Investigation into why the traitor, Santik Tiresen, led Kal soldiers into a Grey Ranger compound for the express purpose of destroying the compound and killing all within.
After Action Report:
Grey Lantern Report: Barak, 19th of Red Wolf, 3122, Montar Reporting
I write this report as I travel through the Wildlands, searching for answers as to why our messenger network is being disrupted. Leaving the small contingent of Grey Rangers in Barak alone fills my mind with unease, but I will have to trust in their training and courage.
Saying farewell to fallen comrades never gets easier. Before I left on my mission we laid to rest more than a dozen good Grey Rangers in the graveyard overlooking Falconspire. The ceremony was brief, it saddens me that we did not have more time but the grave danger we are in does not allow the luxury of time. I have promised myself that when this war ends I will come back and pay my proper respects.
I have cobbled together this report from the debriefings of all three Rangers involved in the mission. Surlik, the Goblin caretaker at Falconspire, trains our messenger birds very well and they were not disturbed as they made their way to me.
After I left the compound, the remaining Rangers set about interrogating the one Kal-A-Nar warrior that they had managed to capture during the last mission. He was, shall we say, less than forthcoming. It is, I believe, a truism to state that most Kal warriors are more afraid of the punishments that Ceynara and her minions can dole out than any interrogation methods a captor can use. Angus and Ailirria tried various means to extract information, ranging from Intimidation to some physical coercion, but all were for naught. They did learn that the traitor, Santik Tiresen, had been working with the Kal troop and was definitely the one who had let them into Falconspire.
As the attempted interrogation was winding down the compound was visited by two men, Lieutenant Altir Merran (leader of the Royal Trade Coalition Marines in Barak) and Mulrik Evanson (Mayor of Barak). The two men brought news of very recent disturbances at some gravesites in Barak.
It seems that, during the attack of the other evening, three bodies had been taken from their burial plots. Of note is that nothing else was taken, only the bodies. The fact that no possessions were taken from the graves is what made the Lieutenant and Mayor decide to bring it to the attention of the Grey Rangers. That, and the fact that the desecrations happened during the night of the attack made the events seem related.
After careful questioning of the two men the Rangers were able to determine some facts that seemed very significant. In life, the three people whose bodies had been taken had all been paragons of innocence and “light” until a few weeks before they had died when their actions had become very dark. The Rangers also learned that each of the three had a strange symbol on their bodies that no one remembered being there before they started acting strangely. The three had also been killed during the opening stages of the War of Flame, all on the same night. Lastly, and perhaps most significant at the time, the Rangers learned that there was a fourth citizen with the same characteristics of the three being discussed that was not buried in the town of Barak. Rather, she had been buried in the hills outside of town at a small cemetary used by mining families.
The Rangers quickly jumped into action after getting directions to the cemetary. Angus had the presence of mind to ask Lieutenant Merran if he could send a squad of RTC Marines to Falconspire to watch over the Kal prisoner while they were gone.
Riding their horses as hard as they could over the hilly terrain the Rangers sped towards the cemetary, arriving in good time. Oddly enough, I’m told that at one point during the journey Cassiel stopped and asked the other two, Angus and Ailirria, if they had…“heard that too.” Considering that the only noise was the thundering of the horses hooves I find this strange and a little bit disturbing. I will have to make sure that I keep an eye on this situation. Hopefully it was nothing but nerves.
The cemetary was in a wooded copse, most of the area having been reclaimed by vegetation over the years. Ailirria used her skills to get closer to the cemetary without being seen. She saw five Kal gathered around a gravesite, four warriors and a woman dressed in what appeared to be priestly raiments. Stealthily making her way back to her friends, Ailirria reported what she had seen.
The group quickly made plans; they were going to make a wider arc around the cemetary and, hopefully, fall upon the Kal group with surprise on their side. A good plan, in retrospect, however, it all went for naught when one of the group stepped on a branch, stumbled forward, tripped on his robes, and finally fell forward onto a dry tree branch that splintered with the sound of thunder. What? Oh, no it wasn’t the dwarf, it was Cassiel, the eldakar.
The element of surprise was lost, so the Rangers quickly jumped into action. Angus dashed forward using trees as cover as he went. Ailirria dove for cover behind a small, crumbling stone wall. Cassiel picked himself up, brushed off his robes, and mumbled something about hidden snares.
The combat that followed was brief, if brutal. There is no questioning the fighting skills of these new Rangers, that is for certain. Angus roared into melee, keeping the attention of the Kal Warriors while Ailirria’s bow hummed with precision and Cassiel’s bolts of lightning flew with unerring accuracy, lighting up the darkened cemetary. The Kal contingent were no match for the Rangers, all warriors and the priestess falling within 30 seconds of the fight beginning.
After the combat, Ailirria searched the body of the Priestess while Angus and Cassiel saw to interring the body that the Kal had uncovered. Ailirria found this parchment on the body of the Priestess;
The Rangers quickly discerned that a ritual of some kind using the four bodies was starting soon, or had already started. They knew that it was being done at a place of power, but, being new to the area, they had no idea where such a place might exist nearby. There was nothing for them to do but hurry back to Barak and find someone with enough knowledge to aid them.
They reached Barak as night was beginning to fall. Hastening to the Shrine to Archanon in Barak they managed to find a Priestess who was able to help them. The Priestess told them that there was a ruined church to Archanon about an hour to the south of Barak. She explained that the church was built a long time ago by agents of the Prelacy of Camon to help spread their false teachings. The church was destroyed a hundred years ago when Archanon appeared in the world and the Church of Light was formed. As the Priestess relayed her information the ground rumbled slightly, as if a minor earthquake was occurring. The Rangers all looked at each other, knowing exactly was happening.
Thanking the Priestess for the information, the Rangers sped to the south, quickly finding the ruined church from the directions given to them by the Priestess. Night had fallen across the land as the Rangers approached the crumbling structure, only an eerie red glow seeping from cracks in the upper foundation of the church illuminated the area. Seeing only horses milling around the church, the Rangers quickly sped into action. Quickly taking the stairs leading down into the church basement the group were met with a horrific sight…
A contingent of Kal Warriors and Adepts were in the middle of enacting their foul ritual. Four pools of bubbling lava were placed in the eastern end of the basement, each with an adept standing by it. The Adepts were concentrating fiercely on their magical weavings. Above each pool a body was slowly descending (the three bodies stolen from their graves by the Kal and a single Kal warrior who had, umm, “volunteered”) towards the lava. In the center of the four pools was a hastily constructed altar to Ceynara. Standing in front of the altar, a fierce grin upon her scarred face, was an imposing Priestess of Ceynara. It was very obvious to the Rangers that she was the focal point of the ritual. Between the Rangers and the ritual being enacted was a floor that had gaping holes, forming a deep chasm, filled with fire from the lava that was quickly rising due to the ritual being enacted. Past the chasm, and before the ritual participants, were five Kal Warriors wielding bows.
Without hesitation the Rangers flew down the stairs and began engaging their foes. Angus, without hesitation, launched himself through the air and over the lava filled chasm to engage the bow-wielding Kal warriors that had been peppering Cassiel with deadly missiles.
Ailirria and Cassiel began engaging their enemies from a distance, at first focusing on the War Priestess by the altar. They quickly discovered, however, that the Priestess was being shielded by a combined deflection spell being cast by the four Adepts standing by the pools. Cassiel was able to determine that killing the Adepts would cause the magical shield to fall, so the two ranged Rangers began focusing their efforts on doing just that.
As the combat continued gouts of lava flew from the chasm in the ground, landing on the floor randomly, shooting deadly lava in all directions when it landed. At one point, a ball of lava landed right between Ailirria and Cassiel, but they were able to agilely tumble away before sustaining any severe damage.
Adding to the urgency of the situation was the fact that each of the four bodies was getting closer to falling into their respective pools. The Rangers didn’t know exactly what would happen if the ritual finished, but surmised that it would be nothing good for them or for Barak.
The clash of steel, the hum of bowstrings, and the incantations of magic loudly resonated across the heaving basement. Angus maneuvered himself into a position where he was engaged with as many foes as he could be. Time and time again he used his shield and weapon to ward off enemy blows. When the blows did get past his defenses he would only grunt as his armor and stocky frame absorbed any lethal damage. One by one, Ailirria and Cassiel brought down the Adepts. As each one fell the magical barrier defending the War Priestess faded a bit more.
As the battle turned against her troops the War Priestess forced one of the Adepts to leap into a pool of lava. As the Rangers watched in horror the pool began to bubble and a monstrous creature seemed to be slowly forming within it.
Not wishing to have any part of fighting a creature of flame, the Rangers redoubled their efforts. Cassiel, even though bleeding copiously from an arrow wound at this point, managed to bring down the last Adept causing the shield to fall. Seizing the opportunity, Ailirria aimed carefully and released her last arrow. It flew true, striking the War Priestess in the chest and penetrating to the heart. The War Priestess fell, her last words an apology to Ceynara for her failure.
As the War Priestess fell the lava disappeared and the basement again became quiet. Ailirria and Cassiel searched the bodies of their fallen foes while Angus questioned the one Kal Warrior that had surrendered after the Priestess had fallen. This Kal was a bit more forthcoming than the one back at Falconspire. He told Angus that this particular troop of Kal had been operating within the area of Barak for a year. He also relayed that the ritual had been meant to destroy Barak by calling forth creatures formed of lava and flame that would have been set loose on the town in a fury of destruction. As to the reason why the warrior didn’t know, intimating that he was just a soldier and following orders.
All that remained was the makeshift altar and Angus took care of that with a few swipes of his axe. Interestingly enough, as he swung his axe it began to glow with a silverish light that caused the pieces of the altar to exploder whenever the blade touched them.
The Rangers returned to Barak, taking the three corpses with them and seeing that they were returned to their proper resting places.
Again, the Rangers of Barak have proven themselves. They handled a grave situation that might have made the strongest and most experienced amongst us have second thoughts. My confidence in them grows daily, I just hope they will be enough to stand against all that comes against them in the future.
Three experience points were handed out to each character.
Mulrik Evanson: Thin, balding, and very fidgety. Mulrik is the council-elected Mayor of Barak.
Inggjerd kes Dorgan: Kalinesh War Priestess of Ceynara who attempted to enact a ritual that would have possibly destroyed Barak. Killed during a battle with the Rangers of Barak.
Thyri kes Dorgan: Sister to Inggjerd kes Dorgan. Supposedly a high ranking Priestess of Ceynara.