Emerald Chronicles, Volume 2 (book)
- Emerald Chronicles I
- Emerald Chronicles II
- Emerald Chronicles III
- Emerald Chronicles IV
- Emerald Chronicles V
- Emerald Chronicles VI
Emerald Chronicles II: The Emerald Knights Ride South
32nd day of Akroeg the Ram
Year of the Golden Panther, 184
Our letters will likely move slower now that I am here, as the post rider comes from the city only once a fortnight. I am grateful for the one sutler's wagon that followed us from the city, as the Halflings have been our sole supply for necessaries other than arms, armor, and bread that come monthly from the city. Of course, their supplies are more changeable than the moons, and you take what they have because there is nothing else.
The defenses built by Corik are well made and display the architecture of Shard. Even parapets are not simple matters, but are ornamented as if they were monuments of their own. The massive two walls span the mouth of the canyon, each more than two wagon-girths wide with armed battlements, interior armories and strongholds, and a large bailey between them where we have built a barracks. The backbreaking toil was well worth it, as I have had better health and greater spirits from not sleeping in a mildewed tent! Our toil has also built camaraderie among the ranks, and I am coming to learn much of this land in listening to the tales of our well-traveled soldiers. The curtain wall facing the southern front of the Hand bore many breeches from the creeping vines of the Hand. It took us many andaen to clear the vines and make repairs while keeping safe from the Hand's reach. This is the wall the locals call "Morganae's Arm" for the Elf-queen of the mountains.
Being an Elf, the scout Iceleaf has sympathies for the Eloths and speaks well of this "Black" Corik. His advisors were to blame for the Ferdahl at first not taking his armies to meet the threat he says. He defied them to build these walls and his name was blackened for doing so. In naming his forward defense for the Elf-queen, he hoped she would come at last to his city's defense but she proved false and left the Eloth and his city to the flames.
The bitterest irony is that the breach of these defenses didn't move a stone of these mighty walls! Corik's army defended for two days and into the second night when that he saw the flames of Shard in the sky. The siege was only a diversion! The better part of the foe's army magicked around the walls and took Shard before dawn. The Ferdahl's subjects were already being sacrificed on the altar of the Priestess' madness as runners from the stricken city arrived at the wall. This is a frightening thought as we have still no walls against moon-magics, but Ptera is determined that we should not sit and wait to be attacked, but that we should take the fight to our foe where it will not expect our coming. Iceleaf is sure such tactics will win no favor with Alec, as it is not the way of Eloths to be aggressive in seeking a fight. Glory, Hren! Is it any wonder those arrogant dogs allowed the Dragon Priest armies to march across the Northlands, burning and killing? They have neither discipline nor any sense of order.
We have brought order and efficiency to these defenses
for though we have a few others among us, our ranks are
largely Northlanders. It is again clear the people of this
land have little interest in their own defense and would
die like sheep upon the butcher's stone. We have quite
some work ahead of us.
17th day of Shorka the Cobra
Year of the Bronze Wyvern, 184
Good tidings! I hope your cousin's wedding feast was a joyous event! Your gift of grain barrels a practical choice for a young caravan driver and his bride. I would have been pleased to see it, as we always doubted whether he would ever wed given the countenance he was born with. In truth, I would have been pleased to be anywhere with such good roast meats and ales as our kinsmen celebrate with!
Ptera's command of operations here are tight as one of your barrels, where each stave must fit together perfectly and there is not a tijit of room for ceremony or ornament. There is not a roisan of my day that is unassigned. We are not expected to attend chancel unless on break but I pray where I am and hope Chadatru is not angered that I should not put my tasks aside when beseeching his name as tasks I must attend on my breaks are surely more base.
You have not written to tell me if the old man will
allow your family to live in the shop's loft. I will not
accept having you cast upon the streets because he does not
pay you enough to afford boarding. My purse is not heavy,
but you know that it is yours for asking.
23th day of Uthmor the Giant
Year of the Bronze Wyvern, 184
I am glad the old man came to his senses. He is proof to my mind of Father Galwydd's saying "It is only the good that die young." The bolt of cloth I have sent is for Alizia to craft her curtains of. I hope she is fond of white muslin as it is the best I could purchase so far from the city. She will make a home of your little loft, you will see.
In exchange I ask a small favor of sending to me a few crates of a good soap that bears no perfume. At present the sutlery has only prettily scented soaps that have our ranks smelling like a bordello on feast night! It has become such a situation that many have chosen not to use soap at all, with results that are far worse than the flowery aromas of these silk-wrapped cakes. I have hidden several gold coins within the fabric I sent that should purchase at least a crate of some plain tar soap. If you can arrange for your merchant friends to have a caravan bring it to the Dark'wood outpost I can have a rider fetch it from there.
Sweat and stone have greatly bolstered the defenses and we've begun to turn our eye upon better training and increased watch. We have also begun forward missions by Ptera's order and I have joined these ventures far beyond our ramparts into the forest. In these missions come moments of great excitement and great fear, but these moments are few in the long stretches of busy routine that make up our days.
Please write your old friend soon with news of your
daughter. Hearing her adventures in growing lightens my
heart and fills the quieter roisaen with mirth.
31st day of Uthmor the Giant
Year of the Bronze Wyvern, 184
The crates arrived in good order just this day at [[Dergati's Bane]] and by this writing at Meraud's Cloak not a cake of soap remains unclaimed. For all of the wealth held at Shard, could not the Knights of the Ferdahl's champion be given even a soap cake to share between them? You have done a great service for the realms. We've had much success in keeping the Hand from Morganae's Arm. Our forward missions have been keeping the edge of the forest back from the wall where it is not so immediate a threat. If we keep our pace, it should be confined to the rear of the canyon in a year's time.
Blessings of the Mighty Chadatru upon the birth of
another daughter! I do suspect Alizia has deviled you and
I. After you vowed to name your first son for me, she's
decided you shan't have any. Tell her I will change my
name to one that suits her better if she will give you a
son to fill your armor when you've withered with age!
26th Akroeg, 185
I will keep my words brief as my gut is gripped with sickness and I have been taken to bed for long spells. We continue to push the demon forest further into the canyon. Every few paces it is driven south of Morganae's Arm is marked with a palisade of sharpened deadwood. Our tactic is working, though it comes at the cost of many lives. Though my soul rests on the peace we are creating here, I will admit to you that our losses have only benefited me in promotions and pay though I relish neither at this cost. I have lost many comrades and will not rest on achievements gained from their blood, but dedicate myself all the more to my service.
Give my regards to Alizia and the little ones. You
will have more from me when this sickness has lifted.
23rd day of Uthmor the Giant
Year of the Iron Toad, 186
I have such wonderful news that for once you shall have cause to write -me- words of congratulation. I have been promoted to Captain of the Watch in charge of the Western leg. This squire's son has made a rank and I have never felt more pride. (Indeed, I am wary of my pride lest I am taught the same lesson of my last prideful moments.)
My promotion was part of a greater change that came with the arrival of a new Second appointed by the Ferdahl himself. To no one's surprise but my own, it was the knight Odurn who rode with us in the challenge. Some of the men say his count was second only to Ptera's and is a just choice for Second. He was well-liked enough, but his presence is a mark of the Eloth Ferdahl's hand on the Emerald Knights which flairs the old hatreds of our largely Northlander ranks.
Now you have a tale of some glory to tell the wee
ones, and I expect Chadatru would pardon you should your
tale tell of magical armor and an enchanted greatsword too!