With the arrival of new recruits, it is time to begin the investigation for the disappearance of the former Ranger Captain Gerald Manning.
After Action Report:
Captain Wolfhaven, Alexander
Grey Ranger Outpost, Echer’Naught
Fifteenth day, Raining Leaves, Year 3122 Under the Light
So much has occurred since my last report I hardly know where to begin. Though, I must apologize for any inaccuracies in this missive I am writing quickly. Due to our investigation having discovered many disturbing facts regarding Captain Manning’s investigation, as I will detail below, I fear that my team faces a great threat today and I pen this in hopes that should my team fall prey to whatever lurks below Echer’Naught, our successors will find this report illuminating and may save them from our dark fates. But, to begin…
No sooner had my previous report left with the courier, than there was a ring of the bell at the door. Ranger Hawksclaw answered and quickly brought to me a young, Brinchie Ranger. I must admit my surprise, as I had hardly expected any further arrivals, save for my scribe who is growing increasingly late. She introduced herself as Aradove Longtail and presented proper papers and a letter of recommendation from a Paladin Ranger, Athrate Alystar. His report disturbed me and I vow to investigate Ranger Longtail’s previous encounter as soon as my current assignment is completed. Assuming, of course, that we are to survive. I welcomed her to our company and provided what meager accommodations our post affords. She selected a berth high in the warehouse rafters. Befitting her kind, I suspect.
Regardless, I called together my team, minus Magor Stormhammer who is in charge of repair and improvement of our post. While my team has been dealing with settling in, I have scoured all information regarding Captain Manning and his rangers. The information has been frustratingly little, but I managed to piece together his final moments and presented this information to my rangers. I counted seven disappearances, with Captain Manning and his team being the eighth. I record those here for posterity.
Captain Gerald Manning
Report on the Echer’Naught Disappearances
-So far, 7 people have been taken:
-First report, Helena Baker, human female, age 14, disappeared Schenkle bakery cellar, 14th Red Wolf. Last seen, ~9 PM
-Second report, Charles, human male, age unknown, disappeared Low Town, 32nd Red Wolf.
-Third report, Chirok, goblin yard hand, male, age 19, disappeared stock yards, 13th Eternal Sun. Last seen, ~7 PM
-Fourth report, Edward Heilsheimer, butler, human male, disappeared Beacon Hill Olde Towne, Calaban Rabenklau Estate, 31nd Eternal Sun. Last seen, ~2 AM
-Fifth report, Aurora, Nightwalker, eldakar female, age 27, disappeared Red Lamp district alley, 15th Thunder Hawk. Last seen, ~11 PM
-Sixth report, Whisker, female Brinchie thief, age unknown, disappeared Low Town, 30nd Thunder Hawk.
-Seventh report, Grishman Longhual, male Dwarf stocker, age 57, disappeared Warehouse District, 15th Festival Moons. Last seen, ~8 PM
Armed with this information, I tasked my rangers to retrace the Manning’s footsteps and attempt to glean what about these particular incidences he found so troubling. These were hardly the only people to have died or disappeared during this time period, so I was at a loss to explain their significance. Even so, doubtless they were the clues to understanding Manning’s disappearance. Early in the morning, my team left. What follows I compiled from their individual reports (included below) and speaking with them last night.
The first stop for the rangers was to the Schenkle bakery, one of dozens of similar businesses along the aptly named Baker Street. As they arrived during the morning rush, my people wisely chose to wait patiently as to not interfere with the baker’s business. While they waited, they enjoyed a meat pie. Something that I feel I must try after hearing their review. Once the patrons had mostly vacated, Hawksclaw approached the baker. Unfortunately, Mr. Schenkle was loathe to speak with us. As it happens, Helena was his daughter and her disappearance and the apparent apathy on behalf of the Town Watch and the Ranger Corps hit his family hard. He implored my men not to speak with his wife as her grief was too great, but instead directed them to his eldest son, Erik. Though young, Erik was respectful and showed them to the cellar. Regrettably, so many months had passed since her disappearance, no evidence could be found at the site, though they did note a drainage grate in the corner of the room. Moving on, they made their way to Low Town.
Low Town is a warren of twisting, filthy streets where those with nowhere else to turn eke out an existence. Many streets run foul with open sewers and many of the streets and alleys have no names. Understandably, the rangers found it difficult finding anyone who knew of those taken there or would speak of the disappearances. However, Ranger Longtail proved invaluable and they eventually found their way to one of dozens of small, family-run alehouses that litter Low Town. Within they encountered an individual I very much wish to speak with, one Therel FateWeaver, a self-declared Bard. From what I was told, he seemed well familiar with both Hawksclaw and Highwall due to their previous misadventures detailed in my previous reports. FateWeaver proved an invaluable source of information. Whether due to a genuine sense of civic duty, or an infatuation with the comely Longtail, he willingly parted with details regarding the disappearance of both Charles, the human laborer, and Whisker, the brinchie thief. Apparently, Whisker was a close associate of the bard and he expressed a desire for vengeance upon those that did her ill. All he asked in return for his knowledge was a future favor. I am curious to see what this individual will ask, but for the moment, I am satisfied. From there, the team headed straight to the Stock Yards.
Almost the entirety of the North East portion of town is set aside for the business of livestock. From horses and cows, to pigs, sheep, goat and even more exotic animals, Stock is one of Echer’Naught’s biggest businesses. Understandably, the yards are large and sprawling. Having no dealings with the yard hands before, at first, my rangers were stymied as to whom to approach. Fortunately, Highwall’s keen eyes spotted a group of Hammerfell riders observing the incoming horseflesh being run in. They were kind enough to direct him to a nearby yard being operated by an Orc. Highwall and the Orc had a conversation, the details of which are still hazy. However, through the Orc, Highwall was introduced to a Goblin by the name of Gor who knew the missing Chirok. Apparently, Chirok was a good worker who disappeared from the feed yard never to be seen again. Other members of his gather also worked for the yard and they demanded justice, but the investigation either never happened or simply stalled. Captain Manning might have been close to uncovering the truth when he vanished. I only hope we are able to solve this mystery. Gor directed Highwall to the feed shed before he and the Orc returned to their work. With this new insight, Highwall headed to investigate the site of the disappearance while Hawksclaw and Longtail had an altercation with a goat. I am also curious about the details of the incident but neither ranger cared to elaborate. Following Highwall, the rangers examined the feed shed. They found nothing of note, other than that the feeders were set one flagstones above the field of muck around and that they too have drainage grates to protect the expensive feed. Noting this, the team found the yard’s office and spoke with the man staffing the desk. He had little to add other than confirming that Chirok’s gather protested his disappearance and demanded redress and the time and place of his disappearance. He also informed them that Chirok’s last pay had never been collected and provided a copy of his employment.
Armed with this knowledge, the team returned to the post to clean their boots and to rest. Highwall chose to assist Stormhammer with routine maintenance of post gear.
After their brief respite, the rangers headed to the local watch post to investigate other missing person reports. Sergeant Walter provided the team with all the reports on file. They were a mess, incomplete and inconclusive, but corroborated much of Captain Manning’s reports. More disturbingly, the rangers discovered that since Manning vanished, others had also disappeared under strange circumstances…and all close to the mid-point or the end of the month. Still with doubts, the rangers accepted Sergeant Vasser’s invitation to join the Watch for the evening meal. According to my rangers, Longtail proved quite popular among the men of the Watch, Hawksclaw and the Sergeant formed a rapport and Highwall quite enjoyed the stew.
Satiated, the rangers returned to the post and requested that I secure an audience with the Lord Mayor that night while they continued onward to the Warehouse District.
At the North East quarter of the town lies the warehouse district. Here much of the surrounding produce, grain and other goods are stored for sale, distribution, and taxation. As Grisham Longhaul was a dwarf, Highwall took point and approached Longhaul’s clan, many of whom also worked as stockers or security for the warehouses. Introduced by the foreman, Highwall learned from the other dwarves that Grisham was hard working and had been at the warehouses for the past 20 years. One evening the others headed to the Hammer & Anvil after work and Grisham stayed behind to finish work. He was never seen again. The Longhaul’s beseeched Highwall to avenge their clansman’s disappearance. With that, the team entered the warehouse to investigate the scene. Just like before, there was little evidence so many months after the event, but they did find a number of drainage grates in the floor. Also, it should be noted that the warehouse was very similar to our own headquarters. An a thought, the rangers tried to pry any of the grates but none would budge as they were set into the floor. Satisfied, the team returned and picked up my letter to the Lord Mayor. At around 8PM, they made their way toward Beacon Hill.
As they described to be later, they were stopped by well-armed, finely liveried arms men at the base of Beacon Hill. I am pleased that my letter of introduction secured their access to Olde Town and, under armed escort, they proceed to the Mayoral Manse. There, they were turned over to the Mayor’s men and were escorted by a butler to the Mayor’s office. Having witnessed the grandeur and opulence myself, I can only image their reactions. Somehow, I do not find it odd that Von Haber had none other than Calaban Rabenclau in attendance, just the man they had wished to see. After a brief introduction, Rabenclau explained that one of his bottlers had, indeed, gone to the cellar to fetch wine and never return. He had little to add other than condescension, an all-too-common attitude among the nobles. Lord Mayor Von Haber expressed his strong desire that this issue be dealt with and soon. Leaving the Mayor Manse, my team proceeded immediately to the Red Lamp District.
Having never visited, I am unfamiliar with the atmosphere, but from the reports of my people, the Red Lamp is elegant, clean and well appointed. Entering the “establishment”, the ranger’s secured an audience with the Madame, one Lady Lillithen. She explained that the Aurora was a streetwalker and had just entertained a “client” when she was abducted on her return to the Red Lamp. The Madame expressed her outrage that one of her “girls” would be the subject of violence. Apparently, she is a feared figure in her own domain. When the rangers inquired after the client, they were informed that he had been unable to provide further details, but that he was no longer able to answer questions and that he “had been” a prominent merchant. I can only guess at the subtext of her statements. Regardless, she corroborated much of their information and requested the rangers hunt down whoever would dare harm her people. She promised favors if the situation could be dealt with finality. I can guess the favors she would bestow. However, her words were clear and true and she ensured that the rangers would be “safe” during their investigation while within her domain. Leaving politely, the Hawksclaw, Highwall and Longtail returned to the post for debriefing and rest.
Putting our information together, the best we can surmise is that these have no other connection than convenience of location. Someone, or something, is using the town’s sewer, drainage, and cistern system to ambush and abduct citizens. The only break in the pattern involved Captain Manning and his rangers. They were the only people to disappear in multiple numbers, all others were single individuals, alone. What this means, I can guess, but without evidence, that is all. Also, the phases of the moon is consistent. Each abduction took place on or just prior to the 15th and last day of any given month. That is what we know so far. In conjunction with my previous encounter with the Flame Acolyte and the abducted merchants, I fear I am facing some larger organized situation.
Regardless, today is the 15th. If something is going to happen, it will be today. I can honestly say I am afraid for my team, but we have a mission to complete. I must end soon for the courier is waiting at my door. I believe we may have a major incident on hand at Echer’Naught. If I and my rangers do not report within two days, you must send rangers in force to investigate.
Your obedient servant,
A. Wolfhaven, Captain
Our first game as a complete group. We welome K.L. to our group and had a great themed meal together.
FateWaver has travelled the length and breadth of Shaintar and seen and one things many could hardly believe. Such a life provides fertile soil for story and song, the life draught of the bard. Even so, fate can be unkind. Rather than entertaining kings and emperors, Therel scratches a living entertaining drunkards, louts and luddites.
Born in the streets, Streerunner has spent little time with his own kind. Since meeting Therel in a Olaran bar, he has taken up role as protector and silent partner for Therel’s schemes.
Youngest scion of the Rabenklau family misfortune, Calaban rose to lead his family after father’s mental illness became too apparent to be excused in polite society. Despite his young age, Calaban was able to deftly maneuver his older siblings and slowly take over the family assets. By the tender age of 16, all other contenders had suffered tragic accidents, leaving only the elder Rabenklau and his youngest son. While legally, Calaban is still just a young socialite; behind the scenes he has leveraged his family’s lands and assets into a thriving underworld empire with fingers in many pies.
Little is known about the mysterious woman behind the Red Lamp other than her beauty and allure. When she arrived in Echer’Naught is a matter of debate, what is not is that within the confines a few block district her word is law. Not even the King’s men dare challenge her on her own ground. Of course, most of the Lords and a few of the Ladies are her clients.