Red Wolf 1st, 3127
Be careful what you wish for. You may just get.
Planting Moons 24th, 3127
Riding high after my amazing night, I joined my fellow Teammates in our new found light duty. For the uninitiated, Light Duty consists for all the wonderful drudgery of regular duty, minus any semblance of excitement. We trained, patrolled, and spent hours tending to our gear, tack, and arms. Though, in the evenings, we were free to gather at the tavern and enjoy a round of drinks. The Rangers appear to value esprit de corps, and camaraderie more than any organization I have ever known.
Of note, a new Ranger arrived. We shared a bit of training in the AM of the 24th. Tal’Car. He seemed a bit confused, but a decent enough sort.
Later in the eve, I escorted my lady Kenzie to the Quartermaster where she drew…a rat and a horse. Another horse. And a rat. Oh, and a smart rat. So, she has, a bear Volstagg, two horses, Diego and the new one, and the rat chuckles. She fascinates me.
Planting Moons 25th-26th, 3127
The explorer has managed to arrange for a private repair table. As I passed in the halls, I saw a gaggle of junior engineers huddled around him like lovesick puppies. And speaking of lovesick. If RFC Ranna services Corporal Grendel half as lovingly as she does her Great Crossbow, I envy the ogre. Though, I suspect that weapon is serviced more often and vigorously than he ever has. It also seems that Blackwing’s negotiations have begun to bear fruit. For a minute, he raved about losing his armor or some such. But in the end, he appealed to a “higher power”, whatever that means, and now he walks around like a king. I imagine the idea of marriage MAY be more appealing than the reality.
Planting Moons 26th, 3127
Though I was not alerted until the following morning, Ingrid’s sleep on the 26th was disturbed by a horrid dream. He home village was overrun with life sucking creatures, who turned friends and families into fiends. One of them, a relative, attacked her. Even by the following morning she seemed lethargic and drained.
Also, I hear that Corporal Sssahliissstah met with some guru Sssvaren? He is apparently a Dregordian councilor contracted by the Rangers. She is not the first Ranger, nor even Alpha Team member who has used his services.
Planting Moons 27th, 3127
At first light, Ingrid woke from her nightmare. Kenzie took her to see the healer. Apparently, though she was not attacked, her life essence seemed to have been drained almost as if by a Wraith.The barracks are investigated, but no evidence of Darkness is found. I secretly fear the Winghunter adept has opened a new front in his assault. I say as much to Captain Hawksclaw. He seems…receptive.
Ingrid was summoned later in the morning by Captain Hawksclaw. I was concerned for her. I could barely concentrate sharpening the umpteenth sword until she returned. He wished to speak to her of “Respect for Life” and druidism. Ah, it was a religious service. She seemed pleased as the special treatment, also contemplative.
That night, in the male barracks, two beds over from me, the Explorer wakes screaming. I can smell the coppery scent of blood before I even light a lantern. In the weak light of a hooded lamp, his ruddy body is covered in thousands of bite and claw marks. It appears as if he was mauled.
We sound the alarm, and in moments the entire regional headquarters is awake. All Rangers empty into the courtyard, armed and geared for war as the Explorer is carried to the healers. In the chill pre-dawn air, we wait for orders as armed priests, paladins, druids, and adepts scour the barracks from top to bottom. They even bring in some kind of arcfire magic detection device.
Colonel Anderson showed up quickly. Captain Hawksclaw was not far behind. Sergeant Minor Longtail appeared, spoke with Colonel Anderson and vanished.
Within the hour we were all ordered to head to the Wolfhaven Manor, just up the street. There, Alpha Team was sequestered for our protection. We had been there, maybe a half an hour before Captain Hawksclaw appeared. Maybe, 11:30PM. We are clearly under attack. The team reviews their impressive list of enemies from the past:
Someone called Velkalar
And we could not forget Andak-Gol Ivar ki Novri and his merry band of hunters.
Though the names hardly sounded too inspiring, I was impressed that my team had acquired over the years an impressive list of foes. A wise man once said, “You can judge much of a warrior by the quality of his foes.” That man died, however.
I, once again, campaigned for the Rangers to bring the Winghunters to battle. The longer we waited, the more initiative we ceded to the enemy. They would wear us down until their advantage was overwhelming. Again, Captain Hawksclaw heard me out, though I had no idea if it would prompt any action.
We were ordered to stand down, and remain within the confines. Ingrid and Kenzie headed upstairs. Poor Ingrid still looked pale. The rest of us spent the night pacing. I scoured every inch of the manor house looking for weaknesses in the defenses. I was impressed. Also, Sergeant Gendarre, the leader of the House Guard here, a Camonere of all things, at least plied us with wine.
The great upside, I was finally able to join Kenzie and Ingrid that evening. The barracks are a torture. Feeling their warm bodies snuggled under my wings…Celestial Halls.
At some time around the 13th hour, a quartet of masked adepts showed up. They greeted Captain Hawksclaw, before posting up around the Manor. As I have no adept abilities, I wonder how effective they would be against the Kal adepts.
Planting Moons 28th, 3127
Early in the morning, the Explorer arrived under his own power, though looking distinctly like a mummy. Which I have seen. I met him at the door, and I feel we shared a moment. Apparently in his dream, he was home in Norcan Darr and was overrun by Ratzin. That would explain the bites. He headed for breakfast, while I patrolled…and spent time with my beautiful girls.
The Wolfhaven Manor is efficient, and very Olaran. The staff is attentive, if a bit…stiff for my tastes. But, everyone seems generally happy to be working there. That is rare. The staff isn’t mistreated, and the Great Lady of the House, Baroness Wolfhaven is strict, a bit distant, but fair. You can tell much about a Lord by how the least of his vassals is treated. In Wolfhaven’s case, all are treated well.
Oh, and the beds are very firm. Good support, with just the right bounce. And big enough for three.
Planting Moons 29th, 3127
In the morning, word arrived that we had Training scheduled for the 31st. To be honest, I was confused and frustrated. After the assaults on two of our teammates. After they attacked INGRID. After sticking us in protective custody, we were going back to business as usual??? Trust our team. Isn’t that what Captain Hawkslcaw said? I just hoped he knew what the hell he was doing.
Still, two more days with my girls. I wasn’t about to complain. Those beds, though. I might have to see about acquiring one for myself. Then again, I’d need a house…hmmm… Maybe we should talk about putting down roots?
Planting Moons 31st, 3127
We met in Colonel Anderson’s office in the AM. Early. There, we were greeted by the good Colonel, Captain Hawksclaw, the scary brinchie Sergeant Minor Longtail, and the human, Malcom. I’m not sure what he is, exactly, but everyone does what he says…?
Training was straightforward. We would be randomly split into two teams. Each on led by a Corporal. The first scenario was to be a hostage rescue. The second a capture the flag. Sergeant Minor Longtail set up the first, Captain Hawksclaw oversaw the rest. From the expressions of a few, I gathered involving Longtail was…dangerous. I know she works for Colonel Wolfhaven’s staff, but I’m NOT entirely sure what function she performs. Every instinct warns me to not cross her, though.
After the general briefing, the Corporals were separated. We were given separate instructions. Unless directly ordered by the team commander, or directly attacked we were not to act. Apparently they were given their own special instructions.
Reconvened, I was added to Sssahliissstah’s team along with Ranna and Kenzie. The rest of the team, Ingrid, Blackstone, and the Explorer were assigned to Corporal Grendel’s team.
We were up first. The mission, a group of thugs had invaded the Wolfhaven Refuge for Children. Interesting, the Orphanage belonged to, none other than, Sergeant Minor Longtail. Colonel Anderson provided us with maps of the building, but no other information about the hostages, or hostage takers. Corporal Sssahliissstah ordered us down to the orphanage. It was early morning, but traffic around the building was high. The roads were congested.
When we reached the orphanage, the outer gates were open, so we entered and approached the kitchen door, on the east side of the building. Kenzie sent her rat “chuckles” to go look for an alternate route. Meanwhile, Kenzie tried the lock. She almost oppened it, but apparantly the orphanage has amazing security. Ive seen less ornate locks on Lending Houses.
So, Plan B. Ranna bashed the door into splinters. There was an explosion, but no one got hurt. Ranna led us, crashing through the kitchen. Sssahliissstah, Kenzie and I followed, but halfway through, a smoke bomb went off, blinding us all. Ranna continued to crash her way through, clearing a path. We delicately crunched, slid, and bumped our way through the darkness.
Up ahead, something happened. Later, I found out that Ranna had been paralyzed coming into the main room. Which, sucked, but not as bad as both Kenzie and I getting knocked out. I made it…about six feet into the room before going down. Sssahliissstah was given the choice to continue, but lose her team. She elected to end the excerise.
I could tell she took it hard. Which, I felt for her. It was a cocked up mission. However, the REAL issue was why we were doing stupid training exercises while the Winghunters were literally stalking our dreams?!
Later that eve, we got to watch Corporal Grendel’s team try to assault the Dovecote Finishing School for Girls. Still in construction. Apparently this was a venture of Longtail’s daughter? Alpha Team certainly gets around. They tried a head on attack with the Explorer providing cover. Grendel was paralized halfway to the site, and riddled with arrows. The Explorer made it pretty close before going down. Blackstone carried Ingrid underground, popping up like a groundhog. Eventually, he reached the door, which exploded, taking Ingrid out. He made it into the building, but was overwhelmed. Though, he scored a single kill. The only kill of either team.
Oh, and while Blackstone made his solo attack, someone shrank Grendel and stuffed him into a sack. THAT was pretty funny.
We all returned to the Wolfhaven Manor, and got some sleep. No one attacked us during the exercise, or while at the manner, though Sssahliissstah seemed to suffer from the masked adepts brought in to protect us.
Planting Moons 32nd, 3127
We woke and attended the Colonel in his office. He congratulated the team, explaining that the purpose of the training was less about success, and more to teach us communication and following orders. Corporal Grendel looked defeated, and Corporal Sssahliissstah looked angry. The rest of the team was…nonplussed. I for one agreed with the sentiment. During the attack in Granite Port, we fell apart as a team. But, these ridiculous exercises were clearly not helping. The Corporals took them as an affront, and the team was demoralized.
We were weakened and low from failure. Perfect moment for the Winghunters to strike.
Due, I suppose, in large part to our abject failure, the second, capture the flag, training was waved. Instead, we were sent on a “routine” patrol of the north, west quadrant of the city. That’s right. After getting killed in basic training, and with a hunter killer team ready to cut us down…now we were being trained how to walk. Splendid!
We had the rest of the day to really think about our situation. I spent what time I could with Kenzie and Ingrid, keeping watch for the inevitable attack. That night I hardly slept and not for any good reason.
Planting Moons 33rd, 3127
We all headed down to the local HQ. Captain Hawkslcaw provided maps, and information on the area. Again, our orders, head north from the North Barony Gate, head out a few miles, then loop around east and south, sweeping the area. Basic trainee stuff.
The Corporals, hoping to make up for their failures overthought everything. Which, I can hardly blame them. I was so pissed, I was hardly focused on my own task. Foolish mistakes, all.
We pulled gear and prepped. Then, with nothing better to do, we headed North. I flew overwatch, with Kenzie as point. We reached the two mile mark north of the city, and turned east. Seeing nothing out of the ordinary, we made our slow progress, being overly cautious. Right at dusk, a friendly farmer offered us his barn and some free ale. The Team was so spooked, they turned him down. We roughed it on the edge of his property, before resuming in the morning.
Red Wolf 1st, 3127
Everything seemed fine. Kenzie was walking beneath me, the team ranged out behind. Then, I saw Kenzie stop, and that a figure was approaching. A figure on fire. I pulled my bow and fired a warning shot.
That’s when the world turned to fire, heat, and ash. Massive explosion, like meteor blasts ripped through the team. I drew another arrow, took a bead on the Flamedance, and she blasted me out of the sky without so much as a sideways glance.
For the…what…third time since joining this team, I felt my wings burn, as I crashed through the canopy into the ground. That’s the last thing I remember until I was revived by a pair of Ranger healers.
As I struggled up to get back to Kenzie, she and Ingrid appeared, running toward me. They were covered and soot, clearly had been injured, but they were alive. I pulled them into my arms and hugged them like the world was ending. Behind them, the rest of the team, equally mangled trotted up.
Long story short. Our fearless leading, Captain Hawksclaw HAD taken my advice to heart and elected to use US as bait to draw out the Winghunters. He colluded with the elves of Landra’ Feya and a Ranger Lieutenant Celebor to stage elven wardens along the woods near our route. He also gathered a force of Wolfhaven Free Rider company, under command of young Alfred Wolfhaven, to teleport in from the flanks at full gallop. Caught between the anvil of the elven archers and the hammer of the cavalry…the Kal were crushed between.
It was a bold plan, flawlessly executed. In fact, someone referred to it as “pulling a Wolfhaven.” I could not fault him. But, he endangered Ingrid and Kenzie. Kenzie could have DIED before his trap sprang.
For that, I cannot forgive. They are my life. Any who would gamble their lives so flippantly…
But they are safe. That nigh, I resolved to show them HOW much they meant to me. Repeatedly.