Shaintar_J&L_Rangers of Karas

Forest Dance 20, 3122
Report from Jiard Okt regarding the new Grey rangers sent to Karas

A group of recently promoted rangers (they were recruits last week) were sent to Karas by Neekosh Neetar in response to the repeated requests from the Duke to aid his farms, which had been mostly burned by raiders. Word is that there just wasn’t enough manpower to go around, but apparently with this promotion there’s a bit to spare. They were asked to find the source of the burning and stop it, and also to settle into the old ranger outpost there and get it up and running again. Looks like they’re in for a surprise there.

Near as I can tell, the makeup of the squad looks like this:

  • Sabine, a former resident of Camon new to the Rangers and to this part of the world. Since Karas is so close to Camon, her knowledge of the place might come in handy.
  • Kodiaster: Aevekar archer and scout (who the Ramgers call Kodi Aster because they don’t really get his name).
  • Carn Mindril: Dwarven tinker and engineer who likes books and people in that order
  • Shaina Icetongue HighWind: brinche adept who is currently more of a tavern brawler and punster.
  • K’thain: an eldakar sorcerer who seems to lack social skills … or just chooses not to employ them.

The Rangers arrives in Karas, traveling past the burned down husks of several farms. The Duke was in pitched meetings with Wheelwrights (they are demanding more money to travel with trade caravans now that these caravans are being regularly attacked along the road) so he was unavailable to meet with anyone.

They did their own investigation and found a surviver of the last attack (one of the rangers gave a dockmaster half her monthly salary to thak him for his help …. he’s thrilled). The following farms were burned and sacked (in this order):

  • Pilson Farm, which specializes in barley
  • Runshore farm, which raises cattle for meat and tallow
  • Cresthandle farm, which makes strong straw and reeds for baskets
  • Sunup farm, which specializes in root vegetables, especially beets for sugar and alcohol
  • Keyman Vinyard, which used to be a winery, but which now raises goose and pork
  • Yek Farms, a dwarven family farm focusing on wheat and beans

They found Piton Yek staying in a local hostle (the Duke was kind enough to put him up there for a month after the attacks). He told them what he saw of the burning of his family farm through tears. they vowed to help him.

Shaina talked to the Duke’s porter, Novak, at the gate to his manor and was told about the Wheelwright dispute, as well as about the fact that trade caravans are being attacked on the roads to the west. She paid him half her salary as well, having no smaller coins. he was less impressed, because he sees more silver.

They traveled to the next largest farm in the area: the Fatherdown farm, run by the Bilner family. Kithain was asked to speak to the people there and partly because his player was not present and (partly because his player was not present) he complimented the human woman very poorly. turns out that telling a pregnant woman that she must be very well fed does not go over well. She yelled him off and the rest of the group had a hard time convincing her of their intentions. Once they did they were welcomed. She made them dinner and they met the family: Tamela Bilner (seven months pregnant), her son Baldo (12 years old), and her husband’s parents Boyd (an elderly man with one bad eye) and Mern (a very frail old woman who is bedridden). Her husband, she said, was off trying to secure men to protect the farm, possibly as far away as Dooly.

The rangers moved the family to the root cellar after sinner and used buckets to wet the barn which stored not only a hundred birds (chickens, ducks, and geese) but hundreds of pounts of feathers all bailed up together in the loft. They also oiled and waxed bags and set them on the roof just in case.

Around ten men came storming in from the surrounding lands under cover of stealth. Nobody got the drop thanks to some clever lookouts, but a fight ensued. the orchard was set ablaze, but the protection on the barn held. There were a lot of these men (13 in all) bit the rangers were determined. Towards the end of the fight (which had three fronts) Kithain re-emerged to help do away with the enemy archers from behind. Noteable moments:
Shaina using a bag full of rotten eggs as a great trick to shakle a foe
Carn taking an arrow right to the neck and nearly dying (from across the pond)
Sabine beheading one of the enemy cleanly
Kodiaster plucking off raiders from the rooftop. they never saw him.

Eventually the marauder leading the group called a retreat. Sasbine demanded to know who he was working for and he said, “I doubt she’s like it if I told you.” And then he was off through the flaming fields. He was not seen again.

The rangers WERE left with one shaken foe to keep as a prisoner, so perhaps they will get some details from him later on.

Notable Personalities:

  • Neekosh Neetar: goblin Corporal who promoted the trainees to ranger and gave them their mission.
  • Duke Tolin Khanar: in meetings all night. His manor has a polite front gate, but it’s only for show.
  • Piton Yek: Old dwarven farmer with a red and grew striped beard. Sad, dead family. Will be grateful in the Rangers bring these killers to justice.
  • DockMaster: paid a silver for drawing a rough map. he liked these rangers
  • Novak: The Duke’s porter
  • Tamela Bilner: pregnant mother of the Bilner family
  • Baldo: 12 year old Bilner son. Inpressed by aevekar feathers and pretty swords.
  • Boyd Bilner: Elderly patriarch of the family. One cloudy eye. Still pretty good with a bow.
  • Grandma Mern: elderly matriarch of the family. Loves telling stories. Mostly blind, still clever, can barely move. Bedridden.
  • Bierce Bilner: husband of the family. was off looking to hire guards.
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Forest Dance 21, 3122
Report from Jiard Okt regarding the new Grey rangers sent to Karas

After the halted raid on the Featherdown Farm the PC’s dragged the survivers into the barn and employed some enhanced intimidation techniques (which is to say that they let the remaining raiders assume they wanted to murder them) and got information about the location of their camp and their motives. They let one go after he provided them with information. A second was kept tied up. He seemed resigned to his fate, whatever it may be. He did not withold information (feeling no real sense of loyalty). It was noted that Shaina seemed a bit too eager to cause mayhem and her compatriots are a bit concerned.

The rangers discovered that there were not only another 8 raiders, but that they were taking their orders from a Red Haired Woman, and that their leader was a man called Joyce. Their captive, Keith, advised them to attack at night under cover of dark to stop the raiders from simply taking hostages of the two young girls they had in their camp (they have plans to sell the girls into slavery to the west).

The battle unfolds very well for the rangers. They take out the three guards silently and keep the girls quiet. They light pitch across the cave entrance and anyone leaving is forced to test their bravery in crossing. this limits the number of men they must engage at a time and proves very clever. A well times illusion convinces Joyce that he’s on fire and he runs for the water pool in the cave that these raiders have made their temporary home.

The girls are released and stay with the rangers for now. Soon, they will interrogate Joyce (who threw away his weapons when he saw that he was outnumbered five to one).

Notable Personalities:

  • Joyce: raid leader (statted as a Marauder)
  • Red Headed Woman: A wildcard using Tor mastak Leader stats.
  • Keith: Stoic raider who is now captive.
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Forest Dance 23, 3122
Report from Jiard Okt regarding the new Grey Rangers sent to Karas

The rangers had just finished defeating the farm raiders and they tied up those that survived the fight (4 plus Keith, the man that lead them to the camp) and interrogated the leader. Shaina made light of the dead bodies and Sabine punched her and broke her jaw.

Nobody was able to break Joyce, but in the morning the next day Solvaynus arrived.

Flashback: Solvaynus traveled north with Jaird Okt as part of a caravan relocating people to the northern region. The caravan was being watches by suspicious looking men late the night outside Karas and Solvaynus went to greet the men. He asked them their business and they asked him what the caravan was carrying. When he told them it was just people they seemed suspicious and disappointed. He agreed to take one of them back with him to show them that he spoke the truth. they evaluated the camp and the bandits left: there is no bounty for people, just trade caravans. The people were grateful that the peaceful ranger was able to help get them to Karas with no violence.

Back in real time: Solvaynus speaks with Joyce for many hours, and the man develops an appreciation for his perspective. He tells him that the Red Haired Woman is paying at least one other group, probably two, and that he thinks they’re hitting caravans. Prisoners are fed and taken into town the next afternoon, after the Rangers rested. Bierce went along. When the prisoners were turned over to the Reeve, Sebastian crow, they left Keith out of the cage, for fear that the others would try to kill him (they had already tried in the barn at the Featherdown Farm). Bierce told the Reeve that he was willing to let Keith work off his debt to his family at the farm if he would let him take custody of the prisoner. wanting no more complications, he agreed and the two left.

The meeting with the Duke was scheduled for the next day, so the Rangers went off in search of their Outpost. The good news is that they found it. The bad news is that it’s been out of use for years. Most of the useful materials were taken and re-purposed. Windows are gone or broken, stoves are gone, even the rear deck is mostly stripped bare. The Outpost is a four story affair made to host guests downstairs and keep the upper floors secure. It’s tall and narrow and in terrible shape. They started looking around the upper floors and were greeted by terrified people and goblins wielding hoes and chairs. They yelled at the party and the party yelled back, but only Sabine could understand them because they were yelling in Camonere.

These people were refugees, fleeing the Prelacy and being pursued by a terrible paladin. Two of the people (Alakar who look almost human) are the son and daughter of a powerful sorceress who works inside Camon and the Paladin is after them to use as leverage against their mother. Along for the ride are 3 goblins (a mother, a father, and a small child) as well as a human druid and his family. They shared that they are traveling to Mindoth’s Tower in the south, but stopped here to hide from the Paladin Salillon. The Rangers chose to let them stay and keep them safe.

Jiard Okt was asked to find out what he could about the paladin looking for the refugees. It was revealed that the man had come through the city with a column of cavalry two weeks ago and stayed the night before moving on (he was gone before the Duke’s men even knew he was there). The Rangers suspect that he paid off some city folk to watch for the escapees for him. they are being very cautious (Jiard also raised a commotion when he arrived at the Outpost to relay the information).

The meeting with the Duke took place, and he asked the Rangers of their tale and their plan. It was decided that the most likely assumption was that The Prelacy is planning a sweep through the area for whatever reason (especially since the Red Haired Woman sewing discord was paying in Camonere printed coin and spoke with a Camonere accent). The Duke accepted the money the raiders were paid and their justice was discussed (the locals will be fined and publicly shamed. Joyce will probably be put to death because he’s not local and it’s very unlikely that anyone will be willing to take him back to his home). A plan was hatched to make the city more defensible by creating a wall around the small west bank.

Notable Personalities:

  • Pit Highwall: Dwarven druid from Mindoth’s tower. Gave Solvayus a bird to release should the Prelacy move on the area.
  • Liana: Prostituute from Five Cross, sister to one of the Farm Raiders.
  • Torrence: her son
  • Yaserra: An alakar sorceress from Camon working against the Church.
  • Salillon: Paladin serarching for refugees.
  • Tolin Kahnar: The Duke of Karas
  • Philippe Nivard: human druid, walking the path of Landra.
  • Juut: His fox familiar
  • Sebastian Crow: The Reeve of Karas
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Raining Leaves 11, 3122
Report from Jiard Okt regarding the Grey Rangers sent to Karas

The Rangers have been settling into their new (old) Outpost, though it is still without a name. Jiard Okt delivered their pay and relayed a message that Corporal Neetar will be coming to visit soon. Then the Rangers set about minding their own business.

Solvayus went into town to find out about the Prelacy Paladin who passed through. Not a lot of people wanted to help him, as he could not pay them (being Korindian) but later on he discovered that doing deeds for them was worth money in their minds and he worked some in formation out of them. He was told that the Paladin had been seen at a local blacksmith’s place (James Smith). James is a racist and a drunk and he was of no help to Solvayus, but while James was telling the korindian off, Phillip Silvers entered and told Solvayus he could help him. He introduced him to his daughter (and apprentice) Hilda, who was able to tell him a great deal (James Smith fancies her). She told him that the blacksmith had not only put up the Paladin and his men in his own home, but that James had slept in the shop while he was there, and that he had been sending regular birds of a sort she had never seen before out with messages attached since. Solvayus, much to the dismay of the other rangers, told her about the refugees.

While this was going on, Kithain looked around for items that may have been left by the rangers and discovered a secret wall. Using seeds and other crushed plants he outlined the rune on the wall in the upper floor ….. into the shape of an owl. Kithain fears owls more than anything (he believes them to be the harbingers of death) and cried out. Phillipe (the human refugee) had an owl feather fan and loaned it to Sabine, who used it to fan the area of the icon. the seeds fell to the ground revealing a locked alchemy lab with a jug of something brown in it (which they hope is alchemical in nature …)

Sabine decided to get to know the area and took to the rivers and forests to hunt, with the others following. Within the forest she noticed they were being watched by horrid dark ravens. She got too close to one and sent it flying off. It returned soon enough with a whole swarm of birds (everything from the aforementioned owls and ravers to songbirds) and something larger: the dragging shambling dead body of a horse. Bones and muscle were visible through the skin and it’s eyes glowed a fierde dark blue. While the swarm attacked the rangers it fired bolts of darkness at them, almost like an eigth appendage (eight? Yes. it had rotten wings on the side, though whether they were original or not, it was unclear). These creatures of darkness were dispatched mostly by Sabine’s everwood staff and clever use of flaming torches by Kithain. Solvayus, however, was a true hero in healing Sabine as the swarm tried to tear her to pieces.

In the wake of this danger, the dead birds and rotten pegasus-thing left mostly terrible feathers, rotten organs, and a black sludge. It was not the Rangers’ best day. They returned to the city, making a note of the danger, and with Solvayus realizing that someday he would need to come back to cleanse the area if he wanted to truly serve the will of the Ascended.

Note: Maybe it’s nothing, but I feel like I’m being watched. It’s not a feeling I like. I haven’t felt it since my training and it’s making me nervous.

Notable Personalities:

  • James Smith: racist blacksmith. 45-50. Human
  • Philip Silvers: Local silversmth. Good man. 35-40. presumably entirely human.
  • Hilda Silvers: Philip’s daughter and apprentice. Roughly 17-18. presumably entirely human.
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Raining Leaves 18, 3122
Report from Jiard Okt regarding the Grey Rangers sent to Karas

The others had already killed time in town. Shaina got to know the locals and let a human who aspires to be a druid in service to Zavonis. After a bar brawl where she was nearly detained he told her a story about the Dregordian druid that trained him and how he overcame his terrible temper. His name was Roy Cole.

Carn picked up the Wright edge and for training, had a hell of a time finding items. He was low on money, so he improvised with what he had. the blacksmith is a racist, so he sent Sabine (with her Camonere accent) to go speak for him. In the end an apprentice wright happened to swing through town and they talked shop and he picked up his feat (he pulled a joker in DITL).

Kodiaster spent a lot of his time hunting alone. One day he was sure he saw a flying figure in the clouds, but he couldn’t pin it down.

The rangers spoke for a while about what to do. One one hand they had 10 refugees staying with them and they needed to get them …. if not all the way to Mindoth’s Tower, at least part of the way. On the other hand, they still had not gotten to the bottom of the Red Headed Woman and her bandit raiders. Also, they were concerned about the Prelacy Paladin and his column of men scavenging the countryside for the refugees. they tossed around a lot of ideas. the plan they favored was to make a show of moving the refugees south and then sneaking them back in at night to stay at the Duke’s manor. When they presented this idea to the Duke, he was not thrilled about risking the lives of his people to hide ten illegal refugee outlaws that he did not know (and who could cause a political explosion with Camon). He refused. they went with their backup plan: they snuck the refugees around town at night and headed for a port. Their best option was Lake Hold and so they went.

Along the road, early in the morning, they ran into five men on the road and as they got closer it was clear that they were bandits. After some brief conversation (they didn’t want to risk the refugees) the bandits were convinced to let them pass. They have orders and those orders don’t include waylaying poor travelers. As the rangers passed, they saw that the numbers were three times what they had guessed, with the rest paying in wait. they turned every oncoming caravan they encountered for the rest of the trip around.

Once through Dooly (which they found boring) and into Lake Hold they made for the sprawling docks past the tall buildings made to resemble mountain architecture. When they got there Solvayus saw The Joker’s Plenty, the ship that had brought him from Korindia to the main land. He tracked down the first mate (an Eldakar woman named Faella) and asked after Captain Pole, who was doing business at a tavern. They found him talking to two fat Dregordians. After he’d concluded his business he talked to the rangers and said that he had room and would agree to take on the refugees as far as Riverbend if they would agree to stop some pirates that were going to be after his cargo: whatever the Dregordians wanted him to move (it was eventually going to Mindoth’s Tower itself) . They were given a description of the pirate ship and taken to the bottleneck where the Lake becomes river, tended by lighthouses and signal houses to prevent collisions. There they borrowed hook ladders and rowboats and waited for the pirate ship, saying goodbye to their refugee friends.

The boat was signaled to stop and did not. As it came forward an ornately dressed Dregordian came forward at the Aft and blew a Jet of solid air into their blue, specially prepared sails. The sails held and propelled the boat forward in a small burst. The rangers hooked it as it sailed between their rowboats and climbed aboard as an Obscuring mist covered the whole ship. Crossbow bolts fired out of the mist toward the Rangers, but the mist hurt the attacking pirates as much as it hurt the Rangers in their attacks. After several volleys failed (with Carn missing the sail repeatedly), the mist finally fell to reveal the enemies to one another. The rangers fired at the Dregordian spellcaster, but were thwarted at every turn by his Armor spell. One of the men as threatened into betraying the captain and turned and fired upon him. he also didn’t manage to pierce the armor, but he did anger h is vengeful captain, who turned a powerful Jet on him (and anyone caught in the blast).

A potent Blast of electrical magic from Kithain stunned the spellcaster just as his armor wore off. That was all the time Kodiaster needed to drop an arrow into his skull and end the battle. With the captain dead the crew began to surrender and were forced to pull the ship to the side of the river and drop anchor. The Joker’s Plenty got away and the crew and the refugees lived to fight another day.

Notable personalities:

  • Roy Cole: aspiring human druid in service to Zavonis
  • Captain Pole: tall lanky captain of the Joker’s Plenty. Human Male. (WC)
  • Faella: serious capable first officer of the Joker’s Plenty. Eldakar female.
  • Assalak na Vishala: pirate captain of the Blue Jet. Dregordian Male (sorcerer). (WC)
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White Stag 23, 3122
Report from Jiard Okt regarding the Grey Rangers sent to Karas

The rangers began at the river delta south of Lake Hold at the lighthouse. They had a boat and a hired crew and no need or desire for either. The lighthouse staff helped them get a tug barge out to drag the pirate ship into the dock and then they asked the lighthouse mistress what to do. She informed them that according to maritime law she could hang the pirates, but that she had no desire to bury dead bodies, so she was inclined to take money and goods enough to cover the sale of the boat (minus a discount for not wanting it) and let them have it. The rangers agreed and the ship was basically plundered and left to the men, who made haste away under advisement to leave the Joker’s Plenty alone (Sabine made sure to let them know that the Lord of Light was giving them a second chance. They did not argue).

The trip back was a long slog due to inclement weather, unexpected rain, unexpected snow, and poorly planned watering routes (ooc: we skipped like 2 games due to the birth of my daughter and we had a lot of time to cover). Along the way they passed the spot where the bandits had been, but apart from a reasonably fresh grave near their abandoned camp, they found nothing.

Another two days down the road beyond Dooley they saw men working the side of the field (laying fence posts and digging big rocks up from a field) and recognized one or two of them as the bandits. A tense conversation was had in which it was revealed that the men had gone back to the Red Haired Woman after they discovered that the Grey Rangers were involved and quit her service. Taking out trade caravans for a huge profit was one thing, but fighting Grey Rangers was something else entirely. The woman had gone cross and one of the men got into an argument with her and she’d killed him on the spot (hence the grave). After that she paid the men minus “fees” and left. They’d have enough money to buy a bit of land for themselves and were now going into honest farming. The Rangers decided to leave them be.

Their arrival back in Karas was met with some cheers, some odd looks, and some surprise that they were not dead. The tanner said that he’d assumed they were back the night before since someone was in their tower, but since they were not, he assumed it was a vagrant. On the way in, Carn caught sight of someone heaving a bag out from under a stone. The figure heaved back and fell and Carn almost pounced …. before he recognized Jiard Okt, who had buried their pay for the last month so nobody stole away with it. He handed it off as well as two letters, one from Neekosh Neetar saying that he would be by the previous day (though he was coming from Homestead and also there had been terrible storms) and one from the dwarf who taught him a lot of Wright skills saying that he would soon be in Karas with something to show him.

Jiard left and they went inside, with Kithain calling out to whoever was present to flee or show themselves before the rangers had to deal with them. Across the stairs leading up was a string of pointed ears – probably from alakar – decorating the path. Carn tore it down but Kithain had already seen it and decided that their time was up.

On the third floor, beside a small fire sitting in a chair, they found the red headed woman waiting for them. Carn was furious and nearly shot her. There was a tense conversation in which she told them that the reason she had come was to be placed under arrest. The rangers were, to say the least, surprised. She was asked her name and she responded that she was Lady Beatrice Le Champ. Once arrested she demanded to speak with the Duke. Carn laughed and told her that she didn’t get to make demands. Then she introduces herself again: Lady Beatrice Le Champ, envoy of the Cardinal of the Treasury of the Prelacy of Camon.

Sabine knew right away what all that meant and was stunned, demanding that three of them follow her to speak. While they spoke Carn grilled the woman on why she did all those terrible things and ultimately grew so angry with her arrogance that he smashed his palm into her face, breaking her nose and causing a lovely bleed.

Sabine explained to the group that if the woman was a representative of the Cardinal of the treasury, then executing her would be tantamount to declaring war: something the Duke clearly could not afford. The rangers seemed hesitant to take her to the Duke, however, because they believes that he would have no option but to let her go and they did not want to see that.

A talk with the Duke proved helpful: they would hold her in a cell until some decisions could be made. At the very least they would await the arrival of the Corporal and see what the Rangers could offer, but the Duke agreed that the right thing to do, politically, was to let her go and apologize giving the Prelacy no reason to declare war.

Two days later Neekosh Neetar and 3 orcs from the Golden Eyes Brotherhood arrived, late and hungry, having run into bad weather on the road and run out of food that wasn’t packed in a box and dried to death. They were grateful for a meal and Neetar set about grilling the Rangers about what had happened. Carn was hesitant to talk about not serving Beatrice some sort of justice, unsure that it would make a difference since war seemed inevitable. Neekosh noted that if the Prelacy brought cavalry down into the south unprovoked, the Kingdom of Olara would send armies to assist. If Karas killed an envoy and declared war, they might not be so inclined to let themselves be drawn into battle. He agreed that she should pay, but it was eventually decided that she would be taken to Olara by his men and tried by the Council of Olara. Sabine asked him to verify that they had done well and would not be killed. He wasn’t sure what to make of that.

Three days later, Carn had constructed a cage and shackled for the woman and she left, leaving the rangers to fulfill Neetar’s new mission:

They are to find and capture Juku the Fist, a former ranger (and former member of the Yellow Eyes Brotherhood) who defected, turned traitor, and promised himself to Darkness in exchange for terrible powers. He showed them to the 6 anvils welded together on a small cart that anchored two thick chains and held in place two giant manacles which he was sure would hold Juku when he was captured. Juku, he said, still has allies somewhere inside the Grey Rangers, and it would be best for morale if they saw him tried and executed for his crimes. Neekosh said that he believes that this would break his hold and do away with any hidden threats inside the Rangers themselves.

Notable personalities:

  • Lady Beatrice Le Champ: an agent of the Prelacy serving the Cardinal of the Treasury and who has recently been paying bandits large sums to raid farms and trade caravans.
  • Daley: The Duke’s chamber maid
  • Juku The Fist: darkness tainted ogre, former ranger
  • Tovin: Orc of the Yellow Eyes Brotherhood who TPO Koriaster played the Goodwill card on. In the future he will be positively predisposed to him.
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First Hunt 20, 3123
Report from Jiard Okt regarding the Grey Rangers sent to Karas

The rangers managed to get themselves snowed in at Dremar for what was one of the worst winters they’ve seen in a while_ (OOC: to explain our long hiatus)._ Once the thaw hit they set out toward the cave that they knew Juku and his men inhabited. They crept into the cave entrance just as the great storm that has been threatening began to s pew rain and lightning and thunder.

Amid lightning flashes they saw ahead in the dark cave eight people pulling cards and when the lightning stopped and the darkness crept back in they saw their eyes glowing yellow. The orcs launched an attack, thinking that they had stumbled upon victims easily without even having to haul the cart outside. The rangers spread out to create many targets and began to fight back: Kodiaster with his bow, Sabine and Carn (who enacted a daring charge) with their hand weapons, Kithain with his lethal magic, and Solvayus with a flurry of fists and feet, aiming for damage over precision. Shayna managed to confuse and distract some with illusions and did not attack with even one bad pun!

The fight was fast and brutal and it would have been complete had Levi not snuck away during it to warn Juku. One of the orcs proves to actually be a hobgoblin and dispatching him was harder, but also proved that they were, indeed, dealing with creatures of Darkness.

The lightning began to increase in frequency and the Rangers knew that something was wrong. They saw that much of it was striking on top of the hill that the cave was in and began to head up. There they saw Levi and demanded that he surrender. He told Juku that his guests had arrived and the massive (nearly fourteen feet tall) form of Juku the Fist, a Troll in service to the Darkness, came around the corner, leaving the Rangers in a state of total awe.

Sabine, unfazed, charges, telling him that the Lord of Light would be his undoing. The staff struck him and it’s Everwood burned his flesh, stunning him for a moment: Juku the First was unaccustomed to feeling pain. Juku’s taloned fists hit Sabine and sent her flying backwards, blood spewing from her front in a tangled mess of woulds that Solvayus was fortunate to get to in time to heal, flooding her with the Light in the hopes of staving off death. Arrows and bolts bounced right off Juku harmlessly. Shayna circled around back in an attempt to climb his massive body … and was thrown clear as bolts of powerful blue lightning crashed down from the sky and soaked into Juku. Shayna managed to catch the edge of the cliff with one claw, but it was dangerously close.

Juku glowed with a faint light and the arrows and bolts now hitting him, while not causing true woulds, did seem to hurt. Shocked, he aimed for Kodiaster, who was swooping in for another attack … and rose from the ground, crackling with electrical energy. Kodiaster didn’t see that coming nor did he expect Juku’s fists to crash into his head like falling trees and send him sprawling to the ground. In the hopes of stopping some of his seemingly sourceless power, Shayna created mystical Silence in the area. Juku landed and thrashed out at both Sabine and Solvayus, each sucking and narrowly avoiding decapitation. Lightning struck again and Juku began to shrink and deflate, down to merely the size of a huge ogre. But he now had a cunning look in his eye and he stalked out of the silenced area and rose his giant hands to gesture at Kithain, speaking arcane words and attempting to launch a deadly spell at him with triumph in his eyes. He failed, unaccustomed to the arcane arts.

A bolt left Carn’s crossbow and it struck Juku square in the neck, sending him sprawling to the ground where he was stabilized, placed in the giant manacles (now with padding to account for size lost) and hauled back to town where he could be paraded around and the people could see that he was no longer a threat. Then, amid swirling storms, it was back toward Karas.

Notable personalities:

  • Juku The Fist: darkness tainted ogre, former ranger
  • Levi: Orc formerly of the Golden Eyes Brotherhood who was working with Juku.
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Dancing Clouds 2, 3123
Report from Jiard Okt regarding the Grey Rangers of Karas

The Rangers recovered nicely from their botched trade negotiations in Hale as nicely as they could, getting on the road early the next day and putting the dirt and grime of that situation behind them. Carn spent the majority of his free time that day and the next examining the device they had taken from the would-be attacker. It was clear that it was some sort of worked device, and the soft glow from the crystal in the base meant that it was a likely source of power, but despite a few engineering principles at work, Carn could not for the life of him determine how the thing worked. He decided that it required further study.

The next day Kodiaster saw a horse moving toward them along the road which, he presumed, held a rider. When it got closer, it seemed that it DID have a rider, of a sort. They assumed he was dead, at first, and lashed to the pommel, but when the horse stopped he took in a breath and the rangers set about healing and dismounting him. He was wearing the battle standard of Olara, and the look of it identified him as a light armored member of The Order of the Hammerfall Riders, probably a long range scout. He was a mess: dehydrated, wounded, starving and having not left the horse in days he was also a bot of a mess.

Once the man was awake and aware he introduced himself as Minosh, a scout, as predicted. His group had been routed by the Crimson Crusade and they’d lead them on a wild chase through the rolling hills of Olara till they’d given up chase. Trouble was, by then they had no idea where they were, either. the squad went south till they hit the south road and then sent a scout in either direction to see if they were closer to Hale or Harken. From the look on the man, the correct answer had been Harken and he’d been riding for days without food or water. The Rangers put down for camp there and tended to the man’s wounds and weariness.

The next day he was much more awake and aware and provided the group with what he could as a progress report, but it wasn’t much: the front is a mess and the Crimson Crusade are cunning and patient. Minosh did not feel optimistic.

A few moments later, the rangers walked into a trap: crossbowman who must have seen them coming miles off in this terrain and hidden themselves rose from shallow pits and opened fire, nearly killing Kodiaster and wounding several others. The rangers moved into action, evading, attacking, and doing their best to take down the crossbowman before they reloaded. Shaina created an illusion around the group of a wall of fire, giving the crossbowmen pause. Sadly, because she didn’t say anything, it gave the rangers pause as well, but they soldiered through to attack. Solvayus, after a brief stop to heal Kosiadter, lashed out with his fists at the men. Sabine leaped into the fray and brought her staff to bear, blessing the party’s ability to fight in honor of the Lord of Light. Carn took a close look at the men and realized that while they were dressed like bandits, their weapons and tactics were quite uniform. He announced to the party that they were trained soldiers and to be careful. Kodiaster and Kithain fired at the enemy with arrows and magic. Carn used a strange device to propel himself across the field and into one of the men, crushing him with a mighty hammer blow. Amid the fray a large black raven could be seen circling overhead, watching everything (Sabine’s player placed the adventure card that gained the attention of Saderin). Even the exhausted Hammerfall scout managed to bring a rock down on one of the attackers.

Soon the attackers were down and the Rangers remained. One fled, but his flight south didn’t bode well for his survival.

A survey of the area showed that the attackers had a camp nearby and some letters to be sent home written by one – once translated by Sabine – revealed that they were new recruits who had been sent to the south to disrupt trade. Sabine spent the next hour breaking their weapons, vowing that they would take no more lives.

Two more uneventful days of travel brought the Rangers to Harken and a quick flash of the cloaks to the sentry had them inside with directions. Minosh left to join his men, thanking the Rangers profusely. They traveled to a small house that the Rangers maintain in the city. Built into the side of a hill, the house is only bodied by a Dwarven Sergent Major named Mindra Stoneholler. They ate and stayed in real bed (a few of them, at least) and were told that one of the heads of the military council was in town (it’s wartime, and they move). She suggested that whatever their mission was in the Capitol, they speak with his before they leave to make sure as many people as possible are informed. In the morning, they got an appointment.

A few of the Rangers (Sabine, Carn, and Kodiaster) walked to the Stoneholler home and met Malin Stoneholler, the master of the house and Lord Marmar Stoneholler, one of the heads of the Olaran army .Once they were alone with Lord Marmar, they told him that they were looking for Juku the Fist and Reet Tuck, who they believed sprung Juku from a ranger prison and brought him here. he did not seem overly concerned, though he did want their opinions regarding what was to be done and what their plan was. Of note:

  • He assumes that both Reet and Juku are in or around the Capitol, though he was not clear on why he thinks that.
  • He revealed that Juku had 4 death sentences passed on him in Olara and that they would like to see them met.
  • He would like to see Juku turned on the Crimson Crusade, so that his death serves the military.
  • He believes that Reet will speak rationally and that her service to the kingdom means that the King will insist that she be given a chance to speak before the Rangers have a chance to touch her.

He left the room to write a matter for the council that he asked the Rangers to take. They don’t seem to trust him, and probably with good cause. Sabine remained at the estate that night to perform some magic to determine whether or not he was dedicated to Darkness.

Notable Personalities:

  • Minosh: a scout from the Olaran army
  • Mindra Stoneholler: Sergeant Major ranger and the only ranger in Harken
  • Malin Stoneholler: fat lazy dwarf and the head of house Stoneholler in Harken
  • Lord Marmar Stoneholler: a member of the Olaran military council and a ranking officer
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Dancing Clouds 16, 3123
Report from Jiard Okt regarding the Grey Rangers of Karas

Sabine finished her long casting at the Stoneholler home in thanks for their hospitality and as she feared, there was a scream from the sleeping quarters.

Unlike she had expected, what emerged from the room was not Master Stoneholler or even Lord Stoneholler, but a human servant they’d seen the night before. He was in a mad dash to leave, and a bit red in the face. Sabine moved to strike him with her Everwood staff while Kodisater drew back on his newly acquired bow and both attacks went wide, the arrow skittering down the hallway as the agile servant strode past them. From down the hall a sick looking Lord Stoneholler called after them to stop that creature. Kosiaster drew back again and waited until there was no chance of a nimble dodge before letting loose his arrow. It entered at the chin and exited at the crown, dropping the dark beast as well as the illusion that made him appear to be a living human man. What was left behind was a burned out husk that had once been a man. Lord Stoneholler stopped. “Well … that’s one way to do it …”

It looked like the creature had planned to leave the councilor dead and leave the blame with the Rangers (or maybe their presence just made it nervous and forced its timetable, who knows?) . In either case, the Stonehollers were very grateful and put Sabine up for a few hours to rest.

The rest of the trip was uneventful and soon the Rangers found themselves in Olara itself, with the evidence of war well away from their eyes. They had just enough time to enter the city and get settled in a ranger-held building before it was time for recreation and drinking.

Inside they met Gisela Bachman, an archer, scholar, and tactician, as well as the ranking ranger (a Sergeant) and her two rank and file ranger “twin” brothers Radulf and Volmer (described as the two ugliest Olarans to be found, mostly because of the terrible battle scars they have everywhere). The Rangers bathed and drank out in public with the promise of meeting with the Council tomorrow.

Notable Personalities

  • Gisela Bachman
  • Volmer
  • Radulf
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Dancing Clouds 28, 3123
Report from Jiard Okt regarding the Grey Rangers of Karas

Having spent the night at the Grey Ranger house in Olara, the Ranger were ready to head to their meeting when an early morning visitor in the shape of “Wot” showed and told Gisela that he owed Carn some money. She roused Carn who was quite confused, and in short order it was (more or less) determined that the small goblin who had arrived wanted the Ranger to meet with a member of the War Council in secret. Rangers were gathered and they departed for a seedy tavern in a part of town that some people called “the docks” because of it’s trade routes and because it’s where black market goods moved (and not for it’s actual docks, which did not exist).

At this meeting they are told that Juku was brought to Olara on purpose, on the order of the war council. They were told that there was a minority on the war council who were horrified that their nation might go to such lengths to try to gain an advantage against the Prelacy’s war machine. She implored the rangers to try to talk some sense into the nation in their meeting.

Armed with this knowledge, the rangers attended their meeting and were given entrance into the war council, where they saw many councilors, a very well dressed man with a security detail, and Colonel Reet Tuck.

The meeting started off rocky, with Carn bluntly accusing the war council of kidnapping Juku to use as a weapon. The small council was dismissed at the order of a well dressed man (presumably the king) and all that was left was the proper council and the rangers. The man addressed Carn and informed him that Juku had been brought on his word, and that he had 4 life sentences to answer for in Olara. It had been decided that he would be turned loose on the Prelacy and die in the field, a legitimate if very old legal sentence. The war council had voted and agreed that if his death could serve some purpose, why not? Carn only spoke a few more disrespectful words before he was reminded that he was addressing a sovereign nation and that it would be a shame if he was removed from it naked and alone.

However, the debate did not end. The rangers wanted to ensure that Juku died and that he did not turn on Olara. The War Council informed them that if they were so concerned that they could join him in the field the next day and make sure he went where he was supposed to. The rangers took this proclamation stoically, for the most part.

As a last ditch effort Sabine spoke out, despite wanting to remain silent lest her Camonere accent betray them, but with all else lost she implored the war council not to take this action. She said that they could gain just as great a tactical advantage by employing spellcasters in the mountains and hill where the Prelacy cavalry was almost useless and where their superior numbers were less valuable. She told the man that if he did this thing, that he would only be proving the Church of Archanon right, and that it would make him the ally of Darkness that they feared he was: that it would not solve any problems, but only create more passionate hate among their people (she also made a truly epic roll, and managed 4 raises after her adventure card).

The war council was moved by this and after some deep thought the king proclaimed that he would do as they asked and tasked the Rangers with the execution of Juku the Fist before night fall.

Reet Tuck lead the rangers into the duingeons where Juku was kept in their largest and most well made cell in chains thick enough to hold a mountain in place. She seemed to express regret and as they traveled the rangers grew nervous that she would turn on them. When questioned she said, “I am loyal to Olara.” She empowered their weapons with flame and stood quite a ways down the hall while they executed Juku through the bars of his cell. He was felled by the magic of Kithain ad left behind a terribly large corpse. The Rangers took his head with them as proof to the rest of the rangers that he had died. They also took the small goblin with them, as during the execution he had crawled up Reet Tuck’s body in an attempt to stop her casting spells, fearing her betrayal. He was, of course, fured for this.

In the night before they left, Kodiaster did some research and reading with Gisel about the bow he got from Homestead and Sabine had a fitful night’s sleep in communion with her staff.

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