Lord Mayor, Colonel Baron Wolfhaven, Alexander
Commander of the Legio Heroes
Liberated city of Tirene, Camon
Twenty Second Day of Festival Moons, Year 3126 Under the Light
Thunder Hawk 31st, 3126
After dispatching Alpha Team to Almahrad, I met with my Long Recon Team. Since last year, the team gained a few members.
- Sergeant Flint Ironfinder
- RFC Zathras
- Ranger Wonderkill
- Ranger Ssslikk
- Ranger Jarvis Beerson
And a new recruit, the Priest of Light, Elrick who took the cloak. I was honored, before this new assignment to officiate the following promotions.
- RFC Zathras, goblin, was promoted to Corporal and given second in command.
- Ranger Ssslikk, dregordian, was promoted to RFC
Once the paperwork was handled, I began my briefing. Since their arrival in 3122, Tempest forces have been increasingly pervasive. Despite our initial success on Jubilation Day 3123, the Tempest have appeared to find new footing and their predations increase by the season.
The main issue we have faced dealing with Tempest is to discover their primary base of operations. Speaking with Sir Regillus, I have come to believe that Tempest established a large scale staging around somewhere hidden from our ability to scry.
However, a recent mission by the Alpha team to Og’M’Drakar uncovered a significant Tempest presence on the Isle. Though, discussions with the Guardian Gathers have born little fruit. They claim, correctly or incorrectly, that the Tempest have invaded the isle, but they do not have a large scale base. In fact, according to the Gathers, the Tempest do not travel off the island, save, perhaps, via Tempest Vortexes within the eyes of Tempest Cyclones.
With this in mind, I have come to fear that Tempest DOES have a large scale base of operations, but not on “The Eye of the Dragon.” In fact, I think the operation on Og’M’Drakar is merely a waystation, a landing and jumping point for Tempest operations in our area. However, if not on the isle, where?
This question has plagued me and none of our network of scouts has been able to provide better answers. And, all the scouts I have sent to the isle have failed to return. So, I chose to turn to the Long Recon Team and hope their unique training would allow them to succeed where more combat oriented teams have failed.
The mission was simple. The LRT was to proceed to Og’M’Drakar and gain access to the island. From there, scout the Tempest operation and, if possible, gain access to a Tempest Vortex to locate the actual Tempest base of operations. A daunting task to say the least.
Before I dismissed the team, I presented Drew a unique bauble that had come into my possession. Though second, or third, hand, what little I knew of the dark gray polished stone, with amber crysarium striations was that IT might have some effect when dealing with Vortexes or whatever means of travel the Tempest used. How, or why, I could not say. But, I ordered Drew to protect the stone and return it.
My hope, was simply that during the trip, or in such close proximity to such Teleportation devices the true nature of the stone might be revealed. And with it, our understanding of who the Tempest truly were, and how they came to arrive in Shaintar.
Despite all, our meeting was brief and I sent them to meet with Sergeant Major Stormhammer for equipment. I know they went to dinner, I believe at the Wayfarer’s Rest. After which, they collected their Long Recon Equipment and departed the city.
Adapt Fast. Blend In. Stride Long.
There was noting more for me but to wait, and focus on the myriad other concerns. The Emissary, the Eternal Desert, Velkakar’s remaining minions, the power struggle in Echer’Naught, and the war in the north, to name a very few.
Via Farspeaker Moonsilver and, the curious Trokash, I managed to receive the following report just after the Long Recon Team managed to traverse a Tempest Vortex, perhaps never to return.
Festival Moons 1st, 3216
The Team arrived in Kore without incident. However, Trokash relayed that the Alpha team’s meddling in the affairs of the Olarans during the Erlgen funeral have had far reaching consequences. Rangers, in particular those of my command, are not particularly welcome right now in much of Olara. Honor has been impugned.
Festival Moons 6th, 3126
The team arrived safely in Rhion.
Festival Moons 7th, 3216
The team arrived in Jasara. Though initially there were no issues, it would seem that the Long Recon Rangers managed to get themselves caught up in an armed combat between Witchmarked Troglanesh and Goblinesh from the city.
Taking the side of the Goblinesh, the LRT was arrested by the city’s Ogre Guard, save for Elrik and Sgt Ironfinder. Luckily, the Sergeant was able to “negotiate” for his team’s release, but they were forced to be more circumspect and leave the city early to avoid further complications.
A note: It would seem the Blood Witch’s influence grows. Despite our efforts to combat the Tempest and whatever emerges in the sands, perhaps we have considered the Blood Witch a Goblin issue too long? Our new alliance with Rool should give us a position to begin countering her Blood Corruption. Yet another foe to face…
Festival Moons 9th, 3126
When the LRT arrived at Bralk, they were denied entry. It would seem that all the Gathers have closed their doors to most travelers for fear of Witcharked. Never the most hospitable people, the Goblinesh have grown paranoid. Perhaps there is wisdom in this? Clearly the Blood Witch is poised to control the entire region.
Worse for the team, they were robbed in the middle of the night. Though they managed to track the Thieves north, they soon found themselves left behind as the robber’s fast horse quickly outpaced them. Nevertheless, Sgt Ironfinder believes the culprits worked for Red Store, due to their expensive, lavender soap and silk clothes. Few thieves are so lavishly equipped.
Sending Wonderkill back to alert the Goblinesh of Bralk, the LRT continued north toward Fylg.
Festival Moons 14th, 3126
The Long Recon Team arrived safely at Fylg, but were not allowed within the Gather. Echer’Naught’s Alpha Team had previously used Fylg as a launching point for their mission to Og’M’Drakar, and though they successfully managed to acquire the rare waters which created a cure to Vainar’s Bane, the plague decimated the Elves, still many of the Gather’s best Guardian’s were slain.
Ergo, they were loathe to allow anyone, especially strangers into the gather. More so, if those Rangers sought access to the isle. However as fortune would have it, while they were “negotiating” with the guard’s at Fylg’s gates, the Long Recon Ranger were met by an old associate, Trokash.
Since the death of Velkalar, Trokash had been fairly absent from reports. However, it would appear the orc was in the Northern Gathers working some angle and happened upon the team. Due to his aide previously, the Long Recon Team confided in him the basics of their mission. And, due, I feel, to his attraction to Drew, he agreed to help, though his price would be discussed later, and steep it would be.
After hearing of their situation, Trokash informed them that they would be getting no help from Fylg. The Alpha Team’s mission on the 17th of Falling Ice, 3126 to retrieve pure water had resulted, as stated, in the deaths of over 30 of the Guardian’s greatest Defenders. While Alpha Team was saved, the Ranger, and outsiders in general, had worn out their welcome. There was no way the Guardian Gather of Fylg would sacrifice their blood on another crazy Ranger mission. I would not ask them to do so.
Trokash ALSO informed the Long Recon Team of the difficult political situation in Olara. Again, Alpha Team had interfered with Olaran justice to protect the life of the Royal Sheriff of Echer’Naught who had been puppeted to kill a member of the Royal Family on Red Wolf 1st, 3126. Regardless, the Olarans sought his death, and by preventing the summary execution, the Rangers strained relations between the Olarans and the Ranger Corps. In time the wounds will heal, but for the moment, we can expect little courtesy from my brothers in Olara.
Instead, Trokash made an offer. He had contacts in Grol, the eastern Guardian Gather. The LRT would head there, while he went ahead to prepare. Once there, Trokash would arrange transport to the island. In return, the Rangers would pay all costs. Also, Trokash’s “fee” would be discussed later, assuming he was able to make arrangements. Sgt Ironfinder agreed, and the team spent a lavish night in Trokash’s camp.
I hear that Drew spent a particularly pleasant night with the orcish trader.
In the morning, Trokash headed north, and the Ranger followed on horseback. Four days into the trip, the LRT encountered a lone woman and a broken wagon just off the road near the Evershade Forest. Wonderkill suspected a trap, and though the Rangers pressed for information, nothing about the woman was obviously unsettling. Still, the Rangers were cautious, all but the newest member, Elrick.
RFC Jarvus Beerson and SGT Ironfinder worked to repair the wagon while the woman explained that her wheel had broken and her companions left her behind. They fear attack by Witchmarked or bandits. Once the wagon was repaired, the woman invited the Rangers to dine with her. All the former members politely declined, but Elrick eagerly accepted.
After dinner, all went to bed, save for the posted watch. At nearly the 13th, the Rangers were alerted to movement, but before any could respond, Flayed Ones, corrupted minions of the Blood Witch attacked the camp, pummeling Elrick who could not seem to wake, and surprising the others.
Battle ensued with most of the Rangers unarmored. Cpl Zathras scrambled up a tree and began raining down Eldritch energy into the corrupted monsters. However, even as the tide turned for the Rangers, Zathras was suddenly taken over and turned his powers on his own men. RFCs Jarvus Beerson, Wonderkill, and Ssslikk took the worst of it, while still being attacked by Flayed Ones.
Meanwhile, under the wagon, Drew awoke to the calamity. She crawled free, only to hear whispers from within. The woman seemed to be guiding this battle. In response, Drew lit the wagon on fire, and hoped to smoke the villain out. Ssslikk had other ideas.
The massive dregordian rushed Zathra’s tree and ripped his perch out by the roots, tossing the goblin wizard to the ground. Then, realizing the true threat, Ssslikk used the tree as a club and crushed the flaming wagon. Still, Zathras fired on his own.
Seeing this, Drew snatched up an oil lamp, aimed, and hurled it through the broken wagon straight onto the Morden witch who instantly burst into flames. Zathras was freed, as they watched witch and wagon burn to ash.
RFC Jarvus Beerson still punched Zathras, though the Corporal declined to press charges.
At this point Elrick awoke refreshed and seemed confused about the sad state of affairs. Though, he quickly set about healing those around him. And, with their rest truly over, the Recon Rangers packed up and headed north.
Festival Moons 21st, 3126
Finally, the bedraggled Long Recon Team rode into Grol to be met by Trokash who explained the Defenders and Guardians refused to help, but he had another idea. Leaving the others to rest and eat, Trokash took Sgt Ironfinder down to the docks where Trokash had negotiated purchase of a stout fishing vessel.
Once purchased, the dwarves and the orc set about modifying it to be piloted by one man. Meanwhile, the others help load “special cargo” for Trokash. By early morn, the boat was ready and the team boarded, shoving off. Over the next few hours, the boat sailed across the glassy lake under a cloud sky, Unidar alone in the sky.
Festival Moons 22nd, 3126
Before dawn, Trokash ordered the Long Recon Team into the water. The Dwarves clung to hastily cobbled flotation devices pulled by Ssslikk. As the boat continued on course, the LRT veered off, swimming for a spot on the beach north of Trokash. Just as they reached the shore, the shipping vessel beached.
In moments, Tempest forces swarmed the wreck, only to be annihilated by a massive arcfire explosion, drawing the attention of all the Tempest in the area. With the last of the night as cover, and the distraction pulling forces south, the Long Recon Rangers stormed the beach and slipped into the forest, narrowly avoiding Tempest patrols.
They headed inland, only to find Trokash, again, waiting. Here, he demanded his price. Trokash knew the value of accurate information about Tempest operations and a base, so his price was that he would receive an unedited report from the LRT upon their return. Or, they could refuse and try to make the Vortex alone. Having no choice, Sgt Ironfinder agreed.
Then, Trokash produced a large sack and told the Rangers to drop everything in, armor, weapons, gear… Ssslikk refused to give up his Soul-bonded Kayakor and Drew was forced to use some the Morden Witches brew to render him unconscious. Before departing, Trokash provided all the caster a bean which when swallowed provided concealment for a few days, until passed. Then, unarmed and nearly naked, Trokash shackled the team together and approached the Tempest Castra posing as a slaver delivering slaves.
Here, I will allow Trokash to describe the scene.
“The Tempest Casrta is large, built in the ruins of a larger, older ruins, the last remnents of the end of the Dragon War (2234) 892 years prior. Nestled against a rocky ridge, the natural and man-made fortifications make a stealth approach nigh impossible. Tempest Scouts heavily patrol the region around the Castra, and Turned Storm Riders circle above.
Above, dark clouds rotate ominously creating a perfect pitch dark hole in the sky. Azure blue lighting forks down with alarming frequency, striking a series of carefully placed obelisks. With each strike, crysarium infused script glows with unearthly power, sending out tendrils of energy rippling through the ground, like glowing veins. Wind howls and tears at any not bound to the Tempest god. As for the Tempest, they move through the maelstrom of forces as one born to the Storm.
The Castra is less a military camp, however, and more a processing center and way station for Tempest forces moving around Shaintar. Long lines of captured prisoners or slaves are led in chain gangs through the main gate toward a central complex in the very heart of the castra. There, groups of Storm and Tempest Magi hovering overhead, cocooned within the buffeting winds, azure lighting playing across them, arcing from one to another as they bend and twist the power of the storm to their dark wills.
In groups of 30-60, prisoners, and their guards, mount a stone dais flanked on all sides by hissing and crackling obelisks. Azure lighting pops and crackles, crawling over the stones, the mages, and the victims in the center. Then, as the Magi’s voice raise to the spinning hole in the sky, FLASH!, those within the circle of energy disappear in a clap of thunder and lighting, the sound rolling across the ground like an earthquake. The next group huddles cowering just outside the ring of sparking stone spears, ears bleeding from the booming, eyes filled with light flashes and terror.
Then they too are led up the weathered steps into the energy trap and are zapped from existence by the fury of the storm…”
Using an alias, Trokash managed to convince the Tempest mercenaries that he was a legitimate slave trader, though I do not know how, and pass into the camp. Unfortunately, he was forced to spend most of his capital bribing the last of the guards, who was suspicious of the unconscious dregordian and the hard looking “slaves,” but in the end the orcs honeyed words allowed the Rangers to pass, joining the huddled slaves waiting to step onto the dais.
As soon as they were taken, Trokash retreated, rushed to a hide established early where he retrieved a compact Arcfire device, one of the mad bombers designs. Waiting until the last moment, Trokash managed, by means, to drop the device into the Vortex just as it sent the Long Recon Team into oblivion. And then, they were gone…
Later, when he returned their gear to the Headquarters, Trokash explained that it was highly likely the Tempest would have the landing point well secured. Without some for of distraction, the Long Recon Team might never escape. Though it risked killing them as well, he hoped that the blast might give them cover to get free of the Tempest long enough to complete their mission.
It also might strand them on the far side, but he had done his best.
I sit hear in the burned and shattered remains of Tirene’s keep, White Silver Wolves and Prelacy Paladins marching outside, and I wonder what is happening to my world? As of this morning, I received word that Alpha Team has just boarded the Sea Ranger headed west. My Long Recon Rangers have just entered a Tempest Vortex into what may the most dangerous Tempest outpost in all of Shaintar. And, north of this husk of a city, forces of Darkness mass for a counter attack. To survive, I must rely on the mutual fear that should we not work together, both the Prelacy’s forces and my own will be destroyed…
So many threats, Darkness, Tempest, this emergence in the desert…
I miss my Lady. I miss my city. I miss home.
Your most obedient servant,
Lord Mayor Wolfhaven, Colonel