Campaign of the Month: June 2018

Shaintar Legends Awaken: Rangers of the Greenway Road; Regional Command-Echer'Naught

Campaign Report 19
Howling River Ride

Colonel Wolfhaven, Alexander

Commander of the Legio Heroes

Southgate, Wildlands

Thirteenth Day, Thunder Hawk, Year 3123 Under the Light

As I fight through the agony and pain, it occurs to me that we, and I, are in need of aid. It seems that all of my training, my years spent defending Olara from her enemies has ill prepared me to deal with our current threats. Red Store, or whatever this confederation of miscreants calls themselves, seems to be everywhere and no where at once. If I had but a target to strike, I could rid our lands of this scourge. But alas, for all my planning and care, it was by the barest margin and the true heroism of my Rangers that the Prelacy Captain was recaptured for what I pray is the final time.

As per my report of the sixth, no sooner had our wounded been tended to and loaded onto the wagons, I sent Ranger 1st Class Aradove Longtail with Alfred Ranger along the road to Erimar in hopes of cutting off any avenue of escape in that direction. I ordered to of our men to remain with the wagons and see them safely to Erimar. With Gendarre and the remaining two of his men, along with Ranger Rildrirr, and Corporal Hawkslcaw, I entered the woods under growing dark to track the villain to his hole.

For my part, I can speak accurately as to the events which transpired. What happened to Longtail and Alfred, I must rely on their report to me at the conclusion of the events.

Our party entered the woods following the Prelacy Captain, Hawksclaw scouting ahead, acting as our eyes and ears. We traveled in relative silence, Gendarre, his men and Hawksclaw on foot, I and Rildrirr road behind for the long hours of the night. Never once did we see of our quarry save for the barest tell-tail signs left in the soft earth beneath the bower of trees and the cloven hoof prints of the last remaining Thratchen which appeared to our minds to be leading the Captain to some destination. Like an arrow to the heart of a buck, Corporal Hawksclaw led us unerringly to our mark.

We arrived just outside what appeared to be a small encampment less than a quarter hour before the rising dawn. Here, Hawksclaw paused to survey the scene, when he spied a dark, cloaked figure flitting through the trees. It happened so swiftly that all we had time to do was to dismount and gird ourselves for battle. For in the next moment, the encampment exploded into action.

Five armed me with the look of Kal in their features formed a line of battle and began to approach, swords at the ready. Behind them, that strange, hooded and cloaked man notched arrow to bow and took aim. But most disheartening was the sight of a flame acolyte, bursting into flames and rising into the air above the field of war.

In response, I formed my men into line. Rildrirr to my right, Gendarre to his right and Gendarre’s man on the extreme right flank. As our scout, Hawksclaw found himself out front between the colliding forces, while our final crossbowman remained in the rear, taking aim as the onrushing men.

Unbeknownst to us, at very nearly this same moment, Longtail found herself arriving in Erimar, in the pre-dawn hour. She ordered Alfred to find the local Rangers and deliver my report, as well as, inform them of our situation while she headed to the wharves to prevent the captain’s escape. For the next 30 minutes, she went from wharf-front to wharf-front seeking out any who might know of the Captain’s plans, or of anyone planning to leave by water.

At moments before first light, just as the heavy fog rolling in from the river bank. As she slowed to assess the situation, she heard the scuff of boots behind her and glanced back to see two more armed figures closing off any escape. Alone and surrounded, Longtail slowly drew her blades and waited for the attack to come. She did not wait long.

Back in the woods, our situation heated quickly. Hawksclaw nearly took an arrow to the left eye, the arrowhead slicing open the side of his head from his eye-socket to his ear. I surged forward, running to his aide, Rildrirr with me. A heartbeat later, Gendarre and his man joined us. But in that moment, the Acolyte attacked. Summoning fire into a swirling maelstrom in his raised hands, he hurled it as us like a bomb. It exploded in our faces, bathing us in searing fire and nearly knocking us off our feet.

Hawksclaw fired into the Acolyte, striking him high in the left chest, but the man just cackled manically, the fire wreathing his body burning away the shaft, starting with the fletching.

On the streets of Erimar, Longtail’s battle was going about as well. She managed to fend off the first three attackers, deflecting two his her twin swords, and the last, a quick save from her bracers, but the fourth man buried his boarding ax deep in her side. Were it not for her armor, she would surely be dead. Her counter strike was brilliant, taking one of her assailants in the stomach and dropping him to the sandy street in a pool of his own blood.

In our confrontation, the twin lines of melee warriors finally clashed in a cacophonous ring of sword on shield. I slashed, but was deflected aside by a well timed shield. To my right, Rildrirr and Gendarre’s footman quickly cut down two of the Kal-a-Nar foot soldiers. And that is when the Thratchen appeared in a puff of sulfurous gas, slicing into Hawksclaw who was at that moment being pressed by two Kal warriors with nothing but his bow. Still, he fired another shot at the Acolyte, doing less damage that previous.

Calling upon the name of Archanon, I prayed for his strength and guidance and was blessed as power surged through my men, raising them to new heights of martial skill. I only hoped that it would be sufficient.

Longtail had no such aid in her desperate struggle. Again they struck and again she deflected all but the last, who struck the same spot, chopping at her like a tree. This time, her armor split and the ax head bit into flesh. All seemed lost, but at that moment, Ranger Longtail received a different kind of intervention. Preceded only by the thunder of hooves in the mist, Alfred astride his mount, cantered past, his spear flashing in the morning light severing a man’s head from his body. Two down, two remained.

Around me, the woods began to burn as heat rolled of the acolyte in scorching waves. Green leaves blackened and withered on the branch as he floated closer. Again an orb of roiling fire appeared in his hands and again he lobbed it at us. It struck very nearly at my feet. I felt the intense head fuse skin to metal as I began to cook in my armor. Beside me, my Rangers flinched a step back. Hawksclaw continued to fire, even as the Kal soldiers hacked and stabbed at him. The enemy archer changed tack and loosed an arrow at Rilrirr nearly taking out his eye, but only clipped the top of his right ear. I doubt the big warrior even noticed.

He and the footman surged behind me, falling on the Kal surrounding Corporal Hawksclaw and cutting them to ribbons. For my part, I finally dropped the man facing me, and for a moment considered the tide to be turning. I was wrong.

Rildrirr’s shout alerted me to a figure disappearing through the woods at a high rate of speed. It was the Prelacy Captain on a fast horse and putting distance between us with each moment that passed. And then all was clear. Again, the mercenaries and childer were nothing but a distraction, paid for by the Prelacy and orchestrated by Red Store. We could win the battle, to be sure, but in doing so, we would likely fail our mission.

To the Abyss with Red Store, the Prelacy and all!

With a curse, I stepped back, shouting to Corporal Hawksclaw to get Rildrirr, and the crossbowman and fall back to the horses. I would hold the line with the footman and Gendarre. I had a plan. Not a good plan, but a plan.

Without hesitation, Hawksclaw pulled our men back. To my surprise, the North-man followed without objection. I half feared he would resist retreating in the face of Flame, but he followed orders and in moments, they were halfway to the horses. Everything seemed to be going according to plan, and the Acolyte opened fire again.

I never saw it coming, just felt the sudden rise in temperature as the missile engulfed us. Gendarre took it bad, his man, worse. And in that instant, my holding action crumbled. We only need to hold the line for a few moments to give the others time to saddle and prepare to move, but I was out of time.

Taking a deep breath, and reaching down deep into that reservoir of strength that I first when meeting the Silver Unicorn, I envisioned my men, burning around me, envisioned the horror that the Prelacy would wreak upon the Southern Kingdoms if the Captain escaped. And then I envisioned another future, one where I stood with my men beside our horses, ahead of the flames. I reached down, grabbing Gendarre and the footman by the shoulders and I took a step backwards…

Even with Alfred’s help, Longtail was tired from a night of running and outnumbered. Again and again they slashed and each time she parried a little slower. Alfred, for his part, made pass after pass, but them men were wise to him now and would duck under his blow each time he rode through. It was just a matter of time before one of them landed a lucky blow.

And they did. Longtail screamed and Alfred spun, lowering his spear, he charged, but this time right for the melee. The second man ducked again, but Alread drove his spear down, punching through the man clean into the ground, pinning him their like some insect on a board.

Rolling with the momentum as Hawksclaw had instructed, Alfred kicked free of the stirrups and landed beside Longtail just as the ax-man raised his weapon for the killing blow. Jerking his spear from the dirt and ripping it free from the man’s body, Alfred spun and rammed it two handed into the man’s back. It burst a full five inches from his chest, nearly stabbing Longtail in the face. And with that, the battle of Erimar was over, but the fight against the Prelacy Captain has barely begun.

Breathing heavily, both Rangers took stock of the situation, Alfred guarding while Longtail searched the bodies finding familiar signs of Red Store. So, they were already ahead of our party and clearing the way for the Captain. If we did not hurry, he would have escaped.

They were just turning to leave when voice rang out in the silence. A local boat captain had heard the ruckus and come to investigate. Seeing the Ranger’s in battle he wisely chose not to interfere, but, with a bit of prompting, revealed that no-one had been through the town seeking passage that morning. But, should someone wish to CROSS the river, they would head to the south ferry.

Thanking him, and tossing some gold for his troubles, both Longtail and Alfred made all speed south of town.

If I never experience a Tempest Portal, Flame Cauldron or sorcererous teleport again I shall count my days fortunate ones. And yet, as before during the battle north of Korg, the Silver Unicorn heard my plea and granted me and those I vowed to protect her reprieve.

…I stepped back and found myself standing beside my horse with Gendarre and his man unconscious at my feet. Rushing toward me, I saw the looks of shock and surprise on Hawksclaw’s face to see his Colonel appear as if from thin air. I would have taken a moment to explain, but was momentarily overwhelmed by the sudden and debilitation lethargy that slammed into me.

Perhaps it is simply because teleportation is such a violation of nature’s laws, or perhaps it is a reflection of the energy it would take to make the same trip by normal means. Whatever the case, during both of the only two times I have ever attempted something akin to this, I found myself suddenly sapped of all strength barely able to stand.

As I knelt on the ground, coughing and trying to regain my balance, Hawksclaw, Rildrirr and the crossbowman scrambled up the ridge and joined me. Despite his obvious confusion, my corporal wasted no time on meaningless inquiry. Instead, he leaped into the saddle, preparing to ride.

I ordered that he and Rildrirr take the wounded soldier and uninjured crossbowman and track the Captain. I would take Gendarre and try and distract the Acolyte long enough for them to get a head start. To his credit, Hawksclaw simply nodded and ordered the others to ride out.

As I watched them disappear into the trees, I considered many things. I knew that in my condition, alone and facing the Thratchen, the enemy Rover and the Flame Acolyte I was almost certainly doomed. But I was aware of things that they were not. Even if they managed to kill me, that would give my men the time they needed to apprehend the Prelacy agent. A turn of the tables as it were. And I knew that I was not alone for I had with me Archanon, Ascended of Light and the blessings of the Silver Unicorn.

Sliding my father’s blade into the sheath hanging from my horses saddle, I drew my elven blade and shield. Gendarre still breathed, so I jammed a bottle of healing potion between his lip and upended the contents down his gullet. He sputtered and coughed but regained some life. With my help, he managed to climb into the saddle.

With my man secure, I turned and put distance between myself and Thunder. Above me, the sky turned red and black as the Acolyte drifted into range. I have yet to see one of these grandstanding fire slingers move with any speed in the air. Through the trees, I saw the shadows of the Rover and the Thratchen moving toward me.

I had banked on the idea that alone, I would make a tempting target for a mass attack. For once that day, I was right. They came at once, the Thratchen popping into existence behind me, the Rover firing and the Acolyte immolating me with fire. Calling on Archanon once more, I asked for his light to surround me in holy power.

Archanon’s light met Ceynara’s fire in an explosion of energy. I threw up my shield, deflecting the Rover’s arrow aside and I slashed at the dazed Thratchen, catching him in the chest and cleaving his head from his shoulders. And then, I ran.

With the Acolyte raining flames down on me, and the forest burning around me, I put spur to flank and pushed Thunder hard. Fast enough that neither the Flame spawn or the demented woodsman could catch me. And with the Thratchen gone, there was little they could do to stop my Rangers.

By the time I reached the Howling river, Hawksclaw’s team was already there, standing frustrated on the near side of the river as the ferry boat was just washing up on the far shore. At first I was confused, for it seemed that the boat and broken free of its guide rope. But, when I reached the sandy shore I saw Longtail rising, drenched from the river, a fierce expression on her face.

Apparently, when Hawksclaw arrived, the Captain was already half-way across the river on the ferry. Longtail arrived moments later and immediately began climbing across the rope after in the frigid water. Realizing the threat, the Captain had cut the line at the boat, dropping Longtail into the river and un-mooring his craft. Fortunately for the Captain, but unfortunately for my men, he managed to tie off the boat and hold on until it beached on the far shore.

The ferry master was foolish enough to confront the Captain and lost his head for his troubles. By the time I arrived reached the shore, the Captain was gone and Longtail was naked, though I did not notice until much later so pained I was from my wounds.

Our luck did change when the same helpful riverboat Captain from Erimar appeared and agreed to ferry us across the river on his boat. I imagine that our naked Brinchie might have had something to do with his willingness but at that moment I really did not care about the reasons. Once across, I left my wounded on the boat and asked him to drop them at Silverport for treatment. Then, with what remained of my command, we continued on, but I knew we were in no shape for another protracted battle.

So, I sent Corporal Hawkslcaw, Rildrirr, Alfred and the crossbowman north to Southgate for remounts and reinforcements, while I continued on with Longtail who gamely kept up. I honestly do not remember a great deal from those three days, only that I kept in the saddle only virtue of the pain preventing sleep.

On the grasslands somewhere between Stagg and Crystara, the two groups met in sight of the Captain. It was a rough ride, but along with the three new recruits Hawksclaw acquired in Southgate, we managed to close on the fatigued Captain. And it was again the Northman Rildrirr who finally rode the Captain down and nearly cut him in half.

And with that, the chase and recapture was done, save for Hawksclaw re-treating his wounds enough to get him safely to Southgate.

Our return to Southgate was at a much more leisurely pace. All in all, the efforts to recapture the Captain took six long, arduous days. Encountering the Flame camp on the 7th, we crossed the Howling river and Hawksclaw reached Southgate by 1PM on the 9th. After another day’s ride north, and then two and half days back to Southgate, we arrived, late, and exhausted on the 13th of Eternal Sun.

A friendly local sheriff agreed to take temporary custody of the prisoner, though I made sure to assign two of the new Rangers, the Alakar and the Brinchie to keep a close watch over the night. My men objected. They feel responsible for his escape and anger at the pain it caused, but no one, save perhaps Rildrirr is in any condition to watch the man. I’m not sure if Rildrirr might accidentally “misinterpret” act on the part of the Captain and finish what he started.

After a long bath, some medicinal herbs and long night’s rest in an actual bed, I intend to start in the morning after I am able to secure a river boat for the rest of the trip to Kythros. My plan is to stop first at Erimar to pick up the two men left guarding the wagon and then continue on to Silverport and collect my wounded if they are able to travel. I also intend to continue to untilize the services of the Aevakar, Alakar and Brinchie Rangers from Southgate, though I will try and actually learn their names in the morning. There must also be the conversation with Hawksclaw about his recent magical incidents, but that can wait also.

Though I am happy to have secured the prisoner, I feel responsible for failing to predict Red Store’s attack. Or at least to properly prepare. I fear I may be ill equipped for this form of warfare. At the very least, we MUST re-evaluate our current strategy in dealing with this cult and find a way to more effectively combat them.

This is just ONE of the issues I intend to discuss with command once I reach the city. Nevertheless, my men are safe, or at least healing and our prisoner is under guard. I pray to Archanon that our trip will be smooth sailing from here on in.

Your most obedient servant,

A. Wolfhaven, Colonel

Southgate, Wildlands

Campaign Report 18
Journey to Kythros Begins

Colonel Wolfhaven, Alexander

Commander of the Legio Heroes

Kator-Erimar Road, Wildlands

Sixth Day, Thunder Hawk, Year 3123 Under the Light

The best laid plans often go awry; ever more so when Red Store becomes involved. The Twelfth of Eternal Sun began brightly, as my Rangers took a cherished moment to conduct their own business that had long been overdue. The only dark spot was being informed that Ranger 1st Class Gate Highwall was to leave out company. Though he gave no specifics, situations at home precipitated his departure.

Before he left, he did inform me about the situation of sabotaged ore being sold to the town Blacksmith YoHann Smith. As Highwall explained, since sometime last winter strangely modified metal ore had been showing up at the smith’s shop. What was unique about the ore was that it had all the appearances of being pure, but only showed its true insidious nature during the final quenching process when it became suddenly brittle.

I was later to discover from investigations via Longtail and Hawksclaw that most, if not all, of this tampered metal was being sold to the Town Watch and other civic security forces. Regardless, Highwall assured me that the smith was wholly unaware of the situation and that he, Highwall, had just begun his investigation when he was recalled. In the future, this investigation will be turned over to my remaining rangers to continue.

From this point until his sudden departure on the night of the 14th of Eternal Sun, Highwall spent his last few days in our company making preparations and tying up loose ends. His loss will be sorely felt by the entire company. Nevertheless, his revelations about the ore, and his burgeoning investigation, I feel will be critical to the future success of our war with the inimical forces within the walls of Echer’Naught and beyond.

In brief, I will attempt to account for the activities of my other Rangers during the three days to our departure from Echer’Naught.

Ranger Rildrirr:
After assuming the cloak of the Rangers, Rildrirr has spent time familiarizing himself with his surroundings and getting to know the other Rangers. Most unusual, on the morning of the 13th, Rildrirr request that Hawksclaw accompany him to the Red Lamp. From what little I could glean from this event, Rildrirr satisfied his curiosity, but I am unsure whether he fully realized precisely what the Red Lamp represented or what exactly one does in that establishment.

After this event, Rildrirr spent his time among the farmers north of the town, working in the fields and representing the Ranger’s willingness to work for the greater good. Thought he still seems reluctant to communicate, I feel that he is growing as a person and a Ranger. One can only hope that he will soon consider his fellows as friends, not just allies.

Ranger 1st Class Aradove Longtail:
Early on the twelfth, Ranger Longtail entered my office and requested two days leave to visit the young child she saved during our encounter with the ShadowBoar. Without hesitation, I gave my consent. With that, Longtail left and did not return until mid day on the 14th.

Upon her return, she informed me that she was successful in finding the child, but that the Eckhart castle was girded for war. In response to the death and destruction of the Storms, young Lord Eckhart called his serfs to his castle and divided them into work gangs. Through organization, and harsh discipline, the serfs of the Eckhart lands have been successful in farming their lands even in the absence of draft animals and many tools.

However, she warned that, while this was necessary to survive the current crisis, it also showed a cruel and sadistic streak in the young noble. One that she felt we, as Rangers, have need to keep in mind. Nevertheless, she also learned that goblinesh in the Wildlands south of Olara appeared to be engaged in an open war. Already, human settlements had been destroyed by roving goblinesh. They had also attacked the road project beginning in Farwatch and Greenvale. This information corroborates intelligence I had gathered from other ranger reports.

After delivering her report, I request that she prepare herself to accompany me to a Merchant Counsel meeting later that evening. Details I will explain later.

Ranger Corporal Rah-Sahn Hawksclaw:
On the morning of the 12th, Ranger Hawksclaw and I met to discuss the situations facing our outpost. The first and most pressing, of course, was the departure of Highwall. With his absence, Hawksclaw himself would be required to take on additional duties. Hawksclaw also provided me the preliminary real-estate reports for the properties he had been scouting on my behalf. With his endorsement, I requested that he arrange a viewing of the smallest property listed. Following that, we discussed the possibility of sabotage in reference to JoHann smith and the ore.

I ordered Hawksclaw to speak with Longtail who, from Highwall, I knew was involved in assisting his investigation. Pertaining to this, I instructed Hawksclaw to meet with Sergeant Vasser and ascertain whether their was any truth to the reports of tampered weapons and armor. With that, he departed.

I know that he met with Sergeant Vasser later that morning, but was unable to confirm or deny the reports. So far as the Sergeant was aware, the materials supplied to the Watch met standards, but he promised to have his men conduct a thorough check of all their equipment. Moving on, Hawksclaw headed to CenterPointe and TownHall to schedule a viewing for our newest acquisition.

Apparently, he was expected and quickly secured a viewing for the following morning. Following the meeting, he took some personal time to visit the Autumn Spring and maintain his relationships. I take it from his depressed nature on his return that he was less than successful in his endeavors. I shall speak with him about it in the future.

On the following morning, the 13th, Hawksclaw and I departed for Beacon Hill and we met the civil servant who happily showed me around the property Hawksslaw had scouted; an 7-bedroom manor house with full kitchen, living room, office, garden and stables. Each bedroom, the kitchen, and the common room all contained their own fireplaces. In addition, the house was plumbed with advanced dwarven technology.

We spent nearly two hours surveying the house and grounds. In all, I found it exemplary. With the price point so low, I was easily able to secure the mark. And, with the house being nearly fully furnished, I will be able to begin the move within the next few days. It is an unusual feeling to own a home.

After our meet, I accompanied Hawksclaw to speak with the Lord Mayor. Ever since our recent rise in celebrity status, we had been afforded the royal treatment when visiting the Mayoral Manse. We were escorted to a waiting room where wine and refreshments were offered. As we waited, I noted young Lord Raben Clau exiting an audience with the Lord Mayor.

In a moment, the manservant collected us and we presented ourselves before the Lord Mayor. Per usual, Von Haber was in his office working. I reported to him our progress with post Tempest clean-up. I also informed him regarding the various building projects beginning around town: A) the Farwatch Road, B) the Warefarer’s Rest, and C) Longtail’s Orphanage. Without the approval of the Lord Mayor’s office, any project would be doomed. However, I had faith that he would support our efforts, if nothing else the added tax income the trade would bring.

Once my presentation had been completed, I turned the floor over to Hawksclaw. Apparently, my Corporal had been busy working on ways to repair the somewhat damaged relationship between the Rangers and the Town Watch. What Hawksclaw proposed was to host a benefit and recruitment drive in honor of the Town Watch. Though unusual, the Lord Mayor approved the plan and promised his support for the endeavor upon our return from our planned trip to Kythros.

Once dismissed, I sent Hawksclaw back to the outpost while I took a ride through town, getting a sense of the mood and the people. As I understand it, upon returning to the outpost, Hawksclaw received the strange request from Rildrirr to visit the Red Lamp. Neither man has been forthcoming.

I returned later that evening and explained to Hawksclaw that I planned to move the prisoner within the next three days, a fact I ommitted from my official reports to the Lord Mayor and Kythros. My plan was to leave our departure date and the exact route a mystery. To that end, I had even floated the idea of departing to the West initially and ensured that all indications would remain that we would leave on the 16th and head West. None of which was true. I had hoped to throw Red Store off-balance and gain an advantage. All for naught. I left final preparations to Hawksclaw and Stormhammer while I completed reports and outlined the necessary plans for the expansion of the outpost in our absence.

The fourteenth were spent in mad preparations. Longtail returned to deliver her report. After which, she attended me as we made our plea before the assembled Merchant Guilds in their Guildhouse on Beacon Hill. She was inordinately helpful in swaying the counsel to approve and assist our various projects. In addition, she managed to secure a “bread tax” from the Bakers Guild toward alms for the poor.

After which allowed her some time to spend with Streetrunner. I believe that she and the Brinchie enforcer may have some romantic inclinations, though, as of yet, they have made no such declaration. And, of course, Highwall departed late on the 13th, so this day was busier as we adjusted to his loss.

Corporal Hawksclaw ensured that each Ranger was prepped and ready for a 2 week trip with supplies, gear and weapons. Stormhammer and Olgor made the arrangements for our wagons and supplies for the horses, prisoner and other details needing our attention. For the most part, I just helped out where I was able.

I did, however, take time to meet with Ivan Sokolov to give him the good news that approval for the Wayfarer’s Rest had been approved and that work would begin soon. I also spent some time in the morning meeting with Garok Mason about the road project, the orphanage, the Wayfarer’s Rest and expansion to the outpost. Later on, I sat down with Olgor and Stormhammer and went over in exacting detail my plans for the outpost during my absence.

First, despite my acquisition of new quarters, the outpost was sorely lacking in room for our growing numbers. In that vein, I instructed Stormhammer to oversee the addition of a second floor with dorm rooms and any other additions he should deem necessary. Second, I authorized them both to act in my stead regarding my new home, and the various projects. I stressed that they should liaise with Garok regarding the Road, Ivan Sokolav regarding the Wayfarer’s Rest, and High Priest Vallandrian with the Lord Mayor’s office regarding the orphanage. Third, Sergeant Major Stormhammer would be authorized to respond to all routine reports and communication. Any eyes only would either be held, if possible, or immediately forwarded to Kythros. Fourth, local security issues would be turned over to the Town Watch for the duration, though, given the nature of recent events, the Lord Mayor had agreed to lend support if needed.

For my part, I informed them of my intent to A) deliver obtain a more secure case for the payroll, B) hire, is possible, a member of the Farspeakers Guild, and C) acquire Ranger kits, cloaks, pins and unique gear.

By the evening of the 14th, all the preparation had been completed and plains laid. I saw no need to delay any further.

The Journey Begins

And so, in the wee hours of the morning of the 15th of Eternal Sun, I rose and rousted Corporal Hawksclaw instructing him to do the same for the other Rangers. Alfred I sent to Gendarre’s residence to bring him and his men. Unfortunately, Longtail had yet to return from her rendez-vous with Streetrunner.

I instructed Hawksclaw to tap Olgor. What he lacks in combat abilities, he more than makes up in useful skills and magic. While my Corporal assembled the men, I sent Stormhammer to the Chapel of Light with the wagon to retrieve our high value prisoner. My hope, again, was to move during the cover of darkness and avoid the eyes of Red Store. A pox upon them all.

Everything appeared to have begun without issue. The troops assembled, Longtail returned and within an hour, we were rumbling slowly through the streets of Echer’Naught. We reached the East Gate before official open, but by virtue of my new town key, I was able to open without incident.

By dawn, we were already out of sight of the town’s walls. From there our trip was routine for weeks. Taking the Greenway road East, we reached the city of Harken in 7 days arriving on the 21st of Eternal Sun. The last time I visited this city was during my travel to Echer’Naught when I initially took up my post. Since then, I had not had the opportunity to return, despite very much desiring to visit my sister.

Sadly, there was not time, as we remained only during the night and were gone by first light on the 22nd. From there, we turned southeast to Kator for 9 days, arriving on the 30th, just outside the town. Pausing only for the night, We rolled out before dawn, turning East and heading for Erimar. The trip should have been an easy 11 day trip to the port town. However, as I have alluded, the best laid plans often go awry.

We were rolling through a small copse of trees a day and a half short of Erimar, at dusk, when the attack happened. There was no warning, no chance for defense. Between one heartbeat and the next, they were there. A soft pop and the smell of sulfur the only evidence of their presence, that and the searing pain as their Blood Steel sword ripped through my side. I screamed in agony. From the rear of the column, I heard one of my men do the same.

My men reacted immediately, dropping from their horses and scanning the trees. I shouted for them to stand back to back and hold their ground. Thratchen. The very word chilled my heart. During the War of Flame, I had faced the beasts more than once, but never without casualties. Many casualties.

The popped in and out of existence, striking one man, then the next. Rildrirr moved into position behind me, the anger clear in the big warriors eyes. Longtail and Hawksclaw took up position. Alfred stayed with the prisoner, back pressed to the cage. Gendarre’s men tried to link up, but our leftmost crossbowman was cut down before anyone could reach him.

And there we stood in the growing dark, waiting for death to come. Pop. Longtial was stuck, she screamed. Pop pop. Gendarre’s man was struck, but remained on his feet. Another pop an Rildrirr took a swing. I could feel the power in the blow, but it was not enough.

Then the unthinkable happened. Pop. Their leader appeared out of no-where, driving his terrible blade through Hawksclaws groin. With a scream, the Corporal went down, blood pouring from his pants and boots. Now exposed, Longtail sprinted for the wagon and reached Alfred before she could be attacked.

It took everything I had to keep my eyes on the trees and not to seek signs of life in Hawksclaw. But I knew that would be fatal, so I held my ground, as did my Rangers. Pop. Another appeared behind me, Rildrirr struck it hard. Pop, Longtail got another, but they remained alive.

And then Hawksclaw stirred. I thought I saw a faint glow moving down his body. Perhaps his pixie friend. I know not. But before I could react, the Thratchen got to him first.

Out of the full night, the lead Thratchen popped into existence over the prostrate form of our Corporal, murder in his demonic eyes. And just as his black blades descended toward Hawkslcaw’s heart, I saw my Ranger’s swords tumble from his hands.

In that moment, I knew all was lost. Weakened from loss of blood, my man’s time was at an end. My mind raced, but I was forced to stand and watch him be butchered as he lay dying.

But Hawksclaw had other plans. Just as the poisoned tips reached him, the Alakar Rangers threw up his arms like he was warding off the blows and screamed Landra’s name. In the next moment, the world twisted as the Thratchen was nearly ripped apart by a thunderclap of wind which appeared from nowhere and very nearly hurled me off my feet.

I blinked the dust from my eyes and looked again to see Hawksclaw, eyes burning a deep green, rising to his feet, scooping blades into his hand. Twice now, my Corporal has shown potential. Could it be that Hawksclaw has power? But why would he hide this? His time with the Druidess Treesinger must have something to do with this. I will learn more.

But at the moment, all I could feel was relief, short lived as it was. Pop. The second Thratchen appeared, slashing again. Rildrirr got a piece, but it was Longtail who brought it down, her white silver blade flashing in the night.

And then there was silence, save for the sound of my heart pounding in my ears. I called for reports. All reported back, save for the downed soldier. Hawksclaw sprinted to his side and summoned his power, yet again. With a cough, the man rose, painfully, but he rose. We appeared to have survived the ordeal unscathed. A first, in my experience.

And that is when I heard Longtail’s cry. I looked…

My heart sank…

The prison cage was open…and empty.

Curse Flame and Darkness! Curse Red Store even more!

It seemed if hours had passed during the attack, but in truth it was no more than a few minutes. Long enough, however, for our enemies to reach the cage as we were distracted. That is why they took out one guard first, to open a hole in our defensive ring.

We were attacked by creatures of Darkness, who were sent by Red Store to free an agent of the Prelacy of Camon. That truth should terrify everyone at least as much as it does me. This is why I have so long warned about the rise of Red Store. While other enemies remain tied to their twisted paths, Red Store has allegiance only to greed and their own elevation.

All we need now would be for a few Shayakar to appear and we would be able to nicely round out the set.

I write this on the 6th day of Thunder Hawk. We are a day and a half West of Erimar and a key agent of the Prelacy with damning information is loose and in collusion with both Red Store and forces of Flame. We are in pursuit.

I will sent Longtail and Alfred ahead to Erimar to cut off any chance of escape via that avenue while the rest of us, sans wagons, track them. If I am correct, the Captain has more support nearby. It is not lost on me that he was freed at the closest possible point in our journey to the front lines with Camon.

How are they always one step ahead! Do we have a traitor? How is it possible. Only I knew our exact itinerary and I only revealed it on the morn we left. I suppose if they watched us, followed us, they would have time to plan, but the more we fight Red Store, the less sanguine I feel about our chances against them.

Nevertheless, I am penning this as quickly as I can, compiled from notes taken along the way and placing it in Longtail’s hands.

To all the Rangers in the region of Erimar, it is Thunder Hawk 6th. Be advised, the Prelacy Captain and his allies must be stopped.

Your most obedient servant,

A. Wolfhaven, Colonel

Kator-Erimar Road, Wildlands

Campaign Report 17
Royal Honors: A Key to the Town

Colonel Wolfhaven, Alexander

Commander of the Legio Heroes

Grey Ranger Outpost, Echer’Naught

Eleventh Day, Eternal Sun, Year 3123 Under the Light

My return on the eighth was as overwhelming as it was sweet. I could not honestly believe I had succeeded until the moment when I passed the threshold into the outpost. Only then did the weight of the last weeks truly come crashing down.

Begging, but not feigning fatigue, I excused myself to write reports while the events were fresh in my mind. Subsequently, I collated the backlog of reports and submitted a special report to command before finally taking a late dinner with my companions and then collapsing gratefully in my own cot.

The morning of the Ninth rose bright and hopeful and early. No fewer than two messengers waited outside the outposts chamber, as well as, a surprise guest. The first messenger was a summons from the Lord Mayor. It seemed a feast had been prepared in my honor and I was obligated to attend.

The guest, however, we a pleasant but entirely unexpected surprise. When Sarah answered the door, I had no idea who or what might be standing on the other side. Seeing an old friend was the furthest thing from my mind, but nevertheless, there stood Coramin.

Nine months ago, has it only been nine months, I entered what was to be my new command with two Hammerfell riders heading to their own new posting here in town. Along the way I happened upon a scene of destruction and death where a band of Flame spawn had attacked a caravan.

Included in that caravan was Coramin, a young, intelligent human sorcerer who volunteered to aid me in the subsequent rescue of a kidnapped girl and older alchemist. He was of incredible help during that crisis and upon our return to the town I broached the subject of having him join my new Ranger post. He declined for he was on his own quest and could not abandon it so easily.

Reluctantly, I bid farewell to another comrade in arms and honestly had no expectation of ever meeting him again. So, you could easily see how stunned I was to have him here. With gladness in my heart, I greeted him and welcomed him to my command, though I was curious what may have brought him to my door.

Apparently, he was still among the elves when the Storms struck. After Jubilation Day, many were curious as to what had transpired during the events which led to the end of the Storm. And, being a somewhat central figure, my name had been mentioned in rumor and tale. Coramin, deducing that the Wolfhaven in the reports was also his former comrade dispatched with utmost haste to my door.

And so, I invited Coramin and his elven assistant to break his fast with my Rangers. My first task, and one LONG overdue, was to promote Rildrirr to full Ranger status and present him the cloak and pin. Following that brief ceremony, I proceeded to inform them what had actually transpired. I spoke for nearly an hour, answering their questions and also filling in a few gaps in my own information. At the end of which, I returned to my office to complete the administrative tasks still long overdue and to speak with any of the Rangers who required a personal audience with me.

No small number did so.

I will include here a brief summation of those interviews.

As always, Sergeant Major Stormhammer and Olgor both required my attention on matters pertaining to the post. My good scribe had an entire sheaf of reports, purchase orders and authorizations for me to sign. In addition, he expressed frustration in the lack of a secure safe in which to keep the payroll as our new expanded duties required out post to handle even greater fiscal responsibility. I promised to remedy this immediately. Stormahammer’s report was succinct and delivered in that typical Dwarven straightforwardness that is both honest and at times blunt. Our supplies were full, save for meat and other animal byproducts such as glue and sinew. All such products were at a premium. Regardless, we were in fairly good condition except for a sad lack of living space. With so many new bodies, we would either need to expand, or find a new base of operations. Taking this under advisement, I request he write a proposal for expansion, which he immediately produced, saluted and then departed my office.

First to speak with me was Coramin, unsurprisingly. He was somewhat evasive about on whose authority he had been sent, but I gathered his patron wished to be discreet about any involvement in “Olaran and Ranger” affairs. Nevertheless, Coramin’s interest was in the Storm and requested access to what information I and my Rangers had been able to collect during our months of battle. My first instinct was to immediately grant my old friend whatever access he might require, but caution stayed by tongue. I offered him access to any unclassified documentation with the understanding that I would have final authority over all information transmitted. Further, I explained that forces, in particular Red Store, had proven disturbingly adept at penetrating our security and so I wished to protect, not only the Rangers, but also his benefactor as well. He seemed to accept and understand the restrictions, though he was clearly not pleased. Furthermore, I offered, with Olgor’s approval, to give him access to the Storm Druid the Corporal had managed to capture. This sparked his interest deeply and he exited my chambers in a fair mood.

Next came Hawksclaw.

My Corporal’s inquires both endeared me and concerned me. It seemed, to him at least, that I had failed to utilize my skills and abilities to their fullest in service to the Rangers. In truth, since the War, I had never really given much thought to my lost Barony or the status that came with. Nevertheless, Hawksclaw pointed out that I had a duty to Olara, the Rangers and to my family to uphold the Wolfhaven name. And so far, according to him, I had failed to do so. In retrospect, I am forced to agree. He went on to propose that I take a first, small step toward reclaiming my family prestige by purchasing a house in town. Specifically, he suggested that I purchase a house in High Towne. With all of my duties, I hardly have time to eat let alone search for a house, so I put Hawksclaw in charge of the committee and empowered him to carry out this task in my name. He seemed pleased and in truth, my removal from the outpost would free up more space and begin to answer Stormhammer’s concerns. So, in all, I feel this is a positive direction. Taking a final moment to, again, congratulate Hawksclaw on his previous command performance during my absence, I dismissed him.

No sooner had Hawksclaw departed, when Longtail entered my office.

Sitting quietly, the young Brinchie brought to my attention a number of issues facing Echer’Naught and the surrounding areas of which I was aware, but had not been able to spend any time addressing. First, the War of Flame, followed by the Tempest had wrought destruction across the land turning many children into orphans. It was an issue that many of the civic authorities were aware, but none seemed inclined to address given the many other overwhelming concerns. However, ever faithful, Longtail proposed the idea of creating an orphanage, something truly lacking in town. I wholeheartedly endorsed the idea and promised to speak with the proper authorities on her behalf. Longtail went on to explain that another issue facing the peasant and merchants were a lack of tools and farming stock. She explained that on her rounds, she discovered many farmers unable to even harvest the bumper crop and feared that much of the valuable food might be lost due to lack of necessary equipment. For at least one small area, she had asked that a list of needed supplies be sent to the outpost. In truth, I do not know if we can save them all, but for the sake of my Ranger, I will do whatever I can. Then she expressed an issue of which I was totally unaware. It appeared that our younger staff had entered those heady teenage years and their passions were rising. According to Longtail, a difficult dynamic was developing among Alfred, Sarah and perhaps even Erik, the Schenkle baker boy. As Alfred was under Hawksclaw’s tutelage and Sarah hers, I will leave it to my Rangers to deal with, for now. And finally, Longtail broached her most deeply held topic. I will say no more here than she asked after the “family planning” arrangements among the Rangers. I expressed that should she choose to start a family that we would, of course, support her as best we could. However, the outpost was a poor place to raise children. She understood and thanked me.

After Longtail departed, Highwall clomped in and spoke.

My faithful dwarf reported that his mandatory service to the Smith in town was concluded, but that during his time there he had discovered that the ore being sold to the Smith was intentionally inferior. Whoever was behind the plot had gone so far as to create an ore that easily passed first inspection. In fact, it was not until the tempering process that its insidious nature was revealed. More horrific was the fact that JoHann Smith was the primary supplier to the Town Watch. Just yesterday during his long report, Hawksclaw informed me that nearly two dozen Watchmen had been slain in a single season and that accounted for nearly a quarter of their available manpower. The implications were staggering. I immediately ordered Highwall to take charge of the investigation and put whatever resources that he might need at his disposal. In addition, I offered him a new position within the outpost structure. While both Olgor and Stormhammer had executed their duties without flaw, both Rangers are long in tooth and at some point would have need to retire. As Highwall had shown an affinity for weapon maintenance and a thirst for knowledge, I offered him the position of adjunct to my support staff, to learn their duties and be prepared to take over in case of need. In his typical fashion, he considered it a long moment before agreeing. I have no doubt he will attack his new duties with the same determination with which he approaches everything. After his meeting with me, he proceeded to the forge on some project of Hawksclaw’s. I noted 12 iron spikes, for what, I cannot say. However, I trust my Rangers to know their duties.

Unsurprisingly, Rildrirr did not require an audience, though I noted that he and Stormhammer took some time to speak. It would appear that Rildrirr’s request for magical enhancement to his sword were approved. He seems to be fitting in quite well.

I also spoke with Sarah and Alfred. Both seemed pleased with their duties so far. Sarah has even begun asking questions about the Rangers specific to what duties and positions might be available. I believe Longtail his having a profound influence on the girl. I hope that she chooses to use that power wisely. Alfred, for his part, has begun asking less about the Rangers, and more about the possibility of acting as my Squire in future endeavors. I confess a certain reluctance to encourage the lad. While I have a name, and knighthood, my standing among the nobility of Olara is rather tenuous. Regardless, I will speak with Hawksclaw for guidance. If am to truly conduct myself as a noble, then I will certainly have an opening in that position.

And, I took some time to speak with our guest. Clearly her mind is addled by the effects of the Tempest god. Yet, I see some spark returning. As I explained to Coramin, I have heard rumors and read reports suggesting that some of the Druids retained their connection to the Tempest without suffering the ill effects of the Tempest god’s corruption. Sadly, the Mages were all lost causes, but not all druids. I am certain Coramin will be happy to investigate this. My orders to the Rangers stand. Until the allegiance of Storm Druids can be ascertained, they are not to be treated as enemies. I will not resort to the unilateral tactics of the Prelacy, even if I find that my exposure to that alien realm has now tied me forever to the power of Storm. I can feel her and the Storm within her. Time will tell if my decisions are wise.

These private audiences completed, I went about the tasks of attaining some personal and professional order in my life. So many things to be done, so little time.

First I drafted letters to the town planning commission and the merchant’s council to request meetings to discuss construction plans of: Ivan Sokolov’s “Wayfarer’s Rest” project, a new road project connecting Farwatch and Echer’Naught, and, of course, Longtail’s orphanage. These were sent off immediately.

Secondly, I approached Celebor with Grek’s request to join him on his long recon of the Prelacy’s southern push. In an odd way, I feel that they will be an unlikely, but strong team. Amused, and without much comment, Celebor agreed and I believe that they have already departed in the direction of Harken. Though with those two, I will never be certain. In any event, no matter where they roam, they will find a home here.

My last task before finally succumbing to sleep was to sit with Olgor and record and file all of the information gathered on the Tempest, Red Store operations, the Crimson Crusade and even the increasing reports of Shaya’Nor forces. Also, I have begun quite preparations to transport the Prelacy captain south to either the Korg or Kythros. And, I also drafted a quiet inquiry into the health of the Prelacy Paladin that assisted my Rangers in their efforts to capture the Captain.

Morning of the 10th. Preparations for today’s festivities began long before sunrise. I spent time polishing and buffing my plate, chain and accouterments, brushing out my cloak and hot pressing my uniform. Though I loath such functions, by training I treat them with great respect.

At the appointed hour, I departed, turning command over to Corporal Hawksclaw. Mounting up, I road across town just as shops began to open and the streets fill. Something about the normal morning routine, the sounds of the criers espousing wares, the ring of hammer on metal and the clop clop of many horses, mules and oxen filled my heart with satisfaction.

For these, after months of long nights and constant worry, they were now able to go about their lives in relative bliss. Seeing their happiness and industry was a balm to my troubled soul. It was, for me, vindication for my trials and proof apparent for the Ranger Cause.

Taking a right, I passed between the Royal Guards standing, as ever, before the gate of High Towne and Beacon Hill. High above, Ravens and Pigeons circled the tower, riding the eddies and currents. As I rode, I noted not a few of the nobles and merchant lords making their own way toward the crest of the hill and the Mayoral Manse. A few even greeted me as a passed.

Coming to the Manse I was greeted by a Royal envoy, grooms standing by to take my horse. Heading inside I was greeted in the main hallway by Lord Mayor Von Haber himself. I confess I was surprised at the Royal treatment. Bidding that I join him, we passed through the hall into the inner courtyard where I found the settings for a grande feast.

Apparently, word of my arrival had reached the Lord Mayor and preparations for this event had been in progress for days. Officially, Jubilation Day as it was to be known would be celebrated on the 16th of Red Wolf henceforth. However, the Lord Mayor felt that it would be inappropriate to have the event without the guest of honor, which I took to mean myself.

Awkwardly, but with all the grace I possessed, I thanked him for his kindness but tried to extricate myself. I explained that the efforts were larger thanks to others, such as Grek and Ivan Sokolov. My Rangers, themselves, were due greater honors. Lord Mayor Heinrich Von Haber listened attentively to my protests and dismissed them entirely.

I was directed to a dressing chamber where a man-servant settled a red sash over my uniform and then waited to be announced. I had not long to wait. Within the hour, I was bade to come forth and entered the courtyard, now filled with Lords and Ladies, Merchants and Dignitaries. Announced by my full title, I was directed to sit beside the Lord Mayor.

Then, moments later, my Rangers arrived, one by one. Upon entering, they appeared just as surprised as I myself had been. Hawksclaw actually seemed to enjoy the attention. As did Longtail. Neither Highwall nor Rildrirr seemed that amused, but I expected no less. Even so, each Ranger was impeccably dressed, and Longtail modestly thank the Light. Even Coramin and his assistant the Eldakar girl arrived, much to the consternation of the Herald who, it appears, had not prepared for their attendance.

In their turn, each also mounted the platform, even Coramin, and took their seats beside me. Embarrassment and pride in equal measured warred within me. For, yes, I am unaccustomed to such attention, but I could not be more impressed by the men and women under my command.

Lord Mayor Von Haber made a small, but stirring speech and food was brought forth. As if by some magic, the cups refilled and the feast continued to arrive.

Taking that moment of relative quite while the guests enjoyed the meal, Lord Von Haber broached the subject of our recent success and subsequent fame. He pointed out, rightly, that the end of the Storm had a ingratiating effect on the people of Olara and that they might be in the mood to consider proposals. He went on to suggest that, perhaps, the time had come to reinstate the Wolfhaven title.

I was sorely tempted. In many ways I feel that I have failed my family. And yet, what do I have to offer? My reasoning before is yet sound. I have no family, no wife and no prospects. In point of fact, my first duty is now to the Rangers, and so, I was compelled to refuse his offer. However, he was right in that the time was perfect for other pursuits. As such, I informed the Lord Mayor of Ranger 1st Class Longtail’s intention of constructing an Orphanage in town.

I could see his disappointment, but he agreed to support her efforts. With the Lord Mayor’s backing, I suspect that the orphanage is all but a done deal. At any rate, the food was delicious and soon, I was satiated and content to make idle conversation with the Lord Mayor. Sadly, my contentedness lulled me into a false sense of security for what happened next shall remain the most mortifying moment of my life.

Without warning, the sky itself darkened. Beside me, my Rangers reacted with admirable swiftness, hands clutching weapons, eyes scanning for threats, when, in a burst of flame and smoke, Therel Fateweaver, Bard and meddler appeared before us. Dressed in a finery I was not aware he possessed, the horrible man launched into an overlong and flowery introduction. He extolled my virtues and those of my Rangers.

Before anything could be done to stop him, the savage clapped his hands and mummers tumbled from the wings. Then, before my very eyes, he and his troupe of brigands and thieves began an absolute exaggerated travesty, a mockery of the exploits of my Rangers and myself. If there was any truth to their telling, it was by omission.

In the first, I did not enter the town at the head of an Olaran army. In point of fact, when I arrived, it was in the company of Coramin and his companion Neleena, a Brinchie, a Potionmaster and a young girl. Secondly, during our first encounter with the Ratzin beneath the town we did not face an unending horde. Rather, there were no more than a few dozen. Hardly an enemy army.

I could in greater detail explain the many inaccuracies and “creative licenses” taken by the Bard, suffice to say that whatever else you might say of their performance, it was only “loosely based” on actual fact. Still, the assembled seemed to quite enjoy the re-telling and my Rangers were particularly amused, all save Rildrirr who shared my distaste for the absurd mummery. That sad affair concluded, I was asked to stand.

Standing as well, the Lord Mayor thanked me for my service and for the continued protection of the Ranger Corps. Then he withdrew a Whitesilver key from a box handed him by a servant and presented to me a Key to the Town.

I was stunned.

The simple trust implied by presenting complete access through the curtain wall to the Rangers was impressive enough, but the key also represented a operational boon as well.
Thought not generally a significant issue, situations have arisen in which the postern have been locked causing delays to our operations. We are now one of the few organizations, including the Watch and the Lord Mayor’s office who now have complete access to and from the town.

With deep gratitude I thanked Lord Von Haber for his trust and generosity. And with that, the official portion of the evening was ended. The floor was opened for dancing, as I know at least two of my Rangers partook. I was unaware of Hawksclaw’s skill at dancing, but I have no doubt it may well be of use to the post in the future.

Even so, I saw none of what transpired as I, after making the necessary rounds departed early leaving the mingling to my men. I do know that Longtail made a few key inquiries and that Highwall engaged, and very nearly won a drinking contest.

For myself, I departed the manor, retrieved my mount and took an evening ride through the town, and into the countryside.

So much has happened since my arrival in Echer’Naught, both good and ill. When I left my life behind after the War, I had no desire, or intention of ever returning. In fact, I had hoped that the Rangers would post me far from here. And yet, I am happy.

For the first since my departure over a year ago, I am content. I have a home, such as it is. I have the Rangers under my command, not friends, but comrades, men and women I care for very deeply. I see now that the Light has a plan and I hope to see it through.

Eventually, I returned to the outpost to find it all but deserted. None of my men had returned from the party, Stormahammer was at the Hammer and Anvil, Olgor long since abed. Only faithful Grimbore remained, reclining on his bed. Nodding to him, I turned in for the night.

The 11th of Eternal Sun began bright. I awoke and began to work again with Olgor in putting to order the various reports, lists and orders of the day. Hawksclaw departed early on some errand and soon Longtail followed. Later in the day, she returned with a young farmboy. Apparently, the lists of needed supplies for the outlying farms had been submitted.

I confess that with everything going on, with the construction projects, the ore crisis, the prisoner, the Storm Druid and everything else to be done, the addition of begging for farm tools and beasts of burden for the Barony farms seemed a daunting task. More so because this was the duty of the Barons and not the Rangers. Still, Longtail is correct that without some aid, the farmers would be unable to harvest crops and the resulting crisis would be our issue. Only then, there would be precious little we could do.

I drafted a letter to the Lord Mayors office, and copied it for the Merchant’s counsel. I also requested Longtail’s presence at the various meetings. I feel she would provide a voice for the common people sorely needed. With that she returned to her duties.

My reports completed, and this almost ready to be handed to the messenger, I now prepare for the coming days. It is my intention to move our Prelacy Captain prisoner at the earliest possible convenience West toward the coast via prison wagon.

I plan to depart by the 16th of this month. We should be able to reach Erda’Meias in about 7 days arriving by the 22nd. From there, we will follow the road west to Eldara, a trip of about 18 days if conditions permit, putting us in Eldara on or around Thunder Hawk 7th. We will find a boat in Eldara and travel by river to Eastport, a trip of about 9 days, with good currents. If all goes well, we will arrive in Eastport on or around the 16th of Thunder Hawk. I intend to bring with the wagon train Ivan who is knowledgeable of such things. He should be able to assist in hiring a ship to take us by sea to Camden. I believe the trip will take about 21 days weather conditions permitting. If I am correct, we should make port by the 4th of Festival Moons. From Camden, I am guessing about 14 days to Kythros. With luck and the blessings of the Ascended, we will arrive in Kythros on the 18th of Festival Moons. Depending on the time spent in Kythros, and the return trip by horse and wagon taking about 77 days we would return mid Autumn near the end of Forest Dance.

I am aware that this will take us from home for an extended period of time, but I feel it important that my Rangers have the opportunity to visit Kythros and I have much to discuss with command. Time will tell how successful my plans will be.

Your most obedient servant,

A. Wolfhaven, Colonel

Grey Ranger Outpost, Echer’Naught

Campaign Report 16: Addendum
State of the Confederation

Colonel Wolfhaven, Alexander

Commander of the Legio Heroes

Grey Ranger Outpost, Echer’Naught

Eighth Day, Eternal Sun, Year 3123 Under the Light

It is late into the eve, and after speaking with my men and taking some time to read through the reports that have waited for my return I find myself troubled. As I now have the time, I will attempt to relate the current situation of Ranger forces in my Region.

Attention all Rangers of Olara:

Crimson Crusade
From the scattered reports I have received, the Prelacy is once again on the march. I have heard tales that they are concentrating near three locations: Jasara, Bearheart and Krinura. Rangers in these areas are to assume the highest alert and report any and all enemy activity.

In confirmation, I have a preliminary report from Jasara indicating that Branosh has fallen to the Prelacy and that they have a major encampment in the region between Sog and Branosh. Rangers at large are ordered to the area for assistance and supply coverage. Report to Lieutenant Gibben Draxx of the Jasara contingent. He has full operational control in the region.

My last report from Bearheart is dated, so this information is subject to change. At last report, the Rangers of Bearheart were involved in some legal troubles concerning their investigation of traitors and spies within the Ranger allies of Bearheart. I have it on good authority that the situation is being resolved. However, the mere presence of spies and an intricated assassination plot leads me to believe strongly that Bearheart will be a major focal point for the Prelacy attack. Rangers at Large in the area are ordered for immediate support. Speak with Second Lieutenant Bardo. Though not a Ranger, he acts with full authority. However, until his status is official, please refrain from sharing high level communications.

Korg Humps
I have heard via our intelligence network that the Rangers of the Korg Humps may have left the safety of their base of operations shortly after my own departure and are headed north. I am uncertain of their destination or purpose, but rest assured, if they have abandoned their station, they have done so in the most urgent need. I cannot say their path of travel, but all Rangers are ordered to make whatever arrangements are necessary to see their mission successful. My last report places them in the region of Holk. Please report to me immediately when contact is made.

I have already received a disturbing report from our Rangers in Greenvale. In the beginning construction of a military access road, they appear to have encountered Flame touched goblinesh in the region. All Rangers in the area surrounding Greenvale are ordered to assist in the protection of the road construction and the elimination of the Flame touched. Report to Zaro on sight for further details. There is also some chatter that an ancient artifact has been discovered. Some form of alchemical device that converts elements to Crysarium? I am dubious, but require further information.

I recently received a report, not official, via word of mouth that the Rangers of Karas may have returned to their post in Karas. If this is so, they may be entering a firestorm. If reports are true of Prelacy movements north of their position, the rangers of Karas and Eagle Watch may have just found themselves on the front lines of the Crimson Crusade.

From Farwatch the reports grow ever more disturbing. At last message, the Rangers were hunting local bandits who, we have now confirmed, were operating in full cooperation with the Red Store agents plaguing Echer’Naught. It does not require stating that the Red Store menace should be a top priority for the Rangers of Echer’Naught, Farwatch, and even Sun’s Crossing. With the Prelacy looming, we cannot allow these brigands to use our inattention to usurp even greater power. However, on the trail of the bandits it appears that our friends from Farwatch found themselves ambushed by bandits being led a Corrupted Sorcerer. With gallantry, the Rangers prevailed and even now continue the hunt. Currently in the north-east region of Landra’Feya, I prevail upon all Rangers and allies in the area to assist our brothers-in-arms in whatever way possible.

Sun’s Crossing
In all of the darkness and danger there is still hope and light. Reports have filtered in that Rangers coalescing around a region dubbed Sun’s Crossing have created a large-scale refugee camp. It is located, according to intelligence, in the plains south of Rhion and west of Kore. This is of particular importance to Jasara and all of those areas facing a major Prelacy push. Civilians and refugees have a place of safety and respite. I have yet to make direct contact with the commander, but will endeavor to do so soon.

We too have faced many trials. In my absence, the Rangers under my command managed to intercept a Prelacy Captain intent on escaping to enemy territory with vital intelligence. On behalf of our friends in the Korg Humps, my men managed to stop his smuggler convoy and bring him to justice. Regrettably, the capture came at a high price. Dozens of civilians were injured, including children. At last report, four are dead with more in critical condition. One of our new allies suffered some of the worst injuries and even days later is unconscious. By Archanon’s grace may he survive.

More disturbing is the fact that his escort have been confirmed as Red Store agents. Again, I cannot stress enough the importance that Red Store be stopped. With their blade at our backs and the Prelacy invasion imminent, we may soon find ourselves outmaneuvered and outflanked. All Rangers are to treat the Red Store as a top priority. Please forward all incident reports to my office in Echer’Naught.

Equally disturbing are the sudden rise in reports of Necromantic activity. Darkness is rising. From sketchy work of mouth, I hear that serious incidences as far as Lorelei have been reported. Closer to home, both the Rangers of Echer’Naught, Farwatch and Greenvale have all encountered Darkness in recent months. Be vigilant. Report any encounters with agents of Shaya’Nor immediately.

On a more positive note, I have heard that work begins on a road between Greenvale and Farwatch. I will be approaching the Echer’Naught Merchants council in hopes to begin a similar project connecting Echer’Naught to Farwatch. In addition to the trade benefits, this will vastly increase the communication and support capabilities among our outposts.

I urge all Ranger commanders to report any and all situations arising in area under their protection.

Though times are troubled and enemies abound, fear not. As long as we stand united, we will ultimately prevail.

Your most obedient servant,

A. Wolfhaven, Colonel

Grey Ranger Outpost, Echer’Naught

Campaign Report 16
Home at Long Last

Colonel Wolfhaven, Alexander

Commander of the Legio Heroes

Grey Ranger Outpost, Echer’Naught

Eighth Day, Eternal Sun, Year 3123 Under the Light

From departing Holk to Echer’Naught’s massive gates was perhaps the most uneventful period of this rather long saga, though I still worried for my Rangers. I was to find, however, that for my rangers, the period was anything was anything but restful. Even so, upon my return, I found them hale and relatively happy.

There tales, however, were almost too fantastic to believe…

Ranger Trainee Rildrirr

After I leaped into the portal, my stalwart companion immediately set about following my orders. He left the ruins with his two new companions and headed north. This was on the eve of the 15th. That night was the worst storm in the history of Shaintar. From rather terse report, he found shelter in a cave.

In the morning, all was clear. He headed North, reaching the Elven Waystation in 2 days, on the eve of the 18th of Red Wolf. The caravan was still present having lost many of its draft animals. With the help of the mighty Northman, they managed to load much of their goods on two good wagons and pulled those with what animals remained, leaving behind most of their wagons and some less valuable goods.

It was a 3 day trek with the heavy wagons, but the spirit was jubilant as the skies were mercifully clear. Per orders, Rildrirr brought back my horse Thunder, who refused to be hitched like some draft beast. Rildrirr reached the outpost on the eve of the 21st to find the town still drunk in celebration.

Leaving his two companions to conclude their business with the LongArms, he reported to Stormhammer, only to find that none of the other Rangers had returned. He spent the night telling Olgor of his travels and waiting for orders.

Corporal Hawksclaw and Ranger 1st Class Highwall

As I departed West on the 10th of Red Wolf, I ordered Corporal Hawksclaw to take Ranger Highwall with him and search East. Yet knowing what perils they faced, I suggested he speak with the local LongArms office and request additional forces as there were precious few options.

Taking my advice to heart, Hawksclaw visited the LongArms central office on the 10th and met their Commander, a dour human female who prefers heavy armor to finery. At any rate, due to the lack of ANY caravans in the storms, she readily agreed to hire out her men, unusual as they have a strict policy against any mercenary work other than guarding caravans. But, as I expected, without income from regular merchant traffic, she was willing to bend this once if it brought in coin.

However, she had a condition. This was that the Ranger’s would first need to break up a group of toughs who had set up shop in the ‘Barracks’, the Olaran bar frequented by the mercenaries and soldiers in Echer’Naught. Hawksclaw agreed, and with Highwall, headed to the Barracks, stopping by the Watch Station along the way.

There they found Sergeant Vasser, alive, but in fairly rough shape having suffered many wounds in recent days. Hawksclaw requested the presence of the good Sergeant and four of his men to meet him in a quarter hour at the Barracks. With that, Hawksclaw and Highwall departed, heading for a drink.

When they reached the tavern, they easily discovered the source of the ruckes. Four brutes and one Sorcerer sat at a rear table and harassed the serving staff and any unfortunate patrons that happened to attract their attention. Highwall took up post at the end of the bar, setting a crossbow down and ordering and ale. Meanwhile, Hawksclaw found an empty table and sat, waiting.

Soon enough, the Watch entered and went to the bar. Hawksclaw watched and waited, as did the suddenly alert Mercenaries. As the barkeep set the ale glasses on the counter, Hawkclaw announced loudly that he would pay for the round. As he described, the sell-swords began to realize the situation in which they found themselves.

So too did the tavern staff who quickly made themselves scarce.

One tavern wench in particular, an intelligent, if buxom, woman who had aided the Rangers before in their investigation, caught Hawksclaw’s eye. With a quick wit, Hawksclaw nodded to the Mercenaries and managed to convey his plan. With a sigh, she returned to the Mercenaries. As she approached, the leader of the men, attempted to haul her into his lap. Feigning clumsiness, she stumbled and spilled ale all over his lap.

Seething anger, he backhanded her into a column, nearly breaking her neck. At this, Hawksclaw stood slowly to his feet and addressed the mercenaries. From his report and Highwall’s, the moment was tense, but faced with both Rangers and the Town Watch, the leader backed down and left the tavern in bad grace.

Mission accomplished, Hawksclaw purchased a second round for the Watch and returned to the LongArms main officer. There, he discovered that the Commander had already gathered a small team of two Orc warriors and a Goblin sorcerer. Though it cost nearly every cent he possessed, Hawksclaw managed to hire the team and returned to the outpost.

The following morning the 11th, Ranger’s Hawksclaw and Highwall departed heading East. Well, they began their trip, and were forced to return due to the increasing rain, an issue that Rildrirr and I had both faced on our trek. At any rate, after leaving the horses within the protection of Echer’Naught’s wall, Hawksclaw and Highwall departed on foot and entered the raging storm.

Having experienced the horror of that gale myself, I understand fully the pain and torture they experienced. Yet, to their credit, they soldiered on, fighting their way East, keeping to their orders and their sacred duty.

After five days of tortuous labor, the storm grew too intense even for the stalwart Dwarves and tough Orcs to handle. In the blackness of the torrential rains, with the entire sky roiling above their heads, the Rangers desperately sought the Dwarven Waystation they knew must have been in the area. Sadly, all was lost…


As Hawksclaw scanned the night, seeking any glimmer of hope, his eyes fell on a Raven, winging through the air, untouched by wind or rain. Curious, hopeful, he set his path to follow the Raven who led him Waystation. With relief and some fear, the party threw itself to the back of the structure as far from the storm as possible. With a Caw, the Raven vanished.

In moments, multiple cyclones descended upon the Waystation, collapsing part of the roof and burying the Rangers and their allies. From there neither Hawksclaw nor Highwall remember anything until the following day.

When they awoke, on the 16th of Red Wolf, now known as Jubilation Day, they quickly blasted free of the rubble, with a little help from the Sorcerer. What they found left them reeling.

They stood by the ruined roof of the Dwarven Waystation amid verdant and bountiful fields. High overhead, the skies were blue and nary a drop of rain to be seen. After months of endless, torrential downpour, the rains had stopped and the destruction they had wrought all repaired. Or at least, at first it appeared to be so. After some investigation, the Rangers realized that the Greenway Road was strewn with broken wagons and abandoned carts, not to mention a number of bodies, all dead from exposure.

Though the land had healed, lives were still lost and the destruction on buildings was enormous. Still, confused, but dedicated, the Rangers set to completing the task of hunting the Storm Mage, though in truth, they feared it was now a moot point.

Still, on a bright, sunny summer day, Hawksclaw, Highwall, two Orcs and a Goblin Sorcerer turned north, heading through the lush fields, following the marking on the map. It was half a days journey on a pleasant day when they closed in on the ruins of a farmhouse. Sending his men to flank, Hawksclaw approached the door cautiously and peered inside.

What he found, filled him with dread. Bottles and arcane instruments lay scattered around the room where they had been smashed in what seemed to have been a cyclone. And, squatting in the center of the room, surrounded by utter devastation was a wretched Orc woman, with salt matted hair, ragged soiled clothes. She hunched, holding her head in her hands, rocking back and forth and muttering in Goblinesh.

Fearing the worst, Hawkslcaw approached, sword drawn. When he was almost on her, he called out. The frightened creature started and then bolted to the corner of the room, to cower, shaking. Confused, Hawkclaw attempted to lure her out, putting away his weapons to appear less fearsome.

With the help of the Sorcerer, they managed to get her outside and feed her, but she as still addled. They were discovered by a farmer who seemed in a very jolly mood. He offered food, but Hawksclaw declined, choosing to return to the HQ as quickly as he could. Reaching the Greenway Road on the eve of the 18th, he set out in the morning of the 19th, taking 4 days to reach the town. He arrived on the early afternoon of the 22nd of Red Wolf.

Ranger 1st Class Longtail

From her own report to me, her adventure was, in most ways, more bizarre than my own. On the evening of the 13th of Planting Moons, Ranger 1st Class Longtail left our company with orders to make for Echer’Naught with all her considerable speed and warn the town of the impending attack by the Storm Mage.

As she has reported to me, she managed to make it to within sight of the town when her path was cut off by no fewer than four cyclones. While attempting to avoid those, she was caught up into a fifth, with sucked her up. She managed to hold fast to a tree top for a time, but as her gear, and some clothing, ripped away she eventually allowed herself to be pulled up as well.

Reaching the top of the cyclone, she hit a dark, black portal like swirl, something with which I am regrettably familiar. But here, the similarities of our journeys end. For Longtail was not transported across Shaintar, or to some composite alien realm, but to a land of white mist, where mundane things, like weapons, clothes and armor seemed insubstantial, almost gray. Yet, things of white silver glowed dully, and arcane artifacts glowed bright.

There she landed in the sea of white mist, so thick she could not see her paw before her face. Groping around, she found a wall, dull and translucent, then a road obscured from sight. Following the road, she stumbled, quite blind, into an opening, a doorway.

Though the opening she found herself, still shrouded in mist, standing in a room lit by sconces burning bright with Orange flame. The more she describes the flame, the more I see Arcfire technology. However, using the lamps at regular intervals, she guessed the room was small, 30×40 meters, if that. More intriguing, she found dozens of other devices and implements scattered in the mist filled room. Some appeared to be lying on a table, but the table was so insubstantial as to be part of the mist.

As she watched, one of those implements floated off the table, as if being carried by an individual, yet she saw no one in the room. Leaving quickly, she returned to the road, only to see a bright, orange flash farther down the road. Heading in the direction, she came to a gap between one structure and the next, of about 2 meters. It felt to her touch like some kind of alley, but since all she could see was the white mist, it was impossible to tell.

But that is when she turned and began to see shapes moving along the road, shades, or ghosts. Longtail could feel them, but only barely see them. As she watched, stunned, what looked like a ghostly cart rolled by going up the road back the way she had come. It was filled with the bluish/white glow of Crysarium ore. Of anything in the alien place, she KNEW what she was seeing because she had seen much the same not, to her, days ago. But, according to her own words, the amount of ore in that place was at least four times the amount in all of Echer’Naught.

Were it any but a Ranger, I would doubt their word, but Longtail would not deceive. Not about this at any rate.

Following the shade drawn wagon out of the dense structures and ghosts, she continued for a short way, stealthily tracking through the mist, coming around the far side of the wagon only to spy what she claimed was a Builder. Dwarfish in height, red skin and no hair. More unusual, he was perfectly clearly visible…Ever other soul she had met had been nigh on substance-less wraiths, but this Builder, and again, she has met Samael, was solid.

To make matters more pecuiliar, as she was observing the Builder, another figure approached on horseback, flanked by two MORE Builders. But this figure was no builder, and no formless wraith. As she described, the figure was large, humanoid, astride a massive horse covered in brightly glowing barding, but all lights paled in comparison to the rider.

As Longtail said, “he glowed like a star.” Everyone around him, Builder and Wraiths immediately threw themselves prostrate before this god-like being. And, to her chagrin, so did Longtail. I can only imagine the sheer magnitude of Force required to force her to her knees. Yet, she was overwhelmed by his mere presence.

After a moment, he passed, flanked by his Builder escort and followed by perfect rows of glowing arms and armor…containing more of the wraiths? Who can say.

Wisely, she chose to follow the god-ling back toward what she was now seeing as a village of some form, but one in which the walls were made of something other than wood or stone and even the meanest structure had actual glass-like windows. This she all gleaned from touch as even the walls were so weak and faded that they seemed merely shadows in the mist. Only living beings and items of magic seemed to appear solid.

Following, she descended further into the “town” the ground sloping into what she described as a large, natural depression about the size of an amphitheater. Formless things pressed around her, as if she were standing in a crowd, but only the Builders, solid as normal and the glowing being were truly visible.

She also noted that around this area were countless, what looked like, machines glowing with orange energy…but they appeared to be consuming…and perhaps processing the blue/white Crysarium ore? From her description these devices were large than houses, some larger than our Ranger outpost in Echer’Naught. All around her, she could hear the tick, tick, tick of perhpas gears, strange whistles, and clanking sounds…all entirely alien to her knowledge.

And then, the largest Builder she had yet seen, approached. Behind him, two more red-skinned Builders dragged one of those wraithlike creatures. As she watched, a brief conversation ensued, on in which the voices of the Builders sounded as distorted whispers, as if from far away. Of the Wraith, nothing. However, she could easily hear the voice of the glowing man, for she and everyone present was immediately enraptured.

How long he spoke, she knew not. But at his conclusion, the god-ling raised his left arm, pointed at the grappled wraith-thing and as she watched in horror, orange fire, in intricuate, angular patterns traced lines up his arm before exploding outward, tearing the wraith body and soul.

Ranger Longtail describes her ability to actually see his essence being torn asunder and feel his agony wash over her like a wave. In shock, fear and pain she cried out…

And the glowing man reacted.

He appeared almost to turn, as if he has sensed or heard something. Panicking, Longtail began to look for a way out. That is when she heard it…the sound of a horse.

Turning, as she describes, she saw the most beautiful creature, glowing bright silver, even brighter than the glowing man, was the Silver Unicorn. I know of this. I know her words to be true.

It is the Horn. It calls.

Pawing at the air, then at the ground, the Silver Unicorn sprinted away. Longtail wasted no time and sprinted after. Down the Unicorn went, racing for the base of a huge hill that seemed to be made almost entirely of Crysarium. Something ticked at the back of Longtail’s mind.

Then, the Unicorn reached the base, where a dark tunnel entrance seemed to loom. The moment Lontail reached it, she was jerked again, split apart and remade. This experience I can attest to as I too have been transported by portals generated by the Storm.

Her next words chilled me. For, up to then, I had assumed her experiences stemmed from a fevered dream. Perhaps a glimpse with the mind’s eye to something the Silver Unicorn wished her to see…but how then could she have seen me?

For a moment, the thick, white mists parted and Longtail looked down on a patchwork world, like a quilt with difference pieces sewn together. I am all too familiar with what she described. From a great height, she said she looked down and saw a raging battle…and then hear my voice ringing out over the field.

She was there. Longtail HAD to have been present at the last battle. I am certain of it. But then, does that mean the rest of her story was more than a dream? A vision? I…I know not.

However, the brief flash was gone almost before it arrived and she was hurtled back, to where, she knew not for all sense was dashed from her.

When she awoke, she was being licked in the face by a deer. Sitting up startled, she found herself in a grassy spot under a cloudless blue sky with no recollection of how she had arrived. This is yet another experience we share.

From here, her story take a decidedly more normal tack. Judging by the terrain, she guess she had been deposited somewhere in the plains about Echer’Naught. Striking north, she quickly spied a man sleeping under a copse of trees. Drawing close, she identified a fellow Brinchie.

It was not until she was right upon the figure when she noted the dried blood and his lack of movement. When she touched him, he slumped over, revealing a gaping wound long since crusted over. He was dead, but it was clear what had stolen his life. A crysalite shard was buried deep in his chest, right in the center of a large burned hole.


Her next discovery confirmed her suspicion. On his person, she found an elaborate messenger’s pouch. Within, she found a parchment roll, sealed with a Ranger’s wax seal. Slicing the seal with a swipe of a claw, she read a report about a Prelacy Captain that had escaped the Korg Humps, prior to our arrive there. With him, he had about five fellow Crusaders.

The message had been carried by riders and runners to all the Ranger Outposts north of the Korg. This messenger happened to be heading toward Echer’Naught when he ran afoul of the Prelacy, likely the very men he was sent to warn about.

Taking the pouch and the shard, she began her long run to Echer’Naught. She would arrive in the afternoon on the 22nd of Red Wolf.


Finally together again, the team healed their wounds, repaired their gear and began to attempt to explain the insanity that had befallen each during the previous weeks. After much confusion, and much celebration by the citizens of Echer’Naught, Stormhammer ordered the Rangers to bath, heal and prepare, giving them time to sort themselves out. He, with Sarah and Alfred’s help prepared quite a meal for the unit.

As I understand, Sarah was quite upset at the state in which Longtail returned. She took it upon herself to draw a bath and then fetch clothes for the senior Ranger. Grimbore was so pleased to have his “pretty kitty” returned to him, that he very nearly would not release her.

Nevertheless, the meal was served and going around the table, each Ranger related their tales, each more bizarre than the last. All of which I have related above. However, the matter of Longtail’s recovered message quickly became the center of attention. For while they were all confused, weary and footsore, they were Rangers. My Rangers and they knew their duty.

Storhammer and Hawksclaw agreed that the matter needed to be investigated that eve. So, taking command, Hawksclaw sent Rildrirr into the streets of revelers, Highwall with Alfred to the Stock Yards, and he and Longtail to Low Town, after stopping by the Watch Station.

Finishing their meal, each team headed into the night. After two hours, they returned, only to have discovered the same information. That there were too many new faces, too many foreigners and too many in the streets to be able to find one small group of Camonese.

As a note, I have listened to Ranger 1st Class Longtail and I understand she fear for the many orphans of Echer’Naught. In fact, the one she rescued on the day of the first Cyclone had been claimed by her aunt and uncle, her parents having perished during that awful fight. That was a matter Sergeant Vasser had been trying to relay to her when she disappeared. I believe my young Ranger hopes to begin an orphanage. If this is her wish, she has my complete support.

As the hour grew late, the team despaired, but Hawksclaw had a plan. Taking the Rangers, he headed to the Chapel of Light, where he spoke with Vallandrian about an individual only he had met. After a moment, Vallandrain returned with a young Paladin of Light, without arms, who spoke with a thick Camonese accent and appeared to be of Camon origin.

He greeted the party, noting Hawksclaw and thanking him for healing him before while he laid on his death bed. Knowing more of this tale that the others, I can only imagine Hawksclaw’s emotions when the man he had attempted to murder thanked him. I pray that my Corporal and this young man may find a way to reconcile in a true way.

Nevertheless, for his own reasons, the young man agreed to help. He called himself Sir Michael Lugard. With his help, the team returned now to Low Town and spend most of the night spreading coin and asking questions. Finally, in some desperation, Longtail left the party and entered an establishment of a particular repute. There she spent an hour “negotiating” with the patrons.

Upon her return, she informed the team that:

A) A group of Camonese speaking foreigners had arrived, but only 3.
B) They had negotiated with a group of smugglers to help them leave the city by the East gate in the morning.
C) The deal included horses.

Sir Lugard explained that Camonese Crusaders were excellent horsemen and should they manage to get a lead on the Rangers, their escape would be nigh inevitable.

Thinking quickly, Hawksclaw sent all but Longtail back to the HQ for much needed rest and quickly made his way to the Town Watch Station. There, a watchman informed him that the Sergeant was home abed. Getting directions, the Rangers found Sergeant Vasser’s home and woke him in the AM.

From what they have said, the Sergeant was confused, but helpful as he has always been. Hawksclaw laid out his plan in which, the Watch would man the gates as normal, but he and his Rangers would lie in wait outside the walls while Sir Lugard and Longtail, dressed as Watch, would look for the Prelacy agents. When Lugard gave the signal, the Watch would close the gates, forcing the Crusaders to flee, sending them right into Hawksclaw’s trap.

Vasser readily agreed, but request the Rangers allow the Prelacy forces to clear the morning crowds before beginning their attack. My Rangers agreed and returned to the HQ for a few hours rest.

On the morning of the 23rd of Red Wolf, after weeks of trials, my Rangers set up their ambush just outside the Dwarven gate and waited. For two hours they stood by, when Lugard gave the signal. On cue, the Watch slammed the doors shut, but that is when everything went awry.

Rather than being caught unawares, the Prelacy agents expected the trap and with a signal to their smuggler allies, burst into motion. At the same moment, the smugglers revealed crossbows and began firing into the crowds, the guard and the rangers.

Rildrirr, Alred, Hawkclaw and Lontail (on foot) sprinted after the fleeing Camonese, while Lugard and Highwall remained at the gate.

No sooner had he spurred his horse into action, did the lead Prelacy Captain turn and blast poor Lugard in the chest nearly killing him. The chase was on.

Longtail managed to drag one man from the saddle before he had cleared 30 meters, the other fell to Rildrirr’s blade, but the Captain galloped away.

Again and again, my Rangers tried to slow him, stop him, but he brushed aside their attacks with superior horsemanship and an arcfire handcaster. Twice did he strike Rildrirr with arcfire, but twice did the Northman shrug off the terrible blasts.

Then, when all seemed lost and his escape assured, Rildrirr, riding his massive beast burst through a copse of trees and caught the Captain in the back with his bastard sword, sending the Captain flying into a tree and smashing into the ground unconscious.

Reigning in, my Rangers recovered the Prelacy Captain, his weapons and his horse, and returned to the town only to find a scene of chaos. Four Town Watch lay dead, seven smugglers shared their fate. Dozens of civilians had been injured, 3 killed and two children had been caught when one of the smuggler’s wagons, stocked with alchemical fire, exploded.

A cursory investigation revealed what all feared. Red Store. Again they plague Echer’Naught.

Horrified at the price of their victory, the Rangers approached Sergeant Vasser who, for the first time, seem truly angry with the Rangers, though from their report, he showed proper courtesy. With these four, the cost in life to the Watch had reached 12 men in three months. Nearly a quarter of their forces.

Understanding that ill will could poison the town against the Rangers, Hawksclaw turned over the captured Prelacy Paladin to the Town Watch, while taking the injured Prelacy Captain to the Chapel of Light for healing. Longtail also remained, as she had been injured in the fight…and she wished to be with the burned children.

Sadly, Hawksclaw returned with the rest of the Rangers to the outpost and began the long, arudous task of repairing the damage done, both physical and spiritual, but also to the Ranger’s public image. Still, I would have done no different and have expressed as such to Corporal Hawksclaw. He and all my Rangers acted with bravery, dedication and professionalism. I am proud to have men and women such as these under my command.

It took the Prelacy Captain a week to regain consciousness. From there, he was transferred to the cell Sir Lugard had previous occupied, ready for transport. The 23rd of Red Wolf came to a sad, but successful close.

17 days later. 17 days of clearing roads, re-establishing relationships, recording deeds and getting the outpost back to fighting order…

On the morning of Eternal Sun 7th, I returned to Echer’Naught, the conquering hero. Apparently word of our deeds, the Legios Heroes had reached the town before I. As I entered, riding Tiny, the massive Goat, flanked by 14 foot Grek and his towering Axe and Ivan, nearly that height and followed by Luc Gendarre and his, well equipped, Camonese soldiers, crowds quickly began to gather.

The further I pressed, trying to reach my outpost, the more thronged about us, shouting, laughing, some throwing flowers. Never before have I received such a welcome. One part of me, the Wolfhaven was proud to have brought honor to my family, my corps and my men. But, for myself, I was mortified. I confess I would rather have entered under cover of night.

Still, as I approached the outpost, Grek clearing a path with his booming voice and intimidating gaze, I heard the clear, crisp voice of Hawksclaw rising above the din.

“Rangers! Form UP!”

Tears welled in my eyes. Until that moment, I had not fully realized how badly I had missed this place, these Rangers. As the crowds parted and Grek spied the line of heavily armed men and women blocking the road, I could feel his and Ivan’s stance change. Oh, to have such friends…all. Giving him the all clear, I approached my men.

Corporal Hawksclaw, standing at perfect attention. Doughty Highwall at his right. LONGTAIL! SHE LIVED! Stormhammer, his grin ever presence and towering behind Rildrirr my trusted companion.

I tried to stand and salute, but emotion overwhelmed me. Holding back tears, I embraced my men.

Thinking back now, I might have given poor Hawksclaw a fright. But at that moment, was simply too overjoyed at seeing them home, safe. My Rangers. My Friends. My family.

Stepping back, I asked for a report. Smiling, Hawksclaw clasped my shoulder and began…

For long years I have questioned the fate of our world. With so many threats, how can we possibly stand?

But I know now. We will stand because we have men and women, warriors and friends.

Warriors like Grek, Ivan, Rildrirr, Ovgol and Highwall

We have men, leaders like Hawksclaw…

Women like Maeve and Liarra…Shayline…

Friends like Olgor and Stormhammer.

So long as heroes like these live, I fear not for our future.

Your most obedient servant,

A. Wolfhaven, Colonel

Grey Ranger Outpost, Echer’Naught

Campaign Report 15
The Day After then Homeward Bound

Colonel Wolfhaven, Alexander

Commander of the Legio Heroes

Elven Waystation, Greenway Road, Olara

Fifth Day, Eternal Sun, Year 3123 Under the Light

We woke upon a hill.

Green grass, clear blue skies, a faint, summer breeze…it seemed that our efforts were successful. How, I cannot say. I imagine scholars will debate this period of time for centuries to follow. But for myself, and the weary warriors struggling to their feet on that grassy knoll a half mile from the Korg Humps Gather, all we felt was relief and elation.

At least, for a moment. Then the full weight of our victory’s price struck me. With an effort, I hauled myself to my feet and surveyed the ground around me. Seeing so many of Shaintar’s greatest heroes strewn across the bucolic scene, lying, sitting or milling about in various states of confusion, is a sight that very likely follow long into old age.

As I turned in a circle, scanning the figures around me, I spied the bodies of my men, lumped in a pile not far from me. Moving, to them quickly, I began pulling them apart and checking them for signs of life. Of the seven souls who entered that fateful portal, only four remained with me. Michael, the one man under my command whose spirit quailed within the alien realm, was actually saved by his own fear as he was four “realms” away when the rest of us were struck by the Storm Mages lighting blast.

Groggily, Michael lurched to a sitting position and shook the fog from his mind. His three surviving companions remained unconscious being covered in severe burns, though, breathing. My men seen to, I quickly began to check the others on the hill and survey my surroundings for some assistance for my soldiers. From near the walls of the Korg, I spied a group of Goblin’s holding spades with looks of extreme confusion. I began to make my way in their direction, when a meaty hand fell like a mountain upon my shoulder. Glancing back, and up, I looked into the face of Grek, the fourteen foot tall Ogre who had shown himself so devastating during the battle for Shaintar.

He shook his massive head slightly. “Let me,” he said, his deep voice booming like thunder.
Understanding, I stepped back and allowed him to meet with the Goblinesh. Meanwhile, I was joined by Ivan, Sir Dane and Ovgol. Other heroes also began to gather together, discussing the situation in low voices. Clearly, the shock of our sudden return to Shaintar had affected them as well.

Grek soon returned and informed us that help was on the way. Meanwhile, we were approached by a very well dressed human male surrounded by women of various races and states of undress. He spoke with a thick Camonese accent and introduced himself as Lucien, “Hero of Korg.” Grek seemed well disposed to the man, but the others around me immediately grew defensive and apprehensive. I hedged my bets and treated him with respect, but remained cautious until I understood my situation better.

As it turned out, he was a “former” bandit prince who had been “convinced” to help the forces of Korg against their former leader who had been corrupted by the Storm. Though, I gathered that not ALL of those present were exactly happy about the new situation. His insistence of his status as a hero made the situation worse. Still, he was pleasant enough and Grek seemed to like him, so I continued to treat him as an ally.

While we were speaking, Grek’s “help” quickly revealed itself in the form of a large group of Behemoths loping across the field carrying carts, wagons and supplies like children’s toys. Bounding up, they slowed to a walk as they neared and finally set down the supplies before joining Grek with much cheer and enthusiasm. A single good natured back slap from one of these would very likely render me immediately unconscious if not do untold bodily harm.
After a brief conversation, and securing the wounded and the fallen in carts and wagons, a large group of us descended the hill and made our way toward the walls of Korg.

As we approached, the sheer size of the Korg walls became apparent. As high as Echer’Naught walls in places, higher in others and more than twice as thick, the fortifications were clearly built by and designed to withstand the sheer physical power of Ogre Behemoths; a threat most towns have never faced.

Passing through the gates flanked by armed orcs and ogres, we entered the largest Goblinesh Gather I have ever heard about. It stretched for more than a mile, though the fullest extent I can only guess. But, just guessing, I would say they Gather held more than 6,000 Goblinesh, more even than Echer’Naught. I had never seen so many in one place, and I doubt I will ever do so again.

Walking through twisting and confusing streets, I was led to the Korg Ranger Headquarters. Along the way, I could not help but notice distinct differences between the Goblinesh of Korg and the citizens of Echer’Naught. For one, during the entire time I spent with my new friends, I saw no evidence of homelessness or any real poverty. All seemed hungry, and all seemed fatigued, but the burdens of the individual were the burdens of the whole. There is much to be admired in the society of these people, much that my own people could learn.
As we approached the outpost, I noted a change in my companions, those local to this post. Looking up at the name on the sign, I noted the name “Gobner’s Rest”. Something stirred in my memory, but I could not recall the details. My friends, quickly explained. Their post had been recently renamed after a fallen warrior, the Orc Gobner who, so far as I could tell, was a warrior of preeminent honor and skill. Before entering, I knelt and prayed to Archanon that he would show grace and mercy to whichever realm Gobner’s spirit had found itself. Thus done, I entered.

Within I found a large rectangular room constructed for stone which contained a blacksmith’s shop, kitchens, a common room and even stables. At one end of the room was a circular tower, the base containing the kitchen and the common room, the second level housing the bedrooms and a basement holding the prisoners. I never descend into the area, but I was informed they were holding a recently capture Builder who might be willing to defect.

While within the outpost, I was introduced to a new member of the Ranger’s, announced by him suddenly speaking from right beside me. Gergo, a Goblin scout, apparently had been with us since we arrived at the Korg, but, to be honest, I had never noticed him until he spoke. Once our conversation had ended, I quickly lost track of him again.

As I waited, unsure of what to do while my men’s wounds were being attended to, the Goblinesh of the outpost quickly noted my fatigue and encouraged me to take what food I desired from the kitchens. I must confess my unease. For years, I have lived in strict military environs. Simply taking what I wanted without explicit permission went against everything I had been taught. But, when in Korg…

After eating enough to quell the pangs of hunger, I went to find the paladin Sir Dane for directions around the Korg. The winding and seemingly haphazard streets remained a complete mystery to me. He led me to the Korg version of a “tavern”. Within the establishment I found Lucien who was parrying with an even larger group of women, one even an Aevakar with a broken wing. Sitting with the former bandit, I proposed that he would join me that evening in the tradition of the “Last Call” for the men who had fallen, his and mine.

To my surprise, he readily agreed. Not only that, he suggested I invited more of the locals to join us. Pleased, I agreed and, with Sir Landen, returned to the outpost. Running into Grek also returning, I invited he and any of his friends to join us, after briefly explaining the details of a “Last Call.” Seeming amenable, he headed back off into the Gather. After that, I rested, wrote reports and spoke with the people who came and went.

Hours passed. During which, I later discovered, Grek visited the leader of the gather, an Ogre known as Kregorth and a group of well, known partyers known as the “Stone Hurlers.” After which, he visited the Gather’s blacksmith who created “cups” for the “Last Call” for later that evening. Once my official reports had been completed, I found myself napping, my energy sapped by a hard day of fighting and the spiritual drain of the other realms. Though, I noted a change, something deep within me, something touched by the calling of the Horn. Only time will tell the extent.

Nevertheless, day soon drew to a close, and the sun dipped low to touch the peaks of the hills around me. With Sir Landen in the lead, and following Grek who lugged a huge pot of the most delicious stew I have ever smelled, these people will never cease to amaze, I made my way back the “tavern” if had seen before. There, I found a party already underway. Lucien, with his gaggle of females, was in the midst of a tale of one of the men he had lost in the battle. I greeted him politely, exchanging pleasantries with him and a few of the other Goblinesh “dignitaries”? I must confess, my training has ill prepared me for this society. There are no lords, no generals, only equals. Even the leader, Kregorth introduce himself, and only after I had asked, as Mak’Tokash. In Galean, this simply means, First among equals. Curious, but noble.

As this tradition had been my idea, I was given leave to being the “official” celebration, though clearly the drinking had begun hours before. I introduced myself to the blank stares of most. I doubt the presence of a Human Colonel was be of much interest to the gathered. Following the formality, I recounted the tale of the final battle, reciting in brief which my report of the morning entailed. After which, I placed coins in the smaller of the two cups, which was itself sized for an Ogre. The other was no cup, but a barrel that might at that moment have contained 50 gallons of ale.

From there, the drinking, stories and celebration continued…for two days. Months of stress, starvation and fear had built up to the point of breaking. With the sudden reversal of the Storm’s destruction and the bleak cloud of starvation gone the Goblinesh of the Korgs, and undoubtedly all people across the lands let go of their worry and their pain in celebration of the bright new day our sacrifice had wrought. I will never again partake of Korg Ale. It does not set well with me. I remember little of those two days, other than the sense of belonging and the sheer unbridled and unreserved hospitality they extended to me, an outsider. Though they may not know it, but they have won a true ally in me. Should they ever have need, I will come.

I was most touched by the final memory shared, one of my few, crystal clear. As the celebration was truly winding to a close, Grek, who had remained mute for the entire two days, stood and removed a book from his pouch. He approached the overflowing cup and smoke in a surprisingly soft voice for a ogre so large. He said, “This is Gobner’s journal. He saved my life. When I was knocked unconscious in battle, I woke to find Gobner standing over my body, protecting me. He was slain by a Shayakar. The group ended him.” With that, he laid the, obviously precious, tome on the top and left. I begin to realize the strength of feeling my Goblinesh companions possess. They are as deep, still pools. Quite, strong with enormous power and depth. My mind turned to Grimbore and his sacrifice for Longtail
Where are you Longtail?

After the two days of celebration which took the “Last Call” and turned it into a celebration of life, victory and hope, I collapsed. From what I was told, I rested for 15 hours. After waking, somewhat groggy and drinking more than a 50 gallon drum of water to wash away the headache pounding behind my eyes, I set to work on official tasks. It was now, early in the morning on the 19th Red Wolf. I still had men to see to, and somewhere to the north, my own command was fractured and leaderless. Putting together a plan, I moved into action. While making plans, I encountered a curious creature, a Brinchie so unlike Longtail and StreetRunner as to be another species.

LittleClaw as I discovered he was called, possessed a speed unmatched by any creature I had seen. No doubt sorcery was at work. The Brinchie acted as chef, runner and general gopher for the outpost. Admittedly, between his speed and Gergo’s stealth, I spent a great deal of time checking my surroundings for possible, sudden surprise.
First, I asked Sir Landen to escort me to the shaman’s tent where I found my men hale and well. Though, fairly anxious to return to “human” society. Lucien had beaten me to them, though they seemed more than pleased to join me in my trip to Echer’Naught on the following day. I am uncertain whether they more wished to escape Lucien or received their long awaited bounty from me. After I had given orders and sent them to the outpost, I proceeded next to speak with the Mak’Tokash.

I found him overseeing repairs on the walls damaged during the storms. Though the lands themselves had shown miraculous recovery, constructs built by intelligent hands still bore all the signs of damage. We spoke briefly, he busy, I anxious to leave. Kregorth was kind enough to provide rations for me, my four men and, to my surprise but deep and abiding joy, Grek and Ivan, who both agreed to accompany me north to Echer’Naught.

During the fight, no ten warriors equaled the power and skill as these two Ogres. That they would accept my command, and follow me…touched me deeply.

After that business had been attended, I also spoke with Kregorth of the prisoners, the Storm mage in his care, and the captured builder in the Ranger’s hands. In truth, as I explained, their former leader who allowed himself to fall to storm was theirs. The Ranger corps had no claim. As for the Builder, I asked for Kregorth aid in transporting him under guard to the Tinker’s Laboratory, a former Dwarven clan home recently discovered that was quickly becoming the center for Builder study in the Ranger Corps. I could think of no greater guardians than the people of the Korg.

Lastly, I explained that at dusk that evening, we were to burn the dead at the sacred place of the Korg and the following morning, my unit would depart. The Mak’Tokash agreed attend and bid me a farewell.

With that, I returned to the outpost and completed the necessary details of command. I am inordinately pleased to report the promotion of several worthy members of the Ranger Corps.

Ranger Corporal Kor-e Evans was promoted to Sergeant. With him, I left a sergeants silver signet ring.

Ranger 1st Class Grek, my friend, I promoted to Corporal. To him, I gave the Corporal’s gold pin.

Ranger 1st Class Sir Dane Landen was promoted to Corporal as well. He too relieved the gold pin.

Ranger 1st Class Opal Fellfiele was also promoted to Corporal. She received the gold pin.

Ranger Rak “Fixer” Gustos was promoted to 1st Class and received the silver pin.

LittleClaw, seeing the honor and privilege of the Corps also joined and received the light cloak of a Ranger Trainee


In a first, I hope, Tina “the Barded Goat”, who stood the line against the storm and ever protects her friend Grek, I, Colonel Alexander Wolfhaven do promote to full Ranger status effective immediately.

Official duties concluded, I joined the other Rangers, many of the people of the Korg and those of the Legio Heroes, the Stormwalkers, who remained to burn the bodies of the fallen. Here, Gergo surprises all present by presenting Grek with Gobner’s last work, translated for him. Then, we all disperse and make preparations to leave.

The morning of the 20th came bright and cheerful. I bid a fond farewell to my new friends, gathered my men and marched out the Korg Humps, hale and well, but anxious to return to my own home.

My party now consisted of:
Myself, Colonel Alexander Wolfhaven

Ivan “the Lighthouse” Sokolov, male ogre, and drunken Master Warrior

Grek, male ogre behemoth with his three goat companions Tina, the barded goat, Max and Tiny (massive) “seeing eye goat.”

Michael and his three mercenaries, all former Camonese men.

Gergo, male goblin, scout…and quiet killer.

Paladin, Sir Dane Landen, male human

Rak “Fixer” Gustos, male goblin

As we headed north along the road to Holk we entered recently renewed farmlands only to find a group of men led by a Shayakar herding 5 chained civilians across an ancient stone bridge. Quickly moving into position, I ordered Gergo to flank the enemy from the far side, drawing their attention from our attack. He immediately shape shifts and vanishes into the grass.

I then formed my soldiers into a rank, and sent my Ogres as battering rams into the enemy rear. Admittedly, I am unfamiliar with commanding Ogres, something I must remedy quickly. Gergo had barely enough time to get into position before the slavers spotted the 14 foot tall behemoths charging at them. Had they been men, I’m sure my plan would have worked perfectly. As it was, it worked better, but mostly due to the quick thinking of our scout.

Flanking even further, Gergo appears from the grass in a swirl of blades and eliminates the two lead guards of the slaves before the enemy is aware of his presence. So quickly, and so stealthily did he complete this maneuver that the enemy remained unaware of the demise of their comrades, or the presence of the foe among them. He vanished again.

Sir Landen, drawing his handcasters, sprinted for a nearby stone gazebo and blasted the Shayakar’s archers in two crystallite shots. They vanished in bright orange fire. He snaps a third shot at the Shayakar, wounding him.

As before, Ivan slammed his fist into the ground, sending the stone bridge and the entire enemy force into a churning river.

Grek, like some stone meteor leaped the river, bounded onto a rock and swung his battle axe down on the Shayakar, who twisted away.

Seeing the situation rapidly changing, I ordered my men forward to flank around the river by land bridge near a farmhouse and secure our retreat. With that, I sprinted forward, apologizing, touched Ivan and Sir Landen on the backs before beseeching the power of the Horn within me. Again, the power within me rose to my call, shifting space/time for a moment, depositing the three of us on the far side of the river, not a stone’s throw from Grek and the Shayakar.

Instantly, my strength left me and I nearly collapsed to the ground in sheer exhaustion. Clearly, though I can tap into some new power, I may be physically unequal to the task.
Appeared again as if from thin area, Gergo thrwos a needle at the Shayakar, hitting him in the throat and paralyzing him with some strange poison.

At my command, Grek attempted to disarm the frozen Warrior of Shadow, but his massive blade whisked by, inches away.

Taking up where Grek failed, Ivan scooped the man up by his foot and carried him toward me. Unfortunately, this allowed the contents of the vial he had been about to consume drip to the ground. Frost spread where each drop struck the earth and a white mist rose around us. When it cleared, we were facing an enormous Ice elemental of some form.

Shouting for the prisoners to flee, I raised my father’s sword brining it down on the creatures shoulder. Blade sparked against Ice in a flash.

With two bounding steps, Grek leaped into the sky, sailing through the air, then slamming his massive weapon down on the elemental’s head. It shattered into a blizzard of shards.
In the distraction, the Shayakar freed himself and plunged his Black Iron blade deep into Ivan’s chest. Staggering from the pain, Ivan dropped the man to the ground at my feet.
Again, a Gergo appears, slashing with a sinebone, the blow turned aside. He struck again, this time delivering his poison, freezing the Shayakar, once again, in place.

Realizing the danger he posed should he free himself a third time, I plunged my father’s sword through his shoulder, where bone met rib, and threw my weight against the sword. It slid clean through armor, sinew and bone, punching out the man’s side and deep into the ground, pinning him in place. Smoke streamed from the wound where the Archanon’s fire which wreathes the blade burned at the Shayakar’s flesh.

I ordered that he surrender, but through the murderous glare in his eye and the set of his jaw, I realized entreaties were pointless. Sadly, I ordered Grek to strip him of everything.
Without question, the massive Ogre simply ripped his armor and weapons off his prone body. In seconds, he lay naked, bleeding and in pain. Nodding to Ivan, who uncoiled an impressive amount of rope from his pack, I withdrew my sword.

Before any had a moment to move, Ivan had the Shayakar trussed up like a “Capstan” as the mighty Ogre explained. And with that, the battle was over.

Fixer approached, slapping me, and healing my fatigue. He also healed Ivan’s wounds. No one else was injured, thank the light. I ordered that we return to the farm and speak with the famers.

They had been huddling against the storms, unsure of what to do. When everything suddenly lifted, they were scared to come out for fear of some new horror. Eventually, they ventured forth, only to spy the Shayakar’s forces coming from the surrounding hills. Though they attempted to barricade themselves inside, it was no use and they were quickly captured.

Had we not arrived, they were bound for slavery…or worse. I explained that the Storms were gone and that they were free to go about their lives. I also presented a receipt for repair of the bridge which they could bill to the Echer’Naught HQ if they desired.

Leaving the farm behind, we traveled again for a couple days, coming into Holk on the 23rd of Red Wolf. It was an impressive city and I elected to remain for the rest of the day and night with the Rangers posted there, leaving on the morning of the 24th. I endeavored to speak with the Rangers there, turning over our captive to be returned to Korg. I made some purchases and we continued on.

Here, I bid farewell to Sir Landen and Fixer. I’m not sure about Gergo. I can never seem to keep up with him. Also, as mentioned, we left the Shayakar captive in their care. For me, the goodbye was difficult. I had grown close with these warriors, but duty pressed me forward.

Two days later, on the 26th, we arrived in Tarrow. Then two days after that, we reached Serenity late on the 28th. Again I went to speak with the Rangers there and stayed with them until morning.

On the morning of the 29th, we left, heading north for Farwatch. It took four days, but we arrived late on the 32nd of Red Wolf and reported to the Rangers there. Staying until morning, we ventured on again, striking overland for the Elven waystation on the Greenway Road.

After a solid 6 days of travel, we arrived on the 5th of Eternal Sun to find the Dwarven convoy long since departed. Tomorrow, the 6th, we will depart for Echer’Naught.
Here I write, by lamplight. I know Echer’Naught is not far, four days on foot at most. I am truly anxious to be home. I have faith that Corporal Hawksclaw has all well in hand, though I fear for his safety and that of Highwall. Of Longtail? I can only say that thoughts of her bring both hope, and pain.

I cannot but help feel responsible for sending her out into the Storm, alone and unprotected. Light see her safe. See them all safe.

Regardless, I return home soon.

It will be good sleep in my own bed again.

Your obedient servant,

A. Wolfhaven, Colonel

Elven Waystion, Greenway Road, Olara

Campaign Report 14
The End of All Things

Colonel Wolfhaven, Alexander

Commander of the Legio Heroes

Korg Humps, Wildlands

Jubilation Day-the Sixteenth Day, Red Wolf, Year 3123 Under the Light

Days like these come once in a thousand lifetimes, where a chosen few stand before the fury of oblivion, beaten and bloodied but undaunted. To have stood among such a company will carry a man through any trial to come, for what greater accolade could he have but to say, “I was there.”?

For me, it began simply enough.

I followed a Goblin into a hole in the ground.

As detailed in a report of the 14th of Red Wolf, a report now in the hands of Ranger Rildrirr and on its way to Echer’Naught, I, in the company of a small team of newly minted Rangers, headed south by south-west of the Elven Waystation along the Greenway road.

We travelled through a gale of growing intensity, nearly drowned to death standing in our own boots. Yet, with Archanon’s Light and some luck, we happened upon a battle in process. I will leave off here, for that ground has already been trod, but establishes the beginning of my tale.

On the Morning of the 15th day of Red Wolf, a day that will ring down through history until the true breaking of the world, I, along with Rildrirr, StripedClaw, and Crag awoke, and, led by a nervous Goblin known only as Nit, headed further south into the outskirts of Landra’Feya. Whether we crossed out of the Wildlands before we spotted the fortresses’ spire, I can honestly not say, only that we crept under the cover of the Elven Forest’s leafy bower, our only sanctuary from the storm clouds overhead.

And it was there that we found what I refer to as the Western Storm Druid’s lair. As I have outlined in previous reports, Members of a band of Ranger heroes led by the Aevakar Zaro had already tackled and defeated, if not killed, a Storm Druid somewhere outside of Farwatch. So, too, had my men of Echer’Naught hunted, and with some loss of life, brought low a second Storm Magus who at first used my former home as his filthy hiding hole and then attempted to turn my town into some form of dark, evil portal. Even now, I can only assume Corporal Hawksclaw and Ranger 1st Class Highwall are somewhere far to the east of Echer’Naught…perhaps even so far as Harken.

I pray to the Light that he finds them safe. Longtail as well, for whom I have begun to despair. But should she be counted among the fallen, her death will be avenged.

With two of the four conspirators dispatched, a third either handily dealt with or soon to be, I focused on the fourth and last villain as I stood just outside his fortress with rain matting my hair and Ranger cloak to my drenched armor.

StripedClaw scouted ahead and quickly returned with his usual quizzical expression. I have known him only a few days, but I begin to wonder if that might be his normal expression. Regardless, his return was far less surreptitious than his approach. I soon understood why.

Entering through a mangled and scorched entrance which might once have held a mighty iron bound oak door, we found ourselves in a small courtyard littered with debris, weapons, gear and some blown over tents. Having spent most of my life in and among the military I quickly deduced that this had been a rather large encampment…two actually.

Clearly this had once been the home of the broken and scattered band of Maelstrom forces we had temporarily been forced to ally ourselves with the day prior, though they appeared to have been ousted months ago. In their stead was a much more haphazard assortment of tents and encampments. Not true soldiers these new inhabitants, mercenaries and madman more like.

Still, neither Maelstrom nor Storm-maddened warrior was to be found living within. There were some corpses, some fresh, some weeks old, but nothing living moved with that charnel house. Continuing on, our weapons at the ready, we entered the weathered keep to find more of the same, evidence of a month old battle, detritus of two inhabiting forces and everywhere the distinct lack of sanity I have come to associate with those in league with the Storm Mages.

At this point, Nit’s courage fled him and, with a final squeak, he turned and fled. And yet, I saw where his eyes had fallen. A doorway leading to where, I did not know.

Pushing forward, our sinews strained to the snapping point, my new Ranger Trainees followed me through the door and down into madness.

The wall dripped with water as if the underground staircase was exposed to the driving rain above. Stranger yet, we began to feel gust of wind tug at our cloaks and our hair even as we delved further beneath the surface. Soon, the regularity of the stone steps gave way to more uneven, natural stone formations. At some point in the long distant past, the ancient architect had clearly built his home atop a fortress of nature’s crafting.

Our footsteps led us ever down until we came to an underground cavern lit by madly flicking lanterns which swung and creaked on rusted metal rings, caught in a savage summer gale. Large, perhaps the size of the sanctuary of Echer’Naught’s chapel of Light, the chamber was formed from natural rock, carved by Dranak’s hands. And in the center, a rent in stone floor, a hole that had been added to, like the wall of a well without the well-house or bucket.

And standing just behind was the Storm Druid, hair being whipped into a frenzy by the impossible winds blasting from the very earth. He looked at me, lighting flashing in his eyes and screamed insanities about the new god and the time had come. Even as we raised our weapons to charge, he hurled himself into the void and disappeared just as had the others before…well almost.

In surprise we skidded to stop as the winds began to swirl faster and faster, forming something like a cyclone IN the hole. My men, uncertain, looked to me for orders and for the first time in my life, I had none to give…

And then I heard it.

A horn. A pure clarion sound, ringing through the roar of the wind and the thunder of my own heart. A note so sweet and pure, for a moment, I forgot about all.

The Horn.

I have heard tales. Of men, at the end, facing their own demise and the destruction of all they hold dear, filled with a silver light so intense that nothing, not death, not Darkness, not fate itself could stand before their righteous fury.

The Horn. And it was calling to me.

I turned now, glancing over my shoulder at the expression of incomprehension on the faces of those I had led here. And I knew, this battle was mine. I removed my satchel and handed it to Rildrirr and with it, my reports, my orders, everything that Hawkclaw or he, if both Hawksclaw and Highwall had fallen, would need to carry on in my stead.

I said, “See them safely home; the caravan, your men. Wait for me in Echer’Naught. If you do not hear from me in a week’s time. Tell Stormhammer…tell him to carry on.”

Rildrirr merely clasped his hand to his chest, bowed, and said, “It will be done.”

As I turned back to the portal, the surety of what I was about to do hardening my resolve, I saw her. The Silver Unicorn…as a ghostly mirage of the purest moonlight, bowing to me. But did I see sadness in her soft eyes?

Perhaps. But I knew my duty. And so…

…I leaped.

I wish to describe in exacting detail exactly what I felt in this moment, what I perceived. Alas, I cannot. The human mind is simply ill equipped to process such things. Know only that for a heartbeat I did not exist, but existed everywhere. That I was out of time, and at the same, out of time itself.

It lasted an eternity, but only a heartbeat.

And then, in a flash of lightning and thunder, I was hurled back into reality.

My first impression was the flash of lighting blinding me as my boots struck something solid. I opened my eyes, blinking back the stars and the sounds of combat rushed in on my overtaxed senses. In an instant I absorbed my surroundings as time seemed, for a moment, to stand still.

I was inside a large cathedral, stone I think, domed ceiling high overhead. Sounds echoed and rang as if the space was very large. Ahead of me, I saw a Storm Magus flanked by two elite guards…and before that a shield wall of human mercenaries. Around me, Lighting Elementals hovered and sparked.

A glance over my shoulder revealed another line of men, but facing away. And beyond them, at the far end of the huge floor a swarm of The Drowned, pour lost souls who lived in torment half drowned but never allowed the peace of death. These damned were surrounding a group of warriors, men and women…Rangers.

I smiled.

Even at the end of all things. We stood together.

My eyes came around and locked with the Storm Magus. Kill the Mage. Kill the Spell.

I charged, Archanon’s name on my lips, as I raised my father’s sword high, its fine blade wreathed in the blue light of the Church of Light.

Instantly, a nimbus of scorching light engulfed my body as I surged forward throwing myself at my enemies. I collided into them, swinging with all the strength I possessed. Today, the Wolfhaven name would be heralded among heroes again.

Even as I charged, my brothers in arms charged with me. At that moment I did not know their names only that we shared the most sacred bond any two can share. Only later did I learn, and I will not soon forget those who shared the field that day.

Maeve O’Halloran, the female human Priest of Light and her steed Justice

Alraune the Bloodrose, the female human War Mage

Ivan “the Lighthouse” Sokolov, male ogre, and drunken Master Warrior

Zori the Red Lyre, the male (I think) alakar Adept and Bard

My charge took me within arm’s reach of the lead Storm Magus, but his men stepped into my path, blocking my way and quickly surrounding me. Their sword blows fell like the rains of a storm, battering me down, always seeking, questing for a lapse in my defense, or a chink in my armor. In moments, I was in mortal danger

But behind me, my brothers and sisters had seen my arrival, and quickly understood my danger.

Even as the Drowned swarmed them, clawing at them with their clammy, water bloated limbs, a Wind Rider flew across the field and charged into their ranks along with three Lighting Elementals. The Rangers and heroes lashed out with blade and hoof, striking down Drowned even as more shuffled to take their place.

Ivan, the largest of the heroes was quickly targeted by repeated attacks, but the massive ogre weathered the storm and shook off their blows and magic like a dog shaking water. Swinging his improvised ogre maul around him with surprising speed and grace he dispatched the Wind Rider in a single blow and all but a few of the Drowned were given final peace.

Free now, all but the Bard Zori charged forward, throwing themselves at the line of mercenaries between them and myself.

Facing a raging ogre and Maeve riding Justice with Alraune riding along as well, the line of mercs were scattered like leaves before the gale. Maeve on Justice circled to the right, avoiding the strange large arcane device that dominated the center of the room. Ivan circled to the left. And suddenly, the worm turned.

Any soldier that survives even a few engagements gains a sense of the ebb and flow of battle. Like tide rising and falling on a beach, we instinctively begin to understand the moments when our forces are cresting like a wave, or running like the outgoing tide. I could see in the eyes of men around me that they knew their cause was lost. So I seized upon the moment.

I stepped back, shouted above the screams, and the rattle of arms, above the energy of the room’s massive portal which flashed with lighting one second, then followed with a sucking vortex the next. I implored them, telling them their cause was madness and, would they but lay down their arms, I guaranteed them full quarter. I begged them to follow me… to end the insanity. The discussion was brief and in the end, whether swayed more by my words or their own fear, they turned on their former masters and joined our side.

With that, the battle was won, but the war raged on. Ivan crashed through the ranks of mercenaries like a landslide, knocking them aside with sweeps from his massive weapon. Maeve, atop Justice, with Alraune at her back, rode down men, her white silver mace flashing bright in the ever increasing flashes of the room’s central conduit of power.

Alone now, Zori battled the Drowned, buying us time to defeat the Storm Magus. Together, the others joined me and my new squad, surrounding the Magus and his last two elite guards, his other forces dead or scattered. To their credit, his men stood firm against our might, though I fear their will had long since been subsumed by the madness of storms, as I could see the spark of lighting in their eyes.

Our contest was brutal and sharp, but soon, his men fell, leaving him alone. Only then did he realize his error and attempted to flee, but there was no escape. In a hail of hooves, swords, and mauls he fell dead upon the floor. And so, the battle of the Storm temple was won.

But the war for Shaintar raged on.

In other place, on other battlefields, at that very moment, many heroes fought and died railing against the same insurmountable odds only to find themselves also at the precipice.

Weary and battered, we stood over the body of the Storm Magus and I suddenly began to feel that pull, that unmistakable sense of moving and yet standing still. I looked into the eyes of my new companions and saw in them the same determination that burned in mine.

Turning, I addressed the six men who had joined with me. To any who would follow me, I offered a year’s wages. They had shown enough courage that day and I knew we would need all the allies we could muster. Greed quickly overcame better judgment and with white knuckled hands gripping weapons, they stepped up.

Turning now to my fellow Rangers with a nod, I surrendered to fate.


Reality shattered.

If my previous experience had been a raging Storm, this was truly a Tempest.

We were hurled through time and space, through reality and oblivion, from this world into realms unknown.

When my senses righted themselves this time, they were assaulted by a tableau, so alien, so bizarre that my mind very nearly fled. For a few of those who had followed me, the terror was simply too great. They broke and ran. Where they planned to go, who can say.

I will try, as best I might with the limited scope my tongue has at its disposal to describe the scene around me.

We, my men and I, found ourselves on a planescape of blood red earth. Strange, impossible maelstroms, like roiling storms, but ripping across the ground at impossible angles, shrieking and screaming tore at us, pulling us off our feet. Ahead and to my left, a strange swirling vortex of energy, swirling and churning, framed by a red-stone arch. And spilling out, a golden light, but not of purity, of such unimaginable insanity, I cannot put into words. It ripped out our souls, tearing and shearing. Worst of all, shuffling along this horrible scape were man-like creatures sparking with the mad storm’s energy… Volt men.

And that was only the first. Like a patchwork quilt but not of the fabrics of cotton and wool, but of the threads binding reality, before me stretched pieces and parts of other, alien worlds, mashed together in an eyebleeding array of terrains, environments and creatures.

Just beyond the horror of the red storms lay a dull brown land of chasms and roaring winds. And beyond that, a strange flat land of sparking towers and builder-like devices of power and magnitude on a scale I can scarcely comprehend. Further on, at the extreme of my vision lay gray stone towers and something so far distant that I barely discerned the purple, white of the spire that seemed to be the anchor.

Every fiber of my being screamed at the wrongness of everything around me, as if this place was trying to reject me, remake me into something horrific and twisted, so much like the Storm mad Druids and Mages I had faced and the poor Drowned souls in the ancient temple I had, but moments ago, been standing within. And everywhere I looked, monsters and creatures beyond nightmare arrayed like an army against us.

My heart quailed. How could mortals survive such things?!

And yet, even here, I could hear the voices of my comrades being joined by others, men, elves, ogres and a brinchie all there in this place.

One by one, vorping in flashes of lighting.

Dane Landen, human paladin wielding the enemies’ own weapons, appeared vaporizing two voltmen with orange blasts from his twin handcasters.

Macha Panta the 21st Royal Bloodline of Eon’Voltuh appeared and closed with his foes, scrambling up to meet them.

Grek, ogre behemoth with his trusted goat companion Tina, the barded goat, appeared and crushed three Voltmen before they could even react.

Zori appeared and attacked a voltman, but the blow slid passed.

Liarra Byrne, the female human Adept appeared and fired a bolt of pure psionic energy at a voltman, but in the alien environ, the magic twisted away.

Ivan blasted into existence at a run, charging forward.

Lady Alraune appeared and advanced on the horde of voltmen, closing.

And last, Maeve appeared astride Justice, charging forward.

Scattered and disorganized, we were almost instantly swarmed by the hordes of sparking voltmen the moment we appeared.

Recovering most swiftly, Grek swept voltmen from his path with seeming ease as he began to lumber forward, his massive form towering over the field. Maeve and Justice thundered forward, slashing at voltmen as they rode. Alraune slashed a foe and advanced. At the same moment, a Light blasted from Dane as Zori raised bow to loose an arrow. Light and missile met, fusing into a shining torch which streaked across multicolored sky, passing from this realm to the next before slamming into a massive Lighting Elemental the size of a behemoth ogre standing atop some form of Builder generator. Light met lighting in an explosion of fire and electricity. For a moment, the world went white and when the sparks cleared from my eyes for the third time this day, I saw the huge, mechanical tower topple over, crushing a group of human looking warriors beneath. A cheer rose from our forces. Then something happened, whether it was Liarra’s magic, Zori’s shot or Dane’s Light, I cannot say, but the soul sucking portal to my left shifted and altered and I could see pulses of energy passing from that portal all the way across the horrible landscape to another like portal beneath the gray stone towers. I formed my squad and attacked the Voltmen closing around some of my companions. In that instant, Liarra fired a telekentic bolt at a distant foe and then LEAPED into the portal!

My heart lurched!

A heartbeat later the burrowing ogre, Ovgol leapt as well, disappearing from my sight.

Dane, charging, blasted two more voltmen with his handcasters then leapt through the portal. Ivan, charging across the field like an avalanche through a forest of saplings, brushing aside any and all foes, then leapt into the portal. Turning to my men, I shout, “Do you want to live forever?!” and, displaying the courage I hoped to find in my own heart… I too leaped.

The transition was so swift I did not have time to feel myself be torn asunder and remade. I was spat out of the distant portal like a bolt fired from a crossbow, my men behind me. Instantly, as if guided by my own will, they formed around me in perfect ranks, our boots in perfect step, we charged the first line of enemies we spied. Caught completely off-guard by our near miraculous appearance, they had no time to react. We hit them at speed, shattering their ranks.

My way clear, I looked up to take in the sight before me, and I stopped, stunned. To my right a tower topped by Lightning Elementals and Storm Magus. To my left a larger tower with the same. Before me, hundreds of yards ahead over unbroken terrain a line of the Storm’s Vanguard of Fury, their strange lighting rod weapons pointed at us with unwavering precision. But all this fled from my thoughts the instant I spied the scene beyond.

That huge, purple white tower I had seen from so far away rose into the sky, its crenelated top disappearing in a raging tempest storm of a size and magnitude…I simply do not have the words. At the base of the tower sat a pool of power and energy, like a reservoir of magic, but wrong and sickening. It sapped my strength to merely look up it. And around it, the most powerful and elite guards and Storm mages I have yet faced. But that was not what gave me pause.

A figure I saw, bound by invisible bonds, suspended spread eagle between stone towers, held captive by Storm creatures for which I have no name.


Rage burst forth in my chest the likes I have not felt since the night my family perished in the fires of Flame.

She was weak, as if her life was being drawn out into the pool. I took a step forward, but Liarra moved faster. Looking up, the young adept… moved. I could feel it, though I know not how. Liarra moved through space, time, and magic. And in an instant of pure love, of pure sacrifice, Shayline vanished… only to be replaced by Liarra.

One of our own.

This would not stand.

The world, or whatever makeshift abomination of a realm where we stood, groaned and shook as Liarra began to wrestle for control.

Ovgol broke right, crashing into a line of Vanguard, sweeping them from the field. Warping through the portal, Zori enhanced an arrow with power, fired, blasted an elemental into sparks. Macha Panta leapt through the portal, charging into the Vanguard. Grek turned, crushing a Voltman, then, snapping his goat up to cradle in his massive arms, let himself be pulled through the portal bellowing, “Hold on, Tina!”.

Enraged, Macha Panta leapt my line and charged the open ground alone, trying to reach Liarra. He alone faced fourteen Lighting Vanguard who lowered their rods. Fourteen beams of pure, elemental energy flashed across the field, converging on Macha who was immediately engulfed in a conflagration brighter than the sun.

I turned away, shielding my face from the glare, even as tears stung my eyes. In that moment, I knew a great hero had fallen for nothing, not even my ogre companions could survive such power. And then, we heard the roar as Macha Panta, 12th in the Panta line, appeared above the heads of the Vanguard, his fur in flames, but his eyes alight. A cheer rose from every throat as he fell among them, slashing this way and that, felling three in a single motion.

The last of our company to break from the Voltmen, Alraune sprinted for the portal and was whisked across the field, to land in our midst. One man alone, overcome by sheer terror at the mind-warping effects of this place, Mikey, one of my mercs, remained alone behind. All others stood with me, facing the pool of power, Liarra’s struggling form…and the end of everything we know and love.

Coming out of the portal, Alraune appeared, power infusing her like an overflowing geyser, she wove enegy like thread, pouring it into the others. Though my connection with the Horn, I could feel just a fraction of the energy spilling from her. Each and every caster, adept, and mage within our ranks suddenly burst into tendrils of pure, undiluted power.

Above our heads, on the towers flanking our position, a Storm Mage caught my forces clumped tightly together. Lighting ripped over us. Four of my men were instantly overwhelmed, two more from those brought by Ovgol. While a few of the heroes were driven to their knees none fell.

As her friends were bathed in lighting, Liarra desperately fought for control. For a moment, the enemy seemed to overtake her, but suddenly she flashed bright with a blue light that burst from her like a wave, passing over the field of battle. Shining like a star, Liarra began to wrest control of fate from the hands of those who would destroy.

Closing, desperately attempting to prevent our reaching Liarra, summoned elementals slammed Macha Panta, Ovgol and Grek with bolts of lightning. In response, Grek turned, reaching up and hooking his polearm on the crenelated peak of the right tower, he hauled himself up and swept two mages and their elemental from the top in a single mighty swipe of his arm. They tumbled, screaming, to the ground below.

Through a break in the line of his own creation, Macha Panta leaped up on the edge of the pool and hurled one of the binding mages into its vortex of energy. The man’s body was ripped apart, his soul scattered as he died, shrieking.

Raising his twin ’casters, Dane took a bead on the two Storm Magi binding Liarra and fired. They disappeared in orange light.

Time slowed again, as around me, my allies, friends, companions and men struggled and fought, holding back the hordes of enemies closing in around. I looked up and saw pain and determination on Liarra’s face and heard the mad cackling of the Storm Mages as they summoned power from their foreign god.

You see, a soldier learns to feel the ebb and flow of battle. And a good soldier can sense the moments when the tide beings to turn. Dropping wearily to one knee, forehead pressed against the cool hilt of my father’s sword, I cried out to Archanon, Father of Light, to give what strength remained within me to Liarra, for all of Shaintar would share her fate, for good or for ill.

As Light once again engulfed me and my essence began flow away like a river, I could feel others around me tapping their own power.

Ovgol, channeling his power through the ground and up into Liarra.

Alraune, bursting with power, rejected the aesthetics, the wrongness of it all, pulling here, threading there, and weaving a tapestry of beauty in that horrid place.

On my orders, behind me, Ivan slammed his massive fists into the ground with the force of Dranak, pouring his power of quake through Ovgol’s underground channels, drawing power from Alraune, he shattered the foundations of the Storm Tower. Cracking, breaking and crumbling, the huge edifice listed slowly to the side, huge chunks flying apart, crashing into the ground, scattering enemy soldiers. With one final, horrendous explosion of lightning, shattered stone shards and screaming Storm Magi, it crashed into the ground sending out buffeting waves of gale force winds and arcing electricity. Unfinished, Ivan slammed again, this time blasting the leftmost, squat tower into pieces, sending the enemy flying in all directions as dust and stone rained down on our heads.

Glowing with power, Zori reached out, sending blue energy in streams to meet the white light pouring from me and mixing with the underground rivers of power, all flowing into the body of Liarra who began to glow with an orchestra of colors. The world around us began to shake, pieces of reality falling away as her power began to peak.

At the last moment, Maeve charged forward, pure healing light pouring from her, mixing and blending with the streams and arcs of power flowing from every hero into Liarra.

The girl’s body arced as her power overloaded and the stress became too great.

And the question. One not spoken, but felt. Felt by every man and woman in that place, a question that echoed out through time, to the very founding of the world and all the way until the day that world ends.

A question on which the lives of every soul within the world, good or evil, powerful and weak alike rested.

A single question.

“What fate do you choose?”

And then she spoke.

“I seal away this place, and the storm… leaving only one small portal so the souls of the heroes here may return home.”

Faith. Channeling. Sorcery. The Way. Courage. Sacrifice. Loyalty. And Love.

Know this. Let it be carried to every corner of the world. On this day. The day our world stood at the brink of oblivion. It was hearts of heroes that faced annihilation and refused to fall.

We woke, lying reposed on a field of green grass under a cloudless blue sky, a gentle summer breeze caressing our cheeks. We were not a stone’s throw from the Korg Humps. We woke to a land healed, a land of plenty and beauty. A land unsoiled by the Storm.

I have led armies, faced horrors of Darkness and Flame, but I have never commanded a force of men and women so dedicated, so willing to give their all, not just their lives, but everything for the sake of those they love.

I make this vow. From this day to my last, I will do nothing but earn the respect and faith placed in me. For at the end of all things, I had the honor and the privilege to lead them, the Legio Heroes. Legion of Heroes.

Your obedient servant,

A. Wolfhaven, Colonel

Korg Humps, Wildlands

Campaign Report 13
Western Storms

Colonel Wolfhaven, Alexander

Somewhere South of the Greenway Road, near the border between the Wildlands and Landra’Feya

Fourteenth Day, Red Wolf, Year 3123 Under the Light

We took four days to recover from the events of the second storm to strike Echer’Naught. From the 29th of Planting Moons to the 10th day of Red Wolf, my Rangers scrambled to burn the bodies of the dead, gather the wounded, the orphans and the livestock and begin the rebuilding process. With so much destruction, and the storms even now increasing, I fear my town may never recover.

With each orphan we rescue, I think more and more of Longtail. Still not word. I am truly concerned, bordering on despair. It is unthinkable that in such a short time I would have grown so fond of the men and women under my command, but that is my nature. I will find her if it takes me a lifetime.

But time marches on.

Healed, but different in a way I cannot understand, Hawksclaw returned to duty and has led all efforts to right the wrongs having been done. I know the loss of the four Watchmen affected him deeply and I was pleased to see that he, personally, spoke to each family and provided solace. He has grown deeply spiritual, especially since his encounter on the tower.

Highwall seems to have new life. I like the change and the leadership he showed during the battle. I am also curious about his arrangement with the Smith. I know that for a time, it was something of a punishment, but he seems to have blossomed under the tutelage. With his knack for mechanical, technical and literary tasks, I am considering a position within the staff support structure here in Echer’Naught. He may prove one day to fulfill Stormhammer’s position…or Olgor’s.

As for Rildrirr, I know these battles have cost him even as he tries to adjust to his new life. He may find that he gets more bees with honey. And I fear that patience is not his strong suit. However, for a more loyal and stalwart warrior I could not ask. His conduct during the entire episode was exemplary. And for that reason, I have chosen for him to accompany me. I would also like the opportunity to get to know the big man better. In me he may find a kindred spirit.

Stormhammer is just miffed he missed the fun and Olgor complains constantly of the effect the rains have on his bones.

Finally, on the 10th, I could wait no longer. I feared the Magus had already fled beyond our reach, but it could not be helped. We had been in no condition to go and Echer’Naught was in no condition for us to leave.

That morning, before daybreak, Rildrirr and I road out of the Elven Gate onto the Greenway Road striking out east. The rains had already begun again and soon, our horses waded through water passed their forelocks. It was a miserable ride, but one in which we made decent time despite the weather.

It is frightful indeed when this mighty ancient highway begins to churn and turn impassable.

Following the map directions taken from Storm Magus, we headed straight for the Elven Waystation. My idea was to turn south there, but to my surprise, the Waystation was already occupied. Who would be insane enough to venture into this weather, I wondered.

As it happened, a travelling caravan of Dwarves had tried to make it to Echer’Naught with a load of salt when the storms worsened. They had been trapped for days. The Caravan master was at his wits end. But, by a stroke of luck, I happened to find LongArm guardmens with the caravan. A tough dwarf named Crag and a lithe brinchie named StripedClaw. Seeing the brinchie brought a pang to my breast, but I made an effort to hide it.

With Rildrirr seeing to our comfort, I made arrangements to hire the LongArm caravan guardsmen and both readily agreed. I promptly deputized them into the Rangers and presented their apprentice cloaks. It then occurred to me that Rildrirr deserved a full promotion, but that would have needs wait. This was on the night of the 12th of Red Wolf. The following morning, the 13th, we all rose and headed south. For two days we rode through horrible weather, the LongArms turned Rangers jogging along side.

As we closed on the area I believed the Storm Magus to be operating, I sent StripedClaw on ahead, as we followed more slowly. It was not long before he returned with a perplexed look. It appeared that the Storm Magus was in attendance, but was already battling another force…and another Cyclone was forming.

I pushed forward, crossing a swollen river where Rildrirr was forced to carry Crag across. Once on the other side, I ordered my men to move forward and focus in on the Storm Magus. Again, ahead, StripedClaw dissappeared on his task of flanking the enemy…only to quickly reappeared even more confused than ever.

From his report, I was shocked to learn that the Storm Magus was attacking a camp of soldiers, Maelstrom soldiers. My men looked to me, for I could see in their eyes that my companions had served in the War of Flame and did not relish joining forces with the Maelstrom. And yet, the enemy of my enemy…

We pressed the attack, Crag making the first attack, killing two storm mercs, but himself being hurled into the trees by a savage gust of wind. Soon the rest of us joined the battle and closed in on the Magus.

StripedClaw struck him first, but was almost instantly stuck by the magus’ evil lighting. Looking like a puffed up tabby, StripedClaw quickly changed tactics. Meanwhile, I and Rildrirr engaged a lighting elemental and a storm rider. All the while, the storm mercs continued hacking through the Maelstrom lines.

As quickly as he had been dashed, Crag returned with a vengeance, bringing low more of the storm soldiers. I dispersed the storm rider and Rildrirr an elemental. StripedClaw tried again and was hurled into the river for his temerity.

Seeing the situation, the leader of the Maelstrom took flight, leaving his men to die. Meanwhile, the magus hurled bolt after bolt of lighting, missing Rilrirr and then Crag. With extreme effort, we finally managed to destroy the last elemental and surround the Magus.

Like the others, this one took flight, but not before Crag got a good hold of his robe and hacked away at his legs. Rildrirr and StripedClaw struck, but to little avail. A Storm Magus again evaded capture and fled.

Our prize snatched from our grasp, our attention turned to the last of the storm soldiers. Between the might of Crag, the power of Rildrirr and the speed of StripedClaw, they fell in short order leaving a single Storm bowmen and three battered, bruised and wary Maelstrom warriors.

The storm mercenary saw an opportunity to escape and took it without hesitation. However, the Maelstrom stood their ground, waiting for the end. Though I knew them for what they were, they had done no ill that I knew of and had fought bravely in their way. For that, I offered them their lives, but with a warning that should they ever return to this or any land not their, I would hunt them down and destroy them.

They took their leave quickly and dispersed into the forest.

As we stacked the bodies for burning, and Rildrirr went about looting, a skill he no doubt learned from the Kal, I noted an odd bundle in the Maelstrom camp. Pointing it out, StripedClaw approached and heard moaning and slight movement from the leather sack. With great caution, he cut the binding open and a very hot, very sweaty and very irritated goblin spilled out.

He claimed his name was Nit and that he had been captured by the Maelstrom. The reason became abundantly clear when he revealed, more by accident that he was aware of the storm magus after StripedClaw made a reference. The goblin’s reaction was more than enough proof to me that he was no friend of either group.

And then, almost casually, he pointed south west and informed us that the Magus’ lair was just there. Could it be that easy?

With firmness, but not malice, StripedClaw ordered Nit to lead us to the Storm Magus. Nit promised so long as he would not have to face the insane man.

Vow quickly made, we burned the bodies and headed deeper into the Wildlands.

Tomorrow is the 15th of Red Wolf. I wonder what horrors will that day bring?

Your obedient servant,

A. Wolfhaven, Colonel
Somewhere South of the Greenway Road, near the border between the Wildlands and Landra’Feya

Campaign Report 12
Storms over Echer'Naught

Colonel Wolfhaven, Alexander

Grey Ranger Outpost, Echer’Naught

Twenty Ninth Day, Planting Moons, Year 3123 Under the Light

Just sixteen days ago, we captured the Storm Magus’ lab. That the crazed Sorcerer would desecrate my old home was an insult that demanded redress. Leaving Celebor and Alfred, we road for six brutal days in an increasingly violent storms. In the distance, cyclones would appear as if by some angry god’s hand before vanishing into nothing, yet leaving destruction in their wake.

The trip was difficult, more for young Hawksclaw than the burly Rildrirr and the ever stalwart Highwall. As for me, the fires of rage in my breast kept me warm and the palatable sense of duty cloaked me from the misery of the rain. But, by luck or sheer determination, we made the ride over muddy bogs, once lush and fertile fields, over roads, now turned to rivers.

Arriving at the Northern Postern gate, we approached to find four men garbed in the manner of the Town Watch standing guard. Odd, that above their heads turned the angriest, darkest black clouds I have ever seen, and yet these men stood in the rain, unfazed. I approached, showing them no aggression when, nigh at once, both Rildrirr and Highwall shouted warning.

Now revealed as the villains they were, the fake guards threw back their cloaks, leveled crossbows at our breasts and launched into our ranks a volley of arrow. The wind, and some ascended’s hand turned those deadly missiles aside, but the battle was truly joined. Mounted as we were, my men spurred forward to close on the crossbowmen. Sadly, though they can ride, none but Hawksclaw could be considered cavalry.

The next volley struck our mounts. My Thunder as barely scratched, but both Highwall and Hawksclaw’s mounts reared in fear, sprinting away. Highwall struck the ground with his usual durability, though Hawksclaw had the wind knocked from his breast. Rildrirr’s mount was struck in the chest, deeply. I fear that the poor brute has long since perished. Rildrirr himself was unhorsed, but otherwise uninjured.

I maintained the saddle and pressed the attack. Though the fight was brutal, my men prevailed, though not without injury. As the third man fell, the fourth and final mercenary realized his error and turned to flee. I saw as Hawksclaw’s blade lifted to pierce the man’s back, right through his heart…and then I saw the desire to kill drain from his face. He has learned much. More so than I, I believe. Nevertheless, the way was clear and I instructed Highwall to open the locked and barred door.

I know not what for the sturdy wood was designed to keep out, but it was no match for the doughty dwarf. In no time, a hole had been hacked and Highwall shouldered the bar out of the way. With a last shoulder heave, the doors to Echer’Naught flung open and we proceeded inside.

As we dashed south down the street to Center Pointe, me on my horse and my men afoot, I was in the midst of commanding Hawksclaw to summon the Town Watch when four of the Storm riders appeared before us in the rode. Moving like the wind of which they are made, they charged us, lighting swords held aloft.

Acting with extraordinary swiftness, Highwall sprinted left and dove between to buildings, but not before a creature slashing him, causing great harm, but in no way slowing the Dwarf. And then they were on use, hacking and slashing with their unearthly blades. Around me, my men struggled in a desperate fight for survival. But then one, and another fell. I dispersed one of the vile creatures, and Rildrirr another, Hawkclaw, filled with Life, struck down one, then hurled himself at the last, bringing it low.

The way clear, I ordered Hawksclaw to the Watch Post at Center Pointe, while I led Rildrirr and Highwall to the north entrance to the Beacon Hill. As we road East down the main street, above us, we watched as a massive cyclone, larger than we had ever imagined began to turn, its center point directly above the ancient an weathered Beacon Tower. On arrival, we found the bodies of the guards we have often seen posted here.

Impatiently I waited, and quickly Hawksclaw returned with four stout Watchmen in tow. Two were given over to Highwall and two to Hawksclaw as we sped up the hill toward the Mayoral Manse. When we arrived, we found the gates blown wide and the front door open and swinging. Dismounting, I led my men within, down the main hall and out into the courtyard beyond. There, we spied the base of the tower and the Elemental beast guarding the entrance. High above, the Storm Magus flew, completing whatever dark ritual he had come to cast.

I ordered my men to secure the tower and bring down the Storm crazed man. If any found the Lord Mayor, the priority was his safety. Otherwise, capturing or killing the Magus. We charged. Hawksclaw in the lead, followed shortly by Highwall. They swung at the beast, but their mundane weapons had no effect. Each man was drawing salt from his pouch to coat his weapons when the elemental blasted the area with lighting.

Instantly all four of the Watchmen were immolated in their armor. All but Rilrirr were also fairly cooked, and yet, we remained, injured but undaunted. I leaped forward, the death of so many on my conscience, that I fear I lost myself in rage. With all of the anger, pain and loss I had in my heart, I struck. My blow was true and the creature of Lighting dispersed into quickly fading tendrils of energy. The last obstruction overcome, I kicked open the door to the base of the tower and ordered my Rangers inside.

We pounded up the stair, Rildrirr in the lead, followed by myself, then Hawksclaw and Highwall in the rear. The long climb, after what seemed like a lifetime of fighting nearly taxed me to the end, but we made it. Rildrirr leaping through the hatch first and very nearly being blown off the tower.

Next I appeared and almost suffered his fate. Then Hawksclaw and that is when the Storm Magus changed tactics, raining lighting down. In the confined space, we were at his mercy. The storm ripped the breath from our lips, we could barely stand, let alone fight. And he, flying just out of reach seemed an impossible target.

Until Highwall, coming through the hatch spied our predicament and, again, moving with supernatural speed, dropped his axe, drew his crossbow and fired a bolt into the very surprised madman’s chest. Almost the same instant, I too launched a bolt and hit.

And then, everything changed…

The changes I had seen in Hawksclaw after his crisis of conscience months before came to a head. In bewilderment, I watched as he dropped his weapons. I feared he had been felled by some wicked spell, but not so. He raised his eyes and hands to the heavens and called out a name…Landra. His patron.

And she answered.

Hawksclaw was wreathed in green energy that permeated and extended outward. Then, if by magic, as it was, the wind about us died to a whisper. All around, the storm raged, but at the top of the tower, all was as calm as a summer’s day. Then, out of the sky, came a creature of wind, but not like the storms. This one smelt of an autumn breeze. I floated to face the Storm Magus and unleashed a blast of green light, blinding the man.

Arrows sang and with a mighty gust, the grievously wounded Storm Magus was flung bodily into his own storm and vanished into the void. With that, Hawksclaw collapsed and the Life wind creature dispersed back into its element.

I managed to catch the Alakar before he fell. He lack consciousness, but seemed otherwise unharmed. The toll of tapping into Landra’s power simply overwhelm his senses. Rildrirr plucked him from the ground like a doll and carried him gently within. There at the base tower room, we laid him on a cot, where I tended his wounds and Rildrirr and Highwall went in search of the Lord Mayor.

Highwall discovered the Lord Mayor locked in his own vault. The very same vault from with this Storm Magus had stolen his Crysarium. That irony not lost upon me, I reported to Von Haber that the Storm Magus had been defeated the the storm dissipated at the cost of Hawksclaw who remain unconscious no matter who method I used to rouse him.

And despite my desire, I could not remain by his side. Celebor and Alfred were many days ride to the north, unaware of our success or failure and potentially in danger of more Storm allies. I had seen no sign Longtail. A growing fear spread through my breast that she had befallen ill of the same trap that nearly claimed our party.

There was also the death of the Watchmen and the whereabouts of Sergeant Vasser. So too, we needed to recover the Crysarium, our first directive from the Lord Mayor. All of this flew through my mind even as I contemplated how my depleted forces could hope to contend with the possibility of two more Storm Magus, one to the East and one to the West.


First, I left Hawksclaw in the care of the Lord Mayor’s private physician. I took both Rildrirr and Highwall with me back north. The rain was light and the winds lighter. I would not call the ride pleasant, but it was by no means a trial. We made excellent time, arriving at the Wolfhaven manor in four short days, 24th Planting Moons.

There, we found Celebor and Alfred, eating a hearty meal, three prisoners in chains, though with well tended wounds I noted, sitting by four large chests. With his usual pique, Celebor presented me my prize of Crysarium ore, though he noted that a noticeable amount was missing. Still, we had won the day.

My interrogation of the prisoners revealed little. They were mercenaries hired through intermediaries. They knew little of the Storm Magus and honestly were glad to be rid of him. I am surprised how readily they accepted imprisonment. It makes one wonder what form of treatment they suffered at the hands of their former master.

Upon arrive back in town today, the 29th, we delivered the prisoners to the Watch, the Storm Magus’ tomes to Olgor who was quite pleased and found Sergeant Vasser injured, but hale. After which, we searched for Hawksclaw to find that he was convalescing in the Sacred Grove. I sent a messenger to seek him out and return him when ready. Celebor seemed anxious to leave, so I bid him farewell. The Lord Mayor was most pleased with the return of his precious cargo and seemed to determined to ensure that such an even never happened again.

Of Longtail? No word. I grow worried. I have dispatched messengers to all town, vales, and baronies. If she is within my realm, I will find her. But, duty calls again.

As soon as Hawksclaw returns, I will dispatch him with Highwall to the East toward Harken in search of the eastern Storm Magus, while I will take Rildrirr with me West toward Landra’Feya in search of the other.

May the Asceneded bless us with strength and see us through the day.

Your obediant servant,

A. Wolfhaven, Colonel
Ranger Headquarters, Echer’Naught

Campaign Report 11
Gathering Storm

Colonel Wolfhaven, Alexander

Northern Barony Road, Heading South toward Echer’Naught

Nineteenth Day, Planting Moons, Year 3123 Under the Light

There are days in a man’s life whose memory never fades. And there are days during which those memories overtake us. I once made a vow, one that I had every intention of following. But what can a soldier do when duty and personal desire collide?

I can still hear their screams.

However, that was a lifetime ago, and I must report what is happening now. I write this under ever worsening skies, by lamplight as rain runs down my arms and stains the parchment.

First Hunt, 3rd. Three days. That was all I could give my Rangers to put their demons to rest.

Longtail had stood by Grimbore from the moment he entered the infirmary until the day when duty demanded I summon her to her duty. Whether from grief or love, I cannot say, but she has sat by the ogre every day and will do so until he wakes. With her, she held the child that she risked her life to save and he had nearly died to protect. I am glad that Vallandrian took custody of the infant, but I suspect the child has gained a lifelong guardian in the ranger. Some day, I must learn more about her past. And Grimbore’s. From her friend the bard, it appears that Grimbore holds a secret more curious than one would imagine in the nigh mute warrior. Is he truly from the gathers of the Dragon Gate? It is so difficult to conceive, but would explain so much

HIghwall has done double duty for over seven months, here and for JoHaan Smith, a load that would break a lesser will. Yet, Highwall has never once complained, never once shirked his duty. And he has grown skilled under the old smith’s tutelage, though I fear he takes failure too hard.

Alfred Ranger, the young man has acclimated well, growing strong and true under Hawksclaw’s careful guidance.

And young Hawkslcaw…I see so much of myself in him. He wrestles his demons with a force of Spirit unparalleled. If he can see his way unbroken to the other side, I see him one day taking his place among the great leaders of the Rangers. We spoke, and I revealed some to him in hopes that he would not walk the troubled path that I have.

For in his anger he killed a man. Though not innocent, the crusader was no longer a threat. I understand, but cannot condone his actions. Therefore, I must recount his crime, but nor can I condemn him. His remorse was genuine, not dulled by the fact that his death blow was removed by Vallandrian, high priest of the Church of Light. Even so, the intention remained and that Hawksclaw must deal with, but I will not allow a single lapse to ruin a ranger’s career. I see a change in him, a hope of healing. I pray to Light that it is so.

So, I gave them three days to put all this to rest.

Yet three days are not enough, not after the events of the Storm.

And still they came. Longtail, Highwall, Alfred, Hawksclaw, all of them. I could offer them no more, so I set them each on their tasks; so much destruction, so much dead. With the confusion of the attack and so many of the Town’s security forces busy just trying to manage, crime was spiking across the board. Incidences of assault, theft and even murder. My intention was to send my Rangers in teams to assist the Town Watch in their duties, providing a much needed fast response group. My intention like my oath, mattered little.

No sooner had I begun to outline my plan when the bell rang at the front door. Hawksclaw went to investigate and discovered a messenger for the Lord Mayor at our doorstep wishing to speak with me personally. His words were brief and chilling. Lord Mayor Von Haber required my attention for a personal matter…and it was urgent. Wasting no time, I rallied the men, sending Longtail ahead to prepare the way.

We road with utmost swiftness to the Mayoral Estate, only to be directed to the grand entrance, and for the first time since joining the Rangers here, we were escorted through the front gates, and through the Noble’s door. Something about our treatment concerned me as we were escorted quickly to the Lord Mayor’s office. Once within, Von Haber excused his entire staff and addressed my team alone.

He swore us to secrecy outside the rangers and began his re-telling. His words were worse than I had imagined. As he spoke, he led us through a secret door, down a flight of stairs constructed by master dwarven skill, to a door bound in white silver. Beyond, we found a vault room, lined with cell-like doors, and at the far end, a massive double door barred by three enormous ironwood timbers. Before the door stood three elite guards.

At his word, the guards inserted keys and cranked the timbers aside. Yet, when they pushed the massive doors open, all they revealed was an empty vault room. He explained with barely constrained rage that during the attack of the 34th of Falling Ice, a group of well informed brigands had entered his personal vault and escaped with a king’s ransom in crysarium crystals. A bounty he had been collecting to insure the currency of the town. Without the backing of the crysarium, he feared he would not make the shortfalls created when the Red Store stole the tax gold and would likely be removed from his position as Lord Mayor. In truth, without his patronage, he explained that the Ranger invitation in Echer’Naught could be pulled. He set us on a single course. Find the villains, recover the crysarium. He gave us carte blanche to achieve these ends and then left us to our investigations.

A keen eye for construction, Highwall noted strange spidery scorch marks on the walls leading to the vault. He also noted the stains of dried blood in three places. Longtail noted a fine, almost glowing powder in ever crack in the vault floor. Hawksclaw examined the shoes of the guards, while Longtail checked the locks leading to the vault. She discovered they had been picked by a master and Hawksclaw counted the bootprints. Scanning the ground with an expert eye, he found eight booted men had entered the vault to carry off the 4 heavily laden chests. With them came a thief, of small stature and an unknown mage. From our experiences, we suspected more storm magic was at work here. The blood and the scorch marks, added to the faint scent of ozone, proved that lighting had been used to cook the three previous guards in their armor. A gruesome fate I know all too well. From the signs, the guards had tried to do their duty, but the alien magic struck them down with ease.

Having nothing more to glean from the scene, we retired to the Lord Mayor’s office where I spoke briefly with Von Haber. He presented me with a sizable sum of gold and an ultimatum. I swore on my honor to see this done and dispatched my Rangers as best fit their abilities. Longtail I sent to Low Town, to speak with her contacts there. At times her associations are questionable, but results are what is needed now. Hawksclaw I sent to the Watch. His rapport with Sergeant Vasser has proved invaluable. The rest returned to the HQ to prepare and to wait for word.

There I dispatched messages to nearby posts and to anyone that might know the whereabouts of Ranger Celebor. As the only individual with sufficient knowledge to plan and execute the heist, it was imperative that we rule out compulsion on the part of the Lord Mayor. Surprisingly, he consented to a mind reading, more proof of not only his innocence, but his eagerness to recover the stolen goods. But Celebor is not one to be tied down to any semblance of pattern or schedule. Light only knows where the elf has gone. So we must wait for him as well.

From her report, Ranger Longtail met with her contact Therel Fateweaver, the professed “King of Low Town”. Though he confirmed, without accepting any responsibility, that petty crimes were on the rise, though he knew nothing of any large groups operating in or around Echer’Naught. Afterwards, she also made a visit to the Red Lamp, a decision that I understand, but that makes me decidedly nervous. Regrettably, Madame Lillithien had as little to say about the theft as Fateweaver. As strange as it seemed, the undersociety of Echer’Naught knew nothing about the biggest heist in town history. That or they are lying, Which is worse, I know not.

As for Hawksclaw, his investigation was equally successful. After dropping by the Barracks to order a cask of Olaran Ale for the men of the Watch, Hawkslcaw spoke briefly with Sergeant Vasser who also had heard nothing. Other than the overworked, overwhelmed state of the men of the Watch there was little else to report.

With that, my Rangers returned to the HQ. And from there things continued to get more interesting.

Later in the day, we received unexpected guests. A rather large band of wandering rangers arrived under command of an Aevakar named Zaro. He seemed competent, but I have known many commanders and he seemed new to the post and trying hard to live up to a reputation; a fallen mentor perhaps? Despite the severe storms, he managed to reach our outpost and sought refuge and resupply for a few days. In return, they offered their assistance in the aftermath of the Storm. I kindly accepted and they settled in, aiding in healing and cleanup.

They were a motley band, much larger than my own. In addition to their leader, there was Alfie, a human Alchemist, Galean I belive, Anton Caskmaster, a Dwarven Alchemist who was accompanied by a Behemoth Ogre near the size of Grimbore. The Ogre slept in Grimbore’s bed, who was still convalescing at the infirmary. Master Caskmaster showed a keen interest in our captured Arclances. Also Rakepick, a panther colored Brinchie who shared Longtail’s roguish interests. He and the Goblin scout Reener seemed particularly protective of their final member. Of the Rangers there were to more, a dwarven fighter Gandogar Irehart and and a Dregordian Adept Eska. She is one of the few I have ever seen, and the first any of my rangers have. At any other time, a golem, a Dregordian and an Aevakar in the same party would have caused a stir…were it not for their final charge.

Samael is a Builder.

Why he is not at Kythros under protection and watchful eye, I cannot say. His knowledge and expertise could change the course of the war as we now know the Builders are supplying Camon with weapons. But, even as a Colonel, I am not ultimately in command, so I record this in my report with the hope that wiser heads than mine might come to some agreement on the matter of captured Builders. We require all Rangers to pass a mind reading test to become rangers, but do not secure Builders where they can be protected and studied? Nevertheless, Samael was given respect and quarter, though I can say that neither I nor Hawksclaw was particularity pleased.

And yet, an opportunity. So, with reluctance, I gave Sergeant Major Stormhammer permission to study the Builder technology if only to allow us the ability to defeat them. He, Samael and Caskmaster spent much of their time in seclusion in our HQ armory. I know that Highwall wanted to be a part, but he had duties to attend, and I do not like the idea of Rangers coming to rely on Builder weapons.

Their party remained with us for a few days, whereupon they departed on First Hunt 6th leaving Rakepick and Reener with Samael who remained with Stormhammer until the 13th to complete his instruction. This was concluded by a surprise awakening the morning of that very day. Taking instruction from the Builder tinkerer, the Sergeant managed to activate a Arclance only to nearly blow away the front wall of our headquarters. By some grace, he missed and only managed to vaporize two prized kegs of Olaran ale. Regardless, all Builder weapons will be kept under strict lock and key until I can provide for their transport to Kythros, or find a better means of securing them here.

With our fellow rangers gone, life returned to some semblance of normality. And still no word from our contacts. We continued our patrols, continued asking questions, seeking but it was as if our enemies had simply vanished with their prize.

However, during this time, the 25th of First Hunt, our door man and ever watchful protector, Grimbore, returned from his time at the Infirmary of Light. Not an evening had passed that Longtail had not slept by his side. Her constant care and the blessings of light saw him through. He was welcomed with fanfare, a new bed having been constructed by a combined collection of all the post rangers. He seemed please, though at times it is hard to tell. Still, I breathed a bit easier when he lumbered to his stool and took up his post beside the door. Only in his absence did I come to realize his importance. I will not likely forget again.

Whole again as a unit, we continued our duties, cleanup and investigation. We continued to fail at the last. Then, weeks later, on the 16th of Golden Eagle, another visitor arrived, two actually. Out of the never ceasing storm, Celebor appeared in our dooway, followed by a hulking human warrior in the light green cloak of a Ranger Trainee.

Celebor was fresh from battle at the southern most edge of the expanded Olaran Baronies, in what is properly the Wildlands. On the 2nd of Golden Eagle, he and a band of Rangers and allies defended the Von Strauss Barony from takeover by a Red Store plot. I have enclosed that report. As pleased as I was to see Celebor I confess I was curious about his companion.

Rildrirr, as he gave his name, was clearly a North Born warrior from the Barbarian tribes. Yet of most interest, was the remains of his slave collar still encircling his neck like a badge of honor. Hulking, broad, but intelligent, I gauged that he would be doughty in combat, if truculent in conversation. With so many matters to address, I scarce to where to begin, but I conversed briefly with Celebor and then conducted an interview with Rildrirr.

Given the choice of visiting or joining our band, Rildrirr chose the latter becoming the 6th Ranger under my direct command, though, there was the matter of his mind reading. Though clearly not pleased with the idea, Rildrirr submitted while we waited outside. When he was done, all Celebor had to say was that he found no evidence of corruption or compulsion and that he would be a good fit.

After those necessities were completed, I presented Rildrirr with his official papers, or Olgor did so on my behalf. As the timing seemed fortuitous and I hoped that Rildrirr might see the benefit of hard work, I also took this time to make official the promotions that I had requested. Beginning with Ranger Hawksclaw, I asked each member of the team to step forward to receive orders. Ranger Hawksclaw is now Corporal Hawksclaw and received silver gilded cloak clasp. Highwall and Longtail both received promotion to Ranger 1st Class and received bronze cloak clasps.

After congratulations, I put my rangers back on task. It had now been months and all our efforts had been in vain. Our enemy now had the advantage and the Lord Mayor’s patience was at its end. So, with respect, I requested that Celebor go to the Lord Mayor and conduct his mind reading. Meanwhile, I beseeched Longtail and Highwall to continue their investigations for any possible sign of the thieves. Reluctantly, Celebor agreed and with Hawksclaw as his guide, went to meet the Lord Mayor. My other rangers scattered to their tasks while Stormahammer assisted Rilrirr in getting settled in.

It was not long before Celebor returned. He said little when he closed my office door, but his face was grim. I feared the worst. Celebor had conducted his mind reading of the Lord Mayor and discovered two very important facts. First, he was guiltless in the heist. In fact, his rage was not feigned. Driven by the threat to the town or to his own reputation, the man was livid and growing increasingly so. The second fact, one that I suspected was that, while he allowed Celebor access to his intentions regarding the cyrsarium, the rest of his mind was closed and shrouded. Not by darkness, or maliciousness, but by a careful discipline. Obviously, he had been trained to resist corruption and metal influence.

One of Celebor’s reasons for not reading politicians is that even the best of them are generally hiding something. But in the Lord Mayor’s case, his mind was effectively a labyrinth. The ranger adept had no idea what machinations his mind was hatching. Considering how easily he managed the nobles, while maintaining power, I was not surprised, but Celebor seemed particularly vexed by his inability to delve deeper.

All of that happened on the 16th of Golden Eagle. It would be weeks yet before any news came. On the 8th of Planting Moon, my Rangers were again out seeking answers. Even Celebor had agreed to help. So long had passed that I feared our failure was certain. But on that night, we received a visitor. Perhaps a portent, but good or ill, I cannot say.

It began with Highwall throwing open the door and announcing a guest. I rose, curious at this when a vision appeared in the darkened alley outside the door.

For a moment, she appeared to glow, lamplight reflecting off her alabaster skin, and then, almost as if riding a cushion of air, the woman glided into the room. Her bright eyes were open in wonder, yet coy and inviting. Green…no violet. In truth, I cannot say. He lips were red, deep, blood red and pressed tightly, but not in a grimace, but a soft smile. He face was shrouded in a deep cowl, that hinted at luxurious raven hair and hooded her eyes just enough to make them more mysterious. She was not tall, but had a presence, as if she filled the room. And wherever she went wafted the scent of flowers.

I confess, I was dumbstruck for a moment. Beauty has never been an aspiration of mine, but never before have I seen someone so skilled at its execution. She approached and introductions were made. Madame Lillithien, of the Red Lamp. Much became clear.

I invited her to speak while my staff watched on in some amusement. Perhaps my discomfort showed. I confess I am not used to speaking with such women. Poor Alfred may never again recover. At any rate, she had visited to speak on behalf of young Sarah. Apparently Longtail had spoken with her some months prior about the possibility of Sarah living at the outpost. Until she was of age, the Madame wished to keep her close, but she requested that Sarah be taken on as a full time staff member, rather than just our morning help. This would cost more, as we would have need to increase her wage and compensate her for meals. I deferred to Longtail, who was eager to accept.

That business completed, I rose to bid her farewell. At this point, she looked at me with a curious expression and said, “Your father was a good man. He would be proud. It would be better were the Wolfhaven family still here. Perhaps that might change in the future.” I was stunned. Did this woman know my father? Would my father know this woman? I did not know what to say. Lady Lillithien seemed to require no answer. She swept out of my office, floated across the floor, spoke briefly with Hawksclaw and vanished into the shadows from whence she came taking her hulking, blonde manservents with her.

I admit the Madame’s visit threw me off my game. So focused was I on her odd visit, that I nearly forgotten about the return of my rangers. Both Highwall and Longtail had news. Apparently, strangers had recently purchased three large casks of Echer Draught and shipped them north using roads that had been closed for months since the rains began. Longtail confirmed that her contacts reported sightings of a large group of foreigners far north of the town.

As if summoned, the door burst open, again, and Celebor stepped in from the raging storms outside. Dripping wet, he shouted above the storms. “I know where they are. Where you swore never again to go.”

My heart sank.

Duty to the Rangers, or duty to myself. Is there ever a choice?

Without another thought, I sounded the call to arms. Alfred and Hawksclaw ran for the Horses, Longtail for her gear, Highwall snatched up his arms and Rildrirr was suited for war. As I donned my armor, my thoughts turned to the task at hand. Unknown enemies of immense power had attacked our home and stolen an invaluable cargo of immense power. Worse, the monster responsible had established his base of operations in the ruins of the Wolfhaven manor…my home.

It was dark that night, the 8th of Planting Moon as we tore out of Echer’Naught, riding hard to the north, Celebor had gone ahead. Though, we did not meet again until much later. Through the driving rain, knee deep mud I pushed my team hard. Cold camps only, we barely slept, ate in the saddle. Even so, it took 5 days, five days of punishment to reach the site.

By the time we arrived, my men were exhausted, though Rildrirr and Highwall took it best.

Even with just flashes of lighting to light my way, I knew the ground as if I had never left. The gentle slope down the banks of the stream, the copse of trees I used to play in with my brothers. By memory, I led my rangers down the hill to an outer post that had once been but one of the Wolfhaven stables. There were no buildings left, long since burned in the war, but the metal hitching posts remained, vine covered and rusting.

We tied up the mounts and moving forward on foot. I sent Longtail ahead. A quick roll in the mud and she was gone. With the others I made my way home. We had barely reached the old stone footbridge when Longtail returned to report. In the outer courtyard, a group of 6 bandits had established a watchcamp, but were already into their cups. I sent Hawksclaw around with Alfred to gain an archer positing, while Longtail flanked left, going through what had once been a beautiful stone gallery. The rest followed me over the stream and up the west embankment.

With everyone in position, we hit them like a thunderclap. Hawksclaw downed a man with a single arrow. Rildrirr and Highwall two more. I captured a third. Two broke, one for the house and one for a second courtyard. I hurled my blade, watching its blue light flicker through the rain as it slammed through the man’s back, pinning him to the ground. For an instant, I could smell smoke again, hear the screams of women and children. The last bandit made it only a short distance before a blur caught him mid stride and bisected his right leg.

Rildrirr showed a gift for interrogation. He forced from the captured bandit that within the manor house there were a dozen more bandits, but that his “master” had already left with a large body of men. We rendered him unconscious and made our plans.

Again I sent Hawksclaw high, along the wall up to the roof. From there he could leap through any of the holes that time, fire and Flame had opened up in the once slate roof. Longtail I sent around the house, along the far wall to an anterior door servants once used to deliver food to the many feasts my father had hosted. I took Highwall and Rildrirr up the main steps and through the remains of the front door.

When we came through, we found the bandits in two groups of drunken revels, huddled around fires trying to stay out of the constant, driving rain. No wonder they were so unaware. Nothing had moved across these lands in years. From the far left, Longtail appeared like a wraith, stealing upon a group of six bandits. From the rafters, Hawksclaw’s hooded form crept along followed by the boy ranger.

I held up my hand, and signaled the attack. Hawksclaw fired, raining arrows on the bandits, catching one near Longtail and drawing their attention. Longtail sprang, a blur of swords, slashing and cutting, felling one and wounding two. I and Highwall rushed forward, laying about us with abandon, while the barbarian flanked the enemies and hurled down a wall with his mighty strength, pinning two beneath.

From there combat grew furious. Though surprised, the men fought ferociously. One of the two leaders managed to stick Rildrirr with a sword, but the massive warrior barely flinched. Alone, Longtail took down nearly 6 men alone. But, we were to much and our attack too sudden. Most perished, but we managed to capture two more bandits.

Under Rildrirr’s care, they confessed that they were hired muscle to a crazed Storm Magus who had been plotting some insane plan that made no sense to them. But, they showed us to his lab set on the raised platform my father had once used to hold court. My heart clenched in rage as I looked upon what had become of my former home.

We quickly checked the area, but found no others. We had missed the villain and he was doubtless already on his way to some destruction. It was Hawksclaw’s quick eye which spotted the symbols on the map.

One indicated the melee field where the cyclone had first touched down so many months ago. And a new one marked the beacon tower of Echer’Naught. So too did other markers appear indicating that the storm magus was not working alone, but in concert with others south, west and east of Echer’Naught. The southern most marker also corresponded with a report recently received from Zaro’s Ranger unit. They too had encountered a Storm Druid battling a Necromancer near that location. Clearly, the Storm cult had many allies in the area and it would take a concerted effort from not only the Echer’Naught rangers, but our friend in Farwatch and beyond to handle this threat.

Still, Zaro and his men had done their part. It was time to do ours.

We had barely stopped Red Store, nearly lost to the Prelacy, almost died at Darkness’ corruption and now this?!

They would pay for defiling my home.

I ordered what could be carried to be taken, Alfred and Celebor, who had returned after clearing out pickets and scouts, to bind and secure the prisoners and for Longtail to return to Echer’Naught at speed to warn them of the pending attack. If I know this house, and I do, I suspect I know where the crysarium must be hidden. I am leaving Celebor and Alfred in charge of…my home until I can return.

With the rest of my command, I am returning to Echer’Naught. I know not what we will find when and if we arrive…

Your obedient servant,

A. Wolfhaven, Colonel
Northern Barony Road, Heading South toward Echer’Naught


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