News from the Front, July edition, 20 6E


News From the Front
The latest on the war for Wyndael

June 26, 20, 6E

Emperor Ernst Missing!

On Friday May 19 a large number of eager adventurers gathered at Stormbrak keep in response to Emperor Ernst’s call to arms. After meeting briefly with Magnate Izikiel Ryatt of House Heinlein and Lady Elizabeth Keenan of House Sterne they were joined by General Argus Stratos, the Governor of Wyndael. Stratos informed all present that he had just been advised that Emperor Ernst had arranged a secret trip to Wyndael to inspect the front. General Stratos announced that he would be hosting His Imperial Eminence to a frontier dinner in Stormbreak Keep the following night.

The following evening General Stratos’ senior staff gathered along with many mercenaries and adventurers present but neither His Eminence nor any of his entourage arrived. Eventually it became clear that Emperor Ernst’ would not be arriving and the general left abruptly to dispatch search parties. Answers would not come until the following day.

On Sunday General Argus and Barilise had begun to rally the adventurers of the region to invade and dispatch a Troll camp that House Sterne had failed to conquer the previous day. Reports had surfaced that the trolls were looking to fortify the site and build a cauldron, the cultural center of the savages’ lives. However, as they were about to depart Senior Kommander Seph Bandoris, the second-in- command of the 2nd Legion, arrived in great haste. She reported that scouts had identified the remains of the Emperor’s caravan, seemingly destroyed. General Stratos ordered Bandoris to rally troops from the 1st and 10th cohorts and attack the troll camp. He then ordered the adventurers to accompany him to the site of the caravan.

The adventurers arrived to find a pack of Wylderkin picking over the remains of the site of a massive battle. The remains of many Talon Company soldiers were scattered about the field. Enraged, General Stratos demanded an explanation from the Wylderkin, who responded with violence and attacked the general. A pitched battle ensued with General Stratos leading from the front and personally striking down several of the kin while demanding to know the location of the Emperor. Eventually the enemy had either fled or been slain and the site was explored. Although the clothing and remains of members of Talon Company were found, there was no sign of Emperor Ernst’s clothing or signs of office.

Several of the adventurers inquired as to what could take out the Emperor’s personal guards, as they would be comprised of the best that Talon Company had to offer, and it was quickly realized that neither any Wylderkin nor Trolls could possibly overtake His Eminence’s caravan. The General was later seen talking in hushed tones with several adventurers including Vesper Simanova and Mardex of the Guild of Wine and Roses, Roark the High Ogre and Journeyman Greyson McAllister of the Mage’s Guild.

With the disappearance Emperor Ernst uncertainty grips the Empire. Some are pointing out the similarities to the mysterious disappearance of the Emperor’s mother Nessania 39 years ago. As no sign of her was ever found some have already started to wonder about the line of succession. Emperor Ernst’s daughter Venna is next in the line of succession, but the girl is only 12 and would not be able to take the throne until she was of age. The Assembly of Houses is scheduled to meet to name a regent but the need for a regent has never occurred in known Imperial history so it is unknown who will be named without any sort of precedent. Many names have been suggested as likely regents including the Emperor’s wife Edela Mora Keddin, His uncle Vikkin Stratos, and His cousins Zedda Stratos and General Argus Stratos. Legally the Assembly could name a Regent from outside House Stratos as well, though it would be an earthshaking move. Many are expecting a long session of the Assembly as the leaders of all six Greater Houses figure out the Empire’s next move.

War with the Trolls Proceeds
In recent weeks the Trolls have made advances towards Stormbreak Keep, with an obvious eye towards retaking the structure. The enemy set up three staging areas to strike the castle in an attempt to retake it. With control of the structure they would be able to effectively fortify it and command the area, which would be a devastating blow to the war effort. With the massive influx of adventurers into Wyndael General Argus Stratos, Commander of the 2nd Legion, tasked Houses Sterne and Heinlein with gathering two groups to strike two of the three troll camps forming before they could properly fortify.

On May 20 Captain Jaylin Barrol, the commander of House Sterne’s forces, and Mage’s Guildmaster Alvyn Tindell gathered a number of adventurers to strike one of the troll camps. Under the eye of General Stratos as an observer of House Sterne’s leadership ability, the captain led several of the adventurers to attack the troll camp. The fight initially went very well, with the several Flame Blade spells provided by Captain Barrol and Guildmaster Tindell allowing the adventurers to cut down the trolls like a scythe through wheat. However once the spells wore off the battle turned sour very quickly.

Within minutes House Sterne’s lines collapsed. Captain Barrol was caught in a Prison spell and captured by trolls while Guildmaster Tindell was struck down and eaten on the field by trolls, as well as at least one other adventurer. General Stratos was forced to go from observer to full participant in moments. The General proceeded to heal and Life adventurers and command a controlled retreat. Needless to say the afternoon was a failure for House Sterne. Guildmaster Tindell later resurrected and gathered a strike force including Mardex, Greyson McAllister, and Qori. This force performed a stealth mission later that night to rescue Captain Barrol, whom the trolls were torturing for amusement and information. The captain bravely refused to provide any intelligence to the monsters in spite of the brutal torture he endured, and was successfully saved and returned to friendly lines.

Later that afternoon, Magnate Izikiel Ryatt and Cabinet Member Galen Weathergreen of House Heinlein gathered a number of adventurers who agreed to fight with their house that day and marched on a second troll camp. It was noted going into the fight that Magnate Ryatt had gathered far more volunteers than House Sterne had. Again, General Stratos went as an observer of House Heinlein’s performance. In spite of the Magnate arriving late to the muster, his forces were able to command the field, slay the trolls present, and take the camp for the Empire.

Later that night, in spite of losing a camp to House Heinlein and suffering casualties from House Sterne’s attack the Trolls attacked the Stormbreak Keep anyway, streaming into the region from the two directions of their remaining camps. It was a pitched and difficult battle and one resurrection was suffered a human warrior known as Krall with no known ties to either House, but the adventurers were able to beat back the troll attack and keep the Imperial Flag flying upon the ramparts of Stormbreak Keep.

That night Mardex evidently performed a subsequent mission back to the troll camp House Sterne had failed to take for reconnaissance and witnessed the trolls fortifying the location and discussing a cauldron. Military and historical sources indicate that the creation of the cauldron would give the trolls a massive advantage in the war as they would be able to make themselves far more powerful and also start resurrecting in the region.

General Stratos made preparations to rally the adventurers to strike this camp and destroy it before a cauldron could be constructed, however as they were ready to move out Senior Kommander Bandoris, the executive officer of the 2nd Legion, reported the location of the Emperor’s ambushed caravan had been discovered. The general ordered Senior Kommander Bandoris to muster elements of the 1st and 10th cohorts and to strike the camp and destroy it while he investigated the Emperor’s fate. Unfortunately the trolls had been able to build entrenchments and summon reinforcements in the night. During the pitched battle that followed Senior Kommander Bandoris was struck down by the trolls and unfortunately suffered her permanent death. Kommander Ordan Bryth of the 10th cohort took command and led an ordered retreat. Bryth praised the actions of Soldadt Clem MacNab, who slew several trolls himself and that of Kade Morva Lorgath and Soldat Ganner Ironeyes who’s timely charge allowed the kommander to break free and lead the retreat. To combat the mounting losses the 2nd Legion has suffered during the fighting in the Battle of Newhome, the winter, and this latest setback, General Stratos has requested reinforcements from 1st Legion in Wolkenstadt.

Kin Uprisings Continue to Plague Wyndael
With the arrest of Molain, the reported leader of the so called Wylderkin Resistance, it was hoped that the rest of the Kin would lay down their arms and return to peacefully their lives so the Empire could focus on the battle with the Trolls. Unfortunately these hopes were proven too optimistic as early as the night of May 19. While General Argus was greeting the newly arrived adventurers who had answered the Emperor’s call to arms in Wyndael, a massive nausea trap was detonated in the mess hall of Stormbreak Keep. The resulting gal cloud required the evacuation of the building but no sooner were the citizens and adventurers outside when Wylderkin dissidents began attacking them.

General Argus attempted to rally the adventurers to battle, but it seemed that many were reluctant to defend themselves in spite of the hostile forces attacking them. Several times the General had to point out that the attackers were launching an ambush.

“I came here to fight trolls, not kin,” one recalcitrant adventurer was overheard to say. In spite of the difficulties General Stratos and the adventurers who assisted were able to hold the field and the surviving Wylderkin fled. The General informed the adventurers present that if they were not interested in fighting for the Empire they should not have answered the Emperor’s call to arms and should return to their homes. After the fight General Stratos clarified he did not want to fight Wylderkin either, but when they launched an ambush and attempted to harm the citizens he was sworn to protect that he would do so without hesitation.

Over the next several days there were further reports of pockets of Kin attacking Imperial citizens and stealing supplies, culminating with their scavenging the remains of the Imperial Caravan and their naked hostility to the proper authorities when they came to investigate. Many of the adventurers in the region seemed to want to be able to talk through problems with the kin, and General Stratos has said on many occasions that he does not want to fight them, but the continued violent aggression of the minority of Wylderkin malcontents makes such conflicts inevitable. The Wylderkin leader, Hundel, has openly requested that any Wylderkin citizens bring issues to him so that he can address them with the Empire. “Acting out is just going to cause more people to get hurt,” he said. “We need to work with the Empire or the trolls will have nothing to stop them from killing us all.”

House Heinlein Announces New Cabinet Members
Magnate Izikiel Ryatt, the ruler of House Heinlein’s efforts in Wyndael has announced the following additions to his cabinet: Oxalis of Wyndael a boar Wylderkin, Tiabalis a spider Wylderkin, Shomari a Lion Wylkderkin, Sasha and Sorcha Storm’ren twins and two High Ogres Dwarg and Roark. Some have commented on these choices however, it is heavy with non traditional races to represent the Empire. Magnate Ryatt’s choices have been criticized because of the ongoing difficulties with the Wylderkin and Roark’s recent legal troubles with General Stratos, the Governor of Wyndael. Galen Weathergreen, the magnate’s right hand man, dismissed such criticisms. “We need Wylderkin to understand and support our mission in Wyndael so that they can help explain it to their people, and as for Roark, he did what he felt was right. Magnate Ryatt respects that he has the courage of his convictions.”

Some have wondered if this means that House Sterne is falling behind in the contest that the Emperor laid out between the two houses. An anonymous member of House Sterne, however, had another view of the matter. “Heinlein is simply rushing in without vetting or considering a great many things. As usual, we are taking our time to examine the situation so we can know we are making the best choices.”

Dorent leads protests in Ellbogenstadt
The Lizard Wylkderkin known as Dorent has led a group of Kin to Elbogenstadt to lead a series of public protests to oppose the Imperial annexation of Wyndael. Slowing commerce and holding up signs accusing the Empire of trying to enslave the Kin again in all but name the protesters created issues in the city.

Some have called for the Wylderkin to be arrested, but Overmagnate Sandan Haynard, the head of House Heinlein and ruler of the city, stated that he would not arrest citizens doing no harm by peacefully expressing their concerns. Still, many cannot hope to wonder how House Heinlein can hope to maintain law and order when they allow such undermining of their authority.

House Sterne Offers Free Literacy Training
Recently Lady Keenan, the head of House Sterne’s efforts in Wyndael published the following public statement.

Citizens of Wyndael,

In light of recent events, I feel it is time to deliver on some promises and establish the famed credibility of House Sterne. Before I came to Stormbreak Keep I was employed as a professor at the Imperial Wizard’s College in Bergholten, and before that I was a children's school teacher. In the spirit of House Sterne, I am reviving my role as teacher by offering a free series of classes, to begin just after midsummer. I will be teaching the fundamentals of basic reading and writing. Any and all are welcome to attend, but please let me know if you plan to so that I can make the necessary materials available. Other classes will become available once the Trolls are defeated and it becomes safe for our scholars to travel here. Let me know what you are interested in learning and I will do my best to provide teachers for those skills.

With respect,
Lady Elizabeth Keenan

Many note that House Sterne has already been offering education to many of Wyndael’s citizens on topics of agriculture, construction, roadbuilding and other practical nation building topics (including literacy classes), but this is the first class to be personally taught by the talented Lady Keenan herself.

Crime and Punishment
To ensure an orderly society the Empire is duty bound to punish lawbreakers, and the rule of law reaches even to the frontier of Wyndael.

-The high ogre adventurer Roark was convicted of Disobedience and Obstruction of Justice for interfering with Governor-General Stratos’ execution of his duty. In spite of the fact that committing a crime upon a member of the Imperial Family carries a mandatory sentence of Treason, the General opted not to pursue Treason charges or the death penalty for Roark and enacted an unprecedentedly lenient sentence for the ogre, that of a single gold piece. “I realize many of the adventurers are new here, and so I will be incredibly lenient,” the general was overheard to say during the trial. “But you have used up the entirely of my largesse for every adventurer here. The full weight of the law will fall upon any further lawbreakers.” Legal scholars are amazed at the light sentence, noting that the standard minimum sentences would result in fines no less than 70 gold and at least two deaths for Roark’s actions.

-A human known as Tomas is wanted for questioning in connection with the murder of the human Audrey on the night of May 20. Audrey reported passing out in her room at an Inn and awoke in the Earth Circle, seemingly the victim of foul play. Tomas was sighted within Stormbreak Keep highly distraught just before Audrey resurrected but departed before she was fully reformed. There is a reward for his successful capture.