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December 9, 2018 – War in the Dirge

STORY INFO

Last month, the combined forces of the Ulven army were met head on by a sizable Mordok force. How the Mordok were able to organize such a force and who is commanding them is still unknown. Reports of a strange new Mordok, adorned in brighter colors and displaying high level of intelligence, have been seen leading them. This new enemy appearing cannot be dismissed as coincidence. In an immense battle involving thousands of warriors on both sides, the Mordok forces were able to deal a massive blow to the Ulven army. Slogging through the muck of the swamp, the fighting was reduced to brave Ulven and brutal Mordok meeting in close and vicious combat. The fighting lasted hours as both sides were unwilling to retreat.

The decisive move of the Mordok to send considerable forces at the Ulven army’s flanks proved to be too dangerous to ignore. Under threat of being overwhelmed from the sides, the Ulven forces called for a fighting retreat. War packs were cut off from the main lines, and supply wagons abandoned as the terrain would not allow them to regroup easily with the main army forces. Small camps were overrun and occupants butchered or dispersed. In a single day of violent battle, almost two thousand Ulven and Mordok lay dead in the swamp, staining the ground and waterways red. Although this initial defeat is harsh on Ulven forces, these proud warriors are a long ways from being beaten or overwhelmed.

The Ulven army, under the command of the Clanleaders and their Warleaders, have pulled their forces back to a high ground in the area. Above the muck of the swamp, this area is the best place to attempt some kind of defensive fortifications or semblance of a camp. Crews take turns sleeping, defending, or building to stay warm and to ensure there is enough room in the camp. Over a few weeks a decent camp emerges. Wounded continue to trickle in from the defensive perimeter and war packs sent to counter Mordok movements engage in short and brutal missions, necessary to keep Mordok forces from dominating the area for too long.

Some reinforcements arrive from the Shield of Mardrun but sending supply wagons is risky; the Mordok continue to patrol and harass and maintain a solid presence near the camp. As the buildup to another bloody confrontation continues, the ability to prepare for this next battle and maintain critical routes for troops and supply wagons could be the deciding factors.

In this Dirge Swamp combat event, players will help determine whether the Ulven forces recover from this initial defeat and push the fight back to the Mordok or are forced to attempt to retreat back to the Shield of Mardrun… if they even can.

Event Summary

With the Ulven Forces and their allies pulled into a defensible position the need for clear paths became staggeringly clear but the Mordok forces in the area proved to be much too numerous for the pathways to be maintained. Many of the brave warriors of the Ulven army and their allies were butchered or pushed back to their defended post. Many lives were lost in an attempt to clear the pathways, but it was just too difficult to hold the open areas of the Mordok’s homeland. With the knowledge of the approach of the main Mordok forces it was decided that the warpack of Ulven and their allies would try to draw the attention of the Mordok and take some of the pressure off of the main warfront.

As the fighting was about to begin the strange Mordok in bright blue was seen again and many claimed it issued a dire warning in the common tounge to the warpack before unleashing a frenzy of Mordok onto their lines. The battle that came against the warpack and its allies was intense and chaotic. The warpack itself was almost completely destroyed and those that remained were beaten, bloodied, and broken. But just as the fight seemed as if it would be hopeless, the Mordok numbers waned. The survivors of the onslaught looked around to take stock of the damage. Hundreds of bodies littered the battlefield of both ally and foe. A cheer could be heard as the brave warriors clung to their brothers- and sisters-in-arms. Despite the steep cost of lives, the commotion the warpack caused allowed the main forces of the Ulven army to survive and recuperate from the devastating loss of the last month. A short-lived sigh of relief could be felt through the Ulven forces but they must make a choice soon as to what actions the armies should take. Do they try and push back against the Mordok or do they take this chance and retreat back to the shield and recoup their losses?

PHOTOS

Click here to see photos from the event!

 

 

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December 267

This month Clan Stormjarl caused quite the uproar as they raided the lands of Clan Grimward. There was a public outcry from the members of Clan Grimward that the actions Clan Stormjarl are cowardly as they waited until all of Mardrun’s backs were turned to strike at their perceived foe. There are voices of support among the other clans for Clan Grimward stating that many have put their own issues aside to deal with the Mordok, the enemy of all Ulven. On the other hand there are voices crying in support of Clan Stormjarl saying that it is their honor and right to take the fight back to Grimward and free those bound into service. As for what consequences may come from these actions, only time will tell.

However, Clan Grimward isn’t the only area that has had trouble with raiders. Bandits over the past month have shown some strange tactics in hopes of nabbing supplies for the winter. Many communities and roads within the City States of New Hope are being plagued with these bandits. While some are used to this increase in the fall, many are taking note of their more frenzied and continued surge being abnormal when compared to previous years.

Syndar on Mardrun prepare for a holiday this winter solstice, and a rather interesting one at that.  Back on Faedrun, those in the Kingdom of Fawyth, would gather around their hearths and tell stories. This was to honor of the Goddess Lyara, deity of Stories and Madness. This holiday is said to have a practical reason as well, to ward off cabin fever in the deepest dark of the harsh winters.  While this winter has been mild thus far, many are still upholding the tradition and speaking of legends and myths from so long ago. Mayhap some new stories are being told this winter.

Work crews in Daven’s Hold rejoice at the completion of many buildings before the onset of winter. Storehouses, hold-fasts, better walls, and much more have been built over the past year. With this month coming to an end a grand temple and library have been completed by the request of Lady Al-Azarma. Within these walls, much of the colonist’s histories, cultures, and religions are stored, and even some of the late Lord Al-Azarma’s personal library is now accessible to those who wish to read.

The buildings are not the only thing sprouting from Governess Catherine’s city. More and more remnants of Vandregon flow to the city gates, slowly growing and populating the city. While there are only handfuls of people coming by the week, there was an instance of where what looked like the remains of a Vandregonian army, in rusted chain and plate, baring the tattered and battered flag of their former unit walking to the city. Rumors are spreading quickly that this could mean the return of the Vandregonian presence upon Mardrun, that the spirit of Vandregon still exists.

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November 267

The continent of Mardrun is abuzz with activity, between the war, the colonies, and what happens in the shadows.

 

The war with the Mordok tends to take a sour turn this month. The Mordok forces seem to be showing an unforeseen cunning in their fighting tactics. With a few maneuvers they are able to push back the Ulven forces to a more defensible position. During that fallback the Ulven suffered a decent amount of losses in supplies, momentum, position, and in troops. However, with their feet now planted, they are hoping to push back and regain control of the war.

 

However, that isn’t the only fighting happening with the Ulven.  It seems a small group of Clan Stormjarl decided to launch a raid against Clan Grimward. Many of the other clans have shown great distress and condemning the actions of Clan Stormjarl for continuing the war. However, there a few who are sympathetic in understanding that they are “Fighting for their Honor.” The response from Clan Grimward is that of utter lividity of the whole act. The consequences for these acts have yet to be seen, but many are fearful of Clan Grimward going on the warpath once more.

 

While chaos continues to grow, reports of bandits in The Pass in the Great Wolf Hackles continue to grow. While it isn’t uncommon to hear of bandits going after merchants this time of year, it is uncommon for them to be as active as they are. Many are reporting of the bandits going as far as  killing without questions, some even speak of fear and worry in their eyes. As to the cause of these feelings, no one can guess, but there is something stirring up the bandits and it is starting to show. If this activity will continue to grow or eventually subside like it usually does, it is any persons guess.

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October 267

While the war wages on to the north in the Dirge Swamp, the rest of Mardrun continues their daily lives and hussle of the fall harvests.  

 

In Starkhaven, a large group of heavily armored warriors march northwards towards the swamp and the front lines. Many of the faces are recognized to be former members of the Order of the Fist, which has been disbanded. Under new orders to go on a penance crusade, this crew of warriors march onwards towards the swamp, to either redemption or their deaths.

 

The Colony of Davin’s Hold has been expanding at an amazingly rapid pace! Walls have been improved, a holding is built, store houses are erected, a temple and library continue to be under construction. It seems the Governess Catherine is eager to expand as much as possible and become a rival of New Hope in scale and size. As it stands, some of the civilians view such construction projects too hasty and sudden, many others say otherwise.

Davin’s Hold isn’t just expanding in buildings, also in populace. It is now spoken that the colors of Vandergon can be seen flown on the banners of her lands. There is also words that speak of those whom were once of Vandergon making their way to Davin’s Hold, heeding her call to reform, and bring back what was once lost. While there are only a few, word seems to be spreading at an alarming speed.

 

Meanwhile, back in City state of New Hope, the power vacuum left by the departure of some of the former council has not been forgotten or uncontested for. One such noble, Celestial  Arragones, has been noted by many to be soaking up the contacts, support, and influence that has been left by Governess Catherine and her aides. As to how much power she has obtained, it cannot be truly guessed at but one could guess that it is more than a fair share of what there was left in the wake.

 

The war is quiet this month, as the nearly countless warriors move up to the wall to prepare. While there is little fighting at the moment, the forces dwell on regrets, loved ones, dreams and aspirations. The forces enjoy this small calm before the storm, for what lies before them is what hasn’t happened in their written history. A united force of ulven numbering over three-thousand fighting together against the mordok menace.

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September 267

With the coming of the harvests, the continent is moving in to a large amount of activity.

 

The colonies of New Hope are busy with a large amount of building and improving their slowly growing settlements. From walls, banks, and taverns, the colonies are becoming more fleshed out with the abundance of harvest this year. However, with the harvests, comes the bandits. It has been noted that the bandit activity for the colonies has also risen, but it doesn’t seem to be out of the ordinary when compared to previous years.

 

The Settlement of Aylin’s Reach seems to be oddly busy with a peculiar project. It seems that shipwrights and lumber mills in the area are working hard to try and create a large vessel that, has been rumored, to have been requisitioned by an extremely wealthy noble. As for the purpose or use this vessel may serve, it has yet to be seen.

 

Dominet Martingale seems to have thrown another party this month, and one to be remembered. The “Harvest Festival” that was hosted by the Martingale quickly turned in to a drunkard’s haven as nobles, merchants, and people of name came to this party. Many were invited, and many were let into the event, which led to overcapacity of the estate. It has been said that four casks of Phoenix Wine, two casks of Luna Shine, twelve casks of wine, and four kegs of fine whiskey was consumed in the course of the night, along with an almost endless amount of foods. The next morning there were people hanging in trees, passed out on the roads, and incapacitated in every room

 

The Ulven clans continue to push back the Mordok lines beyond that of the Shield of Mardrun. They are meeting only mild resistance at best during their fights. Many are concerned, while many are becoming optimistic with the war just right around the corner that their foes will continue to be as difficult as they were before. The majority of these thinkers are barely older than pups, while the more veteran warriors try their best to remind them that they are only facing the weakest of what the swamp has to offer.

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November 10, 2018 – War in the Swamp

STORY INFO

As the month of the final harvests before winter fast approaches, the allied army of the Ulven clans and some colonial forces have been assembling at the Shield of Mardrun. These outpost fortifications have finished completion and Mardrun finally has a solid defensive line against the mordok of the Dirge Swamp in the north. Clanleaders, Warleaders, and aspiring Chieftains have all gathered at different points in the Shield to discuss tactics and a plan for taking the war into the Dirge Swamp. Most of this year has been in preparation for this moment.

Suddenly, the morning of the chosen day to kick off this military campaign begins. Well over three thousand warriors and soldiers, along with their supporting wagons and support personnel, move away from the safety of the Shield of Mardrun. They march, the largest combined forces of the Ulven clans that Mardrun has ever seen, into the swamp. This sizable army dwarfs even the forces gathered at the Battle of Pyre Hills some years ago, the final battle that ended the Ulven civil war. Whether or not enough forces or preparation has been done to see this campaign to victory has yet to be seen.

The minor tribes of the Mordok and wandering scavengers are driven back or defeated effortlessly. They are simply no match for an army of this size. The march is slow as the muck and the swamp are just as much of an enemy as the Mordok. Suitable base camp locations are a struggle to find for a group this large, forcing the army to split into smaller groups at night and then rejoin on the march. The initial bravado of finally taking the fight to the Mordok begins to sour as the logistics to do so begin to add up and take its toll. However, the Ulven committed to this cause do not waver easily and continue to press on, deeper than any known Ulven has pushed before.

This conquest does not go unnoticed. After days of struggling travel and taking of territory, the Mordok resistance begins to pick up. Larger groups of Mordok begin to harass and skirmish the Ulven forces. The pressure begins to intensify as the Mordok presence never seems to waver. Then suddenly, as the sun breaks through the dawn of one morning, the Ulven camps can hear horns in the distance. With the dawn comes an immense Mordok force, more organized and much larger than any Ulven alive has ever seen. They march, like a black tide, and have come to meet the Ulven army who has dared to invade their homeland. The Ulven forces and their allies brace for brutal conflict and begin to balance their forces and issue orders.

EVENT SUMMARY

A strange and powerful Mordok leader has risen to interfere with the plans of the Allies of the Shield as they bring war to the swamp. (November 2018)

This month was brutal for the Ulven armies. In a hasty attempt to organize battle lines and meet the mordok forces, the ulven army coordinated a large main battle group with supporting counter-flanking forces on the side. As sounds of distant battle rang out, these countering forces tried to keep the areas they were assigned under control to deny mordok access to the flanks and supply lines of the main forces.

After an initial success of wiping out a large group of mordok, some of their tactics began to become prevalent. The initial waves of whelp-ish mordok were cut down, giving way to more experienced and well equipped ones coming to fight. A second pitched battle involving intense close-in fighting had both battle groups tearing each other apart, with the mordok devastated on the field. With a second victory and two more to go, the cost of this battle seemed to be too much. Several lay mortally wounded and equipment busted and rent. The momentum of the first two missions wavered quickly as several battle groups went to face the mordok and were cut down or repelled back to their camp. As casualties and deaths wracked up, the Clan Steinjottun war pack was on the cusp of being routed. Then, a new figured emerged… some form of mordok leader. Adorned, and acting, much differently than other mordok, the forces it brought to battle devastated the mission group and forced a rout with casualties. Dragging several corpses and dropping them at the edge of the camp, this mordok seemed to be delivering some sort of message before it returned and its forces withdrew. A final group went out to search for this leadership figure, only to be either cut down or repelled once again.

As the sun began to set, it was evident that mordok forces had dominated the trails and areas around the Ulven army’s flanks and the counter-flanking groups failed to stop them. Reports of immense casualties, split battle lines, and even devastated supply wagons began to reach the main ulven army. With the brutal frontline fighting and the flanks being overwhelmed, the Ulven army has sounded a retreat and moved to nearby high ground. Entire war packs have been lost or killed, scouts missing, and supply wagons cut off from the main group. In the first few weeks of the war in the dirge swamp, the ulven forces have been dealt a serious blow. Both mordok and ulven forces have suffered immense casualties in a short period of time. Whether or not the ulven army recovers from this and is able to continue the war, or must coordinate a retreat back to the Shield of Mardrun, is still unknown.

PHOTOS

Click here to see photos from the event!

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Great Wolf’s Hunt Story

This story was written by a group of players that took a chance and willingly signed up with their PCs for a special event that took place in January of 267 (2018). Joining this hunt forced the players to be at the mercy of the story where their preparedness, resources, and skills were factored into the impact they would have. In this side-story, players had a chance to lose their characters or be severely maimed due to injuries but also be involved in a unique story element and make a significant impact on the following event of that month. After rolling randomly to determine the encounters, their impact, and the wounds received during the fighting, the players involved decided to narrate what their PCs went through and turn it into a story.

Pack Longfang

Joining the Great Wolf’s Honored Hunt

January 267

In December of 266, visitors came to Clan Ironmound territory to meet with representatives and delegates of the different Clans of the ulven people. Tensions were high as wounded honor and feuds threatened to derail some of the focus of the upcoming Grand Moot. The leaders were able to discuss many options of what the future could hold and directions the ulven people could take.

 

Camilla Birchborne, acting High Priestess of Clan Riverhead, brought with her two important messages. The first, was that Clan Riverhead was no more; with the death of the Clanleader, the impending passing of the ill Warleader, and the breakdown of the High Priestess, the leadership of Clan Riverhead has been ravaged in a short amount of time. The surviving Chieftains have supported this new direction of being absorbed into other Clans, primarily Clan Shattered Spear. The second, is that Camilla believes there to be an upcoming great portent that the ulven people must not dismiss. In January of 267, the moon will shine full not once but twice, and she and the other priestesses feel that this is the time for action for the ulven people.

 

The Grand Moot was held and was over surprisingly fast. Setting aside differences… for now… the ulven people as a whole will begin coordinating with the colonists to sweep through and clear ulven lands, primarily the Great Wolf’s Hackles and the Great Forest, to prepare for a large construction project to build a series of defenses to the north called the “Shield of Mardrun” starting in the spring of 267. The time for ulven to sit idly by and allow each Clan to fend for themselves is over; the “Ulven Pack” is coming together and taking the fight to the mordok.

 

As the first step of taking the fight to the mordok, a group of ulven warpacks and their colonist allies are moving into the Great Forest to sweep and clear it of mordok. Forcing confrontation with the mordok is key to the victory as any tribes or group of mordok slipping through and rejoining other mordok will prolong the efforts of clearing ulven territory.

 

However, with the blessings of the High Priestesses of the Clans, the Warleaders have begun putting together warpacks of veteran warriors that will join the Great Wolf in his hunt on the first full moon of the year instead of staying indoors. Veteran ulven and warriors looking to gain word fame have pledged their support and hope to be chosen. This highly ritualistic event will spearhead the efforts to take the fight to the mordok under a united cause of both ulven and colonist alike.

 

One of the groups that quickly volunteered to be chosen were the warriors and hunters of Pack Longfang. They were assigned to a Clan Steinjottun Chieftain that was smart, reserved, and well respected by his warriors. He was not a Chieftain who earned the title by being too brash and bold; he liked to think, calculate, and then act. His name was Trygvy Steinjottun and he was pleased to be given the chance to fight alongside some of the veteran warriors of Pack Longfang. Trygvy’s warpack was well supplied, if rather basic, and able to move out and be a part of the Great Wolf’s hunt.

 

Among the assembled Longfangs were Ranmir, Halvar, Runa, Brynja, Thrand, Fritha, Bryech, Throm, and Dorn. Every volunteer to attend the hunt was ulven; syndar and human were forbidden from being allowed on the Great Wolf’s hunt. Dorn Tallstag had been traveling with pack Longfang for some time. On the first month of the year 267, he was not only one of the ulven chosen for the great honor of being allowed to hunt alongside the Great Wolf but he was also the only one with half human blood in his veins; a one-of-a-kind exception allowed on his momentous occasion.

 

The honored warpacks were blessed with sacred rites by numerous Witches of various ulven clans. This was not to be a military campaign or a sprawling war effort with allies and supply lines; this was going to be a dangerous and ritualistic fight against incredible odds and hardship. Ulven were going to die and be judged by the Great Wolf during this hunt in large numbers; they were all prepared for it.

 

Soon after assembling, the warpacks were given an estimated area to move into the Great Forest and fight the mordok. It was a simple plan… move and fight. It didn’t take long after venturing into the Great Forest when Trygvy’s warpack came upon a large group of mordok. Their numbers vastly overwhelmed the size of the warpack and worry was quick to darken the thoughts of the Steinjottun warriors. Too much fear would be judged harshly by the Great Wolf on this hunt. The Chieftain’s initial orders faltered a bit as his calculating mind tried to devise a plan of what to do. Then, worry melted away and eventually turned to bravado as the warriors looked to the veteran Longfangs and saw ulven that were not only absent of fear but almost relishing in the thought of the upcoming fight. Even outnumbered, the Longfangs stepped forward ready to do battle. This bravado steeled the resolve of the warpack and they marched straight into the larger group of mordok.

 

Dorn Tallstag, the newest member of Pack Longfang, and the small group of veteran Longfang warriors moved through the woods towards the group of mordok in front of them. His vision was limited due to his large helm, he saw mordok clustered around something, possibly a corruption site of some kind. Being half human and new, he was still coming to grips with the thought of being allowed on this honored hunt. He would not dishonor himself or his Pack and he would fight hard today. As they got closer, one of the other fighters tapped Dorn on the shoulder and gestured to something to his left. It was too late. An arrow flew out of the darkness, glanced off of Dorn’s armor and hit the warrior in the face. The ulven collapsed with the arrow protruding from his skull. Another small group of mordok slunk out of the darkness from which the arrow came. Dorn hefted his axe as the shield wall formed in front of him; he knew the fight ahead of them was going to be difficult.

 

“With me! CHARGE!” Bryech roared as he motioned with his sword and ran forward. The warpack followed, Bryech was sure much to the contempt of the Chieftain who led the Warpack. The force before them was overwhelming, the mordok outnumbered them at least two to one. This was no time to fight cautiously. If they wanted to win this fight they would need unexpected brutality. That was exactly what Bryech planned to deliver and the Mordok responded in kind. The two forces made a deafening amount of noise as they thundered towards each other. Bryech didn’t think, he didn’t worry about how strong the enemy was, all he wanted was to kill them all. Bryech sidestepped the first mordok to come in range and spun around making a long cut up the beast’s back with a noticeable eruption of blood trailing his sword. Moving onto the next Mordok rushing towards him, Bryech parried high with his sword and edged his foe with his shield knocking the beast over and followed up with a quick strike to finish the Mordok off before it could recover. The battle was on in full now; a rough battle line had formed with both sides fighting viciously. Bryech took down another Mordok after a small exchange of blows. Before he could move on, a sharp pain below his left shoulder caused him to drop his shield. Bryech knew an archer had hit him and went to pull the arrow from his arm. He broke the shaft in half and pulled hard through gritted teeth. The rest of the shaft came out clean but the head broke off and fell out of his sleeve. Bryech recovered his shield and made his way toward Halvar who had seemed to have gotten into an area of heavy fighting.

 

“Bryech!” He heard it but didn’t look to see who said it because immediately after an arrow deflected off his helm and knocked him back slightly.

 

“Now I’m pissed.” Bryech said to himself before rushing to Halvar’s side with a battle cry.  

 

“Brace your shield!” Halvar exclaimed as Bryech approached. Halvar thrust his long axe past the head of one of the mordok in front of him and hooked it around its neck. With a strong pull back with his axe, Halvar smashed the mordok’s face into the metal boss of Bryech’s shield, breaking the jaw of the mordok with a crunch and splattering blood on the shield. As the mordok recoiled and grabbed its face, Halvar wound up and planted a heavy cleave into the mordok’s chest. It flew backwards several steps and crumpled to the ground.

 

As soon as Halvar recovered from the heavy swing, an arrow darted out and hit him in the upper part of his left arm. Grimacing in pain, he stepped backwards and took a knee to focus on tearing it out. Suddenly, Fritha’s shield appeared in front of him and was immediately met by a second arrow, her quick reflexes saving Halvar from the attack. Halvar and Fritha made eye contact and Halvar nodded in appreciation before tearing out the arrow with a grunt of pain and then returning to the fight.

 

Ranmir held back as the two opposing forces clashed. He thought to himself that with the larger opposing force, this would be a time for decisive shots, not distracting ones. He saw Bryech take an arrow to the shoulder and returned the favor with an arrow to the mordok’s eye.

 

Ranmir loosed arrow after arrow, each finding it’s mark. As one of the filthy black mongrels charged with an axe above his head, Ranmir loosed and watched an arrow sprout from its chest, just in time for Thrand to come down on it with an axe of his own.

 

Ranmir continued to peer at the enemy line, as he heard someone shout, “Ranmir! Behind you!” Was that Brynja? Or Runa? It didn’t matter now, he turned to see a mordok that had snuck around the lines barreling down on him, he loosed the arrow into the mordok’s arm, reached to his quiver, and grabbed…nothing…he had lost count. Like a deer facing a wolf, Ranmir froze for a second, then tossed his bow aside, grabbed his knife and dagger and drove them into the stomach of the mordok as he was tackled, and then felt…nothing. He expected a counter attack from the mordok but when he tumbled to a stop, the mordok was dead. Blood gushed from the two deep stab wounds of his weapons into the beast’s belly.

 

The blood pumped through Throm’s veins as his double bit axe cleaved through a mordok shield, splintering the once protective equipment into kindling. With a quick movement of his arm, the axe spun around and landed deep into the chest of the foolish beast. With that one falling another one came in fast and tackled Throm to the ground. A foolish mistake as he slammed the mordok down and pulled out a dagger and started to stab with terrifying ferocity. The mordok bit and tore at his shoulder a decent amount, the attacks being thwarted by the mail armor. The beast was felled when the blade of his knife went through its neck, relieving it of its lifeblood.

 

With a roar, Brynja threw herself into the fray. It had been far too long since she had fought by Bryech’s side, and his ferociousness and tenacity were infectious. As she connected with the first of the Mordok, she planted her shield in the beast’s hips and thrust upward, tossing it heavily over her shoulder and sending it sprawling. The warriors behind her would surely have that one handled, she knew without thinking, and pressed forward.

 

Brynja had grown accustomed to fighting side-by-side with the experienced Longfang warriors since she began lending her training as an instructor to the pack nearly a year ago. Their skill and coordination were evident as spear and shield and sword worked as one to slowly but surely slay Mordok after Mordok. She fell into a rhythm with her allies, allowing her reflexes to take over. Her mind drifted to Onsallas, to her mate who was waiting for her safe return. Like a bucket of cold water, the thought of Naveeve snapped Brynja back into the moment. Instincts be damned, she would make sure she would survive the day to come home once more.

 

Runa swung her hammer down over a mordok’s head, caving it in with a sickening crunch and coating the hammer in brains and blood. Another mordok ran at her from her left. She ripped the hammer out of what was left of the mordok’s skull and reeled back to swing again with a grunt of effort. The hammer was heavy and her swing easy to see but the power it generated was staggering. He opponent thought they were clear of the reach of the weapon. The mordok was dead wrong; Runa hit her target square in the ear, caving it’s head in from the side. Runa looked to her side and saw Thrand and Fritha fighting together, holding mordok away from her flank. Time and time again, Thrand’s long axe darted out to hack, pull, or cleave into shields and bodies. Fritha’s stalwart defense and use of her shield kept the mordok at bay, forcing them to endure the attacks from the Longfang’s support weapons. When an opportunity presented itself or when a mordok decided to close the gap, Fritha’s mastercrafted Clan Ironmound sword slashed out and punished them for it.

 

The fight went well. Dorn’s axe rained terror down upon the mordok. At one point one of the archers tried to get around to flank the Ulven group but Dorn charged the archer by himself. The mordok tried to shoot him but his armor was too strong for the arrows to penetrate; the arrow simply buried itself into the layered leathers and mail and snapped off before doing any real damage. The archer simply ran and fled, not wanting to close to melee.

 

The rest of the warpack traded blows with the mordok and killed them. Quickly, the ground became awash in bright crimson blood from both sides of the line. Steinjottun warriors bore witness to the ferocity and skill of the Longfangs and pressed in, consumed by battle lust. Then it was just… over. The mordok melted away from the fight almost as quickly as they had charged into it.

 

Bryech gave a yell of victory, encouraging the fleeing Mordok to run away faster.

 

“Bryech, are you injured? Let me tend to your wounds” said Thrand through labored breaths.

 

“I’m fine, tend to those who actually need it.” Bryech replied distantly, his thoughts obviously elsewhere. Bryech walked off to find the Chieftain of the Warpack; they needed to discuss their next move.

 

Ranmir checked over his equipment, sitting, “I didn’t realize there were this many in the Forest,” he said, to no one in particular.

 

Leaning heavily against a tree, Brynja began to count her many new bruises and tried to stretch out her aching shoulder. The joint protested every inch with searing pain; an axe had struck true during the battle. Though her armor had saved her from the worst of the damage, she would need to see a healer about the wound before the next fight.

 

After the mordok had fled, the group went back to camp where a caravan had dropped off more supplies. The warpack resupplied and took a small break to heal, rest and get any armor mended that they could. Throm sat down and started to hone his axe and hunting knife, his body slightly weary and battered, but nothing too worse for the wear for the moment. His shoulder did ache and bleed a decent amount, but it wasn’t something he couldn’t work with. Still, the pain was starting to become more than a slight annoyance as the adrenaline left him. It was a small break, energized by their overwhelming win- they yearned for more blood. The Steinjottun warriors seemed almost shocked at how the veteran Longfang warriors recovered so quickly from such a pitched battle.

 

They regrouped and went after the fleeing Mordok. Finding the mordok was was easy enough; the freshly disturbed ground and drops of blood an easy trail to follow. The mordok were found rather quickly much to both the surprise of the resting mordok and the assembled warpack.

 

“Cut, them, down.” Bryech ordered. He spoke with a calm fury. Bryech walked towards the small band of Mordok with the warriors that accompanied him, the two groups were almost even so he knew they wouldn’t run. When he got close Bryech struck out with surprising speed and quickly enveloped himself in the fight.

 

Despite the protests she could already hear from her distant mate, Brynja readied herself to crush the fleeing Mordok. Injured or not, she would not let her packmates have all the glory! With her shoulder still tender, she slung her shield over her shoulder and produced the large sword at her side. The Mordok had taken her deep in the swamp long ago: she intended to exact her revenge this day.

 

Bryech moved his group like a wolf pack making swift work of any Mordok still brave enough to fight them, but eventually grew more reserved as his warriors grew too tired or injured to continue the way they had.

 

The battle was going rather smoothly. However two mordok decided to flank and try and ambush Fritha and Thrand and Throm spotted the flankers as they approached. His blood was up and his legs kicked against the ground. All the flanking mordok witnessed was a large blur rush towards them roaring “Tell the Great Wolf Throm “Hell-Hound” Nightriver sent you!” An axe chop to a knee, a fist to the face, and a shattered jaw left the mordok out of the fight. Its partner tried to rush Throm with a large axe; a fatal mistake, for Throm was in no mood for humoring a one on one fight. Throm glared at the Mordok and spoke only these words with only bile in his voice, “The maw devour you!” Both Thrand and Fritha moved to assist and the three of them cut down the remaining flanker.

 

Halvar yelled to track them all down and kill every one of them all. The group gave chase and the Ulven who could still run, did. They gathered any arrows on the way, pulling them out of the dead Mordok. Handing the majority of them off to Ranmir or putting them in his quiver so he could start pulling them out and plugging them into the backs of Mordok so they could be pulled out and used again until they splintered from use.

 

After all of the Mordok who had fled had been cut down or lost in the woods, the Longfangs regrouped with the warpack to plan out the next move. While talking, a scout came with a message to the Chieftain in charge of this warpack; there was another warpack that was not faring well and the scout was asking for help immediately. The warpack was nearby and after a solid fight they were on their way back to a nearby staging area to regroup and were beset upon by a large group of mordok. They tried to fallback but the mordok force dogged them ferociously and they decided to stand and fight. The Steinjottun Chieftain, being reserved and concerned for his own pack, did not feel comfortable sending the group out so soon for another encounter. Although another warpack was in trouble, the Steinjottun warriors were simply too spent, exhausted, or hurt from the heavy fighting.

 

When the Longfangs learned of this they quickly grouped together to talk about it; this was not something they could let stand. They approached the Steinjottun Chieftain. Fritha stepped forward to speak on behalf of the Longfangs present and asked if they could be permitted to leave the warpack to assist the others. The Chieftain hesitated but gave his permission. The Longfangs, who stood for honor and protection in the face of adversity, quickly packed up, gave quick good byes and thumps on the back to their brothers and sisters in arms, and left to aid those who needed it more.

 

After traveling a fair distance and following the scout as quickly as they could, the Longfang veterans soon came upon a gruesome scene. Another large band of mordok was in a pitched fight against another warpack. Their clan origin was unknown and all that mattered is that there were ulven fighting against the mordok. And these ulven appeared to be losing.

 

With little delay, the Longfangs roared into the fight; their iconic bark ringing out three times above the clamor of battle as they crashed into the side of the mordok force. They fought their way through to where the other warpack was holding out. The shield wall didn’t hold for much longer after they got there, their presence attracted more and more mordok.

In a short amount of time, any semblance of two battle lines broke apart into a swirling mess of chaos as warriors from both sides broke off, paired up, or reformed to fight anything in front of them. It was in this moment that the ferocity of single combat could quickly decide the victor… something the mordok excelled at.

 

Bryech fought ferociously, his armor and shield broken beyond proper use. His sword had yet to fail him so he did what he could. Bryech swung at a Mordok but his attack was blocked and the beast took advantage of his lowered defenses and sliced just below Bryech’s knee. Bryech grimaced but fought through the pain. Throwing a punch with his left hand Bryech made solid contact with the Mordok’s jaw, sending it reeling. It wasn’t enough to stop the mordok as it dropped in and suddenly grappled Bryech. As quickly as he could, he went in and met the grapple; grabbing it around the waist and taking the beast down. Bryech followed with a series of quick strikes to the head and neck making the Mordok’s face a bloody mess. He knelt above his now dead opponent and surveyed the battlefield, his fatigue finally starting to catch up with him. Bryech heard footsteps behind him but he was too slow and tired to react quick enough. Bryech felt immense pain pierce through his back and out his front. Looking down, he saw a sword protruding from his lower abdomen. Bryech jumped back, knocking his attacker off balance and turned to hack into the Mordok’s neck. The strike was vicious, tearing just as much as it cut. The Mordok dropped, convulsing and making an awful gurgling noise as it choked on its own blood. Bryech staggered away and leaned against a nearby tree reaching for the short sword sticking out of his back. It was an awkward angle but slowly, painfully he removed the sword. Blood pooled in the hole it left but it didn’t bleed as bad as he had thought; apparently it hadn’t caught anything immediately vital. Bryech turned away from the tree, clutching his side, to continue the fight. After a short walk he managed to catch an archer off guard and knocked its bow from its hand only to receive a lightning fast dagger to the abdomen. Bryech dropped his sword and staggered, clutching the blade now embedded in his torso. He quickly realized that he would not be able to endure much longer. The Mordok pulled back and started to call for more Mordok to come and watch its kill. Bryech’s vision swam and his reality faded. He almost passed out until he heard a voice to his right.

 

“You promised.” it said. Bryech looked and saw Ingrid as if she was truly in front of him. He even felt her touch when he reached out to cup her face in his hand, felt her always cool finger wrap around the outside of his own hand. “I knew I would lose you.” she said, tears rolling down her cheeks. Bryech felt a fire in his chest.

 

The Mordok turned back towards its victim seeing what looked like its prey hallucinating, reaching towards nothing before going into a light state of unconsciousness.

 

“You will never lose me,” Bryech began, strength flooding back into his body.

 

“If I can’t run to you, I’ll walk.” He whispered, his voice gaining volume as he spoke.

 

“If I can’t walk to you, I will crawl.” he grabbed the dagger in his side.

 

“I will do whatever it takes to come back to you.” he said, the wall between the real world and his vision blurred beyond all recognition.

 

“I will come back to you my love, I swear to you, all you have to do is ask.” Bryech said as he kissed his beloved before he woke.

 

The Mordok crept closer to the wounded Ulven savoring the easy kill. Bryech saw a dagger in his blood covered hands and he saw the shadow of the Mordok growing closer. Bryech lunged upward grabbing the Mordok by the shoulder and head-butting it. In one fluid motion, he pulled the dagger from his side and drove it repeatedly into the beast’s throat. Watching it fall to the ground, Bryech sat on its chest to pin its arms with his knees. Bryech began slowly and heavily punching the Mordok with his right hand, each strike gaining more speed and ferocity. Bryech stopped after the beast stopped making noise.

 

Pulling off his helmet, Bryech looked before him seeing a large gathering of Mordok before him. Bryech grabbed his sword and stood, slowly, a shocking amount of blood continuing to soak his clothing and drip down his body. Letting out a roar, Bryech was shocked to hear far more volume than he anticipated and turned to see a group of warriors rush past him to engage the Mordok. Bryech fell to his knees, a surprising relief sweeping over him. Two warriors from the Warpack came and assisted him to safety.

 

Slowly but surely the mordok gained the upper hand; warriors fell on both sides of Dorn. His axe continued to find its mark as it splintered shields and crushed bone. Arrows continue to bounce off his heavier armor until one found its way through into his leg. He grimaced in pain as he was able to pull it out. This took a moment he did not have and as he was doing this the mordok pushed the shield wall past him leaving him behind the enemy line. Mordok surrounded him and began to encroach on him and another arrow struck him in the chest. Luckily it didn’t penetrate deep enough to actually pierce his skin. One mordok recklessly pushed forward. Dorn dispatched it with some difficulty, the nearly constant fighting and the very armor that protected him from blades and arrows was severely wearing him down. This time two mordok came at him and he swung his axe into the skull of one of them but it got stuck. The second mordok jumped on Dorn’s back and began trying to bite through his pauldron. Dorn drew his sword and stabbed it through the back of the first mordok, spun it around and then threw it to the ground. He grabbed the arm of the mordok on his back and flipped it over his shoulder and onto his sword which was protruding from the first mordok. Exhausted, Dorn stood back up and freed his axe from the dead mordok’s skull with a sickening crunch. He squared up and hefted his axe, ready to fight again when a black orb of energy smashed him in the ribs, boring through and ripping flesh and muscle from his body. Dorn gasped for breath. The pain was unbearable. He could feel the life draining out of him but he managed to stay conscious somehow. He dropped his axe when he reeled from the pain of the magic. It was a few feet away from him and he couldn’t reach it quickly. A creeping blackness threatened to push Dorn to unconsciousness. With a vicious roar, Dorn howled in rage and with all the strength he could muster he got to his feet and charged the spellcasting mordok. It must have thought Dorn was out of the fight and it had turned to face the ulven shield wall and Dorn tackled it from behind. He dragged the stunned mordok down to the ground and beat it to death with his gauntleted fist. His fury running out, he finally lost consciousness and blacked out.

 

Everything was going wrong, the lines weren’t holding. The Longfangs couldn’t be everywhere at once. The Mordok were surrounding the Ulven and the warpack wasn’t holding. The Longfangs were trying to stay together and survive, but it wasn’t going well. They became separated, they had to for survival. The forest was thick in this area and Fritha used it to her advantage. She used the trees to dodge and separate Mordok, coming behind them and hitting them in any way possible to incapacitate them. Slicing their throats and barely registering the gargling of their blood spilling down their neck as she was on to the next one. She tried to stay close to her mate when she could. With all of her armor and years of training with the Longfangs, it wasn’t enough. Swords, maces and flails found their way past her defenses and were wearing on her armor. Pieces of it were being destroyed beyond repair and then the metal was finding flesh. Her movements were slowing down, her reactions weren’t enough. An arrow sunk into her left leg. She staggered from the pain. Fritha knew it can’t stay in; if she lost her ability to move she would be dead that much quicker. She gripped the arrow hard and broke the shaft, shoving it the rest of the way through her leg, and rips out the blood stained arrow. When she turned, a Mordok was running straight at her with an ax. She braced herself and when he met her in combat she parried the blade and used the edge of her shield to dent the side of its skull in. She didn’t see the Mordok to her right who charged right into her, slamming her off her feet and into the base of a tree. He lined up a javelin and pierced it in Fritha’s upper thigh of her right leg. She screams in pain and Thrand hears her nearby. He launched himself over a fallen tree and brought his long axe down hard and split the Mordok to his collar bone.

 

Ripping the axe out with a crunch and quickly setting it down, Thrand pulled out his healing kit and worked to staunch the bleeding on Fritha’s leg. She was getting dizzy from the exhaustion and loss of blood. He finished up treating her leg just enough to keep it from bleeding out and they look at each other. They are in in a bad situation but they are there together. Thrand stood up and reached out to help Fritha back onto her feet. He was right in front of her… and then suddenly he wasn’t. There was a loud clang of metal on metal. Thrand was gone and in his place was a Mordok with a bloodied axe. Thrand was on the ground beneath it, blood pooling from his head and face. Fritha picked up her sword and ran it through the Mordok’s chest with a scream of rage, twisting the blade and shoving into it with her shoulder. It fell down, blood pouring from its vicious wound. Racing to his side, Fritha quickly called out a prayer to Gaia to help save her mate. Tears welled up in Fritha’s eyes as she tried to roll him over but she was scared at what she might see when she did. There was so much blood. With a groan, Thrand looked at her with one blood soaked eye and gasped for air. He was alive, but just barely, and without immediate aid the axe wound to his face would surely kill him. Too wounded to continue any real fighting, Fritha pulled Thrand’s dead weight across the ground to get him away from the fighting, grimacing through the pain in her leg.

 

This is just like Pyre Hills, Brynja thought to herself. Everywhere she turned, there seemed to be another gap in their line, another of her packmates being struck and bloodied, another Mordok to press their advantage. Brynja had seen death before. She had stared it in the eyes and snarled until it backed down. This time, however, it seemed there would be no escape.

 

A hulking beast approached Brynja, tossing a smaller Mordok aside with a swing of its axe. Brynja noted that the axe was nearly as big as she was. Before she could begin her next thought, the axe was falling towards her as apparently the mordok was also fast. Unable to respond in time, the blow caught her shield and nearly tore it from her hand. Her axe shot out and responded to the attack with one of her own. Another blow. Another strike. With each swing of the Mordok’s axe, Brynja could feel her grip on her shield weaken. She knew that being cautious like this would only get her killed sooner, so she pressed her attack. Another swing and her shield was splintered, though she pressed into the Mordok and cut a deep gash in its thigh. Another swing and she knew her armor was spent, but her axe found its way into the mordok’s shoulder. A final swing caught Brynja in her calf, bringing her to her knees in front of her attacker. Trading blows worked out for the mordok who now had the upper hand. Sensing an easy kill, the Mordok hefted its great axe high, ready to bring the weapon down on Brynja.

 

This is how I die. Brynja couldn’t keep the thought from her mind. After all the battles I’ve fought; after all the victories I’ve won; after all the times I’ve spat in death’s face, this is how it ends. Her mind wandered in that instant: She thought of her home in Clan Axhound, and of the welcoming arms of Pack Blackpaw. She thought of the swamp, of the corruption which nearly ended her life, and of Manetho’s disapproving lectures. She thought of her new family, her packmates in Pack Longfang. She thought of Naveeve, and how-

 

Naveeve.

 

Brynja’s mind stopped. She had made a promise to her mate before leaving on this hunt. Naveeve would wait for her to return and Brynja would find her way home. Her eyes grew hot and stung with tears but she didn’t seem to notice. All Brynja could see was red. Brynja roared ferociously and launched herself up, using her body to pivot and bring her axe up into the mordok’s stomach. Kicking the beast down with her good leg, she hefted the axe and brought it down with a mighty blow and caved in its chest. As the mordok’s labored breath gurgled through its now exposed lungs, Brynja staggered to the ground and grimaced from her numerous wounds.

 

Moving forward and swinging his axe in a wide arc to keep the mordok at bay, Halvar stepped forward to try to help Brynja. It would only buy them a few seconds of time, but he knew Brynja needed help. If she flew into a furious rage right now, she may cut down some mordok but Halvar was afraid they would be overrun. The mordok knew this too and several of them rushed Halvar. Grunting with effort and swinging hard, his long axe landed on the handle of the weapon of one of the rushing mordok and sent it reeling backwards and off balance. The second one charged even faster and before he could recover his axe, it was on him. Landing a heavy shoulder and pushing hard, the mordok took Halvar off his feet and crashing into the ground. Suddenly, Halvar noticed he was at a fatal disadvantage when he noticed the mordok also had a short wicked looking dagger in its hand. It darted the weapon out several times and made shallow but still painful stabs at his chest and arms. Halvar reached for the knife in an attempt to control it, his long axe now useless in a grapple, when the mordok dropped its body weight onto his chest and pinned his arm for a moment. It took advantage of Halvar being trapped to slice out with the knife, cutting into his face. It was not a fast and clean cut, but instead a tearing wound that was forcefully opened by pushing a pitted and rusty blade across exposed flesh. Blood gushed out from the deep and jagged cut and he shot his forearm up to protect his face and throat. The knife cut again, this time glancing off the heavy leather gauntlet. As the mordok was lining up another stab, this time aimed towards Halvar’s face, there was a sudden thump and the mordok went flying backwards. Halvar couldn’t see well with the blood in his eyes and he was cut and bleeding from numerous places. Stepping in to engage the mordok was Runa. Even though his eyes were blood soaked, her enormous hammer unmistakable. This gave Halvar a moment to crawl away holding his face from the grievous wound and move towards Brynja to help her get away from danger.

 

The two mordok surrounded Runa. One wound up and swung a flail, wrapping around Runa’s forearm tightly. The spikes tore through her armor and skin as the Mordok pulled back, exposing bone and ripping muscle. The hammer fell from her hand, which opened the opportunity for the mordok to bring up its shield and pin her arm to the tree behind her. The force of the shield edge ramming her into the tree snapped the bone of her upper arm. Growling through gritted teeth and pain, Runa reached behind her for her sax. In this moment, Thrand and Bryech’s teachings of keeping weapons close to hand and carrying an extra knife shot into her mind. She pulled the knife clear of its sheath and shoved it up the mordok’s jowl, hilt deep. It’s eyes went wide and blood oozed out of its gaped mouth. She yanked it out and the mordok fell at her feet, thrashing from the pain of the knife. Feeling the pain radiating from her arm, she looked down at the mordok’s body. Overcome with rage, she picked the hammer up with her good arm and swung it over and over again until there is nothing left of its face. With one last kick to its body, she stomped off in the swirl of the melee to find the rest of her pack, clutching her now dangling broken arm.

 

Chaos, utter chaos surrounded them. Left and right, no matter where Throm looked, he witnessed carnage and death before him. Friend and foe alike bled out and colored the soaked the ground in crimson. Ulven warriors fought for their life. Mordok fought for their life. Ferocity and blood lust gripped this entire battle as both sides knew that only one side was walking away from this alive.

 

Two mordok came around and started towards their rear flank, where they were already being pressed. Throm rushed forward blindly, knowing that if any more pressure was applied to that side of their warpack, they would fall. As he got close he felt something slam into his left leg. He stumbled and looked down and saw a crude arrow puncturing his tasset and it filled him with burning agony. He stood up and grabbed a dead mordok on the way up. With all his might he held it up and stumbled towards them as he used the body as a shield from their arrows. Several arrows slammed into the corpse. He felt another arrow this time and it hit him hard in the kidney. He roared with agony and hobbled on the best he could. The corpse was hit again and again as he held it there for a moment against his shoulder. Throm was in a bind but he couldn’t give up. If he did, the rear defense would crumble. He couldn’t give in, no matter what…

 

His mind wandered back to a speech that was given to the Hell-Hound warpack all those years ago in the war against the colonists.

 

‘Let loose… Give in, and be a fang once more… There is no mercy… only death. Now roar, howl, and maul!’

 

His eyes narrowed and with his fangs bared, Throm howled to the sky. The mordok only stopped for a single moment in confusion, a moment long enough for Throm to start his onslaught. In that one moment, Throm rushed in with the arrow-riddled body, throwing it at one of the others with a bow. A skirmishing Mordok came from the brush and started at him with two knives. In mere moments, his armor was in tatters and his arm bleeding like a stuck boar. He felt himself going down, down into the void that was death.

Then he felt it; his soul scream in denial. His blood lust boiled over into pure rage. If these beasts would take him down today, they are going to have to earn it and they will have to endure his fury.

 

In a final effort, Throm stood up and bellowed like never before. His booming voice shook the very woods and warriors from both sides gave pause and looked at him in surprise. Blood poured from multiple wounds. Several arrows protruded from his body. His eyes wide and filled with rage, Throm took up his mace and barreled forward and began to bludgeon one of the Mordok without mercy, without finesse, or form. Blood spattered up as the flanges of the mace tore and crushed more and more flesh. The mordok screamed and crumbled beneath the blows and the two mordok nearest him scurried backwards in panic. Repeatedly the mace pulverized flesh and killed the mordok and ended its screams. With a final roar that sent the panicked mordok near him fleeing away, Throm’s eyes rolled into the back of his head and he pitched backwards, smashing into the ground. A pool of blood began to form around him as his world turned to black.

 

The veteran Longfangs had been in the thick of the combat and exacted a heavy toll on the mordok. The dead had piled up around them and blood had been washed or pooled everywhere. But this close in and vicious fighting had a cost. As equipment was rent, blood was spilled, and bones were broken, even the veterans of Pack Longfang could not hold out forever.

 

Gruinar Fellriver, Chieftain of Pack Fellriver of Clan Grimward, took a moment to survey the battlefield when he heard final howl of rage from Throm Nightriver. Everything happened so fast; their warpack was doing well, moving through the Great Forest and skirmishing the mordok. Then they were beset upon by an enormous force of mordok and he was sure to be judged by the Great Wolf that day. He was honored to die in battle on this glorious hunt… but he was sad that he would never see his mate and his two daughters ever again.

 

However, instead of a swift crush of gnashing teeth and weapons that would fell his smaller warpack, his forces were joined by another group of ulven. They fought with tenacity and skill and took on mordok numbers larger than their own. Gruinar’s warpack was not torn down by the mordok but instead started to hold their own. His warriors fell in choking spasms of blood and final battle cries on their lips, but they fought like hell as they died. Then the battle began to shift and they began to push back against the mordok.

 

When Gruinar surveyed the battlefield, he saw the terribly wounded warriors with flags on their belts. It was a large curved and angular white fang; the banner of the Pack Longfang.

The Chieftain audibly chuckled in irony. The last time he had seen those flags were on the elite Ulfhednar of Pack Longfang during the civil war. He was not a Chieftain at that time; he was assigned to a Pack that was pressing and pushing to get into and take the final settlement of Clan Stormjarl during the Battle of Blackwolf Creek. One of the warriors had taken off their helmet and Gruinar was shocked to see Bryech Savagefang, one of the few and only survivors of that battle. He recognized him. He was there when Clan Grimward warriors cut him down and left him to die in a pool of his blood. And yet, here he is alongside his Packmates, defending Gruinar’s warpack from being massacred. How times have changed indeed, thought the Chieftain as he slammed his axe to his shield.

 

“Grimward warriors! Charge! Cut them down and send them to the Great Wolf!” Gruinar roared as he led the final charge into the mordok. His warriors pushed themselves despite wounds, exhaustion, and casualties and battered into the mordok group.

 

It was over quickly. The damage inflicted by the Longfang warriors and the time they bought by holding out and enduring the mordok assault gave the Chieftain’s warpack a chance to recover and then deal the final blow.

 

Dead, bloodied, and wounded lay everywhere. This was a vicious and brutal fight. Some of the more able bodied Grimward warriors had assembled the Longfang warriors in a group. Shockingly, none had died in the fight. Judging by their wounds… they should have.

 

“I am Chieftain Gruinar Fellriver of Clan Grimward.” Said the Chieftain in an authoritative tone.

 

Some of the Longfang warriors worriedly glanced to each other after they learned the origin of the warpack they rushed to help. A few inched towards their weapons or hands moved towards sheathed knifes and a fierceness began to creep back into the bloodied eyes of a few of those still conscious.

 

“I am honored to have fought alongside you this day.” Said the chieftain after taking a moment to size them up.

 

He extended an arm out to them, offering it for a forearm clasp.

 

– END –

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October 21 2018

==STORY INFO==

The current year is 212 of the Commonalty Calendar. War has ravaged the continent of Faedrun for 13 years. Reports have circulated that the Syndar Kingdoms, devastated by war and taking the brunt of the initial undead forces, have slowly retreated north further into their territories for the last few years. Some kingdoms have abandoned their lands and consolidated forces as the undead plague and penitent followers continue to push into the heart of Faedrun.

The Grand Alliance is made up of a number of human and Syndar kingdoms and has stood together for the last 7 years. With its strengths come weaknesses as the different military forces and their leaders continue to try to work together as a cohesive force. The first few years had been costly, but by now enough time has passed that the Grand Alliance has been working together quite well… but the war on Faedrun is beyond the scope of anything anybody had ever imagined.

One of the military forces deployed to the Grand Alliance is the Mushalee Boluk, a “company” of soldiers under the command of the current ranking commander, the Boluk-Bashi. This specialized military unit is made up of soldiers and support personnel that are sent to deal with undead forces that have been able to cross the searing heat of the desert of the May’Kar Dominion.

Scouts have reported to the Boluk-Bashi; allied syndar forces have become aware of some sort of anomaly that appears to have been discovered in one of the Oasis’ on the edges of the May’Kar Dominion. It has some of the higher ranking syndar officers concerned and the Mushalee Boluk military unit has been ordered to scout out the oasis. Reports also confirm the presence of incoming penitent forces so it appears to be a race against time to discover anything that they can…

 

==EVENT SUMMARY==

 

As the Mushalee Boluk of the May’Kar Dominion marched with other Grand Alliance forces, the Penitent forces in the area moved in with equal vigor and tenacity. For hours the two forces crashed into each other, fighting over supplies and critical locations of territory as well as trying to avoid the ire of the undead that seemed to crawl out from the swamp lands around.

After a brief pause in the fighting, the source of the anomaly in the area was a crypt with a village built over the top of it. A strange magic emanated from the crypt’s depths and both sides wanted to either control it or cleanse it.

Wave after wave of Grand Alliance and Penitent forces clashed in pitched battle which saw immense casualties for both sides of the conflict.

The Penitent’s initial success of controlling territory and gaining supplies during the day was countered by the success of the armed forces of the Mushalee Boluk and its allies during this final push at the crypt.

At the end of the day it seemed that both sides had come to a tie. The Penitents willingness to die for their cause had helped them come out on top when fighting for control of the surrounding areas but it could not out weigh the Mushalee Boluk and the Grand Alliance’s defensive tactics and training which helped them to withstand the tides of Penitent and undead that were crashing against them in the village atop the crypt. Both sides being on equal footing moved from the area in order to consolidate what they had gained and lost from this endeavor. What either side will do to that end remains to be seen.

 

==PHOTOS==

Click here to see photos from the event!

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October 20, 2018 – Mardrun Camp Split Event

STORY INFO

Barleyrow Village

After the recent events in Clan Whiteoak territory, all of Mardrun holds its breath to see if the proud warriors of Clan Whiteoak and Clan Axhound are willing to continue with the peace talks presented to them. Although slow at first, the heroic story of brotherhood by both of the recently fallen Chieftains assigned to the outposts has spurred on others to stand down and give this a chance. After all, the mordok are the real and biggest threat facing the peoples of Mardrun. The eastern front of the Shield of Mardrun will need a bit more time to be fully secure, but the collaboration between these two Clans could prove to be the biggest victory so far in the mobilization efforts of this season.

As rumors abound as to the upcoming push into the Dirge Swamp, there is a small village in Pack Goldenfield territory that is far removed from the trials and tribulations of the conflict on the swamp’s border. A small farming community has begun to form around a collective group of colonists and ulven alike. This collaborative, multi-cultural village has been spearheaded by a local ulven Chieftain. Vahness Barleyrow, Cheiftain of Pack Barleyrow, has welcomed all to join her pack and help produce crops and prepare food for the upcoming war effort. A number of colonists that visited to help with the harvest have decided to stay and “put down roots” of their own. Previously known for its quality brewed ale, this village has come to be known simply as “Barleyrow” and is a shining example of what can happen when all the peoples of Mardrun work together.

Adventurers and travelers alike have come to try a pint of Barleyrow ale, share their views of the world, help with honest hard work for the war effort, discuss future plans for themselves and others, or simply reminisce about stories of the past.

EVENT SUMMARY

Barleyrow Village

Members of the Order of Arnath’s Light struggle to understand the Hellenstone Fragment in the quest to create an anti-corruption idol. (October 2018 Event)

Barleyrow village was abuzz with activity as word had spread of their success and many flocked to see for themselves this growing pack. Many of the locals were overjoyed to find the visitors more than willing to put in a hard days work for some simple pay. Three work crews were organized and set about completing tasks for the village. Those who were not interested in the work crews helped to keep spirits high with good conversation and exciting stories. Unfortunately it would seem that trouble could find its way even into a town so peaceful as Barelyrow. Some rough looking individuals arrived to delivery dire warnings from “concerned parties” to a small number of the groups in attendance but they did not sour the mood for long as they left soon after their messages were delivered.  As the day went on a letter from Branthur Nightriver was read to the gathered crowds bringing a reminder of the impending war in the swamp. As night came and many turned in the thoughts and expressions from most seemed to be that of steeled determination.

 

PHOTOS

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September 15th and 16th, 2018 – Peace or Perish – Adventure Event

== STORY INFO ==
After a rocky beginning to their portion of the Shield of Mardrun, Clan Whiteoak was able to rebound immensely last month. With the help of numerous adventurers and factions from all corners of the continent, Chieftain Knut Frostflow of Clan Whiteoak was able to lead a daring mission to retake the lost outpost. The nearby warpacks keeping the mordok forces in the area in check now have a base of operations to return to. In addition, expensive supplies were purchased and delivered or recovered from lost wagons and donated to the efforts to make the outpost more viable. Clan Whiteoak has quickly gone from being the weakest front in the Shield of Mardrun to regaining lost ground and pushing ahead to being a solid defensive line.

However, there is still a lot of work to be done. With the fall season fast approaching, the various leaders involved in the Shield of Mardrun and the war effort know that this is one of the last chances to get the mobilization efforts under control before taking the fight into the Dirge Swamp. If the allies of Mardrun have any hope to be able to launch an offensive against the mordok, the stability of the Shield of Mardrun will be critical to this effort.

Pack Frostflow has been granted the honor and the responsibility of continuing to get the outpost up and running and to expand on any tasks that could further solidify defenses or the logistical and martial potential of the area. Rumor has it that a delegate or Chieftain from Clan Axhound will be making an appearance in order to discuss the Clan’s relationship with Clan Whiteoak and to seek out opportunities for how Clan Axhound can get involved. Based on the recent attempts of Pack Redwind, the neutral pack of former Axhound and Whiteoak members, to get these two clans to set aside differences could prove to be very difficult. The idealistic prize of getting these clans to set aside their feud is still worth it to the Pack and despite their efforts falling on deaf or uninterested ears, they are attempting one final delegation to see if the two clans can see reason.

In this third and final event of the Clan Whiteoak chapter of the War against the Dirge Swamp, players will have a chance to make profound decisions that could result in major changes regarding the Shield of Mardrun and the friend-or-foe status of two ulven clans.

== EVENT SUMMARY ==

Picking up with the goings-on of Pack Frostflow and their newly established outpost, political stirrings were abundant from the get go. Chieftain Knut Frostflow begrudgingly hosted both Faye Redwind and Chieftain Arnbjorn Axhound within his walls as the two sides were urged to put aside their differences and face the Mordok as one. A handful of missions were proposed and completed to bolster the efforts of one group in attendance. Though the voting was split, the adventurers made it clear that they supported the unity proposed by Pack Redwind. Disgruntled as they were, the two chieftains had little recourse against such a majority.

As the day wound on, the missions were pushed and summarily completed. Time and time again, Faye Redwind and her supporters showed the chieftains that there was hope for a truce. The mordok presence, though noticeable, was lighter than had been expected. Throughout the day, Knut and Arnbjorn were even convinced to sit down together to begin talks; no one expected much in the way of results, but even just breaking the ice between the two would be a step in the right direction.

As the day gave way to the night and yielded to the next morning, Faye was called away for family matters. In her stead, Ianok Redwind took the reins of the negotiations and represented a more forceful Redwind mindset. Despite the unified front pushing them to come together, Knut and Arnbjorn continued to bicker and refused to see eye to eye on much of anything. In a last ditch effort to bridge the gap, Ianok brought the two out into the woods with a handful of guards to watch over them. Their return was more than a little bittersweet: of the seven who left the outpost, none were uninjured and the two chieftains lay dead. A mordok ambush overwhelmed the group, hoping to cut down the leaders of a number of influential organizations across Mardrun. Reminiscent of the founding of Pack Redwind, however, Arnbjorn and Knut cast aside their differences and held off the advancing Mordok to buy time for the others to escape. In their final moments, they were no longer Axhound and Whiteoak, but Ulven, and they died fighting as one. Though the loss was tragic, their final actions will send ripples through their clans. With any luck, this will be the beginning of a new era for the two ancient rivals.

== PHOTOS ==
Click here to see photos from the event!

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