Campaign of the Month: June 2018

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

Campaign Report Supplemental 1
Defense of Baron Von Strauss

Golden Eagle 8th, 3123

Ranger Lieutenant Celebor

South of Echer’Naught

I typically avoid such doldrums, but I fear command might find the past days events enlightening. One would think that the discovery of a large bandit army in service to Red Store might attract more attention. Perhaps two such forces will suffice? Or, we might just wait for a new Maelstrom army?

But, to the details.

Sometime in the waning days for First Hunt I began hearing disturbing rumors of a large bandit force coming together in the contest Wildland regions south of Olara. Being inquisitive, I headed south to investigate. If such a force existed, they were surprisingly capable of hiding for I found a number of fairly large forces, but nothing to suggest an army. Perhaps I should have been more diligent in my efforts.

From what I gather, the good Baron Von Strauss of Olaran stock also heard the rumors and dispatched his eldest, and only son, along with dozens of his finest knights. A fools errand it would appear. Nevertheless, the boy and his tin soldiers charged off after the criminals and vanished without a trace, more or less.

Without his key commander and the bulk of his defensive forces, Von Strauss rightly summoned anyone and everyone he believed might protect his lands from the villains. The call included the local Rangers, and as I was in the area at the time, myself.

Now under official orders, I proceeded with all haste. Which, as it happens was rather fortunate.

On the 2nd of Golden Eagle, along the road south, I happened upon a battle already in progress. An ex-Ranger Olaran archer, a pair of Ranger goblinesh, one orc, one goblin, a human Paladin and Ranger, along with a Brinchie and Alakar mercenary. I gathered they were an item. At any rate, I would have interfered, but by the time I arrived, there was only a single, terrified bandit left facing off against a small Ranger army. So, I observed and kept the bandit covered, just in case.

Once the brief skirmish was over, I greeted the party and received a few names. In all honesty, I forget. The good news is that with so many Rangers and allies, our situation had improved greatly. The bad news, and something that I was quick to point out to my new companions, was that the the situation with the bandits was worse that we had expected.

The minor skirmish proved what I feared: The bandits were strategically cutting off all access to the Von Strauss lands. If they were closing off the northern road, an attack would be imminent. So, I led my new friends adjacent to the road, keeping to the woods along the side. Many civilians were also fleeing the bandits. We could see the smudges of smoke on the horizon from the dozen or so small vills that had been put to the torch.

I spoke with a few survivors. I stress the word few. Many had already been killed or captured.

When we arrived at the keep we found utter chaos. Hundreds of refugees were clogging the streets of the small down outside the hill forts main gate. In the distance I could almost sense the approaching army.

After a brief word with the Lord Von Strauss who was too old to command forces in the field, I dispatched my newest command to the road west of the town with orders to keep an eye on the bandit approach. I am not entirely certain what transpired, only that I was just organizing the defense of the keep itself and the security of the civilians with another small group of Rangers when fire arrows began raining down.

What I gathered later was that my outer Rangers had encountered enemy scouts. The bandit archers managed to approach the town in stealth through the surrounding trees. They fired off a few volleys of fire arrows before my Rangers engaged and managed to draw them off.

Meanwhile, back at the keep, I stationed another force consisting of three warriors, another Olaran Ranger, A dwarf mercenary and a human Ranger Trainee who, it appears, hails from the Northern Tribes. I noted a collar, ex-slave? I did not exactly have the time to investigate.

We were hit before we were ready. The initial archers were only a part of the scouting force. This army was larger than we ever expected…I ever expected. Bandits began to pour out of the streets and alleys between the houses of the town. We were completely surrounded, cut off.

I threw together a force of men at arms, grooms, bottlers and anyone else strong enough to hold a spear or bow. Meanwhile in the streets before the gates, three men held off the enemy army until the last civilians entered the gates.

I wondered how long it would take before the real attack began. It does not happen often, but the next move actually surprised me. Rather than attack, the leader of this band road forward, shroud in black army, face covered in a mask. He spoke loudly and clearly offering any defender a king’s ransom in gold to merely lay down their arms and leave.

No one accepted the offer, but I noted a few guilty looks. Regardless, our dwarf answered the question by firing an arrow at the man. He missed, but I think the bandit got the point. We were given an hour to prepare for death. Being Olarans, the men of Strauss ate, drank and made merry with the hour left to them.

The Rangers merely waited. There was a time…

Nevertheless, the enemy came, this time in force. A shield wall of dozens backed by archers. Behind, more lines of men. They hit us hard, throwing up ladders and began swarming the walls. We simply lacked the defenders to hold them back. They swarmed like ants. We lit them on fire, but still they came.

Atop the wall, the fight was desperate. Wounded, weary and backs against the fall. We lost many, but managed to hold them back. I did what I could, but the Green Cloaks of the Rangers carried most of the burden. With great effort, we hurled them from the walls, but they merely began to regroup.

At this point, I feared all was lost when our keen eyed Dwarf spied an Orc in a Ranger cloak, down in the burning village waving his sword, trying to get our attention. Through silent communication, we arranged a meet at the postern gate. There, we found a blood soaked Ranger.

Part of our scouting party, he had espied a path to approach the bandit leader, who secure in his safety, was relatively unguarded. I immediately orders an attack, leaving the defense of the keep to Von Strauss’ eldest daughter.

We moved in shadows, flitting through enemy patrols and pickets. LIke ghosts, we approached the bandit command tent. Crouched in the shade under the trees, we watched as the masked man speaking harshly with his chief lieutenants. It was no more than a dozen yards to the leader, but the army was not far away.

And yet, these were bandits, not hardened men and they fear the cloak. That I had seen. So, I ordered an attack. I, the Olaran and the Dwarf cleared the way, cutting down the elite guard with arrows as the Orc and the Barbarian surged forward.

The masked man was skilled, I will give him that. Even surprised he nearly won. He fought…like an Olaran. His style was swift, brutal and without any reservation. It, however, availed him nothing and he lost his head to the Barbarian’s blade. With the death of the man, the surviving elite guards fled through magical means. The other bandits surrendered or scattered.

The Dwarf and Barbarian interrogated the prisoners, while the Olaran took the head to Baron Von Strauss. The bandit prince was his son, a traitor to Olara and the free peoples. From the prisoners we gathered that the boy planned to kill his father in the guise of the bandit. Once in control of the keep, he would allow an impostor to take his place while he “miraculously” returned to defeat the bandits.

Had he been successful, Red Store would have had a staging base for operations in Echer’Naught, Kator and Farwatch. Perhaps further?

More disturbing, many of the men involved were “on loan” from other regions. Some were survivors of the Battle of Sudwied, yet some were from around Farwatch. Though they could not confirm, I fear that we may have a greater threat brewing there.

Perhaps we should not wait until yet a third bandit army rises? I may not be available to stop the next one.

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Campaign Report 10
Crimson Tempest

Colonel Wolfhaven, Alexander

Grey Ranger Outpost, Echer’Naught

First Day, First Hunt, Year 3123 Under the Light

Words can simply not express what I feel now. I can only begin at the beginning a pray that I might convey some of the horror and tragedy of the past days.

Following our successful, but costly hunt of the Shadowboar, we entered a busy few weeks of preparations and security for the up and coming Festival Day Echer’Naught Joust and Grande Melee. My Rangers were tasked with the security of the many visiting dignitaries, allied knights and associated staff entering Echer’Naught for the celebrations. In addition, we took our turns at watch along the curtain wall, patrolled the Greenway Road and maintained local security in town.

The night before, Ranger 1st Class Hawksclaw approached and petitioned to have young Alfred raised to full ranger. On condition that Hawksclaw could locate and enlist Celebor’s assistance, per protocol, I approved the promotion. Hawksclaw then left for the Sacred Grove when Ranger Longtail entered my office. Her expression was grim, but somewhat amused.

During the long winter, in an effort to procure better arrangements for our headquarters, the attractive, young Brinchie had inadvertently gained the affection of two of our local craftsmen and sitting counsel members of the Echer’Naught Merchant Council. Regrettably, these two individuals also happened to be involved in a century old feud, which had, less than a decade before erupted into bloody violence. I had previously given Longtail permission and license to negotiate an amicable arrangement between the two Dwarves, so long as it did not adversely affect the Rangers.

Her solution was at once elegant, and risky. Working through a local bard, one Therel Fateweaver who has been a sometime friend, and sometime troublemaker, for this headquarters, she arranged for a competition, a tournament for her handfast. No sooner had she left, then Celebor, alone, entered my officer and we chatted briefly. Hawksclaw returned having missed the Ranger at large and we discussed the boys promotion. Young Alfred presented himself and consented to the mandatory Mind Reading. He and Celebor stepped away to speak in private.

Little else happened the eve before. My Rangers spoke, rested and bonded. I managed to complete the more mundane tasks necessary for maintaining operations, and yet, I could not help feeling a sense of foreboding. Perhaps it was the constant oppressive rains that had plagued our every step, perhaps it was the growing tension in my team, or maybe it was the many unknown faces and elements entering my town which weighed so heavily on my heart. Regardless, my sleep was fitful and my waking early and hardly restful.

Whatever the case, my apprehension was nothing compared to the series of events which very nearly destroyed the town of Echer’Naught.

The morning of the 34th of Falling Ice began well enough. During the dawn meeting, I briefed my team, handed out assignments and informed them that I was to handle personal security for Lord Mayor Von Haber and our greatest dignitary, young Olreck Harken, a second cousin of our lady Duchess Valenia Harken. Not to be forgotten, having passed his session with Celebor and certified as not being under enemy influence, Alfred Ranger took the cloak and joined my men as our newest brother. Ranger 1st class Hawksclaw will continue as his acting training officer.

With that, they were dismissed to see to their duties, and I rode for the Lord Mayor’s manor and my duty. From this point, I may only report what has been presented to me and my own understanding of the events as they unfolded.

Not much happened in the morning hours. The Feast Day Celebration went as planned, with the usual minor complications that never seem to be avoided. My Rangers maintained tight security at each of the events as they occurred, ensuring that nothing untoward happened. At just before noon, Ranger Longtail and Hawksclaw were dismissed for their one break to attend Fateweaver‘s contest of Longtail’s hand.

The combat, as I understand was fierce and drew a huge crowd. So large, that the formal Dressage event happening at the same time had almost no attendance from the townsfolk. As we feared, loyal Grimbore entered the contest to protect the Brinchie, as did Ranger 1st Class Hawksclaw. And apparently, Hawksclaw bowed out, rather than face a friend. Fortunately, a close associate, and ringer, for Fateweaver, another Brinchie named Streetrunner, stole the contest and defeated all comers. Showing surprising tact and diplomacy, Longtaill soothed the ruffled feathers of the feuding Dwarves and in one move prevented all out war between the Dwarf clans and also avoided hurting Grimbore who seems completely infatuated with her.

With that task completed, all of my Rangers converged upon the Lists where the Royal joust was about to begin. And like so many things, it started well, but as I stood behind the Lord Mayor keeping him safe, Ranger Longtail noticed with her keen eyes trouble brewing amid the tents. Acting quickly, she discovered that young Lord Olreck Harken had fallen suddenly ill and who’s breathing had become labored. Gathering up Hawksclaw and Highwall, they quickly secured the boy and sent Longtail to the Chapel of Light for aid.

As she arrived, she found Valandrian, the winged Paladin/Priest, in quiet contemplation. Hearing her urgent words, he immediately dispatched brothers of the church and a wagon to fetch the young man to bring him to the Infirmary. Once the boy was securely protected at the Chapel of Light and in good healing hands, the Rangers immediately went about gathering resources and investigating the sudden onset.

However, in the meantime, Olreck Harken was being summoned to the Lists. As he was to be Echer’Naught’s champion and defending the honor of the Harken Duchy, I offered to serve in his stead. Von Haber accepted my offer and over the objections of Baron Eckhart, I took Sir Harken’s place with young Alfred acting as my squire. We also feared that if word of the possible assault on Olreck were to become common knowledge, a panic may ensure.

So I took up the jousting lance for the first time since before the War of Flame and entered the competition while my Rangers conducted their investigation. Using Longtail as a runner, they reached out to the local Potio nmaster, delivering what they could gather from the young lords belongings to examine for hidden needles, laced clothes or any sign of poison. The Eldakar Alchemist agreed to pour his every energy into the task. They then interrogated Olreck’s squire and forced from him that young Olreck had sneaked out of the Lord Mayor’s manse, and spend the morning at the Red Lamp. After which, Longtail headed to the Red Lamp to speak with Madame Lithilien.

The Madame was more than helpful and summoned the young girl who serviced the lord. She admitted that he had been with her shortly in the morning, that he seemed nervous as if she was his first, that he had been mocked by his friends for his lack of experience, but that Olreck had not eaten nor drunk anything. She had noted a foreign knight who seemed to recognize the young lord, but the man had not said nor done anything. All she noted was that he was not from Olara and that he had a scar on his face. With this information, Longtail returned to her companions.

While this was happening, Hawksclaw had summoned Olgor and brought him to the infirmary. During his research, Olgor had uncovered that young Olreck was actually descended from the ancient Camon, before the rise of the Church of Archanon. It appeared that his distant ancestor had died saving his wife, during those dark events. She, destitute and alone arrived in Olara and was taken in by her late husbands friend, a noble of Olara. They fell in love, and she married the man and her descendants eventually married into the Harken line. Longtail even remembered this tale from the book given her by Colonel Wolfhaven.

With this knowledge and now the Lord Mayor’s personal physician, Olgor, the healers of the Infirmary of Light, and the Harken physician’s all working to heal the boy, Hawksclaw took Longtail and Highwall to the Barracks. They entered the tavern and spoke with the bartender who informed him that, yes, Lord Olreck had been in attendance just before the joust, and yes he had sat with his friends, celebrating a recent “conquest.” With his permission, the Rangers spoke with establishments staff.

One serving girl explained that the young lord had been there with his friends and had been rowdy and rude. She was happy to have seen him gone, but that he did meet someone who seemed to be an old friend, a foreign knight, with effeminate features and a scar on his face. With this, they thanked the girl and went to speak with the young groom who explained that yes, the foreign knight had stabled a horse. The horse was of an unfamiliar type, clearly a warhorse, but lighter and sleeker than those favored by Olarans. He could not say if it were Olaran in origin, but he did not believe so. And he confirmed that the stranger had headed south toward CenterPointe.

Hawkclaw and the others were on the verge of leaving when they were found by a runner from Sergeant Vasser of the Town Watch. They were asked to come immediately, as another body had been discovered. Led deep into the warrens of Low Town, my Rangers found the good sergeant standing in the rain beside a mud-soaked corpse in fine clothes, face down in an alley. Hawksclaw examined the scene to find a single stab wound in the man’s side, penetrating the kidney. The weapon was a long, thin blade not unlike the Cavalier Dirk that I and Hawksclaw carry. Turing the body over, Hawksclaw’s worst fears were realized for the dead man was non other than the scarred foreigner and likely, the man who poisoned Lord Olreck Harken.

The body was brought to the infirmary where Hawksclaw found young Olreck on death’s door. Olgor examined the body and discovered something truly remarkable. He believed, with good reason, that the dead man was from Camon, a Prelacy agent. Olreck’s lineage only added credence to the theory. If that were so, given the man’s symptoms of paralytic breathing, reduced temperature, sweating and involuntary convulsions, Olgor postulated that the poison was an extract derived from a plant known to him as Morning Dove, a small wildflower with four ivory petals and a golden center. Unfortunately, it only grew in more northern climes, such as the higher altitudes of Camon and would likely be impossible to find here in the lowlands. Even so, the Rangers sprinted to the PotionMaster.

Regrettably, he too had no help to offer, but he headed to the boy’s side with his apparatus in hopes that the Rangers could find the poison and deliver it to him to concoct an antidote. With time running short and the day fading fast, the Rangers immediately set out into the camps of visiting knights and nobles, speaking with any who would answer, searching for a group of foreign knights that did not seem to fit. They were able to narrow their search to just a few groups under suspicion. Just before the Grande Melee under tortured skies, my Rangers took the field to join me.

In a mud soaked field north of the city walls, spectated by nearly every living soul in the town, two armies of men at arms stood facing each other under a raging sky. I had been assigned to fill young Olrecks role at the head of the Blue forces. To avoid accidental injury, normal weapons had been banned and the forces were armed with blunted swords and axes. Still, in my duties as the guardian of the remaining Harken representatives, I was allowed to keep my blade. As we stood, waiting for the signal bell, my Rangers sloshed across the muddy ground to report all that I have written.

I split my men, sending the faster Alfred atop his horse and Longtail on her fleet legs to begin searching the far army. I directed Hawksclaw and Highwall to investigate my forces. We had little time for the melee was about to begin and we had to find the assassins before that happened. With the rain and wind, the task was nigh impossible, but Gate Highwall’s keep eyes spotted a foreign knight in thick, lustrous robes standing about with two companions. Tied to his belt, under his cloak and wrapped tightly to disguise its features was a knife matching the description. Though it may seem incredulous to assume one knife could be identified among an army of armed men, one most only consider that it was seen by a Dwarf of keen crafting skill, and a Cavalier Dirk is a weapon not easily mistaken.

Once spotted, Hawksclaw sent the Dwarf to flank, as he approached the men. No sooner had he met them in the field, than the leader drew a sword that has been described as a blade encased in metal cables, and glowing with an orange energy which hummed with power and slashed deeply into the Hawksclaws chest. Hawksclaw returned with a penetrating blow, which found a chink in the man’s armor, biting deep enough to draw a well of blood. And so battle was joined.

Fighting through the driving rain and shrieking winds, Highwall charged and brought his ax down, only to have it bounce away. Cloak shorn away, the armor beneath bore marking similar to the sword, metal cables coiling, glowing orange crystals and other strange nobs and devices. Almost instantly, the man’s companions threw back their cloaks, one drawing a strange rod bearing the alien devices and protuberances and the other an enchanted sword.

As those knights and men arms around woke to the danger in their midst, my Rangers entered a desperate battle with foes wielding weapons of awesome and alien power. From the far field, Longtail spotted the strange orange flashes lighting the sky. Without hesitation, she sprinted in that direction, breaking the ranks of stunned men and surging into the no-man’s land between the two mock armies. Sadly, her progress was arrested by a trio of men stepping free of the crowd of awed spectators. They leveled strange half spear/half crossbows at the armies and unleashed a barrage of orange, arcane fire.

Seeing the new threat, Longtail adjusted course, and prayed that her companions would hold their own. At this moment, seeing Longtail, the strange magic lances and hearing the growing din behind me, turned and pushed myself through crowed, drawing my two handed sword.

By this point, the storm above had reached a climax and with the sudden appearance of true enemies in our midst, many of the more seasoned warriors broke for the weapons caches off the field to recover their true weapons. Civilians began to recede from the stands and flee to the safety of Echer’Naughts walls, but there was but a single postern gate and many thousands of panicked people to evacuate.

By the time I reached Hawksclaw and Highwall, my Elven Ranger was already bound in mystical bonds and the Dwarf was being knocked around by the swirling winds. I raised my sword to fell the Prelacy Crusaders when a gasp drew my attention to the sky.

Above our heads, an immense black cloud, like a mountain of Black Steel in the sky, and twice as menacing, began to slowly rotate. Faster and faster it spun, gaining momentum as the winds on the ground rose to a torrent. So fierce was strength of the gale, that my footing began to slip in the mud. As we watched in horror, friend and foe alike, a tendril of black cloud, like an angry god’s finger pressing to the earth stabbed down, slamming into the field between the two armies.

During the war, I had seen such events, cyclones that would form in raging storms upon the vast open plains of Western Olara, but nothing compared to this. The Storm had a menacing purpose as it immediately began to churn the mud heading straight for Echer’Naught and the crowd of now terrified men and woman trampling each other to escape the path of the approaching horror.

That would have been sufficient to unman even the greatest warrior, but a moment later, creatures poured from the storm, figures of lightning and horsemen of roiling storm dropped from the sky and began to wreak havoc among the stunned knights.

Seeing the storm, the Prelacy Mage grabbed his Captain and disappeared from the field, no doubt some form of teleportation. Left behind was the single Crusader Knight who defended himself admirably, but fell to a blow from my sword. His body collapsed to the muck, un-moving.

Suddenly, Longtail appeared shouting that SALT could harm the beasts. Thinking quickly, I ordered Longtail to fetch salt from within the town, Hawksclaw suggested the meat processing area of the stockyard. I ordered Hawksclaw and Highwall to stem the tide of creatures pouring from the sky. And with that, my Rangers leaped into action.

With Hawksclaw and Highwall beside me, we charged the storm creatures, while Longtail covered ground with the speed of rushing wind. I threw myself at one of the Lighting creatures, feeling its energy sparking off my armor. We discovered quickly that White Silver affected the beast and two fell to my blade. Together, Highwall and Hawksclaw slew a Storm rider and an Electric beast before a creature of true power descended from the sky and attacked me with sparking tendrils of pure energy.

Above our heads, High Priest Valandrian wages a holy war against the creatures while around us, Olara, Galean and allied knights rallied to their standards and hurled themselves into the fray. Atop the wall of Echer’Naught, the High Druidess Treesinger stood along agains the fury of the cyclone, calling upon the power of Life to slow its advance and safeguard the lives of the many. In the field, the battle raged with the flower of our armies falling like wheat before the scythe.

With each creature we slew, the Cyclone’s power waned just a little bit more. And as it closed upon the mob of screaming civilians, our fight grew desperate. In the mass, mighty Grimbore gamely tried to reach the field of battle, but was intercepted by Longtail who ordered him to open the gate as wide as possible, while she sprinted OVER the crowd and dove into the town. Alfred stood upon his horse, helping the panicked people to safety.

Once inside, Longtail desperately scanned for the warehouses that would hold the salt, but her eyes fell upon a young girl, standing amid the chaos, and with a stampede of panicked cattle bearing down upon her. Without thought of her own life, Longtail closed the distance to the girl in a heartbeat and threw her body over the child to shield her from the stampede.

Outside, the massive electric creature poured lighting into me, cooking my flesh beneath my armor. The pain was intense and I could feel my life ebbing away. At this moment, as I knelt before the foe, Hawkclaw leaped from my form and slashed the creature with his Rapier. At the same moment, Highwall smashed the beast with his White Silver shield shattering its form.

With a croaking voice, I ordered Hawksclaw to recover the poison from the fallen Prelacy Crusader as I tried to struggle to my feet. Within the down, the stampede thundered passed Longtail who rose, surprised to be alive. Turning, she suddenly understood why. Realizing her danger, the loyal Grimbore had thrown himself over her and the child, taking the savaging from the cattle’s hooves. With the last of his strength, he stroked her cheek call her his “pretty kitty.” And then, the mighty warrior sank to earth and fell still.

With tears pouring from her eyes, Longtail sprinted to the infirmary and demanded someone help Grimbore. Two brother dispatched immediately. Shortly after, Hawkclaw arrived and thrust the poison vial into the waiting hands of the PotionMaster. And with that, the battle for Echer’Naught ended.

Dozens of civilians were killed, hundreds wounded. Nearly thirty knights sacrificed their lives defending the town and everything recently built north of town was obliterated. My own forces have been decimated. Grimbore lives, but has yet to remain consciousness. We do not know if he will survive. Hawksclaw and Highwall were wounded, I grievously so.

Though we manage to recover the poison, we may still have been too late. In addition, we still do not know the Prelacy’s plans and the agents were all killed during the fighting, though we managed to recover three of their strange energy lances.

As to the Storm, we know almost nothing.

As horrible as the physical devastation has been, the mental and spiritual costs my be worse. Longtail still holds the child as if she fears to let her go. Highwall seems…distant, distracted. I fear his extracurricular activities may be dulling his edge. But, I fear most for Hawksclaw. The anger I see forming in my chief subordinate mirror the rage I carried throughout the war and long after… If that anger cannot be settled, I fear for the cost to the man.

The pain of my wounds begins to dull my wits. I leave this here, a record of these events and a warning to Rangers all. The Storms are coming and I fear this is only the beginning.

Your obediant servant,

A. Wolfhaven, Colonel

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Campaign Report 9
Shadow Boar

Colonel Wolfhaven, Alexander

Grey Ranger Outpost, Echer’Naught

Eighteenth Day, Falling Ice, Year 3123 Under the Light

My quill trembles as I write these words. I pray my Rangers cannot see the trepidation this most recent quest caused to rise within me breast. Our slumber was broken before dawn on the 10th of Falling Ice, some week and a half past. By Archanon’s Light, has only been eight days?

Three men waiting without our door, two couriers bearing personal gifts from suitors for Lady Longtail. Apparently, her negotiations this past winter for the construction of our new, brick kitchen went too well. I only hope her suitors do not come to blows over her hand. I believe, considering the individuals involved, that such an incident might explode into open war in the streets. I have cautioned her about her behavior and she assures me that the situation will be handled. I trust that it will be so.

However, the third and final shadow across our threshold was a boy, not fifteen years. Exhausted, muddy and barely able to stand, nevertheless, the lad showed deference and respect while he repeated his message to my 1st Class Ranger Hawksclaw. The boy was nearly spent, yet he stood like a man. A true Olaran and deserving of our respect.

He was quickly brought before me and I learned that a beast appeared in his master’s barony and had begun a campaign of destruction. What the creature was, the boy could not say, but the images of carnage he recounted filled me with dread. More important, his master, the Baron, had led a quest to slay the beast, but the venture had tragically failed costing the lives over nearly a dozen knights, injuring more and worst of all, crippling the Baron’s sole heir and inflicting a mortal wound on the Lord of the Manor.

Even as he spoke, voice quaking from despair and fatigue, it did not break. He bade us hurry to his master’s side before the beast’s foul blow laid him low. Immediately, we made preparations to depart. All save loyal Grimbore mounted horse and wagon as their needs and we sped south. I chose not to head directly east toward Harken. I would have perhaps been faster, though with so many roads impassable due to the inexplicably rainy spring, I chose to use the less used southern barony road. It was still a chore and with the wagon progress was slower than we would have liked. We stopped at a small inn, little more than a large room with benches that Hawksclaw and Longtail had used during their winter long patrols. We stayed their the night out of the driving rain. It gave us a chance to dry ourselves and the cozy setting fostered camaraderie and some frank conversation. The next morning (11th) we continued south until we hit Farwatch-Kator road, turn east and ride flat out. We left the road just west of Kator and headed north a short way until we reached the barony. Rain still pouring.

Ranger Longtail, acting as scout under the guidance and direction of 1st Class Hawksclaw observed the manor hillfort and surrounding vill. She saw no sign of a creature but noted the villagers were skittish and there was a nervous air about the place. We approached with the young local in the lead. He escorted us straight to the fort, past the guards and into the courtyard. the few mounts that had been recovered from the disastrous raid were there and, even days later, still spooked. The sudden intrusion of strangers and a the rattle of wagon wheels on cobblestone so frightened the traumatized horses that they instantly tried to bolt. By sheer weight, Highwall kept his shaggy pony in check. Longtail was already on foot and Thunder obeyed me, though not without a fight. Hawksclaw was closest. His elven pony bolted throwing him to the ground. By Archanon’s grace he was uninjured. The boy, apparently having seen the agitation of the horses before, simply kicked free and let his horse scramble away. Bravery, dedication and skill with a horse, this boy might turn into a fine warrior.

Our mounts more or less secured, we entered the squat, square, stone keep to find a charnel house. The constant rain outside and the rising spring temperatures, combined with little ventilation had created a muggy, fly infested infirmary. The broken bodies of men, once proud knights, lay about the main hall. Nurses, ladies and servants worked tirelessly redressing wounds and bring water and comfort, but from the many bandaged stumps where once limbs would have lain, and the red-black ooze staining the wraps, I fear few would survive their wounds. Still, we pressed on, heading upstairs to the main bedroom.

There, we found the baron’s family outside his chambers wailing in anguish. We were bade roughly inside and found the baroness kneeling by the bed, and the wounded, likely crippled, son standing by where the Baron, his belly wrapped in bandages, lay coughing an sputtering. He was older, in his sixties, gray hair and beard, but he had once been a mighty warrior, and the muscles still held strength, if he had gone a bit to seed. Despite the pain, his eyes were keen and bright. He addressed us roughly, brooking no nonsense. He remember me, more more my family, from before the war. He seemed pleased that a Wolfhaven had responded to his call. With this, he explained that the beast was a Shadow Boar, a corrupted boar of darkness, but this beast was larger and more cunning than any he had ever faced.

We are Olaran, and our lives are spent in conflict with Flame and Darkness. As such, each Barony has weapons of white silver for these situations. He had brought forth a white silver tipped boar spear and a precious few white silver tipped arrows and bolts. Then he commanded the Rangers to hunt down and destroy the beast. With that, we were dismised.

Leaving the oppressive scene, we recovered our mounts. I ordered sergeant Stormhammer to see to the defense of the keep and Olgor to see what he could do for the poor souls inside. With that handled, I ordered the boy to take us to the place of the attack, then return home.

We rode for a few hours until we came to a small wooded area. There, we found the scene of the attack. Longtail and Hawksclaw scouted the area, while Highwall and I remained with the mounts. While we stood by, a large boar, but untainted, charged Longtail. She managed to scramble up a tree out of the way. She needed have worried. From his hiding place, Hawksclaw felled the beast in a single shot. Truly impressive marksmanship. The wild hogs had been attracted by the smell of blood and the remains of the many bodies never recovered. It was a horrible sight, one that reminded me too much of the war.

From there, Hawksclaw tracked the prints west for some time, until we came across a yeoman’s farm. These poor souls had also run afoul of the beast and had paid the price. Again, Hawksclaw and Longtail scouted the area and ensured the beast had moved on. Then, with urgency, Longtail summoned me forward. What she had found inside the small farmhouse was both tragic and joyous. As a dying act, a mother had hidden her infant from the beast. Hungry, scared and tired, the baby had begun to cry. We pulled it from the wreck and debated what to do.

At this moment, I came to understand something about Longtail that I had not know. She was adamant that the child be taken to safety. I honestly believe that had I refused, she would have disobeyed. Nevertheless, I agreed and she volunteered to dangerous tasks of retracing out steps to find a farm nearby that might take the child in for the time. With the Brinchie on yet another long run, the rest of us set to making a camp by the little stream a distance from the farm following the beasts trail. The rain continued, and making a fire was troublesome, but we dealt as Rangers should. Some time that night, Longtail returned having found a farm not far away.

We bedded down, with Hawksclaw on first watch. During the pre-dawn hours, the beast attacked. Our first warning was Hawkclaw’s shout of alarm. Our second was his body falling from the sky and landing with a wet thud near the fire. Then, all at once, the beast was among us, running the Alakar Ranger down. It moved like lighting and seemed made of shadows. Hawkclaw managed to roll away and fire an arrow, but the beast disappeared into the tall grass and vanished. I was so stunned, that for a moment I could not grasp the purpose of attack, for the beast did not return for another pass. Only then did we hear the screams of our horses.

The attack was a diversion. In the confusion, our mounts broke, spooked by the stench of death and corruption on the thing. With malicious intelligence, it drove them our of range of our weapons and began to systematically slaughter them. It was then that I realized our true danger. On foot and exposed, we were easy prey, so we made a move, in formation back to the farmhouse. The deaths of our mounts bought us the time to make it, but just barely. Then, the creature backed off, but not far.

Longtail took watch on the roof above and informed us that it was still out there in the shadows, stalking us. Tired, soaked, rattled and without much of our rations and gear, we huddle in the wrecked farmhouse planning. Archanon’s blessing, we had within our small company the necessary skills to survive. Though not a Stonemason, Highwall had come from a family of the finest wall builders perhaps in the whole of Shaintar. Under his guidance and with help from my experiences during the war fighting creatures like this, we set to converting what remained of the farmhouse into a trap for the Shadowboar. We removed the roof supports and used that in construction of a large pit trap and firing platforms. Then, with Longtail calling out sightings, Hawksclaw skulked around the yard outside for material. It was an arduous tasks and by nightfall we were sore and tired, but the deed was done.

Here I had a choice to make. Take the center place and hold the boar spear? I put it to my men, who of us would have the honor…and the danger of standing alone before the terror of the beast. Without hesitation, or a tremor of fear, Highwall to the spear in hand, three times his height and said simply, “I will.” And with that, the Dwarf dropped into the kill chute and awaited his fate. I confess my heart swelled with pride. I have known decorated commanders who turned to gibbering fools in the face of such monsters, yet not one of my Rangers so much as hesitated. We were afraid, you would be a fool not to be, but we were resolute in our mission.

15th Falling Ice

Then, as always, Longtail, with that little smile she always gives before rushing headlong into battle, sprinted out the door to lure the beast into our trap. I took one platform, white silver tipped lance at the ready, Hawksclaw the other, bow in hand. We did not wait long. With a shout, Longtail sprinted thru the open door, bounded Highwall’s head and vaulted the back wall. A heartbeat later, the front wall of the house exploded inward in a shower of splinters. Before, the attack was so fast, I never fully realized the size of this thing. It stood nearly as tall as the house at its shoulders, with eyes full of cold, calculating malice. But it had the Brinchie’s scent and was not going to let her escape.

Blowing through the wall like paper, the beast crashed through the kill chute where Highwall stood. Without giving an inch, the Dwarf thrust the spear into the beasts belly. It roared, but its momentum carried it past. I stabbed it through the shoulder, seeing a gout of black blood an Hawksclaw pieced with an arrow, but our blows seemed to have no effect. They actually enraged the beast who, having lost Longtail, came around and charged the Dwarf again, intending to stomp him into the ground. Again Highwall thrust, and again the Shadowboar roared. My lance ripped from my grip, I drew my bow. Hawksclaw fired again. No avail. the beast gored and stomped the Dwarf, but Highwall stood firm. At that moment, the walls went up in flames, trapping the beast and preventing his escape. And then Longtail was there, on its back, stabbing and slashing. I fired. Hawkclaw fired. The beast thrashed, slashed and stomped. I saw Highwall go down in a flurry of black hooves and my heard sank. I fired again, shouting to kill it hoping beyond hope that my friend was still alive under there. And then the dwarf rose, axe and whitesilver shield in hand. The firelight caught the shining metal and the beast flinched in horror. And with a mighty blow, Highwall buried his axe into the monster’s skull. It keened. At the same instance, Hawksclaw fired, piercing flesh. The beast lurched once, gave a final sigh and slumped to the side. Looking back, I almost feel that in its dying moment, I saw relief in that final look, as if we had finally set it free.

Nevertheless, the house was now ablaze and we were trapped. Hawksclaw leaped the pit in a single bound, scrambled as high as he could and held out a hand. I grabbed Highwall’s hand and threw him over the wall. Snatching up the precious spear and hurling it to safety, I grasped Hawksclaws hand and was launched over the wall. Longtail did a flying somersault and landed quite nearly on the dwarf, though I image it was on purpose. Then, we watched the pyre burn, as we added fuel, all the way until morning. After hours of burning, the stench of undeath and corruption was finally burned away by cleansing fire, though I fear nothing will grow on this land for some time.

We rested there. Exhausted. Later (16th), we picked up our things and I was overjoyed to find my mount Thunder, who survived the war, had returned now that the beast was gone. We headed back, stopping at the farmhouse to recover the babe only to discover that the farmers were kin, and wished to adopt. We were pleased to allow this, but I gave the child a necklace, crafted by Highwall’s hands, of a priceless white silver arrow and bade the farmer give it to the child when he came of age. And also, I commanded that the child be told of the bravery of his family, the sacrifice of his mother and give him and invitation to the Rangers should he ever desire to join. We ate with the farmers and then continued on that night (16th), coming to the keep in the wee hours (17th).

Funeral preparations were already underway. Sadly, the Baron had died, but his son, the new Baron thanked us and offered us the quivers of white silver arrows and bolts, as well as, the young man who had been sent to guide us here as a Ranger trainee. I must say that I am pleased. And then he invited us to join his father’s Last Call. With great respect, we agreed.

Arrived late in Echer’Naught on the 18th.

That was some days ago and now I am sitting back in Echer’Naught, putting together my thoughts. So much has happened in the last months and I fear there is great evil growing in the land. Bandits, flame and darkness all seem to gather here. With the Prelacy marching to the north and these unending storms…I must admit I am apprehensive. But then I have but to look out my door and see Hawksclaw teaching the young man, Alfred, how to hold a bow. When he came to me, he was young and idealistic, raw and unformed. I can see an Alakar and true leader forming in my subordinate. I also see an anger, a darkness, one I know too well. If we can master himself, he will be a force of light and life. I can also see Longtail, teaching young Sarah to throw knives and…pick pockets. I must talk with her about that. But, the girl is growing in strength and confidence under the Ranger’s tutelage. And of course, Highwall and Stormhammer at the force, working in perfect tandem on some new project. Even as the dark thoughts fill my mind, I have to glance up and I see a future protected by these few, brave souls. So long as the Rangers remain true, so long as we hold to the light, I will fear no thing.

Your obediant servant,

A. Wolfhaven, Colonel

P.S. I have just received word that the festival day and joust has been announced. Already frantic work is happening north of the town. And entire village is being built in half a months time in preparation. No doubt we will be called to duty. I fear this might be a perfect opportunity for our enemies to slip among us, but I have my Rangers. It will be dealt with.

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Campaign Report 8
A New Day

Colonel Wolfhaven, Alexander

Grey Ranger Outpost, Echer’Naught

First Day, Falling Ice, Year 3123 Under the Light

The last vestiges of winter break and thaw as springs warmth brings new life to the land. I must admit I have missed this. Perhaps it was Archanon’s will that I be posted in the land of my birth? Whatever the fact, I am pleased.

Spring rains come early. The storms have been unusually strong. Winter snow and ice has turned to slush in the constant drizzle making the roads nigh unusable. All but the main highway. The sorry duty of long patrols fell most heavily upon Ranger 1st class Hawksclaw and Ranger Longtail. A task which they performed well and without rancor.

Since our great victory at Sudweid, the agents of Red Store have been quiescent, though I harbor no delusions that they will return and in force. Nevertheless, we shall be ready and waiting. Whatever their challenge, we will be more than a match.

Winter brought much opportunity for my rangers to improve our station and their living conditions. Each member bent their energies to task most suited to their nature and may I say that it has been a profitable season. I will endeavor to detail each in brief here.

Ranger 1st class Hawksclaw engaged in a petition letter campaign with his family in Eldara in hopes of obtaining the valuable resource of seasoned lumber for our many construction needs. It took most of the winter season, but he manage to secure a sizable supply, with some assistance on my part, though he will no doubt still be indebted to his patron. The rest of his time, what time not spent training, was dedicated to assisting Ranger Longtail in her endeavors to secure bricks and brick masons for out use.

Ranger Longtail applied herself in her usual…enthusiastic manner, ingratiating herself with local merchant, builders and traders. Her efforts paid off in that she secured a large portion of good Echer’Naught brick for construction here at the headquarters. Regrettably, and I am unfamiliar with the details, he “negotiations” created some jealousy between the Brick Yard where the kilns operate and the Master Mason she attempted to contract for the actual construction. Sadly, while she acquired the material, she was unable to contract the labor.

However, where she was unable, Ranger Highwall succeeded. Through, what I understand were a series of drinking contests at the Hammer and Anvil, Highwall managed to convince the erstwhile mason to construct an outdoor kitchen and central indoor fire pits within the HQ. Though, I am unsure what exactly transpired as it seems to me that this masonry team is the same that rebuffed Longtail and I fear their might be some trouble in the future, as both the Mason and the Brick Kiln operator are cousins…and I fear both are enamored with my Brinchie Ranger. Time will tell. Regardless, Highwall dedicated the remainder of his days to working in the local forge. He has been very reluctant to discuss the details as it seems there was some form of accident? Regardless, he has requested, and been given permission, to continue working at the Blacksmith in his off hours. Whatever the case, he has earned my full support.

As can be seen, my time has been busy with managing the many construction projects occurring at the outpost and assisting my Rangers in whatever endeavor they attempted. I might also add here that during this season Sergeant Major Stormhammer vastly improved the HQ forge and smithy while Grizhnak Olgor., our scribe, bursar, and historian greatly expanded the unit library. I cannot say what I could accomplish without the assistance of these two men.

I would like to also take a moment to praise our non-ranger staff. The stalwart Grimbore, our towering Ogre doorman has been ever faithful. I must admit, I was concerned at first with the arrangement, but I now see the wisdom in Captain Manning’s decision to retain the Ogre’s services. In addition, young Sarah seems to have adapted well to working with the Rangers. She seams to have a particular interest in Ranger Longtail. I find myself marveling at her industriousness and quiet resolve. Perhaps, one day, when she is over age, she might consider joining us fully? I will ask when the time is right.

Other news of import. I have contacted the commander of Bearheart, Lord Arnwald, Commander. I have heard whispers of a Prelacy advance, but am anxious for definitive news. In addition, I sent him a cask of fine Dwarven Ale, a locally brewed concoction called Echer’Draught. I am not a connoisseur, but Highwall swears by the drink and in all things ale, I defer to his judgement. I am also to reach out to Lieutenant Gibben Draxx of Jasara. If the Prelacy truly intends to invade, no doubt Jasara will fall in its path. I have intention of leaving my fellow Rangers to that fate alone. I hope soon to hear word on both fronts.

Lastly, I have just received word of my official promotion to the rank of Colonel. I must say that while a surprise, it is a welcome one. Before Archanon, and my ancestors, I swear that I will commit myself to honoring and justifying the trust placed in me by my commanders.

With the Red Store somewhat deflated and a near year dawning, Echer’Naught has grand plans to move forward. Lord Mayor Von Haber has petitioned Duchess of Harken, Lady Valenia Harken for the honor of hosting a tournament and joust in her honor here in Echer’Naught. Already, preparations are being made in the event of her approval of the proposal. While I believe a true festival day will be a boon to my men, we will no doubt have extra work in equal measure.

Still, after a long, cold winter, we are better equipped and prepared than ever before. Our cohesiveness as a unit grows and my Rangers are finding their place here. I have only good hope for our future.

Your obediant servant,

A. Wolfhaven, Colonel

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Campaign Report 7
Battle of the Sudweid

Captain Wolfhaven, Alexander

Grey Ranger Outpost, Echer’Naught

Twenty Eighth Day, Harvest Moon, Year 3122 Under the Light

Archanon be praised, the renown Celebor was within the Druidess’ sacred grove upon Hawksclaws arrival.

Under the command of Sergeant Major Magor Stormhammer’s authority, Grey Ranger Celebor, Ranger 1st Class Hawksclaw, Ranger Gate Highwall, Ranger Aradove Longtail and Ranger Scholar Grizhnak Olgor loaded a wagon and traveled south. By the time they arrived at the combined camp beside the road near where the attack on the tax caravan had occurred, the scene was a bonafide military encampment. The Royal Sheriff had summoned reinforcements bringing his total of troops up to nearly thirty. In addition, the Field Marshal Von Wrangel had brought in nearly forty of his own elite Hammerfell Riders. With the Rangers, that raised the total of troops in the field to just under eighty men at arms.

With that force, the wagon was secured and Rangers Hawksclaw and Celebor searched the ground and learned that the bandits had scattered, but that the gold had been loaded on two horses and a wagon, each heading in a different direction. The wagon struck out south east, the horses north east and west. Teams were sent to track each. Celebor to the north east, Highwall and Longtail with a Hammerfell scout to the north west and Hawksclaw alone to the south east. However, the trails were diversions sent to distract as they all eventually bent back toward the south west.

With this information, the scouts returned to report. Anxious to get underway and recover the days lost, Von Wrangel pushed forward, ordering the Rangers to take point in the growing darkness and track the foes to their nest. Throughout the long night, over sodden fields we rode, Longtail running holding the right flank with Hawksclaw on the left and Celebor the tip of the spear. I held the center, and with my sword alight, held out scouting party together. Through first light and into the mid morning we sped, heedless of caution. Only then did Celebor, our lead scout reign in. He had spotted the enemy camp.

Behind us, Von Wrangel and a column of Hammerfell riders pulled up short. They too had ridden hard all night and yet their lines were as perfect as on parade. Sir Halten and his men had been tasked with securing the wagon and the road behind.

Under Celebor’s direction, my men and I crept forward and crested a rise to look down upon a large encampment. More than one hundred men, bandits and brigands all, stirred in a semi-permanent camp. There was no telling how long these villains had been operating from the southern lands, but they would soon be stopped.

While Longtail crept into their camp to spook their horses and locate the King’s gold, Highwall and I would attack the enemy camp covered by Hawksclaw and Celebor’s arrows. Meanwhile, the Hammerfell riders would flank the camp and grind them under charging hooves.

The plan began with perfection. Unnoticed, Longtail slipped among them cutting the horse line and scattering the beasts. At that moment, I and Highwall charged, taking their pickets by surprise. Celebor and Hawksclaw rained death from the skies and all appeared well until a hidden Flame Acolyte summoned raging Minotaur who quickly sniffed out the Brinchie and gave chase. Fleet as the wind, Longtail led the beast on a merry chase, but was soon under assault from both childer and spellcaster. Meanwhile, the great range sent many of our archer’s arrows astray and their quick response slowed out foot advance to a crawl.

2016MinotaurJJAlt.jpg

Only by the Ascended’s fortune was I finally able to reach the center of camp and catch the Minotaur by surprise. So focused on the destruction of Longtail was the mighty thing that he missed my approach. I cleaved in in a single blow. Longtail then was able to slow and engage the Red Store Bandit leader in combat. Hawksclaw found his range while Highwall clove through the enemy shield wall.

From somewhere to the west, and unexpected, but welcome surprise came in the form of elves who rained death upon the bandits. What complaint they had with our enemies, I know not, but their timely arrive tied down many would be combatants. Finally, in single combat I dispatched the Acolyte and with help from our arrows, Longtail all but vanquished the leader. Yet, using some sorcery, he slipped out grasp.

At this moment, with their command destroyed, the bandits wavered. Only then did their hear the sound of approaching thunder bringing their doom. Like an avalanche, the Hammerfell riders swept through the camp crushing the enemy before them. And with that, the battle was over. My men secured the gold and loaded it on a convenient wagon. We camped their that night, gathered the dead and treated the wounded.

The return to the Echer’Naught will be long and hard as the weather turned bitterly cold, but never before has the King’s gold been so secured. At final count, we recovered more than 80% and reclaimed out honor.

Each member of my team performed exceptionally. And with the destruction of the bandit camp, I pray that lawlessness in that region should be quite reduced. Now, we face a new threat, but not one of man, but of nature. Winter is setting in fully here and the days turn cool, the night frigid. Our humble outpost is still woefully incomplete, but I have the highest hopes for out future.

Your obedient servant,

A. Wolfhaven, Captain

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Campaign Report 6
On the Trail of Bandits

Captain Wolfhaven, Alexander

Grey Ranger Outpost, Echer’Naught

Eighteenth Day, Harvest Moon, Year 3122 Under the Light

More troubles plague our lands. My team returned with little to report. No evidence of interference was found along the single passable road to and from the southern baronies. And yet, all was not well. Weeks passed before we received word from the Lord Mayor to proceed.

We were summoned to the base of the Beacon Hill, at the Greenway gate early in the morning of the 6th day of Harvest Moon when the land was covered in a thick layer of hoarfrost. There we met the Sheriff Halten and his men accompanying two heavily armored wagons. While the Royal Sheriff Lord Halten accompanied the decoy, my men escorted the true Tax caravan.

There should have been no way for anyone outside of the Lord Mayor’s circle to know the time and place of the caravan. And yet, on their return trip from the farthest barony, my scouts came upon a wagon broken down and obstructing the road. Yet, when they attempted to help clear the way, the “merchants” attacked them. It seemed, to my men, that these bandits were expecting my men in particular, the Rangers, indicating a surprising and terrifyingly detailed knowledge of not only our route, but the disposition of the guards.

Though they fought well, one of the villains managed to escape the skimish. Odd enough, they discovered that each of the attackers wore a red cloth tied around one of their arms. Some symbol of their allegiance. Rather than pursue the foe, they returned with honor to their primary task, to protect the wagon. What they found was too terrible to contemplate.

The armored carriage had been attacked, the tax gold taken and the guards destroyed.
Ranger 1st class Hawksclaw examined the scene and determined the guards had been betrayed by their own, nearly half of the King’s guards appeared to have been part of the robbery, though he was unable to determine in which direction the gold had been taken.

Exhausted and wounded in battle, my men, regardless of their own suffering, remained at their post until such time as reinforcements arrived. I was first on scene, but was soon followed by Field Marshal Von Wrangel. He and his Hammerfell riders assumed posts around the site waiting for the Royal Sheriff to arrive.

In camp the following morning, I was greeted by Sheriff Halten and Von Wrangel. They were dubious about the incident and tempers flared, yet, the Field Marshal set plans into motion. Ranger 1st class Hawksclaw was dispatched to High Druidess Treesinger in hopes of sending a message to the Gray Ranger Celebor, a renown tracker. In the meantime, my men gathered in Echer’Naught, all but the stalwart Grimbore who remained to protect the outpost.

Now, we race against time. Can we track the bandits before they disperse the gold beyond our reach? Time will tell. For now, we can only hope. With winter coming, the lands will become impassable. We must strike now or lose hope forever.

Your obedient servant,

A. Wolfhaven, Captain

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Private Report of Shayline Eridor
As Reported from Rangers at Large

Rangers at Large

After the destruction of the Builder factory near Thuls I found myself in another place. There I saw a being of chaos and storm the size of a planet. The Silver Unicorn and the Raven were able to call me back to them; however, the time in that place has made me stronger mentally but weaker physically. They tell me that the Tempest is causing the storms on our world and corrupting people on our world to take over places of power so it can use that power to spread its influence. It wants any and all sources of power to feed itself. Notify all Rangers to guard all places of power. If they come across these living cyclones they can be dispelled which destroys the creatures tied to it. If they are not able to dispel the cyclone destroying the creatures that appear from the cyclone cause the cyclone to dissipate. This enemy is a threat to the entire world we might consider telling not only our allies of the threat but also the Prelacy, the Dominion and the Empire of this threat.

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Campaign Report 5
Money Troubles

Captain Wolfhaven, Alexander

Grey Ranger Outpost, Echer’Naught

Twenty fifth day, Raining Leaves, Year 3122 Under the Light

As a whole, we are recovered from our recent events. My team has re-coalesced as a unit again, though there are issues that must be addressed. Still, finally, our issues at home have been settled such that we can begin our true mission, and it could not have come at a better time.
The Lord Mayor has personally requested our assistance in dealing with a matter of some import. Bandits have attacked the King’s Tax in the midst of the Northern Baronies. Exact numbers of the loss are being kept tightly restricted, but from what is unspoken, the loss is a significant threat. Oddly, the Lord Mayor did not request our aid in hunting these villains, rather, we have been tasked with providing additional security for future Tax convoys.
Another issue I have discussed with the Lord Mayor is the vulnerability of our town against the forces of Flame and Darkness, specifically in regards to eldritch and arcane powers. In response, I have been authorized to beseech the Church of LIght for assistance. Under that direction I have dispatched Ranger Longtail on a long range messenger mission to the Church Fortress in the capital city, Olara.
Meanwhile, I charged Ranger 1st class Hawksclaw to scout the southern tax route and identify potential ambush sites, choke points and hazards. Under my orders, Hawksclaw arranged for a wagon from our Dwarven allies in the Longhaul clan and a Druidess from the Druid’s circle. Together with “borrowed” habits from the self proclaimed “King of Lowtown” Fateweaver, my men planned to travel the route under the guise of religious pilgrims. Sergeant Major Stormhammer, Ranger 1st class Hawksclaw, the young druidess and Ranger Highwall departed this morn on their mission. I hope to hear from them within the week.

Otherwise, work on improving out station are under way. The newest member of our company, young Sarah has proven helpful in her tasks and already our abode shows signs of clean and orderly habitation.

Your obedient servant,

A. Wolfhaven, Captain

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Campaign Report 4
Above, Below and Forward

Captain Wolfhaven, Alexander

Grey Ranger Outpost, Echer’Naught

Eighteenth day, Raining Leaves, Year 3122 Under the Light

I write these words with mixed feelings. On the one hand, I have completed the mission placed before my by my commanders. And yet, I have discovered troubling fact about my own men and more questions than answers regarding Echer’Naught. But, first, I must expand on my previous, rather rushed, report.

As previously stated, Ranger Longtail had been abducted by Ratzin forces of Flame and dragged below the town streets. When Ranger Hawksclaw and Highwall reported this to the Sergeant Major Stormhammer, they were given strict orders to maintain their position and secure the HQ while the Sergeant came to collect me from High Towne. Sadly, I must report, from his own testimony, that Ranger Gate Highwall abandoned his post, over the protests of Hawksclaw, and stuck out to find Ranger Longtail on his own volition. At the time, he professed to be concerned about her well being and feared that any delay would prove disastrous for his fellow ranger. As laudable as his motives may have been, his actions jeopardized the mission and everyone at our post. It was by the grace of Archanon that we managed to extract our fellow rangers despite his rashness.

At any rate, after Highwall had gone AWOL, Ranger Hawksclaw was attacked, within our very walls, by Ratzin assassins using Alchemy to approach in utter silence. Though he fought valiently, he was overwhelmed by numbers and, by his report, shrunk and confined on the person of a Ratzin. Hawksclaw was taken to the subterranean lair and placed inside a cage sized for a bird of prey. There he spied the unconscious form of Longtail in a nearby cage, also of diminished size. From his own report, his salvation came at the hands of an unusual ally in the form of a Faerie. Prior to his mission, he had visited High Druidess Treesinger in her sacred grove at the heart of the town. There she bestowed upon him the blessings of Life. It would seem that blessing came as a creature of pure life who managed to secure a key to the cage and assist his escape. From there he climbed the vines upon the licencing like some primitive rope bridge and there reach the shelves containing the evil Alchemists vials and beakers. Hearing our combat growing close, he, rather recklessly, tested the tinctures until he found himself of great size and proportion, easily dwarfing the Ratzin. There, alone, he did battle, unarmed, until laid low by a large, powerful Ratzin assassin. Until our rescue, his part was completed.

Meanwhile, Highwall was headed to the Low Town skids where the town offal runs out a small gate beneath the southern wall. When that exit proved impassable, he followed the wall east until he reached the southern postern gate. There he exited the town and double back, now outside the town, to the sewer cesspool. Forcing his way past the bars, he wandered the sewers battling Ratzin in hordes until there I found him, surrounded and grievously wounded, but still very much in the fight. The rest of his part I have explained in my previous report.

All of this occurred while I was finishing my conversation with the Lord Mayor. No sooner had I reached the Main Road, when Sergeant Major Stormhammer rushed to meet me. In brief, he explained that Hawksclaw and Highwall were holding the HQ, but I must return urgently because he believed that Longtail had been abducted. I returned to find my entire time team missing. As I explained on my report of the 16th, I ventured alone into the bowels of the town, came upon Highwall and found the enemy lair.

Here, I must account the conclusion to this sad episode. Our fight very nearly finished me and my men. It was not until late morning on the 16th before we were in any condition to even rise for our fitful rest. Only Stormhammer and the ever vigilant Grimbore remained on watch. At any rate, we received an unexpected, but welcome, guest in the form of the aforementioned scribe, Grizhnak Olgor. A Goblin with the fine bearing of a Galean elite, Olgor immediately set about establishing a small library for our, rather sparse, outpost. He also expressed an interest in joining our men as we returned to the underground lair. Our description of the “portal” intrigued him greatly.

However, before descending into the depths, I debriefed each of my rangers in order to gain some comprehension of the past day. What I learned I have written above, save for a personal note regarding each ranger in question. Ranger Hawksclaw provided a sterile report, explaining in exacting detail the bizarre behavior of Ranger Highwall and his own concerns about continued operations. Ranger Highwall expressed his regret for his actions and assured me such would never happen in the future. Ranger Longtail had little to say but relief. Based on their performance, and the question as to whether I would remain at this post once news of former Captain Manning reached Kythros, I felt compelled to establish some form of command structure. With the blessing of Stormhammer, I hereby promoted Ranger Rah-Sahn Hawksclaw to Ranger 1st Class.

Once organizational details had been sorted, I sent my rangers to request assistance from the Lord Mayor who tasked the Royal Sheriff and his 20 best men to our detail. Ranger 1st Class Hawksclaw showed admirable restraint being forced to work with the man who so recently imprisoned him. Even so, the Sheriff, his men, my team and the new scribe, Olgor descended into the depths to return to the scene of such perfidy. We arrived to find things much as we had left them. A great portion of the lab had been destroyed in the cataclysm of my futile attempts to stem the tide of Ratzin through what we have come to understand was a faulty portal or cauldron of some sort.

While the Royal guards secured the room, my rangers set about searching the various remains and trying to determine how may had fallen prey, how long this had been occurring and recovering what personal affects they could uncover. Meanwhile, Olgor studied the room, the book I had found earlier and the pedestal in the corner. My Rangers found numerous items, many of which would later be returned to surviving family and friends. They also realized that, based on the pattern of kidnappings, this den had been in operation for some years. It is very conceivable that this plot was hatched during the War of Flame. How fortunate are we that, despite the limited success of the relatively few kidnapping victims, no further damage was caused. This lair could, conceivably, caused the fall of Echer’Naught during the war had it worked as we believe intended. Consulting with Ranger Highwall, who’s family it appears has some history in runes and magic, Olgor surmised that the Thaumaturgist was attempting to create a permanent-triggered spell which, when activated, would open a portal to Nocan Dar and release untold horrors upon the town. We do not know exactly what transpired, suffice to say, the trigger effect was faulty creating a situation in which the portal was only partially effective, and only for a short time preceding the cycle of three full moons and during the 13th hour. With the help of Stormhammer’s hammer, we managed to break the runes, thereby deactivating the artifact. Collecting all, including the defunct pedestal, we all returned to the surface.

My rangers returned what they could to those who had lost. There was much gratitude from the townspeople. So much so, that the Schenkle bakery now provides fresh bread each morning. Also, the lady of the evening, Aurora’s daughter Sarah had now joined our staff as a housemaid and laundress during the morning and early afternoon.

All being said, this has been a trial fore our little band. It has revealed our strengths and our weaknesses. I only hope that we can move beyond this episode and continue to serve in the fullness of out capacity. Regardless, the town is secured, Captain Manning has been avenged and the Lord Mayor has requested our assistance in dealing with an issue of taxes. Until such time as I am permanently assigned, or replaced, I will uphold the ideals and code of the Ranger Corps and do my utmost in the name of Life, Light and the faith placed in me by my commanders.

Your obedient servant,

A. Wolfhaven, Captain

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Campaign Report 3
Into the Depths

After Action Report:
Captain Wolfhaven, Alexander

Grey Ranger Outpost, Echer’Naught

Sixteenth day, Raining Leaves, Year 3122 Under the Light

As I pen these words, I find myself troubled. Our investigation into the Echer’Naught disappearances leaves me with more questions than answers. I am fairly certain that anyone who has already been abducted is now dead. We found many remains and discarded equipment in the subterranean labyrinth, food for the many Ratzen nesting there. However, I must wait until a force can be sent to recover the remains for positive identification.

Perhaps, I should begin with an account of what has transpired?

On the morning of the 15th, I assembled my team. We discussed options. Should we descend immediately during daylight hours? Should we allow the mid-month to pass in hopes that the threat would then lie dormant? In the end, we elected to dispatch rangers to various sections of the city and A) discover if the mid-month abduction had already taken place, and B) warn the townsfolk to avoid being out alone until the threat had been dealt with.

Gate Highwall took the warehouse district and the stockyards. Rah-Sahn Hawksclaw took the merchant district and the Town Watch. Aradove Longtail headed to Low Town, while I tried to gain an audience with the Lord Mayor. Sergeant Stormhammer remained to coordinate and secure the outpost.

My visit to High Towne was as I expected. It took much of the day to secure an audience with the Lord Mayor and, though he was greatly concerned for his townsfolk, he could not order people off the streets. I was able to negotiate an agreement by which his personal guards supplemented town wide patrols. It was late in the eve by the time I returned.

I now know that my rangers met with similar success, half-hearted promises to pass along the warning, but few with whom we spoke seemed overly concerned. With mixed feelings I learned that no one had yet been abducted. While feeling relieved for the people of Echer’Naught, I now knew that we had to act tonight.

I had barely reached the highway when Stormhammer approached at a run. To my horror, he explained that Ranger Longtail had been abducted and that both Highwall and Hawksclaw were waiting at the outpost for my return, both determined to recover Longtail.

But, upon returning to the outpost, my heart sank. During my absence, some vile force had penetrated our security and abducted the remainder of my team. Stormhammer was prepared to storm the sewers, consequences be damned. However, I could risk no more of my team, so leaving a very unhappy sergeant, I found my way into the sewers via access provided by the town planners.

I was soon beset by Ratzin, many of the beasts were crawling the sewers and tunnels beneath the streets. I was led by the sound of combat echoing off the walls. I soon stumbled across a severely wounded Highwall battling for his life against a swarm of savage Ratzin. The combat was fierce, but we prevailed, though our respite was brief. More foes were closing fast.

Glancing around, I saw no sign of Hawksclaw. Demanding a report from Highwall, I found his evasiveness troubling, but had no time to investigate further. More and more and more of the vile beasts closed from all directions and we cut our way through back to back. As we fought past the rats, we spied a strange glowing light approaching, almost like foxfire. Confused, we prepared for some new horror, but to our surprise, a lone faerie bobbed along in the doom and gloom.

It was clear the creature had a purpose and we soon determined that it wished for us to follow. Curiously, and with no better direction, Highwall and I followed. Soon, we found ourselves outside a room lined with shelves and cages. In the center a table covered in arcane implements. In one corner I could feel more than see a distortion, some kind of arcane artifice or portal.

Highwall staggered by his injuries could continue no more, so I left him to hold the hall as I entered to find Hawksclaw surrounded by fallen foes, lying bleeding on the ground with a Ratzin Assassin standing over his body. The fight was close and deadly, but the beast fell to my blade. Yet more seemed to come from the strange pedestal in the corner of the room.

Beaten, battered with my team spent, I had no choice but to try and disable the spells maintaining the portal. I gathered my team behind the thick wooden table we had moved into position. Then, taking up all of the unnamed bottles, salves and inctures, I hurled them all at the pedestal know not what might happen, but praying for a miracle. The resulting arcane release was terrifying, but the gate appeared to be closed.

While the faerie attended to the wounded, I scoured the room noting the arcane symbols etched in human blood, the piles of gnawed bone and discarded clothes and the implement of both spellcasters and alchemists. Clearly, this was a laboratory of evil. Also, in one of the smaller cages I found the unconscious form of Ranger Longtail, yet she was hardly bigger than a housecat.

Tired, confused and with a growing sense of unease, I escorted my team back the way we had come, following the obliging faerie. She led us to a hatch which turned out to lead to our own HQ. Highwall and Stormhammer worked together to open the hatch from below using a clever mechanism hidden to those above. Then, stinking, bleeding and exhausted, we crawled out of the pit and collapsed where we lay.

That was hours ago and I have roused myself sufficient to heat a pot of wine and right this report.

I do not know the nature of the magiks occurring in the lab, I do not know the location or nature of the mages responsible. I do not know if I closed the portal or if it closed on its own. I do not know how my team came to be split and captured. I simply do not know. When my team recovers sufficient to explain their actions leading to this debacle, I will seek to understand. Until such time, all I can to is thank the Light that I lost no one today, my team or my town and pray we can stop whatever sickness infests our new home.

Your obedient servant,

A. Wolfhaven, Captain
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