STORMREACH— Normally home to stodgy old archaeologists and self-styled “prehistoric anthropologists,” Stormreach may actually see some action in the near future. Late last night, this correspondent witnessed the entrance to the city of a group readers of the Chronicle have come to know quite well in recent months: Zach’s Commandos! This mercenary adventuring group out of Sharn was last seen, less than a week ago, cleaning up a group of Karrnathi zombies loose in the City of Tower’s middle district. How did they get to Stormreach so quickly, and why? Only time will tell, but this correspondent suspects a clandestine operation at the behest of a rich patron! What could they need in the dense jungles of Xen’drik?
We may find some clues among Stormreach’s other recent arrivals. Frequent readers may recall last week’s arrival of Morgrave University’s Provost Baris Kaven and his teaching expedition. Though this is a fairly routine expedition, Kaven’s class includes an unusual companion in the form of a mysterious, but apparently quite capable, woman. All attempts by this correspondent to speak with her have been firmly rebuffed, but keen observation provides a few suggestions.Shewalks slowly, but dresses in the no-nonsense style of a Karrnathi soldier and views everything with a cold, tactical gaze, so it is likely she is a veteran of that nation’s army (and perhaps connected to the Commandos’ recent imbroglio in Sharn!). She seems friendly with the Provost, and set up a potent arcane perimeter around the Morgrave encampment outside town, so she may be protecting something hidden amongst this apparently commonplace expedition’s supplies. Something, perhaps, the Commandos are here to collect!
There’s also the small matter of an unnamed privateer airship that passed through two days ago, resupplying before flying deeper into the continent. The Commandos may already be days behind in a race to some mysterious treasure! That unmarked vessel clearly had urgent business, as it docked only long enough to take on supplies. This correspondent can report the captain—an ugly character with a scarred face—paid well, speaking briefly to the dockmaster before departing. When interviewed shortly afterward, the dockmaster’s silence reeked of gold. If these privateers are the Commandos’ target, our heroes will need all their resources and cunning to catch them.
Whatever the reason for their sudden and speedy trip to Xen’drik, the journey has taken its toll on the adventurers. Party leader Zach Erim showed signs of recently healed injuries, and his loyal second, the warrior priest Ajax of the Sovereign Host, seemed somewhat bruised as they entered the city, although the elven archer Elgon seemed unflappable as ever. The Warforged Vanguard, however, had clearly sustained heavy damage, though it had been hastily repaired. Nowhere in evidence was the lovely and brash Kalashtar, Maellana Lashtari, her absence a noticeable shadow amongst the group. Is her absence sign of a covert mission, or has something more sinister befallen the psionic vixen? This correspondent will do his best to find out!
EDITOR’S NOTE—Readers will recall Chronicle coverage of the previous exploits of Zach’s Commandos. Most recently, the aforementioned battle in Sharn’s middle district, and shortly prior to that the salvation of a group of passengers aboard an Orien Lightning Rail coach. In that incident, frequent readers will recall, forces loyal to the Lord of Blades and a band of mercenary halflings attacked the Rail coach. Although the Orien operators did not survive, the fearless action of the Commandos ensured the service crew and all passengers aboard were well protected. Passengers especially lauded the quick thinking of Ms. Lashtari as she brought down several of the halflings single-handed. The group rose to recognition after their help in taking down an organized crime ring in Sharn.