Report of Lt. R.S. Hawksclaw
5th of First Hunt
Flaming robes, wayward trousers, disorderly sergeants, agitated adepts, and a stumbling block… It is good to be home.
After months of traveling, countless battles in the mud, blood, and snow, I have returned to Echer’naught. I don’t think it is possible to be more content than I am, at this moment.
Ryldryrr, the Free Company, and myself arrived yesterday. Our journey was easy, and without incident. Unusual, but fortunate, as my diminished Battalion had already seen a lifetime’s worth of warfare. Now, after nearly six months, two sieges, and hundreds of miles underfoot, my men were returning home. They were in good spirits, and stepped lively. But the cost of taking the Bearheart pass was palpable. With thirty five percent casualties, there will be many “Last Calls” in the week to come. Some have already begun, so I will try to attend as many as I am able.
But I digress.
As the column approached the city, I could make out the sentries on top of the wall. I could see the archers prepare their bows. I cannot say I blame them, because we looked a mess. However, as soon as our banners crested the rise, the guards relaxed, and began to call out.
A lone figure dropped over the wall, and ran directly towards me. Even at distance, I knew it was Sgt. Longtail. I spurred my mount, and met her just ahead of the column. I lept down, and she met me with a long embrace. I could not help but to think how I had done the same for the Colonel, months ago, outside our lines at Eckheart. It truly warmed my heart, and the column split in half to pass by us. I pushed Aradove to arms length. I asked her to go back and announce our return, which she did promptly and loudly.
I remounted, drew my sword, and rode to the head of the column. The Battalion was called to the step, and the gates to the city were thrown open. With great fanfare, the column entered. The soldiers’ drill and bearing were impeccable. Their demeanor was inspiring. These men, these survivors, these warriors, were surely the wheat that had been sifted from the chaff. I must confess, I very nearly wept at the sight.
As we passed the entrance to High Town, I looked toward the Wolfhaven manor. “I’ll be home soon, Eris”, I thought.
As the newly constructed Ranger Outpost came into view, I was struck with a wondrous thought. I looked back towards my victorious soldiers, and thought quietly, “Rangers…” This very night, I will pen a letter to Kythros.
The column halted. I ordered them to front, and right dress. I called the sergeants forward, and gave orders to parole the men for one week, so that we might organize a “mustering out” ceremony before their final formation. After that, and with a shout, the battalion was dismissed.
I dismounted, and turned to face my friends. Sgt. Longtail had assembled the Rangers, and I moved to greet them in turn. First was Aradove, who wore something of a maniacal smile on her face. Sara was next, with her usual excitement which, by now, was spilling out in a rush of hugs and chatter. I ruffled her hair and smiled.
Then my Eldekar brother, Evoran, who looked more “put out” than usual. Followed by Thorgram, who by way of greeting, blurted out, “I have pants, sir!”
“Indeed you do, Thorgram…” I replied, confused. I quickly realized that asking too many questions, too soon, would result in a headache…
Then I saw a fifth. An Alakar girl, wearing a Ranger Trainee cloak. She was of slight build, and seemed somewhat uncomfortable. I noticed a fine looking bow strung across her back, and she bore an uncertain but enthusiastic look on her face. Untested but strong, I think. I suppose I looked much the same a few years ago…
I looked at Evoran, and he piped up with his usual efficiency, “Lieutenant, this is Samira Ravenwood. We met her on our journey home, and she assisted us in dispatching some bandits. Now, she has elected to join on with the Rangers.”
“Excellent. Has she been read, and taken her oath?” I asked.
Evoran replied, “Indeed. The Sergeant has seen to it.”
I herd Aradove chuckle. I can only imagine that her induction to the Rangers was… Interesting. I smiled at the thought.
I looked back to Samira. “Very well. My name is RahSahn Hawksclaw. It is good to meet you.”
After all had exchanged pleasantries, I felt a sharp tug at the back of my mind. Apparently, Aradove read my expression, and said, “You need to get back to the Manor. You have some duties to see to.”
I nodded, and tried not to blush. “Well, I will return this evening.”, I said. Then I looked at Sara and said, “let’s have a party. Tonight, we will open our new outpost and all are invited.”
Sara, immediately began shouting orders in a way that would have made Wolfhaven proud, and I took my leave.
I made it to the corner, and out of sight, before I started sprinting toward High Town.
Later, when I arrived back at the HQ, the place was abuzz with excitement. It was a wonderful opening ceremony, and visitors came in droves. It was as if life had returned to the Outpost and the entire city.
I talked with my Rangers, and got a brief summary of the recent goings on.They told me of the bandit ambush, and Longtail’s wounding. I herd of Samira’s astounding feat of marksmanship, and subsequent meeting. I, also was told of Thorgram’s bravery, and how he came to Longtail’s aid. Apparently, his “windmill” attack style, (unconventional but effective) was more than the enemy could bare…
Next, I herd of Longtail’s riding course, and it’s subsequent cleanup… That explained a great deal.
Finally, I enjoyed the evening with my family, and friends. Some old some new, but all (more or less) united.
This morning, I received a comunicade from Olara. It came through official Ranger channels. It is from someone in need of assistance, so we will do what we can.
After I had written my reply, I went and spoke with Sgt. Vasser. I assured him that we would help him to replenish the ranks of the Town Guard. He thanked me, and we discussed a few plans to help maintain an effective defense force. I revealed that I have a few ideas.
In truth, it is More than that. I have several ideas, now. Ideas for the future of the city, my loved ones, our friends, and for the good of these people. I will need much help, but I will keep my vow that I made to Leandra.
My vow to all of them.
~Lt. R.S. Hawksclaw