Campaign of the Month: June 2018

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

Campaign Report 80
The Wedding of Baron and Baroness Wolfhaven

Lord Mayor, Colonel Baron Wolfhaven, Alexander

Commander of the Legio Heroes

The Sacred Grove of Evoran Que’kassars, Landra’Feya

Second Day of White River, Year 3125 Under the Light

The heart of an Olaran is Duty and Sacrifice. We are born into this, forged, tempered into warriors without peer. But what happens when you have more than one Duty? How much can a man Sacrifice before there is nothing left?

I left my last report on the 26th Day of Gray Winds. In time, I know this information will become public record, so I shall include it here, but delay its filing officially, at least until such time as it becomes necessary. Though, I must say that I utter detest the false pretense and deception necessary given my current situation. I am more troubled by how comfortable I become in its execution.

We know now that Sergeant Major Magor Stormhammer was abducted during the recent raid by forces of Darkness. The where and when of this abduction remains unclear, but I am now convinced that he is, in fact imprisoned in Shivak Novos, the Gray Lands, but that I will get to in due time.

Under the pretext of a “social visit” my wife left Echer’Naught in the company of Madame Lilithien and under the protection of the Alpha Team of Rangers, with Sir Halten’s approval, if not blessing. For security reasons, the Rangers were kept in the dark about the entire operation. They acquitted themselves admirably.

They rode hard and fast and did not stop other than to leave my betrothed and her companion in a tavern on the outskirts of Kore in the company of a man they knew not. And then, they made all haste to return, making a two day trip in a day.

The mysterious stranger was none other than my Lady Elyanna’s brother. A werewolf of some power, and her constant guardian. He and I have an arrangement when it comes to his sister, though I fear her mission stretches the limits of that contract.

In short, if, as we suspect, Stormhammer is in Shivak Novos then it is impossible for our forces to scout him out. Any length of time spent in that dark realm risks corrupting my Rangers. Not to mention, it would be next to impossible for them to blend in sufficiently to gather any valuable intelligence.

That said, my bride to be, madame Lilithien and, of course, her brother could all pass, more or less, without incident. At least, that was the hope. And, over my STRENUOUS objections to the plan, Lady Elyanna convinced me to approve her reckless endeavor. A “Wedding Gift” I believe is how she phrased it? Of course, were it not for Lady Moonsilver’s guarantee that she would remain in constant contact, I would never have conceded.

Yet, I did so. To prevent agents of Vainar from breaking the Sergeant Major and endangering countless lives, I committed my own bride to the cause. Worse, by sending her to Shivak Novos, I risked her losing to her Dark Gifts, forever condemning her soul to Darkness…and any chance we would ever have at being together…

How much sacrifice is too much? Perhaps I will never know.

So, while waiting to hear about the death or fall of the most important person in my dreary little world, I focused on other marginally less depressing efforts, namely the complete collapse of our northern defense and the impending invasion of an unstoppable Dark Horde into Olara. Unsurprisingly, the ArchCardinal had made an offer of Alliance, though I cannot see the Southern Blades agreeing to that. Not after Archanya and Mindoth’s Tower.

I would vote yes, but I have faced hopeless wars. The Blades no nothing but Victory. I pray they never taste the bitterness of defeat. Still, I dispatched correspondence to Camp Wolfhaven and my other allies. If they offer of Parley is refused, I must march immediately north and try to beat Darkness to the northern pass. As always, the Forges may offer shelter from the coming nightmare. If the Blades show unexpected wisdom, then I may consider a more radical maneuver, perhaps flank through Stahlheim to the West, or even a naval attack from the East…

Time will tell. Missives dispatched, I went to speak with Widow Hawksclaw with a request to take the lead in planning the Wedding. My betrothed had apparently made the arrangements prior to her mission. She is imminently prepared.

With the Wedding details arranged, I then focused on security…and other concerns. Here, I turned to Sir Halten. Odd as it might seem, I have come to note that his office seems less…susceptible to infiltration than the Rangers. I think it less that his forces are better and more than since he lost the bid for power, fewer enemies seek to pry into his private affairs. Add to that he is in command of the joint team made him vital to my preparations.

Our meeting was cordial and brief. He agreed to my proposal on the condition that I immediately approved the promotion of RFC Volstagg on the grounds that the team would require solid leadership should the worst befall them…

I agreed and so, he, or his man, drafted the orders specifically to our agreed upon parameters. I have yet to see tighter security around any venture. I only hope that our enemy is satisfied to believe in the false pretense we established.

Using my own wedding as a smokescreen. Duty. It weighs like a mountain.

And so, on the following morning, 27th of Gray Winds, Sir Halten summoned his Rangers and delivered to them my orders, and Sir Volstagg’s promotion. They were given a day to get their affairs in order. A day I also put to good use.

At just after dark, I summoned my new Sworn to my Manor to conduct their official induction into the House Wolfhaven. In other times, it would have been a more elaborate affair, but sadly, I lack either the interest or time to put on such airs. So, I called them in, recited the oath and gave them each the traditional Whitesilver Cavalier Parrying Dirk with the Wolfhaven crest embossed on the guard. I could not help feeling a pang of pain from the memory of presenting similar blades to my first sworn, Aradove and Rah-Sahn. May my Lady the Silver Unicorn keep these men safe and save them from such fates as their predecessors.

Though, my prayers are likely wasted. It seems the blood tax may never be paid in full.

After the Sword departed, I had Sirs Stahn and Olmaran attend. Again, the oath was repeated and to each given a traditional Whitesilver Cavalry saber, crest embossed at the base of the blade. With that, my duty to my House was completed.

And so, I set down to write out invitations and pass-phrases for my impending nuptial, assuming my bride survived the next few days.

The Alpha Team departed Echer’Naught heading North the following morning, on the 28th. Though, I know they were unaware of their final destination, save the Sergeant who was under strict orders NOT to speak of it where she could be scryed.

On the following day I received word that the Heart of Light, Mistress of the Council of Archanaya Istella Nollan herself drafted a letter refusing the ArchCardinal’s offer. And so, orders were dispatched for all available forces to assemble at Camp Wolfhaven and prepare for a winter march north to the pass. I would be arriving within two weeks.

I only needed to get married and petition the King of Olara before assuming command of the armies. Just a few minor errands.

Only upon arriving later did I learn of Flames unexpected attack on Alpha Team’s camp just a day from their destination. The skirmish was fierce and bloody, but none of the team was seriously injured. Ceynara’s Temple must be found and purified…but that is a battle for another day. For now, we must focus on the greater threat of utter annihilation.

Over the next few days, select guests departed for the secret location of my wedding. Sir Halten, of course, and his retinue. A unit of the Wolfhaven Free Riders for added security. A few notable allies and Lords I need to garner favor with to ensure support in the coming battles. And, of course, Fateweaver…

I departed on the 31st, a day after my team was attacked and made good time heading north-west. To be honest, I had not slept since I watched my beloved ride away into the wintry night. I cannot describe the sheer and utter joy I experienced in seeing her again as she joined our column. My heart soared to see her well.

Per our arrangement, Madame Lillithen returned to Echer’Naught and her son. However, Lady Elyanna had picked up a new companion, the familiar, but little understood, Master Trokash who greeted me warmly and offered his sincere congratulations on my impending marriage. Together, with Elyanna’ brother lurking along, we arrived at the site of Evoran’s Tree on the eve of the 33rd of Gray Winds.

My trip occurring without incident.

We arrived to find the encampment just as I had ordered. The Free Riders forming a tight perimeter, my Rangers patrolling the grounds and…Sir Halten already deep in his cups. It was a glorious night, chill and crisp, snow blanketing the ground, save for the green carpet in a near perfect circle around the tree.

Rising from a bed of lush grass and wildflower rose Evoran’s Everwood Tree, branches spreading out like welcoming arms. And around the trunk winding like wire wrapping on a hilt was the thickest vine with the most fragrant flowers and the sharpest thorns I have ever seen.

There was also, per my instructions, a fine tent…with a bit of field repair, waiting under the tree. I learned later that the tent was a gift of Sir Volstagg. Sergeant Whitestone informed me that he acquired it special order. The stitching was added by Ranger Daynore. Apparently the command tent had been the first casualty of their skirmish with Flame. The second being Sir Volstagg himself who received and unexpected and unwelcome ride on a minotaur’s horns.

Seeing so many friends and family about both filled me with a sense of joy, but acute sorrow as well. I had always hoped that Rah-Sahn, or Rouark would stand beside me when I took my vows. Even Celebor…

But as I struggled to choose a man, or woman, of honor to attend my on this most auspicious day it occurred to me that everyone I loved was sooner or later ripped from me. So, to honor their memory, I decided to walk the isle alone and unattended… Just as the empty cup signifies the lost brother during a Last Call, so too was my conspicuous isolation a dedication to every man and woman who has been lost on my orders.

Sadly, that list is soon to grow long indeed.

My bride was attended by Lady Moonsilver and Widow Hawksclaw. Both ladies resplendent in their red gowns…

Lady Elyanna stayed within the circle of protection offered by Evoran’s power, in Volstagg’s tent, while I spoke with my soldiers encamped around.

In the morning, on the 1st of White River, I was preparing myself for the day when a shout went up from our sentries. I stepped out of my tent and shielded my eyes to the East when I saw the fast moving sun streaking toward the encampment.

I was filled with both dread and excitement in that moment. For I alone knew what doom was approaching and part of my idly wondered if Thaleon would kill me or not. Like a Celestial Angel of the First Host, he, quite literally, slammed into camp, startling all. I braced for the onslaught.

Thaleon was madder than even I had suspected, but it was tinged with worry and relief. Apparently he had “stormed the Celestial Halls” seeking my soul after my “death” Something in the back of my mind niggled with that…did I remember hearing that…or…but it was gone as soon as it had come.

Mid tirade, he embraced me like a brother and I could feel his relief at the confirmation that I was, in fact, real. With so may of those I have loved taken, it was good to see such an old and dear friend. Especially on this day.

Only then did I notice the growing ring of armed and very nervous guards standing about. I gave them the all clear and they reluctantly sheathed their weapons and resumed their post. I hadn’t the heart to tell them it would have done them little good against my brother, but…oh well.

Thaleon left to prepare as did I.

At 10, under a clear, blue sky and the bows of Evoran’s tree we gathered. Surrounded by friends and family, standing before my confessor and brother, Thaleon, I waited surprisingly nervously for my bride.

When she appeared at the end of the isle of guest, my heart stopped. Dressed in a cream colored gown, fringed in lace, tooled in flowers she was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen. Time seemed to slow as she slowly glided toward me. And, I should know…I have seen time slow…more than once.

She finally arrived smelling of flowers. He violent eyes shone bright as we clasped hands and turned to face Thaleon. In true Olaran fashion, even if his is a winged elf, Thaleon was brief in his address, though his words were warm and kind. I also felt his power surge as he asked for our oaths…

I had not seen him since achieving a state of Archon. Truly he is blessed of Archanon, as am I of my Lady Celesia.

With a love I can scarcely describe, I pledge my life, my honor, and my love to my Bride and she to me. Then with a kiss, it was done. I was a married man. It was…surprisingly easy. Strange, everything else in my life has been such a struggle to simply say a few words and have it done…


Yet, that was it. Thaleon presented us as Baron and Baroness Wolfhaven to the crowd and we left the circle of Evoran’s protection for the reception. Fateweaver serenaded us with song as guests drank, danced, a few brawled, but all appeared to enjoy their time. I noted that Anaxelum and Samira seemed to enjoy seeing each other.

It pains me to know that they too will be separated by this war. Like so many. Though, I hope she is at least pleased somewhat to learn of his recent posting. Despite my best intentions, my most recent demise stalled repairs on the Wolfhaven Barony leaving the entire operation in dire straights. With a potential invasion enroute it seemed appropriate to assign a capable military commander to the post Bailiff. Someone to not only oversee continued renovations, but to fortifiy the land in the event that our lines are breached. I could think of no man better.

So while I head north to war, and Samira prepares for the most difficult mission of her life, he sets out to assume command of our Ancestral home. My wife, of course…so strange to say that…she returns to Echer’Naught to continue operations there.

As I walked through the small group of guests, listing to the music and watching snow stain Baroness Elyanna’s hair white, I could not help but see families faces in the flurries and eddies of snow, catch snippets of well known voices, hear the cadence of familiar laughter. Even as I honored my wife and our union, I was beset by ghosts of the past, everyone I had known, loved, and lost during a lifetime of war and death. My beloved could sense my melancholy, though she was gracious enough to put on a brave face. I know not whether it is a byproduct of my experiences beyond, or simply a factor of my new age but I cannot seem to escape the ghosts of my past, the haunting memories of all I have failed.

Or, perhaps it is because I know what is to come. I cannot speak against the orders given in my absence. I will not divide the Rangers, but by the Ascended! Could they not hold back their rage for a time, just a little while?! Was revenge so necessary that they would allow themselves to be swallowed by Darkness to get at those who slighted them?

While my guests dined and drank, danced and sang, others were preparing a tent high on the nearby ridge. Adepts, Sorcerers, Priests, and Druids all placed protections shielding the meeting place from prying eyes. Were the invited guests different, we would have held this gathering within Evoran’s protection. But no. Alas, for this battle, we needed allies of a more dangerous nature.

At the 13th hour I retired with my new bride to the tent on the hill where I was unsurprising to find a gathering already in place. Elyanna’s Brother lurked withing, as did Trokash, our earstwhile friend. Lady Moonsilver as well, looking radiant. After a time, the Alpha Team was summoned and I revealed to them the truth of Elyanna’s mission, the choice for the site of the wedding, all of our subterfuge.

I ordered my most loyal Rangers to attack Echer’Naught.

Their reactions were as expected. What Elayanna’s team had discovered was that Sergeant Major Magor Stormhammer WAS in Shivak Novos, but not far, cosmological speaking. It seemed that the vestiges of the army we turned back so many weeks ago were encamped in our own city, or its dark mirror. They used that knowledge to plan and execute their attacks with a precision we ill understood until now.

Worse, Stormhammer was the subject of some profane rite in the their twisted mockery of the sacred grove which threatened to corrupt him mind, body, and soul. We knew all too well, given Von Dietrich, what the price would be if the ritual was completed. And so, with a heavy heart I ordered my Rangers to enter the Gray Lands, infiltrate their own city, and rescure or kill Stormhammer.

But, before they pledge themselves to the task, I warned them that should this mission fail, or even in its success, there would hardliners within the Rangers, already angry at my actions in freeing Anaxelum, that would take our working with Darkness as a sign of betrayal, corruption and another investigation into my command could be launched. If that were to happen, I could not protect them from what was to come…

Corporal Volstagg asked about legal ramifications, and would this fall under Ranger or Olaran justice. I informed him this matter was exclusive to the Rangers. He then nodded and requested an extended leave of absence from the Rangers, as did the others. Granting them this, they laid their sacred cloaks upon the map table between us and prepared to die alone and friendless at my command…

With that, I informed them that from that point forward, they were to have no direct contact with Ranger command until the mission were completed. Our enemies are too well entrenched. We cannot risk Stormahmmer being moved. In addition, I assigned Trokash as their procurement specialist. Anything they might need would, by necessity go through him. Sergeant Whitestone informed that it would be done.

As I rose to leave, Corporal Volstagg handed my a drinking horn crafted from one of the two on the head of the minotaur he had just tangled. He bade me take it, seeing as he would not need it where he was going. I took it, but with a silent promise to return it to him soon.

With nothing left to say, I bade them farewell, and good luck and I retired with my wife to our tent beneath the tree. What happened there is between a man and his wife. But, in the morning, I rose, kissed her goodbye, tears staining her perfect cheeks, and donned my kit. Outside, Thunder pawed at the earth and somewhere Sasha howled in the distance. Looking once more into her loving eyes, I turned and left.

My Rangers sent to their doom, my wife again abandoned and an impossible war waiting for me at the end of a cold, dark ride…

…my we all do our duty as Rangers, as Brothers, as…as Family. May our sacrifice be enough. Ascended please let it be enough.

Your most obedient servant,

Lord Mayor Wolfhaven, Colonel

The Sacred Grove of Evoran Que’kassars, Landra’Feya

Campaign Report 79
A House Re-forged

Lord Mayor, Colonel Baron Wolfhaven, Alexander

Commander of the Legio Heroes

Regional Command at Echer’Naught, Olara

Twenty Sixth Day of Grey Winds, Year 3125 Under the Light

The day post my, return, passed in the most confusing blur. I cannot accurately put into words the most surreal experience it has been to resume my work at the big wooden desk in the office shared with so many over the years.

To think, when I arrived, it was the renegade Von Haber who sat there for so many years. Then, after his betrayal, members of the Harken Duchy. After which, I, for a time, and then Captain Celebor during my absence. Now here I sit again. The vagaries of time are strange.

The 25th of White Stagg, 3125, will go down as one of the most bizarre days of my life. But, there was also a rightness to things. Battle, coordination, these I have been trained well how to accomplish. What came after, however….

Odd, though I had not slept in over a day, I felt little fatigue. Perhaps being “dead” for months left me plenty of rest. I was sore, bone weary, if not tired, and ravenous. More important than all that, I had a task which should have been done so long ago.

Excusing myself early on the 26th, I mounted Thunder and made my way through the early morning snow to my home. I can only assume I was announced, for as I dismounted, I could feel her presence behind me. Turning, I was struck again by Lady Elyanna’s beauty. Obsidian hair, fierce violet eyes…

Her expression was bewildering, and left me feeling anxious. Would she be angry? Sad? Had word of my death reach her and she, in time, been able to grieve my passing and move on? I confess many of these thoughts had been swirling in my mind since my return. Nevertheless, I straightened my shoulders and faced what was to come as any battle, with honor. Whatever her choice, I would accept.

I started my way toward her, only to catch my breath when her face broke into one of those rare beatific smiles. So poised, so reserved, she threw all caution to the wind, plowed through the snow like a school girl and buried herself against my chest. Relief, joy, I can scarcely express my feelings at that moment.

Nevertheless, I swore that the first moment I had, I would offer my hand to her, so long patient with an old soldiers such as myself. Kneeling, I produced my mother’s ring, long kept, though quietly. It was…recovered…from the ashes of my home so many years ago.

Whitesilver, and plain. It was nonetheless, the most treasured heriloom of the Baronesses of my House. Dwarf forged from Stahlheim Whitesilver in the forges of Anvil, it represented more than love. It stood as a testimate of unbroken fealty, honor, and duty from the wife of the first Baron, to now, Lady Elyanna. For a moment, her face was a mask again, inscrutable. And then, with a tenderness I can scarcely describe, accepted my proposal.

The next few moments are a blur of joyous laughter, the scent of flowers and her hair. I know that Corporal Ravenwood stood by, congratulating. I also remember Sir Volstagg and Ranger Amaroth in the road. But, to be honest, I remember little more than that. Only then it occurred to me how rank I must smell, after days fighting and sitting. Excusing myself, I retired to my chambers and enjoyed the luxury of a real, hot bath.

Most men have decades to grow accustomed to the ache of bones and muscles. I but a few hours. In those steaming waters I felt blessed relief as the pains for weariness seeped from my body. What followed was the need for sleep that had eluded me for some time.

Still, I dressed and prepared to present myself to break fast with the ladies now living under my roof. As I exited my private chambers I was delighted to see both Lady Moonsilver, Ferradin in her arms. She seemed overjoyed at my return, but I knew from Malcom’s excellent reviews that she was not untouched by the events during my absence.

Seeing her well, and Ferradin was a balm to the soul, but I could sense her sadness. How her situation mirrored my Lady’s, but she had lost her love so long ago and I had yet to find him, as I swore. After she left, I sought out Lady Elyanna to inquire if there were anything we could do to aid Lady Moonsilver in her troubles. After a brief conference, my beloved suggested a rather ingenious solution to the Farspeaker Guild issue.

So, after which, I went down to breakfast to join Lady Elyanna, Lady Moonsilver, Mrs. Hawksclaw with her daughter. It struck me then, these great ladies all have sacrificed so much, given up their heartsblood and yet they find the strength to carry on. Rah-Sahn, Anaxelum…Alfred. How many more losses must they endure.

It seems that my house is to be a refuge for the lost, the grieving, and those who sacrifice all in the name of honor and freedom.

After an excellent meal (am I the only one now who eats meat?), I presented Lady Moonsilver with a purse of coin, and a letter to send to her Guild asking their forgiveness for the lateness of payment in regards to the service of establishing the Mind Link between Corporal Ravenwood and Anaxelum Regillus on behalf of the Wolfhaven Barony. I also inquired if they would allow Lady Moonsilver to act as their agent here in Echer’Naught with regards to negotiations to establish a Guild House within the city. Of course, we included an appropriate addition that would more than cover any penalties due to tardiness of payment.

Lady Moonsilver seemed overjoyed and grateful. With fortune and the Grace of Archanon and my good Lady Celesia, the Guild will drop its “investigation” into Lady Moonsilver. More to the point, should the Rangers seek to make the Mind Link a sticking point in future “conversations” regarding Anaxelum, this will put to rest the legitimacy of the link. The onus of that will be upon me, and not on the happy couple.

That done, I promised Corporal Ravenwood that I would work to see her beloved released, though I knew not how, and then retired for much needed rest. Apparently, with age comes the deceptiveness of sleep. I believed that I had the stamina of youth. I was sorely mistaken, and sore. I slept through that day and all night. Though, I managed to rouse myself by dawn the following morn to begin a long overdue review of my command.

My first task, with Malcom’s help, was to establish a schedule of meetings with personnel, commanders,and important members of the government. Odd, one of my greatest peeves in any organization is the random mandatory meetings which so often achieve nothing. How often have I stood at attention while some Officer pontificated upon his own greatness. I have always sought to meet with my men and women on their terms. It always struck me as more genuine, to share their burden, their tribulations, their hardships rather than imperiously summon them on high.

And so, with great reluctance, I began issues the very same summons. Rank has its privileged, certainly, but no small number of equally tiresome responsibilities. Still, my Rangers reported in good grace. For that, I am eternally grateful.

On the 28th of White Stagg, I spoke with a number of new Rangers, one, in particular, Ranger Audric Amaroth, the brash young warrior who pledge his sword to my service upon our first meeting. He reminds me so of the boys I fought with when I first entered the war of Flame. So full of promise, prepared to earn honor and glory in equal measure. But he, unlike they, has also gained the wisdom of bitter experience.

We spoke primarily of his wish to join the Wolfhaven House. I knew of his former House Henrik. Honorable warriors, though I never fought beside them, their reputation was stalwart. I confess I was unaware of their fate until I investigated Ranger Amaroth. I know the pain of losing one’s House, keenly so. Perhaps it was this that compelled me to accept the young man into service. My only caveat was that he would spend his free time, and the resources provided by House Wolfhaven to seek out the bastard who betrayed his Lord so that justice could be done, and honor served. I will never find those responsible for my own losses, too many battlefields, too many servants of Flame… So, I may then seek justice vicariously. It will still be Justice.

After our talk, he officially joined the ranks of House Wolfhaven. Taking his new tabard, he exited to join Sir Volstagg on routine patrol.

The rest of the day was spent meeting with other Rangers, and the new Investigator Lt. Barand. He kindly offered me a strong tea he ships in directly from a small town in the Eternal Desert. I declined, but was impressed, overall, with his upbeat professionalism. Strange, though, my experiences with Ranger Inspectors has not been a pleasant one. I hope that nothing quite so disquieting happens with the new team. He also introduced me to the rest of his team and I was able to spend a brief moment welcoming each one. Overall, I am impressed.

The following day, on the 29th of White Stagg, I first met with RFC Sir Volstagg. I must confess, I was most looking forward to finally meeting the man I had seen, but yet to meet. He was as interesting as I had imagined, a Volstagg of the Crimson Wall. Could there be are more dichotomous warrior? Still, he was gracious, deferential, but I could feel he might dislike the pomp and circumstance almost as much as I. In another life, this man could be a close friend, confident. But, as a member of the Rangers, I have a duty to remain impartial.

He and I spoke briefly, mainly pertaining to his work with Sir Halten, the Royal Sheriff and recently come King’s Warden. I had to admit, to him and myself, that bridging the rather deep divide between the Sheriff’s office and the Rangers was a duty that I had spectacularly failed to do. War I know. Politics and love, I am woefully lacking. But, I am learning.

Still, I thank and congratulated him on his work with the Sheriff’s office and pledged my support for further efforts to bring us closer together. I also, hesitantly, broached the subject of the recent loss and incarceration of his teammates. I know, from reports, that he was close to the conspiracy, but chose, due to faith in his comrades, not to step forward with unconfirmed rumors. To then have so much death happen, I could only imagine how he might have felt. I know how i have felt each and every time I was betrayed by those I trusted. It never gets easier.

But, I encouraged him to have faith in himself, the Rangers, and my office. I hope that, in time, he will realize that he made the best choice given the situation. Believing in your comrades is not a failing, even if it results in failure.

Over the next few days, I had a few memorable meetings. I did meet with our new Public Mediator, Colonel Anderson. He seems a rather cheerful and amiable man. I wonder though, as I have not before been privy to his service within the Rangers. Perhaps, due to Echer’Naught Ranger’s rather tumultuous relationship with the citizenry and Olara in general High Command saw fit to provide this new resource? Curiouser and curiouser. Still, his credentials and professionalism speak for themselves. I look forward to his council.

The most critical task, however, was the disturbing absence of Sergeant Major Magor Stormhammer. I have spoken with every member of his staff and every guard posted anywhere the Sergeant Major might have been during the battle. Not only can we not locate Stormhammer, I can find no one who even saw him at any point during the battle! It is as if he simply vanished. Teams have scoured the sewers, and we have conducted street by street sweeps, but no Ranger, citizen, guard, or noble has any information regarding his whereabouts.

I even dispatched Wolfhaven Free Riders into the countryside around the city seeking any clue, or information. After days of fruitless search, I am growing more convinced by the hour that Stormhammer was an intended victim of the forces of Darkness. To what end, I know not. If he has been taken, which I fear is the case, it is more than likely that he has been taken to Shivak Novos, beyond our immediate reach. But how to located him?

On the 33rd of White Stagg, I met with one of the few members of alpha team I remember from before my fall, RFC Thorgram Ramshorn. I must admit a great sense of relief to know the stalwart warrior has survived the many calamities which has befallen the team over the last months. My first, and foremost, question was to learn about his incarceration. As it happens, he spent nearly the entire time I was laid low imprisoned in an Olaran work camp on the far norther border. I was also aware that during his time in prison, he spent the majority in the medical ward as frequent fights with one particular Orc resulted in his death. That Orc was executed for his temerity.

As it happens, RFC Ramshorn put a rather different spin on the story. It appears that the Orc was, in point of fact, teaching him how to control the Rage inside him. Through his own sacrifice, Thorgram was able to master the beast within. A steep price, but, the unnamed Orc, and myself, see the potential in RFC Ramshorn even if he is slow realize it himself.

I was also, under the authority as a Baron, able to replace his broken Targe with an Unbreakble shield. It lack the sentimental nature of his previous shield, borne through so many battles, but this new Targe is sure never to break even under the greatest duress. I was also able to confirm that Muriel, his ass, had managed, somehow, to achieve Ranger status. Time will tell if that was a wise decision. Nevetheless, I am encouraged to know that our brave defender stands yet to protect the Rangers.

Time permitting, I was able to meet with the newer members of Alpha team. On the 3rd of Gray Winds, I called Durlan Daynore and Sir Stahn to meet.

My Lady Elyanna had previously informed me of the arrival and sit down with a distant cousin from Galea turned Ranger. I was anxious and curious to meet this man who shared, if distantly, the Wolfhaven blood. He arrived with Ranger Daynore and I found him pleasant, a fine example of a Galean Knight. He seemed in earnest to continue his plan to leave his House in Galea to join the Wolfhaven House as a Knight. After a brief conversation, I heartily agreed to endorse his request for citizenship in Olara and will gladly accept his fealty upon the acceptance of his petition. It does my heart well to know that, at least somewhere, the blood of Wolfhaven runs through the heart of such warriors. Perhaps I have other far flung family that will someday return home. Nevertheless, a House stands by its Knights and I am pleased to have another sword and shield to add to its defense.

Ranger Daynore is an interesting one. Skilled in language and magically adept, he is polite and well spoken. He is, also, a Malakaran. Strange, yet the Ranger Corps is founded upon the principle that all men and women are capable of heroism. I will not pre-judge him based on where he might have been born, and I hope he will afford me the same.

Two days later, on the 5th of Gray Winds, I spoke with Lady Nexus Zathlan of Galean, and Gracelyn Moldova. The good lady is of House Lyonn in Galea. A strong House of warriors. One of the few which might be considered a match to Olaran warrior traditions. She, thought happens to also be an elf fair. I was surprised at her discomfiture in my presence. I come to understand she is, generally speaking, ill at east among other nobility. Odd, but not in any way detracting from her service. I know well that she handled herself valiantly in the most recent battles.

As for Ranger Moldova, she is an Olaran, and a citizen of this fair city. Other than the former Ranger Zulcrum, she is one of only a handful of Echer’Naught’s citizens to adopt the cloak. I pray that her unique insight into the lives and struggles of the citizens will be well represented.

Meetings continued, along with some fairly intense legal research. Stormhammer’s plight notwithstanding, I had pressing legal issues to address. Namely, how to secure release for Anaxelum Regillus from Ranger, well, Olaran custody. To be honest, the question plagued me for days until, with Malcom’s help, I stumbled upon an ancient legal precedent. It would require courage and some risk, but should it be successful, I was certain I could free Anaxelum. It depended, however, greatly on Sir Halten’s cooperation.

I have no illusions that were it not for the work of RFC Volstagg and Nazir, I would likely never have arranged Sir Halten’s participation. As it was, he agreed to act as impartial mediator between my challenge to the Ranger’s legal authority to arrest and hold Anaxelum. I put in my request and was granted a hearing on the 8th of Gray Winds.

While I prepared for that, I had a meeting with Therel Fateweaver, Steward of Echer’Naught. He acquiesced to arranging a public address at the Muster Grounds after the Hearing, though he guessed there was more to the address than just announcing my return. Wisely, he kept his own counsel, but set about seeing to my requests.

On the morning of the 8th of Gray Winds, I gathered with Lady Elyanna, Malcom, and members of Gendarre’s men. We made our way to the partially completed Town Hall Building at Centerpointe. Across from me were representatives for the Rangers, a Colonel, Major, and Lieutenant. I know of them, but we have yet to speak in person. I fear that their first impression will be less than stellar. Regardless, honor must be served.

After a suitable delay, the newly minted King’s Warden, Sheriff Halten arrived and assumed his seat at the center of the room. Today, per my request, he stood in as impartial mediator between myself and the Ranger Corps. I could feel the discomfort of my fellow Rangers. The Royal Sheriff’s disdain for the Rangers is well documented and I know that most of my brothers in that room must have thought me mad to place my fate, any of our fates, in his hands. However, today of all days, I required an arbiter with no love for the Rangers. In fact, it was crucial.

After the proper obsequiousness to his office, we sat and the Hearing, not trial began. I, as plainly as possible, explained the simple truth. Over a year prior, during a battle against forces under the command of Anaxelum Regillus, he and I were cast into Norcan Dar by the vagaries of a Tempest portal. While surviving in that horrid place, he and I settled upon an agreement; namely, we would work together, he under my command, to escape Norcan Dar either to the Tempest Realm or Shaintar, whichever proved possible. If I were to land in his realm, he would place me under his protection and I, in turn, would raise no hand against him or those he served until such time as I could return to my own realm. He agreed to the same.

As fate happened, we managed to return to Shaintar during Flames disastrous attack on Echer’Naught. After which, he pledged himself to my service and did far more than merely stay his hand. In fact, he acted bravely in defense of his new sanctuary, even going so far as to fall in love and marry one of my own Rangers. When departed the city in search of the Tempest forces he was only completing his agreement with me that he and his men would be allowed to return to the Tempest Realm. More to the point, his plan was to persuade that unit to retreat through their portal and depart our realm. In truth, he was sacrificing himself for us…and he was rewarded by attempted murder, arrest, and to be incarcerated without trial.

My plea done, the Rangers presented their case. Simply that, my agreement with Citizen Regillus was a personal contract, not signed, endorsed or approved by the Rangers, or the civic government of Echer’Naught. As such, so far as the Rangers were concerned, it had no legal standing within their jurisdiction. And sadly, he was accurate. So, with that, the Lieutenant apologetically rested his case.

It was expected. And, for the briefest of moments I felt a sincere pity for the young Ranger. He was merely following orders and did not deserve what came next. However, my honor was at stake. More than that, my Rangers.

And so, with great solemnity, I un-clipped my cloak and laid it on the table before me. It was at this moment that I noted a distinct patina of sweat on the brow of the young advocate for the Rangers. All now rested on how deep Sir Halten’s hatred for the Rangers truly ran, and did he despise me more personally, or the cloak.

Seeing that I had not “standing” in Ranger court, I then challenged the Ranger’s right to hold Citizen Regillus based upon my standing as a Baron of Olara. By arresting him for holding true to his oath to me, they, in turn, broke my word to him thereby dishonored me, my House, my city, and worse the King. So, by ancient rite, I challenged the advocate to Trial by Combat. Extreme though it was, I found myself few options.

He, understandably was stunned. After a brief, and frantic counsel with his superiors, he pleaded with the court to cease this, I think he said nonsense. Here was the pivot point. In any battle, there are moments one which everything hangs…one charge, one retreat, one word from the Sheriff could have condemned Anaxelum and me along with him. But, disdain for the Rangers triumphed and Sir Halten followed the same tortuous logic I had hammered out with Malcom.

To whit: A member of the Blood cannot challenge a citizen of Olara or even a sworn (save for extreme circumstances), and certainly not a foreign citizen. In addition to being gauche, it is highly dishonorable and, it being so, automatically names the challenger the loser of honor. BUT, and here is the master stroke, a member of the Blood MAY challenge any standing member of a Military Order, as the orders treat all members equally in training and responsibility. Though only the Blood may command, any member of the Hammerfall Riders is as equally equipped and trained to stand for the honor of the Order, so in essence, all are at risk of challenge. It is atypical, but still considered legal.

Now, the Rangers are not an Olaran military order, save for the caveat that when the Charter was signed by the Crown, the status, with all right and privileges, was extended to the Ranger Corps as a Greater Military Order. It is upon this foundation from which the Rangers derive ALL authority in Olara. So, in essence, the Grayson’s Gray Rangers are a De Facto Greater Military Order of Olara. And, as such, can be challenged…IF, and only if, the challenge is valid. Considering the grievous and tortuous political considerations, no one has actually attempted to do so…

…until now.

My standing in this matter was specious at best, but “technically” valid. And, to my utter relief, Sir Halten ALSO parsed my intention and, I think, was rather impressed by my adept navigation of Olaran legal systems. This is considering my track record in such endeavors is, arguably, abysmal. Still, he ruled the Challenge valid under Olaran law and ordered the Rangers to Fight or release Anaxelum.

I do not envy their position. And understandably, the young advocate balk about crossing swords with me. Here, however, is where I may have irreparably damaged my position in the Rangers, but in doing, proved a point and, I hope, defeated any future attempts on the part of the Corps to take up this matter again. As he, the Lt. was reluctant to fight, and none of the brass behind him had any intention, I turned to my own Rangers and asked was any there willing to stand and fight for the honor of the corps. For a moment, I feared none would, but Ranger Moldova stood, as did Ranger Amaroth, then others… Soon, most of the stands behind him, from newly minted Rangers, to the most senior members of my command stood…

…and then a voice rang across the court and stopped me short. Citizen Regillus HIMSELF stepped forward to challenge my right for the honor the Rangers. I was, understandably, concerned that the Rangers might actually accept his offer! Of anyone in that room, only the Sheriff and Anaxelum were of much concern… But, that he would fight, and if victorious condemn himself, but fight for the love of his wife and the honor of HER corps…

I was moved to tears. The Ranger brass was flustered. Olaran justice can be…jarring. The Lt. Advocate made a final attempt extricate himself by suggesting a recess. A prudent move, unfortunately, such a challenge cannot be delayed until terms are met…which required SOMEONE to fight me. I think the good Sheriff got a bit into character when he threatened to kill any Ranger who attempted to remove Anaxelum before the challenge was settled.

At long last, faced with a lose lose proposition, the Ranger command relented and Anaxelum was freed…Thank the Light and my Lady Celesia. From the baleful glares cast toward me from the retreating Col. Major, and Lt., I can only imagine what condemnation will fall upon me soon. However, Honor was settled, Anaxelum freed, and my promise to Samira honored. I will face whatever punishment I have due.

With that, I sank to my seat and allowed the tension and nervousness to subside before I even attempted to walk. The courtroom erupted around me, but I heard nothing, just my own heart pounding and Malcom’s quiet mumblings as he shuffled and stacked papers. For the mastermind behind the maneuver, he seemed somewhat miffed by the entire affair. There are times when I wonder if he is truly ally, or not, but he had Evoran’s complete trust, and so he shall have mine.

At any rate, I eventually mastered myself, rose and prepared to leave. I was stopped by a jubilant Sir Halten who seemed both impressed and intrigued by my behavior. I fear I have earned his respect by being devious. Not an aspiration I have ever sought. But there it is. I offered that if he were impressed by my performance in the court, then he might care to join me for my next…event.

Intrigued, he followed, as did most of those present, save the Ranger command who beat a hasty retreat. All proceeded as I had planned.

We made our way out of Centerpointe and south to the Muster Grounds where the Grand Stands had been spruced and hung with Black, Red, and White trim…damned if Fateweaver had not guessed at my game. He is a clever one by half, and no deceit.

I arrived riding beside my lady who looked RADIANT in her fur trimmed coat of black and crimson. We stopped short of the growing crowd and dismounted. Hand in hand, we ascend the platform and I allowed Therel Fateweaver to announce me. I have heard better performances, but he seemed as pleased with the proceedings as Malcom, who also began to set up a station off to the side of the platform.

And so without further ado, I addressed the crowd. So much of my family has been lost in service to the Crown that I have despaired the Wolfhaven House even surviving. And yet, through the sacrifice and good works of my closest friends, and family, we have survived and even reclaimed our lands and title…

And yet, my son is dead, my Sword, Rah-Sahn and Aradove dead or missing, I have no wife yet, and only a sworn and a future knight to my House. Should I fall again, there may be nothing left. To that end, I called once again upon ancient tradition and repeated (paraphrased) the words of my distant ancestor, Chief Ingolf des Reiter, the first Wolfhaven Baron. All Olaran men and women, in good standing with the law, being free from oath or obligation to House or Order may petition to join the Wolfhaven House as free men and women. My invitation was met with an expected moment of stunned silence.

And again, Citizen Anaxelum Regillus both impressed and surprised by stepping forward again and kneeling. He pledge his life to my cause, though he no long her lands or titles to offer. Strange, how closely my own life mirrored his but two years ago.

Then, Gendarre with his usual flair said “fuk it” and stepped forward, his men following suit. Then, one by one, men and women of Olara approached and knelt. In total, thirty two pledged themselves to House Wolfhaven, a fair number of Free Riders and a few City Guard. All told, however, few Rangers, I had expected as much. There are sadly very few Olaran citizens in the Corps, even here in Echer’Naught. Still, I was overwhelmed by the support, and eagerly greeted each new member of my House.

After which, they all stepped to Maclom and a paid Adept for the requisite paperwork and scan. Once complete, each received a blessing from a Priest of Light before donning the Wolfhaven colors and accepting their assignment (dependent on their quality and training). In truly noble fashion, I left the actual work to Malcom and a small staff while I retired to my Manor with my future bride. I am ever torn between being a soldier and desperately wanting to “do the work” and being a commander, noble and being expected to delegate to others. Of course, I’m sure that is not how any of it appeared to the citizens in attendance. One is truly damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

All of this, all of it, happened by mid afternoon on the 8th of Grey Winds. A busy day to say the least. I was heartened to note that Sergeant Whitestone and the rest of Alpha Team took the opportunity to dine at the Wayfarer’s Rest that even. I have seen a change in them, a casual closeness. This is good. I, however, made preparations and had conversations with my betrothed.

She has a plan, not a good plan, nor one I approve…but, she may be the only one who can save us all, and those taken by Darkness.

Over the next week, I made preparations and tried to talk Lady Elyanna out of her scheme. The former was successful. By the 14th, I invited my friends and close associations to a dinner at my Manor. Lady Zathlan looked quite regal. In fact, all the Rangers looked hale and healthy. Of course, Ranger Amaroth and Anaxelum sported their new colors. In deference to his position, I extended him the courtesy of honoring his rank and station among the Tempest.

He joined my House as Sir Regillus, and his lady, the noble Ravenwood looked beautiful upon his arm.

I, of course, was outshone by my own love, who outdid herself in making all feel welcomed. We sat and ate, then, over the course of the evening, most guests retired leaving only my house and a handful or Rangers.

Fortuitous that. At, I say a quarter past 11 on the 14th, there was a great commotion outside. Every Ranger, nay, my entire House save for my beloved, drew weapons. How swiftly we went from a homely scene of children playing on the carpet before a roaring fire surrounded by family to an armed warband…

Nevertheless, My personal Wolf Guard, composed of Gendarre, his men, and a handful of Wolfhaven Riders, escorted a wild and dishelved Malcom into my home.

He was wearing a thin night shift, and one of those pointed tasseled caps. His feet were bare and already blistering from running through the snow. He looked like a madman, wild eyed and shouting nonsense while showering us all in loose leafed parchment…

It was…bizarre. After a few moments, he stopped shouting, “Its not a disease!” long enough for us to get some semblance of rational explanation for his behavior.

He explained, in a loud and rambling fashion that Vainar’s Bane, the new Plague wasn’t a plague but a weapon, akin to Ognash’s Call. In fact, he proposed that Vainar’s forces intentionally spread the rumor that is WAS the plague reborn to hamper our efforts to diagnose.

He also explained that based on Von Dietrich tomes (all encoded), past reports, and Evoran’s research in Rhion that he had conclusive evidence that agents of Shaya’Nor had been intentionally poisoning our supplies, food and water, for a year. That explained the lack of a patient 0. Moreover, he believed that the earlier, weaker outbreaks in Greenvale were actually a kind of weapon’s test…

Armed with this, we asked how to defeat the weapon. He had not plan for that, but he said that all our food and water sources need to be thoroughly examined for contamination. Immediately. He would return and attempt to ascertain more about possible cures.

We had our mission. I ordered the Rangers to gear up and assemble at my Home in a half turn of the glass, also to alert the Rangers in the HQ to rouse the reserve. I and Sir Volstagg headed to Sir Halten’s estate to beg approval to task his unit, at least his Rangers, to this new task.

To say that he was annoyed at being awoken at such an hour was an understatement. However, he agreed readily and so, I returned to find Rangers arriving, ready for action. We divided into teams and rode to the warehouses where, with the help of the Longhauls and City Watch, we began to systematically deconstruct every crate, every barrel.

The Warehouse investigation began around 1 in the morning on the 15th of Grey Winds and lasted thru to the 20th, working nearly round the clock in shifts. Reports indicate that SOMETHING was discovered, but even our city’s chief Potionmaster was at a loss. Still, there is hope.

On the eve of the 20th, my betrothed petitioned Sir Halten to release the Alpha Team to escort her and Lady Lillithien on a personal trip to the city of Kore to meet an old acquaintance. The Royal Sheriff, so occupied by his own new responsibilities, again acquiesced without much effort. Somehow, I find it odd he and I, fitting into our new roles, almost…I know not. At least Sir Volstagg’s relationship seems to be a good foundation for cooperation. That is heartening.

That very eve, on the 20th, they departed the North Gate under Darkness and secrecy. I am unsure how the cloak and dagger sits with my Rangers, but considering all the threats facing us, I could not risk my enemies, OUR enemies, learning of her departure. Were I forced to choose between my love of Elyanna…and my oaths…I pray I would have the strength to choose rightly…whatever that might be.

Still, watching her ride away was one of the most difficult moments I have faced. I can never become accustomed to watching others head into danger. I am a soldier, it is my duty to fight, and die, not to watch those I adore do so on my behalf. my the Light and the Silver Unicorn keep her safe.

As I returned to my desk, and waited impatiently for the return of the Rangers and news of her safe arrival in Kore, I am left with a sense of hope, but deep melancholy. Even as I sit here, I find myself turning to ask Olgor, or Evoran to hand me a book, or parchment. Watching Lady Elyanna ride away, I was suddenly struck by a scene so many years before watching Rah-Sahn Hawksclaw lead his army south, likely never to return…

And yet, I look around and see determined men and women bearing the colors of House Wolfhaven once again, knowing the risks and likelihood of a worse fate, yet willing nonetheless. And I am overawed by their willingness and their devotion.

My House, my father’s House, once destitute and all but ended, stands stronger than it has since the War of Flame…but it is much changed.

The Wolfhaven House is no more of pure line, and Olaran blood. We now count elves, and Brinchie in our ranks. My right hand once swore an oath to end my life, now married to a Ranger I would consider a daughter… My sword are former bandits, mauraders, mercenaries, and sellswords who have scarified everything in my honor, even before taking my House as theirs… And my closest blood, a Galean knight so far removed he did not even know of our existence until news of my demise reached far shores. Yet here he is, forsaking his own to adopt a House he barely knows.

And what of my future bride? It is not lost on me the uproar our marriage will cause. A Baron, a Lord Mayor willingly wedding a Shayakar, unshadowed as she may be. Lady Elyanna may never be accepted. Our children, should we be so blessed, will find it harder…

But if I have learned one thing from my service to the Rangers it is that our differences, if we can learn to overcome them, strengthen us. We become stronger for instead of all sharing the same faults, and growing predicable and brittle because of… rather, we have strengths where our brothers and sisters are weak, and they, in turn, strength us.

House Wolfhaven may be called a mutt by some within the Blood, but they will hear our Howl, see our teeth, and know that we may be wild, but we are more deadly for it. Which is good, for the fight to come may be our bitterest yet…

Your most obedient servant,

Lord Mayor Wolfhaven, Colonel

Regional Command at Echer’Naught, Olara

Campaign Report 78
Black Snow

Lord Mayor, Colonel Baron Wolfhaven, Alexander
Commander of the Legio Heroes
Regional Command at Echer’Naught, Olara
Twenty Fifth Day of White Stagg, Year 3125 Under the Light

By the grace of Archanon, the lord of Light, and the agape of my lady, Celesia, the Silver Unicorn, I am renewed. Thank the Light.

Such time has passed in my absence I scarcely know where to begin. I suppose, as the great poets say, one must begin at the beginning. So for me, that beginning, is the end…

My last waking thoughts were far to the north in the White Silver Wolves encampment just north of Stonefinger Dwarven Clanhome. I was recently arrived, my column reaching the finely fortified encampment just seven days prior. Already we had engaged in a handful of skirmishes with the forces of Darkness as we scouted Shaya’Nor’s positions not far to the north.

Odd, I took little note of him at the time, as he was but one knight amid hundreds, but twelve months later I would find this same knight of the Crimson Wall among the Rangers of Echer’Naught’s Alpha Team. Fate is a curious thing. I think, at the time, I nodded to Sir Volstagg on some bloody field. I must remember to inquire what, if any, he remembers of me during those brief moments of violence.

At any rate, I was tired and saddle sore by the 33rd and lay down for some rest before that evening late night meeting. Rest, however, eluded me. I recall being beset by the most vivid and horrifying nightmare. Thought the details elude me, I do recollect a nightmarish scenario in which creatures more powerful than Tempest had all but conquered the lands, and most of the greatest heroes had long since fallen in a desperate war.

I vaguely remember that I was to lead a team, not of allies and heroes, but the greatest villains known to me, though I now could not tell you who. Somewhere, in the deepest recesses of my consciousness, a worry niggles…as if the dream were something more? Whatever the case, the events of the next few hours, and indeed months, have all but washed away any truth to be gleaned from one night’s lack of sleep.

I awoke, prepared, and joined my staff in the command tent to lay out plans for the defense of the Southern Kingdoms. New arrived, dwarves arrived, and an aevakar? I apologize, much of what happened next is but shadow and smoke.

A threat was made upon my life. Hardly new. But this news came with much urgency, and the deaths of at least two Rangers in the attempt to warn me. My Rangers took no chances and warded me well enough to stop the most determined assault upon my person.

Sadly, even that was insufficient. I must inquire as to whether we have yet determined WHAT manner the enemy used to fell me that night. I certainly have not even a shadow of an idea. All I know is that one moment, my men fussed about me, rushing to secure my personage, and the next…

But not just of the physical form, though, there was such in abundance. Something so deep and so cold, it seared my very soul. My my screamed and I felt the chill hand of death clutching about my heart, my mind…I was not just dying, I was…falling into Darkness. Not falling, being pulled by some inexorable force…

And then a flash of light, so hot, sure pure… Not warm like the Light of Archanon, which feels almost like the kiss of a warm summer’s sun on your face. No, this was…harder, sharper, more…sidereal.

Then, there was nothing. But…not nothing…

I existed, and I was not alone. But I was not me, or not only myself. I was part of a chorus of voices, but more thought, emotion, all swirling. Like melting into a pond. At once me, and also everyone.

Time lost all meaning, as did space. There was no concern, for if there is no time, if you have all time, and none, what matter is to worry? No care, or pain. No, without feeling, nor feeling of bliss…just, an enduring contentment. A knowing.

Knowing. To know all, but to retain none. Imagine the entire flood of history sifting through your mind, like a sorcerer’s illusion. Seeing everything and everyone. All moment happening at once, but also, not.

Words fail. Some experiences go beyond the realm of language. Something must be, well, experience to be understood.

But there were voices, among the throng, that seemed louder, or stronger. Familiar voices, like those of my father and mother. Speaking kind words, loving words, proud words, I so long to remember… Sadly, that, along with almost everything else is gone now, faded even as I settle again into this…heavy form.

Still, there are things I do know. I know that Vainar has returned and that he is growing in strength. There are pieces of his designs that, even now, I can almost fathom. Just, what is endgame?

I know that my Rangers have suffered long in my service. I could feel their pain even there. Wherever there is. So much loss, so many fallen.

And yet, there was one voice conspicuously absent from that chorus. My friend, my brother in arms, sworn to my House, Rah-Sahn Hawksclaw was not among the dead. Of that, I am certain. Now, more than ever, I am determined to find him and bring him home.

But, those concerns were so far away that I was all but lost to wordly concerns when a voice, sweet and tender, whispered to me. Not a voice I knew, not the clarion sound of the Silver Unicorn, or the quite whisper of the Raven. No…this was something different, and older.


And then another voice, one from FAR distant…so faint, I almost missed it for the crowd, but this voice I knew. It trembled in fear, but not of self, of love…for…a child.

Ranger Afliem? But she was not of the dead.

And then I heard more screams, Rangers dying, explosions, the raucous and jarring clash of arms. In that final moment, between the here and there, that soft voice spoke again, “Go. Your task is yet done. Go Wolf and protect them.”

The next moment, pain, almost as searing as my death. My strength drained from my body. I felt suddenly weak, feeble, and oh so heavy. Meat, bone, sinew…such clumsy constructs. It felt almost like being squeezed into an overstuffed sausage.

And then the pain receded to a dull ache, in my bones, my knees, my back…

Light pieced my eyes as they opened, bursting with the light of a thousands suns…and yet, it was but a candle. I blinked away tears of pain, loss, and joy. I was alive, so. painfully. alive.

And then another voice, whispering from the shadows at the corners of my vision. “He is awake, tell the others.”

My mind swam. Others? Who awakes? Groggily, as the cobwebs of my mind cleared after months of ill use, I struggled to rise.

“Where…am…I?” I managed to croak through parched lips, raspy dry throat.

A figure appeared beside me, kneeling. “My Lord! You live?!”

Things began to align within my mind. I had been killed. I died. But, not?

In the the light of the candle I looked down to see my armored body, just where I expected it to be, no obvious wounds, no blood leaking from the seams of my armor.

“Where am I?” I demanded.

“Echer’Naught, my Lord, within the Temple of the Silver Unicorn. You have been..unresponsive for many months.”

Time finally began to speed up. “How long have I been…dead?”

More footsteps now, whispered voices. A doorway, a slightly less darker patch of shadows off to the side of the…was I lying on a stone slab. Then I understood, I was in a mausoleum.


The Paladin kneeling before me considered. “Twelve months.”

I clutched my chest. Twelve MONTHS! How could that be possible…my family, my Rangers…the WAR?! I very nearly swooned, then I saw my hands…

Strong but aged. Thick veins, splotchy. The hands of an old man. “What happened…?”

The room shook. Dust most drifted to the floor. “We are under attack.” It was not a question.

Before, the kneeling Paladin nodded. “Yes sir, but you must re…”

“My Sword,” I ordered.

With a pained look, he nodded to the slab beside where I had lain. I could clearly see an outline of my body in the dust. And, right where my right arm had laid, my father’s sword.

“My Lord,” the Paladin protested, but I ignored him, staggering to my feet, I reached out and grasped the sword.

Power, thoughts, energy flooded through my body. Like a lightning bolt. Fatigue and pain washed away in an explosion of Light.

Like scales being ripped from my eyes, I could see the battle before me. Hordes of Darkness surrounding the walls of the Church…and elsewhere. And then, a familiar presence…once an ally…now a mortal foe who I personally abandoned to Darkness.

Through the flood of Light, I felt a gentle nudge against my knee. Looking down, I peered into the too blue eyes of Sasha, the Northern Wolf I had “acquired” during our march through the gathers to reach the White Silver Wolves encampment. I nodded.

Go, find the trees. Help the Druids. I don’t know how, but she seemed to comprehend and bounded out of the room, nearly toppling a handful of warriors clustered in the doorway.

“My horse…”

The Paladin rose. “Preparing now. We…”

Voices screamed in the night chill. Whispers in the Darkness. That voice, “You must go…”

I gripped my sword and strode for the doorway, not looking back. “Protect the Church, you must not let the enemy enter this Holy ground. I must stop the Lich.”

Behind me, I heard protests, but I had no time for discussions. Though a series of White Silver doors, up a set of stone steps, and ducking under a tapestry, I found myself in the deceptively small Chapel of the Silver Unicorn.

Outside, towering Trolls battered at the walls as a handful of defenders tried to push them away with flaming polearms. Where are were all the Paladins of Light?! Behind me, Silver Paladins appeared and rushed to the wall’s defense. I strode out and whistled for Thunder.

Barded and saddled, he skidded to a halt beside me. Mounting, I spurred him on and we surged forward, bounding up a stack of stone and leaping the wall. On the far side, we crushed a handful of undead as Thunder muscled his way through the enemy ranks and sprinted for High Town.

Cutting through Center Port, I noted a lone Ranger standing somewhat befuddled, wreathed in magical energy. He watched me as a I rode passed. Onward, I passed another group of Rangers battling a Troll outside a half destroyed Barracks.

Bloodied but unbowed, Thorgram Ramshorn stood before the beast, shield broken. I could see the rage in his eyes, but felt no hint of Flame. It would seem he, at least, has learned to tame the beast within. Another Ranger battle near him, though her face was a blur as I rode past.

My heart ached to stop, but my true foes stood before me and so long as they remained…

So on I rode, powering up the hill into High Towne, whose gates stood open. Guards battled a died. A line of Rangers struggled to cut through a group of Hobgoblins. Thunder bunched and leaped, clearing the heads of the Rangers and Troglanesh by a foot. My loyal mount. Even after all this time.

Hooves sparked as we hit the ground. Ahead of my I saw a desperate fight. One lone knight stood within a ring of zombies as he fought to protect something at his feet…

…and then I saw her. Ranger Ravenwod. Samira. Did she live? Duty compelled me to ride past…for my true target stood there.

Clad in full Black Iron Plate, cloak billowing in the wintry wind, black snow swirling about him as he strode through the blood and death…Mugin Von Dietrich.

I felt his power, radiating in cold waves, like the chill of an icy grave. He turned as I rode… But, there was a shimmer, behind him. Unseen, but felt. Clever. Von D was always the cleverest of us.

Flashing past, I brought my sword down in the space behind Von D, and steel met flesh as I cleaved the Necromancer Warlock in half. Kill the caster, Kills the spell.

I felt Von D’s defenses drop as the Warlock’s spells faltered with his dying breath. Even so, Von D had far surpassed himself in power since last we met. I wheeled and struck, a glancing blow which staggered, but did not fell the Undead Champion.

Spinning Thunder, I threw myself at Von D. His sword was quicker, raking me across the ribs. Pain exploded, but I pushed on, bringing my sword down hard, punching through his armor. This blow staggered him. Lighting, from the Tempest curse ripped through him.

Leaping free, I raised my blade. “I release you, my friend.” I slashed and severed undead Von D’s head from his body. Then, reversing, I stabbed downward, piercing his body. Channeling all the newfound power through the blade, I summoned the power of the Silver Unicorn to smite and banish the corrupted abomination before me.

The corpse exploded.

I could feel him fading, being consumed by the same Darkness which sought to claim me. With every fiber I reached out, grasping…and felt him…the true Von Dietrich…my friend. I felt his soul burn bright, then ascend. In my mind, my soul I heard his voice, free of Darkness… “Protect the child.” And then, he was gone, passing into the next life.

Releasing the power, feeling like a blast of energy, I turned to see a battle in chaos. Black snow drifted down, Rangers battle everywhere. Darkness threatened to consume all.

Reaching out with my mind, I called upon Eris Moonsilver, hoping that she could feel me, connect…but I heard nothing but silence…

A strange power, like static in the air, seemed to cloud my thoughts, like a faint but persistent buzzing. Powerful, too powerful to be accidental.

No Battle Net. The enemy came prepared. Curse Vainar!

Turning, I raised my voice so that all Rangers could hear me and take heart. “Follow me, my Rangers.” I said, hoping that my return my offer some small encouragement.

First, the battle at hand. Leaping again upon Thunder, we rode down the zombies threatening to devouring Corporal Ravenwood and this young knight. Thank Archanon and the Silver Unicorn, she was alive, and fighting. She felled 2 or 3. I know the knight, Galean by heraldry, Ranger by cloak, handled himself well.

That handled, Thunder and I rode down the last of the Troglanesh holding back reinforcements. I was at this point that I saw Sir Volstagg standing with the Rangers, his chest plate cracked, his cloak in tatters, a Ranger nonetheless.

There was Thorgram, looking somewhat stunned. Likely at my arrival. At least, that was the assumption. Arrows rang off my armor. The fight was far from over.

Forces of Darkness were overrunning the Sacred Grove, where I had sent Sasha, the militia and townsfolk were fighting losing holding actions at the Muster Grounds and the new housing blocks in Low Town. The Regional and Local Headquarters were under assault. Adepts were blocking Eris from establishing any semblance of communication…

…and worst of all, Von D’s older brother, the Lich of OUR making, stood atop the tower weaving the Darkest of spells. I ordered Corporal Ravenwood to take her team to support the Town, picking up what support she could on the way.

Thorgam began protesting, then speaking nonesense, then hugged me. I embraced him back. My stalwart defender. He will never know the sense of relief I felt knowing that he still stood in defense of my Rangers.

Then, I wheeled Thunder and galloped for the Regional HQ. Behind me, I could hear Thorgram protesting, but his voice was lost in the howl of the wind, the rasp of my own breath in my helm, and thunder of Thunder’s hooves.

We had all but reached the HQ, when I pulled up short to see Sir Halten leading a wedge of Olaran knights as they cleared the streets. I saluted, though I might of cause him to misstep and almost take a fatal blow. Still, it heartened me to know that he was on had to secure High Towne.

Werewolves scrabbled up the walls, Trolls battered at the gates while Shayakar on rooftops laid down a deadly fire on the Ranger defenders. Coming from behind, and unawares, I charged the forces at the gate, scattering them, then summoned the Power of the Unicorn I teleported to the far side MUCH to the shock of the Ranger defenders.

One young trainee actually shot me. Fortunately, his arrow had little effect. The two MOST shocked at my sudden arrival were Celebor, Captain? there’s a story, and Sergeant Alystar. Both nearly died from shock. More, they nearly died because they stopped to stare.

With no time, I shouted to Celebor that Adepts were targeting Eris and they needed to be dealt with. Also, that Alpha Team was headed into Middle Town to reinforce defenders there. He shouted something particularly unflattering back, but duty compelled me to ride on.

Through the scramble of Ranger defenders, through the hail of arrows I rode for the Beacon Tower. Dismounting, I kicked open the door and started to ascend. Whatever power was sustaining me began to flag as I charged up the tower.

Rangers at the lower floors moved aside at my passing, but by the fifth platform, all I found were the dead and undead. Fighting through, I forced myself to the peak.

What defenders had been on post when Darkness attacked, now were slain. Most had been turned into mindless Zombies, a few had been used to fuel the profane ritual now being cast by the elder Von D.

Hovering above the beacon, he hung there, snow swirling around him, black robes flapping. Laughing, he ignored my presences as if I were but an insect while he continued to chant and gesture. Overhead the black clouds swirled with malice.

He was protected by the same spells that Von D had used, but the Lich required no other to fuel his magic. With me was but my sword, long though it may be, the Lich was far to high to reach. I considered, for a moment, going back down in search of a bow, but what good would it do?

Celebor perhaps, Samira certainly could make that shot. But I am but a cavalryman and poor archer. Casting about desperately, I was very nearly despair when I noted the Beacon. Beside it, a young man, face pale in death, lay, his hands still clutching the ever burning torch that would light the signal fire.

Even in death, the Lamplighters continue to defend their city. The first defenders and the very last line. Ignored by the Lich, I snatched the torch and hurled it onto the pitch soaked beacon. From one heartbeat the next, the fire roared to life, blasting high into the sky with a searing heat, and catching that flying fiend in a column of pure, white fire.

He screamed. It would seem I now had his attention. Concentration momentarily shattered, he slammed to the earth…well within range of my blade.

I charged hoping to catch him stunned, but he merely raised a hand and blasted me clear across the tower. I skidded across icy stone, by armor sparking as I crashed into the far ramparts.

Wreathed in hellish smoke, eyes burning green with hate, the Lich rose to its feet and glided toward me. Pale, clammy skin stretched taut in a rictus smile, the creature raised it hands and unleashed an onslaugh of black bolts of energy so cold it burned.

On the night air I could hear his hoarse mirthless laughter. Rising to a knee, I fought with all my strength against the sheer power of his attack. It felt as if I were battling to lift the entire tower…

…but somehow I gritted my teeth and staggered to my feet. Inch my inch I closed to distance between us even as my tabard, cloak and skin where savaged to ribbons.


…finally, I was just in reach. Surging forward I swung hard. My blade slammed into his side, hard, but rather than soft flesh the blade rebounded as if I had just tried to bisect an anvil. Black smoke coiled and wreathed his body.

He rasped another laugh at my expense…then clenched his fist. Pain exploded in my chest and I was driven to my knees. He twisted his hand and I felt my heart being ripped from my chest.

In short order I experienced the THIRD most excruciating pain of my life. In that moment, I pondered if there were, in fact, some profound truth in the sum total of my most recent, to me, experiences being of pain and suffering.

I tasted copper and coughed, splattering the icy stones with bright red blood. Over the sound of my own heartbeat racing, I could hear his voice, dripping with scorn. “You will make a find servant.” And then he jerk his hand up, and I was lifted off the ground my chest collapsed within my armor…

My vision dimmed as I felt the life being, literally, crushed from me. Focusing on the two green, glowing points swimming in front of me, I summoned the last of my strength, called upon the Unicorn and stepped…

The sound of ripping was…sickening. I may never really know, but at that moment I was CONVINCED that he had just ripped out my heart. Nevertheless, I appeared behind him and had just enough life left to make the swing.

Archanon and the Silver Unicorn were with me. My blade caught him from behind, piecing his armor as lighting from a sudden storm blasted him where he stood. My vision swam and, I fear, I blacked out.

How long I was out, I cannot say. Minutes, days, hours? Truth be told, since my return, what, a hour before, my sense of date and time was still fuddled.

All I know is that I jerked awake, rain pelting my face. I could smell Tempest on the winds. Samira… So another has learned to use their powers. My Rangers have certainly come far in this last year.

The pain in my chest quickly subsided, so I grabbed my sword and started to rise again. From across the top of the tower, I heard the rustle of cloth and the clink of masonry shifting. Quickly, I sprinted over, slipping on the wet, and icy stones.

Rounding the quickly dying beacon, I skidded to a stop just in time to avoid being blasted off the tower by another volley of black bolts. It would appear Lich’s are as notoriously difficult to slay as reported. Like my own, his wounds appeared to be healing quickly, though, I could feel his power waning.

Ravenwood’s Storm, with all the energy spent on the ritual…and my small contributions had sapped much of the foul creatures power. He was growing fatigued. I, however, was not.

I launched at him, pressing the attack. He surprised me. I would not expect a caster of any kind to be so well versed in combat, but he handled his Black Iron staff as well as any warrior I have faced. Back and forth we battled, but his strength comes from Darkness and vile magics.

Mine, comes from Light, the Silver Unicorn, and the strength of my brothers and sisters. Blow for blow, bolt of bolt, his attacks grew weaker by increments, while I drew deeper and deeper upon the power within.

Again, I know not how long the contest lasted, but with a final blow I dashed him to the floor. It lay there a moment, glaring up at me. Then, with but a whisper summoned a portal, an Ebonway, like a pool of infinite blackness directly behind him.

I struck a heartbeat too late. He was gone, but striking the Ebonway had a gratifying effect as it exploded into smoke and with that, his power was broken, his profane ritual disrupted. Suddenly weary, I crossed to the east battlement and looked out over my city.

Battles yet raged, but I could see Rangers, knights, guards and citizens all banding together, pushing back Darkness step by step, inch by inch. Stepping up on the wall, I raised my father’s sword high into the air, letting its light shine like a beacon and shouted the one word that would stir my city, and strike a blow to the very heart of the enemy.


Better than I could have hoped, enemy forces began and immediate, but rather coordinated retreat. Apparently Von D had planned for all contingencies. Had he even predicted my return? Who knows what other secrets he revealed to the enemy during his time as their slave.

I fear it may be quite some time before we truly realize the full extend of this attack. For I fear, that rather than a random raid, this coordinated battle had much more tangible purposes. What those may, or may not be, I hope time will tell.

Nevertheless, with their Lich and Champion vanquished, the lead elements of Darkness retreated leaving behind hordes of undead to secure their withdrawal. I retraced my steps back down the tower, as quickly as I could, though admittedly, slower than my ascent. Reaching the ground floor, I joined the Rangers in securing the Regional HQ.

Celebor, as ordered, had gone hunting the Adepts and Alystar was focused on defending the most critical guests of the manor. It took some time, but High Towne was cleared. I left Sir Halten in charge, after a few brief words exchanged.

Commander Schenkle had the middle of the city well buttoned, so I rode into Low Town to offer my assistance there. Most of the rest of the night was spent in fierce street to street fighting with Undead and a few Shayakar Nightguard left behind to achieve some vital missions.

By an hour before dawn, I found myself at the Local Headquaters, that small warehouse which now had grown in size and number of Rangers. Most of the command staff was in the field, so I lent my expertise organizing relief efforts and triage for the wounded.

They tore through our potions and elixirs before I even arrived. Most of the Priests and Druids were far too exhausted to do much more than offer words of comfort, so we switched more more mundane methods of treatment.

I do not know if this is comforting or not, but being there, on the ground, organizing my force had a strange sense of rightness. There was no confusion or panic, even amid the chaos. One battle is more or less like another.

An hour or so after dawn, who should drift into the the HQ, but Corporal Ravenwood and the rest of Alpha Team. They looked tired, bloodied, but triumphant. Seeing me, again, was something of a shock.

I feared the might be running on courage alone, so bade them sit and drink. Hawkclaw’s young sister had arrived once most of the fighting had died to help. She proffered drink for the team, and I took a brief moment to rest with them.

So many questions, so many expressions and emotions at once. I greeted Volstagg like an old friend. For the rest, I tried to explain what had happened, but we were all tired. In time, I will put their minds at east to the best of my limited ability.

Beside Volstagg was a man, an Olaran who seemed to be struggling to place me. When he did, however, he immediately pledge himself to my service. I accepted his oath on the spot. However, I will need to make that legal as soon as I am able. Whenever my status in the city is determined. After all, I did, in fact, perish.

But, there was one piece of information that, even as the knowledge of my experiences beyond faded, I held, clutching with all the strength within.

“Hawksclaw is alive,” I said, “I don’t know where. I don’t know when. But we will find him and bring him home.”

Those that understood looked understandably stunned. As for the rest, they will learn. However, I also explained that things would likely be confusing for a while considering my status within the Rangers, in fact, my status as a legal citizen was in question considering my recent circumstances.

No sooner had I made the statement then the door behind me burst open and a very bloody and very pissed Celebor appeared as if summoned. He stormed up to me, shouted me down and called me some rather inappropriate things, then threatened to quit if I did not immediately assume command of Echer’Naught and relieve him of command.

Stunned, and concerned he might ACTUALLY quit, I relieved Captain Celebor of Command. This being on the 25th of White Stagg, 3125, the day after I returned from the grave.

Then, he shouted something about tracking down a lost goat on the Everwall, said he would see us again in 10-15 years and stormed out. I actually believe he is serious?!

Well, now officially in charge, I had a duty to assume command as someone would need to organize the unmitigated chaos that follow any such battle. Corporal Ravenwood bade me rest, but, truth told, I felt fine…other than being a 50+ year old man… ascended my knees!

I was about to leave, when the young sworn, Amaroth, pointed out that I required an escort as the rules, I had written, stipulated that no Rangers were to travel alone. Good man. He will be a fine addition to the Wolfhaven House.

Thanking him profusely, I invited a nearby Trainee to escort me. I do believe the young man may have wet himself. But, he tagged along.

I was…almost out when Corporal caught me. In a quite voice she explained the situation with her husband. My heart warms to know that she has found a life and partner. Despite his former allegiance, Anaxelum is a good man. Still, it is criminal how he has been treated. That, I must ruminate upon.

But first, I must report to duty. Put to rights my command. And then…I have a Lady to see…

Light but I have missed her. Even in death, hers was my own regret…

My heart would have me abandon all other pursuits and ride to her side, but honor compels me otherwise.

So much to do…and then, Vainar.

Always Vainar.

Your most obedient servant,

Lord Mayor Wolfhaven, Colonel

Regional Command at Echer’Naught, Olara

Rogue Faction Play Three
Winter 3126
Campaign Report 77
Peace and Betrayal, Part Two

Malcolm Report, Part Two

Harvest Moons 29th, 3125

So many questions left unanswered. So many…moments. But, life is but moments. Fleeting motes of time that we grasp, then let slip through our fingers. Sadly, I am not paid to wax poetic. I am only paid to record and file.

At the conclusion of my last report, Harvest Moons 2nd, 3125 the day began in the Abyss. Smoke, fire, and blood rained down across middletown. Smoke and fire from the arcfire blast, blood from my brother Rangers.

The previous night, before or after the 13th hour, Anaxelum Regillus, currently in Ranger custody, “went crazy” screaming about Corporal Ravenwood and a Ranger team in imminent danger. He then, proceeded to rip the ironwood door out of the stone wall and threatened to “report directly to Captain Celebor” if his message was not immediately delivered.

He did not offer further resistance and was placed under heavy armed guard.

Celebor arrived on scene while Lady Eris Moonsilver was informed of the situation and alerted to contact Corporal Ravenwood to determine the veracity of Citizen Regillus’ claims.

I was awakened to facilitate coordination with Ranger units as Captain Celebor called up all active duty and emergency teams to a rally point at Regional HQ. Fast response teams were active within minutes.

Lady Eris Moonsilver established a Battle Net and confirmed that Corporal Ravenwood was approaching a warehouse in Middle Town and that four Rangers, RFC Ironblood, Rangers Zulcrum, Afliem, and Kura were engaged with enemy forces and required immediate assistance.

Lady Moonsilver was unable to contact the Rangers inside to provide further intelligence about situation. So, with a potential invasion situation, Captain Celebor used Corporal Ravenwoods position, relayed via Lady Moonsilver, to coordinate fast response teams.

First teams on the ground reported arcfire weapons exchanges. Captain authorized full mobilization, stand by, reserve, off-rotation, he called up all Rangers, sending in teams to secure the area around the warehouse and pull out our men inside.

We were nearly fully mobilized when Ranger Nazir spotted lurkers around the warehouse holding back at least two blocks away. Something in their demeanor alerted her to danger. She shouted a warning to Lady Moonsilver who immediately recalled all Rangers from the warehouse. Without the alert, everyone inside the warehouse would have been killed.

As it is, we lost 27 Rangers killed, another 13 severely wounded requiring immediate medical attention. Those counts did not come for hours. Medical teams pulled the last bodies out of the rubble 12 hours after the explosion.

When the explosion happened, we lost all contact with teams on the ground. Even Lady Moonsilver was overwhelmed by the backlash. It was nearly an hour before we were able to determine if the Captain, who was inside the warehouse at the time had survived. All available teams were pulled back to forma perimeter and to sweep the area for the “lurkers”.

Whoever Ranger Nazatir had seen, were gone by the time the dust settled from the explosion. We must assume they were spotters, or enemy agents. We made a full sweep of the area, only frightened civilians and Rangers.

The blast was seen and heard across the city. Captain Vasser arrived with City Guard units. Even Commander Schenkle arrived with full time soldiers from the milita. Relief operations were initially under command of Captain Vasser until Captain Celebor staggered out of the smoke, waved off healing, and assumed command.

Once some semblance of order was made of the situation on the ground, I was tasked with discovering which operation had gone so horribly wrong. Since the Captain was unaware of any active operations which would involve this warehouse, the assumption was that it was either off-book, or lost in the shuffle. The more I researched, the more I came to fear that the four Rangers of Alpha team were engaged in an unsanctioned mission.

Relaying that information to the Captain, I was ordered to write detention orders for Sergeant Amelia Whitestone, Corporal Samira Ravenwood, RFC Rysak Ironblood, and Rangers Thomas Zulcrum, and Dakota Afliem. Security teams under command of Chief Investigator Lieutenant Barand. The Lieutenant and a Ranger Adept conducted interrogations with the Rangers involved, beginning with Sgt. Whitestone. During her interrogation, a new order was sent requesting detention orders for Ranger Gunthur Volstagg.

By mid-morning, most of Alpha team was waiting interrogation, with the exceptions of Corporal Sarin Silverfeather working healing at ground zero, RFC Thorgram Ramshorn and Ranger Audric Amaroth worked security at the sight. I was in my office overseeing coordination efforts when a casualty report crossed my desk.

Ranger Kura’Kai Afliem was confirmed killed in action, his neck pierced by a Ranger arrow, his body then blown nearly apart by the subsequent explosion.

The interrogations took most of the day. I am not privy to all the details, but what has been released is…telling.

Due to frustration at the apparent lack of action on the part of the Ranger Corps in regards to the multitude of threats against the city, Ranger Dakota Afliem approached RFC Ironblood about engaging in an intelligence gathering mission to find those responsible for the atrocities in the city. RFC Ironblood agreed. He in turn recruited Ranger Zulcrum who maintains contacts in the city from his time in the Guard. Ranger Afliem recruited her husband, Kura’Kai.

At the time of this agreement, Rangers were still barred from engaging in any unauthorized operations, including intelligence gathering missions.

Not much came of this operation, though on at least three occasions Ranger Afliem approached Ranger Volstagg. According to Ranger Afliem and Ranger Volstagg, he was unaware of the extent of the operation or the conspiracy to defy orders. Though, he approached Sergeant Whitestone with suspicious of illegal activities, yet failed to report on his fellow Rangers.

I believe it was the attack on the Thieves Guild Headquarters which altered the situation. At the very least, it pushed the conspiracy to more reckless action. After the attack, however, the Rangers changed their stance on independent intelligence operations. In meetings both with Captain Celebor and with Sgt Whitestone, Rangers of Alpha team were informed that they would be permitted to gather intelligence from local sources, but would not be allowed to any direct action.

This, effectively, authorized the previous activities of the conspiracy. Had they stopped there, even had their efforts been discovered, they were tacitly in keeping with their orders.

We know that sometime during the 1st of Harvest Moons a local citizen approached Ranger Zulcrum with information regarding a high level meeting of criminals happening in a warehouse that evening. During his interrogation, Ranger Zulcum offered a description of the citizen who provided the information. The man’s body was discovered by Ranger patrols four days later, on the 5th of Harvest Moons, murdered by a knife through the heart.

That afternoon, the conspirators gathered to plan their action. All conspirators agree that Ranger Afliem had second thoughts and attempted to convince the others to take their evidence to Sergeant Whitestone. At this point, RFC Ironblood took command of the conspirators, ordered no one to speak to the Rangers and planned a raid on the warehouse that evening, on the 1st of Harvest Moons.

The conspirators removed their cloaks, and made their way to the warehouse. Outside, they spotted sentries disguised as vagrants. Without sufficient forces to take the warehouse by force, the conspirators elected to sneak into the warehouse through a roof access. They found a meeting of half a dozen men in a central “office” protected by six patrolling arclancers.

The plan was for RFC Ironblood and Ranger Afliem to cover Rangers Zulcrum and Kura’Kai’s assault on the office. The plan failed before it was begun. Halfway to the office, Ranger Kura cut Ranger Zulcrim from behind. He then turned and charged RFC Ironblood, taking him down quickly. Arclancers opened up and in the crossfire, Ranger Alfiem went down.

It was at this moment that Corporal Ravenwood arrived through the same roof access the conspirators had used. Seeing Ranger Kura’Kai about to execute his own wife, she fired an arrow, felling him. Then, she attempted to provide cover as Captain Celebor’s reinforcements began to arrive.

We have only her word as to how she came to know of the plot as all conspirators confirmed that she was never approached. It would appear that she was in bed, early on the 2nd of Harvest Moons (or late eve on the 1st), she was awoken by a Ranger messenger who informed her that “someone” wished to speak with her.

Why Corporal Ravenwood would willingly leave her home in the middle of the night to meet with a stranger is a matter of debate. However, as the messenger was a Ranger, she followed orders.

It would appear that the meeting was NOT a sanctioned Ranger appointment and, rather, a man representing “concerned citizens” informed her that at that moment a group of Rangers was entering a warehouse on information to raid a high level criminal meeting, but that the entire event was a trap. With no time to return to the Rangers with this information she “contact” her husband who was still in his cell, and ran immediately to protect her team at the warehouse. And so she arrived in time to prevent Kura’Kai from killing his wife and team.

This all brings us back to the beginning. Citizen Regillus alerting the Rangers of the danger and Captain Celebor sending Rangers into the warehouse.

A complicated plot to be sure. Further complicated by the fact that, this concerned citizen does not appear to exist. His description, his identity is a complete mystery. Worse, half of Ranger Kura’Kai’s mask was discovered broken and charred in the rubble. However, both Lieutenant Barand’s adept and Corporal Silverfeather both agreed that the mask found, the one Kura wore into battle, was a fake. Every effort both mundane and magical was employed to locate the true mask. To no avail.

Even Lady Moonsilver was tasked on the 3rd to track it with Corporal Silverfeathers assistance. All efforts failed. Mystery piled upon mystery.

On the 5th of Harvest Moons, I wrote orders for the arrest of RFC Ironblood, and Rangers Zulcrum and Afliem. They were taken into custody in Ranger detention to await court martial. Trial date was set for the 11th of Harvest Moons.

Advocate Evanor Qularian was appointed to speak for the accused. An Eldakar, newly from Kythros, I conducted a quiet review of his resume and could find no fault with his credentials. Despite their actions, they will receive the best representation possible. Well, other than, perhaps, Evoran. But, we cannot always have miracles.

On the 11th of Harvest Moons, 3125, I attended the formal Court Marshal of RFC Ironblood, and Rangers Zulcrum and Afliem. Few others were in attendance. The remainder of their team, Captain Celebor, a handful of Rangers, and the Royal Sheriff, Sir Halten. It was presided over by a Col. Ashford, a Major Karlax, and a Captain Gissold, all representatives from Kythros.

I note that these were the very same men who attempted to extradite citizen Regillus to Kythros after his capture during the Tempest battle. Seeing those three on the bench did not instill me with great confidence for the fates of the Rangers on the stand. Still…

Advocate Qularian entered a plea of guilty for all parties. It seemed they were not going to fight the court’s justice. Just as well.

Without much deliberation, the Court Marshal sentence each of the accused to two years incarceration in Kythros. RFC Ironblood and Ranger Zulcrum were to be remanded immediately. Ranger Afliem was allowed to remain, turned over to custody of the Sacred Grove to tend to her daughter until the child was old enough to survive without her mother. I see High Druidess Treesinger’s hand in this.

But, if half the rumors about the child are true…

Thomas and Rysak were led out in chains. Druids arrived and quickly shuffled out with Dakota. Sergeant Whitestone, in her finest dress simply sat, stone faced, lost in thought.

As I left, I noted that Sir Halten and Ranger Volstagg having a private word. The two had grown close, so I thought nothing of it at the time. I should have known better in Echer’Naught.

Then came the hard part. I was unable to release any “evidence” until after the court marshal which included Kura’Kai’s remains and belongings. As soon as the trial concluded, I sent word to those closes to Kura to attend a private Last Call for him. It pained me that Dakota would miss her own husbands funeral, but she chose her actions. He his.

We met that night, on the 11th. Sokolov was kind enough to rent out the entire Wayfarer’s rest for a very reasonable rate. I only invited a few guests as I paid for the affair out of pocket. I admit, I was upset to see Thorgram arrive with so many uninvited guests, but I suppose we all grieve in our own way.

I tried to speak. Failed miserably. Others spoke more eloquently. Ranger Amaroth gave quite the rouser, starling Thorgram’s flock of sycophants with a Kura Kai! warcry. Last to speak was Sergeant Whitestone who arrived late. She spoke well, as a soldier. Honored her fallen and then left.

I worry for her. More for what came later. But, I get ahead of myself.

Kura’Kau’s ashes will be held for his daughter until she is old enough to choose how they will be handled. And, since we do not know his religious practices, if any, no real funeral was held. Though, I asked a priest to say prayers for him on the following morning in a very very private ceremony.

Late on the 14th of Harvest Moons I was asked to write a bizarre set of orders. The remaining members of Alpha team were being sent on a “team building” exercise somewhere on the Wildlands border…

As I understand, they met on the 15th, the following morning, and Sergeant Whitestone gave them the odd news. En mass, the team agreed and headed out to the camp on the morning of the 16th of Harvest Moons, 3125.

I know it was a two day trek and they arrived on the 19th of Harvest Moons. I know that the leader of the camp was a Dregordian adept known as Sssvaren ran the camp which specialized in treating crippling wounds, physical, spiritual, and psychological. He assigned the daily “exercises” such as they were.

On day one, the 20th, he organized a hike that only Corporals Ravenwood and Silverfeather attended.

On day two, the 21st, they were tasked with “going to a warehouse.” In truth, from reports, it was a logic puzzle which forced the team to choose between failure or sacrificing one of their own? I am confused as to the details.

On day three, the 22nd, they were sent on an errand for Sssvaren to a neighboring town to get his tea herbs???

On day four, the 23rd, they were sent to over a few hills to a sacred spring to bring back water. As it turns out, the task was impossible to complete. Thought they stayed until the 24th trying to complete it.

On day five, the 25th, they were allowed to return home after answering two question, “Who are you?”, and “What do you fear.”

And that was it…

I will note that during most of their tasks, save for fetching the herbs, the party ended up split. On the first task, most of the party simply ignored. The barn/warehouse required one to be left behind and they chose Ranger Amaroth. Odd, though, at the spring, Corporal Silverfeather abandoned his team to sleep at the base of the hill rather.

Perhaps that is the lesson? That they continue, even after the loss of their comrades to work together? I fear it will only get worse.

By the 28th of Harvest Moons, the team arrived in Echer’Naught to be assigned light duties. I had my hand full. While gone, I processed paperwork transferring citizen Regillus to Olaran custody, specifically that of Sir Halten.

His connection to Corporal Ravenwood made them both a massive security breach and the Rangers felt that the Olarans would have more “latitude” in ensuring operational security. Meaning, I gather, if he causes a problem the Olarans would not hesitate to execute him.

I am not privy to the means by which they plan to sever the mental connection between Corporal Ravenwood and her husband, but knowing now HOW it was created, I am concerned for them both. Loss after loss. Not only is her husband in prison, now, because she wished to save her friends who had betrayed her, she lost him all over again. No legal gymnastics could prevent this.

Worse and worse, after years of a spotless record, I authorized a written reprimand for Lady Eris Moonsilver who performed the ritual that bound Samira and Anaxelum. So many people hurt. So much loss. I understand that her Guild is revering her Bond to determine if she violated the terms of her contract with the Rangers. If they rule against her…we may lose Eris too.

And things only got worse. On my desk was an official request from the Olaran crown requesting that Sir Halten be placed in charge of a “joint task force” of members selected by the Sheriff to “deal with the continuing crisis in Echer’Naught.” Not even then did I put it together with Ranger Volstagg…not until the following morning.

On the 29th of Harvest Moons, a bitterly cold day, I was called into Captain Celebor’s office for a meeting. There, I was joined by the Captain, Sir Halten, Sergeant Whitestone, and Rangers Volstagg and Amaroth. Only then did I begin to see the Sheriff’s brilliant maneuver.

He formally request approval of his proposal for the task force. Given the grievous losses and the current climate within the Rangers, Captain Celebor demurred. His rationale was that the timing was not right. He hoped to get his own house in order before having his authority undermined.

And then Sir Halten played his trump card. Sir Volstagg stepped forward to endorse the plan. With Rangers support, if Captain Celebor denied the request, Sir Halten would have all the leverage he would need to show that the Ranger command no longer spoke for the best interest of its own members. Certainly, we could fight the Olarans, but to what end?

In a last attempt, Captain Celebor asked Sergeant Whitestone if she considered such a drastic shift in command to be appropriate at this time. All she said, in typical Olaran stoicism, is that she followed orders. If these were her orders, so be it. Crestfallen, Captain Celebor ceded Ranger authority to a visibly giddy Sir Halten.

After they all left, Sergeant Whitestone fuming, Sir Halten actually whistling, I noted Celebor slumped in his oversize chair, head in hands. Out the open door, Whitestone stalked away, Volstagg and Amaroth sauntered off together and Sir Halten…began preparations.

As for me, I returned to my small desk and stared at the mountains of paperwork stacked around me. What was it all for?! Was it worth the price?!

The irony is that after examining the bodies of the “merchants” killed in the explosion, we have confirmed that no fewer than two have confirmed links to Red Store. So, the conspirators were right about the meeting. This information, couples with the staggering amounts of Arcfire, all-but certifies that they DID raid a high level meeting of criminal operatives. The sad part, if they had approached command there is every likelihood that our enemies, who have certainly compromised our ranks, would have learned and alerted the perpetrators. At the very least, the meeting would have been cancelled and we would have lost the opportunity.

And yet, what have we gained?! So, we killed three criminals. That hardly stops crime in Echer’Naught! And with them all dead, we have no new leads. So…we gain, in essence, NOTHING!

But the price…

Captain Celebor is badly wounded, worse, the blow to his command is such that I fear he may simply resign from the Rangers rather than continue.

I know that Sergeant Whitestone’s request for transfer have been denied. As an Olaran, I can almost guarantee that her resignation is not far behind.

Ranger Kura’Kai Afliem is dead, and with him, Toma’s Mask is gone, so, in effect, we lost two Rangers.

And, now three Rangers are in prison, and Dakota’s daughter has lost a father, and will lose her mother during her most formative years.

Then, there are the 27 Rangers KIA whose names I am sorely tempted to list. Thirteen had spouses, 11 had children. One had just mustered out that night…he was celebrating his 11 year tenure in the Rangers when the call went up. He didn’t even have to go. But instinct, loyalty, and training.

Corporal Ravenwood was forced to fire, again, on a comrade and this time kill them. And, now, her husband has been locked away in some Olaran secret prison for magic users.

Lady Eris Moonsilver MAY just lose her Farspeaker’s bond over this, and with it, her career, reputation, and position within the Ranger organization.

What of the remains of the team? Thorgram will take this hard, more the loss of Toma’s mask. And Volstagg is now Sir Halten’s man. I’m not sure if the Rangers, or Whitestone can trust him anymore? I suppose Audric, Sarin, and Leora are going to be alright. Ranger Leora Nazir is in for promotion for her part in the peace talks between the Elves and the Olarans. So, one small bright spot.

All of this, all the death, all the loss, all the broken trust, and shattered friendships…

…to kill a dozen men who may, or may not, have been key players.

Evoran help me.


Campaign Report 76
Peace and Betrayal, Part One

Malcolm Report, Part One

Harvest Moons 1st, 3125

I spend each day reading, writing,and filing the reports of my friends, my comrades, may family as they go out and risk their lives. We convince ourselves that our sacrifice has meaning, purpose. Because, without some greater good, then we are left with nothing but death and regret.

Some days such self denials are more difficult than others.

Raining Leaves 16th, 3125

Via Lady Moonsilver, we received word that a mass naval landing had occurred just outside of the city of High Port. Forces of the “Southern Blades” quickly overwhelmed the Prelacy defenders with minimal losses. It would appear that, never loyal to the church, many within High Port elected to surrender without battle.

Strange, all communication from the northern front have ceased. Perhaps not terribly surprising considering the massive resources redirected to the Camon operation. Still, I know the recon group appears nervous.

This report continues from the previous filing date, Raining Leaves 21st.

Raining Leaves 25th, 3125

Sergeant Whitestone scheduled her routine team meeting. I understand she confirmed Prelacy agents within the city.

Also, due to the riots and the attacks City Watch have been posted to patrol the Elven district, while the Rangers increased security at the Western Gates.

In addition, reinforcements have been assigned to all Ranger patrols drawn from the newer Ranger recruits and the City Watch.

Raining Leaves 26th, 3125

Late after 2AM, an arcfire device detonated on the northern wall, west of the North Barony gate. Corporal Ravenwood and Ranger Afliem were on scene. They described minor damage to the tower and a single body, too badly burned for recognition.

Lt. Barand confirmed the body to be that of a human male, 20-30, with no distinguishing marks, no coins, no weapons. No further evidence was found at the scene.

Raining Leaves 28th, 3125

Investigator Barand’s official report released. The device was arcfire, of Mad Bomber design. No other devices in the city were discovered. Due to the severe damage to the body, it appeared the victim was lying on top of the device which in turn was lying on the top of the wall. No further evidence as to whom or why.

Of note, Ranger Nazir proposes a plan to heal the rift between the Elves and the Olarans by bringing the Olaran leadership, aka Sir Halten, together with the Elven leadership, aka Lady Treesinger, to establish a dialogue and begin rebuilding the damaged sections of town.

It is also confimed that the Southern Blades have successfuly taken Defiance and the Prealcy capital of Camondel. Still no word on the North.

Raining Leaves 29th, 3125

With Corporal Ravenwood’s support, Ranger Nazir arranges with Lady Treesinger. Through Ranger Volstagg, she secures Sir Halten’s participation. The meeting is scheduled for the 31st, to be held in the Church of Light, mediated by the Bishop Vallandrian, as arranged by Corporal Silverfeather.

Raining Leaves 31st, 3125

In the morning of the 31st, a delegation from the Olarans headed by the Royal Sheriff of Echer’Naught, Sir Halten, accompanied by the current head of the Merchant’s Guild, the Grandmaster of the Lamplighter’s Association, and Sir Harken, a young scion of the duchy, met with a delegation from the elves, lead by High Druidess Illandria Treesinger, accompanied by the patron of the Autumn Spring, and two elven community leaders. For the Church of Light, Bishop Vallandrian. Leaora Nazir, Amelia Whitestone, Sir Volstagg, and Audric Amaroth represented the City.

Though the initial meeting was…unsuccessful. After Sir Halten cleared the room of himself, Treesinger, Nazir, and the Biship, an arrangement was set. A beginning team of 20, 10 Olarans, 10 Elves, would meet at the Church of Light. Sir Halten selected the Autumn Spring for repair, Treesinger, Baker Street. Half of the funds would come from each side to be handled by the Church.

Of note, the Rangers were conspicuously excluded from the deal.

Raining Leaves 33rd, 3125

A building in Low Town is fired. RFC Ramshorn and Ranger Kura’Kai are first on scene. Smelling burning flesh, they secured the area, sent for reinforcements, then RFC went in for survivors. Finding none on the first and second floors, he attempted to enter the basement. At this point, Reports indicate access to the lower section was hidden.

On orders, Kura’Kai smashes through the burning floor to reveal a hidden bar beneath. Half a dozen bodies burning. RFC leaps into the flames to pull out two bodies. Lt. Barand arrives a short time later. He quickly identifies both corpses are known thieves.

At this point, there is much speculation that the hidden bar was a haunt of the Thieves Guild, thought neutral in the current conflict.

We spoke with Fateweaver to reach out to contacts, but we have heard little back.

Harvest Moons 1st, 3125

I attended a meeting in Captain Celebor’s office with Alpha Team. It is confirmed via Fateweaver that the fired building was the Thieves Guild main operation in the city and that the Guild has gone to ground. Going against standing orders, the Captain authorized an overture to the King of Low Town, which has, of yet gone unanswered. He also authorized the Rangers to begin quite investigations with their own local assets, but only once cleared by the Sgt.

NO direct action was authorized. Any information was to be reported to Command for a cohesive plan. The Rangers feared getting drawn into a turf war between criminal enterprises. Ranger Zulcrum confirmed that there was a growing market of arcfire in the town, supplied, so we believe, by Velkalar.

Harvest Moons 1st, 3125, 13 hour

All seemed quite when alarms rang through the headquarters. Lady Moonsilver established a battle net information all Rangers to gear up and assemble in the courtyard. I attended the Captain.

Minutes prior, Master Anaxelum began raving that Corporal Ravenwood was enroute to a warehouse in Middle Town to rescue part of her team from an ambush. He swore that a large criminal enterprise was involved and the Rangers required full mobilization or risk losing the team, and perhaps letting another atrocity occur.

Upon contacting the Corporal, Lady Moonsilver confirmed the report. RFC Ironblood, and Rangers Zulcrum, Afliem, and Kura’Kai were engaged with a large criminal force inside a warehouse and require immediate backup. Arcfire discharge was reported.

Having little intel, the Captain elected to mobilize a large immediate response force hoping to overwhelm any resistance rather than sending in small forces piecemeal to be cut down.

Using Teleport, the Rangers engaged the enemy forces in the warehouse coming into hot contact with dozens of hostiles within. I remained behind to coordinate attempting to make sense of the scattered and confusing information flooding in.

Then, before half the forces made the port, Eris called an immediate recall. Ranger Nazir suspected a bomb. Only a fraction of the forces within made it out…

Reports are still coming in. So many unaccounted. So many possibly dead…

I know it is strange, and small of me. But all I can think right now is that I wish Evoran were here. He would know what to do. He could…make sense of all of this…

But he is not. And I am alone.

Ascended, please let us not have lost them all…


Campaign Report 75
Day of Long Knives

Kura’Kai Afliem Report

[Raining Leaves 21st, 3125-Malcolm]

I would not think anyone could take the fun out of bloody victory. But, these Southlanders have managed. If I could just kill something!

Me and Ramshorn continue out daily march thru Low Town. Nothing changes. Thieves, thugs, and the occasional body. It would not be so bad, but no one will fight. They just scurry away like rats. I do not like rats.

[Raining Leaves 15th, 3125-Malcolm]

One morning, we see smoke over in Middle Town and hear people screaming. Finally, some fun. Ramshorn and I charge in the direction to find a building almost completely burned to the ground. The flames were hot. I know fire is hot, but this fire seemed hotter. Like…it wasn’t fire? And, it only burned the one building.

So, usually, when you raze a village, all you have to do is set fire to a couple thatched roofs. I remember this one raid. We hit the Black Claw Gather a few days march north of us. Thieving bastards!

Anyway, we were supposed to take back livestock they stole from us. Things were going well, we easily slaughtered their sentries and were just inside the Gather finishing off their wounded when Gunbar One-eye, forever to be known as Gunbar dumbass slipped on someones’ intestines and staggered into a lamp.

The lamp flew off the hook and landed on the roof of the stables. Before we could even shout, the whole place went up. Dry stray thatching. Inside, we could hear our animals burning alive. Horrible sounds.

As we watched, the fire sparked from one roof to another. Within moments, the whole gather burned; infant hut, healers hut, even their food stores. Within an hour, there was nothing left. The few survivors blamed us for destroying their gather. We tried to explain it was an accident, but they would not listen. So, we had to kill them.

Came home empty handed. The raid was a complete waste and worse, we didn’t have fresh milk for months. Only good news was we killed Gunbar and left him there too. So, I guess everything worked out in the end.

So, yeh. Fire usually travels, but not this fire. It was, odd. No point in trying to put it out. Place was done when we got there.

Some of the witnesses said that there were bodies inside. Yeh, I think I saw something looking like burned up people hanging from columns in the heart of the fire. Odd place to be.

Anyway, eventually, that Investigator fellow showed up. We stood guard until late. Turns out there WERE bodies. Six. And they were chained up those columns. I wonder if this might have been intentional? Maybe I should mention that? Hmm…

[Raining Leaves 17th, 3125-Malcolm]

All we got was a fire. Zulcrum and Rysak got a fire AND a fight. They stumbled across two gangs trying to kill each other. One was…Shayakar? I think that’s right. Nightguard. The other we didn’t know then. But they had arc-fire. There is a lot of arcfire here in the South.

Anyway, the Rangers didn’t do so well this time. Rysak got shot up good, but they never even bothered to return fire. Guess the new rules are we can’t even fight anymore. Stupid rules.

They did manage to rescue a mother and her children from a fire. Too bad they let another family of four burn. Win some. Lose some.

Oh, and some City watchmen took an arrow to the face. Zulcrum seemed pissed about that one. At least he didn’t burn alive like those people?

[Raining Leaves 20th, 3125-Malcolm]

Week later or so, we have our weekly, sorta, meeting with the Sergeant. She looks…terrible. I think she may be sick.

We learned a bunch about the arcfire weapons. Something about a Mad Bomber and some history.

The Sergeant invites an old human man named, Fateweaver? to the meeting. He seems…odd. At first, I thought he was a beggar, but he talks better than the dead Sergeant. So, smart? And, he seemed both old and agile. Hmm. Dakota said something about him being a bard, like our bard.

So, this Fateweaver starts talking about history and how we fought people in the past that we fight now. He says we are facing two wars, Shaya’Nor and the Prelacy. He suggests that maybe they are fighting each other for Echer’Naught.

Oh, the Prelacy uses arcfire and used this Mad Bombers weapons years ago? I don’t know. None of it makes sense.

Then, they talk about the King of Low Town. Guess what? This old geezer WAS the King of Low Town before he was captured for a long time. He doesn’t LOOK like a king? Though, to be honest, I don’t know what a king looks like. I guess, more Kingly?

But, the King of Low Town rules the Thieves Guild. They don’t kill. So, he doesn’t think they are behind the killing. But, maybe?

Oh, and Red Store. Not sure about that one. They seem to be involved with everything. And Velkalar. Always Velkalar.

I think my band is obsessed with this Velkalar person. Now, I really want to meet him. Imagine if he was an ally…we could actually DO something.

Meeting over, but good food. We go back to work.

[Raining Leaves 21st, 3125-Malcolm]

Well, this began the stupidest battle of my life. No, not battle. Not even a good brawl.

Ramshorn and I were doing our patrol when we attacked by a mob of local people. Rags, clubs, barely a threat. So, I draw my chucktar to end this and Ramshorn says I can’t! By the Ascended!

Why the Bloody Abyss NOT! They were ATTACKING us and I have to be nice?! Stupid rules! Stupid Rangers! No wonder we are getting our arses kicked.

So, I play nice, put away my weapons and start murdering people with my fists. Civilized like.

We call for reinforcements as more idiots show up and the city watch starts to flood in. But instead of putting down the riots, they just form a wall and sort herd everyone into the square near those new housing blocks.

By the time we shuffle that way, there are hundreds of rioters, some with actual weapons. Still, no blades. Non-lethal force only. What kind of…?

And while we were cracking skulls in Low Town, the REST of our Band got to have an ACTUAL battle near the Elven Gate. Turns out some agents or whatever from the Prelacy had stirred up the crowds to distract us while they murdered the elves.

Not that the elves needed help. From what I hear they gave better than they got. I would not underestimate my wife’s people. They look frail…but they are not.

So, we mopped up the crowds. At some point, our bard showed up and started talking the crowd down. It took a few hours and the fire started up. Those actual normal and burned a few blocks of Low Town.

Back at the headquarters, the band managed to capture one of the Prelacy who revealed some good information. But, it seems like the Corporal and the others now don’t trust the Rangers?!


Why in the Abyss are we fighting for the Rangers if they are our enemies.

I am so confused. After the fight, I felt like I was going to murder someone. So, my wife and I had lots of angry sex. That made me feel better.

[Raining Leaves 21st, 3125-Malcolm]

Next morning, another meeting. Sergeant seemed more pissed than ugly. She said she was going to convince the Rangers to let us do something useful. Good luck with that.

Oh, and the elves got tired of dying and killed a bunch of Olarans. I really can’t blame them. That’s what I’d do.

So, um, we killed 50 citizens, give or take, and about the same number of elves were murdered. So, we are at least even.

I guess back to patrol tomorrow?

We could all use a good war.

Kura’Kai Alfiem

Campaign Report 74
Evelyn Afliem is Born

Kura’Kai Afliem Report

[Raining Leaves 12th, 3125-Malcolm]

I am a father.

Malcolm says I must say more…

[Dancing Clouds 33rd, 3125-Malcolm]

Months ago, I went with my Mak Terresk to meet with the Sergeant in the back room of the Barracks, the bar barracks, not the sleeping barracks. Though, I am certain the Sergeant also sleeps in the back room of the bar Barracks, so it would be the sleeping bar Barracks. I think?

Sergeant says we are at war. Odd, I thought we were already at war. Dakota says we are now at two wars. I like these Olarans. Their appetite for bloodshed is almost orcish. The new enemy is the Church of Archanon. Or the Prelacy of Camon. I am not sure which. Two places have been burned, Archanaya and Mindoth’s Tower. I assume they were important. Now they are rubble and ash. How this has anything to do with our city, I know not.

But, we will soon gain more soldiers in Echer’Naught. This is good. Soldiers are good.

[Forest Dance 1st, 3125-Malcolm]

Next morning, we head back to the Barracks, bar-sleeping one for meeting, but the Sergeant is gone. She had other duties. The Corporal, not the winged elf, Ravenwood gave us our tasks.

I joined Ramshorn to patrol low-town. We had the late morning shift.

Volstagg joined the one-eyed mercenary in the dawn shift. They were to patrol the main street.

Ironblood, the crazed dwarf, and Zulcrum, the wild man, teamed up to patrol the Warehouse district on the night shift.

Corporal Silverfeather, the winged elf, and Leaora, the bard, took the night watch as well in the Tower. I’d like to see the top of the tower. Maybe Dakota can help?

Overnight shift went to Corporal Ravenwood and my Mak Terresk on the Wall. Pengrin asked if I was worried about my pregnant wife being out there on the wall. No. I am not. She is strong.

[Forest Dance 1st-16th, 3125-Malcolm]

The first two weeks were exciting. First, I discovered that Low Town is called Low Town because it is lower than High Towne. This makes sense.

We also found a body on our first few days. Well, a young man found us and HE found the body. But he led us to the body which was floating in the Stews.

I have wondered what the horrific stench coming from Low Town was. No I know. We have our own small lake of offal, piss, bile, and rot. I do not know why.

Anyway, the boy explained that the body was too far out to reach, so while we decided what to do, Ramshorn said he needed to make a lasso. When asked, he said a lasso was a rope with the loop. All we needed was rope.

As luck would have it, the boy knew where we could find rope, in our Ranger kits! We had it all along!. Good thing we had the stranger, because without his help we might never have made the lasso.

After a few minutes of struggling, Ramshorn made a loop in the end of his rope and we, Ramshorn, Muriel, and I headed to the body. Sure enough, it was floating in a sea of crap. So, Ramshorn waves the rope over his head a few times then drops it in the muck. I suggested he might want to throw the rope near the body and not at his own feet.

He decided a lasso was not the way to get the body. If I knew he was trying to get the body I would have gotten it to start. While he considered what else to throw in the cesspool, I waded out, grabbed the body, and dragged it to shore. Ramshorn took sudden ill. I hope he is not getting sick.

Now, our orders are to report bodies to proper authority, but there were only the three of us. The boy having disappeared. So, Ramshorn decides to write a note and clip it to Muriel. It worked. Mostly.

Help arrived in about half a glass. Meanwhile, Ramshorn poked the body full of holes with a stick and the mule got soused on booz up and down Low Town. New Investigator seems nice. Lt. Barand I think.

He tells us to go ask if anyone heard or saw anything. After three hours of nothing, we find an old cripple who says he saw a group of men in that area the night before. He noticed them while on his way to see lady friend. I was just happy to hear that he had friends.

We file the report, find Muriel and Ramshorn went back to jail. I headed the Barracks, the bar, to get a drink. Odd, though. Dakota seemed to start getting very sick in the mornings. She said it was normal. Elves…

By next week, we find another body. Well, actually, a young woman finds us who found a body. And yes, it was also in the Stews. Turns out, it was two bodies. Good thing we had two ropes. Strange, Ramshorn says no lassos this time. He wades out to get one body, and I wade out to get the second. He attaches a note to Muriel again and off she goes.

In about 3 quarter turns of the glass here comes the Investigator and his team, tea in hand. He and Ramshorn talk about the bodies. Barand says they were murdered. The last guy was a foreigner, but the man here was local. The girl, maybe half his age, was not.

We go asking around again and again, nothing but no and slammed doors. Until we find our friend, the cripple. He says he saw nothing, but knows that the local gangs are getting much bigger in the area. Then Ramshorn asks if the cripple thinks the gangs work for someone called the King of Low Town. The old man gets really mad and hobbles off saying he’s not our friend anymore. Well, at least he has the lady.

It seems you cannot talk about the King of Low Town in Low Town. I don’t know if you can talk about the King of Low Town in other parts of town? I will ask Dakota. She knows of such things.

[Forest Dance 16th, 3125-Malcolm]

So, after two weeks, and more bodies, we finally have a meeting with the rest of our team. We had not seen them at all. Everyone looked sad, except Volstagg. He looked hungry.

Sergeant explains that we the Rangers do not have enough men to patrol so we have been split up, but we are also in trouble. I don’t know why. There are reasons, but nothing makes sense to me.

Though, it turns out that Ramshorn and I were not the only members of the band to have fun. Volstagg and the one-eyed mercenary said that petty theft was getting worse and that main street was flooded with foreign performers and vendors. I do not know why that is bad…

Ironblood and Zulcrum discovered many warehouses that had been broken into and robbed, but never found the thieves. Ironblood seemed most upset. Zulcrum seemed drunk.

Corporal Silverfeather and Leaora both said that they spotted groups gathering at night from the tower, but when Rangers went to investigate, they found nothing. Maybe people just like to take night walks? Refresh the mind.

Worst, Corporal Ravenwood and my Wife kept spotting shadows darting over the walls, but never could find out who, or why. They feared that enemies were moving in and out of the city. That, and my Mak Terresk said that men on the wall were disrespectful toward her. I wonder why she does not kill them? Rangers are strange. Elves more so.

We also learned that Celebor, the commander, was now a Captain. Everyone said they were sorry to hear it. I was confused.

[Forest Dance 17th-33rd, 3125-Malcolm]

So, we go back to our patrols. More bodies. More robberies. But over the next few weeks, we have hundreds, maybe a thousands soldiers pour into the city. It was fun. Every night there were fights in the streets and bars. Olarans know how to riot!

Because of so many new people, the Rangers order us to move out of the barracks. The sleeping barracks, not the bar-sleeping barracks where we meet the Sergeant. Anyway, Dakota and I had been staying in a hotel, but she said we had a new home. When we arrived, sure enough, we have a house! Dakota and I share most of the downstairs, while Volstagg has rooms above. We also invite the one-eyed mercenary and Ironblood to stay with us because they got kicked out of the barracks. The sleeping barracks, not the bar-sleeping barracks.

Dakota shows me our bedroom suite. I do not know what a suite is, but I liked the furniture. Our bed is HUGE and made of steel! Now I do not need to worry about breaking another bed. We broke four in the hotel. They were very mad even after I explained that my wife and I are very ferocious in our sex. Apparently humans do not know how to properly sex. They also do not like when you give them advice.

So, now we have our own home and bed. It is good. I realized then, that I had not killed in months and yet, I am not angry. Marriage is good. I like marriage.

Over the next two weeks, Dakota gets sicker and bigger. She is so happy she nearly cries. Other Rangers do not understand how our child can grow so quickly. They do not know the power of our love, or the strength of my seed. I am Kura’Kai. She is Mak Terresk.

[Forrest Dance 33rd, 3125-Malcolm]

The city seems to grow almost as fast as Dakota until suddenly one morning, horns sound and a vast army marches out the East Gate, toward some place called Camp Wolfhaven, and everything in the city goes quiet. Things feel…empty.

But, we have a job to do and go back to our patrols. Ramshorn and I find another body in an alley and two more in the Stews, but no one sees or hears anything. I think I offended Ramshorn, though.

When the Investigator arrived at the body in the alley, Ramshorn told him that he was in prison, or on work-release. The Lt. Barand seemed surprised and asked his crime. I thought that Ramshorn forgot. He seemed unable to speak, so I explained that he murdered five men.

Then the Investigator got upset and Ramshorn said that yes, he killed 5 men, but not the man in the alley. I did not understand. Of course he did not kill the man in the alley. I explained as much. Even so, the Inspector asked us to leave. We did not even have the chance to ask around if anyone heard or saw anything. Not that they would have said so.

After that, things were quite, mostly.

[Raining Leaves 3rd, 3125-Malcolm]

A few days after the army leaves, the Sergeant calls a meeting. She explains that she has been absent because she was working on logistics for the army that left. That makes sense. She also explains that our Band has been split up on purpose. The Rangers seem afraid that we will get into trouble or get killed. I am not sure which. She thanks us for working so hard and asks us to be patient.

I did not even know that anything was wrong.

A week later, though, Ironblood reports that an entire elven family were murdered in the Warehouse district right near their patrol route. The only one to survive was a young girl, the mother, father, and brother all beaten to death. Odd, before meeting Dakota, this would not have concerned me, but to think that there are those in my city who might harm my wife and child…

We must find these men and kill them.

We even learned that these attacks were not the first and that many elves are being attacked and killed. Thorgram and I went to a place called the AutumnSpring to speak with elves. It is a bar made of trees where elves drink. We talked with the bartender who said that the elves in the city were planning to arm themselves and fight back against the humans attacking them and that it was our job, the Rangers, to protect them.

We may soon have a war in the city, elf vs men. That would make three wars. No good.

It was also around this time that elf who sings to trees said that my wife should stay in the Sacred Grove. Our child was coming soon! I continued to work, visiting her at night. I am grateful to the elves of the Grove for protecting my wife. They are strong. Many elves seek refuge in the grove as the city is no longer safe.

[Raining Leaves 11th, 3125-Malcolm]

I was home, meditating early when the mind speaker touched my mind. MY WIFE WAS GIVING BIRTH! I ran out of the house and up the street to the Great Wolf’s Manor. I knew that Dakota would want Corporal Ravenwood to be with her.

The guards let me pass. I shouted for the Corporal and she came out wearing a shift and cloak. Only then did I realize I too was in sleep pants. Never mind.

Lady Elyanna had a carriage waiting. How she knew, I do not know. But the carriage took us to the Sacred Grove. There, we found the elf who sings to trees waiting.

I would say more, but my Mak Terresk has said that I may not.

At just before noon, my daughter, Evelyn Alfiem was born. She is beautiful and strong like her mother. She has my ears. I am so filled with pride and love, I fear I will burst.

I am a father! This is the greatest day of my life.

Kura’Kai Alfiem

Campaign Report 73
Two weddings and incarcerations

Kura’Kair Report

Dancing Clouds 30th, 3125

This is my Report.

These Southlanders sure like to rest. One battle and we are on “leave” again, where we get to stay home. Makes no sense.

But, more sex. Who am I do argue?

And speaking of… They said that an Orc and an Elf could not have children. Clearly, they do not realize the strength of my seed, or the power of my Wife! Not only is she with child, but it grows and three times the normal rate?!

Truly, the fruit of our loins surpasses in strength. I eagerly wait the day when I may train our young warrior in the ways of our people. Or, if they follow their mother, raise them to be powerful!

It is good.

[Dancing Clouds 23, 3125-Echer’Naught~Malcom]

Odd, the day after we returned, the weather turned hot…hot and muggy. Dakota was caught out in warm wools and had to disrobe in the grove. Then, it rained. Man but it pissed down. I got soaked, Dakota too. Everyone in town was wet. After an hour, nothing. Cool breeze, puffy clouds.

Odd place this Echer’Naught.

Speaking of the Grove. My Wife spoke with the elf who sings to trees. She told us our seed was strong and special. Of course, it is my child with Dakota. The strongest!

The singer of trees said that our baby may grow even more swiftly than now! My wife was so happy, she nearly wept. My chest near burst with pride. The strength of the Gather truly flow through my loins. Already my Wife grows large.

Before we go, I do ask the elf high Druid what exactly a druid is? Now…I know.

We return to our room. My wife seems overwrought with joy at the speed of our pregnancy. I give her time to rest while I think on what the druid singer said. This changes things.

[Dancing Clouds 25th, 3125-Low Town Patrol~Malcom]

The Half-orc asks me to join him on a patrol, he being in prison, must work. He cannot rest. I envy him. We speak.

He had a Blood Oath with Brother Toma. He swore to protect him. He failed, as did I. He wants the mask. He offers a challenge. I win, I take his life. He wins, he gets the mask.

But, we are Rangers and Rangers do not understand such things. His time to give his oath again to the Rangers comes soon. At that time, he may remove his cloak and I, then, will take his life. Or, he may lack courage and strength and fail in his Blood Oath to Brother Toma.

Either way, when Ramshorn departs the Rangers, I will kill him. I am greatly looking forward to that day. When he is out of prison, I look forward to getting to know him well. He could be a powerful friend.

[Dancing Clouds 26th, 3125-Audric mugged in Low Town~Malcom]

[Dancing Clouds 27th, 3125-Echer’Naught Regional HQ~Malcom]

I hear that the winged elf is a Priest of Light. Makes sense. But, I also hear he wants to find something of Darkness? Has something to do with the mine we destroyed, I think. Guards to prattle like old goblins.

[Dancing Clouds 28th, 3125-Echer’Naught~Malcom]

Other than sleep, and sex, my Wife has spent all her time with the Corporal and Volstagg planning our wedding. I thought we were already wed? So we give our oaths, then we give our oaths in front of others before a Priest, then we party about giving our oaths? But I have to wear a suit and she a dress she only wears once. We also spend as much money as possible, but only so our friends think us important?!

Southlanders. They could make falling complicated. In this, gathers do best. You like. You take. You breed. Simple.

But, if it brings her Joy, I will do whatever I am asked. My Wife tells me that we will be wed with the Corporal and the enemy Tempest she beds. I guess one wedding was not enough for them either? At least the Corporal looks more relaxed. The sex must be good.

I wonder if Ramshorn would like to make it a three way? If the Tempest dog can be released to wed, certainly the Ass can as well? I will ask my Wife. She understand these things.

Though, I am concerned about Volstagg. There are times when he seems the warrior…others…I wonder about his preferences? If the half-orc can bed a mule, who am I to judge.

These Rangers are a very open lot. Oh, did I mention that one-eye tried to get himself killed? Turns out he went into a place called Low Town without a brother and was stabbed repeatedly. Fortunately, he can run away better than he can fight.

That and the dwerg was also thrown in jail. It is truly mad how many Rangers find themselves in prison. Are we not the law? I do not understand.

But, everyone was released from prison to come to our second…or third wedding ritual. The half-orc had to work. But his Ass was free.

[Dancing Clouds 29th, 3125-Ranger Prison~Malcom]

Southland wedding rituals are strange. We met in a prison, first. I suppose since so many of our number are criminals it makes sense. There was another winged elf, this one seemed less a pompous prickle, but I spent little time with him. Perhaps they are all born with stick firmly up their arse?

I stood beside the winged Priest, and Anaxelum was led in chains to the room and released to stand beside me. A warrior knows his own. He may be my enemy, and a dog, but he is strong. I can respect that. Perhaps this is what the Corporal sees?

Our unit and others I have seen in the city are gathered, sitting on benches. Everyone tries to dress better than everyone else. I think it is a competition? I will ask my Wife. Anaxelum won.

Then, everyone stands and the old bard sings. He has a voice, that is true.

They enter. The Corporal looks well. But, I see only Dakota. Beautiful, lithe, save for our child, and radiant. I cannot tell if she glows due to being with child, or her inner power, or her being an elf. It matters none.

Again, I am struck dumb. But, I must remember who she is. And she must learn who she is.

Today, I abandon my gather. Today, I become Defender of Dakota. She will understand.

My Wife glides down the isle, light swirling around her. She comes to my side and takes my hand.

The winged elf speaks.

Anaxelum speaks.

Then I speak.

Among my people, there are no Blood or Nobles. We have the Mak Torkash, the first among equals. He leads. Beside him, second only in war, the Mak Terresk, the High Shaman. It appears that Druids are Shaman. This is what the elf singer of trees said.

If this is the case, then I am wed to the Mak Terresk. As we have wed according to her customs, our three is now a Gather. The Gather of Afliem. If this is true, then she is my Mak Terresk, my High Shaman.

And so, before the witnesses, I broke with my old Gather and pledge myself to her alone. I have no higher goal that her life. I am an Orc. I am Defender of the Gather. Mak Terresk, Dakota Alfiem, is my Gather, my reason for life.

She seemed confused. I forgot, she does not speak Goblinesh. Maybe I can have Malcom translate?

Then, the Priest said something about rings. Volstagg keeps jewelry, I guess its his thing, or he keeps stuff on hand for occasions like this? How many weddings does he attend? I really think he could be…maybe he likes both? Not uncommon in the Gathers, though Olarans tend to be shy about things.

Anyway, I now have a ring. It is supposed to represent love. Strange, but I finally know why my Wife kept talking about jewelry before. I still don’t know where kneeling fits in. Maybe there is another ceremony where we are all on our knees?

The rings were beautiful. Dwarven. I think the Sergeant Major made them. It was a good thing.

The mind lady, first time seeing her in person, that was odd, she stood and touched the Corporal and Anaxelum’s head. Dakota flinched. Said something about Mind powers? Dunno. Magic stuff. But the Corporal got all woosy. Hmm…

I’m glad that was not part of our ritual. Then the old bard and the singer of trees sang. It was beautiful. I may have cried a bit.

Then we walked out. Anaxelum was put in chains and led to his cell. I am sorry for the Corporal. But, she should have known. He is a criminal.

Volstagg arranged a party in the Barracks. The drinking one, not the sleeping one. Though, we don’t sleep in either. We drink in one. So, that one.

Well, actually, in the back room. Which is also the Sergeant’s office. So, we had our party in the back room of the drinking barracks in the Sergeants office.

She wasn’t working at the time. To be clear.

The party was great. I found out later that the Velkalar fellow made some kind of ruckus out front. I was too busy drinking with Volstagg and celebrating with my Mak Terresk. Maybe Southland weddings are not so bad.

The dwerg gave us each beautiful knives. I will treasure them.

For my Mak Terresk, I presented a White Silver Hek-Chucktar. If she is to be a High Shaman, she must learn to use her powers, and her blade. She seemed pleased. Though, I was a bit drunk so I cannot know for sure.

Later, we returned to our room. I slept well.

[Dancing Clouds 30th, 3125-Barracks~Malcom]

The following morning, we returned to the back room of the drinking barracks where the Sergeant was now working. She informed us that this Velkalar person had left a crate on our door which had the pelt of a wolf and cub, a skinned grey cat, a burned book and a burned everwood branch.

Even I know that this is an insult to our fallen comrades. My band seemed angry and rightly so. When we find this Velkalar man, he will be made to suffer for his hand in these deaths. But, for the time, we must be careful.

The Sergeant told us to go only in pairs or more. And, to be ready for defense. I am concerned for my Gather, but my Mak Terresk is strong as am I. We will be fine. The others will likely be killed.

Also, we have a house? I hope it has a good bed. We will need a strong one. We broke two already.

Kura’Kai Afliem

Campaign Report 72
Tempest Again!

Kura’Kai Report

[Report filed, Dancing Clouds 22nd, 3125-Malcom]

This is my Report,

I was going to ask Malcom to date my reports again, but Im beginning to think that little man is scarier than I thought. Word around the Rangers is he made a Colonel, a Major, a Captain go have sex with themselves. I’m not sure how that works, but I don’t want to find out.

[Departed Echer’Naught Dancing Clouds 3rd, 3125-Malcom]

Anyway, we road north again, back the way we had just come a few weeks ago. I’m not sure if the Rangers understand the concept of their own…um…concepts. Right? We were not supposed to be on duty for another week at least. And they send us right back into the same fight we just left?

Me, I don’t really care, though wish they’d make up their minds. Coulda saved a lot of trouble if we had just STAYED put before, rather than ride ALL the way to Echer’Naught only to ride ALL the way back out here. But, I begin to understand that a Ranger is pretty capable and smart. The Corps are run by a one eyed Ogre with a head wound.

The ride takes, what?, three days? Where did the winged elf go? For a Corporal, I don’t see him doing much. Anyway, the working Corporal spots an enemy camp a couple miles out. Least, that’s what she said. I had no reason to doubt. I couldn’t see squat.

[Arrived at the Tempest camp on Dancing Clouds 6th, 3125-Malcom]

The Sergeant orders a halt, has us make a “secure’ camp and the horses are watered and fed. Look. What in the Abyss is a secure camp? We supposed to guard it? Keep people out? These Rangers and their fancy words. Mostly, I just stand around and look mean. That, and spend time with my WIFE.

She looks amazing. I like riding behind her. Her hair whips in the wind and the tips of her ears poke out just enough to see… Sometimes, shell catch me watching and give me that look. Like, what in the Abyss is wrong with you?! Ascended but I love that elf.

The corporal takes one-eye out on a recon of the enemy camp. They come back that night, looking nervous. One word. Tempest.

Oh look, we found the SAME group of Tempest from our last fight. I got excited. Time to settle the score for the former Sergeant. Everyone just looks a little sick. You know, I think these Tempest shites have them a little spooked. They haven’t been this nervous since my WIFE took ill.

I wonder?

So, we sit and watch for four days, give or take. It weren’t all bad. Volstagg can cook. The half-orc seems capable enough. I’m not sure about his Ass though. They seem to be a little close…if you understand.

We had a herder up north, orc, I was just an orkling, but the caregivers said to keep away from him. I didn’t know why till much later. Turns out he too liked them wild, sheep in his case. To be honest, I was a little mad. I mean, I wasn’t a sheep so why’d it matter? They just said it did.

If he weren’t hurtin nobody and enjoys the company, more power too him. The sheep seemed to follow him an awful lot so he must be doing something right. Maybe that’s why the mule wont leave that fellow alone? I guess he’s good in the saddle? If you understand.

[Dancing Clouds 10th, 3125; camp outside of Tempest fort-Malcom]

So, after four days of nothing. The Sergeant figures that Anaxelum already beat us to the camp. Let me explain. So, Anaxelum is an enemy commander, I figure. He and the dead Great Wolf got one well enough so that he, being Anaxelum, was invited to live in the Wolf’s house. But, Anaxelum was still an enemy, so he was kinda in prison, but not really. While there, he learned all about the Rangers and the city.

Also, during their first battle, the Corporal and this Anaxelum tried to kill each other. Seems neither pulled it off, but it sure tickled them were it feels good cause about the time Anaxelum and the Wolf get back from some place called Nor Can Dar, wherever the Abyss that is, she decides to throw away her whole life with the Rangers to get some of him. Then she dies. I think.

Here’s where it gets confusing. So, she goes down. I mean dies, not…whatever. He, Anaxelum, sells her soul to his god to save her life, making her an enemy of the Rangers and now his. But the Rangers keep her on even though she’s now Tempest and bedding the enemy commander.

Alright, the Wolf and the Tempest have a deal that because he’s such a swell guy, the Wolf will just let him go whenever the Tempest attacks again. Then the Wolf dies. Tempest hangs around with the Corporal until we battle Tempest.

So now, Anaxelum has taken his men to return to the Tempest lands with all our secrets. The Rangers don’t care about any deal the Wolf made, they just want the Tempest dead. And the Corporal, near as I can tell, is tired of bedding the man, and plans to go back to killing him?

More or less. To be honest, none of this makes any sense. Why didn’t they just arrest him before? Why would the Wolf give him all these secrets then just send him on his way. And why is the Corporal trying to kill him again if she’s supposed to love him?

Remind me never to piss of Dakota. Elven maidens are touched. Really.

Alright, so, the Sergeant decides we gotta kill the Tempest mage in the enemy camp to keep them from leaving. Which, seems stupid. If they wanted to leave, wouldn’t they have gone days ago? Clearly they have no intention of going anywhere but who am I to miss out on a good fight?

The plan: The Sergeant leads a team with me, the dwerg, the scruffy mercenary, the one-eyed mercenary, the half-orc, and Volstagg in an ambush on a morning patrol coming out of the enemy camp. Meanwhile, the Corporal and my WIFE sneak around the side and set up to snipe the Tempest mage should he pop his head up. The Sheriff of Echer’Naught and his knights would join with the Wolfhaven Free Riders and ambush any enemy reinforcements that might try and break up out little party.

The plan seemed good enough, if pointless. Still, I was finally getting close enough to stab these Tempest dogs and I wasn’t about to say or do anything to ruin a perfect day for slaughter. All day before the battle, the Sergeant and Volstagg have us salting our weapons with pig fat. Says they make it easier to fight Tempest? Not unless we are gonna eat our gear. But, I don’t ask questions. Orders is orders.

We crawled into place by the road that very night and waiting till the morning for our attack. It was pretty peaceful. The hot summer was cooling off and the bugs were out, chirping and buzzing. I dozed as the wind rustled the tall grass. Somewhere in the distance, I could hear the Tempest soldiers talking and laughing. I looked forward to spilling their guts in the mud.

[Attack occurred on the morning of Dancing Clouds 11th, 3125; just north of Tempest fort-Malcom]

Morning came, finally, and we readied ourselves. Sure enough, right on schedule those Tempest cogs came marching out in perfect order, two columns of lightly armored scouts. Sergeant waited until they were almost past our spot before springing ambush.

We hit them HARD. Three went down before they even knew we were among them! For a minute, I wondered why everyone made such a fuss about these Tempest. They seemed to die like anyone else. I was soon to find out.

Yeh, we hit them hard and yeh, they were pretty shaken. But that lasted all of a heartbeat. Before our lines could form and box them in, the Tempest shifted fronts and flanked us, putting their back against their own fort. I heard a lout pop and buzz and then the entire flaming line erupted into lighting. What in the name of the Abyss are these things?!

Our ambush when sideways and our lines got fouled, while they cut, slashed and stepped in perfect unison. I’ll hand it to them, Sergeant tried to shore the left, while Volstagg and the one-eyed merc came up on the right, but with each hit, we got scorched bad. Then, the enemy siege engines opened up and everything went red.

I know we were taking hits. Sergeant was cut down by four of them. The one eyed merc too. The dwerg came up and held his own for a minute. Even the half-orc did his best, berserk rage and all, but he took a ballista bolt through the chest and went down. Things seemed grim when the world went white.

Scruffy merc picked up an enemy weapon and thought’d be a great idea to try and fire it. Thing was, the enemy trapped all their casters. He went up in a ball of lighting taking out the dwerg and half our line. In his defense he managed to take out a couple Tempest. He was fine, I got singed.

He had just enough time to laugh at the Tempest for failing to kill him when a ballista bolt went through his stomach. Sodding moron.

That left me and Volstagg to hold the line. The rest were down and bleeding out. Then the oddest thing happened. We hear a horn, the Tempest throw us back and then…march away.

I woulda chased them, but turns out I was fairly mortally wounded. Volstagg was missing part of his leg. Ballista. Next time, I figure we stay out of range of those?

So, while we were fighting, the Corporal managed to make her shot. I guess. The whole camp was being sucked up by a twister! Those Tempest crazies just ran right into it and vanished. Good riddance.

And then, it was over. Well, almost. Seems those Tempest rats had trapped their casters. They go down, we go boom. I grabbed everyone on my half the field, Thorgram grabbed his and we took off running hell bent for leather. Blast nearly finished us good, but we managed to eat dirt. Then, it was over.

After a bit, the Sheriff and what was left of the Free Riders came over. Volstagg and the Sheriff started drinking and eating while the medics went to work. One of the Sheriff’s knights went and found my wife. She was all shot up, but her stomach wasn’t hit.

Medic said she would live. I told him if she didn’t, neither would he. Im surprised he seemed not surprised at that.

I stayed with my WIFE while the others did their thing. Tents were set up, the wounded bandaged the dead stacked. Eventually, someone went to get the Corporal. Turns out she lived AND she’d killed Anaxelum. Well, almost. Shot him in the throat. I’ll never understand love.

Eventually the scruffy looking merc comes around and heals my wife. Volstagg said his codpiece was magic? I watched him VERY carefully.

[Medical caravan arrives in the afternoon on Dancing Clouds 15th, 3125-Malcom]

So, we stay there a few days. Eventually, the Sergeant wakes up. Ben helps me contact the mind lady and we get some wagons for the dead and dying. It takes a few more days, but we are on our way home. I stay with my WIFE. She’s strong.

[Rangers depart for Echer’Naught on the morning of Dancing Clouds 16th, 3125-Malcom]
[Rangers arrive in Echer’Naught in the afternoon of Dancing Clouds 21st, 3125-Malcom]

We get back to Echer’Naught maybe five days after that? My wife and I go to the Sacred Grove where tree singing elf checks her out and then we go back to our room to rest. I was sore.

While, we enjoyed each other, turns out the others were busy. I think it was the next morning that the Sergeant and Corporal went to the Elf commander about Anaxelum who was fine by the way. Anyway, I don’t fully understand but it turns out that he and the Corporal were married this whole time!? And she STILL tried to kill him?

I’m going to be extra nice to my WIFE. Someone said that elven maidens get even crazier while pregnant…

Maybe I could borrow the codpiece?

Kura’Kai Alfiem


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