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JamesKPolkerface wrote:My word. This is glorious. I'm more excited about Drunkeros now then I've been in quite a while. A-1, 10/10.
Addressed to "Magister Tsetseg1. Fu'quin Monastery2, east of Yangahr."
I have made my presentation to the committee3, just as intended. There was some bother, as we waited for word from the scouts. But orcs have begun pouring south through the palurin ando pass4 from the plains of 'ksh-eska5. Just as i knew they would. It would seem your pessimism proved unwarranted, my friend. In less than a week, word came back in the affirmative from all quarters.
The Conjunctive Expeditionary Forces3, despite their uninspired name, are a historic and unprecedented accomplishment in careful wording, vague promises, and other diplomatic arts. Marking the first occasion6 that all the races of the western free marches7 will have banded together. If all parties keep to their word, hopefully it will not be the last.
Human troops from the cities of Tsandosqui9 (slightly bland, but friendly.), Arquinsa10 (smells of chicken), Ms'tuich11 (prone to getting "land-sick" from a bottle), Heroes' Plop12 (a town with an interesting history, currently experiencing a religious revival of sorts.) and even the backwards savages from far away Ginhudah13 (with their barbaric stick-based sports, and tree-fluid based cuisine.) have already arrived. As troops from smaller hamlets and villages14 come in, they will have to be assigned to one of the larger companies.
Already we have engaged the green menace. Though admittedly not in the numbers i expected. Perhaps we have made it in time to stem the flood of evil that threatens us all.
In the most wondrous sight yet, the Stonegirt clan15 of dwarves has arrived at the same location as the Irongirt clan15, and have even agreed (after intense negotiation over positioning and various "honors" each side demanded) not to actively work against each other! The elves by contrast, seemed to almost carefully leak out of the woods and shadows. Just appearing one morning, fully formed. They have since separated into different forces, apparently unbidden and un-lead. Though what each group plans to do in combat is a source of lively speculation in the various camps.
The halflings as ever, appear as though they haven't done anything at all. Were it not for the reassurances of a halfling man by the name of Saldigor Telumbra16, and a very careful accounting during a tour of the camps, i would not be convinced the halflings had joined the fight at all. But with frankly astounding levels of skill and subtlety, they have insinuated themselves throughout the expeditionary forces in numbers that easily rival the dwarves or elves without anyone noticing!
After only a few skirmishes, the orcs have begun to keep their distance. Perhaps they didn't expect such firm resistance in the opening stages of their invasion. Or perhaps they're just cowards.
(I have also been informed that "Palurin Ando" translates roughly as "Gateway to the World" or "World Gate", and that saying "the Palurin Ando pass" is improper usage. I assume that "the plains of 'ksh-eska" is fine, as nothing has been said of that17. And the elves would correct me if given the chance.)
According to our scouts, the orcs will approach in waves. As expected they show no discipline or any inclination towards tactics or strategy. They clump together, apparently working up the courage to advance on our line. At present our best guess numbers them in the thousands. With each clump representing hundreds of orcs. Strangely, no coherent or over-arching structure has been reported. Young and old jumble together with obvious warriors and yet the only infighting appears to be over food. Whatever they're up to, i haven't yet figured it out.
The dwarven clans will hold the wings. Their grit and legendary constitution will serve us well, as they'd no more let an enemy get by them than a Stonegirt would wed an Irongirt! (The fact that the wings will keep the two contentious clans furthest apart is a point no one felt the need to mention during council.)
The elves i have been told, will form the majority of our dedicated archers. Except for their melee fighters18, who insist upon being placed in the vanguard over my vehement protestations. (They wear little to no armor, and carry only a thin blade for Pelor's sake!) But after a demonstration from one of their leaders, i had no choice but to agree.
(They began to hum a wordless tune, each member of their unit producing slight variations. The world became filled with fog from nowhere, and when it cleared as suddenly as it had come, none of them were inside the tent! We found them again only after an hour's search produced no results. When we came back into the tent to continue the war council, the elves walked in behind us. Naturally, none of my objections felt very convincing after that.)
The human troops will be divided up by origin, each following their own commander, and each divided into melee, ranged, and mounted components.19 The front will be wide, so each company is expected to hold their assigned territory while also supporting the companies to their right and left as needed. I wonder for what feels like the third score of times, if i shouldn't have pushed for a stronger centralized command. Even though we would have but a third of the forces, it would feel more secure. (Rest assured that these are thoughts i express only to history and to you my friend.)
Telumbra has arranged for every willing halfling to run messages, and fill roles as they become available. The rest must be trusted to support the fighters as they will. If you had told me last month that scattered halflings with no stated allegiance to anything would be placed in positions of import, i would have assumed none others had arrived. Yet after really observing them for the first time, and speaking with my friend Saldigor (for that is most assuredly what he is now), i feel that they're almost a secret weapon in this fight. For if anyone needs anything, i can rest assured that the halflings will provide before the need is even realized!
The storm has broken in earnest, and the numbers are almost more than we can h-...
They came suddenly in the night, and the first wave very nearly broke through our lines. Neither dwarf clan has been heard from in hours, i hope this is natur- ...
I have but a moment before i am called away again.20
I have brought people together into unprecedented alliances, that everyone said were impossible. I have traversed the length and breadth of the known world seeking the means to save it from the doom i saw on the horizon as a young man21. I have spent most of my life in the attempt. If nothing else can be said for me when the sun rises, let it be known to history that i tried. If we do not speak again my friend, medleg tand olokh bolno22.
I have prayed to Pelor for strength, and burned offerings to the Raven Queen to keep me from undeath.23
Now comes the hard part,
PS - If the young man makes it to you with this letter, accept him as you would myself; for he is Saldigor Telumbra's son25. Though he may call himself "shadow blade" or "dark knife" or something similar. Saldigor says his name already means this in the ancient tongue, and it would be as though i called myself "indy blindy".
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