Sergeant Marr Pannet, Northshore 4th District.
We were volunteers, all fourteen of us. We got a heads-up that Maler was putting a team together to tackle something in the sewers. We’d all heard the stories: orcs and worse down in the tunnels, getting bolder, sending small raiding parties at night. Maler announced it was more than that. He said his sources confirmed that they were building, gearing up for a unified attack. He gathered us up; volunteers he could trust, who trusted him. We’d have followed him into the Nine Hells, but we didn’t expect the hells to rise up and meet us.
The Captain had a plan, so while the rest of the Guard, and what militia-men we could gather in time from the lake-towns, prepared to defend the city and its people, we got out-fitted to go hunting. He said we were a reserve strike force, that we’d be ready “just in case” to go in and cut off the beast’s head. In case of what he never said, but it looked like he was more surprised than we were when he told us we’d be moving out. Maybe not surprised. Grim, I guess. If we needed to know, we trusted Maler to tell us.
The plan was to rendezvous with the Captain’s contact, and take a secret way to the Warlord’s camp. If we could take him out, the Captain hoped it would fracture the tribes and lessen the blow of their offensive. Maler had been a part of similar operations back during the wars, when some greenskin remnant would try to take advantage of the chaos. We had a pretty good route through the first leg of our journey. We hit a couple of patrols, sure, but they weren’t expecting us on their turf, and we took them out quick and quiet, with no trouble until we got nearer to one of their larger camps.
One of their berserkers got in too close; it was already dead when it tagged Jarret, it just hadn’t figured it out yet. It’s like the damn thing didn’t even feel it when Rayl’s halberd took its arm of at the elbow; just kept coming and skewered the corporal on the jagged stump. (He shudders)
Poor kid. Of all of us, Jarrett was the one who had to beg to join up. Not that we didn’t trust his skill or his guts – he was one of the fastest I’ve ever seen with a light blade – but we all thought he was meant for greatness. He used to run with a street gang before the Shadows moved in, and the Captain turned him around. He was a smart kid, and had a pretty new wife. Maler said “no” the first few times, but the kid begged for the chance to help out. I remember the Captain told him he didn’t want to have to tell that young woman she was a widow. Looks like that might be my job now.
We did what we could for Jarrett, but we had to keep moving to meet up with the Captain’s friend. I met her once back when I served under Maler in Northshore -she was odd then, talking to rats like they could understand her -but now she was downright frightening, crawling with all manner of bugs and vermin and riding on the largest spider I’ve ever seen. I don’t know the whole story between her and the Captain but she looked up to him like he was her father. Like the rest of us I suppose.
With her help, we went straight to the Warlord, and found him rallying his lieutenants. We were able to slip in to the chamber and surround them before we attacked. Things went well at first; we managed to take many of them down quickly – Maler even got in close enough to the Warlord to land a couple good blows, wounded him pretty bad. The bastard took a cut to leg, then the face and it looked like we had him. Then their second wave hit us.
A wash of green light hit the Captain, locked him in place mid-swing. A screech like the Dragon herself tore through the chamber and Rekkah and Tavig just hit the ground in bloody heaps. A bugbear, a real mean son of a bitch led this new group, back by some kind of magic. Orrill said at the time that it was probably divine in origin. He had some luck countering it, before that goblin got the drop on him. The second wave broke us, wiped us out, and the Captain, trapped by the spell, had no choice but to watch it all.
After we were beaten, the four of us who still lived were bound and tortured, one by one, by the bugbear, who referred to himself as a Champion of the Reborn Talon. He said he wanted us to know that our city was doomed, to know a portion of the suffering our nations would feel, “now that the Blades could no longer protect us.” He also said, and this is more troubling, that “that foolish elf at the University thinks he controls us, that we will stop at re-taking this city. The Reborn Talon will soon let all of you pathetic slave races see that the might of the old Empire will return.”
Something about it seemed like more than boastful posturing. Maler held on though. No matter what the Champion did, the Captain would not break, that the kingdoms would endure through any planned assault. He held strong right up until the bugbear killed him. Then the bastard killed Warrick and strung me up like he did the Captain. I swore to Maler and all the gods I knew that I would die before I let the bugbear get to me.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful that these adventurers showed when they did a few minutes later, and got Rayl and me out of there, I am. We weren’t expecting any rescue. I’m glad they killed that bastard, but a part of me wishes they’d let me die with my Captain.