Day 153 of the Fighting Moon, Year of the Goddess 436
Copy: Octar and Borti II
News has reached me that the vanguard has been complemented by a rogue in the name of Luciella. Although I have not had the pleasure of being personally acquainted with her (I must have met her 3 or 4 times in the not distant past), I understand there is all hope that she will prove a valuable asset and, as such, I dearly wish to offer my congratulations and felicitations.
It seems almost a distant dream, that day under the Red Moon of the year of the Goddess 431, when we first set foot in our new hall on the outskirts of Aborek and were all so happily occupied in selecting the spots on which to place our chests!
I trust all is well with you.
Day 171 of the Bleeding Moon, year 437
I think you have met my good friend Terliyne, a cleric who I have hunted with frequently ever since she was young. I was delighted when she applied for the vanguard, and we devised some tests for her. First Scout Fang, Chaplain Borti, Nial and I were accompanied by our friends Gwyddeon and Kim for a hunt in the Marali Cemetery. Terliyne's task was to heal this hunt solo, and she did so with aplomb - if not quite without casualties. Then, Cassandra joined us as we hunted our way down through a couple of levels of the Aborek - Terliyne healed us without any deaths in the party.
Finally, Nial bravely volunteered to be the examiner for the run. Into the gates of Aborek he went, as nature intended. Terliyne had to heal him without Nial ever having to use a potion. All ran smoothly. To make the task a little more difficult, a particularly lethal route through the Marali forest was chosen as the route back. Since Terliyne was able to complete a successful rescue, the examiner deemed the attempt a success, and the Chaplain administered the oath.
I hope to see you soon,
@Fuocco, why are you playing in 256 colors?
Year 437, Day 196 of the Bleeding Moon
Having just returned from a mission to assist the Marali Vanguards from the invasion of Brigands on there Great Hall, I take some time to rest, meditate just outside the city walls, to reflect on the moment and days past, scratching my chin, I then look at my fateful companion, a black Dog I had found during my travels through the same harsh environment, (thinking to myself), the time has come for me to make choices, I have spent a lot of time training in preperration for this day, alone more often than none, for a long time now I have been hunting, fighting many beats, more so in the forest of Andris facing magical creatures and Giants, refining my skills, but still, I wonder if I am up to the challenge that awaits me, well ! I shall soon find out.
I open my bag, pull out a piece of parchment and pen, I write:
To Armsman Octar,
As you may know, I am foreign to these lands and have a strong accent, but I find the time has come for me to set new roots, therefore I am formally applying for membership in the Malari Vanguard, as I wish to make it my home.
I have been very fortunate to have studied and been mentored by the great Wizard Lady Fuoco, and her Niece the Cleric Madam Rosina. Since I arrived in the lands of Oberin, both have taught me well, as you and Armsman Borti II have seen on our shared hunts. My personal Quest is to acquire knowledge and continue my travels through these vast lands, build on friendships and various alliances, share with the many, pass along the acquired knowledge, I have no greed but to refine even further my skills as a Wizard.
After finishing, I walk down towards the Marali Vanguard Great hall, the ink still wet, I leave with the message pinned on the message board.
After a brisk walk to Marali, I head to the guild hally to see if the new guards have settled in.
I read Gwyddeon's note with a happy smile.
210th Day of the Bleeding Moon, Year 437
Commander, Majors, Captains, Armswomen and Armsmen,
As you know, the vanguard has undergone some difficult times these past few years. Ever since the trouble with Rivolus however, we have steadily grown in strength and numbers. Today we have a twofold celebration, as both the Wizard Gwyddeon and the Cleric Hideaki completed their gauntlets and were inducted into the Vanguard.
Gwyddeon's gauntlet run was about to start, when word reached us of yet another Black Hand fort near Port Gast. I am pleased to say that he acquitted himself very well in what was to prove his final test prior to his gauntlet. Hearing the cries of battle, Hideaki fearlessly sprinted alone across hostile terrain to help, but just as he arrived the last troll was put to the sword, and victory was declared.
So it was that we portalled back to the city with the joy of battle still flowing through our veins, and straightaway Gwyddeon set off on his run. He made it into Aborek, but to my horror he had purchased a faulty batch of potions and I had to summon the chaplain to resurrect him. Persistence paid off however, and he eventually completed his gauntlet.
Hideaki, being a cleric, had a different task: to keep an entirely unclothed armsman alive as they ran into the gates of Aborek and back without the need for potions. He performed admirably, coping very well with my penchant for punching poison elementals.
My friend Nial had the honour of administering the oaths. We were joined for the party by our former Armswoman Cassandra. The famous wizard spotted the purple robes of another distinguished visitor, and hailed him as "Grape Master". Presumably it was the said Grape Master who kindly furnished our hall with a very fine vintage later that evening.
I fully realise that we are not yet the force that we ought to be, and I shall redouble my efforts as recruiting officer. But gone are the days of shame when Marali could only send two apprentice-boys into battle against the Hand.
We shall be scouring the seas for signs of the Black Hand "Island Forge". More heavily armed brigands were spotted at Port Gast, we shall look for clues at the port over the next few days.
I remain ever at Marali's service,
As you know our Vanguard is still rebuilding. We are still looking for new recruits to defend our lands, and those of us privileged to serve are still training to become the formidable force we ought to be. First Scout Fang has much business with the scouts, and decided to pass on the mantle of leadership of the Vanguard to me. In the continued absence of the Majors and Commander Vaup, he suggested I would be acting Captain until this promotion could be confirmed by our leaders. I desire greatly to speak with you about the whereabouts of the Commander, as rumours abound - and if they are to be believed, she may urgently need our help.
I should also let you know that after the handover ceremony, we once again drove out mercenaries from their base. A few of them had taken refuge in the library, and the Vanguard - along with our predecessors Charonia and Cassandra, and Lord Crom representing his friends Fuoco and Gawr - swiftly eliminated the threat.
I remain always at the service of the city,
Armsman (and acting Captain) Octar
Ullan stalked down the dark corridor of Marali keep. His lockstep determined march echoed down the hall. In one armored fist his glaive and the other a simple note. No one saw him enter the city but the sentries at the gates, who gave him clearance to enter at this late hour. He stopped at the larg Maralian Oak door that dominated the end of the long corridor and stopped. Resting his glaive on the wall he pulled a small dagger from his belt and placed the note on the door, slammed the dagger though the note pinning it to the door with a thunderous boom.
The note reads in plain and bold writing.
"IF YOU WISH THE ENEMIES OF THE NORTH SLAIN. ALLOW ME TO PROVE MY WORTH. ULLAN"
With the note firmly in place he snatched his glaive from the wall and did a parade ground perfect "about face" ( 180 turn ) and marched back out the way he came for he had death to deal and the night was young.