To: Berholt Eisenhauser, Captain, Imperial Roadwardens
From: Pieter Konrad, Sergeant, Imperial Roadwardens
After bringing the Kraemer twins to justice in Pfunzig and ensuring that they would trouble the empire no longer, we left for Averheim to meet with what allies we had managed to acquire, and to coordinate out efforts to free the Blue Reach Delta. We met with Matthias Lietdorf and brought him up to date with the happenings in Pfunzig and our ending of the twin’s machinations in the cult of Handrick. He informed us of dinner meeting amongst the allies that evening which gave us enough time to re-equip and re-provision ourselves.
That night, at the von Alptraum’s, we sat down to eat and to discuss the situation. The dwarves were going to secure both Drebkau and Hornau in the northeast, while the Bernjaeger were going to work their way north from Grenzstadt and harry the beastmen in the forest as they worked their way towards Sigmaringen. Schwarmonger had sent in “The Suicide Squad” to infiltrate different areas of the Delta and provide us with some up to date reconnaissance. The nobles were planning on proceeding to Schramleben to engage the Iron Circle leadership in a parley, thereby diverting their attention from the general mayhem we were about to unleash. Our party was to cross the Blue Reach River north of Sigmaringen and clear the village of beastmen and other chaotic influences. Provided we survive, we were to rendezvous with a party of dwarves at the Neiderlitz ranch.
The next day, we headed south along the Blue Reach River to where we had sunk our boat during our previous narrow escape from Sigmaringen. On our way there, we met up with Anton Deadeye who informed us that the chaos warband had been taken over by a rather large, and to paraphrase Anton, “Fuckin’ huge!” minotaur. We also spent some time discussing how we were going to attack the village the next morning. When we got to the boat, we found it miraculously unsunk and floating placidly in a small back-eddy in the river. In it was a chest, and after much trepidation we opened it. In said chest were the heads of two halflings, both members of Schwarmonger’s squad that had been sent in to scout Schramleben. There was a note as well that said simply, “Looking forward to your next visit”. Axel got a little pale as he realized who the likely culprit was, as the halflings in the box had died messily and not at all easily.
We crossed the river and found the rest of the “Suicide Squad” impaled on stakes – so much for up to date intelligence. We buried the bodies and set up camp to get as much rest as we could before the attack the next morning. As we stirred from our bedrolls in the morning, we heard the sound of an approaching group. For a scouting party they were pretty loud as one of them was calling in crude reikspiel, “Dolwen, come out and play”. Obviously, something had given us away and it hadn’t been one of Axel’s patented hobgoblin calls.
The scouting partly consisted of a chaos deformed leader, three gors, and four ungors. Dolwen got pretty worked up at the sight of the leader, and he told us later that this was the beastman he had been tracking before he got embroiled in our schemes here in the Delta. The leader offered to fight Dolwen one on one to an honorable end. Dolwen must have remembered Axel’s advice about fighting fair, because Axel, Adam, and he opened fire as soon as the leader had finished speaking. All three shots struck true, causing the leader to reel back. Erik put an arrow into each eye of one the ungors, dropping it in a messy heap on the forest floor – epic shots. I was debating whether to shoot or not when Adam saw my indecision and shouted at me, “What’s the worst that can happen?” I replied, “I guess we’ll find out”, as I leveled my pistol and blew one of the ungors into bloody rags. So far, so good. Herod slew a gor while Adam and Axel picked off the ungors. My next shot missed a gor by a hair, but that didn’t prevent him from taking a small piece out of me. Axel, Adam, and Erik all accounted for the ungors that they were engaged with. The leader hit Dolwen with a blow that he narrowly parried and missed on his second swing. Herod charged in and hit the gor attacking me, which was a good thing as both of my swings missed terribly. Ekhart was tossing off magic darts like a machine, while Herod killed my Gor and Erik slew another. The only combat remaining was between the leader and Dolwen. We moved in to finish him off but Dolwen waved us off – some elvish honor thing I guess. Personally, my motto is to kill them by any means possible and then move on. To each their own I guess.
Combat continued back and forth and was beautiful to watch – the brute strength of the chaos spawn matched against the fluid grace of the elf. The contest was evenly matched, but we knew it was only a matter of time before someone made a mistake. The leader managed to land an upward sweeping blow with the massive axe he was using that literally lifted Dolwen off his feet. However, he recovered quickly and continued to battle on. Finally, the leader reached just a little too far and Dolwen’s lightning fast riposte took him full in the mouth and terminated with a hands width of blade sticking out from the back of his head. Dolwen spit on the corpse as it slithered off his blade. I thought the drama of the moment was totally ruined by the loud cheers and whistles of the halflings, but Dolwen didn’t seem to mind.
Ekhart bandaged what wounds we had managed to collect and we made our way through the forest to the village. From the cover of the trees, we noticed that the beastmen had manages to erect barricades around the entire village. Not really enough to keep out a determined assault, but certainly enough to make our lives difficult. We spent some time discussing what we were going to do and basically decided that we may as well engage them in the open field and be done with it. What’s the worst that can happen? Famous last words I fear.
As we broke the cover of the forest, the beastmen at the barricades raised the alarm. Through a gap in the barricade, they released some sort of tusked boar-like animal at us that immediately charged our position. A bestigor and a group of gors and ungors followed their pets out from behind the barricade. While the rest of our group prepared to meet the charge of the animals, Gustav and I began a charge of our own. I lowered my spear and thundered towards the enemy. The boars simply avoided us as we passed, totally intent on the group with the bent bows and whirling slings – stupid, stupid beasts. I could hear the squeals of pain and the thuds of impact as my friend’s missile attacks found their mark. I bore down on the bestigor and managed a solid hit on its weapon arm as we rushed past.
In the distance I could see the Bernjaeger scouts begin their assault on the other side of the village. As I turned Gustav for another go at the beastmen, I could see that all the boars were down and that my companions were beginning to target the beastmen. As I charged back and hit the bestigor another blow on the head, some the gors began to fall to the unerring missile attack of my friends. The bestigor took a swing at me, but I managed to parry it with my shield. The remainder of the gors was now engaged in melee with my companions. One of the gors scored a solid hit on Herrod, while one of the ungors hit Adam with a glancing blow. We heard a deafening bellow from the village and all eyes turned to look. Clearing the barricade was one the largest beasts I had ever seen – a towering brute of a minotaur with a fearsome spread of horns, fully armored in plate mail, and wielding a truly massive two-headed battle axe. Chaos symbols adorned his armor and weapons and I remember thinking that “fuckin’ huge” was only an accurate description if a person were given to making ridiculous understatements.
The rest of the group polished off the remaining gors and ungors while I knocked the bestigor down and Gustav tap-danced on its head. We spend a minute preparing as the fearsome foe approached. A wave a fear preceded its advance, as we looked at it and contemplated how few of us were likely to survive this encounter. Axel and Herrod were literally frozen in terror with the thought of imminent death approaching. Most of us managed to shake off our doubts and I dismounted and sent my faithful steed away, not wanting to hazard him in THIS battle. I took careful aim at the beast and hit it dead center, only to stare in disbelief as my round ricocheted away with a nasty snarl – not a good sign. Axel and Herod managed to overcome their fear and joined us on the line. A last round of missile fire, including two more pistol shots, blasted home. They may as well have been buttercups for all the good they did – definitely not a good sign. Even Axel muttered about how this was a lot less awesome than he was used to.
Axel, Adam, and Erik remained engaged with missile weapons. Ekhart was using his magic on it and Dolwen, Belisarius, Herrod, and I engaged it in weapons range. It literally ignored most of our attempts, trusting in its armor and ungodly strength to shield it from harm. Some of attacks were beginning to tell however as the odd blow managed to find the weak spots in its armor. The beast turned its attention to me as its axe blurred towards me in a silvery smear of motion. Fortunately, the first two attacks were clean misses and I managed to get my shield up for the third swing although the force of the blow nearly broke my arm.
Belisarius managed to land a solid blow that actually managed to stagger the beast. Everything else we threw at it failed to penetrate its guard or bounced off of its armor. In return for his valiant effort, Belisarius was on the receiving end of flat swing that hummed in past his guard and smashed into his ribcage, knocking him back, but not out of the fight. One of my swings managed to score a hit and then it was my turn again. I thought that I was done for as the axe droned towards me, but my rabbit’s foot picked that moment to fly off if its chain and strike the beast square in the eye, robbing the blow of much of its power and allowing me to parry it off with no damage.
During the next round of combat, the beast bellowed in surprise as Eckhart’s spell made it lose its grip on its weapon. Outstanding! As it bent over to retrieve it, I thrust my sword into the gap between the shoulder pauldron and the neck and drove it inwards as hard as I could. I must have hit something important because the beast fell in a heap, nearly tearing my sword from my grasp. We heard moans of terror from within the village as the remaining members of the warband witnessed the fall of their champion.
The rest was merely clean-up. Between us and the Bernjaeger, we managed to scour the village of the remaining beastmen. As I write this, the foul bodies are burning in makeshift pyres and we are beginning the gruesome task of searching the village for the any remains of the previous inhabitants. Our plans are to move onwards to the Neiderlitz ranch in the morning. I will file my next report as soon as the next opportunity presents itself. The liberation of the Blue Reach Delta has begun!