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Zol, 31 Lharvion, 999
FALKORIN JUSTLY SLAIN!
ZACH’S COMMANDOS UNCOVER EMERALD CLAW RECRUITMENT PLOT
Edgin Dowrik, Special Correspondent
Dear Readers, it is an exciting and frightening time for we devotees of the intrepid and courageous band of brethren and sistren known as Zach’s Commandos.
You will no doubt recall that at the time of this reporter’s last missive, the Commandos fended off a sudden and brutal attack by the agents of the Lord of Blades. Squad Seven, the doughty if inexperienced representatives of Rekkenmark Academy, provided valuable support, but were clearly overmatched both against and alongside our heroes. After dismantling the threat, Zach and company returned to the academy proper.
And here the real intrigue begins, dear readers! For those who have followed this band’s exploits, it cannot be far from your mind that all is not as it seems. This is certainly the case, as this reporter has discovered. After speaking with several students and faculty, it is now confirmed, gentle readers, that all is not peaceful in this academy of war! Not a fortnight hence, Dean of history and politics Alladir Tallheart was brutally murdered in his quarters. Another dean and former teacher of Zach himself, Mattasin d’Deneith, called on the commandos to assist in the murder investigation.
And it was well that he did! Yes, the conspiracy alluded to when our heroes arrived at the academy has proven more than mere whispers and shadows. Not one, but two dark cults have dwelled within these walls. One, mysterious enough that even this reporter could not yet delve its secrets, leaves death and woe in its wake. The other, far more familiar but no less terrifying, is none other than the Emerald Claw. And at this scaly hydra’s head, none other than headmaster Falkorin! Loyal readers will recall the praise so recently given to this man in these pages; please forgive this reporter, for I knew not the truth.
But let it be known now, dear readers! Calvin ir’Falkorin, headmaster of Rekkenmark, never renounced his ties to that once-legitimate organization, and turned with the Emerald Claw to terrorism and betrayal.
Upon this discovery, Zach and his team acted swiftly, reducing this criminal organization to refugee status in rapid order.
Yes, Falkorin, the decorated and once-vaunted veteran of the Last War, retired leader of the Karrnathi army, has been exposed as a traitor to his nation. And, as fits such a vile being, he has fallen to the efforts of those heroes, Zach’s Commandos!
Readers will forgive me now for indulging my quill, for the reports of students who witnessed Falkorin’s end were so awed, so astonished, that I cannot resist but to share. The Commandos were seen to approach a lecture hall where Falkorin was hidden with several of his minions, both living and undead. While some of the crew opened the doors to this villainous redoubt, Ajax, the ever-stalwart warrior-priest of the Sovereign Host, stood in the opening and, braving a hailstorm of arrows, shouted a prayer to his gods. At this benediction, a clamor arose within, and those nearby swore to me the sound was like that of stampeding cattle, the screams of the living and the clatter of the undead like desperate whispers beneath the storm of hoof and horn.
With the rank and file apparently finished, the rest of the Commandos entered the room with a clamorous shout, led by a charge from the thunderous warforged Vanguard. Zach, close behind, seemed ready to sunder the very walls with his rage. The wizardess “Z,” no doubt enraged by the traitor’s affront to her homeland, fired a volley of magical energy as she followed the troop. Holding the hall against attack from behind, the diminutive Raaksaat did not immediately join the fray, but seemed ready to put her bow to use if a foe presented itself.
At the rear of the lecture hall, Falkorin beat a hasty retreat, fleeing into a rear corridor. His escape lasted none too long, as more students witnessed the Commandos pour into the hall behind him, following despite grievous wounds clearly sustained in their battle. Falkorin, as one might expect from such a veteran, refused capture. Raising his sword in final salute, the arch-conspirator charged Zach, and was finally put down by the party.
But the ordeal did not end here! Having relieved the turncoat of his life, the commandos turned their attention to the other cult which held sway over the student population. With some unknown magic, this cult had killed several and promised to do so again. Alas, the group was too late to prevent the leader’s escape, but they did save the lives of several students—most from Squad Seven—tortured in his occult rituals.
Zach’s Commandos, somewhat the worse for wear, emerged victorious from this harrowing battle. But now they must deal with a more dangerous foe: the slippery causeway of bureaucracy. Suspected of capital crimes themselves, the heroes are besieged by officials from many quarters. At the time of this writing, representatives of House Deneith, House Sivis, and the Karrnathi Crown have descended upon Rekkenmark, and the fate, whether praise or prison, of these friends to the people remains unknown.
Wir, 1 Barrakas, 999
ZACH’S COMMANDOS EMPLOYED BY KARRNATH? THE WYVERNJACK’S PAST REVEALED!
The past day, dear readers, has been full of revelation and import. You will recall, certainly, the harrowing battle with a powerful traitor fought by Zach’s Commandos, brought to you in fearsome detail in these very pages. And of course, the troubling conclusion, fate hanging in the balance of justice.
Although House Sivis demanded satisfaction for the attack of a Bonded Messenger, and the Karrnathi Crown was at first concerned for the destruction of one of its greatest cultural institutions, representatives of House Deneith spoke out for the Commandos. Combined with the patriotic action of expat sorceress Zinnastine, the Crown was convinced that the Heroes were not at fault, and has in fact rewarded them with a secret mission!
What this mission may be remains unknown, but it can be said the group was shown into a Deneith carriage, where they rested for some few hours and emerged miraculously healed, a miracle to make even the healers of Ghallanda jealous! No sooner had they left this clearly magical transport than the party was horsed and on their way to the south!
Although nothing is known of the Commandos’ destination or goals, this missive yet bears news! Yes, dear readers, quiet your concerns that your faithful reporter has nothing of interest to offer, for the discussions between the nobility and our heroes were none too silent, and witnesses have told all!
Of particular interest is the story of that most mysterious party member, Zinnastine. Although clearly a native to Karrnath, her deep-seated patriotism was never so clear as now. Loyalty to king and country brought her back to Rekkenmark, and loyalty for her family saw her through to the end. Aleph Kraal, leader of Squad Seven, is her younger brother, and though her actions saved his life, he remains gravely wounded. For his sake, and that of her nation, Zinnastine has taken on the mission presented to the group.
At this point, one must wonder: is the grim determination of the Karrnathi mage-captain superceding the charismatic freewheeling nature of Zach’s leadership? Will this group continue to follow two leaders? And, of primary concern: what mysteries lie to the south? Find out, dear readers, as it unfolds in the pages of the Korranberg Chronicle!
Zor, 2 Barrakas, 999
AMBUSH ON THE ROAD OUTSIDE REKKENMARK!
Loyal readers will recall that Zach’s Commandos were exonerated of all charges in the destruction of Rekkenmark Academy, and set a prestigious, if undisclosed, mission for Karrnath. Heading south in high spirits and at high speed, the group celebrated even as they moved toward their next trial.
Their victory celebration was not lengthy, however, as only yesterday the Commandos departed the city of Rekkenmark and headed South, to destinations unknown! Before their departure, this reporter witnessed them in close consultation with the upper echelons of House Deneith, and can confirm for you that Roanne Sealock, a formidable-looking envoy of the House, has been dispatched with the Commandos – to what ends, I do not know. There is safety in numbers, but perhaps not in all cases! More information will follow as your faithful correspondent obtains it.
While I cannot tell you their aims or destination, gentle reader, I CAN tell you that their trip has already proven to be anything but peaceful! This reporter has learned to follow the Commandos at a safe distance, and I am glad that I have done so, for along the road in their wake, I came upon a scene and heard a tale that may well upset your dinner! I recommend that you set this paper aside until you may sit quietly, and process unsettling news.
A violent ambush awaited the Commandos on the road south of Rekkenmark, described to this reporter by the sole survivor, barely able to flee the scene with his life. Beset by terrifying assailants, Zach and his cohorts struggled to contain a situation literally burning down around them. Animated undead and unnatural sorcery assaulted them from all sides, but all members of the party acquitted themselves with courage and valor – even the diminutive Raaksaat, according to our witness’ report (a detail this reporter had to verify twice, in disbelief).
No reliable evidence exists regarding the exact identity of the perpetrators of this ambush, but I can report for you, dear reader, that their fervor for the destruction of Zach’s noble cadre was sufficient to justify not only pyromancy and the dark arts of necromancy, but the sacrifice of an innocent band of weary travelers, including at least one precious child. Led by a fearsome apparition claimed by our sole surviving witness to be a lich (a LICH, dear readers!), this band of brigands proved in the end to be no match for our stalwart heroes.
But we must remember, the Commandos are only on the opening steps of their latest journey! Who can say what horrors await? Whatever they may be, you will be sure to learn about them here in the pages of the Korranberg Chronicle.