar (Hard Lands)

1st Day of Falling Ice, Year 3128 Under the Light

Even in the deepest Abyss, generous souls may be found. It is this guiding like which gives me hope. If these Forsaken can hold the line at the doorstep to Ceynara’s hole, then can we do less?

Dark Moons 28th, 3127

After our arrival, I sat with the Elder of the Forsaken tribe. His age is likely no more than fourty, but to my eyes he looks ancient. There are few who live beyond their twenties in this place. Those who do are either extremely gifted, lucky, or both.

I remained with the Explorer and Lady Killian to treat with the Elder while I ordered Sergeant Blackstone to set up camp and begin to integrate with the locals. Despite his early missteps, I feel the Sergeant may have the most political acumen of the unit.

The Forsaken offered us food, what little they had, and the strange fermented milk I had grown to detest during my last sojourn. It is far worse when you know how it is made. The Elder was joined by his shaman, an ancient orcess, and their chief hunter, an angry young human male.

It yet amazes me how crafty and skilled Forsaken negotiates must be. When blessed with little, even that which we take for granted can mean the difference between life and death for these people. They part with nothing without great benefit.

We spoke for over three hours. It took nearly two hours to convince the Forsaken that the Explorer’s people could even be trusted. The antipathy runs strong through both races. I doubt the Explorer much cares for the Forsaken, and they bear great animosity to the Builders. With good reason. Since time immemorial, these two people have been killing each other.

The only silver lining being that, while there is enmity, it is diffuse and indirect. The Builders kill the Forsaken out of hand, more exterminating a nuisance. The Forsaken kill Builders out of survival. There conflict is an affect of their circumstance, not any strongly held belief.

The Explorer was instrumental. His willingness to even speak with the Elder, acknowledge them as beings of value. However, Killian was the true champion. Overlooking her initial capture, she spoke well and eloquently on our behalf. I believe she is motivated more by the hope of returning home, than any personal loyalty. Yet, I credit her with our success. We would certainly have failed to reach accommodations.

Once the veracity of the Builder’s intent was accepted, the rest of our conversation was the trade of our supplies, negotiation of guides, and most key, allowing Forsaken who wish to leave with our column the freedom to do so. Moreover, the willingness of the Forsaken to accept Builders from the column who do not desire to trek across the wasteland a place here with this tribe.

That last was a hard sell. The Elder refused to part with his smith, best hunters, healers, or his shaman. And, he refused to allow the Builders to bring arcfire into his camp. Understandable. In a land overrun with hordes of ratzin who can literally sniff out magic, it would likely be the death of the tribe to invite so much raw magic.

I had hoped the Forsaken would have more food, but they did provide information on other tribes to our south, and information on new threats. I fear that to feed our army, we will need to thing creatively.

Our dealing done, I asked The Explorer to gather Ben’s Mask from Softpaws to contact the Maker and relay our deal. In the meantime, we exited the elder’s chambers to find the entire tribe falling down drunk. Standing behind a makeshift still were RFC Grimm and Gravelheart.

I had instructed my Rangers to win hearts and minds. One must give them credit for their ingenuity. Leaving all to their celebrations, I headed to where Sergeant Blackstone had established camp.

While I was in talks, Graveheart and Grimm, as mentioned, set up a still and began brewing a concoction that was both healing AND intoxicating. Grimm, and later the Explorer, negotiated with the tribes dwarven smiths, the twins Kill and Kal, to constructed White Silver claw caps for Softpaws. Sergeant Blackstone spent his time with the smiths, learning and trading information along with Sir Mansfried. Arwen kept mostly to herself. There are no Eldakar here, only one or two Alakar. Magical creatures do not last long in the Hard Lands.

Sleep came swiftly, with only a Ranger on guard duty. Strange how we fall into old habits. The sounds, smells, the feeling. I could almost hear Anaxelum’s heavy breathing, or the mechanic crunch of his guard’s boots as they patrolled the camp.

Memories.

Dark Moons 29th, 3127

We wake in the morning. Grimm, Blackstone, and Mansfried continue to work with the dwarven smiths, Kill and Kal. Gravelheart makes the rounds, and wins friends. Softpaws spends most of her time helping move cargo. She noted that many of the local urchins helped themselves to any unobserved supplies.

That night, we spoke at length about the cosmology of our world. I explained that Norcan Darr sits within the same world as Shaintar, so far as we can tell. As it takes significant power to pierce the Veil of Shaintar, it stands to reason Norcan Dar is the same. If one could walk to the edge of the wastes, you would likely encounter some wall, mist, or barrier like the Everwall and the Veil.

Equally, as Flame exists in Shaintar, so too does Life exist in Norcan Dar, but more difficult to reach.

They ask about the spirit planes. I explain that each of the Ascended, good or ill, exist within their own plane. Ceynara reigns as Queen of the Abyss, Vainar Necrolord of the Nether. Landra, the Soulfinder lives within the Eternal Forest. Archanon rules the Celestial Halls. Dranak dwells below the Living Mountain. Zavonis soars the Endless Skies. Illiana swims the Boundless Sea. These make up the “spiritual” lands. Between the Nether and Shaintar lies Shivak Novos, a tainted, twisted “between” realm. I could be a ’nearer" spirit plane aligned closer to the Nether. As stated, however, Norcan Dar appears to be an entirely physical plane, though soaked in blood and Flame.

Other than Shaintar and Norcan Dar, we know of a third land, the Tempest Isle, clear of the mists of the Veil. If there are three, it can be surmised that there are more.

Of note, Lady Killian revealed that she witnessed her lands, Caladonia was immolated by a giant dragon. Though we have no evidence to confirm, the absence of Dragon in Shaintar, and the presence of the same in Caladon has made me wonder at the connection. The Explorer confirmed that within the past 100 years a Dragon lived within Norcan Dar, though it has not been seen in years.

Dark Moons 31st, 3127

In the afternoon, the dwarves managed to complete Softpaws’ white silver claw caps from the last remnants left over from my shield. I could smell the burning flesh and fur from our camp. But, despite the damage, she seemed inordinately pleased.

While we camped, Killian spoke with her people, letting her people know that we intended to leave Norcan Dar. However, any that chose to join us would become targets in our battles against the Builders and Childer. There was no garuntee that we would even survive. By all rights, we would likely be slaughtered in the wastes, crushed by the various forces.

But, should we win through, I have sworn that all those with me would be returned to their own lands, regardless of what that may be. As I had so long ago with Anaxelum.

After days of chatting with the Forsaken, Gravelheart returned with some interesting information. Per Forsaken scouts, to the South reports indicated the Tempest had a large presence. Within the mountains to the far east, an entire Forsaken Tribe was wiped out. Only mutated remains were found. And, as we knew, a vast childer horde still lurked to our west.

Dark Moons 33rd, 3127

As the sun settled, the Forsaken camp broke as our own group gathered to move out. Eight Forsake chose to join us, most with knowledge of the lands. Of those, three would lead any Builders who chose to join the Forsaken, leaving our party with five Forsaken members.

We traveled long into the eve. Just before the 13th hour, high in the mountains, I called the group to a halt. There, we sat around a small flame, just enough to fight of the worst of the chill.

You see, I had saved a small treat to share, should we be unfortunate enough to find ourselves within Norcan Dar on this of all days. As we sat around our small camp, I pulled out, unwrapped, and passed around small molasses cakes, sweet treats given me by my wife for this very occasion.

As I bit into the sweetness, almost painful after so long eating the bitter or bland food of the Hard Lands, my mind drifted to my home, my wife, and the child she most likely had already born me.

Archanon, and my Lady Celesia, let me return home safely to them.

Falling Ice 1st, 3128

Before bedding down, I wished my Rangers a Happy New Year, before laying down and dreaming of home.

Your most obedient servant,

Lord Mayor Wolfhaven, Colonel

Norcan Dar

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Campaign Report 132
Ranger vs Horde vs Beast

Lord Mayor, Colonel Baron Wolfhaven, Alexander
Commander of the Legio Heroes
Exile, Norcan Dar (Hard Lands)

28th Day of Dark Moons, Year 3127 Under the Light

I had hoped that after our battle with the demon, we might have a brief respite. It was not to be. After a day of fitful repose, I dispatched Alpha Team to drop back along the backtrail. Even with the destruction of the Builder Citadel, the enemy Builder force could not be far behind. And then, there was the matter of the 7k strong Childer horde sniffing at our heels.

So, just before dusk on the 10th, the evening AFTER the demon attack, I dispatched Alpha Team, minus RFC Grimm who was still recuperating, to fall back and sweep behind the column for advanced forces of either the horde or the Builders. Within two hours of their patrol, I received a frantic telepathic message from Ranger Softpaws. While scouting ahead of the team, she encountered a trio of Ratzin in a rocky cave. Evading per orders, she tumbled past the childer and outside the cave…right into the path of maybe dozen childer.

It appeared to be a recon in force in advance of the main childer horde. Raiders and foragers. Led by a Minotaur with a small warband, and a swarm of ratzin they instantly charged after the albino brinchie. Just over a slight ridge, the rest of the Rangers had spare moments to choose a course of action: take to the flats, or dive into the caves.

Sergeant Blackstone chose the caves and Alpha Team sprinted for the relative safety of the rocky tunnels. Outside, darkness fell. Within, the caves were pitch black. With her low-light, Arwen Que’kasaars was sent forward with the rest following, carrying a torch. For the moment, there was no sign of the childer.

Dark Moons 10th, 3127

Diving in the caves for nearly half an hour, the Rangers picked their way along, looking for a way through to an exit. Out front, Arwen entered a large chamber, only to tumble down a steep rock slide and slamming to a stop against the fall wall…or so she thought. As Arwen rose, pushing off against the wall, it moved. A creature the size of a house rose to stand over here, snuffling the air.

Behind Sergeant Blackstone, the other Rangers came to a stop. Marching order, Arwen, Sergeant Blackston, Gravelheart, Explorer, Killian, Softpaws, and Corporal Mansfried bringing up the rear. Mansfried and Softpaws turned to cover the rear while the head of the party dealt with whatever lurked in the cave.

In a relative panic, Arwen backpedaled and ran for the party and the light. Instantly the creature turned to chase. She just reached the rockslide when the massive reptile bit down on her shoulder, lifted her bodily into the air and turned to carry her back to its nest. The Explorer fired a shot right up its tail when it presented its rear, enraging it, and forcing it to turn back around, Arwen still in its maw. From the rear, Mansfried and Softpaws began to hear the scrabbled of ratzin.

Up front, Sergeant Blackstone dropped the torch and melded into the ground, closing on the beast. The Explorer, Kililan, and Gravelheart opened fire with arclances. Again, Gravelheart showed her skill, blowing the beast left eye out of its skull, forcing it to drop Arwen. Immediately, Blackstone was there to retrieve her. In a fury, the pained and wounded beast reached its mighty clawed hand into the tunnel to scoop out the Rangers.

Corporal Mansfried leaped over his team to throw up a defense blocking the attack with Thorgram’s shield. Behind the party, ratzin appeared hurling knifes at Softpaws. She takes a few hits shouts a warning before leaping past the party and sprinting to the right where Blackstone had seen another exit. With ratzin swarming from behind, Corporal Mansfried snatches up the torch and hurls it at the beast’s “good” eye, temporarily blinding it.

Seizing the opening, the other Rangers sprint past the beast away from the ratzin. As the last clears the tunnel, The Explorer tosses a arcfire grenade into the tunnel, before sprinting after the others, covering their retreat. In a perpendicular tunnel, Softpaws lights a torch and takes off, scouting forward. Blackstone and Arwen appear, Arwen laying down eldritch fire to cover the retreating Corporal Mansfried and The Explorer.

Behind them, the tunnel and cavern begin to collapse, filling the air with dust. Three ratzin make it past the beast, only to have one die at Arwen’s hand. The last two die by arclance. With their rear secure, Alpha Team sprints away from the collapsing tunnels.

While the Rangers fought their way through the tunnels, I made my way along a low ridge line with RFC Grimm and five arclancers. We reached near the cave system protecting Alpha Team and spied the childer raiders milling about, sniffing for blood. As we watched, there was a detonation in the mountain. The ground bucked nearly knocking Grimm out as he listened to the ground. Immediately, the childer started making their way around the rocky outcrop.

Leaving one arclancer to maintain position, I led the others around behind another ridge to a position about 30 meters away from the most likely point the Rangers might emerge. A good thing too. About the time we dropped behind cover, Softpaws appeared, the childer pouring over a low ridge to her right. They saw here as soon as we did. So, I ordered my squad to provide covering fire and sprinted down the slope toward the childer. My hope was that they would angle toward me giving my Rangers a chance to escape. Seeing me, Softpaws angled to meet me, while the rest of the Rangers poured out of the cave making a straight line for the cover of the arclancers and ridge line.

As I charged, a wall behind the Rangers exploded and the massive beast burst onto the flats. One eye still smoking, it bellowed and charged toward the childer, through the Rangers. Already committed, I slammed into the wall of fur and steel, cutting deep with my father’s blade. The minotaur war master died first in a spray. Beside me, Softpaws appeared, scratching and biting. From my left, the arclances opened laying down a steady torrent of arcfire. Overhead, gargoyles exploded into dust.

When the Rangers reached the ridge line, as the beast closed, I grabbed Softpaws, summoned my power and Teleported away. We made it about halfway to the ridge. Throwing her over my shoulder, I sprinted the last yards and set her down with the others. Behind us, the beast tore into the childer, roaring and slashing.

We ran, down the backslope of the ridge and didn’t stop running for twenty minutes. By then, I could hardly breath, my legs ached, my nears felt like they were going to explode, and I honestly thought I was going to pass out. I am getting far to old to be running around like a young fool. But, we were safe.

The rest of the trek was uneventful. We rejoined the column after an hour of hiking. The temperature was below freezing and we steamed, out sweat misted around us. By dawn, we slept. All as the dead.

Dark Moons 11th, 3127

In the morning, I spoke with The Explorer about my failure to properly equip Alpha Team for the mission. It had never occurred to me, in my wildest dreams that the Citadel would have fallen. Had I but thought, I would have equipped the team in White silver and Everwood. Now, we are trapped in this endless hellscape with no resources to draw upon. And so, to ensure my team’s survival I tasked The Explorer with melting down my Stahlheim shield and using the White Silver to plate the Ranger’s weapons. I do not know how long it will last, but they will at least have a fighting chance.

The shield was a gift from Rouark Fyrforg, a mastercraft Stahlheim shield. After my horse and sword, the shield was one of my most precious belongings. But, my Rangers come first, above all other concerns. That is my duty as commander. Within a week, all was done. Alpha Team was outfitted with enough White Silver to confront any demon or childer. Let us pray is lasts.

Dark Moons 16th, 3127

After traveling a week, Lady Killian informed me that we were close enough to cross the mountains to reach her Tribe of Forsaken. Leaving the Maker to continue leading the Builder column on our, more or less, southerly course, I took Alpha Team, led by Lady Killian, on a two week trek over the mountains.

Late on the 28th we arrived near the foothills on the far side of the mountain range we had been following for a month. We saw few gargoyles on our entire trek, after our narrow escape for the childer scouts. And fortunately no childer, builders, or overly troublesome beasts. I think that what the Alpha Team faced was an escaped Thunder Lizard who had fallen to Flame. Unsurprising. I can feel the stench of Ceynara’s foulness clawing at my spirit. Every breath, every heartbeat in this accursed place seeks to drive me mad with rage…

We made no effort to hide our advance. It would not be wise to start off by provoking an attack, or inadvertently killing those we are trying to meet in good faith. So, we walked into the Forsaken pickets in as non threatening manner as possible.

As soon as we were spotted, we stopped and allowed Lady Killian to speak on our behalf. She entered the camp, while we waited under guard. After a short time, she returned and we were allowed into the camp, though our weapons had to be left outside camp. It was not unexpected. At my order, we disarmed and entered the Forsaken camp.

Memories flooded back. The camp was little different from the one I spent my time in many years ago. The same despairing determination. Privation, yet generosity. The Forsaken have nothing, but all is shared. Not unlike the goblinesh.

We were escorted to the center of camp, the deepest cave in the system. There, under guard, was an elderly man. A true sign of a survivor. Few live more than a couple years in Norcan Dar. To reach old age bespeaks an indomitable spirit. He greeted me. It would seem the story of my previous escape had reached even here. The Tribal leader invited us to sit with him. And so the negotiations begin.

I will offer to any the option to travel with our column. If we survive, if we escape, they are more than willing to come with us. Alternatively, any who dare not risk the passage, I will ask the Forsaken to take them into their Tribe. I would think gaining the knowledge of the Builders would be a fare trade. We shall see. Forsaken are shrewder hagglers than the most avaricious Malakaran. I only hope we might procure the supplies need to feed the Builder clan.

Ascended have mercy on us.

Your most obedient servant,

Lord Mayor Wolfhaven, Colonel

Norcan Dar

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To Hell and Back: A Magicians Guide to Norcan' Dar
Chapter 1

Staring at the burning sands and rock that surround me, I wonder if the title of this book is a little presumptive as I have yet to return, either way I plan to research and explore the different natural components of this hellish landscape to further the collective knowledge of the Southern Kingdoms and beyond.

Little to nothing grows here, which makes since as the environment is reminiscent of the Desert Princes natural landscape. Though having spent a little time in the desert, I could safely say the temperatures here far exceed those. The days well exceed 120 degrees and the nights bring the fear of frostbite as if in the snow covered landscape of Northern Olara, and the only safe time to travel is a few hours before sunrise and sunset when the temperatures become somewhat bearable. With this harsh environment it is easy to understand the features of the local flora and fauna, small tough shrubs dot the hills in sparse numbers and the few animals I see are small reptilian creatures that scurry from one small source of shade to another. And those are the few living things I have seen while traversing the jagged rocks and burning sands, but with the shadows circling above I know there are much bigger and scarier creatures here as well.

A few days ago I was able to kill one of these native lizards. Its scales sported a reddish color and course texture to which I assume allow it camouflage in its desert environment, but the most unsettling feature of the creatures was it being covered head to tail in sharp poisonous spines. After dissecting and removing the lizards poison sacks the meat immediately became saturated with the powerful toxins and was in no way longer edible, if it ever was to begin with. Observing the creature it boasts are large frill at the base of the neck, to which I believe to be used for mating or for intimidating potential predators. Every inch of this lizard has adapted perfectly to this environment, this making me fear what is to come if in order to survive this place requires one to have tough hide, sharp spines, and powerful poisons.

I’m assuming to be the first Alchemist to study and record this creature and assume that its species naming is my right. All of the creatures characteristics are leading me to name it a Frilled Sand Devil. I understand this creature was not in fact a “devil” but this landscape seems to corrupt its inhabitants and this lizard was definitely touched by the power of Flame that permeates this land. I begin to worry that staying here too long could have similar effects on us all. Every Alchemist whom truly knows this craft learns from the very beginning to never use corrupted components, as you will never be the same afterwards, and so I hope to find our way home again soon. With that said until then I will continue to study this alien world and its inhabitants in hopes of gaining greater understanding of how to survive this place.

Respectively,
Professor of Alchemical Studies, Gilbert Grimm

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Campaign Report 131
Demon Attack

Lord Mayor, Colonel Baron Wolfhaven, Alexander
Commander of the Legio Heroes
Exile, Norcan Dar (Hard Lands)

10th Day of Dark Moons, Year 3127 Under the Light

After two weeks of brutal hiking through the jagged peaks, our column was strung out and proceeding at a plodding pace. Each hour I could feel the combined forces of the Builders and the Childer horde growing closer. Yet, there is little I can do.

Builders are marvels of technological innovation and implementation. Behind their walls they are, nigh, impregnable. But in the open terrain of this hostile world, they are nearly helpless. During the day, the temperature peaks at 120-130 degrees, and at night -20 to -30. Each day we lose a few to heatstroke and frostbite.

Shade is difficult in the mountains, as there is little solid. It is all sharp shale mounds which shift under foot, and stab through boots and clothes. All the while, gargoyles circle overhead. We can move only a few hours before and after dawn. As dangerous as the frost may be, the heat is brutal.

We had just found shallow shade to wait out the burning sun, when I heard shouts from the direction of the columns rear. It was just at dawn and out scouts were spread out screening a column too large by half. Wearily, I gathered my kit, and starting making my way to the rear from my position at the head of the column.

I had not gone more than a few hundred yards when I was suddenly intruded upon by the familiar mental touch of Ben Toma. He interpreted for Ranger Softpaws. Apparently, the rear echeleon of our column was under assault by some form of Infernal. Already, at least a couple members of Alpha Team had been devoured.

Realizing time was of the essence, I drew deeply upon the reserve of power within my blood and accelerated to dangerous speeds. Builders scrambled to clear a path as I leaped and ran down the entire line of our group.

Even at my best speed, I was too late to prevent Lady Rahsoona Kilian and Ranger Gilbur Gill Grimm from being stuffed down the demon’s gullet. It was some horrible cross between a dragon and a worm, sprouting half a dozen tentacles that seemed to whip and vibrate as the beast undulated. And, it had horns, as incongruous as that may seem.

The demon appeared to have no magic, relying mainly on its tough hide and tentacles for protection, which also served as its primary weapon and method of feeding. The maw took up most of the beast exposed above ground. I can therefore assume that this was some dark representation of hunger.

By the time I arrived, Alpha Team had been well engaged for some time. As mentioned, Kilian and Grimm were inside. Sergeant Blackstone was dangling from one of the tentacles over the gaping maw. Ranger Gravelheart was FAR out of reach on the far side, firing her arclance. The explorer was in the process of dismounting from the demon’s back, while Que’kassars, Sir Mansfried, and Softpaws engaged the beast.

At a shout of warning, leaped through and stabbed the demon, being careful not to slay my own team. It died with a shriek as my blade cleaved in into smoking pieces. Both Kilian and Grimm spilled out.

The alchemist looked like death warmed over. Kilian was naked, though covered in greenish blood. Immediately I covered her in my cloak to protect her modesty, though I am acutely away some cultures have varied rules of propriety.

Gill lived, though he would require rest. As for the others, they were none the worse for wear. However, I soon discovered that their inability to end the threat stemmed from my inadequate preparation for out mission. Only one member of Alpha Team is currently equipped with White Silver, and that being Arwen’s rapier. In all other respect, the team is helpless against many of the worst beings in Norcan Darr. I resolved to immediately rectify that situation.

In the meantime, Alpha Team carried their wounded to shelter and proceeded to eat, rest, and heal. Kilian, at the least, procured more appropriate clothing, and the team rested until that eve.

With the attack, I fear that our enemy may be closing upon our ranks. So, I tasked Alpha Team, minus the resting Grimm, to fall back along our backtrail to determine if, and how close, either enemy force might be.

They left out, rekitted and supplied, shortly before dusk as the temperature began to drop. I had already scouted our immediately area, but Alpha Team ranged farther afield. I returned to the head of the column, leaving Grimm with healers.

I had only returned shortly, just as the Maker and his guards were beginning their move when Softpaws, through Ben Toma, contact me again.

Alpha Team had encountered a sizable childer force, maybe 30 within a quarter mile of our rear. Unfortunately, the childer managed to ambush the team forcing them into retreat. As we spoke, they were heading into a cave system near the childer location. On their heals, almost three dozen angry childer hunted.

Once again, I gathered my kit and pulled a dozen Builder Arclancers off the line before heading toward the rear of the column, picking up a waking Grimm along the way. It would take another hour before the Builders showed any semblance of movement. Columns that large simply take time to move.

So, I hoped that a smaller, lighter force might reach the Rangers, supress or eliminate any opposing childer scouting party, and return to the column before the column managed to make any real headway.

For the second time that day, I found myself scarabbling through the mountains of Norcan Darr praying that the team would survive long enough to be relieved.

Ascended have mercy on us.

Your most obedient servant,

Lord Mayor Wolfhaven, Colonel

Norcan Dar

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Ellamira Danica Wolfhaven Born
Born Dark Moons 5th, 3127

While Baron Wolfhaven fought his way across Norcan Darr, Baroness Wolfhaven gave birth to their first girl, Ellamira “Ella” Danica Wolfhaven early in the morning on the 5th of Dark Moons, 3127.

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