News from Neraka’s Neighbors: Winter/Early Spring of SC36
The following are summaries of dispatches sent to Mirielle Abrena, the Governor-General of Neraka and leader of the Knights of Takhisis.
A Ray of Hope for Nightlund?
For nearly a decade, the Vingaard River has been plagued by ships crewed with undead. It has been threatening to stop the already threatened trade along that body of water, spelling doom for numerous communities at that have already been struggling to survive under the unnatural shadow that has rested over the land. Many have blamed legendary death knight Lord Soth for the existence of these undead raiders as well as the magical effect that has taken hold of his former domain.
All successful expeditions to Dargaard Keep since the Knights of Takhisis used it as a command center during the Summer of Chaos have found it empty and abandoned, save for stray undead that occasionally rise from a nearby cemetery. There have, however, been a number of reports of expeditions to the ruins that have never been heard from again, so Dargaard remains as shrouded in mystery as ever.
Wisely, Governor-General Abrena assigned a permanent detachment of scouts to patrol the foothills around Dargaard. Knights of the Thorn and Knights of the Skull have occasionally worked with the scouts to conduct magical inspections of the area, and their work has revealed the keep and the mountain upon which it stands are rich in Necromantic energy. There was no indication that it is the source of the circumstances that are making life so difficult in the region, and the assumption was that the Necromantic energy fields present were just a side effect of the high concentration of undead and god-accursed beings who once dwelled there.
However, on the first day of SC36, a severe storm suddenly tore through the area immediately surrounding Dargaard Keep. The scout’s report that lightning played around the crumbling ruins of the keep, shattering portions of its already failing walls with savage strikes. As suddenly as the storm rose, however, it ceased, and for the first time in over three decades rays of unobstructed sunshine broke through the clouds… and bathed Dargaard Keep in a shaft of brilliant sunlight.
The clouds soon started to gather again and as they did, the wind carried the sounds of female voices singing in elven down from the mountain. A major military expedition is being prepared to investigate what may have occurred on the desolate mountain-top that was once home to Lord Soth.
A Tree Grows in Teyr
The Dark Knights stationed to keep discipline the draconians inhabiting the city state of Teyr and its surrounding area have been under increasing attack by hidden rebel forces. It has long assumed that these saboteurs have been sent forth by the Solace-based Legion of Steel, a group of self-proclaimed champions of freedom. Recently, however, soldiers in pursuit of suspected rebels came upon a patch of green in an otherwise desolate mountain valley. A massive tree stood at its center, its trunk carved with symbols that scholars identified as representing Chislev. No sign of the rebels was found, but Lord Khullen–the commander of the Dark Knights in Neraka–has stationed guards at this mysterious site and has requested that senior Knights of Skull be sent from Abrena’s stronghold to help investigate it.
Hogan Bight Loses His Temper
The Dark Knights continue to test the strength and resolve of Lord Hogan of Sanction. In recent months, they have been harassing travelers through the northern passes moreso than usual, and have even staged a few probing attacks against the city-state’s outlying fortifications; the stepped-up activities are in response to reports that a bronze dragon has been sighted near Sanction. Abrena’s advisors fear that the dragon’s presence, coupled with improved relations between Sanction and Solamnia, may be signs that Lord Bight is about to forge alliances that will break the long stalemate that has existed between Neraka, Sanction, and Sable, the Black Overlord.
A recent raid by the Dark Knights, however, received an unexpected response from Lord Hogan. After a fairly standard attack on some of Sanction’s farm, Lord Hogan personally led a large force of troops–roughly 1/2 of the city’s standing army, augmented by mercenaries and adventurers who happened to be passing through–against troops and towns in Neraka’s southlands. The troops there were taken by surprise, and for several days, Lord Hogan’s forces dominated the countryside and had the Dark Knights on the run. Eventually, Nerakan reinforcements arrived, and Hogan’s troops had to retreat back into the mountain passes north of Sanction. The Dark Knights, however, were prevented from pressing their attack when the large bronze dragon that had previously only been rumor swooped down from the sky, killed the two blue dragons and their riders that had come with the reinforcements, and scattered the Nerakan troops to the four winds.
In the end, there was great loss of life on both sides, but the stalemate stood unbroken. It is possible that Sable may have toppled Hogan, but for reasons known only to herself, the Black failed to move against the city while a portion of Hogan’s forces were engaged elsewhere.