Archmage Elessi delivers a message to the Council.
Something unusual is going on here, although I cannot presently put my finger on precisely what that is. The elves of Nagarythe can be… unwelcoming, as is their reputation.
After the defeat of our forces at the hands of the Ogres, I advised Arnoth that the wisest course of action would be to fortify the area around the roads separating Tor Anrok from the rest of the region. Although Arnoth seems single-mindedly focussed on the occupation of Malko—for no purpose I can fathom—I was able to convince him of the wisdom of my strategy, particularly as hordes of Skaven had been massing towards the Blood River and moving north. We engaged them scant miles from the Silk Road, at an open plain on the edge of the forest. No quarter was shown by either side in the battle, and although I had heard rumours of an alliance Arnoth had forged with the Skaven, after witnessing this battle, I can lend them no credence.
I took nominal command of one group of archers (although they were more inclined to follow their kinsman’s directions than my own), and Arnoth another. Their aggression in battle was somewhat unsettling and they lack the discipline of the citizen levy of other realms. When the fighting was done, we had broken the back of the horde, although not without losses of our own.
I witnessed Arnoth stand in front of one of the ratmens’ warlords, laughing, while the creature decapitated him with a magical sword. If my writing sounds emotionally detached, it is only for this reason: I do not believe Arnoth is dead. He seemed entirely unconcerned by the attack, as did his cohort of archers, who slew the warlord and his bodyhuard, as well as, I believe, the leader of the horde itself, before being overwhelmed themselves. To a man, they showed no fear of death against these odds. This was not bravery; it is as though they know they are in no danger.
When the confusion of melee cleared, I counted barely any elven bodies, although several dozen must have perished. I trust you understand my implications. If Arnoth has mastered these dark arts… Well, the men will not talk about it to me. I am an outsider to them. But after this battle, I feel those rumours may conceal some truth.
Hansi is still missing. Othelred claims to know nothing. I do not trust him. I return now to Tor Anrok, uncertain of exactly what I will find when I arrive. The Phoenix Guard, at least, can be relied upon. Our forces will continue to secure the region to the South. I shall send you another report shortly; any directions of your own will, of course, be welcome.
May Asuryan watch over us all,