Shaintar_J&L_Rangers of Sog

Silly Prelacy, We Can Keep Sog Fire Free
Tree Pretty, Fire Bad. Food Soon?

20th of White Stag

The morning after the interesting sparing matches that Maggpie decided to have, Artivan sets up a team of Rangers to rebuild the furniture that Maggpie and Kassegore destroyed. Afterwards we get served breakfast.

Kassegore and Maggpie have a conversation that causes Nightingale to fall from her perch in the rafters, laughing.

A human comes in rolling a barrel, through the front door and says “Delivery.” Roc-Tar comes forward and asks, “Delivery? What Delivery?” The human looks at the barrel and says, “Yes, Firebeard Ale.”

Kassegore leans towards Roc-Tar and asks, “Don’t you make that here?” Roc-Tar replies, “Yes, I do.” At this the human starts to take off, Maggpie catches him at the door.

Kassegore calls for Salvator to check the barrel for magic. Gudmund also heads over to look at the barrel.

As the human starts to struggle, Maggpie pulls his sword out and holds it to the human’s throat. This makes the human stop struggling. Maggpie then moves the human towards Kassegore.

Gudmund calls out that the top just comes off. As Salvator determines that there is magic in the barrel, but he can’t figure out what it is, Artivan calls, “Maggpie switch positions with Salvator. Give the human to The Beast.” Maggpie then looks for any traps that the barrel might have.

Artivan then tells me, “Get out of the Inn, in case this goes south.” I call out to Nightingale to get out as well and head towards the closest exit. As I am heading out Maggpie calls out, “This is Arcfire.” Artivan starts to change the plan to have both Maggpie and I fly it out of the Inn.

Maggpie has Artivan and Salvator cast something on him as the human passes out at the faces that Kassegore was making. Maggpie looks sharply at the barrel and says that its ticking. Maggpie then calls for me to stay at the Inn and takes off in the air with the barrel. I stick my head out and notice that Nightingale is clearing the area near the Inn.

Maggpie gets to a point where he chucks the barrel higher in the sky and starts to dive down. Shortly after this, the barrel explodes, and I notice that Maggpie was affected by the blast. I catch Maggpie and bring him down. As this was happing Artivan started to give out orders to see who was behind this and see if there are others. Gudmund and Maggpie come into the Inn stating that there are three fires. One is at the Wall, one is in the residential area, and one is near our Headquarters. Artivan says, “Right then, new plan. We need to stop these fires.”

Gudmund and Maggpie are headed off towards the wall, Artivan and Kassegore are headed to the residential area, and Salvator and I are headed towards Headquarters.

As we get to Headquarters, we see that its one of the Granaries that is on fire and that there are people trapped inside, I put Salvator on the ground. I holler to the Orcs on the ground to start putting the fire out as I head into the Granary and pull those trapped out. This new armor makes going into the fires very hot! Salvator starts to go after the ones who started the fire.

The townsfolk start doing something, that causes the fire to become worse. I then start shouting orders, in order to get it back in control. There was one Orc, who look at me and he calls out, “I’m so inspired by my Angel. Battog would follow you anywhere!” Oh no, not another one! How many will end up following me?"

We finally get the fire under control when Nightingale flies up to inform us that there is another fire at the leaders of Sog’s Headquarters. Of the three that are here, I tell one to stay put in case a fire starts up and grab the other two towards the new fire. Battog seemed to enjoy it, the other just screamed the whole way there. Battog did yell out, “I’m flying to the rescue!”

We get there in time to see Kassegore, Maggpie and several others trying to get the fire under control. Maggpie looks off in the distance, then looks at the group and grabs the one that screamed the whole way here and takes off towards another fire. The goblin, screamed the way there again.

I leave the others to fight the fire, as I head in to get the leaders out of the fire. I hear Gudmund giving directions and as I get the last leader out, I see Battog head butting a wall. I see Kassegore and Salvator heading off towards those that started the fires. Gudmund points out that there are several different spots on the walls that look like they are the start of these fires. Nightingale nods at this and signs quickly that painting over these spots will stop them from starting fires. I shove a potion down Battog’s throat to have him regain his wits and tell him to go to the Ranger’s Warehouse and get what is called Scrubbing Bubbles. He runs away looking a bit confused.

I tell Nightingale to give this information to Artivan and she flies off. I start calling for Rangers and townsfolk a like to start looking for these patches. That way we can work on stopping the fires before they start. The townsfolk look to the leaders and they give there approval on this plan. As they start looking for the squares on the walls I head back to the Ranger’s Headquarters and tell them the same. I grab Jacque and ask him, as he is a noble, to please send this information to the other sections of the city as I need to be here in case another fire starts. Jacque nods at me and takes off.

Vhen startles me as he jumps down from a roof and tells me of another fire that has broken out, near where I am. I quickly inform him of what needs to be looked for and covered over to stop these fires from even starting, I also inform him that I haven’t been able to get a message to Maggpie, but Nightingale should have brought this information to Artivan.

I then take off to the new fire, as Vhen heads off to find others to pass the news to. Stopping only to grab quick drinks of water, the rest of the day passes in much of this fashion. Vhen and Nightingale both stop by and report that the Hero’s Heart Inn and the actual Ranger’s Headquarters have not been hit all day. This report brings Artivan, Salvator, Kassegore, Gudmund and I back together. As we ponder this news, we get a report that the Hero’s Heart Inn has actually caught fire on the roof.

The group of us reach the Inn and see that people that had been wearing disguises were actually Prelacy soldiers. Artivan calls for the fliers on the roof, heavy hitters at the front door and fast movers to the back. I pull Battog to the roof with Maggpie and myself. I tell him to take care of the fire on the roof as I head down to the second floor. I quickly notice that no one is in them, as all the doors are open, and head down the stairs. Upon reaching the door leading to the common room, I am hit by someone walking past me.

As I look out I see that Kassegore has taken out two of the soldiers and several soldiers seem to do something to the fires that are in the room and what appears to be the leader, walks up to a fire and starts to giggle.

Salvator walks in and blasts two of the soldiers taking them out, the third appears to be stunned. Then Artivan walks in shouting, “Alright you bloody Prelacy bastards, I’m the one you want right here, right now!” Then he casts something right before casting bolt at three of the Prelacy soldiers taking them out. Artivan then turns to the giggling one and shouts, “And you, you giggling bastard, You come into my house and you’ll die in my house!”

Maggpie flies into the Inn, taking the shorter way, and stabs two soldiers. One is taken out and the other is stunned by the attack.

Two of the soldiers take off, one keeps tending the fire, two others throw things at Kassegore that cause Kassegore to now be in the middle of the fire, but this also takes out a soldier near Kassegore. I just hope that he still has an armor potion that Nightingale made him.

I call out to Artivan, “One is heading downstairs, do you have this?” Artivan replies, “Of course.” And then Artivan screams, “Get out of my house!” Before I can head downstairs I see Artivan cast three more bolts, taking out two more soldiers and the third doesn’t seem impressed. Kassegore then lets the Beast play and frenzies on two of them, taking them both out. I quickly realize that Kassegore had not let the Beast out to play as he then says, “You will know hell this day.”

The Prelacy leader drinks a potion and disappears. I feel him close to me and attempt to attack where I think he is, but miss.

I head downstairs to the workshop and see a window open, I then head to the brewery and see that Roc-Tar and his brother along with the barmaid are tied up and hear some bumps. I head over to the bumps and find one of those that had turned invisible. I am easily able to tie him up, surprisingly as he is still invisible.

I find out later that the reason for this is due to the fact that the leader had drunk poison in order to keep us from learning anything else that day. Artivan is not happy. Kassegore is barely keeping the Beast at bay, after he found out that the materials to start the fire were actually purchased by him from the Prelacy that were disguised as merchants.

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The Private Musings of Gudmund Stonebook
22nd White Stag

The Private Musings of Gudmund Stonebook.
(note the page would be doodled with Calligraphy)
22nd White Stag

Why can the mind not work as a well lubricated wagon wheel? I feel terrible, and yet, exhilarated about this wonderful town I have been sent to study, burning! Yes burning! Well more to the point the fact that an Aevakar by the name of Magpie flew me through the air over the burning town.

Let me explain myself. Sitting with my friend Firebeard eating more of his wonderful food, a stranger walks in pushing a barrel and proclaims it to be Firebeard Ale? There is no way this would be delivered as it is a wonderful home brew. All present jump to this problem catching the man and examining the barrel. Only to find it was a trap set to explode on a timer. This gallant Winged one takes it upon himself to fly it into the air as it is set to damage this wonderful place of food and drink. After an amazing feat of flying, the trap is turned into little more than fireworks. At the same time, a few other diners are trying to gather information from the delivery boy who does not seem to have the spirit needed to withstand the groups terror inducing presence. The “Captain” Of the Rangers , well Master Sargent with captain leanings, is yelling orders and sending messages to Ranger head quarters to rally and ready for an attack.

Not being one for interrogation nor exactly sure what my role with the rangers is. I was made a ranger but a night ago, at least that is what I took the drunken yelling and pelting me with a cloak like the one they wear as. So I set out to see if there was evidence of other trapped barrels or folks acting out of character. That was when I noted smoke above the roof tops turning from the gray of a new fire to the black of a fire catching hold. So I shout to the Winged ones to check it and to my utter amazement and shock, I was bodily plucked from the ground, and at a pace I have not even seen a cart make, I was whisked to the sight of this new fire. This act had I been asked I would have refused as very unsafe. Yet having no say has brought to me the most indescribable experience.

The rest of the day is a blur spaced with snips of vivid spots. Most of these spots are seen from the air above the town. Yet a few are painted white. Due in part to seeing that the new preservative, white wash, that was used on most of the town was a plant of extremely flammable magic. At first it seemed that the center of town, the council building and leaders manor, was the target. After many widely spread fires to draw the sorely pressed defenders of the town to the far reaches of the town the center starts afire with the mightiest blaze yet.

Alas this to was a ruse. It was in the end the inn, the vary one that we had been eating at a few busy hours before, that was the main gathering of the enemy. This fact was stumbled upon and all rushed, another flying jot, to save this beloved building. It was asked that we cover all the entrances. So our flying friends went to the top of the building, the main fighting party to the front doors and I to the rear. It does seem that all these tall folks are all ways flitting here and there. This is an advantage in the art of war it seems. By the time my shorter legs got me threw the rear doors into the cooking areas the fight was mostly over it seemed. I toppled a large barrel of wash water to the floor to spread water in a large arch, and worked to put the fire out as the troop of intruders was dealt with.

Yet threw this highly eventful day all that truly stands out is flying. The town in flames, my body exhausted and yet flying is what I dreamed of all night laying in a near doze. No less than three revisions of a flying harness have I drawn. (Follows a colored stylized drawing of armor harness with loops and buckles.) I am not sure the Winged ones would wish such a devise but it would allow me to be carried spreading my weight all around their thin bodies. I am trying to work on an idea that came to me during the battle for a cistern and raised water barrel with carved troughs. This spread through the city would allow for swifter firefighting but, also close sources of water for everyday use. The idea is like diverting a creek to water a garden. Yet even this work draws me back like a magnet to the idea of flying over the town to see the worst of the damage and the best roves for my new idea of watering a town. I wonder if the size of the woman Aevakar means she could carry me better. I must lay down my pen to go ask, and start the repairs of this town I have come to study. I just wish the destruction of the architecture would take from my mind this spiraling trap of flight.

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Yeah! I'm a Scout Now!!
Looking For Fires

20th of White Stag

The morning after the last bit of fun, I watch Artivan sets up a team of Rangers to rebuild the furniture that the Ranger fight destroyed. As they are fixing the room, I sneak into the back and grab breakfast, before serving the others breakfast.

As the others are finishing up breakfast, Kassegore and Magpie have a conversation about Camon being bait, that causes me to fall from my perch in the rafters, laughing. I’m a bit worried that some of it came out as a whistle.

A human comes in rolling a barrel, through the front door and says “Delivery.” Roc-Tar comes forward and asks, “Delivery? What Delivery?” The human looks at the barrel and says, “Yes, Firebeard Ale.”

Kassegore leans towards Roc-Tar and asks, “Don’t you make that here?” Roc-Tar replies, “Yes, I do.” At this the human starts to take off, Magpie catches him at the door.

Kassegore calls for Salvator to check the barrel for magic. Gudmund also heads over to look at the barrel.

As the human starts to struggle, Magpie pulls his sword out and holds it to the human’s throat. This makes the human stop struggling. Magpie then moves the human towards Kassegore. Just looking at Kassegore causes the human to blanch. Kassegore slowly smiles and the human, surprisingly doesn’t faint or piss himself.

Gudmund calls out that the top just comes off. As Salvator determines that there is magic in the barrel, but he can’t figure out what it is, Artivan calls, “Magpie switch positions with Salvator. Give the human to The Beast.” Magpie then looks for any traps that the barrel might have. At hearing “The Beast”, the human does actually piss himself and then faint.

Artivan then tells Sky, “Get out of the Inn, in case this goes south.” She calls out to me to get out as well and I fly out an open window. As I am heading out Magpie calls out, “This is Arcfire.” I hear Artivan say something.

I start to clear the area near the Inn. As I am finishing up, I hear a barrel explode and look around, in time to see Sky catch Magpie and bring him down. As this was happing Artivan started to give out orders to see who was behind this and see if there are others. Gudmund and Magpie come into the Inn stating, very loudly that there are three fires. One is at the Wall, one is in the residential area, and one is near our Headquarters. Artivan says, “Right then, new plan. We need to stop these fires.”

Gudmund and Magpie are headed off towards the wall, Artivan and Kassegore are headed to the residential area, and Salvator and Sky are headed towards Headquarters.

As they head off, I fly higher to see if any other fires break out. After a few minutes I notice one at the Goblinesh Leaders Building. I fly off to tell Sky and Salvator as they are closer to that location and have a chance.

When I reach Sky, she quickly understands what I’m attempting to tell her. She grabs two of the Goblinesh telling one to stay put in case a fire starts up, then heads to the new fire. The larger one seemed to enjoy it, the other just screamed the whole way there. The larger one did yell out, “I’m flying to the rescue!”

As I’m flying higher to be on the look out for more fires, I see Vhen and he appears to be doing the same thing. There is another fire and Magpie looking around grabs the screaming goblin and heads off to the new fire. The goblin, screamed the way there again.

Sky must be crazy as she is headed in to a fire with full plate one, although she does manage to get the leaders out of the fire. Gudmund looks like he is giving directions, the large one that Sky brought to this fire head buts a wall. I see Kassegore and Salvator heading off towards those that started the fires. Gudmund points out that there are several different spots on the walls that look like they are the start of these fires, as he starts to point this out I nod at this information. After a quick look of my own I sign quickly that painting over these spots will stop them from starting fires. Sky shoves a potion down the large one’s throat to have him regain his wits and tell him to go to the Ranger’s Warehouse and get what is called Scrubbing Bubbles. He runs away looking a bit confused.

Sky tells me to give this information to Artivan and I fly off, right before I get out of range I hear Sky calling for Rangers and townsfolk a like to start looking for these patches. That way we can work on stopping the fires before they start. Then I notice Sky heading back to the Ranger area.

I reach Artivan and quickly sign the news about the spots on the wall. Artivan looks a bit grumpy about this, however he quickly informs several of the townsfolk of this. I spot some of the children I’ve helped, and quickly get them to help out with this problem. It may end up that we have some weird paintings due to this, oh well.

Stopping only to grab quick drinks of water, the rest of the day passes in much of this fashion. Vhen and I both stop by and report that the Hero’s Heart Inn and the actual Ranger’s Headquarters have not been hit all day. This report brings Artivan, Salvator, Kassegore, Gudmund and Sky back together. As we ponder this news, we get a report that the Hero’s Heart Inn has actually caught fire on the roof.

One of the children grabs my attention, there are several large patches that need to be painted and they can’t do it. I look over and Vhen nods, as the others are getting ready to save the Hero’s Heart Inn, he and I head over to the new threat.

As it looks like we have Sog under control or at least fire free, I have the children look for wounded and have Vhen start looking for individuals to help with clean up.

I find out later that the leader had drunk poison in order to keep us from learning anything else that day. Artivan is not happy. Kassegore is barely keeping the Beast at bay, after he found out that the materials to start the fire were actually purchased by him from the Prelacy that were disguised as merchants.

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Aftermath of the attempted Buring of Sog
21st White Stag

The following is just after Prelacy agents attempted to burn down Sog.

“Damn! The Bastard Poisoned himself. I really wanted information out of him!” exclaims Artivan, “Put out all the fires in the Inn and get some of the Ranger Trainees here to be a clean up crew. Have our Fliers and Runners make sure that all of the fires are out and that Blasted White Wash is taken off of all the buildings. That was a good idea that Nightingale had in using those bubbles to clean off that Prelacy Filth.”

In the brewery, “Rok-tar, I want you and Nightingale to inspect all future purchases of Ranger supplies for such sabotage in the future. Where is that Quarter Master? Ah, Kassagore, Leave the body alone and come here. You can’t intimidate the dead.”

Kassagore smells the Prelacy Alchemist, “It’s Still alive! Slavatore, get over here.”

Savitor applies his healing arts and declairs that he has been poisoned but may still survive. “There was a bit of lead and crysarium in the potion, and he may yet live. but I cannot be sure his mind will survive.”

Turns out that the Prelacy Alchemist Pepe “Le Burne’ Alcheme’” Renee’ did not imbibe poison purposely as previously noted. He had an “Intangibility” potion that was in actuality his own “Fire White Wash” formula. So instead of making him intangible it has instead poisoned him. It was his own captain that apparently gave him the potion.

“Rrrrr, Tell us more about it..” Kassagore attempts to intimidate or coax out more information out of his prisoner.

“Silly Lizard. Lizards don’t talk. Heheeheheahhaha…” says Pepe, as his mind shattered.

With great restraint Kassagore turns over the interrogation to a human.

Several Days Later
“Well, What have you gotten out of that Alchemical Prelacy Scum?” angrily asks Artivan of his crew in charge of the prisoner.

“Turns out that this was a suicide mission. The Prisoner’s mind has reverted to a child like state and he is basically mentally retarded. I am not sure he was very stable to begin with.” state the poor Ranger Trainee that lost the draw to report to Artivan.

“Go on, finish the report.” growls Artivan.

“Well, The group was from Stoon and it was a long attempt to take out Sog and the Rangers of Sog. They were given orders to single handedly, well the 15 or so soldiers, to sneak into Sog disguised as Merchants selling building supplies. It seems that the Prelacy has been preventing normal legitimate sellers of building equipment and supplies from coming to Sog for several months. Re-routing supplies to Stoon. The Prisoner is quite convinced that the Rangers in Sog have proven to be a thorn in the Prelacy’s side and wanted it removed before spring and the resumption of hostilities. It appears that we have foiled their attempt, the soldiers have either been killed or have fled, we count nearly what the Prisoner claims as dead. Your Scribe has begun the process of screening the current Merchants in town and you and Rangers involved in Fire Fighting have been invited to Sog’s Leader’s house for a ceremony.”

“Can’t they just let us do our job.” grumbles Artivan.
“Apparently not Sir.”

During the conversation an Orc breaks in the room and rushes Artivan with such suddenness that it takes everyone by surprise.

“Yous! Yous!” Exclaims the Orc and picks up Artivan in a large Hug and kisses both of his cheeks in a rare Goblinesh show of extreme gratitude and emotion.

“Yous save me Muutah! You do me two Solids now, I do Artivan a Solid now. I be back.” and with that he is out of the room and gone. Artivan recognizes the Orc as being a Gang leader from a recent trip up the river during an illicit auction of Arcfire goods. Ivan the Ruthless the Orc Bandit Lord was his name.

Salvitor sends someone to follow him. “Heh, I am not sure weather you got married or what.”

“Wonder what that was about.” Artivan says regaining composure.

Later at Sog’s Leader’s Home with a bit of a gathering of Goblins, Bar-Tog being one of them.

“You have done this town honor and we wish to let you know that your hard work is appreciated. I am pleased to report no loss of life, no food loss, no loss of buildings and our enemies caught. I also much appreciate the saving of my maid thanks to your Rangers, Artivan.” Reports the Leader of Sog accompanied by nods from the Elders and Advisors Present. “I am pleased to announce that the citizens of Sog that are gathered here are welcome and encouraged to be our Official Firefighters of Sog and will continue their training in being so. I have received plans from the Rangers on City Improvements and will bring this up in our next meeting. Are there any other things we need to discuss?”

“Sir, The Matter we talked about in Security.” coaxes Artivan, meaning a better screening of Merchants and the comings and goings of Sog to help prevent the Prelacy from making these attacks in the future.

“Yes, we shall have a meeting on it. I believe that we will be more open to your ideas. Please see my scribe for the appointments.”

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More Free Time!
Artivan Shares The Love, Promotions For Most!!!

Its the first week of White Stag and Artivan has been indicating that we should soon be having some time off, again. I made mention that I would love to be rid of the effects of the Prelacy placed on me at Thules. Artivan mutters something about when I got the case of the whimpers.

Salvator offers to help out the following week as we start our time off. I am really grateful for this, as it means that we don’t have to keep an eye on him while he goes wondering Sog.

Salvator starts this endeavor of mine out with therapy talk sessions. I’m surprised at how well this went, as Grak kept stopping by muttering things about the armor and then again about Maggpie. A few times I felt Nightingale’s presence and saw Salvator frown at her.

After a few days of this, Salvator has me at the hospitals doing something called immersion therapy. The talks seemed to have helped, as I no longer whimper at those whom have had there limbs lost or even replaced. By the end of the week, Salvator and I go for celebratory drinks.

At the Hero’s Heart Inn, we here that Kassegore and Cairos have been plotting against each other – or in some cases with one another. Kassegore has been attempting to emulate human emotion and to some extent facial expressions. Although, from some of the looks he’s been getting, he has a long way to go.

Nightingale is pouting. After sitting with her for a while, I realize that because she’s been stockpiling up the Rangers with potions, these weeks off are her work weeks and she is currently writing up reports.

Artivan has been working on being able to persuade people to do things, other than just ordering them to. It doesn’t look like this week has been kind to him.

There is a new Dwarf in town that has been exploring and asking questions about the buildings. Roc-tar is happily talking to him.

The following week I spend with Grak as he wants to be able to finish the armor that he’s started. As I am there, I ask to be taught how to fully use the items that he has made or has altered for me.

Every evening I make the attempt to get Grak out and have dinner at the Hero’s Heart Inn with me. Every night he declines.

The evening stories are wonderful. Kassegore has put together, with Cairos’s help, some skirmishes for the townsfolk. The first one the story was bad and all there thought that Kassegore would loose it. He managed to remain as Kassegore and learn new things.

After a few nights I am introduced to the new Dwarf, his name is Gudmund. He is here to study and bring new stories back to his order. I know that he would like to hear more of mine, but my heart is too sore to tell him any of the stories of my people. And for now, he doesn’t ask.

Maggpie comes in each night looking like he’s been in a fight. And upon asking, I find out that he has been getting into fights in order to become better.

On the evening of the 19th, we all seem to be celebrating harder as we know this is the last night that we will have to ourselves. Grak has finally given me the new armor today and sends me out of the warehouse to go explore in it.

I take it in to the Hero’s Heart Inn and Artivan marvels at it. Although I think its more because he’s drunk than he actually understands what it is.

I find out that the last skirmish went well and all are celebrating as well. Maggpie bounces into the Inn and says “I have learned much.” And then he proceeds to attack Kassegore. After a few moments and Kassegore emerges the winner, Maggpie then tests Artivan.

There are several Rangers that look on in shock at the first strike, and I just shake my head at Maggpie and wait to see how spectacularly Artivan beats Maggpie. I am not long in the waiting as Artivan seamlessly blocks all of the attacks that Maggpie sends his way without spilling any of his drink. The finally moment arrives as Artivan uses a chair as a shield and then head butts Maggpie. This temporarily ends Maggpie’s enthusiasm as he has been knocked out.

I look around and see the damage that has been caused and shake my head at Nightingale, who has fallen to the ground in silent laughter.

Shortly after this Roc-Tar introduces Gudmund to Artivan. Gudmund is very polite and says that this can wait till after the celebrations are over. Artivan is happy to talk to Gudmund and explain that this was a week off for many of the Rangers stationed here.

During this conversation, Cairos walks in with papers saying we have all gotten a raise. Kassegore pipes in, that since he helped get us that raise, shouldn’t he get a promotion. Artivan thinks about it for a moment and then says yes Kassegore gets a promotion and so does Salvator. Kassegore looks a little upset about that, as Nightingale hops over and shows something to Artivan.

Artivan looks confused and says, “Haven’t I done so, already?” And Nightingale shakes her head and shows off her rank. Artivan turns to Cairos and says that Nightingale needs a promotion, Artivan then looks around and pulls off a Ranger First Class off of someone and hands it to Nightingale who was writing something down.

Nightingale then hands the note to Artivan, who brushes it off. Then she turns to Cairos and shows the note to him. Cairos then nods and grabs something out of his satchel and tells Artivan to sign it, as its a promotion for Sky and Felosia as well. As Artivan starts to argue this, Cairos states that Kassegore and Salvator can not be hire rank than the second in command of Sog. Artivan looks stunned for a moment and then signs the documents.

We all continue with the celebrations well into the early morning.

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Quartermaster Report 4
New Players and Spoils of War

Quartermaster’s Log: 20 Harvest Moons

It is always satisfying to know my efforts do not go unnoticed. While I was gone on my last hunt the Prelacy sent a paladin to challenge and slay me. It shows there may still be some honor left in Camon. Hopefully it will survive. Though I am disappointed I missed meeting the paladin he was obviously unworthy of my time. He fell in single combat to Bahiya of all people. Now I know the Prelacy is willing to come to me and I can discontinue my hunts and turn my attention to more important matters.

“You’re missing the point, Kassegore.” Salvator suppressed a sigh. His ally and friend, for lack of a better word, seemed excited by the turn of events. “You knew the Supreme Paladin wants you dead but before now he wanted you alive to be crucified at his castle gates. I don’t even think it’s been four months and you escalated things so badly he’s willing to forgo that example and just kill you.”

“But he still needs a public show for his people and his position. That weakling Bahiya killed was only the first. They will send stronger foes and I will test my strength against them. The longer I survive the better I understand the strength of my enemy. If I die then I would have fallen to his sword anyways.”

“This is your life. It is not so simple.”

“This is war. It is not so complicated.”

Of all the Rangers of Sog Salvator had dealt most with Kassegore and knew when whatever passed for dregordian logic had set it and refused to budge. His response may have sounded like a grunt of disgust but in truth is was a dignified response that signaled a change in conversation topics…really.

“How about something that does matter more? I’ve heard rumors from the guards of when you come back from your ‘hunts.’ They avoid you because you smell like an avatar of death. It sounds suspiciously similar to when you ate the death beetle.”

“I collected the ashes when it died. I smear it on myself when I get close to Prelacy forces. Even the one patrol that looked like it came prepared for me fled in terror.”

Salvator opened his mouth and closed it without a sound. He paused a few seconds and opened his mouth again but closed it once more without speaking. A pained look crossed his face and he finally growled out, “Give me the rest of the ashes.”

Kassegore recognized the limit of human tolerance had been reached and obeyed without comment. He got up, left the room, and returned a moment later with a ratty cloth pouch.

Salvator snatched it from him as if afraid to leave it in the dregordian’s possession even a second longer. “Do not casually use things touched by darkness. No wonder why things escalated so quickly and I can’t blame the Prelacy. They’re trying to kill you before you turn into the monster they think you are. These things imperil your soul, Kassegore.”

With that Salvator walked out and began his trip back to Sog leaving behind a contemplative dregordian.

A new organization known as the Mechanarium has made itself known. From what little I’ve been told they are self-appointed wardens of arcmancy, deeming it too dangerous to simply be casually handed out. They proceeded to confiscate a great deal of our salvaged Prelacy gear to that end. I personally lost very little as I shipped off most of my arcmancy devices to Dregordia months ago to be studied.

It’s said the Mechanarium arrived in an airship that somehow made it to Sog unseen and their visit coincided with the discovery of a conquest golem. I do admit having a hundred foot tall siege weapon would greatly aid our war against the Prelacy but my plans do not require one. Perhaps it is for the best. If Camon fell to a conquest golem they would point to it as the cause of their defeat and learn nothing. I would be the undisputed architect and engineer of their future and though my lessons will be harsh they are necessary.

Magpie shifted around the corner. He’d needed this favor since the Mechanarium depleted his stores and while Kassegore had no particular reason to deny him the knowledge of how the dregordian acquired the crystals made him shutter. He also didn’t know how the quartermaster would react to knowing he was followed.

He waited till Cairos left before entering the office. The room had a way of making most people feel insignificant as everything was sized for an almost eight-foot creature, except for a couple of chairs for guests. He briefly wondered if it was unintentional or if Kassegore truly felt the need to constantly put others off balance.

“What brings you here today, Magpie?” Upon sating the aevakar’s insatiable curiosity and knack for languages Kassegore quite pointedly refused to speak anything but dregordian with him. Magpie’s accent was atrocious but some things, such as an improperly shaped tongue and the presence of lips, could not be helped.

“I’m low on crystals and I know you have a personal supply you don’t use.” The dregordian always appreciated directness.

“Ah, I should have anticipated this. The Mechanarium must have affected you far more than most. I’ll have some delivered. Let me know when your supplies run low again. Just try to ration them. It may be a while until I can acquire more.”

Magpie carefully schooled his features into appropriate gratitude and tried to ignore what acquiring those crystals involved. The dregordian made a dismissive gesture and he wasted no time leaving, thankful for his good fortune. Even with siege and conquest golems, Kassegore remained one of the most terrifying things Magpie had ever encountered.

But shortly after all that we learned through our less than reputable contacts there was to be an auction of arcmancy devices. The timing was particularly suspect and the commander himself chose to take the field to ensure things went smoothly.

The others had adorned themselves in various disguises. There were few dregordians in this part of the world and even if it were otherwise he would still be unmistakable. So he festooned himself in his trophies: the bear skin, a minotaur skull, the Camonere general’s sword, and various implants he’d ripped out of fallen foes. Bahiya was the first to speak. “How is that a disguise?”

“It is not. The Beast is a known enforcer of Zebadiah Stone.”

The desert dweller turned to Artivan. “Why have you ever promoted him?”

He had no personal qualms with the priestess, but she did tend to be preachy and spoke with the rashness of human youth. Perhaps Salvator’s good example would influence her more in the future.

The commander sighed as if he had given this explanation many times before. “Among all the northern Ranger outposts ours is the best equipped, supplied, and funded due almost solely to the efforts and talents of our quartermaster.”

She looked at Artivan, then at him, and back to Artivan. The older human just nodded slowly and deliberately. Kassegore left without looking back. There were needful enemies to attend.

After arriving at the site and making our way into the auction Sky confirmed the goods. Her news was disturbing as some items were those taken by the Mechanarium. Either the organization is a mere front for less altruistic reasons than they claim or they have been infiltrated by those motivated by personal gain. Neither makes me inclined to trust them and I will have words with one of their emissaries when they return.

The auction room was crowded but I chose the table next to the Red Store delegation. I was intrigued by the fact it was a dregordian leading them and I admit I longed for the company of my own race. Our conversation was cut short as the commander decided stealth and subterfuge were necessary for our covert operation.

Tensions ran high among the groups as they waited for the auctioneer to begin. The nervous energy increased yet again as the door opened and the Beast of Thul walked in. Jassax had never seen him in person but who else could it be? He scorned the deliberately feral movements of the other saurian. Though he had chosen to leave the trees and rivers of Dregordia he still held the pride of his people.

The Camonere soldiers disguised as mercenaries stiffened when they saw the Beast. It was a testament to the might of his race. Even such a low example was still more than enough to strike fear in hearts of humans. He could only imagine how the Prelacy would handle a true warrior instead of a mindless animal.

The Beast scanned the room and bared his teeth in challenge and greeting when they met stares. The other dregordian growled back at the door and claimed the table next to Jassax and his men. “I was unaware there were dregordians under the employ of the Red Store.”

“Admittedly few but we’ve all made a place for ourselves. I am Jassax Sskrovak.”

“I am Kassegore, known as the Beast of Thul.”

He looked his rival over. “That much is apparent.” Jassax then noticed the Beast’s weapon and kept his voice carefully neutral. “You have eccentric and anachronistic tastes, Kassegore. The style of your kayakor predates the working of white silver by three or four millennia.”

“Closer to six, but I cannot claim any part of my weapon’s construction. It was a gift and burden I have been entrusted with.” Jassax seemed calm, but something about the older dregordian seemed unsettled. Kassegore decided it would matter little. Given their agendas it was inevitable one would fall to the other’s blade.

Jassax internally seethed. After all the suitors she rejected and alliances denied, Venatriss had chosen one so shamed he was stripped of even his family name? This base creature? After he challenged and killed the Beast he would find Venatriss and present her kayakor back to her. Perhaps she would find him more worthy after he dispatched her champion.

“Your reputation precedes you. I would test it.”

“I welcome the challenge.”

Any further conversation was interrupted when the door burst in and a human in a grey cloak bellowed, “This auction is over! All those who wish to leave may do so in peace! All who defy the Grey Rangers will be dealt with accordingly!”

The dregordians looked at the intruder an instant and back at each other. The Beast calmly said, “Honored to be your enemy.”

Jassax called upon his adept training and reached out his mind to snare the Beast. The younger male’s mind put up more resistance than he expected but was able to take control of his rival’s body anyways. He had his puppet wildly swing his kayakor and falsely put down two of his men, a tactic they’d employed in the past to catch enemies off guard. If he was correct, the human in the door was Artivan, commander of the Rangers of Sog. If they could kill both Artivan and the Beast it would be quite a coup for the Red Store and he would be richly rewarded.

His plans fell apart an instant later when his mind was filled with an unbearable alien rage. The strength of it tore free of his control and he looked on in awe and fear as he realized the person who walked in and talked to him was never the Beast. This was.

The Beast crushed the chest of one of his two standing men with a tail swipe and caved in the other’s skull with a head butt. Jassax barely had time to register their deaths before the bright pain across his belly almost dropped him to his knees. He felt the warm rubbery cords spill across his hand as he clutched himself. He looked up from his entrails at the roaring Beast, unable to comprehend how poorly he had underestimated his opponent.

“Finish it,” he whispered.

There was a flash of white silver and Jassax felt and saw no more.

Naturally there were complications. When Sky returned with the Prelacy commander she reported a large vessel approaching. What she failed to mention was the exact nature of it. It was a Builder vessel that traveled completely beneath the surface of the river. Made almost entirely of metal and shaped in a vaguely cylindrical shape with tapered ends, it rose in the water until the top half rested above the surface. Arcmancy weapon placements dotted its surface.

The captain of the underwater ship made his demands through some method of amplifying his voice. It boomed from the ship though we could not see him and he called for the auction stores to be turned over to him. The same thing that allowed the Builder to make his voice louder must also have allowed him to hear us as Artivan was able to talk him out of the ship to discuss terms.

A section on top of the ship opened up and the Builder emerged with two combat golems with metal packs on their back emerged. The packs enabled the golems to fly swiftly and the carried their master onto shore with us. When Artivan bargained too hard the Builder shouted a command back to his ship. Another section opened and the largest arc caster I have ever seen emerged. It obliterated the dock in a single shot and Artivan promptly quit negotiating.

The commander went to check on Sky and Magpie, both of whom he had sent to retrieve the arcmancy items in the vault used by the auctioneers. Donovan and Bahiya stayed behind with me. Attempts at conversation revealed some key information. The majority of the Builders live far underground in realms the rest of us know nothing about and care little for the “surface” or what occurs here, viewing those of us that live here as inferior beings. The Builder captain was not benevolent, or even polite for that matter, but I was convinced of his utter indifference and desire to leave the surface and return to his world.

Instead of turning over the devices to those who seemed least likely to use them against us, Artivan decided it would be best to destroy them instead. He, Sky, and Magpie triggered a bomb and faked their deaths to the Builders. They did not have time or opportunity to inform the priests and me but, as with all things, Salvator and I made the best of the situation and now contingency plans are in place.

Everyone watched the crater being peppered with debris. “With Artivan dead which one of us is in charge?” The Beast spoke as if the matter was some minor inconvenience and it seemed more annoyed than anything.

“You whenever we’re off the battlefield and me when we’re in combat for obvious reasons,” was the equally bland reply. The crime lord Zebadiah Stone seemed to be a priest of Light and a Ranger. The full meaning of what happened suddenly sank in and Stone ran towards the crater desperately calling for his friends. The strange foreign woman followed to help search of survivors.

The Builder and his golems looked out over the area. “I detect not residual power sources.” He sighed and murmured “I hate dealing with inferior races.” The golems took hold of their controller and flew back to their odd vessel. Giovanni lacked the words to fully describe it.

When they were alone, save for the Prelacy captive, the Beast finally turned to him. “Human, what are you called?” The voice was alien and wrong. Undertones of a growl emerged even as the dregordian spoke. Jassax had always kept his voice clear. The Beast sounded hungry and all the more dangerous for it.

He fought to keep his voice steady. “My name is Giovanni, sir.”

“Giovanni.” It spoke as if tasting the name for itself. The Beast leaned in and inhaled deeply. Could such creatures track by scent? “You will serve me, Giovanni. You will serve me loyally and you will serve me well.” It bared it fangs. “If you fail in either aspect I will find a use for you…once.”

Giovanni eyes widened in fear as he realized what would happen if he failed and why the Beast had waited till they were alone to speak. It turned to the Prelacy soldier who had listened to the exchange and said, “If you do not cooperate with the Rangers I assure you I will not grant the tender mercies I have allowed your countrymen.”

Any further threats were interrupted by the shouts of elation as the others returned. The Beast gave them both a one last look and said, “Do not speak of this to anyone. It will remain our secret or you will suffer the fates I have planned for you.”

The priests were accompanied by the other Rangers who looked no worse for wear. The Beast merely waited until the shouting died down before speaking. “It is good you survived, Artivan, though it does make the matter of succession a moot point.”

Artivan paused as he considered the dregordian. He smile dropped and he shouted, “You’re not in charge, Kassegore! Felosia is my second-in-command!”

The dregordian looked down at Artivan and merely tilted its head before starting to walk away.

“Kassegore, you’re not taking over! I mean it! KASSEGORE!”

Artivan informed us later of his conversation with some of the guards. The entire auction was a trap and the Rangers were the instrument used to dispatch those who walked in. While I dislike being used by unknown forces the coin gained more than makes up for any inconvenience. The Prelacy, Red Store, and Deniers of Death all showed up for an auction and were funded for the event.

I have some concerns about the armament of the Builder vessel we encountered. There is nothing I am aware of in Shaintar that would require such defenses. But deep beneath the surface there must be dangers down there of that caliber or the Builders travel to other realms where such things exist. The other possibility is the Builders are more factionalized than me know and they war with each other on unimaginable scales. Either way, if such trouble found Shaintar we would all be completely unprepared.

But those are concerns for another time. I need to bring some of the other Rangers into my plans soon.

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Our Arcfire Items!
At Least It Wasn't The Tavern

20th of Harvest Moons

We are pulled into Artivan’s office to be informed that lots of Arcfire stuff is missing. Maggpie informs us that there will be an auction on some Arcfire items and that he knows where it is and what the password to get in is.

Artivan sends, after some discussion, to the person in Kithress who is in charge of the Mechinarim. Hopefully to get them back here to get the items from the auction. Maggpie points out that the auction is in two days and is a day up river, in a riverside tavern.

The plan is for two groups to go in, the first is Kassegore, Salvator and myself. The second is Artivan, Maggpie, and Bahiya.

Once we reach the tavern, Kassegore heads in and checks it out, then he calls out that the tavern is secure. Salvator walks in with me on his arm and buys a drink for O’Mally. As this isn’t the full password I chime in with “and his stamina in bed.” This confuses the innkeeper and several other people in the tavern.

A drunkard comes over and asks how we know O’Malley. Salvator tells the drunkard, “It’s impolite to ask a lady that, especially one that is on another man’s arm.”

The drunkard then asks Salvator the same thing. Salvator replies that he was a sailor. The drunkard then says that he will take us to the private party in the back and leads us outside, then down some stairs.

At the bottom of the stairs is a door, and they start to lead just Salvator in to see what the items are up for auction. Salvator notices and says that I need to come in as I am the expert. The drunkard, who isn’t drunk, says only one of us can go in. So I head in.

This room has several items that are, indeed from Sog, along with some new scary items. There is a Arcfire bomb, a forge (I know that Grak would love for us to get our hands on that!) and a tunneler. I then am lead out of the room to the others and we are escorted to the auction room. The guard heads back to the item room and I stop the others before entering the auction room and tell them about the new items.

Kassegore then moves into the room, does the bodyguard thing and then nods us in. Salvator escorts me into the room and we sit down at one of the free tables. Around the room we see another Dregordian, several Orcs, a Priest of Light with several soldiers. Taking a closer look, the Priest of Light is actually a Necromancer and is surrounded by Skeletons. I grab Salvator’s arm in effort not to whimper.

The auctioneer starts to say “We are waiting for another group.” As Artivan, Maggpie, and Bahiya come in.

Artivan, standing in the doorway, says, “We did on all and out bid any.”
Auctioneer replies, “Well it’s a lot bid.”
Artivan haughtily replies, “I know that, we out bid anybody.”

The Necromancer then attempts to cast something at Artivan and fails. A Skeleton takes out the auctioneer and another knocks on the wall.

Artivan, still blocking the door, says “Everyone who does not oppose the Rangers get to live. The Red Store can surrender or die. Necromancer you can just die!”

Bahiya casts a blast that drops two Orcs, stunning them, and then takes out two Skeletons. The Orc leader states that the Orcs do not oppose the Rangers. Artivan states that they can leave. Bahiya says something to the Necromancer (in her native language). Maggpie smiles at this and moves to the Necromancer, Maggpie then stabs the Necromancer and takes it out.

A Red Store casts something on Kassegore while another says, “How about just letting us go?”

Artivan replies, “That’s not what we offered.”
Kassegore then cuts down two of the Red Store and part of the wall. Then it appeared that the Beast was upset and tails slaps one more down and uses the Kayakor on the other Dregordian.

The Prelacy breaks out and one runs out of the room through a hole. Artivan looks over at me and I nod before taking off through one of the holes. Artivan then calls out “Sky has the runner.”

Salvator blasts the Skeletons and manages to take out a Red Store as well. As I get out of the room and am going after the Prelacy, I notice something big in the water and shout this back to the others. Before I get out of ear-shot I hear the Ivan and the other Orcs ask, "We good?’
Artivan replies, "Yes, just remember this.
Ivan then grunts something and shortly later I hear Artivan exclaim, “You have a card! I don’t have a card!” And the reply of “I know a guy in Sog.”

As another blast comes out of a wall, looking like Bahiya’s blast I think (I find out later that she took out four Prelacy with this)

Artivan then hollers “Anyone alive out there, you might want to surrender!” The runner stops and holds up his hands in surrender.

As I bring the Prelacy back, I hear a shout of “BEAST!” Then shortly afterwards, Maggpie flies out to see what is in the water and calls out to Artivan, “Can I claim it?” And I then ask, “If he can’t can I?”

Artivan, sounding very frustrated at us, calls out, “Can we deal with the current owners first?” I suppose that we sound like two small children fighting over a toy.

This boat-like thing comes up from under the water, there are Golems on it as well as new weapons that we have yet to see in action and then we hear, “We want our property back.”

Artivan calls for Maggpie to go get their stuff. Maggpie then calls for my help, Artivan waves me down for a moment and says, “Arm the bomb.” I nod and take off after Maggpie.

We manage to get the door open and find the bomb already armed. I suggest to Maggpie that we make it look like the bomb isn’t armed. After several minutes, Artivan comes down and tells us to make the bomb go off now and for me to take the items from Sog and get as far as I can away from them. I grab all of our Arcfire stuff and take off.

A few moments later the bomb goes off and I hear, “We will be getting all of our stuff back, either by peace or by force.”

When I get back to the tavern, I first notice that the dock is completely gone and then I see Bahiya slapping Artivan and Maggpie. Kassegore then asks the scary question, “If Artivan dies, would he of Salvator be in charge?”

Maggpie and I both answer Kassegore with, “Felosia is second in command.”

Artivan leaves a note that the Rangers will pay for a new dock, and then we realize that the ship that brought us here was gone as well as the dock.

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Quartermaster Report 3
The Deniers grow ever bolder.

Game is scarce as the creatures adjust to the new predator in the forest. The single survivors he allows are obviously performing their intended task of spreading tales of death and horror lurking in the woods. He travels further each hunt as they give Sog an increasingly wider berth. It is inevitable given he is actively and deliberately terrorizing them but he had not anticipated the Prelacy would give up so easily. Less a month and a half dozen slaughtered patrols and the soldiers are more concerned with avoiding the dregordian than trying to kill him.

Kassegore bristles under the bear skin he has taken to wearing as he looks upon the dying land. His patience is a leaf. It falls to the ground, a shriveled dead thing. The lack of pressing business in Sog and hesitant enemies is chilled by the encroaching winter to produce a restless ennui. The Beast chafes under subtle psychic pressure and Kassegore fairs only slightly better.

Despite what he allows (purposefully misleads) his allies to believe Kassegore has experienced fall and winter. Intellectually he understands the annual cycle the northern lands suffer through is natural if unpleasant. His core primal essence still rejects it. He may never see Dregordia again but he still longs for it. He always will.

Quartermaster’s Log: 8 Falling Leaves

Our cooperation with the locals continues to increase despite the fact Artivan and Felosia have decreased their interactions with gather leadership. Magpie, Salvator, and I maintain relations with the community and usually receive news before it would reach us through any official channels. We will be the official liaisons once I finish drawing up the appropriate documents and convince the commander to sign off on them. To date he still remains wary of putting any responsibilities on me.

The most overt Ranger duty has become the investigation of any report that even hints at foul magic or corrupted creatures. As a practical matter what goblinesh magic practitioners remain in Sog are too busy identifying and training new adepts. The Prelacy purged most of them during the occupation.

In response to the most recent report of dying trees and strange growths I was ordered to bring Valitor, younger brother of Artivan, with our patrol. I do not know if Artivan is trying to keep a closer eye on me or wants me to keep his sibling alive. Either way it mattered little and changed nothing.

The sickened spot we found contained some undead milling about and those were summarily purged. The strange growth spotted had fallen to the ground and turned out to be a chrysalis of some sort, provided the thing emerging was the size of a human. Valitor identified it as a legend known a phoenix moth, a type of life spirit that brought fertility to the land and all the creatures that dwelled there.

From the warped and twisted appearance of the chrysalis and the trail of dying foliage it was readily apparent the phoenix moth had been corrupted.

Few know of his hunting trips and none are aware of the particulars. He quietly updates official inventory to account for newly acquired Prelacy gear and says nothing. If Cairos has noticed the discrepancies the eldakar has not voiced any suspicions. Kassegore knows the other Rangers wouldn’t approve, but they are not fighting the same war.

His body practically thrums with energy as he tracked his prey. The newly timidity of the Prelacy soldiers mimics prey and has only inflamed the Beast by reminding it of its own predatory nature. Holding back enough to leave even a single survivor has been difficult. Whatever lies at the end of this trail will be given no quarter. The Beast will be unrestrained in its fury.

The area we finally came to was infested with undead. Dozens of the skeletons and zombies wandered about a sphere of magical darkness at the center of them all. On the far side stood a tree radiating a rainbow aura with another chrysalis amongst its branches.

He knows few aevakar and on the whole it seems they are a fragile race, compensating for their physical weakness with speed and skill. He doubts there are more than a handful of aevakar in existence who are stronger than he is and Sky is one of them. After he is airlifted to the enchanted tree he silently dispatches the zombie clumsily hacking at the trunk and waits for Salvator’s signal. There is no way of knowing what lies within the darkness, though from Sky’s whimpers it must be bad or involve something with missing limbs or both. Regardless, it will fall to him. Salvator and Artivan are risking their lives for the distraction. He cannot afford to fail and he will not allow their efforts to be in vain.

Salvator’s first spell dispels the darkness and Kassegore berates himself for doubting even a moment. Of course his most trusted ally would clear all obstacles for him. Three Deniers cease chanting over a ritual as Salvator’s spell drops one. They are guarded by three minotaurs zombies, one of which is another arcmancy creation much like the ogre he encountered some weeks ago. Two of the three minotaurs and all the surrounding undead surge towards the champions of Light.

Also revealed is what he can only assume is the corrupted phoenix moth. Its compound eyes focus on Sky and its cruel mandibles click in irritation. The black chitin plates on its back part to reveal crude wings and it flies up to meet the aevakar. Its departure almost entirely clears his path. He delays to be sure nothing can stop him but in those few heartbeats Valitor almost falls to the tide of undeath and Sky narrowly evades some kind of decaying force breathed by the death beetle.

The remaining minotaur zombie falls swiftly as does one of the remaining necromancers to his onslaught. The last survivor pauses to kill the chrysalis on the tree knowing he lacks to time to corrupt it and flees. The phoenix moth lets out a shrill, piteous cry as it dies. The Beast turns to chase him down but is blocked as the death beetle intercedes. Its maw opens and the foul miasma spews forth directly at him. Everything it touches withers and dies but the Beast is indomitable. He roars in defiance as he charges through the cloud. The white silver of his kayakor burns through one clawed limb trying to defend itself and his jaws crush the aberration’s head. It tastes like death should taste and the body shudders once before it crumbles into ash. He memorizes it. Someday he will share it with his enemies.

Felosia has organized the local druids with some Ranger support to guard the surviving phoenix moth. I have confidence in her efforts, but signs indicate this will be a harsh winter. Since the Crimson Crusade was stalled at Thul the Deniers of Death have only become more active. Their forces require no supplies and are unaffected by environmental conditions. If we are unable to cripple their efforts soon they will strike in the heart of winter when we are at our most vulnerable.

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Pilgrim’s Journal Day 190- An Explosion of Fur
Harvest Moons 18th

I have been steadily gaining thicker fur and I wondered if it would ever stop growing. I resemble a large fat fur home cat and it is disturbing. I found that I am constantly brushing it and moving it. It has caused some distress, Then Nightingale who had been shadowing me, a harmless game, she threw a ball of this snow at me and laughed silently at my confusion the first few snowballs. When she was joined by some goblin children I understood. It is a game. A game of dodge and throw. The object being to hit your opponents and get them wet and cold while staying active and dry yourself. The Game, I have come to find out later, is called a Snowball Fight. The snow is compacted into easily broken apart balls, meant to explode on impact and get snow all over the opponent. I found that I am very good at this and it was hard for others to hit me unless taken by surprise. I did even manage to employ some of my Kor-In training and catch and return a few. Some Kor-In masters can catch arrows, I hope to be able to do so soon. Using the same training I can track and catch t snowball. Nightingale managed to rally all of the kids to side against me in this game which kept me busy, my natural agility. Through out the day Nightingale wish to play this game. It is harder to hit an aerial target but not impossible. This “Fur Coat” helps a little and I worried about it being too long but I have been assured that it is a “Winter Coat” and that the fur will diminish when it comes to spring. I should shed the excess much like other animals that grow extra. It is a strange feeling and idea. Lately the Snow has not been coming down and it has been very dry.

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Third Journal of Magpie Storm Singer
Arcfire Auction

3123 Harvest Moon 20,

Black wings rustled behind him, of course long after he’d landed. Kassegore didn’t flinch, no reason to show a predator that you were taken by surprise. “What do You want?” He kept going through the stores and checking the numbers. Having a suspicion that there was a thief among the Rangers was always awkward when there was a thief.

“Things have been going missing.” Especially when the aforementioned thief admits to knowing what he shouldn’t about thefts. “My stores of crysalites and Arcfire equipment have been raided.” Kassegore turned to him at that with a raised eyebrow. “What? You know I tinker with things while I’m trying to figure out how they work. But I figured that if my stuff has been missing…”

Kassegore sighed. The admission that Magpie had separate stores was no shock, and confirmed the reports that he had been receiving, as well as confirming his suspicions that Magpie didn’t care if anyone knew that he had his own stashes. “Ranger supplies have been raided as well.”

Magpie nodded, “I’ve heard rumors about an auction. Someone is auctioning off Arcfire tech. I wanted to see if you could do a little more digging into your source while I gather more information as well. Since I spotted you as I was passing by-”

“Really? You’re throwing me that line?” Magpie grinned then shrugged and launched himself into the air with barely a whisper from his feathers. Kassegore muttered “showoff” as he finished his inventory check and moved to check with his ‘source’ cursing the feathered fool who thinks he knows what Kassegore is doing.

As Magpie glided deeper into Sog and the more disreputable sections he weighed his options. No reason to approach the gambling dens, though that would make for a bigger purse at the end of the night. For all that those Goblinesh knew he trafficked in information they were less likely to know anything this time. Catching a whiff of trout Magpie grinned.

The docks might not be a bad place to start. Old Nanny Net-mender, or Net-Mother as she preferred, heard whispers from along the river as the boats came in. It was a network obviously limited to the waterways, but it was a wide network that traveled relatively fast. She knew about Sky’s Builder a full day before he arrived, and had been very smug about it. Magpie grimaced, if she knew about this auction though it would be likely she knew he’d been robbed. Something that hadn’t happened in well over five years, and something he was going to want to put a knife in.

Magpie landed behind a barrel of fish and watched as one fish on top of the pile was still flopping weakly. He tried not to draw similarities between it and himself as he slipped around it and glanced into the building. Not seeing anything inside despite the lack of light Magpie slipped past the door and started down the side of the dock, slipping under the edge as he walked to the shoreline and sat on the rock on the edge of the river. A slight squish came from behind him and he whispered “you expected me”.

“Not hard to do when the river talks of ‘shinnies’ swimming upstream.” Magpie knew she had information, and knew that it was going to cost him. She wouldn’t let something like that drop for free unless there was a gem worth three times that which she was holding on to.

“I really don’t like it when my shinnies swim upstream, it’s harder to count them that way.” Net-Mother chuckled as Magpie turned around to face her. The short and hunched Dregordian woman had a very toothy grin and Magpie realized from the water on her shoulder that she’d pulled the same trick on him that he had pulled on Kassegore earlier only from the water except the air. They eyed each other for a few moments as river sent reflections of the moonlight dancing over their faces until Net-Mother looked Magpie in the eye and saw the eagerness mixed with anger in his eyes.

Grinning wider she waved for Magpie to follow her and they slowly worked their way down the coastline until they came to a smaller shack that was nestled between two larger buildings and was almost completely covered in nets and rope. Slipping through a gap in the ropes Net-Mother let Magpie move into the shack before her and he watched as she pulled on a rope which set some rope traps around her house which he had built with her during his training. “I had thought you might have changed, what with joining the Rangers and all.”

Magpie snorted. “They have some uses for me, and it’s been an equally beneficial partnership.” Net-Mother glanced down at the Arcfire Chainmail he was wearing with it’s black metal and amber crystals glinting in the light of the single candle she had lit. Magpie grinned further “yes, I have gained some new items and capabilities. You knew that of course, hence your jab earlier.”

Net-Mother shrugged and pulled up a short stool as Magpie leaned against the wall. “I heard the rumors that some pirates had managed to get into some of the Ranger stores to steal their Arcfire equipment. I have to admit that it brought you to mind, but I didn’t think you’d have allowed yourself to be robbed so easily until one mentioned how hard it had been to get in under the nose of ‘the nosey false angel’.”

Magpies eyes narrowed. “I guess we have a clue as to where that lot came from.” At the Net-Mother’s nod Magpie grimaced “so the Arcfire equipment…” Net-Mother sighed and stood up, motioning for Magpie to take her seat. He moved over as she walked to a corner and came back with a piece of parchment. She set the parchment on the table with a bottle of ink and pulled up a second stool. As she sat down Magpie pulled out a small bag of coins and set it on the table, watching as it disappeared before he’d even pulled his hand back all the way. Net-Mother nodded then reached out a hand and Magpie grinned. She had helped him find a Goblin master-fletcher to help him with his wings after an accident while fixing up her shack. The master-fletcher had helped him fix his damaged wings and even converted a few of his feathers into hidden tools.

Magpie pulled a feather from one of his wings and handed her the quill as she grinned. Net-Mother started talking as she wrote and sketched on the parchment. “The pirates were spreading word that there will be an auction upriver. They didn’t spread word far and made a point of wanting those they talked to not to tell the Rangers what was going on.” Net-Mother winked and touched her nose “good thing for both of us that I don’t have to be the one talked to in order to get information.” She flipped the parchment around and started pointing to things on the rough map she had sketched. “They mentioned this inn, and the fact that the auction is going to happen in a couple of days. The way to indicate you want to get in on the auction is to buy a pair of drinks and toast to O’Malley mentioning something about his sexual prowess.”

Net-Mother looked at Magpie and tilted her head to the side. “This inn is a day away from here by boat, and if you take this route it’s the fastest. I can get one of my boys to run you up there, and if you are bringing any of your new… friends… with you he won’t have any issues with them, and as you know we are the fastest boaters you’ll in these rivers.”

Magpie grinned as he nodded to her. “I know you are, and thank you. I’ll keep you out of any official reports as always.” Net-Mother snorted and waved a hand in acceptance. “Have you heard anything about the Ranger Quartermaster Kassegore?” Net-Mother nodded, “he’s working on something with a goblin and I haven’t had the chance to bring it up with him and see what’s going on but I have been able to figure out that he’s working with Arcfire tech.”

Net-Mother’s eyes widened and her grin went predatory “it sounds like you have found another like yourself among the Rangers. This is good.” Magpie’s lip twitched up slightly as Net-Mother reached behind her and grabbed something off of a shelf. “I’ll keep my ears open, but the only thing I’ve heard so far is that some find him terrifying and others are just confused” Magpie nodded thinking about what had happened to get Kassegore promoted to Quartermaster.

She then took turned the parchment around and wrote a couple of notes on the side of the sketch and handed the whole thing to Magpie. He glanced at the writing and froze. “What did you write these things for?” He drew a finger slowly down the list of items she had written beside the inns location. “Arcfire Handcasters…. Crysalites… Arcfire armor pieces… An Arcforge!? And Arcfire Burrowers? Are these things all going to be in the auction?” Net-Mother nodded and Magpies face hardened. He stood and dropped two smaller bags of coin on the table. “Is there anything else I need to know?”

Net-Mother hadn’t even looked at the coin but kept her eyes on Magpie’s face. “Is it really that bad?” Magpie just stared into her eyes for a moment then nodded. Net-Mother nodded then “we will get the Rangers up-river as fast as we can, they’ll have my fastest crew. And Magpie?” he had turned to the door but turned back at the concern in her voice. He noticed that she still hadn’t taken the money from the table. “I remember what happened to you. When you were first brought to me…” Seeing Magpies eyes flick away from her she stood and wrapped an arm around him. “This isn’t the same group, they aren’t Winghunters.” Magpie flinched. “Just keep that in mind. And if Winghunters ever do come nearby you can trust us to get word to you as soon as we hear even a rumor. You will have help with them, from us if need-be but I think the Rangers will want a piece of them too.”

Magpie sighed and his shoulders relaxed slightly. “Thank you. Sometimes it all comes back and I don’t know who I become. We will deal with this, and we will make certain to keep everything out of anyone else’s hands.” Net-Mother looked at the table and Magpie chuckled. “Did you want something from the auction Net-Mother?” She laughed and shook her head. “Any job offers you hear about that I might like make sure I hear about.” Net-Mother rolled her eyes as Magpie stepped out the door, pulling another rope which deactivated the trap on the front door only. Then as he launched into the night Net-Mother sighed. That was one of her knot-children who had the most potential, as well as the biggest demons hovering behind him. She was glad he had been picked up by the Rangers, but wondered how he would handle things when the Winghunters finally came. Then she thought about Kassegore – The Beast and smiled. If the signals Magpie had been giving related to Kassegore were accurate then he was going to have some like-minded allies when they finally got here, and with that she pulled the trap rope as she slunk out to the river and disappeared into the water.

Magpie flew over to the Ranger Headquarters as quickly as he could while still staying silent and varying his route. Anyone who saw him would know where he was probably headed, but he didn’t want anyone to know that he was in a hurry or that he found what he’d wanted at the docks. He stopped with a few more informants and made certain to hop into the gambling den to lose a few coins before declaring his luck broken for the night. When he finally got to headquarters Artivan had already pulled a group together and was discussing the information that Kassegore had come across.

Apparently Kassegore knew that the supplies had been stolen in the course of a couple of days. Magpie told everyone that there was going to be an auction of Arcfire equipment up-river from Sog. He then asked Artivan if he could step out with him. When they had some privacy Magpie told him about the items in the auction, and that if the Arcforge existed it would be an extraordinary find as we’d be able to make crysalites with it. As he finished discussing the items in the auction and what they could do Artivan put a hand on his shoulder. “What rank are you these days?”

“I’ve not been promoted beyond Ranger.” Magpie looked at him warily as Artivan seemed surprised.

“Well now you are a Corporal,” Magpie felt the weight of command hit his shoulders and his emotions started to drop as Artivan continued “and you are also now the official Liaison to the Mechanarium.” At this Magpies hopes soared. He’d had things confiscated by the Black Lanterns for the Mechanarium and was intensely curious about it and desperately wanted to see it and some of the things that he had heard were in the control of the group holding it for the Rangers.

“Thank you. That’s awesome! I think… But thanks!” Artivan and Magpie moved back into Artivan’s office as the others were discussing what to do about the auction. “The auction is in two days and I have passage for us up the river.” Then the discussion turned to how we should go about setting things up and Magpie interjected again “my sources told me that a bidder will be allowed four guards, and I don’t think they’ll allow more than that, so since there are six of us we should try for two groups.” Magpie informed them of the password and the groups were set. Salvator was going as Zebediah Stone, Kassegore and Sky as his guards with Sky as his Arcfire expert. Magpie was going as the leader of the other group with Artivan and Bahiabin Al’Shams as his guards.

They decided to split the groups up by a little but still try to keep their entrances close enough together that they could assist if something went wrong. Hence a couple of minutes after Zebediah Stone made his entrance Magpie and his guards moved forward, but Artivan pushed past Magpie and kicked in the door yelling “Where’s that Bastard O’Malley?”

Trying to keep a lid on his fury Magpie heard from inside “To O’Malley!” as people toasted to the recently deceased. Magpie walked in and put his hand on Artivan’s shoulder with a “you are here as my guard you can keep your personal feelings towards him under your tongue.”

“O’Malley owed me money, bastard wasn’t very good at cards.” to which the barkeep looked at the mug on the bar and Artivan clarified with a “I won’t force the family to pay his debts” and he tossed a coin into the mug with a “despite all of that he was very good in the sack.” At this Magpie was practically vibrating in rage as the people by the fireplace seemed shocked and almost like they wanted to come over and trade some words with Artivan, but glanced at Magpie and decided against it.

Magpie then tossed a gold coin on top of the mug and said “O’Malley had some good stories about his sack.”

The innkeeper glanced at Magpie “and how did you know O’Malley?”

“I was a contact of his down the river, made some good business deals and had some fun evenings.” Magpie’s eyebrows quirked up as a very drunken man barged in from a back door and staggered over to their group.

“Anoser for the private party? But whish of yew made the toast?”

Magpie stepped forward and opened his mouth as Artivan said “We both did, but he’s the one.” and magpie gave the drunk a slight glare which apparently translated into a ‘get moving’ because the drunk waved them to follow him as he made for the back door. Artivan and Magpie turned to each other and Artivan says “I need to hit the head, I’ll be down in a minute”

“Take all the time you need.” Magpie turned and without a look backwards walked out the door with Bahiyabin Al’Shams at his shoulder. The ‘drunk’ seemed very curious but didn’t ask anything as he led them down a set of stairs into the cellar and through a secret door into a half sunken hallway with a couple of doors leading off of it.

“You can come in and observe the goods, but she stays out here.” The guide pointed to Bahiyabin who traded looks with the two guards at the closest door. “Once you’ve seen the goods we will come back out and you can go down the hall to join the other groups in the waiting room.” Magpie frowned but nodded and followed the guide into the room as Bahiyabin set her hand on her sword and kept an eye on the two guards.

Back in the bar Artivan had been in desperate conversation with the bartender telling him to clear out everyone and that they really didn’t want to be present. “So you’re telling me that I have to clear out of my own bar?”

Artivan pulled his shield out from under his cloak and set it on the bar between them, “do you recognize this?” And the bartender nodded. “So you know who I am?”

“Yes but… We aren’t with them. I don’t know who they are but O’Malley was a good man. Anyone saying such things about him didn’t really know him. I’m just letting them go down there so they aren’t ruining the wake.”

Artivan sighed “they are all under arrest, and they probably won’t go quietly. I suggest that you and everyone here be long gone by the time the dying starts. I’m just trying to make sure none of you get hurt. Look, we’ll do everything we can to make sure that your bar isn’t damaged but if you’re here I won’t be responsible.”

The bartender nodded then called out “Last call! Actually, I have a shack a little ways off that has some good quality moonshine!” The patrons all let out a raucous cheer at this and started filing out the back as Artivan dropped a few more coins into the flask on the bar, filling it up before the bartender picked it up and walked out with the rest of the party.

As Magpie looked over all of the Arcfire devices present he noted booby traps on the bigger items, and that most of the smaller items were probably the items stolen from Sog, with a few extras tossed in among them. A few pieces of armor and some handcasters with their ammo made up two lots while a third lot was the Arcforge and two devices that looked to be the Arcfire Burrowers which explained how they got into some of the stores in Sog. The fourth lot was a pair of Arc-bombs. Magpie went to them and saw that one was broken beyond repair, but that the other was alive, set, and counting down on a timer. “This bomb is broken!” He turned to the guide “how do you expect me to trust what I’m bidding on when you include this shit in it?”

The guide took the paper that he had handed Magpie with the different lots listed on it and crossed out the fourth lot before handing it back. “If you don’t like it, don’t bid on it. I’m a facilitator for the auction. I just sell the things I get, so don’t get mad at me.”

As the guide turned to lead them out Magpie stopped him, “can you reset the bomb? I don’t want it going off under me.” The guide smiled and went over to the bomb and entered a sequence into it that reset the timer. They then stepped out into the hallway again to see that Artivan had come down.
Artivan whipped his shield around and smashed it into the head of the guard closest to him who rocked back, seeing this Magpie drew his sword and held it to the guide’s throat saying “I really don’t want you to die so go with it.” before yelling at Artivan “What do you think you’re doing? Put that down!”

Artivan pointed his sword at the group and said “you are all under arrest, surrender now.”

The guard whom Artivan had slammed looked at him and said “Ok.” as he pressed a button on the wall and a stone tablet slammed down in front of the door to the vault with the Arcfire devices in it. “But we set this up so that you could get at the group in the waiting room. We will leave you to them and walk away.”

Magpie started whispering in the ear of the auctioneer as Artivan exchanged negotiations with the Malakaran guards. “Can you put me in touch with the man who collected all of this for sale? I’m very curious to meet him and see if he might be interested in some more business.”

The auctioneer seemed slightly confused but replied “yes, just let me go. I only sell what they give me.”

Magpie shrugged “I am keeping you alive, just don’t struggle.”

Artivan was clearly not happy about the fact that the vault had been sealed as it had but the talkative guard grabbed Magpie’s attention again when he said “you mean the necromancer?” He seemed to get great pleasure out of seeing the shock on the Rangers faces. “He is dressed as a Priest of the Light but we knew him. We could smell his entourage.”

Artivan glared at the guards “You may leave if you leave peaceably. But that” and he pointed at the vault “all stays with us.”

The Malakaran guards shrugged and sheathed their weapons “this was intended to remove these groups, the devices are yours.” and they walked back up the stairs.

As the auctioneer starts to follow them Magpie stops him. “Tell me how to disarm the traps on those lots.”

“Then I can leave?” The auctioneer looked like he was ready for his day to be over.

Magpie nodded, “and keep in mind what we discussed.” Magpie listened as the auctioneer explained the traps and how they could be dismantled, after which he ran up the stairs. Magpie looked at Artivan and said “I’ll be back in a minute, I want to get the bar we will need to open this door before someone else gets the same idea.”

When Magpie got back they filed down the hall towards the reception room with Bahiyabin leading and Artivan bringing up the rear. When they stepped into the room there was a very well dressed effeminate man at the other end of the room who said “good! It looks like everyone is here, now we may commence the bidding.”

Magpie noted the groups around the room; to his left was a Dregordian who seemed to be trading glances with Kassegore and who was wearing the symbols of the Red Store. He was accompanied by four guards of varying races. To the Store’s left was a group of Malakaran soldiers who looked to be mercenaries with one man who looked to be their captain. On Magpie’s right was a group of Orcs with one orc looking to be a War-chief and on the other side of him was what appeared to be a priest of the light with four acolytes, though they didn’t look quite right. Focussing on them and remembering what the guards had said Magpie noticed their aura change and he could see through their illusion to the fact that he was seeing a Denier of Death and four zombies.

Artivan called out as he swung his shield out from under his cloak “We outbid everyone!” and he started to point his shield at the necromancer. The effeminate auctioneer seemed shocked as the priest of light revealed himself while slinging a necromantic bolt at Artivan which fizzled off his shield and the zombies attacked, one taking the auctioneer down as two others attack the orcs and the fourth started battering the wall. Light surrounded Artivan as he cried again “Those who do not oppose the Rangers can walk out of here! Well most of you.”

“We do not oppose the Rangers!” the warchief cried as Bahiyabin cast a Jet through them and into the zombies and necromancer, killing the two zombies attacking the orcs and knocking out most of the orcs. Magpie decided that he would risk trusting the Orc Warchief and lunged through the Orcs in order to race up to the necromancer and bring both of his blades down on him, knocking him back and into the wall as he fell over unconscious.

One of the Red Store guards looked at Artivan with a “How about letting us go?”

“How about that’s not what I offered! Come at me!” as Artivan swung his shield around to face them. Two of the Red Store guards moved forward as if to attack Sky and Artivan and Kassegore lunged forward, cutting them both down. He then swings his tail through another Red store guard and roars as he berserks into The Beast and swung his Kaiakore at the Dregordian leader. The mercenaries let loose a Prelacy curse and bashed out a window for their leader to climb out of as the rest guarded the exit. “Sky! Bring him back!” Artivan pointed at the fleeing captain. Magpie heard the Dregordian from the Red Store cat call to The Beast that he wishes he would die with frozen blood as The Beast watched the Prelacy captain leave. Artivan yelled at The Beast “Sky has him, take captives we need them alive!”

Magpie yelled across the room in Dregordian “You have a Dregordian opponent who wants you to die with frozen blood and you’re worried about a human peon?” Bahiyabin called out asking what was being said and got his response back in Aradish “You really don’t want to know.” Bahiyabin then fires bolts at the remaining zombies as he gets out of the way of The Beast before Sky ran past everyone and launched herself up into the air to chase down the captain.

As sky flew out the hole in the wall after the runner Bahiyabin fired a Jet through another portion of the wall killing a zombie and the remaining Prelacy soldiers as Sky yelled back through the new hole “There’s something big in the water!”

Magpie stopped for a second staring at Kassegore as he rips out the throat of the Dregordian Red Store member then cutting him into three pieces before turning one of the two bodies next to him into a puddle of bloody pus. The other body jumped up screaming his surrender to which The Beast growled at him “You serve me now.” It was only as The Beast received a very quiet “Yes Master” that Magpie realized everyone in the room had stood in shock staring at this interchange.

Magpie shook his head as Artivan stepped forward with light welling up out of his footsteps stunning the last zombie before carelessly blowing the zombie into dust with a bolt as he passed it while moving towards the Jet-hole. Magpie flew up out of the Jet-hole as Sky threw the runner back into the room to be tied up with the other prisoner. Then he flew in place in shock again as a massive Arcfire vehicle rose up out of the river.

As the vehicle rose out of the water two large golems blew the water off of it with large wings that had been built into them. A gangplank was dropped and three carts rolled off of it filled with Ratsin wearing collars as a massive voice booms out over those assembled on the shore “We have detected out equipment here. You will surrender it to us.” A massive weapon then rises out of the vehicle and points directly at the location where the vault of Arcfire devices was.

Artivan stepped forward and called “Will you come out and talk to us or just hide in your vehicle?” The weapon then aims at Artivan and the voice booms out again calling Artivan an arrogant human. “We will give you your equipment, but I just want to talk to you. Magpie!” Artivan waved Magpie down to him and pointed back inside before whispering in his ear “can you mess with the bomb, get it to go off at a different time?”

Magpie nodded “I can do that.” Magpie then flew at the Jet-hole and yelled at Sky “You’re with me Sky!” and the two of them maneuvered through the sunken area to the vault door and Magpie put the bar in place. He then had Sky take hold on the bar with him and they jacked the door up out of the way and back into a locked position. As they got inside Magpie looked at the treasure at his feet and a wave of horror washed over him as he realized that the Builders in the vehicle had tracked something here. He looked at the Arcforge and shivered. “Sky, grab our things, the two lots of handcasters and their crysalites and the armor and get it as far away from here as possible. Don’t get spotted.”

Sky hesitated as Magpie got down next to the bomb that he knew would work and he snapped “Now Sky there isn’t time!” There was a massive boom from outside and the ground shook with suck fury that the roof shifted and rocks started to fall over their heads. Sky then moved and faster than Magpie’d ever seen her move she shoved everything into the bags next to them and ran back out the way they’d been led in earlier.

Magpie shook his head, hating himself as he took apart the bomb and started messing with the inner workings. He started working on the mechanism and had it ready to blow, figuring how much time he might need to get out and have it blow when they sent their Ratsin in to carry everything out was going to be at least some compensation for having to blow the Arcforge. Magpie really wanted to study that more!

Artivan came running in as he was putting the finishing touches on connecting the two bombs so that the explosion would be truly massive. “What’s taking so long? Oh. What’re you doing?”

Magpie looked back at him “when they come to get their stuff it’ll blow.” Artivan looked at Magpie’s hardened face then behind him to the Arcforge. “Just set it for 20 seconds. We’re going to run out back and make them think this blast took us out too so they aren’t looking for us.” Magpie realized the wisdom behind his decision and made a couple of quick adjustments then stood and led the way outside at a run. Artivan and Magpie bolted up the hill and as an explosion ripped through the air around them, throwing rocks and vegetation past them they managed to dive into a ditch and a piece of roof landed over them, shielding them from the torrent of falling stone.

As the last of the debris fell around them Magpie heard a voice boom through the air. “Know this survivors! All of our belongings will be returned to us, by Peace or War!” Magpie took a tainted pleasure from the fact that the voice was but a whisper to the explosion he had caused but a moment earlier.

Artivan turned to Magpie as they started digging themselves out from under the roof “I’m impressed and very proud that you left those things in there to blow up.”

Magpie nodded and a second later said “they could have tracked that all back to Sog. I’m sure they’ll try to take us at some point, but we don’t need them coming now.” He then looked at Artivan “what in Flame was that boom when Sky and I were in there?”

Artivan then explained as Sky landed next to them and they all walked back towards the inn how the Builders had used the cannon to blow the docks up as a show of force. He also explained that these Builders claimed not to know who the Merchant was and didn’t care. “They seem solely interested in collecting their equipment back. They don’t seem like a group that will attack us outright.”

Magpie snorted. It had certainly appeared to him like they were being fairly aggressive. “Artivan, they were demanding that we give them all of the Arc-tech present without any leeway for it not being theirs. They could have come to us and asked for it. Claiming it as theirs doesn’t make it theirs even if some Builders made it.”

Artivan clapped him on the shoulder “but they aren’t just attacking us for it either.” magpie wondered whether they weren’t attacking the group on the shore because they didn’t know for sure if they could have taken everyone. Or if they might have taken enough damage to make it not worth the effort. Then he saw the shoreline. The shallows had been converted into a crater that was even now still filling in with water, and which had the river running backwards to fill in the crater. The crater where the docks used to be dwarfed the hole in the ground that he could see their comrades digging furiously in. “You didn’t tell them did you?”

Artivan hollered out to everyone and waved as the three of them walked down the hill. “Nope.”

As they get back to the inn Salvator walks up to Magpie and smacked him upside the head. “Don’t ever do that again! I thought you’d actually blown yourself up this time!” As things settled down Magpie figured out that there were a few interesting things that he’d missed by securing the stash. Though he’d been relatively certain that would be the case regardless considering the things he’d heard and what Artivan had said. As the true mourners of O’Malley’s passing came down to see what the commotion was all about the Rangers managed to convince the inn keeper that he was happy with the docks being blown apart. Though being told that it was a quick comment on Artivan’s part that the docks became the target instead of the inn probably helped. And being told that the Rangers would cover the repairs didn’t hurt either.

The Rangers were invited back into the inn to join the wake before they figured out their journey back. Kassegore hung back from the inn and Magpie decided to see what was going on with him and his captives. They had a very animated discussion about Kassegore’s plans for Camon and the Prelacy, and Magpie’s thoughts to those ends. By the time that they were ready to leave the next day the crater had long been filled and the river had gone back to its natural course. Magpie was certain that Kassegore was going to be a fun ally, though he wondered if Kassegore would ever really be able to follow through on his plans. Then wondered again what would happen if he did.

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