Lord Mayor, Colonel Baron Wolfhaven, Alexander
Commander of the Legio Heroes
Wolfhaven Barony, Olara
17th Day of White Stagg, Year 3127 Under the Light
Much happened in my absence from the city. I find that I am away far too often, but duty calls. What follows details the events within Echer’Naught leading to my assuming command of Alpha Team, and our preparations to depart on a long ranging mission to secure the Maker device.
White Stagg 1st, 3127
Once operations were under control, I climbed out of the mines and joined Major Hawksclaw. We gathered my personal guard, and with, Ma’avi Fr’eki in our company, headed north and west to a campsite used by Ma’avi when he ventured to Echer’Naught prior to our meeting. Apparently the demon had tracked him there. As ONLY Ma’avi could have any recollection of the remote camp, it would prove to the demon that he was in fact facing the right man.
Why such a being cared for such things, I cannot say. But we left, riding hard, to rescue Eris Moonsilver.
Even as I was riding out of the West “Elven” Gate, Alpha Team was just being relieved from duty. Though it may not have occurred to the Rangers, as exhausted as they were, Alpha Team had been on active call since well before dawn on the 33rd. In fact, they were approaching 24 hrs of near constant duty.
As soon as the peril passed, fatigue overcame them. Each staggered to whatever rest suited them. Sergeant Sssahlissstaah managed the Sacred Grove before collapsing. She was joined in the grove by Rangers First Class McKenzie Shan and Ingrid Snow. Though, not I understand together. The sister-wives were checking on RFC McKenzie’s bear companion, Volstagg.
Corporal Arimar Blackstone retired to the dwarven run Forgehome Inn. With many of the paying guests evacuating during the attack, the Inn was mostly empty. Forced from their Embassy, the dwarves of Stahlheim rented the entire Inn as their new, temporary facilities. There, Blackstone’s wife, Ruby, had been sent. He retired to be with her.
The Explorer returned immediately to the temporary Regional command tents, namely those of the Builders and Siegemaster Whit. I am told the Explorer found a cot not far from the Arcmancer table and slept in armor, fearing straying to far from the events unfolding.
RFCs Egon Mansfried and Gilbur Gil Grimm retired to the Yomenie Curu Academy. Apparently, Grimm is now a visiting professor of Alchemy in Ash’s grand Magic school. Sir Mansfried was there merely to continue his assignment of keeping tabs on Grimm.
RFC Ranna retired to Murvoth’s Chapel of the Silver Unicorn. From what I heard, she staggered in, collapsed in the garden and fell asleep. Not knowing proper protocal, the Silver Paladins posted a guard and waited for her to wait.
It is strange. This iteration of Alpha Team is not so dissimilar from the past. After hard fought battles, we would also retire to our own endeavors. There is something oddly comforting about that. The more things change, the more they remain the same.
Having slept many hours, the team began to trickle back into command. More or less. All members naturally returned after an extended period of no communication from command. RFCs Shan and Snow rather went in search of Shan’s rat friend, “Chuckles.” I do not believe they ever found him.
In my absence, clearing the mines and securing the device fell to Colonel Anderson. With Alpha Team’s return, he scheduled a meeting in a house on the north side of Main Street which had been rented to provide secure locations. Since none could located RFCs Shan and Snow, Colonel Anderson tasked one of the Ranger Adepts to make contact.
Eris Moonsilver’s abduction and absence greatly hindered any operations. We have grown so accustomed to her ready access that sustaining operations with our out of commission has revealed a glaring weakness in our battle readiness. Every available telepathic Adept and Farspeaker were secured to establish lines of communication.
The wayward Rangers were located somewhere on the south east part of the city and commanded to return to the temporary HQ. Once there, Colonel Anderson was able to brief them on the situation.
He informed the Alpha Team that Lt. Eris Moonsilver was unavailable for the duration. Though, per orders, any further information was gagged. On top of our numerous issues, the last thing we wanted was to invite attack from enemies preying on our weakness in Moonsilver’s absence.
Colonel Anderson also explained some of what happened in the mines. We cannot say where the menagerie of creatures originated, but, again, the prevailing theory is that they were translocated due to unforeseen side effect of the Maker’s mass teleportation. This is merely a theory, and one of many. Nevertheless, despite our victory over the Builders, and the Maker, we still faced a large infestation beneath the city. Conservative estimates calculate 3-4 months before the mines are safe for any meaningful exploration.
As for the Maker’s device. I ordered that it be secured and tasked my own guard to see to it. I know all too well that the vultures will soon circle, not to mention our enemies. The sooner we relocated and secure the device the better. Unfortunately, some effect of the aborted spell cause the device to drastically increase in weight, almost as if it were anchoring itself in place?
Plans were already in the works to remove the device from the mines, but the would take time. And then, it would have to be moved quickly and secured against possible capture by enemy forces. All amidst the chaos of the city’s collapse and the monsters still roaming the mines.
Alpha Team, however, had earned some rest. So, they were put on light duty until such time as the device could be moved. At which point, they would be assigned to the device’s security detail.
Oh, and they were notified that the rich crysarium mines were owned my Sir Calaban Rabenklau. I can only imagine how well that was received. Of the city regulars encountered by the Rangers, only Sir Halten was more disliked than Sir Rabenklau. I only hope the Rangers can learn to overcome their prejudice because we will be working far more closely with both Sir Halten and Sir Rabenklau here on in.
In addition to owning rights to the mines, Sir Rabenklau has also contracted many of the Stormguard in the city to provide additional security. That decision was NOT well received by High Command, but there is little we can do. His mines are private property and the Stormguard have a working understanding of crysarium. Also, as he pointed out, it is better to employ them gainfully than to battle them in the streets.
Still, I feel there is something else at work.
Alpha Team was dismissed to make personal arrangements.
White Stagg 2nd, 3127
The day after, the assembled commanders met to dissect the battle and to develop strategies to counter another potential assault. Colonel Anderson, Captain Vasser, Commander Schenkle, Sir Halten, and many other were in attendance. Due to his command of the Rangers after my sudden, and involuntary, departure, Sir Mansfried was also invited to contribute his thoughts on the battle.
As I understand, RFC Grimm joined him and was required to sit on a bench the rest of the day while Sir Mansfried conferenced with the commanders. I only regret that I was not at the meeting, but my son, Alfred, was and he made sure to memorize all necessary detail. With the mines open, we now have an entirely new front in the city to defend.
To his credit, Sir Mansfried acquitted himself admirably. All attending spoke well of his contributions. I know that Sir Halten has taken an interest in the young Ranger. It is no secret that Sir Halten would prefer to exclude entry into Echer’Naught Rangers all but Humans and dwarves. The latter he only accepts due to Royal policy. In fact, I am certain Sir Halten would exclude women as well.
It was also on the 2nd that RFC Ranna requested honorable discharge from the Rangers. Her experiences have changed her. First, losing Grendel. Then gaining the Blood Witch’s corruption. Then finding herself pregnant with his child. Now, her near death, or death, experience has altered her in ways we cannot fully understand.
And so, she spend the day filing the necessary paperwork to officially leave the Rangers on the 6th of White Stagg. She joined Alpha Team Festival Moons 8th, 3126. She has served the Rangers for 1 year and five months. During that time, she served under Captain Volstagg, Sergeant Grendel, and Sergeant Sssahlissstaah. Ranna battled across the desert, defeated a Xaos god, fought her way out of Kal’Montak’s Blood Pits, escaped the Kal, battled Tempest and the Blood Witch, saved A’Morgal, and most recently Echer’Naught itself. She found love, lost her mate, and gained a child. So much has happened. I can understand her need to leave and chart her own course. I only hope she knows that wherever she goes, she is, and will always be, a member of Alpha Team.
White Stagg, 4th, 3127
Reports from the west gate inform me that early on the 4th, they were surprised by RFCs Shan and Snow arriving on battlements, looking expectantly into the west. Their Life Bond with Steelwing alerted them both to his impending arrival. Moments later, the aevakar arrived himself, though much changed.
It seems that during his encounter with Novri in Almahrad, the Emissary saved him from death, but not without drastically altering him physically, and perhaps more. His wings are now a shiny white silver, his eyes as well. Though he appears to have the same attitude as before, Ranger Adepts were tasked to examine him for…other…changes. None were found, though I am not entirely sure we would be able to tell.
At least his wives were happy for his return. Or I assume. I know how little Lady Wolfhaven enjoys my extended absences. So, I can imagine their relief at seeing him alive warred with their frustration at his rash actions.
At Steelwing’s return, Sergeant Sssahlissstaah assembled the Alpha’s for another meeting in the prepared rooms near the temporary HQ. There, Steelwing explained his actions on the mountain and informed the team that Novri had fallen in battle against Captain Volstagg. But, Novri was not killed by Volstagg. Rather, Aronzo the werewolf with Blood Witch allies took custody of Novri, payment for his attack on Gram Gram’s warband. This was all negotiated by the Emissary who took possession of Aronzo’s cloak in exchange.
Hearing of Novri’s defeat is all to the good, but I am unsure about dealing with the Blood Witch’s forces. Nevertheless, the Emissary has discretion in Almahrad and routinely acts in interests contrary to those of the East. However, with threats looming from outside our Realm, it is imperative that we gain cooperation from many of the independent factions within Shaintar. And so, the Emissary continues forging relations.
Here, Ranna delivered her own news, informing Alpha Team that she would be leaving the Rangers by the end of the week, on the 6th. She was not the only departure. Ingrid Snow requested maternity leave until delivery of her child. And, with her, McKenzie Shan and Steelwing requested transfers to the Echer’Naught garrison so that they might remain with their wife. Steelwing also intimated that he had a higher calling to protect Ingrid’s child, given the intervention of the Emissary in facilitating the unprecedented union of a human and an aevakar.
With so many departures, the Rangers elected to host a general going away party at the Wayfarer’s rest after duty on the 6th. I regret that I could not attend. However, I was occupied elsewhere.
With new Rangers to be added to the team, Sergeant Sssahlissstaah wisely requested that Sir Mansfried speak with Sir Halten on the team’s behalf and arrange training for the upcoming mission.
White Stagg 6th, 3127
After duty hours, the Alpha Team retired to the Wayfarer’s Rest for a well deserved celebration. There, in one of the restaurants back rooms, the team joined for a proper send off for Ranna, Shan, McKenzie, and Steelwing. However, the surprises were not done.
In a particular display of generosity, the Explorer gifted Ranna with an arcfire gauntlet weapon. I’ve since been briefed on the schematics. Powered by a backpack generator, the gauntlet fires beams or blasts of arcfire. It is truly a masterpiece, and bespoke for Ranna. He calls it the “Deus Ex Mogina” in homage to her Great Crossbow Mog. I know that she has dedicated herself to ridding the land of Gram Gram and her warband. And NOW she has the tools to do so.
Afterwards, the team drank and laughed long into the night. It truly is the simple things.
Before departing that eve, Blackstone presents one final gift, a heartstone from the recently discovered bedrock beneath the city. To always remind her of home.
White Stagg 7th, 3127
In the morning, I am aware that the Alpha Team command staff, Sergeant Sssahlissstaah, Corporal Blackstone, and RFC Mansfried had a meeting with Sir Halten. He informed them of the training scheduled, and that they would be receiving new team members to replace their recent losses.
I find Sir Halten more accommodating when there is a human, Olaran knight within the command staff for the team. But, to his credit, he tasked his own men to set up a training camp north of the city at the Festival Grounds.
When the Rangers arrived, they found the Olarans already in place and waiting. Meanwhile, at the local Ranger HQ, replacements were already being routed. Two had arrived in Echer’Naught.
The first, Cairn Gravelheart, dwarf, was but a trainee, but showed great promise. The other, Malerie Softpaws is well known to the Ranges. She previously served on Beta team under my son, Lieutenant Alfred Wolfhaven. She survived Beta Teams “destruction.” Since then she has floated. Now, she has returned to the city, taken the oaths, and been transferred as a scout to Alpha Team.
Alfred personally walked Softpaws to the team’s training site. At a bit before noon, Alpha Team began their training. I must say I am impressed with Halten’s attention to training, though I suspect he rather enjoyed beating up on the team.
To help the Rangers, the Olarans had set up a wagon on one end of the jousting arena. They were instructed to set up their perimeter, and try and cross the grounds. The Olarans would try to stop them. Simple.
On the first day, the Olarans threw at them nine foot tall Animated suits of armor which allied Stone Singers and druids repaired in battle.
White Stagg 8th, 3127
On day two, the Olarans used their stone druids to open the earth and swallow the cart along with the Rangers.
White Stagg 9th, 3127
On day three, they unveiled wagon mounted Hammerfall Heavy crossbows and unleashed a fusillade of fire.
White Stagg 10th, 3127
On day four, the Olarans requested assistance from my Order, the Hammerfall Riders. Before reaching the halfway mark, a dozen riders tore through them, disabling the wagon.
White Stagg 11th, 3127
On the fifth day of training, the Olarans changed tactics entirely. The Halten Sergeant at Arms used an invisibility spell to approach the wagon, then detonated the team with an arcfire bomb. That effectively ended training.
White Stagg 12th, 3127
The 6th day was given to rest, and preparation, as Ranger engineers were almost ready to move the Maker machine.
White Stagg 13th, 3127
In the morning, Colonel Anderson and Sir Halten met with the Rangers, informing the team that they would be moving the engine by that night. To increase security, Alpha Team was joining Beta, and members of Epsilon (engineers), and Gamma (guards) to cordon off the recovery site.
Lt. Wolfhaven had situation command, deploying the teams as needed for overlapping coverage. High Towne by this point had been entirely evacuated. All teams were divided into pairs and assigned alternating patrol routes. Ash and other mages provided spells of protection and concealment. Every effort was made to deter and thwart prying eyes.
At 9PM, Nell provided a thick fog, enhanced by High Magic concealment spells from Ash and other mages.
Within an hour, visibility within High Towne was effectively eliminated. During this window, the Maker’s machine was carefully winched out of the hole via a trio of Stahlheim cranes formerly used to repair the breach in the walls. Capable of moving several tonnes apiece, they, along with magical assistance, managed to raise the machine out of the mines onto a waiting dwarven wagon.
By 11, all was set. The fog was lifted, and team moved to their escort positions.
It took time, but the route out of the city was cleared and secured. The Explorer was assigned to personally monitor the machine as it rolled north.
At the outset of the 13th hour, the wagon was rolling out of the city north, on toward its final destination. Alpha Team provide close support, while Wolfhaven Free Riders ranged out, screening the column. Though, it was very slow going.
They camped a distance from the city in a pre-fortified camp. Every night after, the wagon was secured in camps fortified prior to their arrival.
White Stagg 16th, 3127
Late on the 3rd day of travel, the wagon and escorts arrived at the Wolfhaven Barony north of the city. Here, the Maker Machine was secured within the walls, and the Alpha Team and other escorts were relieved of duty. All but the Explorer, who I do not believe would have willingly left his post.
I was on hand to greet the team, having arrived a few days prior after my mission to rescue Eris Moonsilver. That evening, I hosted the alpha Team. Dining with them and explaining more about their mission.
The Maker device was too valuable to store even at the Barony. Not only that, but it made my home a target. And so, it was to be moved, in secret, to another location. The Alpha Team would be tasked with escorting the device to its new home. The mission would be long, and there was no guarantee of return.
However, I would not send the team on such a mission lightly. And so, to ensure the device arrived safely, I would accompany the team on the assignment. If my Rangers do not return, nor will I. After delivering this dire news, I dismissed them and went to my wife.
Having just returned, she was not pleased that I would be leaving again, and this time for an indeterminate time, but she is an Olaran, by adoption if not birth. She accepted my resolve with equanimity. We were able to offer Corporal Blackstone some piece of mind. We understood the tense political situation involving his wife. The recent attack on Echer’Naught and her relocation had not helped matters.
And so, my wife extended an invitation to spend the intervening time here at the Barony. We offered the services of the House Farspeaker. Ruby Blackstone agreed immediately. I expect her to arrive no later that the 18th.
However, we will be long gone by that time.
In fact, we leave before dawn tomorrow. So, I enjoyed one last evening with my wife. What pains me most is to know that I will very likely not return in time to see the birth of my child. The Baroness is certain that she will be due either late this winter, or very early spring.
It is only at such times I consider the possibility of retiring. But what if I should? What if the next great invasion is not stopped? How could I live with knowing I abandoned a thousand mothers and children to death for the sake of my own happiness?
No, though my heart breaks, in the morning I will kiss my wife goodbye, perhaps for the last time, and leave my unborn child. If I am unwilling to sacrifice, how can I ask others to do so?
Archanon, Lord of Light, and Celesia, Silver Unicorn, please bless this venture. Success could turn these wars in our favor. I cannot contemplate failure.
White Stagg 17th, 3127
I woke this morning, without having slept. My Rangers break their fast. I order them to leave behind cloaks and pins. On this journey, our green will offer no protections.
Before we leave, I allow each time to attend to personal matters. For me, I return to say goodbye to Elyanna, and to kiss little Will.
It is time.
Your most obedient servant,
Lord Mayor Wolfhaven, Colonel
Wofhaven Barony, Olara