Thank you, my lord. I am ready.
My name is Madric Dorthion, Ranger beyond the Mountains. As you have read in that letter from Commander Halendyr, I have been ordered to report to your lordship everything I saw in the far west.
With your leave I will start at the beginning:
Sixteen days ago, I departed Fort Tevley with two fellow Rangers on a routine expedition into the passes.
There had been heavy snowfall continually since Midwinter, rendering the mountain roads impassable for the entire month.
Our mission was to identify the routes which might clear soonest and report back, so that further patrols could be planned for the spring.
On the second day, as we descended a narrow gully, we encountered a series deep depressions in the snow. Tracks, my companions suggested, but I dismissed the idea almost immediately.
No boot or hoof was so wide, nor would the footsteps be so far apart.
I submitted that they were caused by rocks falling from the jagged cliffs above, although a brief search yielded no sign of the rocks themselves.
Not wanting to waste any more time, we moved on, climbing again towards the west.
What we encountered the following evening was beyond my explanation. A large brown bear lying dead on the rocky ground.
Blood surrounded the carcass, but the animal’s wounds were not like any I had seen. Its forelegs were twisted unnaturally, and the fur around its chest torn and bloodied.
It was as if the bear had been killed without weapons at all.
We left it for carrion, and continued on our way, descending by night from the barren peaks into the dense firs which blanket the western side of the mountains.
By noon the following day, we had come to what could be considered the edge of Kroshur. The vale below was deep orange, apart from the large black mass directly before us.
As we moved closer, it became clear that the mass was moving, teeming with life and activity. Leaving my companions behind, I edged closer still, desperate to know what this host was.
A chill ran down my spine when I realised.
Monstrous grey-skinned creatures, twice as tall as a man. And there were hundreds of them, gathered around decaying campfires, with terrible banners overhead.
Transfixed, I watched them for what felt like hours.
I had no idea whether they noticed me, I did not care: I was desperate to know what they were doing, why they had assembled here at the eastern edge of their territory.
Then, deep and malevolent drums, sounded among them. They moved as one, extinguishing fires and lowering banners: and they advanced, running.
I did not realise it at first, but they were coming directly towards me. I turned to flee, and saw that my fellow Rangers had long since done the same.
I ran along the mountain road back to Fort Tevley. I had to warn the Sentinels.
They were coming.