Farspeaker, Eris Moonsilver
As relayed from Echer’Naught Alpha team under command of Sergeant Gunther Volstagg (via RFC Daynore)
Edited by Ranger Malcom, Scribe
Second Day of Planting Moons, Year 3126 Under the Light
First Hunt 19th, 3126
Sergeant Volstagg reorganized his team into patrol pairs and established new patrol areas and times.
RFC Moldova and Ranger Grendel were assigned to the First (morning) shift in Low Town
RFC Daynore and Ranger Nest were assigned to the Second Shift (evening) shift in Low Town
Corporal Amaroth and RFC Nexus were assigned to First (morning) shift along Mainstreet
Sergeant Volstagg and Ranger Serys were assigned to Second Shift (evening) on the Wall.
Reports indicate that Commander Schenkle and his father’s bakery have recently seen a massive uptick in commerce due to his warhero status and the connections he has made in the city; least of which his numerous direct contracts with the Rangers of Echer’Naught. Per “rumor”, the Schenkle bakery is quickly upsetting the current power structure of the Bakers and Bread-makers Guild usurping control through sheer market share. Though at present a merely economic and political struggle, there is a the very real possibility that the unrest could turn violent. Significant sums of money are at stake, as is great political power within the city.
Of note, Schenkle has opened a secondary location primarily as a baking and delivery operation. The first such outlet branch for a local bakery. They have also contracted with local muscle to provide “security.” Troubling, I Ranger recon units have linked at least some of the "muscle’ to the goblin fight promoter, Mitty. A supposed associate of Velkalar within the city.
Trade caravans originating from the Desert Princes region continue to increase, as does the frequency of “Sun Gold”, as it has become known. In that last months, several entire grain shipments were purchased from the city stock fully by coinage stamped with the ancient symbol of the Empire of the Golden Sun. Still, all known recon efforts, save the Long Recon Team have failed to return with any relevant evidence.
Plans are currently under way to form a dedicated recon unit to establish a formal presence in the region.
First Hunt 20th. 3126
At 11 AM on the 20th, three teams, Ranger Malcom’s research team, Sergeant Volstagg’s Alpha team, and an At Large team under command of Corporal Smith gathered in the courtyard behind the Ranger Regional Headquarters. Truth be told, the teams were assembled hours in advance, all dressed in Ranger Dress Uniforms. Each member of the team was awarded a Silver Shield medal from Colonel Wolfhaven and Sir Halten, the Royal Sheriff for services in rendered in eliminating “Vainar’s Bane”, the plague corrupting and killing elves within the city. Afterwards, there was a small luncheon attended by local luminaries and reporters from the new Echer’Naught Watcher publication. On an unofficial note, both Sir Volstagg and Lady Zathlan made quite an impression on the assemble nobility, both gaining many favors and not a few invitations to parties.
It should be noted, that while we celebrate our victory of the Elven wasting plague, a new outbreak has occurred in the city of Lanthor. Our own reserves were too limited to offer more than advice on procuring their own remedy. May the Ascended have mercy on the poor elves of that metropolis. There is also more troubling news from Lanthor, a new faction, the ominously named Shadow Legion, has gained a strong foothold, consolidating many of the smaller gangs, formerly under sway of Red Store. Recent information suggests that there might be an all new Shadow War similar to our own brewing there. Great care is being taken to determine any possible links between this new syndicate and the Velkalar crime family, if any.
First Hunt 21st, 3126
Sergeant Volstagg conducted interviews with his team. Paperwork was filed to promote RFC Audric Amaroth to Corporal. In addition, it is believed that it was also on the 21st when Sergeant Volstagg received the engraved invitation of the Intermediary Corporation, Bradshaw, Bergham, and Randall. Surprising little information about this enterprise is publicly available. I leaned from Baroness Wolfhaven, and confirmed via Madame Lillithien, that Bradshaw, Bergham, and Randall is a high profile, though discreet, business which serves as a go-between for nations, powerful syndicates, companies, and royalty when direct contact would be illegal, unseemly, or impossible. They are a Holding Company for the most powerful players in the lands. And, they invited Sir Volstagg for a personal meet in the port city of Centerport, at his earliest convenience.
Sergeant Volstagg reported this to Colonel Wolfhaven, then to Sir Halten. Ultimately, he, and his team, were given leave to attend.
First Hunt 22nd, 3126
Sergeant Volstagg informed his team of the new meeting in the Malakar Dominion and set them about making preparations for a long ride west. Also, on First Hunt 22nd, 3126 RFC Audric Amaroth was promoted to Corporal and assumed the duties as XO for Alpha Team.
Sergeant Volstagg further organized his team into two Squads. First Squad (Assault)
First Hunt 23rd, 3126
In the early morning, the Alpha team departed Echer’Naught, mounted with Grendel in a heavy wagon, heading west along the Greenway Road toward Eldara. From the the E’N to Eldara was a trip of about 200 miles, taking 7 days. They reached the city by the evening of the 30th of First Hunt. In Eldara, the crew rented a barge to transport the horses and Grendel’s wagon down the Shanais River to the sea port of Eastport. They departed the capital city early on the 31st of First Hunt.
It would appear, however, that the Alpha team’s involvement with curing Vainar’s Bane plague garnered them local support from the elves. They were met with less suspicion that most travelers these days. That coupled with RFC Nazir’s efforts bridging the rift between the Olarans and the Elves within Echer’Naught have obviously gone far to improving relations between the races. At least, locally.
Golden Eagle 5th, 3126
Eldara to Easport was another trip of about 7 days, taking a slow barge south. They arrived in Eastport by river on the 5th of Golden Eagle, 3216. and immediately set out to make arrangements with the local Rangers. While it is well known that the aggreement signed with Eastport greatly restrains what, if anything, the local Ranger HQ is allowed to do, Lieutenant Even Granger’s command is oft considered one of the least capable. The reports of drunkenness, disorganization, and outright insubordinate behavior has no excuse.
Seeing that the local Rangers would be of very little aid, Corporal Amaroth established the Rangers in the outposts stables with the mounts while others, namely RFC Zathlan acquired necessary items for their mission. By reports, she procured a very passable gown to pose a noble dilettante. I am curious how that will go with her war hammer, however?
Golden Eagle 7th, 3126
Two days in that squalid mockery of an outpose would have been intolerable. Mercifully, by the dawn tides on the 7th of Golden Eagle, the Alpha team departs Eastport for Centerport on board a semi-reputable freighter.
Golden Eagle 11th, 3126
Four short days later, without incident, the freighter docks at Centerport and the Rangers disembark, without their signature cloaks and pins. Their immediate concern to find lodging happens with only minor incident. Apparently Sergeant Volstagg gets momentarily separated from the team and is beset by thugs, but manages to scare them off with little more than a throbbing skull.
Most of the team, under command of Corporal Amaroth find lodging in a suitable inn a few streets away from the seedier establishments of the wharf. The team elected to pose a mercenaries, to the point where the pacifist RFC Moldova demanded the Corporal Amaroth strike her about the face. By all accounts the Corporal did not hesitate. They managed two rooms for the team, with Grendel in the stables just below the windows.
Meanwhile, keeping to their characters, Sir Volstagg, Lady Zathlan, and their bodyman, Daynore, arrange FAR more suitable lodging in the upper parts of the city, well away from the poor and the stench of fish and sea. They spent the remainder of that day and much of the following morning seeing the sights and spreading their ample funds around in a display of wealth.
Golden Eagle 12th, 3126
Late morning on the 12th, Sir Volstagg and his entourage ventured to the established meet, which happened to be a dive bar not far from the docks. By all appearances it was FAR below the standard of their dress. Upon entry, however, they were met by a man, impeccably dressed, who announced their full names, titles, Ranger Rank, and even indicated RFC Daynore’s Adept abilites to the assembled neredowells and knuckdraggers. Much to the surprise of the team, though no one made a move to accost them, yet. The man, who would later introduce himself as Vess, offered them both a seat and refreshment.
After a passable meal, Vess got right to the point. He was an agent of Bradshaw, Berhan, & Randall. They represented a party, designated V, who wished to offer Sergeant Volstagg an cessation of all hostilities between V’s organization and all current and future members of Alpha Team (including their employer, Sir Halten and his resources). In return, V promised to offer a sizable monetary donation to the Wolfhaven Refuge for Children, The Grizhnak Olgor & Evoran Que’kasaars Memorial Library, Echer’Naught, and a number of civic works, including construction of more Housing Blocks in Low Town. Unfortunately, the deal also stated that all property, persons, personnel, territory, businesses, and properties currently held by each party would be formally granted them in perpetuity. Meaning, of course, that any prisoners, Captain Hawksclaw, would be forever lost to Alpha Team. Furthermore, this would prevent the Alpha team, or Sir Halten’s office, from protecting or even intervening should V (Velkalar) make attempts on the lives of Colonel Wolfhaven or Sergeant Ravenwood.
It did not bind the Ranger Corps as a whole, but seeing as the Alpha team has had the most success, after the deaths of Bravo team, to locate and thwart Velkalar’s efforts, and the Rangers were too occupied with the war with Darkness and rebuilding Archanaya and Mindoth’s Tower, agreeing to the deal would hobble Alpha team and Sir Halten effectively giving Velakar free reign.
By accounts, Sergeant Volstagg greatly considered signing the deal, but ultimately, he could not stand by and allow evil to flourish. So, he declined. With that, Vess touched the contract to a lamp on the table and let it burn to cinders in his fingers. Then, he thanked them politely for meeting him, closed up his papers, and departed. Before he left, he warned them that the locals “appeared restless” and that they should make a quick escape before coming to violence.
No sooner did he step away from the table, then the thugs about the room attacked. RFC Daynore at the bar, and Sergeant Volstagg and RFC Zathlan at the table sprinted for the door, overturning furniture in their haste with a room full of brigands closing in on them. Both RFC Daynore and Zathlan reached the door without injury, but Sergeant Volstagg was violently struck from behind. Just as they tumbled out the door to the tavern, Vess shouted a final warning, “Sir Volstagg, you should see to your estates.”
With that, the Rangers spilled into the streets and barely managed to lose their pursuers in the narrow alleys of the port district. Just after noon, Grendel rapped on the window of the second story room alerting Corporal Amaroth that the party had returned. Moments later, the three staggered into the room. Immediately, the Rangers began to bind Sergeant Volstagg’s wounds as he gave orders to prepare to leave. He answered few questions and forbade them from using the name of Velkalar while still within the city.
With luck, and a small fortune, Sergeant Volstagg managed to book a night passage on a smuggler’s vessel. And with that, the team departed Centerpor on the 12th of Golden Eagle.
Golden Eagle 17th, 3126
Five days later, they arrived back in Eastport without incident. There, they reacquired their mounts and elected to leave the very same day, fearful of pursuit. Rather than take the planned route home, Sergeant Volstagg elected to follow the river road north toward Eldara, but to continue north from there making for the Gather of the Broken Chains and then to Rhion. The trip would have taken about 15 days, putting them at the gather on the 32nd. Sadly, they never arrived.
Golden Eagle 31st, 3126
A day short of the Gather of the Broken Chains, the team was camped near the Shanais River when their campfire exploded, stunning the team, and plunging them in to supernatural silence. Sergeant Volstagg and Seyrs were on guard, but were caught completely unawares. The rest, save for Corporal Amaroth were in their bedrolls, unarmed.
No sooner had the blase occurred, then Orcs poured from nearby woods and began to attack the party. Grendel took the worst of it, all fighting valiantly, but the tide turned with a monster of an Orc, huge and black skinned, felled, but did not kill, Grendel. It them demanded through sign that Sergeant Volstagg should put down his arms, or the brute would execute Grendel.
Having little choice, Volstagg lowered his weapons. The others, save for Serys followed suit. Serys, with a back to Volstagg, managed to kill one of the orcs before he realized the conditions. No sooner had they surrended, then they were roughly bound, hooded and dragged a distance away. There, things took a strange turn.
Serys was hauled away from the group, un-hooded and beaten by the lead Orc. After a brief exchange, it became obvious that the massive orc blamed Serys for the death of the orcs brother. Serys admitted to “murdering” many, but could not place the orc, or his death kin. At that, the story became more clear. The Orc bandit accused RFC Zathlan of being a “she-bitch” who seduced his brother only for Seyrs to murder him.
It was at this point that Seyrs, at least, appeared to understand the situation because, by accounts, he began laughing. He informed the Orc that, A) he had nothing to do with his brother’s death, B) he too had tracked this unit to gain vengeance for his OWN sisters death, C) that he could never exact satisfaction, but the Orc could because there was one person who was involved in his brother’s death still on the team. Serys went on to explain that this person had befriended the orcs brother, then allowed his murder.
Here it should be noted that the dead orc is likely none other than Kura’Kai, wife of Dakota Afliem, explaining the orc’s confusion with RFC Zathlan. Also, he might mistake Ranger Serys for Sergeant Ravenwood.
Serys promised to give up the name of Kura’ betrayer if, and only if, the brother would allow everyone else save for himself, Seyrs, and the betrayer to leave. The Orc refused, but Seyrs challenged his honor and courage. Eventually, it was agreed that the Orc would challenge his brother’s betrayer to battle. If the betrayer won, all the Rangers would go free, unharmed. But, should the Orc win, the Rangers would be given over the warband to be abused and killed at their amusement…
As much as he could, Sergeant Volstagg, now realizing the horror of the situation, agreed. Serys indicated Sergant Volstagg as the betrayer and the orcs pulled the Sergeant to his feet, unbound him, unhooded him, and handed him his weapons. Before attacking, the Orc demanded to know if he was well enough to fight. Sergeant Volstagg affirmed, and attempted to reason with the Orc, but there was nothing he could do but defend himself from the violent assault.
The Orc used nothing but his fists. However, due to his size, skill, and ferocity, he was very nearly a match for the armed and armored Knight. However, Sergeant Vosltagg was victorious and managed to slay Kura’Kai’s elder brother in single combat. True to the orc’s word, the other orcs released the Rangers and knelt to begin preparing their leader for burial…
…when Sir Halten and his forces exploded from the woods on horseback to ride down the brigands. No orc or goblin was spared. While his men slaughtered the goblinesh, Sir Halten spoke with Sergeant Volstagg and the Olaran healers began to treat the wounded Rangers.
Sir Halten had been tracking the Rangers for a while, expecting an attack at some point. Unfortunately, when Sergeant Volstagg deviated from the established route, Sir Halten was unable to reach them in time. Nevertheless, Sir Halten congratulated the Sergeant on his peerless victory and gathered his men to return to Echer’Naught. Now on foot, he suggested that the Rangers head to Sir Volstagg’s nearby estate to rest and recuperate.
Golden Eagle 32nd, 3216
The following morning, Grendel awoke with a headache but no more worse for wear. The Alpha gathered the supplies provided by Sir Halten and proceeded on foot to Sir Volstagg (formerly Sir Wyvern’s) estate. The trip took three days.
Planting Moons 2nd, 3216
Three days later, Newt and Serys in the forward scout position crested a hill to see the former keep utterly in ruins. Suspecting a trap, Alpha Team deployed and cautiously approached the pile of smoldering rubble that was, a few days ago, a functioning Ranger outpost. There were no enemies therein, but nor were there living Rangers. Twenty four Rangers, along with six staff were brutally slaughtered, most crushed to death, a few clearly crushed slowly as in torture.
Of the keep, no two stones remained stacked. The entire keep, main hall, and walls had been toppled like children’s blocks. In the very heard of the devastation a single sky blue flag with a gold V embroidered waved lazily in the late spring breeze.
Tired, defeated, and in pain, Sergeant Vostagg posted guards, and ordered his Ranges to see to burying what was left of the dead while he contact Lady Moonsilver for orders.
Though we lack definitive proof, there is clear evidence that the destruction of the Volstagg Keep was wrought at the hands of Korash, the Destroyer of Armies, one of Velkalar. Also troubling, Seyrs recent admission. Also, the death of Kura’s brother, after those bitter events will likely be source of great anguish for the team, at the very least, Sergeant Volstagg.
Farspeaker, Eris Moonsilver
Addendum: First Hunt 20th. 3126
Prior to the Silver Shield ceremony on the morning of the 20th, Colonel Alexander Wolfhaven entered Echer’Naught’s Sacred Grove by his own request to personally oversee the transfer of former Ranger Dakota Afliem into Ranger custody. At 8 AM, citizen Dakota Afliem was remanded to Rangers to begin her two year prison sentence in Kythros to officially end, First Hunt 19th, 3128 (2019).