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From Both Sides

Selena Stargazer

I had spent weeks walking through the wilderness alone, it gave me plenty of time to plan out in my head how I thought this would go. I had this thought that I would go to a couple of prominent villages talk to some mid range lackeys, confirmed that the stories were either true or not and I would be back on my way home before the trees even finished blooming. I had thought that it was going to be easy that this whole thing was some sort of huge misunderstanding, once both sides realized what was going on we could forget this war and go back to our normal lives. Instead after weeks of walking I finally find a village and start looking forward to a warm meal and a soft warm place to sleep to find that I in my infinite wisdom have somehow found the one and only village for miles that just happens to be the target of Khulgar Graytide. You know that plan I had been daydreaming about for weeks as I walked. I think I see it melting in the snow along with my thought of being home before summer. The only good news to come out of that is that I at least got one side of the story first hand…mostly. There were parts left out and gIossed over, parts I could sense had importance but when one is in the middle of a fight one doesn’t ask for lots of details especially from Khulgar Graytide. Good news is I have contact with one of his underlings, so if I need clarification or confirmation I can send a bird. If he answers me is another story but I will cross that bridge when I come to it. I understand now why he volunteered to give the decree. I also understand how it went so very very wrong if what he said happened happened. He is a very charismatic, intelligent, well spoken prideful male.

I poke my campfire with a stick and sighed heavily, trying hard to shake off the loneliness that been plaguing me since I set out. I made camp far enough away from either side to make it clear I can not take sides but still close enough that if something jumped me I can still call for help. One or both side may come running or neither who knows hopefully I don’t have to test this theory tonight. Neither side offered to let me stay nor should they I suppose. I stayed to make sure the funeral rites were properly observed, I was not asked to do rites thankfully. Khulgars forces are big enough that there are a few Witches among them so there was no need, I stayed to witness. I needed to. I still have a hard time accepting that we would kill each other, even when I do see it with my own eyes. This war has turned a normally friendly people fearful of their own family. I can’t say I nor Gaia really approve. I learned a lot today from just watching the fight and how both sides behaved not just the information I got from Khulgar. Though I have no idea how to form into words, that would make sense, the feelings I sensed. I am a Daughter of Gaia. I feel her love, her love for her children is what allows me to heal and save others. I put another log on the fire and pull my cloak closer. Winter is hanging on like a stubborn wolf. I chuckle to myself as stubbornness, along with pride seems to be the theme of the day. I looked passed the fire, I could see the two sides fire lights from where I was. The Watchwolves just outside the village sulking fiercely watching the other side for weakness, an opening, something. Graytides forces celebrating their victory but at least giving respect to the fallen and doing so away from the funeral pyre, well most of them anyways. I frown as I look back into my own fire. They Graytides earned their victory today but I wonder at what cost to Gaia and to the Ulven as a whole. I fear that our real enemies is waiting till we are at our weakest before it strikes again, be it the Mordok or the Undead. Just cause the Lich is gone doesn’t mean the undead is gone and I still feel that the Lich is connected to the Mordok but I have no proof and I can’t rule out that the Graytides might be right in the notion that the outsiders brought it with them. It is definatly is topic that need to be Truth Seeked before a decision on weather the outsiders are the core of the Undead problem or not can be reached.

I pulled out a piece of parchment, a graphite stick and a writing board. I’ll write the formal letter in ink when I have a warm tavern and a flat surface to write on. Right now I think my ink is frozen anyways. I glared annoyed at the snow that surrounds my little camp and my sad small tent. Its going to be a cold night alone. I shake my head to focus, I need to write down the information I have before I forget and no time like now to write a rough draft.

To: Clanleader Spirtclaw and High Priestess Morrigan

I have finally made it to contested territory between Grimwards and Nightriver clans. I was not roaming long before I was meet by a scouting party apparently on the look out for Watchwolves. I was first taken to huge older male with only one arm. When I had introduced myself and held out my hand it was coldly turned down. The young female sheepishly asked me for my weapons, I think embarrassed by her Elder and the predicament she was about to put me in but I handed over my staff and was lead to the War Leader. The older man followed behind me and chided me about distrust. I replied back about manners and tradition and how it was rude to just dismiss someone regardless if you trust them or not. It was like they had forgotten the ways of hospitality. I was Ulven not some outsider this disturbed me greatly. I was taken before none other than Khulgar Graytide himself. I will not lie I was not completely prepared for that. I was expected some random war leader who the Great Wolf barely heard of not Khulgar himself. I will tell you that he is an impressive male. Well spoken, intelligent and very charismatic but also prideful. I made full introductions and this time my hand was not turned away, which told me alot in and of itself. I was quite surprised that Khulgar seemed to have at least a rough idea of what my job was as Truth Seeker was and we talked even as battle was about to start, which also told me alot. I will just write down the important parts of our conversation. There was some testing of the waters as we sized each other out for awhile.

The dinner does seem to be the place this started. The Outsiders did disgrace and humiliate Khulgar. Though when I asked why he didn’t challenge them as per our traditions, I was told that the outsiders don’t value honor and traditions the same way we do.

There was apparently an attempt at peace between the Nightriver and Grimwards and apparently it ended in violence but was not giving details on how it broke down. We were after all on a battlefield and I didnt press. I am hoping to find out more details from the other side and if I have to verify with Khulgar, I will.

I was also told that the outsiders from Starkhaven have been forcefully encroaching on Grimward territory and taking it by force if needed.

There was also mention of a Mordok artifact. I am not sure how this plays into anything. I was surprised hadn’t been destroyed.

I am also hoping to receive at some point a copy of the Watchwolves original treaty to the Outsiders so I may see for myself what it said and how it was worded. I shall make a copy and send it via bird to you once I have it myself. I know we had heard about the treaty from our Tale Singers but we never received an actual copy of the treaty.

In talking with Khulgars troops, there seems to be a widespread belief that the Outsiders brought the Undead with them. That it is somehow the Outsiders fault that the Lich happened, even though when presented with the known fact that the Lich came out of the Dirge Swamps where we all know nothing lives save for Mordok they where fervent in their belief and countered that we burn our dead and the undead wherent a problem here before they arrived. I didnt not correct them on the notion that we too bury our greatest criminals after killing them because they are not fit to journey with the Great Wolf. I was out numbered and did not wish to be lynched. Passion was starting to outweigh reason.

As stated I am hoping to verify some of these statements when I go speak with the other side. Unfortunately when I was free to go talk to the Watchwolves side the battle was pretty fierce and there was no one there who could talk to me, but I was given a name. Raskolf. I have no idea who this is either but was told he would be the best person to speak too about all this, at least from the watchwolves side of it. My next destination will be Onsallas Outpost. I have been told that may be a good place to look for Raskolf. I am also hoping to be there in time to catch one of the first harvests of Sap. I have a feeling if I could make some Sap imbued bandages for both trade and myself it may be of use. Trying to stay neutral and not help one side or the other is alot harder then one thinks. There is death and pain all around and it pulls on my heart and in my soul I am not sure how long I will be able to ignore Gaia’s Call to me. Also I need to look into getting stronger armor then my travel leathers. The fighting when started is brutal and should I actually get attacked here by either side, I will not last long with my current armor.

I look up from my board thinking I heard someone approaching, peering into the darkness I don’t see anyone. I sigh and go over what I had just wrote altering words here and there to try and make it more formal. I glance up at the sky though the trees and frown. Even the stars here seem strange to me. I go and pull out a few more sheets of parchment, I have a lot to say and I am not sure how much of it the Clan leaders will care about, but I feel I need to include everything.

I will try and describe what I witnessed when the fighting started. There was a lot of taunting and name calling. Like a bunch of cubs trying to goad the others into throwing the first punch. You could sense that they knew that this was wrong, neither side really wanted to fight, Khulgar gave them the option many times to surrender, the watchwolves of course did not. There is alot of pride on both side, to the point where I think it clouds judgment. There was a female Alpha in charge on the village side, I never did get her name but she was the one who told me about Raskolf. Khulgar had superior numbers, while some of the village member stayed and fight many of them were beyond their prime. Well skilled but did not have the stamina anymore.

The village had captured one of Khulgars men, his name is Ekaj, they had originally asked me if I could heal him as he was badly wounded. I stated I could not but I would look in on him. He was being cared for by Artai of the Watchwolves. His wounds where grave. I struggled over my duty as a Truth Seeker and my duty as a Daughter. With him already being care for my duty as a Truth Seeker won this time. I had only caught snippets of their conversation as I didn’t want to seem rude and I was a little concerned about being jumped. Thought I got the sense the even among the troops on both sides there is doubt that this war will benefit Gaia no matter what side wins. Ekaj wasn’t particularly happy to see me but bid me to tell Khulgar that he had been captured. I looked to Artai and he nodded saying I would be doing him a great honor. Since both sides bid me to I figured I wasnt helping one side over the other and went and found Khulgar, who chided me for bothering him because he was busy. I nodded and apologized but passed on the message that was asked of me, though Khulgar corrected me on the pronunciation of the name. The dialect here is weird to me. Its been awhile since I had traveled these lands. I then watched Khulgar kill some poor young warrior who sadly try to challenge Khulgar to a duel. I also noticed that one of Khulgar betas, he appeared to be a hunter of some sort, giggling and toy with another young warrior who tried to take him on. I worry that a portion of the Grimward forces have been touched by lunacy. I made my way back to Ekaj and Artai and let them know that the message has been delivered. Through the doorway I witness the body of the female alpha being carried back. She was greatly injured and she was screaming that “They had Lied to you Khulgar” she was quickly surrounded by a human healer and troops. I do not know if she lived or not, though I do not remember seeing her on the funeral pyre. One of the village defenders was outraged and came in, threatening Ekaj about this female alpha dying and getting fair treatment for the captured. Atari quickly talked her down. It appears that neither side has great control of the warriors beneath them. This may or may not be useful. The fighting sounded closer and quickly Khulgar’s forces had made it to the building that we were at. I watched as Khulgar negotiated for Ekaj and Ekaj was traded for someone I don’t know. At that point the Watchwolves realized their loss and pulled back. I stayed help gather the dead from both sides and watched to make sure that the rites were done correctly and everyone got sent on their Journey.

In conclusion, my next course is to find this Raskolf. I will send another Letter once I have found and talked to him. I am hoping to have found him with in the next moon cycle at Onsallas Outpost. I also feel that the truth of Starkhaven should be sought as well, though this is alot more tricky and am not sure how to do this yet. If they are attacking Grimwards with out provocation just to get land, this lends credit to the Grimward claims, but I am not convinced that its all Outsiders doing this, so do not currently support the notion that they all need to die. I also feel that the Truth about the Outsiders and the Undead needs to be sought as well. I am not convinced that the two are linked yet. Thought not sure how to start this inquest either. I strongly feel that Negotiation between Clan Nightriver and Clan Grimward is still possible. Once it is learned why the first attempt broke down that we may yet get them to the table again with proper use of bribery and decorum. Though I fear if this war lasts much longer its going to take a gathering of a Grand Moot to accomplish this.

In Service

Selena Stargazer of Pack Stargazer, TruthSeeker to Clan Spirtclaw

I finish my letter and look around. The sounds from the other camps seem to be winding down. I pack my tools away and stand to stretch my legs. I wandered over to a larger clearing to study the sky before turning in for the night. The sky does look weird here like there is more stars here then there should be. I finally find the First Star and figure out what direction I need to go in. I mentally add to the list of things I need to trade for, a map. It has apparently been many years since my family had traveled this way as nothing really looks familiar to me anymore. I get back to my tent and pull the warming rocks out of my furs and set them back in the fire, adding one more log and giving the fire a good stir before turning in. I am still wishing for a warm meal and a soft warm place to sleep but now I am also wishing for some wine as I can already tell the things I have seen today are not going to let me sleep well tonight.

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