The Telus Chronicles

Report Addendum

Having now seen a ‘test by fire’ of the improvements I and my squad have made to the defenses of watchpost #5 I can say unequivocally say that they are a resounding success. The six of us not only faced an attack of overwhelming odds but also defeated them all with only a few serious wounds. The test however did reveal to me further improvements that need added and I list them as follows-

1) The ditch needs to be extended, widened, deepened and the inner wall made less climbable. Turning it into a full dry moat will offer superior protection for the least amount of cost and effort to maintain. Enclosed are sketches of the needed improvements plus possible drop traps to further incapacitate attackers.

2) The archer’s nest on the barracks roof proved very useful so the building itself needs to be better reinforced with spikes added to the wall to make climbing harder. Wooden barricade walls need to be added preferably with hides stretched over them with a ready supply of water to render the barricade difficult to burn. In truth a stone building should be erected in place of the wooden one but that may be cost prohibitive.

3) I believe the ballicades while effective in their current form can be improved. I know a formula for a type of tar that is both sticky and retardant to flame. It is the formula similark to those used in ‘tanglefoot’ bags. Adding this to the protective spikes will make them even more likely to ensnare foes.

I now am certain my list of improvements will not only strengthen the watchposts but also make them far more than just a trip wire with bells. They would become a bear trap that would end any threat by the orcs unless they conduct an all out offensive to bypass them softening them up for any attack by the Fort.

Adventures in Humaning 3

What has transpired this night would find its way to the annals of the Ildurae Maelen!

Alberil and I made out way back to outpost five upon his fine steed. I made sight of two boats of orcs making their way upriver. My attempts to get Morgan’s attention were not quite as eloquent as I might have liked, but they served the purpose. I find myself blessed with both fortune and misfortune in my endeavors.

My squad performed quite admirably. I am proud to call them companions and of the six orcs I felled two with arrows. I am curious as to these beasts’ purpose in these lands. Do they seek the typical destruction of their kind or are they driven by something more sinister? They seem quite well equipped for mere orcs.

Our camp was set upon by three groups of orcs this night. We were awoken by the alarm of a sharp eyed Morgan. I grabbed my bow and arrows and made for the watch-tower right away, knowing it to be the best vantage point for my bow to do its work. I must say, once again our squad proved its mettle that eve. Each felling an orc or three! Morgan was wounded severely, but still purported himself with bravery and honor in his deeds. Not a single one of us shirked their duties in the attack.

While I made some good shots in the battle I worry that more than a couple strayed more than I would like. Perhaps it is the shakes of battle, I am ashamed to say. I will endeavor to practice more until my muscles act only from memory and without hesitation. A missed shot is an opportunity for a comrade to be felled in battle and I will not have such happening. If I had felled an orc each with my shots I could have moved my attention southward and perhaps Morgan would not have been so grievously harmed.

Though I am not ashamed of my performance, indeed, every one of us did quite well, I must be better. I must work toward the competence that makes one worthy of the Ildurae Maelen. There is no other option.

Something has happened to the outpost to the west. I worry that other bands of orcs have attacked, and though I do not wish to disparage the humans of those squads I do believe the competence of my current squad to not be typical of most. I fear the worst has transpired and soon we will find ourselves and island amongst an army of orc. I will wish them well.

Adventures in Humaning 2

Time has passed in a blur thus far, to be honest. Standing watch, conducting repairs and any other tasks that come to the fore. I had no illusions that this life would be glamorous, especially on this front but the idealistic part of me still yearns for something more. Then again I’m wise enough to not wish too hard. Something could always go wrong and I’m going to be surprised if it doesn’t.

In my eagerness to prove myself useful I volunteered for the first watch. The wiser course, that I eventually ended up with, was for me to stand a watch during the night, being the only member of our group with some form of night-time vision.

Some bit of excitement occurs a few days into our stay, with a signal from the farthest outpost going out. I can truly see the harshness of this line of work when halving our camp’s contingent. They are then forced to no longer perform ranging patrols and go into a half on half off watch rotation. The Cavalier and myself made haste to the camp.

While on our way we came upon a strange man. We seem to be meeting all sorts of strange beings in these lands. Honestly, something about him seemed off to me, but I really couldn’t place it and we had no cause to accost him. However, when questioned about what he was doing his answers were somewhat vague.

Eventually we arrive at the outpost and find that the danger had passed. An orc attack. How are we supposed to respond to distress calls from other outposts in time? This system is designed to fail. We don’t have enough members in our squad to do anything other than light a warning fire. I almost feel like we’re nothing more than an early warning signal meant to be sacrificed. A disturbing though.

The Military Life of Alberil Valesk (2)
Part 2

Entry 5

The first day at the post has been almost entirely uneventful. I had volunteered for the regional patrol and nothing seemed off aside from a brief encounter with … something in the forest. I didn’t get a good look at it but Donavan sure seemed determined not to follow. Must’ve been a wolf or something. Will have to keep an eye out for it.

Entry 6

Another slow day for me. Not so for my companions it seems though. A pack of orcs was spotted, morgan was doing the regional patrol, splitting up in the forest, 3 heading both north and south. I didn’t see anything from my post in the watchtower aside from Jos working on the repairs.

Morgan decided that it would be prudent to warn the other posts, but due to the beacon not being fueled or something along those lines he used some of his supplies to shoot a ball of light into the air (I think he mentioned it was a ‘flare’). The other watchposts lit their beacons in response so I hope we haven’t made a mistake.

In the night there was some noxious green cloud to the south. Whatever it is, it isn’t normal.

Entry 7

today was… slightly less uneventful for me. While doing the patrol, My attention was diverted mid-gallop just long enough to run head-first into a branch. I am glad these patrols are a solo affair, or else I would’ve been disgraced in the eyes of my companions for making such a beginner’s error. The only good thing to come of the incident was that, upon landing, I noticed that I had fallen right next to a partially hidden chest. It had a note in Paecian (?) that apparently said “property of the Sheik’s own” or something like that. rather odd, but inside was multiple pieces of equipment of excellent craftsmanship. In the chest were two sets of leather armor (Morgan took one of them not sure if anyone else took the other), a longbow (Jos quickly grabbed that), and a longsword that I reserved for myself. I’m not sure it was worth the embarrassment but it’s something.

Entry 8

Today was a bit better than the last, I even got to perform a proper cavalry charge! It was only against a poor wolf in the forest, but the thrill of it was exhilarating. Normally I would leave the poor beast alone, but if it didn’t attack me outright I’m sure it would’ve followed me to the watchpost and I didn’t want to risk it hurting my companions.

there’s something written after the entry, the neat and flowing script being replaced with a quickly-scrawled note

Watchpost 6 has signaled that they have been attacked. I am riding there with all due haste, and am taking Jos with me. I hope we arent too late.

another note written below the first in a style closer to his normal handwriting.

The watchpost was attacked by a small group of orcs. (maybe that pack Morgan saw?) only one was seriously wounded. Did pass man on the road, didn’t realize it at the time but he was wearing a dirty Tyresian uniform but aside from that he said he didn’t see out of the ordinary. Not sure why he was there but I don’t think I trust him but too late to do anything about it.

The trip back was uneventful

Morgan's Report

Attention Command:

Problems: The watchposts while a good idea are woefully ineffective because it’s impossible to inform anyone of events besides WE GOT PROBLEMS! The horn system is good but we need a way to NOT alert the enemy. What they need is a means to, day or night, to communicate effectively with each tower in an actual message that does not rely on magic which can be used without alerting the enemy. I propose using light. When my brother attempted to use his hand mirror the idea came to me, a larger mirror would provide further range as would height. So a second level should be added to the tower, not large much like the crows nest of a ship. Roofed to prevent rain from interfering. A slightly concave mirror some two and a half hands in width (10 inches) with a manually controlled shutter would allow through a series of long and short flashes of light to convey detailed information. The lack sun at night or on cloudy days can be overcome by using a Magnesium lantern. A mixture of the proper chemicals can produce a ‘bulb’ of fuel that can burn for nearly a half-hour, plenty enough time to use the signaling device. Using the sturdy body of a bullseye lantern to focus the light into the device it could be easily portable. This Lumigraph would solve the above problem and make the watchtowers much more effective in sending information along the chain to the fort. Enclosed is a rough sketch of the Lumigraph. I can provide detailed drawings of the device and formula of the Luma-bulbs upon request.

Watchpost Defenses: They MUST be maintained by the squads. The state of Watchpost 5 was horrendous showing signs of neglect for several tours. Having been given the order to repair them I assessed them and our squad has returned them to an effective deterrent and improved upon the designs. I have made the roof of the barracks accessible to be used as an archer’s nest. I do suggest though that materials be supplied to reinforce the trusses of the barracks roof and some defensive cover be added.
-The earthworks: These need to be more extensive. The dry moats need to have stakes placed in the bottom to deter simply walking through them, the walls need to have a steeper incline. To this I would suggest flagstone be embedded into the walls with macadam and bitumen. The stockades need to be better angled and ANCHORED to make attacks from both horse and foot more difficult. I have also enclosed a drawing of the watchpost and where more earthworks should be and better designs for the stockades. We have started excavation of the new earthworks at watchpost 5 though they will not be complete by the end of our tour.
-Additions: Two more towers need to be built along the earthworks. Not more than two stories to better command the defenses during an attack. Once constructed (from salt-cured timbers to prevent rotting) the structure should be coated in earth to make them harder to light on fire. These towers should be manned during attacks. IF these towers are cost prohibitive then earthen bunkers need to be constructed in their stead.
-Additions Dux: An emplacement along the river side of the post should be constructed and a proper Arbalest added (read uber heavy crossbow/light ballista). Nothing will deter crossing the river like a five foot long shaft sticking out of your chest. Also a weapon of this caliber can deliver sizable payloads of Paecian Fire (Read Alchemist Fire) which with the proper formulation can burn atop water. This will buy the armies more time to get into position. Enclosed are sketches of an Arbalest design with which I have been toying. The improvements I have made will increase the range by ten paces and make reloading a smoother process.
-Additions Addendum: The personnel of each watchpost needs to be increased to include two squads with 2 corporals and one sergeant. The reasons are thus. Discipline at the posts are lacking. If these are meant to be the first line of defense against an orcish invasion then the people placed here need to be focused on task and not used as a dumping ground for raw recruits without supervision. Support personnel MUST include a siege-engineer or at least someone familiar with such things. Had I not been trained in such things before I joined the army I would have had no clue as to how vulnerable we were nor had a clue in how to fix it. The personnel assigned to the posts MUST all be trained in ranged weaponry and at least two skilled in scouting activity. Having green recruits just out of basic wandering around the edges of the Ironwood is asking for unnecessary turnover in troop strength. Secondly the needed rotation of watches and patrols require more personnel. I can say it no clearer than that. One squad handling the shifts and patrols leaves them depleted all but useless in their assigned tasks. Adding into this the required maintenance on the posts and you have men failing in their duties.

Final Assessment: The posts as they are now are inadequate. For them to provide the early warning and delaying tactics necessary the above steps I have outlined need to be taken. Failure to do so will not could WILL result in an orcish invasion on our doorsteps before we have time enough to don our armor and grab our shields.

Dutifully, Morgan Starkweather, Private.

The Military Life of Alberil Valesk
part 1

Entry 1:

It is with great pride that I begin this journal regarding my time in the military, having finally left my pampered life behind me and completed my training. I can’t honestly say the experience was pleasant, my body feeling like it was kicked by a warhorse more times than I can remember (and I am quite familiar with that feeling, not pleasant), but it is certainly a worthwhile venture. It is fortunate I was easily the most fit of my family or else I’m not sure I would’ve been able to finish, though I have much to learn before I can be ready for more than a basic cavalryman position let alone anything resembling a knight. It is a good thing they allowed me to keep Donovan, there were many times I think I only did as well as I did due to the time we’ve spent together. I hope this doesn’t change.

Entry 2:

After training we were briefly moved to fort pitchfork, where we were assigned to our squads. I am a part of Squad E, and while the name leaves much to be desired I could not be happier with those who are also a part of it.

First there are a pair of brothers, Morgan and Altrey. Morgan wields something called a pistol, though I don’t know much about such things and to me it looked more like an axe with a hollow tube. Altrey seemed to be armed with a sword I’d normally associate with a duelist, though with that cloak of his I wouldn’t be surprised to find he’s something of the sort. They carried themselves with a confidence that felt familiar to me, perhaps they are nobles themselves? They were certainly polite, though Altrey seems to be unable or unwilling to talk vocally.

Then there are a pair of elves, one dressed in a Tyresian style named Aine and another named Jos. I don’t think Jos is from Tyre, though I’m not familiar enough with elves myself so I’ll try to keep away from assumptions. I think Aine is some sort of magic user, though why a wizard has volunteered for military service is perplexing me. Perhaps a bad first impression? Jos seemed more martial, being equipped with a longbow. I can’t say i know much of their personalities yet (or the brothers’), but I think they’re good people.

Donovan is doing well as always, though during my visit to the stables there was a … situation with a rather klutzy gnome. When i first entered she was panicking over having lost a locket that was precious to her, supposedly she had slept in a stall that was then housing a warhorse and she was rather afraid to search. Of course I suppose I cant blame her for fearing a creature bred for war when you only came up to its knees. I kept the horse calm for her while she searched, fruitlessly as when she gave up and turned away it just so happened that the locket was got turned around, hanging at her back. For helping her I have apparently earned a favor that I’ll have to keep in mind.

Tomorrow we move out for our stations at the watchposts.

Entry 3

Today was uneventful, aside from the rather startling wake-up call by the sergeant and company and a long march. I suppose I’ll have to be prepared for such things but some sleep before marching would’ve been nice.

Footnote: Saw fire on opposite bank of Heart’s Blood during first watch. Can’t be good.

Entry 4

I got my first taste of real combat! Sadly it was against a wild bear that appeared from the brush with a roar before slashing me with its claws. I gave it a slash in return, but the singular blow was all I got in before Morgan used those ‘pistols’ to put it down. Perhaps next time I can get a taste of actual mounted combat, the feel of the wind in my face as my lance culls the foes of Tyre.

In any case, We took the bear with us so at least we’ll have some decent rations for our stay. That’s probably the only good part of the watchpost we’re assigned to. The last garrison didn’t take their duties seriously and there are practically no fortifications aside from the natural cliff face.

We have a lot of hard work ahead of us. I won’t be slack like the ones stationed here before.

Adventures in Humaning 1

I find myself with something of a reprieve after surviving what passes for basic training in the human military. I can’t really say anything too ill about it, but I will admit that the odor that clings to the recruits did assault my nose and I even found my own rank scent rather unpleasant. Regardless I did seem to make plenty of friends amongst my basic group. Perhaps spending the time to get to know and make friends will pay off in the future, not that it was done for any personal gain.

The trip down to Fort Pitchfork was pleasant enough. I enjoyed stretching my legs outside the confines of these border outposts. The trip was tiring, but the fresh air was quite welcome.

I have been assigned my squad; squad E. We will have to earn ourselves a more inspiring name! From what I can tell I’ve gotten quite lucky in my assignment. Each of these beings seems to have been molded from a different standard to the typical volunteer. That’s not to speak ill of the volunteers, but more a compliment on this group’s quality. It does make me somewhat curious and suspicious as to who assigned us all to the group.

There is a brother pair, one a wielder of powdered guns of all things and another that makes use of a crossbow and blade. Another seems to be a horseman warrior. Perhaps he is seeking to become a knight? The last is a fellow elf! She dresses in the human styles of this land, however. So far I have walked carefully into being too nosy about her past, despite my curiosity. We will all depend upon each other for our lives in the future and I wish to make the best possible impression.

We have been assigned the second to last outpost. I can only surmise that we will find quite a bit of activity that far out into the wilderness, bordering the monster infested lands to the east. So far the trip has been strange to me. There has been some shadowing of our journeying group, but what seems an urchin and some other more furtive groups. One group claimed to have gone out to make water, but something seemed off about them. Do men travel in packs to relieve themselves?

Also along the journey we noticed some four span wide drag marks on the opposing bank of the river. It doesn’t bode particularly well in my estimation. I find it worrying. It could be a boat or a very large river creature from what I can tell. Do orcs ride in boats?

We came upon a bear protecting its territory while traveling. I am ashamed to say that we ended up slaying the poor beast. I cannot judge too harshly as the humans’ ways are not my own. In the end it may have been best to finish it off once it was injured, but I don’t know that there are too many innocents that call this area their home. Perhaps an injured maddened bear would have taken a lot of orcs with it. I am conflicted, but did act to help my troop mates. I will have to think upon the matter.

We arrive, finally, at our post! To say that the tower has seen better days is to be overly kind. The place is in poor disrepair and I am thankful that part of my basic training amongst the humans was in basic camp preparation and repair or I would find myself less than comfortably useful. Still, it might be obvious my hands aren’t exactly used to manual labors. Thankfully I am blessed to be an exceedingly quick study and I shouldn’t have too much trouble making myself useful in repairs.

The arcane tomes I have brought with me are coming into clearer focus the more I study them. I have made use of all this travel and what free time I have had to study them. I think very soon I will be casting my first spells. I am optimistic and can see the path of the Ildurae Maelen ((making up an elfy order of arcane archers here…adjust as necessary)) clearly before me.


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