Rangers of the Wilderlands
|Deity||Oakentree, God of Nature|
|Place of Worship||Sacred Grove|
|High Ranger||Lewis Longleaf|
|Major Temple||Vendredi Hall|
The origins of the Rangers of the Wilderlands is tied closely to the organization of the Druids of Oakentree, and many scholars are convinced that the Rangers were originally organized in the First Age at the behest of the Society to act as its military arm. On occasion, the Rangers act under direct command the Grand Arch Druid - although these are exceptional cases. According to tradition, the first Rangers were elves who later trained humans and other like-minded individuals in their practices. Rangers played a preeminent role in the history of the Realm throughout the First Age and Second Age (see The Ranger Kings of Teufeldorf). The current king of Teufeldorf, Vincent Fleetwood, is a member of the Rangers. The captain of the Rangers in Teufeldorf is Sir Hugh Sterndale (see Blackrose and the Amethyst Dagger).
As the Third Age dawned, the Rangers again appeared in the forests and wilderlands of the Realm. They established a stronghold at Vendredi Hall on the shores of Bleakstone Lake deep in the Evenwild. From there, they recruited new members by sending scouts to the villages and towns of the Realm - ever vigilant for talented young men and women who shared their calling. Always solitary and reclusive, the Rangers gained a sinister reputation in some quarters. In the early fourth century TA, rumors began circulating that the Rangers were seeking powerful artifacts from the Second Age - those deemed too powerful for mankind. Delving into the dark recesses of the old temples and strongholds, these artifact-collecting adventurers are still the subject of wild speculation. Scholars do agree that the holds under Vendredi Hall must contain some of the most powerful and corrupt magic of the Ages.
While only a small sect of Rangers are artifact collectors, the vast majority of the order act as scouts and woodland fighters. They seek to protect the natural balance of the land with steel and shaft. Adept at wilderness living, it is not surprising that most Rangers are recruited from small villages and towns. Those wishing to join the order must first successfully complete a test - called The Trek - and seek training from an established member.
The Ranger Kings of Teufeldorf
The end of the First Demon War introduced a new dynamic into the politics of the Western Reaches. The military, once just a scattered collection of household mercenaries controlled by the merchant rulers, was now a necessity. The orcs to the north had united during the war, and with their primary enemy removed, greedily eyed the profitable city near their southern border. For several years, the ruling clerics and merchants argued over who could best protect the city and its surrounding countryside. The Rangers of the Wilderland had for several hundred years protected the northern borders combining excellent skill-in-arms, outdoor survival, and an intimate knowledge of their orcish enemies. While their organization was shrouded in secrecy and tied closely to the workings of the mystical druids, the Rangers had proven themselves able and willing allies. In 682 SA, the first Ranger King of Teufeldorf, Woodward Oakenshield, was crowned by the people.
The line of Ranger Kings was very successful, and life in Teufeldorf was peaceful and prosperous for much of the next six hundred years. The city grew and became the seat of government for a large portion of the Reaches.
History of the Rangers in the Eastern Reaches
The first human settlers into the Eastern Reaches arrived in the third century TA. These were the Rangers of the Wilderlands. Bound by a secret brotherhood, the rangers trekked deep into Haggelthorn Forest and into the vast grasslands. Stories of a great family of tree ents living in Hagglethorn Forest raised the curiosity of many adventurers in Teufeldorf. Also, the Rangers brought back many strange and wonderous artifacts from their journeys. It seemed to many that the Rangers of the Wilderlands had a secret purpose to their travels. A few Rangers still travel the unexplored areas of the Eastern Reaches, but their purpose is no better known today than it was six centuries ago.