Thomas looked at the current Society roster. The ranks seemed so much thinner compared to a few years ago.
With all that had come before, he was surprised he still felt compelled to stay. Friends and a fragile belief that the Oath he took meant something kept Sergeant Flint garbed in the black.
It was late in the eve. A summer wind caused his candlelight to flicker as he looked over his journal, going over his notes on Ilshenar.
“…factions exist, albeit an even more twisted perverse version of Felucca’s ongoing conflict. Six cultures appear to populate Ilshenar.
A Terrathan society led by an arachnid known as Mephitis. Little is known about them, save that the gypsies that roam the land have told stories of the terrathans working alongside the “Dark Ones,” whom from the description give would seem to indicate Drow.
Legions of lizardmen and ophidians known as the Order of the Cold Blood, a reptillian supremacist faction led by the Rikktor, a name of rank associated with a dragon of great power over the element of earth.
An army of infernal beings which could challenge Hythloth itself. The menagerie of creatures ranges from simple mongbats to balrons, led by a female demon, a succubus known as Semidar. The more intelligent of the creatures have been heard shouting “Glory to the Abyss.” Whether this Abyss is a place, or a name of a greater leader is uncertain.
An insane gypsy known as Baracoon leads what those who cast him out of their tribe call the “Vermin Horde.” Rats of all sizes, including the more intelligent “ratmen,” follow this madman, feeding off the waste and carnage left in the wake of battle. He appears to be territorial, but lacks any intent to become an absolute dominant power, unlike the Cold Blood or the minions of the Abyss.
The pixies of the Ilshenar Spiritwoods, led by their queen, have alligned themselves with angelic like beings, ruled over by an ethereal warlord known as Oaks. Oaks appears to be intent on holding some of the same areas of Ilshenar that the darker generals claim. No further information available as of yet.
The last culture consists of several bands of roaming gypsy tribes, about the only allies native to Ilshenar that can be found aside from the enigmatic Meer in Lakeshire…”
Thomas flipped the pages of the book to his newest entry, pondering just how strong these groups had become that they were now on the verge of invading Ilshenar, according to the Society’s newest employer. Even more intriguing, why did Alexander Thorne want the heads of all five generals, including Oaks himself? Did he know more about the Forest Lord’s agenda which Thomas hadn’t discovered? That would definitely be something to look into in the near future.
“I’ve sought out some of the gypsy camps to see what they could tell me of the Ilshenari factions’ planned invasion of Ilshenar. Apparently an unnamed mage has perfected the construction of runic platform which channels the mana of Ilshenar to the very leaders of these factions, and that power is used in some fashion to summon forth each leader’s army into Felucca. Scarce rumors speak of a couple of these platforms being found in Ilshenar itself. Do these arcane shrines work as a two-way portal? Something to check on, once I can find them. The information is still very sketchy.
I’ve changed my mind on whom is responsible for Kell Mebblebrook’s death. Although Drow were directly responsible, a note left by the Drow was marked with the sigil of the Order of the Cold Blood. However, it seems to make far more sense that it was Mephitis’ doing. Llothian mythology refers to their goddess in one instance as a great spider. Is Mephitis possibly Lloth? Or an avatar of her? More likely, Mephitis is a servant of Lloth’s, but either way, I’m fairly certain that the Drow and Mephitis have a connection. Since these arcane platforms have to be built in Felucca before the factions can invade, it makes me wonder if the wizard is some Drow sorcerer or sorceress. That’s all my theory is though, a theory. Truth is often stranger than fiction.
The Society’s fairly inactive, and if we’re going to complete this contract, some of us need to take initative. I’m going ahead with the Nighthawks; at least I hope the General approves it, lest I get busted down to Lance Corporal in not too long. I really think the Nighthawks division will benefit the Society, especially in this contract. I have the charter almost completed, and I’m submitting it to Command on Wednesday. Tomorrow I’ll contact every Rose left in the ranks, informing them of the contract, and in some cases, inviting certain members to join the Nighthawks.”
Thomas yawned, and closed the journal for the night. He slowly stood, and walked over to where his love Alexis and their child, Danior, were fast asleep.
“Why do I keep fighting?,” he asked himself.
As he laid down alongside mother and child, he pondered that question on and on, unable to find the answer he sought. Old Fang, the “Rikktor” of the Cold Blood, was still to be the target of his vengeance for Derek’s death, but when all was said and done, would it be anything more than a hollow victory?
Thomas rubbed his temples, choosing to postpone the thought for another night, and closed his eyes, draping one arm over his fiance and child.