Campaign of the Month: June 2018

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

Audren Bartholemew Amaroth Born

Audren Bartholemew Amaroth born to RFC Gracelyn Moldova and Sergeant Audric Amaroth, Sworn of House Wolfhaven in the afternoon of the 29th of Dark Moons, 3126. Per request of Sergeant Amaroth, the boy has been inducted into the Wolfhaven House as retainer.

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Campaign Report 107
Gold and Storms

Steelwing

Per request via the charming Colonel Anderson, I am submitting the following report.

Submitted, via dictation: Dark Moons 31st, 3126

Dark Moons 25th, 3126

I first came upon the Alpha Team of Echer’Naught while tracking a pair of Ravens who, in turn, were tracking the Alpha Team. Based upon their behavior, intellect, and rudeness, I must conclude that they were under control, or served some other masters. Though, they appeared to bear no ill will toward the Rangers.

At any rate, as I tracked the Ravens, I saw smoke. The smoke led me to a battle. About a day’s ride, if one were included to mount such beasts, north of Echer’Naught, a small unit of Rangers battled a group of mercenaries equipped with arcfire and traditional arms and armor. Though not a Ranger myself, with little interesting in joining, I nevertheless felt inclined to lend my not inconsiderable skills to the embattled Rangers.

By the time I arrived, the lead Ogre, the dwarf healer, and the pale human were down, blown to smithereens in an explosion of cataclysmic proportions. One of the three buildings on the field was a smoking ruin. A man, commander I suppose, was standing over the fallen Ogre, the Ranger leader, tapping a warhammer against his head. I didn’t need to hear the words to grasp the situation. If the Rangers refused, their leader was dead. The other ogre, female, ordered the rest to throw down their weapons.

It was pretty much over for the Rangers. So…I decided to get involved. My family aerie always said that curiosity would get me killed one day.

Though, the expression of shock on the man’s face when I dropped out of the sky was priceless. With my entry into battle, the Rangers rallied and battle resumed. The enemy commander went down quickly, though less through my skill and more my unexpected arrival. Better lucky than good?

Behind me, the Rangers exploded into action…well…after a bit of prompting. The ogress led the charge, with the one of the human girl summoning a bear from somewhere! There was a ravening dregordian, a gaunt looking human man, who was an ogre before…that takes a bit of explaining. There was another cute human girl with druid powers. And last an angry dwarf healer. Oh, and the ogre in charge.

We pushed them back. Spells exploded, healers healed. It was glorious battle. The best I have had in MONTHS. And, we didn’t lose a single member of the team. That was a surprise.

Once the field was clear, I finally had the opportunity to meet these Rangers. Their leader was an ogre named Corporal Grendel. Surprising as it seems, he was a Silver Paladin, though unlike any I have seen. Their second was a Dregordian named Corporal Sssahliissstah. Adept I believe, and a berserker. Scary woman. Third in command of the plucky company, Ranger First Class Ranna the ogress crossbow woman. After that, the two beautiful women, McKenzie Shan and Ingrid. One wild, and innocent, the other sweet, and inquisitive. Shan has the thing with animals. The bear is named Volstagg and has an appetite. The stallion is Diego, noble, and powerful. Ingrid is a druid. And then there is the dwarf druidic healer, Arimar Blackstone. and the human skulk, Aronzo.

Though no one died, the Rangers were still pretty shot out. So, instead of running headlong into another exploding building, Corporal Grendel wisely elected to set up a perimeter and call for reinforcements. I sent Aetos, my Guardian Eagle, with a message for the Wolfhaven Manor. I figured by wing, my friend would arrive by early morning. From there, the Great Wolf’s house could easily arrange for reinforcements. Meanwhile, I provided cover for my new friends.

Corporal Sssahllissstah took Aronzo and they headed off to the waystation to meet up with any Ranger reinforcements coming from the main road. Meanwhile, Corporal and Grendel and Arimar examined the bodies while the women kept watch on the ground. Later I heard they found strange magical tattoos and arcfire gear. Though the tattoos varied from man to man, all bore a swirling twister split by azure blue lightning. So, either the mercs worked for Tempest or were mimicking their methods.

About this time, I see the bear Volstagg loping back to the others dragging the body of a dead horse. Insert joke. Turns OUT that the horse belonged to a local farmer. And, apparently killing the King’s livestock is frowned upon. Corporal Grendel decides to cover up the crime by taking the horse away from the hungry bear…with predictable results. Volstagg the Bear to exception to the ogres rudeness and attacked. Battle ensued with Kenzie trying to save her companion. In the end, Grendel was forced to knock out the bear.

Meanwhile, unsupervised and hungry. I gather the Rangers had not stopped to eat in a day at least, Diego the Stallion wandered into the complex of houses looking for food. The Rangers watched in horror as Diego entered the eastern farmhouse. Ingrid and Kenzie ran to lure him out, while Ranna set up camp, ignoring the other’s antics. Ingrid summoned a faerie to scout the house, but to little avail. Worse, the Rangers eventually realized the barn door had closed behind Diego, though they did not know whether it was accidental, or if enemies lay in wait.

Ultimately, they all returned to the camp. This being well into the eve. I landed now, after watching Grendel try and douse Ingrid with snow to wash off some the gore splattered on her during battle. I gallantly offered to provide her a security screen to bath, and provided a wooden bucket I had spotted nearby for heated water.

While Ranna poured water from the holed bucket, I wrapped her in wings. I did my best to provide privacy. Once she finished her shower, we ate.

Corporal Grendel set watches around 11PM. Corporal Grendel and Ingrid took first watch. Arimar Blackstone and I second. Morning watch was taken by Kenzie and RFC Ranna. When not on watch, Kenzie and Ingrid, who was well chilled, found warmth in my plumage. I must admit, I found their company delightful.

In the pre-dawn hours Ranna alerted us to an attack. Those of us in our bedrolls scrambled awake as a massive near 20 foot golem of lightning and thunder struck our camp. Kenzie took the first hit as she desperately tried to wake her bear. The second attack blasted me into a snowdrift. When I managed to shake myself free, crossbow bolts were pinging off the ogres’ armor. I shouted for Grendel to ask whether he wanted me to engage the golem or the crossbowmen. He ordered me into the sky to pick off their crossbows.

He sent me up, so I blasted off and gained altitude as quickly as possible. I could see them, figured moving through the brush to the south. There were a dozen, or more. I drew and fired as fast as I could locate them.

Below me, the Rangers were in a fix. Ranna’s bolts seemed to do little, though Ingrid’s blasted the creature back. She contains incredible power in her small frame, much to my delight. Sadly, even the onslaught of the druid’s power only staggered the Tempest golem. Realizing his situation, Corporal Grendel ordered a retreat as he beat the construct with his massive club.

While I was firing, Kenzie took a hit, maybe from the golems lightning blast which cooked me, I don’t know. But Arimar reached her, healing with a touch. Even so, Volstagg the Bear was still out, and Diego was locked in the bar. I don’t know what I would do if I were forced to Aetos. But, I suppose losing our animal companions is better than watching our friends die? Perhaps not for Kenzie, though.

Before the team can move, the Golem lines up another shot. the night is lit by a beam of blue white electricity arcing straight for Grendel. The ogre manages to throw up his club just in time to divert the beam, but is lanced past him striking Ranna in the chest, melting through her armor. The ogress dropped making retreat impossible. I kept firing on the crossbowmen, keeping them at bay while the Rangers solved their own issues.

Once again, the stump legged healer sloshed through the slush to heal a fallen comrade. Ranna was on her feet in moments, but crossbow bolts continued to rain down. By now, the others are in gear. Ranna and Ingrid are moving south-ish. Arimar trailing behind. Only Kenzie and Grendel held their ground. Kenzie desperately tried to rouse Volstagg while Grendel dueled the golem alone. It was inspiring. The love of a comrade, the fearlessness before annihilation. Poetic.

The Tempest Golem continued to assault as the Rangers scampered across open grounder a hail of fire. With one last desperate swing, Grendel crushed the construct in a blast of lighting, wind, and sound. And, in that moment, Kenzie roused Volstagg…who immediately attacked Grendel. I can hardly blame him really.

Now all the Rangers are moving south. Ranna out in front, with both Ingrid and Arimar behind. Grendel scooped up Kenzie while Volstagg chased the ogre, trying to take a bit out of his ass. All the while, crossbow bolts whistled and hissed around them. Under other circumstances, it would have been humorous. Though…it begs the question, why focus on the Rangers and ignore me…?

Ingrid broke out fastest, and nearly reached the southern ridge line when she was spun by a crossbow bolt. A slammed into her chest, dashing her into the mud. Here again, the energetic dwarf, Arimar, struggled up and laid on hands. Sadly, Ingrid was one too many. He was out of heals. With that, he shrugged, told RFC Ranna to grab the body and he noped out, followed by Ranna, carrying an unconscious Ingride, and Grendel carrying a conscious, and angry Kenzie.

As they disappeared over the ridge, I fired a final shot, wounding or killing my fourth target before I zipped out of range.

A short distance away the Ranges sagged to a stop, heaving out of breath. Corporal Grendel dropped Kenzie who stopped Volstagg, though the Bear was the most winded of the lot. No distant runners in the group.

Everyone caught their breath. I, kept an eye out, but thought to mention that as I was leaving I had spotted a trio of wagons behind one of the remaining houses. Men were loading small, heavy boxes. Obviously, this meant something to the Rangers because they all perked up. Well, not Ingrid. She was an adorable rag doll in Ranna’s over sized hands.

The Rangers briefly entertained the idea of going back, maybe circling around, but to me it seemed like the attack was less to destroy the Rangers, but rather chase them off. Clearly the mercs did not want the greencloaks anywhere near their operation. And, with the team all torn up, they would not last long in another fight.

Dark Moons 26th. 3126

So, Corporal Grendel decided to make for the midway vill between Echer’Naught and the Wolfhaven Barony. You know, someone should really consider a name! So, exhausted and bleeding, the Rangers hard marched throughout the morning and arrived mid-morn. Already the villagers were up and working. Once we arrived, I offered to take a look around. Make sure we weren’t followed.

Unburdened by the ground walkers, I made it back to the battlesite in a bit over an hour. Already Rangers were securing the area. Of the marauders, I saw no sign. I landed a distance away and managed to convince the Rangers that I was a scout for the Alpha Team. The officer in charge seemed unsurprised. Of Corporal Sssahliissstah or Aronzo, I saw no sign. Apparently they were leading the hunt of the wagons. Diego was there, feeding. He seemed nonplussed with the entire production, though I was informed that he had broken a Ranger’s arm kicking his way out of the barn.

With information in hand, I took off back for Alpha Team. To be honest, by the time I arrived back at the Village of no Name, I was tired. Truly exhausted.

A squad of Rangers had set up camp outside the inn, while the officers stayed inside. Ingrid had received attention and she was naked and wrapped in a healers tent. Both the Ogres were also naked and covered by tents in the yard. Kenzie, not naked sadly, was sent to another tent with Arimar, also not naked thankfully, sleeping out side. I reported to Grendel, ate a hearty meal provided by a Corporal Richard “Dick” Wyvern, NCO of the camp, and then shoved myself into a tent for a nap. I fell unconscious for the rest of the day.

I wake late eve, stiff and cold. I stumble out to find the rest of the team awake around a fire. Kenzie looked better, Ingrid was up and looked all the world like an adorable mummy. The ogres were also mummified and dressed. The Rangers provided lodging for the team in the inn that night, because the Officers had moved on. I, however, was not provided for. I am no Ranger. Just as well, I had been through this vill before and met up with some…lovely acquaintances. They were kind enough to offer me a bed, massage, and…well…er….

Dark Moons 27th, 3126

I woke, had “seconds” and a hearty breakfast before going to the meet the Rangers. They seemed in higher spirits, though Kenzie seemed troubled still. More than just Diego. Hmmm…

Before we departed BACK to the farmhouse battlefield, Corporal Grendel submitted a report to Corporal Dick Wyvern and delivered to him the Tempest Hammer recovered from the mercenary leader. Dick summoned a runty dwarf named Kormac who took the report in a messenger pouch, before disappearing down the road in a cloud of dust. I dare say that little bearded blodger could beat my airspeed! There is a first for everything.

After that, we headed back north, then west. Later that afternoon we arrived in the Ranger camp. When we arrived, Kenzie went to see Diego. Ranna, I believe stood around and kept watch, while Grendel and the others went to investigate the warehouses. I noted, with mirth, that a local farmer was vociferously objecting to his prize draft horse being eaten by a Ranger bear. Poor Kenzie.

While they went about “official” business, I went to speak with a pair of lovey Rangers guarding one of their heavy wagons. I honestly cannot remember their names, but they were sisters, serving in the same unit. We hit it off.

After a while, I wandered over to the Rangers as they were discussing the strange Tempest/alchemical contraption the mercenaries were using to plate the lead with gold leaf. Honestly, I understood little. But, it seemed the enemy used Tempest energy to apply lightning to an alchemical vat of gold and somehow used the combination to alter the lead into gold? I will leave such investigations to those better suited.

What I DID understand was when the Ranger in charge showed us the cellar where the mercs had stored alchemical blast potion by the barrel! At that, I was out. I have this thing about flame and fire. Bad memories.

Outside in the chill, I met up with my “friends” who were just getting off duty. They invited me back to their camp for dinner and desert. Alpha team set up camp nearby, and split up. I noted Kenzie wandering around, hovering near campfires. I have begun to understand that she has issues with people, so I invited her to our camp. She joined us for a few hours. She seemed to have a pleasant eve. Eventually, the sisters invited me to join them “privately.” Kenzie declined to participate, sadly, so the women offered her a cot in a spare tent nearby.

I was in the very…uh…height…of entertaining the women when our world erupted. Some idiotic dwarves got drunk and detonated most of the mercenary’s explosives in an empty field. The women found the vibrations exhilarating. I was less enthused.

Dark Moons, 28th, 3126

In the morning, after bidding farewell to my hosts, I rejoined the Alpha Team. Everyone seemed better rested, and some of the stiffness was wearing off, even if it was still bitterly cold. Corporal Grendel ordered, after receiving a FULL report from the Officer in charge, ordered the team to march north to the Wolfhaven Barony.

We arrived that evening at the roadside gate. They seemed to be expecting us, at least to a degree. I have been OVER the barony, but never been treated as a guest. We were met at the fortified keep’s main gate by a large man in heavy, storm legion armor. I was, for a moment, concerned, but then I noted his livery, House Wolfhaven. He, Sir Regillus greeted us formally and invited the team in.

Once inside, Kenzie requested that her friends be cared for, and then returned to Echer’Naught at the first opportunity. Sir Regillus agreed. We were then given rooms, and offered a meal in an hour. Most everyone immediately headed off to bathe… I was curious, and Kenzie was kind enough to take me into her room, and instruct me in the proper use of a bathtub.

She is beautiful, and wild. I had hoped that she might be warming to me, but was content to let her help me clean my wings. I appreciate her, that is enough.

After our bath, we rejoined the others and had a bounteous banquet in the main hall. After eating, the Rangers discussed the Tempest mercs with Sir Regillus who, I discovered, was a former commander in the Storm Legion?! It was HE who led the Explorator Legion that nearly conquered all of Shaintar. And, it was he and his forces that Turned and destroyed dozens of aeries. Apparently he fell for a Ranger woman, and betrayed his Legion. Now he fights for us.

That I can believe. There is not much I would not do for a beautiful woman.

In summation, he confirmed what I thought. Either the mercs worked for Tempest, or imitated them to use the fear the Legion creates. All bore the Legion Tattoo, so they are organized. Someone is selling Tempest power in ink. He also warned us of other warriors, from strange “gardens” that can slay even Tempest Legions. Whether these mercs serve the enemy, or use their name, they needed to be stopped. Eventually, Sir Regillus retired.

I offered the share my bed with Kenzie and Ingrid and to my delight, they both agreed. Spending that night, in those soft sheets, with both warm bodies pressed against mine, under the blanket of my wings…I have rarely slept better. Sadly, all we managed was sleep, but I was hopeful.

Dark Moons 29th, 3126

In the morning, I rejoined the others, refreshed and contemplative. Despite my best efforts, I fear these two charming Rangers are ensnaring me in their web. I feel much as Sir Regillus. Ingrid is young, caring, and powerful. Kenzie, wild, innocent, and fierce. Ingrid smells of flowers, and Kenzie of the wild. They are intoxicating.

We broke our fast and learned that the gold wagons, for in fact that is what the mercs were trying to move when the Rangers were ambushed, had been retaken on the 28th by Corporal Sssahliissstah and Aronzo’s Team. They were headed back to Echer’Naught. If nothing intervened, they would arrive in about three days.

After resupply, we headed south again, and arrived late at the Unnamed way station. I noted as I was flying over, activity as was flying over. There appeared to be a manor house being renovated and expanded on the south west side of this little vill. Already a camp was being established, neat rows of tents, but the standard was one I did not recognize. Curious. I did see a painted banner, Dovecote Finishing Academy for Women, Established 3126. Curious.

We slept in the same inn. I fear the innkeep doesn’t particularly like us. I don’t know why. This time, I paid my own room, and once again enjoyed the company of Kenzie and Ingrid. I am smitten.

Dark Moons 30th, 3126

In the morning, we met Corporal Dick Wyvern again. He reported that the hammer and reports were in Echer’Naught. After breaking our fast, we too headed south to the big city. We arrived late that eve, entering through the North Barony Gate. I was pleased to see the guards stand at attention for my friends.

Just inside I found a curious statute of a large, kilt wearing orc facing inward toward the city. He clearly wore a Ranger Cloak. It turns out he was a former member of this Team! My word, they are populous. Afterwards, I accompanied them to their Regional Headquarters. It is a large manner house atop the high hill, at the foot of the towering beacon tower. Obviously these Rangers live well.

Once inside, we entered a Colonel Anderson’s office. He seemed to be in charge. I found him to be a congenial person, not the attitude I was expecting from such a military man. He asked me to wait outside, which I did. I met a LOVELY Sergeant, only to note her last name as Regilus. As my luck would have it, she was married to that stern fellow guarding the Great Wolf’s estate. Apparently I would need to be more circumspect here in Ranger central. I would not wish to become embroiled in any sordid affairs.

After a while, the door opened, and the generous Colonel Anderson thanked me for my assistance before inviting me to remain for a few days, until the wagons returned. Then, we would have a large meeting and full debriefing. I agreed, and he was kind enough to ensure I would be compensated and my room and lodging would be assured.

Afterwards, Kenzie took off before I could offer that she stay with me in my room. I’m sure whatever Inn I am assigned would be better than communal living. At first I feared she was angry, but then Ingrid asked me to take her flying. I fear begin to fear that Kenzie and Ingrid are somewhat…reticent…to enjoy a night with all three of us. I hope to someday ease their minds. But, I was happy to oblige and took Ingrid up on the battlements on the east side of the city, where they are highest.

There, I covered her while she disrobed. I dropped all but my flying leathers. Then, I fashioned the ground walker harness, and strapped her to my body. I’m sure the young Ranger assigned to guide her was quite excited by all of this.

With her pressed into my back, I leaped from the tower and let the wind lift us high into the air. The night was cold, and I could feel her shivering. We flew, free as birds, for about half an hour, before I returned us to the ground. By now, she was cold as ice, so I offered to warm her. This time, she accepted without hesitation. I will say only that she was more than worth the wait. Such power, such life. I fear I am bespelled.

Dark Moons 31st, 3126

We woke in my room. I never saw Kenzie that night. Once Ingrid is care for, I must go find Kenzie and make sure she is alright. I am concerned for her. She seems sad, and overworried about her animals friends. With fortune, she will join Ingrid and I tonight. The company would do her good.

Steelwing

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New Team
Grendel's report

Grendel in charge now, me not know why but the Rangers see me as a good choice for Mak’ Tork…… I mean Corporal. Still me not see why I chosen but I decide to do my best to lead new team. The new team full of interesting people. Second in command is a dregordian, which me never have the pleasure of meeting before, named Corporal Lisa. I regretted not knowing her full name but it will come in time. Also it nice to know another green skin.

We also have male dwarf on team, Ranger Blackstone, I always hear of hardiness and strength of dwarves and excited to see it first hand. From what me understand he a shaman of sorts.

Speaking of shaman a female human has joined too. Her name is Ingrid, I believe her to be powerful Make Teresk, as well as Blackstone. Me happy to have spiritual leaders on team.

There also a very small human, with unusual companion’s. I believe one to be a horse and the other a bear. She seems weary of her kind but so was Grendel when me first came. I hope she comes to trust new team members, as well as myself.

Last new member is a human with strange features. He have pale skin and dark sunken eyes, seems very sick. He however very skilled in communicating and sneaking by enemies. I have feeling he may have more to say then he does, but ones past is their own.

Overall I am excited to see where new team goes, and me hope I can lead them so that all become strong gather. Mostly I hope to gain their trust and let them know I would do anything to see them rise in the Rangers and that their hopes and dreams can come to fruition, may Celestia guide me in doing so.

P.s.

I do have to say that me very glad to have Rana here too. She much stronger than I ever be and it nice to know she here. I don’t think I could do this without her and the others rooting for me.

That all
-Grendel

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Volstagg Letter to Wolfhaven
Private
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Campaign Report 106
Fool's Gold

Malcolm Report

Report Filed: Dark Moons 25th, 3126

Dark Moons 14th, 3126

Early on the 14th of Dark Moons the newly reformed Alpha Team awoke in a roadside in a bit over half a days ride north of Echer’Naught along the North Barony Road. Based upon the complaints received by the local inkeep, I perceived there was some difficulty with the Trainee McKenzie Shan’s animal friends, the bear Volstagg, and and stallion, Diego. I question allowing untrained animals accompany teams in the field if these are to be the results, but such decisions are made well above my station.

Newly raised Corporal Grendel elected to begin the investigation at the most extreme, and most “friendly” Barony, that belonging to Colonel Wolfahven. Alpha Team rode through and arrived late in the evening on the same, Dark Moons 14th.

Baroness Wolfhaven’s bonded Farspeaker alerted Regional Command that Alpha had arrived safely. The Baroness provided all documented proof of paid taxes and assisted the team in their investigations. Her adepts reported that the Rangers inspected their vaults, the tax strongboxes, and the tax records. They would be departing in the morning and working their way south through the list of Baronies.

Per their report, we know that the taxes were collected by the barony and loaded into the king’s strongboxes before being secured within the barony vault. From there, a heavily armed caravan of the King’s men, under command of Royal Sheriff Halten, but under the flag of the King, arrived to transport the taxes to Echer’Naught. The barons claim payment of the King’s taxes, but the Royal Sheriff’s accountants have the Barons to be in arrears. No one dares accuse the King or the Sheriff, but the Barons refuse to pay more.

Rangers of Easport reported that Captain Volstagg’s unit arrived late on the 14th of Dark Moons, and boarded the Sea Ranger.

Dark Moons 15th, 3126

The Sea Ranger, with Capgain Volstagg departed Eastport, heading to Granite Port.

Leaving early, Alpha Team headed south to a neighboring Barony, the Boer House. Related to the Boers of Reinhart, though vassals of Harken. Alpha Team pass the the southern border of Wolfhaven lands at the site of Rildrirr’s Totem Pole. Though I have never witnessed it myself, it has been reported that it contains a stylized wolf’s head, wild cat, soaring eagle, owl, mountain, dog, doe, hearthfire, gnarled oak, and raging bear all stylized in the fashion of the Northern Barbarian Tribes.

They successfully reached Lord Boer’s Keep, but were not met with kindness. Still, the Olarans submitted to Ranger authority and provided Alpha Team their tax records, if just. From what I have learned, Boer records, like Wolfhaven’s, appear to be in order. Though, the Boer House refused to permit the Rangers to take their logs without a direct order from the King. They provided an “escort” to the lands south.

When Alpha Team arrived, they found an armed escort waiting. The southern Barons refused to allow the Rangers entry into their lands. Rather, at each new holdfast, the Rangers were met with armed men, and records. The Barons met their obligations, but showed no courtesy or kindness. Still, in their ill manners, they actually expedited the Ranger investigation, saving a trip to each individual hold. Still, it took two days to investigate the northernmost baronies.

Dark Moons 17th 3126

On the 17th, the Alpha Team arrived at the midway point between the Wolfahven Barony and the city. Over the last few years, the community has grown into a thriving trading post and waystation. Here, Alpha Team stopped two days to investigate. They had received intelligence suggesting that the King’s men had stopped in the vill during their tax collection on their way south to Echer’Naught.

Nothing is found of interest to the mission, though I continue to read troubling reports that the team has been stalked by a pair of large Ravens since departing for the mission. The Rangers of Alpha Team fear the Ravens serve dark forces, though I have been unable to determine the truth. Ravens are oft used as messengers by various factions with the Southern Kingdoms and beyond, so these messengers might belong to anyone. Troubling news.

Agents in Granite Port send word, via Farspeaker, that Captain Volstagg’s team were met in the harbor by A’kavir’s long ship. They left immediately, heading inland for Almahrad.

Dark Moons 19th, 3126

Alpha Team departs the waystation on their return to Echer’Naught. Along the way, the investigate the southern half of the list of Northern Baronies in arrears. Like the others, the Rangers are met with stoic hostility, but if the Barony papers are accurate, none are guilty of tax evasion.

Dark Moons 20th, 3126

Late in the eve, the Emissary reports that Captain Volstagg and his team arrived safely in Almahrad. There, they were met by the Prince’s guards and escorted to the newly established Ranger Outpost.

Dark Moons 21st, 3126

Alpha Team arrived in Echer’Naught late in the evening. Corporal Grendel reported to Colonel Anderson regarding the mission and the lack of any usable leads. The Colonel noted that many of the King’s Men patronized the Barracks in town. This information in hand, Alpha Team headed into the city to meet with, and hopefully question, the King’s own tax collectors. While in town, I have been informed that Aronzo has received a cloak of serious power. The records surrounding the cloak, and its history, are sealed.

By night, Alpha Team entered The Barracks in small groups. Sssahliissstah protected young Ingrid with Grendel and Ranna at the bar. Aronzo, Blackstone and McKenzie approached a table of the King’s men. Again, while ostensibly under command of the highest officer in the city, Sir Halten, Royal Sheriff and Warden of Echer’Naught, these men wore the colors of House Olar, and the royal crest.

Through drink and carousing, Aronzo and McKenzie realized the officer of the King’s Guard, and royal Exchequer, was guilty of some crime, though they knew not what. Ingrid joined McKenzie to keep the Kingsguard busy, while Aronzo “invited” the Office to speak privately with Corporal Grendel to the rear of the tavern. There, under the withering gaze of the ogre, the Office Wulfur of the Royal Exchequer, admitted that “they”, though he knew not who, had taken his wife and demanded that he grant them access to the tax wagon while it stopped at the midway trading post. That was all he knew, but he agreed to submit to the King’s justice.

While Grendel gathered the team from the tavern, much to the dismay of the King’s men, Sssahlisstah and Aronzo escorted Office Wulfur to Sir Halten’s estate where he was immediately taken into custody. Meanwhile, Corporal Grendel ordered Alpha Team to gear up and prepare to move. By the 11 PM on the 21st, Alpha Team was hard charging north, with Aronzo, Blackstone, and an inebriated McKenzie and Ingrid riding hard, with Corporals Grendel and Sssahliissstah, and RFC Ranna lagging behind. The entire command staff.

At mid-day, before Prince and Princess Velthana, and all the blooded Houses, Captain Volstagg recieved official appointment to command of the Diplomatic Ranger Outpost of Almahrad. With this appointment, the Ranger Corps opens official diplomatic relations with the City of Dreams, though the Prince has declined to sign the Expanded Ranger Charter.

Dark Moons 22nd, 3126

At around mid-day on the lead element, under ostensible command of Aronzo, arrived in the mid-point trading village and began their search. Aronzo using his cloak. Breaking into pairs, with Aronzo and Blackstone each taking one of the drunk woman, they made a quick survey of the community and both arrived at a seemingly abandoned barn on the extreme north-east side of town. They attempted to scout the location and wait for backup, but they were quickly spotted. The quartet come under fire from inside, so Aronzo ordered the attack.

With the four Ranagers, and the bear Volstagg, they made quick work of the two men inside. They also found a wagon of straw, that covered a false bottom. In the secret compartment were cases of gold, melted into ingots. Blackstone and Ingrid secured the goods while Aronzo and McKenzie headed into town meet up with the rest. Corporal Grendel’s team arrive around 1PM to find the gold recovered, and the enemy easily dispatched…by four new Rangers, two being well pissed during the entire encounter. The team was exhausted, so Corporal Grendel ordered rest. They camped in the barn until early the next morning.

Dark Moons 23rd, 3126

At dawn, the Rangers switched up the oxen, leaving the Ranger wagon at the inn, escorted the stolen gold back to Echer’Naught. They arrived late, but immediately turned gold and wagon over to Sir Halten, who seemed surprised at such a swift resolution. Still, the gold was counted, weighed and secured in a vault to be collected by the King. Alpha Team elected to celebrate, save for Corporal Grendel and Corporal Sssahliissstah who report to Colonel Anderson. Grendel suspects there is something wrong with the mission, and asked for permission to continue the investigation. Colonel Anderson ascents, and pulls strings to pressure Sir Halten into granting Corporal Grendel access to the gold.

Dark Moons 24th, 3126

With orders in hand, Alpha Team returns to a very unhappy Sir Halten. Under protest, he grants Corporal Grendel access to the vault. There, Grendel discovers the gold is really gilded lead when he scars an ingot with his club. Furious, Sir Halten gives the team 48 hours to recover his gold or he would hold Corporal Grendel personally responsible for the failure to recover the taxes.

Alpha Team again, saddles up and rides north. This time, to investigate the last place the gold was seen, the abandoned barn.

Dark Moons 25th, 3126

Back, AGAIN, the Rangers arrive mid day and begin their search. Sssahlisstah discovers deep wagon ruts under the snow leading north and east from the barn. Following the tracks the Rangers arrive at a seemingly abandoned farmhouse just before nightfall. Ingrid summons a faerie to scout, but she loses contact once the creature disappears into the complex of three large farmhouses. Next, Corporal Grendel and Aronzo, now an Ogre, approach the front house while the Rangers fan out into a skirmish line.

All seems quiet until Grendel bashes down the door and is met by fire from within. Above them, a hatch drops and a hidden ballista opens fire, rocking Ranna with poisoned bolts. Battle ensues as Grendel attempts to force his way inside, and the skirmish line engages the ballista. All seems well, with Blackstone rushing in to heal Grendel’s wounds, and the team taking out the ballista, when the enemies within the farmhouse exit the rear just as the whole structure explodes.

Corporal Grendel, Aronzo, and Blackstone are immediately taken out. Through the roil of smoke and flames, more enemies pour from the other two houses, with two more ballista appearing. The Rangers come under heavy fire. Corporal Sssahliissstah closes with the enemy, but she too takes hits and goes down. Ranna assumes command, with Ingrid summoning more faeries to heal the fallen Blackstone. Sadly, the Rangers are too late. The enemy commander appears, standing over Grendel’s body. He orders the Rangers to surrender or Grendel would die.

Ranna orders the surrender and the remaining Rangers drop their weapons and are rounded up. It is then that the commander orders Aronzo, Sssahliissstah, and Blackstone slain, Grendel and Ranna sold into slaver, and permits his men to “have” “the women.” When the situation turned darkest, arrows rained from above and an Aevakar entered the fray, engaging the enemy commander directly.

With the distraction provided, the Rangers attacked, Ingrid finally healing Blackstone and Grendel. Blackstone healed Aronzo and made for Sssahliissstah. The rest of the Rangers fought. Their new friend killed the commander and then help engage the remaining foes. The tide turned. Blackstone healed Corporal Sssahliisstah bringing the team back to full status. Along with the newcomer, the Rangers quickly overpowered the enemy troops, killing all but two who Aronzo managed to incapacitate.

The battle was won, but they still had two buildings to clear. Corporal Grendel wisely called for support, which the newcomer, Steelwing as he is called, sent his own eagle to deliver the message to the nearest Ranger HQ. Taking just a moment to lick their wounds, Alpha team surrounded the remaining buildings and waited for reinforcements. Though they have yet to find it, they presume the gold lies within. And if now, those who stole it.

Malcolm

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Campaign Report 105
New Day

Malcolm Report

Report Filed: Dark Moons 13th, 3126

The following represents compiled information gained through Alpha Team debriefs and official Ranger command reports.

Dark moons 6th, 3126

Urgent requests arrive from Almahrad for Lieutenant Volstagg to travel to the City of Dreams at his earliest available time. With winter still locking most roads in ice and snow. Lieutenant Volstagg elects to leave his wife and newborn children in the city while he rides ahead to begin establishing the outpost. She is to rejoin him after the snows thaw in spring. Prior to his departure, Colonel Anderson, head of the Regional HQ’s Diplomatic Office and acting Regional Commander, presents the following Promotion:

Lieutenant Gunther Volstagg is Promoted to Captain.

Persuant to the mission, within the same orders:
Corporal Nexus Zathlan, of House Volstagg was promoted to Sergeant.

In addition, the newly minted Captain accepts his official Diplomatic posting. By that evening, he and a small retinue depart for Almahrad.

Dark Moons 7th, 3126

Reports indicate that the morning after her husband’s departure, Lady Zathlan met with Baroness Wolfhaven to break their fast. Presumably, she sought the Great Lady’s advice, and counsel on her family and other matters. The bond between the Wolfhaven and Vosltagg houses continue to strengthen. After her morning meal, Lady Zathlan took her carriage to the Sacred Grove. Again, it must be assumed that she here saught High Druidess Treesinger’s advice and examination of her twin children. What was said is private, but I am led to understand that the children are in the best of health.

Dark Moons 8th, 3126

The day after Lady Zathlan attended the Baroness, Corporal Daynore also met with the Great Lady. He petitioned to take the oath and become Sworn of House Wolfhaven. Baroness Wolfhaven accepted his offer without issue. Leaving there, Corporal Daynore headed to the Regional Headquarters where he officially resigned from the Rangers, with full petition for time served, and turned over his Focus Crystal. He also accepted to have his powers Bound so that he might continue working with the Rangers as a contractor, particularly, Sergeant Major Stormhammer’s team.

Daynore’s Focus Crystal was turned over the Wolfhaven Barony to be included in the euphemistically named, Vault, along with all the other past items of power from Alpha Team’s former members. Though, I am certain the crystal will be the subject of some study considering Daynore’s condition. It is highly likely that whatever happened to Daynore also affected the Crystal. By understanding the one, we may eventually understand the other.

Dark Moons 9th, 3126

The following morning, after quite reflection, Master Durlan Daynore, before the members of Alpha Team, and the Baroness Wolfhaven, accepts the Oath of Sworn to House Wolfhaven. The Baroness presents him with his White Silver Parrying Dirk, crested in House Emblem.

That same evening, the surviors of the last mission gathered in the back room of the Wayfarer’s Rest to host Serys’ Last Call. Of all such events I have attended, his was the smallest, and quietest. I am more acquainted with speeches, singing, and sharing of tales. Instead, everyone stood around quietly and drank, some to excess. Few words were shared. Though, I suppose that is much like the man himself was, quiet. I imagine even that was more than he expected. His only request, the return of his Family’s necklace to his mother in Tar’Imas. That duty has been given to Nexus, his apparent half-sister. I left before the festivities were concluded, though I do know that RFC Grendel found himself in a nice brawl, suffering fairly grievous injuries.

Dark Moons 10th, 3126

In the early morning, the day after Serys’ Last Call, a curious event occurred. From what I have gleaned, Lady Zathlan was awakened by her staff. A package had been delivered. The package, as it turned out, was in the form of a one year old boy, Gunther Volstagg, the illegitimate offspring of Captain Volstagg and a local woman some year and half past. Her name, we have determined, was Angelica. She and her sister “entertained” Sir Volstagg on the night of his first arrival in the city. Angelica grew pregnant with his child. Unfortunately, her sister died recently due to illness, leaving the poor women in dire straights. Though I cannot speak for her, I assume she wanted to provide for her child and chose to give him up to his noble father. Her whereabouts are unknown, though based on everything I have read, I assume she too is, or was sick. It is likely she is dying, or has already expired.

On the same day, new arrivals entered the city and were evaluated as potential Rangers. Of the new crop, a few stood out as eligible for posting on Alpha Team. First to arrive was Ingrid, an Olaran Druid from nearby. Second, Arimar Blackstone, a dwarven Druid healer from Stahlheim. His posting to the team was ensured by the weighty diplomatic pressure of the embassy. The last new member to arrive the day was a transfer from a Wildlands team, Corporal Sssahliissstah, a dregordian Adept, warrior, and healer. With her training and experience, she was chosen to assume the second command position within the team after RFC Grendel who was slated for Promotion.

Dark Moons 12th, 3126

At around 11 AM, all former and current members of Echer’Naught’s Alpha Team were invited to a private ceremony at the Regional Headquarters. In addition to formally introducing new members of the team, Colonel Anderson wanted an opportunity to recognize the superlative actions of Alpha Team and personally oversee promotions. Included in the room were Captain Hawksclaw, Sergeant Major Longtail (recently promoted), Sergeant Ravenwood, and her husband Sir Regillus of House Wolfhaven. Also in attendance were the current survivors of the team, along with the recently retired Master Daynore. Sadly, Colonel Wolfhaven himself could not attend as he is at the Northern Front.

  • RFC Grendel was Promoted to Corporal
  • Corporal Nexus Zathaln was Promoted to Sergeant and given official diplomatic posting
  • RFC Ranna was given personal Commendation for her valor.

After the ceremony, Colonel Anderson hosted a small reception and mingle. None of Alpha Team, of any generation, seemed particularly enthused. Though, must ado was made over the Nexus’ surprising reproductive ability as she seemed to accumulate children at a staggering rate. RFC Moldova lamented that her child had yet to be born.

Later that evening, far after hours, Ranger Aronzo arrived. Colonel Anderson spoke with him briefly, privately. Afterwards, I was instructed to draw up paperwork to assign him to Alpha Team.

Captain Volstagg’s retinue arrives in Eldara mid day. They depart via ship down the Shaintar River that same eve.

Dark Moons 13th, 3126

The following morning, the NEW Alpha Team was gathered in Colonel Anderson’s office for the official signing ceremony. Corporal Sssahliissstah, Ranger Ingrid, Ranger Armiar, and Ranger Aronzo all join Alpha Team effective the 13th of Dark Moons, 3126, having all previously completed their basic training. The new command structure was established. Newly minted Corporal Grendel commands Alpha Team, Corporal Sssahliissstah in second. RFC Ranna serves as third in command. After the signing, Colonel Anderson assigned the team their first mission.

The Royal Sheriff of Echer’Naught, Sir Halten, has reported an issue with the tax collection in the Northern Baronies. Apparently, the gold arriving in the city is less than reported by the Barons, and yet, no investigation has been able to determine how, or when, said gold has been taken. Once assigned, and Corporal Grendel, and RFC Ranna accept the mission, Alpha Team is dimissed.

As they depart, a new Ranger Trainee, McKenzie Shan enters. With a recommendation for Alpha Team, Colonel Anderson asks Corporal Grendel to return, and accept the newest member of the team. Having not completed her training Ranger Trainee McKenzie Shan joins Alpha Team in the light green cloak of a Trainee.

Outside, I noted the team stopping to discuss plans, and were met by Colonel Wolfhaven’s son, Sergeant Alfred Wolfhaven and Eve. Afterwards, the Sergeant had private words with Colonel Anderson. I also learned that Trokash visited the Rangers, buying them lunch, he “sold” back to Grendel his everwood club, and Ranna’s greater crossbow. Both ogres declined the golden plate. It would seem that the infamous trader managed to loot the battlefield where the team had been captured and was turning a profit selling personal items back to the Rangers. Despicable.

While Trokash did not approach the Rangers, I know that he personally delivered Thorgram’s shield to Baroness Wolfhaven. He also returned Volstagg’s armor, sword, and Lady Zathlan’s hammer. I am unsure his “angle” but I dislike the Rangers having any business dealings with the orc. He is oily.

During this time, I also had the unfortunate duty to route the last will and testaments of RFC Danica, and the former Ranger Zulcrum to the proper authorities, as well as, have Sergeant Amaroth’s Will delivered to RFC Moldova. Danica left Muriel and King to Grek and Lieutenant Celebor. When contact, Celebor declined to travel all the way to Almahrad to fetch them, preferring to send Tina, Tiny, and Max…the goats. Ascended preserve us all. Thomas left his armor, which was also added to the Vault.

What Sergeant Amaroth said privately to Moldova, I do not know. But I do know that by sundown on the 13th, paperwork had been finalized inducting Moldova a citizen of House Wolfhaven, and her child, Sworn, pending their coming of age ceremony. Of Audric, we have no word. Not even Trokash seems to know. Serys’ body was too badly burned to be salvageable, his equipment reduce to slag and ash. Of Audric, nothing. He may yet live, which may, or may not, be a terrible thing.

While I busied myself with such sad duties, Corporal Grendel dispatched Corporal Ssahliissstah to requisition supplies for the team from Sergeant Major Stormhammer, while he took the rest of the team to the City HQ’s stables to requisition wagons and mounts for the team. There, they met Sergeant Tina receiving orders to fetch Muriel and King. Again, she is a GOAT. While at the stables, they also recovered Ranger Shan’s bear, Volstagg…yet another Volstagg, and her mount, Diego.

After which, Alpha Team departed the city via the North Barony gate and headed north. I received word that they had stopped at a Roadside Inn about half a day’s ride north of the city. There, they set up camp while beginning their investigation into the mission taxes.

Malcolm

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Silver Snow
Grendel's Report

Grendel grow tired of doing nothing, and me think so does the team. Nexus grows bigger everyday and I think Volstagg grows even more worried. I can’t blame him from what has happened. Even Grendel is concerned for what will happen to his gather. The days grow colder and the snow gets deeper, we are not going anywhere soon.

All this time on Grendel’ s hands is scary, now that we aren’t being chased by the smell of blood and sulfur. We were saved by people who use to be slaves apparently and they seem nice enough. But Grendel never not be in danger and it is weird, so he do something me never do before…. pray.

I still not sure of the silver light but I try to understand. I break away from the camp and stare at snow “praying” that someone answer. Then snow turn silver.

I look at new strange color snow and look up to see lone tree, it silver too. And standing next to it is a troglodyte, hobgoblin, and troll. Me get ready to fight but they not looking at me, they looking at tree. That when the tree glow and big flash blinds Grendel for a moment. When me can see again there standing is a goblin, orc, and ogre. Me think I understand that this silver light may be linked to the gathers and maybe it save us from what we truly are. Grendel scared at this thought, but it make me think something, maybe this be how me save my old gather. And maybe me can save Wendel, but it may also be how me protect new gather. That all.

Grendel

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Campaign Report 104
Here There Be Dragons

Malcolm Report

Report Filed: Dark Moons 3rd, 3126

The following represents compiled information gained through Alpha Team debrief, asset reports, and independent intel gathering sources.

White River 30th, 3126

Some time in the early morning, Alpha Team, with Braun Olar, having recently escaped the Unchained camp, were hunted down and attacked by a pack of Hellhounds led by a Ravening Beast. According to Sergeant Audric Amaroth during the fighting, the Ravening Beast was the very same he slew in the Blood Pits. Based on our own Flame Slayers, Ravening Beasts, once summoned, always return. Further analysis suggests that this particular creature might be bound in some way to Audric through Thaumaturgical blood magic. It would have most likely hunted him exclusively until eventually bringing Audric down.

Though, of sad note, it was also the attack of that beast, and the threat on the former Ranger Danica, which caused his initial fall to Flame. Considering how events transpired, there is some theory that the beast may have been a piece of a larger plot, specifically to turn Audric. To what end we cannot say.

Lieutenant Volstagg, Sergeant Amaroth and Serys held the line, covering the rest of the team’s retreat. RFC Grendel dragged Corporal Zathlan behind him as he ploughed through the deep snows. RFC Ranna dragged RFC Moldova who clutched an unconscious Corporal Daynore in her litter. Due in no small part to timely assistance from the Olaran, Braun, Volstagg and the others slew the pack, but the beasts had done their work to delay the Rangers. Kal calvary appeared, riding down the team.

Fortunately, the deep snow slowed the pursuing Kal, allowing the Rangers to evade. The chase lasted to the wee hours of the morning. Just before dawn on the 30th, Alpha Team crested a ridgeline, tumbling over the sheer cliff into a snowbank. As they clawed their way free, Sergeant Amaroth spotted a Tempest Castra dominating the valley before them with a clear field of fire for hundreds of yards in every direction. With the Kal cavalry moments from riding over the ridge, the Team was caught between a rock and a hard place.

Lieutenant ordered the team forward, and then began shouting commands at the Tempest in their own tongue, directing their fire at the cavalry. Under stormfire cover, Alpha Team reached the Tempest Castra. Though tense at first, Lieutenant Volstagg was surprised to see “Tempari”, the Tempest Magus they had worked with in the desert.

Tempari ordered that Alpha Team be healed and fed. While there, he also had his artificer examine Corporal Daynore and Corporal Zathlan’s collars. Daynore’s he reported as being an “unbreakable” artifact, nearly shattered by Daynore’s power. Whatever creature has possessed the Adept is far more powerful and dangerous that we imagined. As for Nexus, her collar was confirmed to be even more advanced and of a make not of this Realm. Though, Tempari claimed it was not of Tempest make.

Based on the recent revelations around Xaos, it can be assumed that the collar was purchased from outside Shaintar. This begs the question from where and by whom? For security reasons, Sergeant Minor Longtail, on orders from the Colonel, have been circumspect in exactly WHO has been handling arrangements to recover Alpha Team. In fact, I believe that Longtail even outsourced everything.

No part of the support or rescue operations for Alpha Team from the Defiant Lands have been handled, organized, or funded by anyone currently or formerly a member of Grayson’s Gray Rangers. Moreover, none of the operations have been overseen by anyone currently residing or working in the city of Echer’Naught…

Curious.

Healed, fed, and informed, Tempari’s scouts alerted the Castra to the arrival of Kal forces. Tempari informed the team that the hill castra was only their forward scouting operation. A larger, more heavily fortified castra was behind lines nearby.

As troubling as this revelation is strategically for operations against Tempest, tactically, retreating behind Tempest lines served the immediate needs of the team. Providing a single Explorator scout, Tempari sent the team to the main Tempest castra while he “dealt with” the approaching Kal.

Why Tempari seemed so willing to assist the team remains a question. I suspect that had events not transpired, their stay would have been involuntarily long. Regardless, Tempari was not seen again and his scout castra was presumably destroyed by the Scorched Priestess and her Tor Sadais guard.

It took the better part of the 30th to push through the deep snow, but late on the same day, Alpha Team arrived in site of the castra…

…only to find it destroyed and the garrison slaughtered.

After the Explorator cleared the fort, Alpha Team arrived to find the main gate shattered, holes blown through the walls and the remains of the Tempest garrison lying scattered about. Alpha Team examined the carnage and agreed on two facts. First, the Kal did NOT destroy this castra. Second, the attacking force used some variant of arcfire, and alien weapons similar to, but distinct from, Xaos. Tapping into the creature inside, Corporal Daynore reported visions of nine foot spears, which was consistent with the holes punched clean through Tempest armor. Clearly, there is more happening in the Defiant Lands than reports indicate…which might explain Colonel Wolfhaven’s reasoning for placing the Legio Heroes keep on the west side of Tar’Imas. Idly, I am curious how much more aware he is of what is actually occurring beyond our borders?

The Explorator and Alpha Team cleared the ruined castra finding no one alive, but no sign of the attackers. They DID find tracks indicating this new foe fought in a large, block formation style unknown to any armies within Shaintar, but little else. Once certain none of the enemy remained, the explorator directed the Team to recover and secure the fort until he, or Tempari, returned, and then he departed to report the attack to the scout castra.

Alone, Lieutenant Volstagg proceeded to raid the arcfire supplies and search the area, Sergeant Amaroth took RFC Grendel and RFC Ranna to fortify the longhouse. Serys scouted, with Braun on lookout. Late in the eve, Corporal Zathlan went into labor, and a pregnant RFC Moldova tended to her.

Hours later, with Nexus still in labor, the Rangers convened to discuss the situation, but were interrupted by a shout from Serys. Lieutenant Volstagg and Sergeant Amaroth mounted the gate steps to peer into the gloom. Picked out against the white of the snow were two figures, the hulking form of the Tor Sadais, and the diminutive figure of the Scorched Priestess. Just outside of even Sery’s range, they stopped, the Tor Sadais lifted and beheaded the Explorator and casually tossed his body aside.

It would seem Tempest fared about as well against the Kal as they fared against whoever destroyed the castra. Once the Kal appeared, Lieutenant Volstagg ordered his troops to the wall, leaving RFC Moldova with Corporal Zathlan. While the Rangers formed, the Scorched Priestess summoned a Horde Champion, and then used High Magic Teleport to drop the demon behind the castra’s defensive wall, splitting the Ranger defense.

Immediately, the demon laid into the Rangers, inflicting grievous wounds, while destroying the entire gate structure with fire breath. Both RFC Grendel and Ranna were crushed under the rubble, along with Corporal Daynore. Lieutenant Volstagg, Serys, and Braun were trapped outside the ruined gate, facing down the still approaching Kal, while Sergeant Amaroth was trapped inside with the demon, being bathed in hellfire.

However, before the Horde Champion could finish, a crystalline DRAGON burst from the rubble and set upon the demon. Though the dragon appeared to ignore the Rangers, it neither avoided harming them. Sergeant Amaroth, equipped with little more than an iron longsword fell back as a last line protecting the longhouse and the pregnant women within. Lieutenant Volstagg attempted to shoot the demon with a recovered arclance, but the weapon fizzled. He never got a second shot, as the Tor Sadais closed within striking range.

The three warriors outside the gates braced for the attack as the Tor Sadais sped into melee with Volstagg. As a member of the Emperor’s personal guard, the Tor Sadais are peerless warriors, known for brutality. Were he fully healed and well armed and armored, Sir Volstagg might have stood a chance. But, run down like a wounded stag, the Olaran knight was powerless. With a single blow, the Tor Sadais dismembered him at the right elbow, then punted him into the rubble.

Serys shouted for Braun to drag the wounded knight back inside, while he laid down covering fire, but to little avail. Behind them, demon and dragon grappled, the larger dragon gaining the upper hand. With one last savaging, the dragon slew the demon, sending him back to the abyss. What he would have done then, is only speculation.

At the moment Volstagg fell, his wife, Lady Zathlan, gave birth to their daughter, the first of two twins. No longer amused by the hunt, the Scorched Priestess drew upon her power and shattered Corporal Daynore’s Dragon spell, dropping him to the ground, fatigued and spent. She then ordered the Tor Sadais to stand down, and present the Team with a choice: A) Surrender Nexus’ twins (how she knew they were twins is a topic of debate) and Daynore, B) All die while the children and adept be taken anyway. They were given on hour.

Why she did this is another point of contention and speculation. Perhaps she truly believed the dire circumstances would compel the team to capitulate. Though, if she knew anything about the Alpha Team, or Rangers in general, she must have known they would never agree. Or, perhaps there is a more sinister calculation?

We know that she spoke to Sergeant Amaroth during the orgy in Kal Montak, and at that time suggested the two of them have a conversation “once all of this was over.” And, as previously mentioned, the Ravening Beast seemed to be intent on hunting down Audric in particular. Some believe that at a certain point, seducing Audric became a higher priority than capturing either Daynore or the twins. It is also possible that she realized that she could not contain whatever has taken over Daynore, so she abandoned that operation. Why she also allowed the twins to escape…perhaps it has something to do with the unbreakable collar from another Realm around Nexus’ neck. Or, perhaps she grossly miscalculated Alpha Team?

Whatever the truth, true to their word, the Scorched Priestess and the Tor Sadais waited outside the keep while the Alpha Team decided what to do. With only an hour left before some, or all, would die, options were limited. Firstly, Daynore used his skills to heal Volstagg, Grendel, and Ranna. Sir Volstagg, minus his arm, first held his children in his arms. Meanwhile, Amaroth and Gracely Moldova went in private to talk, and ultimately, say goodbye. Interestingly, Grendel and Ranna also had a quiet moment alone.

While most of Alpha Team spend the hour making peace, Braun stood guard while Serys formulated a plan. He had found an old, partially collapsed smugglers tunnel out of the keep. With all the ordnance left over from Tempest, his plan was to rig the keep to blow, then evacuate everyone but two rear guard. They would delay the Kal long enough for the others to get clear of the blast zone. As Volstagg has the only training in arcfire, he would have to be the last to evacuate, and the closest to the actual detonation.

Serys chose Sergeant Amaroth, who quickly volunteered for the mission. With the last of their time, the Rangers made preparations. At just under an hour, Alpha team, minus Serys and Sergeant Amaroth crawled into the small, dark tunnel. Serys’ last act was to give Volstagg his family necklace to be returned to his home via the Rangers. Then, while Serys and Audric engaged the Tor Sadais and Scorched Priestess, the rest of Alpha Team, with Braun fled.

The battle, so far as we can tell, was brief. Volstagg waited as long as he could, but was forced to detonate the arcfire devices while he, Grendel and Ranna were still in the tunnel. Fortuantely, Braun, Durlan, Nexus, and Gracelyn made it out, and RFC Moldova used Jack version 2 to dig them out. Corporal Daynore healed them again, and they fled the scene of destruction, leaving a massive column of smoke, ash, and debris rising into the sky behind them.

White River 31st, 3126

They ran all night, and into the morning. Both RFC Grendel and Ranna were naked, having to strip to squeeze through the narrow tunnel, and Grendel had lost an eye, Ranna a shattered leg during the fighting. Volstagg, minus an arm, carried his son. Corporal Zathlan, hastily cleaned and sore from childbirth, ran with their daughter. RFC Moldova was still nine months pregnant, fighting through the snow. Only Braun and Corporal Durlan Daynore remained in relatively good condition. Though, Braun had taken a few hard blows during the previous nights flee from Kal cavalry.

It was min-morn under a gray and snowy sky when the tattered remnants of Alpha Team arrived at Site Defiant. Here, a coalition of sellswords, mercenaries, and various “allies” had established a base site to recover Alpha Team and permanently end any pursuit. Collecting the personnel and resources had taken months, and the expense was exorbitant. To be honest, I am actually unaware of the cost and time as, again, no Rangers or Ranger resources were used.

Sir Hevain, a contact from Olara was in nominal command. He, along with “our friend” the assassin, and Trokash waited in the “sheltar” for the Team. Once Alpha Team arrived, they were fed “sea spiders” and “sea bugs” fresh from the Wayfarer’s Rest, given healing and supplies, and then mounted when Eve, also in attendance, arrived to warn of the Kal approaching. Eve and Trokash led the team away on horseback as the trap at Site Defiant was sprung.

Wolfhaven’s Rekin Kru, i.e. Fekla and Grek, along with a “reformed” Korash, held the main line. Other allies, over already mentioned, attacked from screened positions. The entire “structure” was a powerful illusion spell which was dropped with the trap was sprung. Reports confirm the Scorched Priestess, along with allies, DID engage with the team at Site Defiant, but she was not killed. Though, a number of allies were.

Trokash and Eve led the team east on horseback for three days.

White River 33rd, 3126

In the 13th hour on the 33rd, the Alpha Team, along with Braun, arrived in Tar’Imas. In the confusion, Braun departed their company with Trokash, while Eve took the rest to the elves Sacred Grove. There, she used her immeasurable power to teleport them to Echer’Naught’s grove where Treesinger and Sergeant Alfred Wolfhaven waited. Alfred took Corporal Daynore into protective custody, while the others were escorted to the City Hospital (formerly Red Lamp) for treatment. There, their wounds were healed, and all were treated for privation and exposure.

Dark Moons 3rd, 3126

After three days of rest and recuperation, Alpha Team was permitted to leave the Hospital, though all were pulled from active duty pending evaluation. Moreover, each member of the unit was briefed on their current status and given time to decide what course of action they wished to take.

Lieutenant Gunther Volstagg has been offered the Post Commander position in Almahrad. His acceptance would come with a promotion to Captain, a significant pay increase, and diplomatic immunity.

Corporal Nexus Zathlan, House Volstagg was also offered a post in Almahrad as her husbands Senior NCO along with a promotion to Sergeant, pay increase, and diplomatic status. In addition, we received a last minute report that indicated Nexus and Serys were related. Per an investigation by an Adept of the Echer’Naught’s Church of Light Citadel:

“Sideria Alorian (Nexus Zathlan) was born on Forest Dance 1st, 3104 in a small fishing/trading village on the west bank of the Crystal Lake to her parents, Miria (Eldakar) and Rellar Aloran (human). Miria’s twin (Essania-Life Bond), Niria and her husband Roland Korvar, also lived within the village with their two children, Sysvayanya and Serysvarya (Sys, and Serys). Miria (Mother) was a known healer, Niria a renowned weaver, Rellar (Father) a merchant, and Roland a fisher.

Late Dancing Clouds 3104, their village was raided and destroyed by Prelacy raiders. Both Rellar and Roland were slain defending the village. Miria, Zathlan’s mother, was trapped in their home, burning to death. Niria felt her sister die, and presumed Zathlan died in the flames. However, Miria managed to shove her daughter into the hands of a fleeing villager who bordered a boat with other refugees.

Zathlan travelled via ship to Lakehold, where, presumably, her savior died from wounds. Zathlan’s basket, however, was found in the tall lake grass by Lord and Lady Zathlan who had been called for defense in answer to the Prelacy raids. They chose to take in the infant once they found she had no family.

Meanwhile, a devastated Niria left the village and eventually settled in Tar’Imas, continuing to weave. Both children fought in defense of their home during the War of Flame 3121-3123. After the war, Sys left home to join the Rangers, eventually she would be killed in the Wildlands under command of Mugin Von Dietrich sometime in Dancing Clouds, 3123, shortly after the war. Von D would return her necklace, spear, and bow to the Rangers, who would then ship her effects to Tar’Imas.

Her younger brother, Serys, would not receive the effects until 3125, when he would begin a quest to hunt down those responsible for his sister’s death. In Falling Ice 3126, Seyrs joined the Alpha Team as a guide on their mission to find a plague cure in his home of Tar’Imas. He joined the team on 16th of First Hunt, 3126. Serys would battle alongside his cousin until his death, Dark Moons, 3126. Upon his death, he asked Sir Gunther Volstagg to return his sisters necklace to Sergeant Major Stormhammer to be returned to his only family."

Sergeant Audric Amaroth, Sworn of House Wolfhaven has been labeled MIA, though, when allied assets arrived at the battle site, Audric’s body was not among the fallen, or the rubble. Based on reports of his slide into Flame, we fear greatly that he has been taken by the Scorched Priestess, willingly or not we cannot say. At the very least he is presumed compromised, potentially now a threat.

Corporal Durlan Daynore was given three choices. First, he could have his power permanent bound, and rejoin the Team after significant evaluation, but he would permanently be pulled from the chain of command, though he would retain his rank. Second, he could retire will full pension, though unless he allowed himself to be bound, he would be banned from Ranger outposts, or contact with Rangers for security reasons. Third, we have been contacted by an interested party who believe they can lift or remove whatever is inside Durlan, though they are not sure if his memories or magic would remain intact. Nor can the guarantee success. Assuming they WERE successful, they would insist on Durlan working with their organization so they might study the effects. He has yet to choose an option.

RFC Grendel and Ranna both were healed and have commendations pending in their files.

RFC Gracelyn Moldova has officially requested Maternity Leave, though this being her second extended leave from Alpha Team, this separation may be permanent. Still, she is a valued member of the Rangers and will be top pick for nearly any posting

Serys died a hero, saving his team, and his family. His death eliminated the need for a scheduled investigation into his behavior during this latest mission. He is being promoted to Ranger First Class posthumously and his benefits are being sent directly to his mother in Tar’Imas. Lieutenant Volstagg and Corporal Zathlan have been tasked with informing Sery’s mother of his death and returning the Necklace.

This leaves only a few unanswered questions. Has Audric fully fallen to Flame? Was his seduction ultimately the aim of the Scorched Priestess, and if so, to what end? There is also the birth of Serys Roman Volkstagg (boy) and Wynter Night Volkstagg (girl). Ranger healers confirm that they are, like their grandmother, Essania. More interesting is that after their healing by the Emissary, they were bestowed with greater than typical magical potential. To what extent, we don’t know. And then, there is the band around Nexus’ neck. We, as of yet, have no means of removal. In fact, we do not yet fully understand its power. Then, there is the matter of this new enemy fighting Tempest in the Defiant Lands. Recently declassified reports suggest that these warriors are in fact Spartoi, or some derivation, from yet another Realm. From the last Long Recon mission, these warriors seek to Liberate and Rule Shaintar, for our own well being. Benevolent, though Dictators. And, was the Tempest scout castra destroyed? We do not yet have accurate repordts. Clearly, more is happening in the Defiant Lands than we know.

Still, Alpha Team is returned, and all the children saved. The mission was a success. It is time to mourn, celebrate, rest, and appreciate everything fought so hard to protect.

Malcom

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The Last Will and Testament of Audric Amaroth
MIA White River 30th, 3126

I, Audric Amaroth, Sworn of House Wolfhaven, write these words in sound body and mind. These are the final thoughts that I pen before I go to my final battle.

To Sir and Lady Volstagg: I wish you both the best. I wish I could watch our children grow together, to see them bond as we have. Know I regret nothing. I am happy I was able to protect you and your children. Thank you for the memories and this fantastical journey

To Grendel: My speculation is you will be one of the last ones left. Unless you decline I believe you will have command of The Alpha Team. Good luck — it is not easy, but your heart is in the right place.

To Gendarre: …. Sergeant

As I am the last of my blood, aside from my unborn child, I will all my earthly possessions to them and the child’s mother: Gracelyn Moldova

I ask the Baron, my Lord Wolfhaven, to consider my child to be worthy and to permit them to follow in my footsteps. I ask my Lord to humbly accept my child as a sworn of his noble house.

It is also my wish that, given the circumstances, Gracelyn Moldova of Echer’Naught be afforded all rights and benefits as if she were my wife. I was understand I was unable to perform my duties and arrange a proper marriage, but should she accept, I would request she be treated as my wife.

— Sergeant Audric Amaroth, Sworn of House Wolfhaven, Rangers of Echer’Naught Alpha Team Second-in-Command.

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Last Will and Testament of Serysvarya Korvar
Died White River 30th, 3126

Return the Necklace to my mother in Tar’Imas.

Serys

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