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