Lord Mayor, Colonel Baron Wolfhaven, Alexander
Commander of the Legio Heroes
Exile, Norcan Dar (Hard Lands)
30th Day of White River, Year 3127 Under the Light
Any reasonable hope of returning home, to seeing my new child, my wife, are gone. All upon my order. We are now truly one people. The Builders’ home was destroyed, and with it our own. Survival now depends on our ability to trust, to work together, to hope.
White River 28th, 3127
Everything happened so quickly. Alpha Team managed to destroy the Builder device dampening the Citadel’s own magic, but it was a temporary reprieve. And at such a staggering cost. Another war…
Alpha Team headed to the barracks to catch their breath, re-equip, rearm, and process their losses. While I continued to debate with the Maker and his council on the best course of action. I saw but one possible path forward. Lure the enemy into the Citadel and then destroy them. We would doubtless only catch a portion of their forces, but we would kill far more than it would cost us, and with the Citadel’s pathways through the mountain gone, the enemy would be forced to take a longer route to follow, buying us that most precious commodity: Time.
It was not lost on me that we would also be destroying our only reasonable means of returning home. In promoting such a plan I was condemning my team. Once again, I was sacrificing the lives of my men for the “greater good.” How much blood will it take to secure victory?!
While the rest of the team prepped, The Explorer joined me briefly. He too listened to the arguments, and seeing their value, challenged the Maker. Our only reasonable course of action was retreat. That, and he laid upon me the sobriquet, one of Shaintar’s “Greatest Military Minds.” I greatly appreciate his confidence, but sincerely wished such accolades were not so blood soaked. Before he left, I asked him to see to upgrading Alpha Team’s arms and armor with what Builder tech they could use. Also, I requested Corporal Blackstone’s presence.
The Explorer left, and Blackstone arrived. Given our current situation, I felt it prudent to continue to maintain proper chain of command. To the end, on Shaintar’s date of White River 29th, 3127 I issued the following field promotions:
Corporal Arimar Blackstone was promoted to Sergeant.
RFC Egon Mansfried was promoted to Corporal.
RFC Gilbur Gill Grimm was promoted to 3rd in command, though he retained his rank of RFC.
After his promotion, I informed him that he would be in full command of the Team. My duties now lied with aiding the Maker in keeping his people alive. Alpha Team would be given near full autonomy. As such, Sergeant Blackstone now served as independent command for the Rangers in Norcan Dar. Further, I informed him that the Explorer was in the process of upgrading the Team’s gear. Furthermore, RFC Grimm was to be excused from camp duties as his full efforts, when on in actual combat, were to be dedicated to producing Protection and Healing potions for the team. So long as it did not endanger the lives of his team, and while still within Norcan Dar, Sergeant Blackstone was to facilitate RFC Grimm in whatever capacity to achieve his needs.
Lastly, a second attack was imminent. Therefore, I ordered Alpha Team to the front gates to aid in the defense. Sergeant Blackstone had full authority to withdraw his team as soon as he felt they could not longer hold their position. The longer they held, the more civilians I could evacuate safely, as soon as the Maker agreed to my plan. I dismissed the Sergeant and observed the debate among the Builders.
Despite their arrogance, technological advancement, and history, the Builders are alike us in many ways. Politics, it seems, is universal. Still, with the Explorer’s endorsement, the Maker conceded to my plan with some grace and we immediately began evacuations.
I learned later that the Alpha Team took an hour or so to gear up, with the Explorer crafting something akin to scale armor via pieces of Arcmancy ceramics in their tightweave cloth. He also equipped much of the team with arcfire weapons, and distributed ammo among those not arcfire trained. When not overseeing that, he aided RFC Grimm in constructing a passable Alchemy kit from the available materials, and broke it down into several pieces to distribute the load.
When all was kitted, they headed up to the main gate. The grand hall was a ruin, the gate blown wide open. Builder arclancers had set up firing positions around the hall, taking cover behind fallen columns. About the time Alpha Team arrived, a Builder patrol arrived with a prisoner captured just outside. One of the forsaken, I noted when I met her that she actually hailed from Caladon, having fallen through a Tempest vortex. Based on the state of her gear, and her apparent acclamation, I gather she has been here for many years. Still, her subsequent fighting all but saved the team.
However, at the point she arrived, she was disarmed and a prisoner of the Builders. She was clearly not with the Kal, or the enemy Builders, but a discussion ensued as to what should be done with her. Sergeant Blackstone and the Explorer approached to find out more, while the rest of the team spread out. RFC Grimm took the initiative to sprint to the breach and set a land mine in order to slow oncoming attackers.
Unfortunately for all concerned, the attack happened while Grimm was finishing and Sergeant Blackstone and the Explorer were mid conversation.
First a smoke bomb rolled into the room, enveloping the breach, along with Grimm. From within the cloud, heavily armed arclancers spread out on either side, taking up firing positions and laying down a torrent of fire. Alpha Team responded, moving into position.
The fire was intense. Each enemy arclancer was protected by a deflection field, rending them difficult to hit. Whereas the allied arclancers had elevation and position, but lacked the extra layer of protection.
Centered at the base of the grand staircase, Ranger Gravelheart took early hits and went down behind a stone pile, wounded but not dead. Grimm ducked into and out of the smoke cloud, too far to make a break for the stairs.On the left, Arwen Que’kasaars went down, she was dragged back by Softpaws.
As the allied arclancers died, the enemy Builders swept up the flanks, moving from cover to cover, pouring fire into the defenders who were pushed back. On the fight, The Explorer and the Forsaken Caladonian, Killian, lay down covering fire, counting several kills apiece.
Corporal Mansfried called a withdrawn from the top of the stairs, before incoming fire forced him down and back. Softpaws continued to drag the wounded back into the hall. Sergeant Blackstone went for Grimm, sinking into the earth and burrowing under to him. Moments before the cloud dropped, the Sergeant reached Grimm and dragged him under and back. However, when they reached allied lines, the smoke cloud dropped revealing a heavy arcprojector emplacement which poured fire into them. Grimm went down, was revived, then the Sergeant.
Meanwhile, The Explorer sighted on Grimm’s bomb and detonated it, blowing its cover apart. Then, Kililan and the Explorer continued to kill gunners as the Rangers pulled back. Over half the team were downed, but none succumbed to their wounds. All the allied arclancers perished, but they sealed the stairway doors.
As they took some time to heal and revive downed comrades, the Explorer mined the door. When they were able to move again, Sergeant Blackstone sent Softpaws back with Grimm to rendezvous with me, while the rest fell back to a defensible position and continued fighting. Over the course of a couple hours, Alpha Team and retreating defenders conducted a fighting retreat. Several were lost, but they bought us time to evacuate nearly all the civilians, and supplies needed to survive the Hard Lands. Better yet, we managed to rig the failing arcgenerators to blow, setting the trap.
It was shortly after the 13th hour when Softpaws and Grimm arrived. I kept them close as we waited. A couple hours later, I informed Softpaws to tell Alpha Team to hunker down. Then, I ordered the generator destroyed. The ensuring explosion imploded the entire mountain, trapping all inside under millions of tons of rock and rubble. Nothing can have survived. Alpha Team apparently took shelter in an abandoned scout outpost. They witness the destruction from close on.
White River 30th, 3127
Half an hour later, they arrived. Shot up, bloody, and exhausted, but victorious. Professionals to the last. I was then introduced to Lady Rahsoona Kilian, of Caladon. For her help, I welcomed her to the team. And then asked if her Forsaken tribe was close enough for our column to reach. She agreed to lead us.
With the hope of food and information, I asked the Explorer to speak with the Maker and convince him that his Builders must throw themselves on the mercy and generosity of the Forsaken and trade for Food, Water, and Guides.
Once again, I am a commander in an army on the march. However, we march through one of the harshest environments imaginable full of demons, childer, and worse. To add to our woes, the recent battle attracted the attention of a childer horde nearly 7000 strong which was no doubt pursuing our pursuers. Add to that, a gargoyle flock already winged overhead.
Ascended have mercy on us.
Your most obedient servant,
Lord Mayor Wolfhaven, Colonel