“Sir, at your service sir.” I said.
“At ease, Sentry.” Lt. Baggins replied.
“Shall we retrieve our orders from Terese? The Captain has left them with her.” I asked. He nodded and started for the door. When we opened the door, Terese looked happy to see Lt. Baggins, but slightly annoyed at my presence. I had earlier tried to woo the young lady with my manly charms, but apparently my rank is not high enough for her liking. At least not yet.
Lt. Baggins, engaged to a lovely lady named Edith, paid no mind to the flirtatious girl before him. “Our orders miss.” he stated. “Ohhh yes, sir, I have them here for you.” She said as she reached into her file cabinet. She thumbed through the files and pulled one out for us, quickly looking inside to see if indeed it was the right file. She handed it to Lt. Baggins, who without looking at it handed it to me for reading thanking the young girl in the process.
I opened the file.
“Looks as if there were reports of some attacks on miners in the city of Minoc, the Captain’s homeland. He’s sending us over to speak to any remaining RBG officers that might still be there and talk with some of the locals.” I said, I closed the file and looked up at Lt. Baggins.
“Very well, then. Off we must go,” he said. I was inquisitive, “Why to Minoc sir? We have no jurisdiction there.” “Because our Captain said so, Sentry, and thus it will be done. That’s how it works here, lad.” He said as he made his way to the door. “We take the moongates.” He said as he opened the door and nodded once to the young Terese. I followed my Lieutenant.
Through the moongate to Minoc we went. Lovely area this is, I commented. “Indeed, the Captain holds his family estate here and I do believe his niece was appointed to a post for the Trade and Commerce Commission here,” Barnaby responded. “Its a rather large estate as the Captain’s entire family has served the Crown as one point or another, I do believe his great-grandfather served under a young Lord British himself, the King bestowing him a large endowment of land here in Minoc. It is a great place to grow up.” Barnaby explained. “How old is the Captain’s neice, sir?” I asked. “She is off limits, lad.” He said rather sternly. I assume the need for a wife at my age is quite understandable to all Sosarians.
As we walked into the city, we noticed the healer camps. A few of the healers were in deep conversation with each other about some revolutionary new treatment they have been reading about. They seemed to all but ignore us. They smiled as we came up, but continued on with their conversations. I looked to Barnaby and shrugged my shoulders. He decided we would continue down the path.
Since Minoc is a well known miner’s town, a lot of migrant workers come from all the land here. We call them gypsies here and they have a rather large camp just south of Minoc. They pay the city a small restitution fee to set up their camps. We entered the camp and noticed a few gypsies scurrying about, minding their business. It seemed the place was rather unkempt. Not usual for the city, according to Barnaby. We came to one of the tents there that was in complete disarray, like it had not been cleaned in months. Clothes were scattered everywhere, dirty dishes, throw around tools and supplies that were left dirty and unclean, just a disaster. It took my Lieutenant by surprise and he turned to the lady in the tent, “What manner of disrespect is this? Minoc is the King’s territory and it provides you a living, you should be more keen to clean it up!” He was very forceful with the girl. “I expect you to clean this area up at once!” The girl was visibly shaken and began to pick up the clothes from the ground in a hurried state.
As Barnaby and I left the gypsy camps, he turned to me and said, “Where are the guards to keep the Crown’s lands in order? I see none here.” Just then we ran into a guard, well… what seemed like a guard. But he was not well equipped or dressed properly. He all but ignored us, not recognizing the Lieutenant’s ranking sash. Barnaby just kept going and finally we ran into a guard with the Sergeant sash and uniform of the Royal Britannian Guard. He saluted my Lieutenant, standing at guard until Barnaby told him, “At ease, Sergeant.” “Hail, sirs,” he said to both of us.
“We’re here at the behest of our Captain, Kalmar Erikkson of the Umbra regiment. I am Lieutenant Barnaby Baggins and this is Sentry August Rush.” Barnaby introduced us. “Well met, I am Sgt. Arlin Spencer of the Minoc regiment. Well what is left of it anyways,” Sgt. Spencer said with a rather defeated look on his face. He seemed worried. “How many of your charge remain, sir?” Barnaby asked. “Just myself and my Captain, who is in town by the bank,” Arlin answered. “Just the two of you?” Barnaby inquired. “Yes, sir besides a few drafted citizens and frankly I am very worried,” Arlin said, “our city-drafted guards aren’t much trained nor does the city have enough funds to properly equip them.” Barnaby shot me a quick look and then returned his gaze to Arlin, “I am sorry, you say drafted citizens? What happened to the Royal Guard here?”
Arlin proceeded to tell us that the great divide, when the RBG split off from the Crown a few months ago, had taken a rather large toll on the guards that served the RBG of Minoc and forced many to retire or move out of the city’s territories. With the recent attacks, they are scarcely able to keep up. The city has done is best with what little resources they have to guard its precious iron deposits and the people that make a living off of them. But these guards are younglings, drafted out of fear for the recent events. He doesn’t trust them for they are not properly trained or equipped. They are just given a shield and a sword and told to point them “that way”. It was alarming to say the least, to both Barnaby and myself.
We moved onward to speak to the Captain. He was near the bank speaking with the city’s Treasurer. He noticed us right away and recognized our ranks. After a salute, we stood at attention until told to ease. Barnaby began to speak, “Sir, we hail from the Umbra regiment, our Captain, Capt. Kalmar Erikkson, sent us after word reached the King of certain disturbances at the Miner’s Camp.” The Captain nodded before speaking, “Yes, I know Kalmar well. We fought side by side at the Invasion of Red Skull Bay many a moons ago. We’re seeing some trying times here in the city of Minoc. We’ve got no representation to the King’s Governor’s Council and our coffers are dry. Miners come here from all over the land to provide for their families and the trade is what keeps the economy here going. We can’t have them scared off.”
Barnaby nodded his head as I took down some notes, “What kind of attacks have been on going, Captain?” Barnaby asked. “Well, it seems the orcs have been mobilizing and encroaching on the city. Something has them stirred. Normally they leave the town alone. Their fort is to the south, just past the city of Cove and they have plenty to hunt in the depths of the dungeon of Covetous. But it seems they have been scared off from that place, thus they seek new areas to draw their resources from, mainly Cove and Minoc,” the Captain told us. He continued, “I am sure that Willem can tell you more if you can speak with him, he’s in charge of the Miner’s Camp just across the bridge.”
Barnaby said he would do that, but that he also wanted to know why there was such a low showing of protection for the city. “Arlin and I are the only RBG left to the Minoc regiment, sir. We have limited funds and no support from the Crown,” he said. “I am sure that makes it quite difficult to operate successfully,” Barnaby said. “Yes, the town rallied some drafted citizens to help patrol and guard the surrounding areas, problem is they are not properly trained and lack the right equipment. With all the recent attacks, the local blacksmiths have either moved or taken up work in other more well protected cities. They have to feed their families, you see,” the Captain said. Barnaby and I both nodded in understanding. We thanked the Captain for this information and he told us to send his regards to our Captain. We then decided to pay Willem Grace a visit at the Miner’s Camp.
As soon as we arrived, it was clear to us that Mr. Grace was in dire need of proper protection. “Oh thank heavens!!! The Royal Guard has sent for reinforcements, thank you kindly good sirs,” Willem exclaimed. Barnaby spoke first, “Sir, I am Lt. Barnaby Baggins and this is our Sentry August Rush. Well met.” Barnaby took his gloves off and shook the man’s hand, as did I. “Nice to meet you both,” Willem said. I charged in with the first question, “How many miners have been injured?” Willem sighed, “Three injured, one of them severely, and one was killed just off the road to the south. Looked to me like a ritualistic killing.” Barnaby was clearly taken aback, “Ritualistic how, good man?” “Well there were carcasses left and standards left about. We left it to the Captain to investigate further and did not touch it,” Willem answered.
“How are the city-sponsored guards holding the line here?” Barnaby asked looking around. “Well they patrol the bridge here,” Willem pointed and then continued, “but that’s about all they can do. They are just young lads, not really soldiers like yourselves.” Barnaby nodded. “Well, our Captain has asked to us to help here best we can and report to the Crown,” I stated. “Pffft, the Crown… this monarch is not to be trusted! He was a tyrant then and is more than likely one now. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, its probably a duck!!!” Willem said in an slightly elevated tone. It was clear the people of Minoc felt isolated and unsupported. “Well, we hope to be able to provide some patrols to help the city, sir. Your faith in the Royal Guard will be restored, I assure you,” Barnaby said. We thanked him for his time and left to scout the road for the area Willem said the attackers had killed one of the miners, a mister John Baptiste. His family was left destitute and in need of funds to help bury the man proper.
Sure enough after some scouting of the area, we found the place.
It does appear to us at initial inspection that it is a temporary orc camp. The carcasses of goats and deer had bite marks that are consistent with how orcs eat flesh. The stump that was left had a lot of blood on it and one of the standards had a rope tied to it. Looks like this is where Mr. Baptiste was killed; strangled it seems. We took some coordinates and jotted down some notes. We will send Detectives out to take samples. For now, we had to hurry back and report our findings to our Captain. I’m sure he will more than likely pay a visit to his land, help Mr. Batiste’s family with the burial. He’s that kind of man.