Rangers of the Greenway Road
Campaign Report 115: Addendum
Red Wolf 10th, 3127
I completed my meetings with Commander Garrus and other unit officers, my presence within the Heroes’ Keep was concluded. Though I’m certain Commander Garrus appreciated my presence, and I know the men found pride in having the Commander of the Legion present, I find that at a certain point the presence of high officers ends up being more of a detriment. Junior officers grow complacent, simply passing off responsibility to higher officers rather than taking responsibility for themselves. And Commander Garrus regrettably stepped aside, acting more as my aide de camp than the duly appointed commander of the post.
So, after concluding my duties on the 10th, I informed Commander Garrus that I would be departing in the morning. That evening, we held a dinner for the Legion and allies in the courtyard. There, we commemorated the site were Rysak Ironblood fell. I have commissioned the Builders and Dwarven Stonesinger to create a monument to our fallen, to include the spear which nearly took my life.
Red Wolf 11th, 3127
With my small retinue of Wolfhaven Free Riders and a pair of Legion scouts, I began my long trek east and south to Echer’Naught. Eve joined me as well, since her immediate duties were completed. She also expressed a desire to see Alfred and to be with him at his knighting. I express pride and joy at their happiness. For what else do we fight, but the future of our children?
Our route took us east to Hispan, then through the Guardian Gathers, south-east to Jasara. There we cross the river, down to Rhion, then turning east to Kore,and then south toward Echer’Naught.
Red Wolf 23rd, 3127
We stopped at the Wolfhaven Barony. Sir Regillus was in attendance. I gather that he was a tad miffed that we rode upon him unannounced. He takes his formalities seriously. Still, it was pleasant to sleep in my own bed, despite the absence of my beautiful wife. She remained in the city managing affairs of the house.
My office was neat an orderly, with neatly and orderly stacked messages, reports, missives, letters, and petitions in small towers scattered about the room. With the sheer volume I could have constructed a serviceable fortification fit for a pair of battle-brothers. I will by necessity need return and address the stockpile. But not this day.
Red Wolf 24th, 3127
Per usual, we left before dawn, making our way south along the North Barony road. Under the name Wolf, a wandering Olaran mercenary, I purchased a room at the Mid-waystation south of the Barony. This quaint two-story inn has featured prominently in many Ranger reports, most recently Alpha Team. We enjoyed a delicious lunch and continued our ride.
We camped outside, but within sight of Echer’Naught’s walls. Seeing the light flickering along the wall, hearing the faint murmur of voices…my heart ached with longing. A handful of travelers approached the camp and requested to join our encampment. They were travelers from Jasara in the city on business. We ate, drank, and sang. There was something so normal about just sitting by a warm fire under the stars and enjoying the company of new friends without the burden of rank and station.
Do all who bear authority long for the simpler days of youth, when life consisted of brotherhood, excitement, and, most importantly, freedom? Perhaps. And yet, I would not sacrifice all the freedom in the world for my family, my home. It is good to get away, but I look forward to resuming my normal duties.
Red Wolf 25th, 3127
We rose before dawn, joining the line of carts, wagons, and travelers seeking to enter the city. Despite our early arrival, we were still about fifth in line. An hour passed before the guards sounded the horn, and the great north gate doors creaked and groaned open. City Watch and Rangers strode out, taking up posts under awnings to begin inspections.
In all the years in the city, I do not ever recall standing in line to watch this ceremony which has remained nigh unchained for centuries. The experience was pleasant, as waiting in line could be, though surreal. One by one, each merchant and wagon rolled up to the gate. The Sergeant at Arms inspected the paperwork, while his guards poked and prodded the laden wagon. All the while, the City Watch glowered under their domed helms.
Eventually, my team stepped up to the checkpoint. The bored Ranger Sergeant extended a hand for my papers without bothering to glance upwards. I express a certain amusement when his gaze settled upon my name and rank. His body went rigid, and he nearly fell over looking up. I could see the well drilled reflex as he opened his mouth to call the guard to attention. When our eyes locked, he wisely noted the slight shake of my head and chose to, instead, clear his throat instead. Handing me back my papers, he waved my unit through without further comment.
With the city just waking, we rode down the Main Street. Merchants threw off tarps, criers began to shout their wares, bleary eyed servants emptied chamber pots into sewers grates, and the bustle of the city grew into a constant roar. We stopped by Schenkle’s Bakery for sweet rolls. Father Schenkle nearly cracked a rib hugging me. My guards nearly smashed a case trying to save me. All told, it was an eventful breaking of fast.
Afterwards, we rode to the Ranger City Headquarters and dismounted outside. The Ranger grooms were just finishing their morning ale when we appeared. Only the head man recognized me out of uniform and actually fell off his fence rail. Quickly, with only a brief pause for scrambling, the grooms took our horses and we head around the corner to the “entrance.” For the briefest moment I was lost in time. Nostalgia flooded over me. The scent of mud, straw, oil, and wood mixed with the sounds of Rangers training in the yard and the hubbub of traffic on the main road behind me.
After all these years I can still see the broke down old barn that served as our headquarters for the first years. As I passed the pair of Ranger guards flanking the door, I could almost see the hulking form of GrimMbore on his crate, like the first day I arrived. Passing through the old familiar door, I was greeted by the sight of dozens of Rangers packed around long tables, eating, talking, and laughing. But I could just as clearly see a young cocky Hawksclaw stacking lumber while Highwall sawed and nailed them together. Does anyone sitting her today realize that their tables, chairs, firepits, even beds were build by hand by THE Colonel Wolfhaven, Captain Hawksclaw, and Sergeant Minor Longtail? Only, back then, we were Alexander, Rah-Sahn, Aradove, and Gate…
Even after so many years, it is strange not seeing Grimbore’s bed just inside the door to the left. That was shipped out almost two years ago, shortly after the founding of the Stone Tower Gather. He was SO happy when we presented it to him. Such a simple thing, a bed. But, he was as proud as any king.
My anonymity evaporated the moment I stepped into the Headquarters. Conversation stopped as NCO’s began to rise to their feet, unsure of protocol when their Colonel is out of uniform. I nodded in what I hoped was a reassuring gesture. Why do they look at me with such fear? Of all the trapping of rank, the disconnected with the men under my command is one of the most difficult things to bear.
As I approached the door to Captain Hawksclaw’s office, my old office, the orc guard out front snapped to attention so fast and so straight, I feared his spine would snap. He did manage to squeak out a hoarse, “next.” Inside, Captain Hawksclaw, just starting his morning tea, looked up confused, then delighted. That must be why we cling to the old guard. Because they see us not as Colonels and Captains, but as we are…old friends.
We embraced, then I sat. I can scarcely describe the feeling of being back here. Everything is so familiar, the old desk, the rough paneled walls, the worn chairs. And yet, it has all changed. Such is life.
Despite his surprise, and confusion at my appearance, Hawksclaw welcomed me. It was good to just chat with a friend. Though, I admit that my appearance was under false pretenses. I am fully away that Alpha is to be sent as an honor guard for Blackstone’s wedding. I signed the orders myself. But, there were a couple important events that needed addressing prior to their departure. And on that note, I informed Captain Hawksclaw that his promotional packet had been received and approved. Granted it was on extremely short notice, but he would need to acquire a new dress uniform, and put together a guest list. We shook and he looked both concerned and excited. If any man deserves the honor, it is Rah-Sahn.
After that, I headed to my manor to see my wife. In the brief time spent in the City HQ, main street grew crowded. Even mounted, we slowed to a crawl as we navigated the congested streets. Under normal circumstances, outriders would clear the streets allowing my retinue to pass, but this morning I elected to move with the flow of traffic. Sweet, spicy, and savor scents wafted up from street vendors. While waiting for a broken wagon to be pushed off the road, I leaned down an purchased a pastry from a food stall recommended by Sir Volstagg. It was delicious as promised, though I am still partial to Schenkles.
Eventually, we passed the roundabout at Center Pointe. I note the Memorial is going up well. Craftsmen were laboring large, granite slaps into place as we passed. Through Center Pointe, we made our passed the Wayfarer’s Rest on the right, and Barracks on the left. A few blocks later, we make the turn through the High Towne gate, up the hill, and then…home.
There are few feelings quite so comforting as seeing your home for the first time. But there is one.
By some stoke of fortune, my Lady Baroness happened to be leaving the manor on some errand as we crested the hill. I saw her a moment before she turned. So beautiful. Today, she wore a gray gown over a silver tooled dress. Her shoulders and chest were bare revealing her alabaster skin, and wide, fluted sleeves flowed down from needle pointed embroidery at the shoulders, down to decorative lace at the wrists. Over her raven hair, she wore a pale wimple. Behind her flocked her attendants like chicks following a mother hen. And behind the attendants a pair of House Guard in colors followed, arclances resting against their shoulders.
She was speaking to her chief handmaid, when the girl stiffened, seeing me approaching. Elyanna turned, slowly. Our eyes met. And then, she smiled. There was not shout, she did not tear off running toward me. Nothing so…crass. My wife simply smiled and waited patiently for me to dismount and approach. But her eyes, her eyes spoke volumes. I still marvel how a woman raised so far from my home could so wholly adopt Olaran culture. She is everything I could have dreamed and more.
Baroness Elyanna did make one small concession. After our brief embrace, she handed a list to her chief handmaid and instructed the girl to complete the shopping without her. Rather, my wife joined me at the manor.
Red Wolf 26th, 3127
While working through yet another stack of paperwork, this at home, I heard word that Captain Hawksclaw officiated the promotion for several members of Alpha Team.
Ranger Arimar Blackstone was promoted to Ranger First Class
Ranger Ingrid was promoted to Ranger First Class
Ranger McKenzie Shan was promoted to Ranger First Class
Ranger Steelwing was promoted to Ranger First Class
Considering the actions of the team, the promotion was more than deserved.
I, of course, was busy planning my own promotion ceremony. In fine military tradition, it is appropriate to accompany the elevation of an officer with pomp and circumstance. The greater the rank, the more pomp. As there are previous few Majors in the Ranger Corps, it being a seldom used rank, I felt it appropriate to present Captain Hawksclaw the full experience and grandeur of his new position. No one deserves it more. Besides, I have not forgotten the mirth he felt at my own award ceremony so many years ago. I will never forget the dreadful performance by Fateweaver and his band of mummers. It haunts my dreams.
Colonel Anderson called on me during the afternoon. He had heard word of my arrival and spent most of the 25th, and 26th awaiting my arrival at the Regional Headquarters. When I failed to arrive, he elected to come to me. I fear I may have insulted the man, though he was congenial and pleasant. I assured him that my reticence to arrive at the HQ had more to do with the fact that I was not yet in a position to assume full-time duties than any issue with his team. Moreover, I sought NOT to interfere until such time as I was able direct my full resources at the task. He seemed mollified and was instrumental in putting Captain Hawksclaw’s ceremony together.
Red Wolf 27th, 3127
Despite my best efforts, certain duties required my attention. First and foremost, I signed off on assigning Ben Toma’s mask from the “Vault,” to RFC Ranna. Thought I do not envy her, I understand the protections the mask will provide. If it will protect my Rangers, I am more than pleased to agree. Also, I found a request via Sergeant Major Stormhammer on behalf of Ranger “Explorer” to be assigned an arcfire handcaster from the Ranger Arsenal. This…I considered.
I have no fear the Builder is more than capable of operating the caster. In fact, I dare say that few other than Anaxelum’s men know more about arcfire. And yet, I am loathe to distribute our precious store of arcfire to those I do not know. Even members of Alpha Team. Was I being influence by my own personal distrust of arcfire, or just my concerns over the motives of the Builder’s as a race? Whatever the case, I tucked that request into the personal satchel for further rumination.
In addition to orders, I was pleased to be informed that as of the 27th of Red Wolf, RFC Ranna had officially been inducted into the Echer’Naught chapter of the Order of the Closed Eye. I am pleased that she appears to be acclimating to living with the Rangers. In addition, I heard word that on the same day she submitted Captain Volstagg’s acceptance as a Sworn of House Volstagg. Sir Volstagg extended the invitation to them both when they left Almahrad the last time, Falling Ice 30th, 3127. Sergeant Grendel accepted his immediately. RFCRanna required more time to come to the decision.
There were other reports, details, and business. But, again, final preparations for Rah-Sahn’s ceremony consumed most of my time. That…and meeting with my son.
Alfred and I had been in communication via letters, and Lady Moonsilver, for months. In fact, throughout Spring and into Summer, we discussed his promotion to full knight. Since Falling Ice 34th, 3123, that fateful day when I took the lists during Echer’Naught’s annual Festival of Lilankrone, young Alfred served as my Squire. In fact, it was the same day he took the cloak to be a Ranger. I wonder if he knew then what a change that day would have on his life? I hope for the better. A year and two months of loyal service later, I officially adopted Alfred as my son and heir on Golden Eagle 21st, 3124. From that day till this, he has had but one dream, to ascend to the rank of Knight in House Wolfhaven.
Regrettably, my duties have kept me away far too long. And Alfred has been patient, though I can feel his frustration. I feel it as well. My knighting was one of the greatest moments of my life. My father looked so proud. Though it seems a lifetime ago, it is a precious treasure that I have held through the dark days of my life. Nothing would give me greater joy than to grant for Alfred what was granted to me.
And then, there is the small matter for Evelyn Afliem, of course. I know my son’s heart is to marry her. But, he cannot until he has reached knighthood. And, from her earnest gaze as we entered the city, examining each face in the hope to see his in the crowd…she is as impatient as we.
So, in the midst of preparations to promote my friend and sworn, Rah-Sahn, I also had the double joy to send invitations to the knighting of my eldest son. My heart bursts with pride.
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