The Gorge of Broken Hopes

To: Your Purity, High Theocrat of the Holy Temple, Ruler of the Khargan Empire, Defender of the Weak, Scourge of the Faithless, Deckard ip Khargan

From: Field Marshall Soluspax Pilum, Commander, Second Army, Khargan Expeditionary Forces

Your purity, I have news of a most disturbing sort. You will notice the endorsement of this missive by members of my senior staff. I have taken this unusual step, as what I am going to relay to you may seem, nay will seem, to be the ravings of a lunatic mind.

The Second Army had advanced into the mountainous region known as the Gorge of Broken Hopes. A strange name to be sure, but one that is most fitting when one learns of its hideous secret. We noticed right away that this area seemed to have a head start on winter. It was gray and lifeless, the leaves were down from the trees, and the grass was brown. The landscape seemed to be in a slumber deeper than that expected as a result of natural cycles, as if it might never awaken again.

As the Sun fell below the peaks of the mountains, a faint exultation could be heard, accompanied by a vast rustling and creaking. It was like the wind going through a wood, but our banners hung still. The one of my scouts came running back to me, with eyes wide and hair gone completely white.

"Sir! The Dead have come! The Dead have awakened and are among us!"

I ordered an aide de camp to take the poor fellow to the medics. Obviously he had become deranged. As I attended to this I noted that Brigadier Militis Invictus had marshaled his mixed Brigade on our left flank and advanced out into the night. I admired his military flair, but looked forward to tweaking him for his over reaction to a spooked sentry.

The brigade advanced in good order, then, spurred on by his naturally competitive nature, Lieutenant General Thorfin Skullcleaver, mounted his battle griffon and gave the command to the 3rd brigade Dragoons to advance.

It was then that I saw the clash between the eerie chariots and Militis Invictus's troops. The clash was ominous, for the enemy made no sounds. No battle chants or cries of pain, fear or fury, just the creaking of their wheels and their bones, for bones were all they had!

Cursing the darkness, I signaled for my infantry brigades to advance, but they were still disorganized and sleepy, and barely got into formation. Meanwhile Magister Cesium Indomitus was having similar trouble with our artillery brigade.

The clash of battle broke up Militis's brigade, however I saw that these devils were not immune to sword and shot, as the unearthly chariots were smashed to smithereens. Even the flagellants took their toll on the enemy. Unfortunately the 14th Dragoons were left overextended and exposed due to their success. The perfidy of these fiends became clear as a high rasping chant rose over the field of battle. It sent chills up and down the spins of every man jack of us, but worse, it summoned more of these cursed bones from the earth. The 14th was immobilized in terror as a great flapping of wings ushered the smell of the grave over them. The enemy had some great undead dragon with them, and the sight and smell of it overcame the chargers of the knights. The chariots charged and broke through the knights armor like spearing fish in a pond. (note, it may be time to visit some holy zeal on the armor smiths as surely the 14th dragoons equipment was defective.)

The infantry was still disorganized, much to my chagrin, but Thorfin ordered three regiments of dragoons against the newly summoned creatures, while he charged the fourth against the flank of remaining chariots and their dragon leader. The knights easily splintered the skeletons into dust and reformed to see their leader go at it with the dragon. Dragon and griffon locked together in the skies in a titanic struggle, while their earthbound followers ground against each other like a millstone. In the end Thorfin emerged victorious (I am recommending him for a golden pike in recognition of his heroics), although the 24th dragoons took heavy casualties.

The battle seemed to be going our way when additional danger descended from the skies in the form of rotting birds of immense stature. I had finally succeeded in advancing the first brigade foot to command the hilltop, when they were attacked form all sides by these putrescent poultry. Casualties were again heavy, with the 1st and 5th regiments breaking under the assault.

The birds advanced, thinking themselves unassailable, but we proved them wrong. Third Brigade wheeled and charged as one surrounding half of the birds and impaling them on their lances, while our famous artillery was finally heard, firing upon the other half of the creatures, decimating them and forcing their retreat.

At this time I must relay a tale of heroics and loss. Cesium Indomitus, worthy mage, realized that the artillery were not going to be able to join the fray in good order and so he took it on himself to charge the enemy with naught but his own wrath. He blazed like the sun itself as he discharged a ball of flam into a mixed brigade of artillery, skeletons and birds, destroying one of the great devices and generally disturbing the formation.

Alas, the enemy saw his advanced position and rode him down with their cursed chariots, and Cesium is no more. More chariots advanced and with the aid of some mighty device of magic made a tremendous charge all the way across the valley into the 1st Brigade Foot, wreaking tremendous carnage.

Indeed this might have turned the battle in their favor once again had not the sun peeked into the valley to see what was happening. At the sight of that sacred globe the horde retreated, seemingly with the speed of a nightmare, and we were left in the valley alone once more, to tend our dead and regroup. We had held the valley, but at great cost. I urge your purity to send reinforcements immediately as the taint of these creatures still lies heavy on the Gorge.

Yours truly,

Field Marshall Soluspax Pilum , Commander, Second Army, Khargan
Expeditionary Forces

Below is a list of the casualities for posting in the temples.

Colonel Magister Cesium "Fireball" Indomitus KIA
Commander, 6th Brigade Armored
Acting Commander of 4th Brigade Artillery
Recommendation: Posthumous promotion to Brigadier General Magister, Golden Pike for Valor

Colonel Eric Von Baderstadt KIA
Commander, 1st Regiment Halberdiers
Recommendation: Posthumous promotion to Brigadier

Colonel Victor Falvius Zygote KIA
Commander, 7th Regiment Balisters
Recommendation: Posthumous Promotion to Brigadier

Colonel Agon "Quicksiler" Mercurio KIA
Commander, 14th Regiment Dragoons
Recommendation: Posthumous Promotion to Brigadier, Award the Golden Pike for Valor

Colonel Semper Lauder MIA
Commander, 18th Regiment Halberdiers
Recommendation: Broken Pike for cowardice in the face of the enemy, public execution if captured.

Colonel Junco "Smitty" Smith KIA
Commander, 20th Regiment Balisters
Recommendation: Posthumous Promotion to Brigadier

Colonel Corwin "Thunder" Galitus KIA
Commander, 25th Regiment Fusiliers
Recommendation: Posthumous Promotion to Brigadier

Other commendations

Lieutenant General Thorfin "Skullcleaver" Rheinsgold
Award of the Golden Pike for valor

Colonel Greigor "Lightning" Fulmen
Commander, 9th Regiment Dragoons
Promotion to Brigadier Magister
Award of Golden Pike for valor

The two mentioned above were responsible for the destruction of the great undead beast, freeing the troops from its icy terror.