Captain Avaron, White Silver Wolves 4th Company
Southern bank of Crystal River, east of the Sog fork.
Reporting to Colonel Wolfhaven
Planting Moons 12th, 3126
Per orders, my forces, sans my command element, departed our encampment a two miles north of the Olaran/Camon border, north-west of Bearheart. Third Company, under command of Captain Helt marched north to support operations along the center line between our position and Purity. Allied forces also made an attack through the mountains to attack the heavily defended Purity Bridgeheads.
My Fourth Company departed White Silver Wolves base camp on the morning of Golden Eagle 32nd, 3126 in the company of elements of Black Company Cavaliers, Wolfhaven Free Company of Riders, The Golden Gryphons, The Riders of the Light, and former levies of House Tyrene making our march north and west in the general direction of Sog. We marched for four days without incident, encamping on the 2nd of Planting Moons within a few days march of the River. Having met no significant resistance, but having reports of heavy enemy presence, here we broke out skirmish squads and advanced in line of battle.
What follows is a summary of the reports of the Battle Brothers of 1st Squad (20; Sgt Jager), 3rd Platoon (50; Lt. Hess), 4th Company (200; Captain Avaron).
Rika (command, promoted after action to Corporal
Heinrich (Human, Olaran)
Carl Hoghill (Dwarf)
Breaking out by Platoon, then squad, the Battle Brothers of 1st Squad moved north, spied a small vill at night in an area believed to be devoid of all life. On the morning of the 3rd of Planting Moons, the team scouted the vill, one Clairière d’ombre (per maps). Strange that such a remote community survived the successive purges of the Church of Archanon, Builders, then Shaya’Nor. Nevertheless, Hazel and Heinrich approached the vill to treat with the inhabitants. The local behavior was described as “odd”. Seeing heavily armed mercenaries emerge from the wood elicited little more than sullen resignation.
After an initial failed introduction, a local headman, older gent, was produced. He proceeded to immediately surrender the town. When the Wolves attempted to form a relationship with the community, the head man refused any and all assistance, asking only that we depart as soon as possible. He was, however, completely forthcoming, informing the team that Vainar’s spawn had inhabited the vill until a month prior before retreating north (likely to secure the bridge crossings from our advance).
Gaining nothing more from the locals, the team complied, and skirted the town heading north. On the following day, Planting Moons 4th, 3126, the battle brother’s forward scouts encountered a forest infested with hordes of shambling zombie corpses. Leaving the lead scout (Ach’Te) to maintain observance, the second scout (Hazel) dropped back to report to Rika. However, upon Rika’s advance to forward position, she mistakenly misstep attracting the attention of the nearest horde. They immediately attacked.
Rika, Ach’Te, and Hazel held the line against the onrushing hordes while the rest of the team, just behind a ridge, rushed to support. By the time reinforcements arrived, the trio was nearly overrun. Heinrich held back, supporting with ranged, while the rest of the team quickly formed into a line of battle to stem the undead tide. Hoghill, the last to arrive, was about to join the line when a Corrupted Tree burst from the woods to his left and immediately attacked.
Hoghill held the rear, while the others handled the zombies. The line seemed to hold, but the Corrupted Tree managed to ensnare the entire team, save the Brinchie, in a thick web of ichorus roots. One by one they broke or slipped free, though DWARF and Hazel took few bad hits before freeing themselves. Even so, the Wolves managed to thin the herd. Hoghill finally cutting down the Corrupted Tree with his issued “White Silver Chopping Axe” from the “Wolfpack” issued to every White Silver Wolf scouting party. With the flanks secured, the Wolves shifted the line left, slowly enveloping the zombie line. Within minutes, it was over. A few of the party were injured, but none critically.
Rika moved the party to a relatively secure location to heal and recoup. Once rested, the team continued moving north toward their primary location. Therein, camping again that night, the 4th. Early the falling morning on the 5th of Planting Moons, the team awoke to find the army of Shaya’Nor very nearly encircling their position. Following orders, Rika dispatched the Brinchie to report, ensuring that the information would reach our ears while the rest of the team attempted to evade the advancing enemy force.
Not three hundred yards south, the Brinchie Ach’Te and Blacktooth spied a second force encamped on a nearby ridge behind a makeshift chevaux de frise lined rathe topped by a paling of fresh hewn logs. Pausing out of duty, and curiosity, the Brinchie watched as the newcomers rained arrow and stone down upon the western flank of the encircling Shaya’Nor army. Perceiving a potential ally, the scouts approached the ringfort to find it manned by goblinesh. Due primarily to his dark coloring, Blacktooth was mistook for a werewolf, but Ach’Te was able to communicate with the orcs manning the wall and negotiated entry.
Meanwhile, Rika and the remainder of the scouts fought their way free for the lead elements of the pursuing force. They too cleared the woods to find a large force of Orcs and Ogres rushing to meet them. The goblinesh died to allow the scouts to make the ramparts just before the first wave of dark creatures threw themselves upon the warband. Despite their ferocity, the forward runners of Vainar were unable to breach the goblinesh’s stout defense, so they withdrew to reform and assault under cover of night.
Rika successfully negotiated a battlefield truce with the goblinesh, and in turn, agree to scout out enemy positions, but the warband leader demanded that Ach’Te remain. Instead, Rika negotiated leaving a less swift member of her team. They settled on Prince, and the Wolves were out again. While on patrols DWARF encountered another scout, this from the local populace. He pledge his peace and requested to speak with Rika. He claimed this name was Alain and that he was a scout for a local keep of Camonere that had managed to survive the shadow of Darkness. He implored the scouts to come to his commander and negotiate an alliance to rid the land of Darkness.
Suspicious of his intent, and his appearance, Rika demurred and rightly claimed that she must first rescue her man from the goblinesh. The scout warned that she could not trust the goblinesh, that they were not as they appeared. Troubled, the Wolf scouts returned to camp to find another stranger in the grasp of the troglanesh. It appeared that THIS stranger was known to the warband, a merchant and arms dealer. He asked to speak with Rika and, in private, confirmed that these were NOT goblinesh, but Witchmarked Troglanesh and servants of the Blood Witch. He also warned that there were forces of the Church of Archanon in the area that sought to destroy the Wolves, the Witchmarked, AND Shaya’Nor’s forces. He offered another option.
He represented a third faction that would ally with the Wolves for the promise of amity, and spoils of war, namely the bodies after battle and any arcfire recovered from enemy stashes. The merchant warned Rika that the offer had a time limit, as the situation was perilous. Once alone, Rika briefed her team. Some, such as Ach’Te suggested the safety of the nearby keep. Others, like Ithil struggled to make sense of the forces at play.
As best as the scouts could understand, the warband represented the Witchmarked of the Blood Witch who were unknown enemies of allies of Vainar. They had defended themselves against attack, but it is possible that was by accident, or design. As for the keep, the scout Alain was most certainly a Paladin at the very least. Entering a keep of the Church would be a death sentence for all but the two humans, Rika and Heinrich, regardless of the scout’s words. And the third, the merchant reeked of Red Store, though likely what he appeared to be, a merchant and broker. The shadow group of his representation seemed likely to be a sect of the Deniers of Death, but nothing could be certain. All they knew was that without some help, they could never escape the forces of Vainar.
After discussion, Rika determined that they would take the Merchant’s offer. Despite his associations, he was the ONLY party that was not bound by fanaticism. The Deal struck, they remained with the Witchmarked, heading back toward this forward base. One day out, the Merchant approached them under cover of night. He provided Invisibility potions for all, before leading them away from the camp just as the Witchmarked turned on them and tossed their bedrolls intent on murder. Before the Witchmarked had the chance to sniff them out, something attack the camp.
By all accounts it appeared to be a massive Builder Golem, but one oozing with vile corruption. Deniers. Now they were sure, but the plan was in motion and the Merchant their only hope. So, they followed blindly as he led them away from the skirmish.
When I saw them, it was on the 7th of Planting Moons, 3126. I was alerted to their arrival and moments later, a tired and bloody Rika appeared alongside a well dressed and pristine gentleman. Rika explained the situation and the field truce and pact she had been forced to make. I was in an difficult position. My first instinct was to have the man arrested and interrogated immediately. However, something held me back.
Clearly this man, and those he represented, had power in the region, and knew more than we. To invite their wrath might spell doom for our mission, and my command. So, I compromised. No official contract was signed. However, I did command my forces not to engage whichever forces the Merchant indicated. Furthermore, we had no need for enemy dead. Our own, I refused to surrender. He agreed. Lastly, as the arcfire. I know the orders. But, I have elected, for the time being, to hold to his terms on that score. I know that the Deniers are vile and will turn on us, but if they can weaken the enemy, then so much the easier to destroy them later.
Our fates intertwined, I promoted Rika to Corporal and her choice, Heinrich, to Private First Class.After dispatching the Scouts to rest and heal, I questioned the Merchant as to the nature of the enemy army. He was shockingly well informed. With his intelligence, we positioned our army to catch the army of Darkness before they were in full line of battle the following night. They knew not what hit them. The battle raged from the eve of the 8th of Planting Moons into the dawn of the 9th. Shortly after the 13th hour, at the height of the fighting, our western flank was surprised to see towering war machines, covered in black ichor, firing arcfire into the dumbfounded Shayakar forces. Behind the death machines ran ghouls and zombies with arcfire implants ripping through the corrupted flesh of the ghouls and zombies of Vainar’s slaves.
I adjusted, pulling my men away from conflagration, instead pressing the eastern flank. Caught between the two forces, the Shaya’Nor army broke. We chased them north for three days, skirmishig on occaision. Always were we shadowed to the west. Interestingly, the Witchmarked trogs were also on the western flank, allies of Shaya’Nor, I know not. They were smashed by the Deniers. I, in my turn, dispatched a force to reduce the Prelacy keep on our eastern flank.
As distasteful as the arrangement has been, the Deniers have upheld their end of the agreement and provided terrifying in battle. Alone, I doubt either of our forces could have achieved such a victory. By afternoon on the 11th of Planting Moons, 3126 all enemy forces between my army and the river had been dispatched. I now hold the southern end of a large crossing with an entrenched army of Darkness glowering at me from the opposite bank. Our “allies” the Denies have departed, without ever coming close enough to our lines to exchange so much as a word.
We also have reports of other scouting parties having been lured into the Prelacy keep and destroyed. It would appear that Corporal Rika’s instincts were true, though any arrangement with the likes of the Deniers sits ill with me.
Nevertheless, we are in position. I await news of the other assaults.