As requested, by the order of Thane Anders, I am setting down the events of yesterday on paper to be sent to his grace, Earl Alther.
I am Thurlow, Sergeant of Fuilache, and veteran of the giant war. I stood the wall at Fuilache when the Skullcleaver raged, and I did not fall back from the gate. I’ve fought the goblin raiders and held against the cursed magic of the Barrow-Lord. I am a veteran and I stand by my word.
Thane Anders commanded my squad to travel down the road to Saxenford and find the ruined farmstead of Holgrid White; from there we were to seek out and destroy the nest of giant ants found by the mercenaries in the employ of the Factor of Harm. My lads were confident about our ability to handle some big bugs, particularly if the three mercenaries had been able to raid the nest and escape unscathed. I will say, I was a bit relieved to have the three join us, as they could give us a hand and some information on what we’d find.
The mercenaries were a strange lot. An Eladrin of the Autumn Court, very skilled with sword and his fey magics. A brawler from Grammercy, I think he said, who we laughed at when he said he went into battle with naught but his fists; none of us laugh at him now. And a stick of a lad from Saxenford who is a wizard of the old ways; he’s young, aye, but brave, and now gathering a fine collection of scars.
The mercenaries had us search around the farmstead and copse of trees for some old ruins, but finding naught, we cleared our way to the ant hill. I’ve seen strange things in my life, but an ant hill standing near 20’ up, and wider than a wagon at the top, was new. This was my first clue that things weren’t going to be easy.
As soon as we entered, with rope and torches ready, we were attacked. Flying critters, thankfully not fully grown, or at least not as big as the burrowing ants from the ground, attacked almost as soon as we started roping in. We found that the tunnels were trapped with collapsing floors, dropping us into acid filled pits. And the ants would swarm along the ceilings to drop on us unaware, or burrow up through the ground to take us from behind.
We set up a cordon around the rope, and left two men there to guard it. And a good thing we did, for it became a safe place to evacuate the wounded.
I have witnessed heroism and the valor of soldiers, but seeing how Nivek and the Eladrin, Thornquill, fairly flew about the small tunnels and caverns was something I’d never seen. As soon as one of my troop was hard-pressed or in danger of falling, one of those two would be there, to take up the slack and drive the ants back. And the wizard, casting flames about, shaking the ground and driving, always driving, the ants back into the dark. His magic did make my skin crawl at times, but no more than the glee that Nivek the Stonefist took in smashing ants to pulp with his bare hands— ants whose shells kept our spears and arrows at bay.
We finally fought through to a cavern that Tolan the Wizard said was the Hive Queen’s chamber. I and three of my troopers were still on our feet, and ready to give good account of ourselves. Battle was joined almost immediately and my troop and I, shamed I am to report, were overwhelmed by the Queen’s acid spray.
We won this battle, I can report, due to the courage, the skill and the power of the three mercenaries. Tolan the Mage was grievously wounded, but a healing elixir fixed the hole in his guts nicely. My men and I recovered, scarred and burned, and were able to pull back to the entrance, after burning the Queen and her eggs.
I commend Thornquill, the Eladrin, Nivek the Stonefist, and Tolan of Saxenford, for the service they did. Their first foray against the ants was for coin; this second proved them to be good, honest men of valour.