The Journal of Squire Anastrianna, Lady-in-Waiting d’Avvolgere.
Being an accurate and precise Recounting of her early Adventures in the Mundane Realm, concerning matters both Social and Martial, with special Emphasis on those Personages she charmed, those Villains she routed, those Heroes she led to victory, with notations of those fallen in noble Battle and those raised to heights of Splendor under her keen direction, including as a matter of military interest a full analysis of her Training, her Tasks, and her Peers in the legendary Order of the Griffins and the Path she took as her Destiny bent to her Designs.
Book One, Chapter Fifteen: The First Mission – Where the Dross is Burned Away From the Gold
Year of the Republic 1073, Eighth Day of Wealsun
The training behind me, I have been granted my first assignment, alongside two fellow squires in my regiment. These worthies are Squire Blackhost and Squire Greenkeeper(which see discussion in Book One, Chapter Six: The Training Regiment – Those Who are Called to Serve). Sir Ruu, the unit commander for our regiment, has given us the following orders: deliver a packet of missives to the Eastern Stronghold, deliver any bandits along the route to local authorities, await at the stronghold for any replies and also for any assignments they may require us to undertake, then return triumphant. Knowing the Order’s history regarding the Eastern mountains, I am very interested to see this redoubt. Having a post there would be an excellent way to hone many disparate skills and to be at the very forefront of the Order’s defenses should the Darkness rear its voracious head once again. We are given a company of fighting-men; a sergeant (one Henley, of good stock as the Northern-men go, a burly man with a bellow such that one thinks the rocks might hop to-and-fro with his cadence-count), a marksman (a young callow by the name of Cooper, who is given to chew his cud, as they say, but who is unerring with even a standard-issue break-stock Wurthingson Arms crossbow), a medic (not a devout man, as such, but Briggs is dedicated and skilled with a poultice or a bandage, and surprisingly adept with a Wurthingson single-hand crossbow), and the two troops: Janick (a dusky man who gives an impression of hailing from the Sultanate originally, or at least hailing from a parent who did) and Harris (a slight man with perhaps a drop or two of elven blood in his veins; certainly he is tenacious enough to imply so). These, then, will be our companions and our charges. This is the first assignment for the troopers as well, let it be a test of fire rather than a test of earth! Squire Blackhost collects the packet from Sir Ruu and with no further ado, we set out on foot.
[Portions cut for expediency’s sake, as the entry for the Ninth Day of Wealsun is nothing more than a lengthy recitation of the day’s events, to wit: walking, making camp, establishing watch, and the entry for the Tenth Day is the same only with some musing on the traditions of camp-making and -breaking, speculation on breaking tasks into joint tasks for efficiency’s sake, and a long digression on the virtues of stoicism in regard to rations and whether morale is better served by taking a short period of time to acquire fresh victuals during the journey.]
Eleventh Day of Wealsun
What had been a merely routine shakedown of new-minted officers and enlisted in the field has turned to horror. At mid-day, Squire Greenkeeper noted carrion birds in the sky, interested in something along the road we were following. As we turned the bend, we noted an overturned wagon, a wheel stuck in a rut and its passengers—some of its passengers—dead in the road. Closer inspection revealed these passengers to be none other than fellow members of the Order, and from the Eastern Stronghold, no less. It was determined via papers in their possession that they were in the midst of purchasing supplies from local farmers, but that they had fallen victim to a terrible accident that allowed them to be further victimized by a mysterious pack of quadrupeds. As a specialist in the outdoors and the various creatures that roam in it, Squire Greenkeeper traced the outcome of the battle, pondering why the beasts (theorized to be wolves based on the tracks and size of the bite wounds) had left without all of their prey, seemingly satisfied to merely kill them. This, he asserted, would be unusual in such animals, although Squire Blackhost did point out that not all creatures that walk as wolves do share the motivations and drives of those beasts. Squire Greenkeeper, at length, determined that a single survivor had been able to leave the scene of the massacre under his own power, although based on his blood trail, the squire suspected that power would not last. Indeed, after righting the wagon and placing the three dead bodies of our fellows inside, shielding them with a tarpaulin from the crows, following the trail (since we determined this to be akin to our orders to capture any bandits along the road, with the added benefit of rescuing a fellow member of the Order), he eventually determined the unfortunate had expired from blood loss. And then rose again to continue onward. Before we could determine what precisely this meant for our former fellow, Squire Greenkeeper noted that we were surrounded, presumably by the very same lupine blackguards that murdered these men-at-arms. Once we were alerted to their presence, the undead wolves (for such they were, partially rotted and partially only “merely” dead, their half-hearted pack behaviors – their very existence – a mockery of those savagely noble beasts in life) ceased their pacing and moved in to the attack.