A missive from Private Xiao Ling, who was not assigned to this mission but followed his sister anyway, has been received regarding the details of the clean-up job in Nagrand. With the aid of the Hellbane Brigade, lead here by Sergeant Xiao Jun, the Alliance were victorious over their skirmish with the Warsong. However, a struggle against the Warsong insued when they sent in a group of raiders. Dispite having the elemant of surprise on their side, the Hellbane Brigade managed to beat back the Warsong once more.
At approximately 0600 hours on the third day of the fourth month, the Hellbane Brigade met with Alliance forces at the gates of Bladefist Hold. Evidently, the Shattered Hand were expecting our arival as the gates were shut and barricaded. It was Sergeant Leriqite Hellbane who managed to infiltrate the hold and blast the front gates open without detection. Under the leadership of Commander Chadwick, the Hellbane Brigade, Arrok Outcasts and Redmoon Pride stormed the hold.
On the morning of the sixth day of the third month, the Hellbane Brigade were able to divine the location of the Arrok flock of Outcast Arakkoa, who we believed we could convince to join our battle against the Shattered Hand. The team consisted of Sergeant Whisperwind, Farseer Realmwalker, Archmage Coldbringer, Doctor Colossus, Corporal Vogenslich, Private Backspring and Provisioner Hanfa. Hanfa volunteered to join our team and had hopes of selling his “goods” to these Outcasts. He has since been offered the position of Brigade Quartermaster.
The Hellbane Brigade has received a contract from the Alliance to assist them against the Shattered Hand threat present in the Spires of Arak. The Alliance seeks to establish a new foothold in the region but their efforts are being hampered by the Iron Horde, Adherent Arakkoa and the Umbrafang Pride and the Brigade are being asked to neutralise all threats.
On the morning what I believe was the third day of the second month of what ever year this is the Hellbane Brigade joined the battle against the Shadow Council and the Sargerai at Auchindoun. I’m still not very clear on what any of that means. The group consisted of myself, Sergeant Hellbane, Sergeant Whisperwind, Corporal Vogenslich, Farseer Realmwalker and Private Shialla.
Sergeant Whisperwind here.
Currently as I am scribing, I am being watched by a young Draenei boy, and a Kaldorei Priestess, a new recruit of ours. They are poking and prodding around in the scrolls and drawing?
Corporal Atlus seems to be nodding off in the corner.
I am on my third strong beverage.
Vaendetta idly stirred her tea as she reviewed the reports in front of her, feet propped up on the generous hearth in her garrison hall. The petite spoon and fragile china cup still felt ridiculous in her hands, but she had come to appreciate the little habit while she did paperwork – which was itself a necessary evil that had been thrust on her in her days of keeping Roster records for the Company. She set the papers down and rubbed a rough hand over her eyes, then cleared her throat and took advantage of her tea. She drank deeply, not the way one would normally avail themselves of tea, and drained the cup in one go. Not all habits could change, and dwarves did very little delicately.
This evening’s reports had been compiled by her Lieutenant, an imposingly capable woman who managed her elite task force with a steely rule whenever Vaendetta herself was not present. She was grateful to have the woman on board, with only a tinge of regret that a soldier of her caliber hadn’t been present in the Pandaria ventures to help hold the Company together.
She poured another cup of tea. The reports were all strong, telling her about her capable followers, her various and industrious garrison storehouses, warehouses, manufacturers and resource gatherers, and even presenting her with the profit of establishing a foothold here. The Iron Horde was nowhere nearby, however, and there was little satisfaction in feeling like a homesteader. This was a rich land, the resources seemingly endless if one knew where to look, but she had been assigned this outpost in a somewhat removed corner. The soldier in her longed to be fortifying for imminent threats, but the personnel manager that had begun to grow in her knew the value of storing up resources before embarking on a campaign – and embark they would have to. Daily, her task force returned to her with intel from the other regions and climes of this world, telling of mobilizing forces, or crazed wild beasts, of negotiations and struggles with the natives. The more she heard the more she warred with herself about where her company would be best needed.
Vaendetta turned to the soldier nearest her, the man with such a young face who was brooding over a topographic model of the land as they knew it. He was consistently urging her in one direction or another based on these daily missions. He had already presented her with today’s prospects and she had declined to respond immediately. She flagged him over. “Let the foreman at the bunker know we’ll be arming over the next two hours, and send word to the Third Quarter in the barracks. I’ll take them with me. We’ll see what we can accomplish in The Spires. We leave at half past fourth bell.” He nodded sharply and moved off to mobilize the unit, but only after shifting some model figurines and a small blue flag that she knew represented her location on his map.
She gathered up the other reports from in front of her and stood, allowing her back to crack ferociously. In another person it might have been a worrisome noise, but her body did not behave as others and her closest soldiers had learned not to react to these idiosyncrasies. She strode up to the front of the hall, to Lt. Thorn’s desk on the platform, and passed the reports back to her second-in-command.
“Very good, Lieutenant. I have no doubt the attachment needs a reprieve, regroup them tomorrow. Do you have that other file for me?” The Lieutenant just looked at her for a beat, a solitary, silent beat, then reached under her desk and produced another folder – this one worn, full, scraps and notes poking out of the sides.
“Of course, sir.”
“Very good.” Vaendetta took it and returned to her seat by the fire. She only did this periodically but she knew the Lieutenant disapproved, though the woman was too professional to ever say as much. She took up her now-cooled cup of tea and sipped at it regardless, absently. She had another hour and a quarter, by her calculations, before she needed to join her Third Quarter forces by the bunker for arming.
Opening the folder, Vaendetta started to dissect list after list. She separated them into groups in a way that was by now familiar, second-nature. Older names she had never known – Kodosoul, Silverspring, Kerberos, Magain, Riverwind. Names she knew well but people she no longer did – Smith, Bendspanner, Steelstitch, Togbauble, Aurian. Below these lists she came to her own notes, carefully handwritten out on scraps and sheets: where someone had been seen last, their last known state of mind, their most recent assigned missions. Anything that would give her some clue as to where they might be now, though they could all still be mired in various godforsaken corners of wild Pandaria for all she could be certain.
“Smith… Stranglethorn trolls, prisoner of war or convenience, hair shorn – perhaps not easily recognized these days? Returned to the Company, under Gheron’s care, somewhat reserved in interactions – perhaps psychologically accustomed to captors? Search: central-southern Stranglethorn, Eastern coastline. Also Northernmost reaches of Kun-Lai beyond Zouchin (known troll activity). Also—” the notes continued.
“Bendspanner… missing for a long time, when recovered by Company members exhibited mental exhaustion, instability, need for rehabilitation of arcane abilities. Under care of Cylerea Moonwhisper. Suffered anxiety during episode of lost child (?), adoption of pandaren child, reduction in Company leadership burdens during recovery time. Never fully resumed Command before the Company disappeared. Also husband—“ the notes continued.
Vaendetta pored over each one individually though she knew them by heart. She felt a keen personal responsibility for what can only be called the dissolution of The Black Company, and reminded herself periodically of the roles everyone played by the end of that campaign in Pandaria. She added one note here, two there as she came across slips with other names, other stories, but for the most part she had run out of information to add – and so she just read, just reviewed.
A heavy footfall at nearly the same instant as a distant tolling brought her head about. Lieutenant Thorn was standing three paces away, not close enough to be considered an interference but near enough to indicate her need for Vaendetta’s attention.
“Sir, they will expect you at the bunker shortly. Is there anything else you need in order to ready yourself for this foray?” The Lieutenant’s face was neutral as always, her tone firm but not indicative of any sentiment. Vaendetta continued to appreciate her even in the interruption. She returned the pages to the folder and came to her feet.
“No, Lieutenant, that will be all. Keep this well as always. From the briefing, I anticipate a return within a day and a third – any longer, put the elite attachment on alert. More than two, send a party.” She handed the Lieutenant the folder.
“Very good, sir.” Thorn saluted smartly.
Vaendetta nodded and turned toward the exit, trying once again to push forward in her new role while haunted by the old.