Stop wasting my gold replying to your stupid posts.

PUBLIC NEWS #324
Date: 2/5/2014 at 22:18
From: Raelyr Matawa
To : Everyone
Subj: Stop wasting my gold replying to your stupid posts.


Below is a dossier on the demon Gralob. I will endeavor to be as succinct but thorough as possible, and will do my best to state which parts of this narrative are supposition or subjective impression rather than an accounting of events. I will slip up in places. Deal with it.


ORIGIN
-------
Gralob passed into our world through a failed gate opened by an unidentified demonogolist near the prayer gate between Loriel's west gate and Yabon's south gate. It was Pathfinder scouts, namely then-Cadet Shinji, who found the initial cause of the commotion. The response was rather blunt and direct--I led a force to remove the demon menance, which at the time consisted of lesser demons, the sort we're accustomed to dealing with.

I've enclosed as an addendum the accounting of events, admittedly from only one perspective.

INITIAL SIGHTING
-----------------
Shortly after the above events occurred, a kraken's call was heard from the Straits of Darkness. I and others went individually to cull the beast, but when we arrived we found only its mutilated and withered corpse. It appeared to have been sucked dry in a manner not unlike a vampire's victim might. I fail to recall exactly who all was present, I recall Aidan being there, and Zylo, and my own Pathfinder scouts I called to when it became apparent the situation was not at all ordinary. A few ideas and theories were casually tossed around, none of which had much foundation at the time. Most grew bored and left the scene.

I had an unease and sent scouts to investigate the surrounding area--nearby Lan, the Straits themselves. We discovered a very shaken fisherman who claimed to have witnessed the encounter. He spoke of a thirty-foot, fire-breathing, soul-sucking, winged, fanged, and scaled monstrosity fighting the krakan, and he took cover immediately. I sent Catelyn, a Pathfinder Recruit at the time, to tend to him while I and our Captains discussed the matter. It was then that it was first suggested that this may be linked to the recent incursion. The implication was startling, as anything that large would surely have been spotted on the highway where we fought. As this was not the case, we knew then that this creature was growing, and quickly.

ON THE TRAIL
----------------
Given what we knew and what we could infer from it, it was decided in Krondor that this threat must be seen to, and swiftly, before it could become a greater one. This sense of urgency was reinforced by the events between Yabon and Loriel, where it very much appeared to us that Starra was directing the demon lord toward Kingdom lands.

I opened the floor for suggestions, and it was determined we needed to find a way to lure Gralob (though we didn't know that to be its name at the time) and defeat him while he was still reasonably manageable. Krondor scouts, both Pathfinder and not, were deployed all along the Far Coast. An unearthly roar was heard in the Grey Towers the following week, and from there it was extrapolated that this being was perhaps targeting places of power. Combined with the state of the gigantic krakan we had found, this seemed reasonable. Under this assumption, the three lunar towers (Grey Towers, Ithilian Defile, and Calastius Mountains) were kept under close watch.

This paid off, as Gralob was heard, but not sighted, at each of these places in turn. In hindsight, my tactical mind wonders if this was not mere coincidence as he sought a vantage point to observe our civilizations. Either way, a wooded slope in the northern Grey Towers, near Aglaranna Watch, was chosen as the point of confrontation.

FIRST ENCOUNTER
----------------
For about a week and a half, myself and several others engaged in concerted efforts to compile as much 'power' as we could in a single location. We devised a dummy of sorts, within a summoning circle backed by a demon gate, with a singularity of magic enclosed inside it. We doused the trompe in the blood of the golden dragon and a half-Valheru, and surrounded the circle in motes of mana and eventide spheres. As soon as we were ready, Gianna detonated a supernova atop the nearby peak and we took cover in the woodline, under a mass invisibility.

It is worth note that during this time, I opened a dialogue with then-Praetor Aidan. I recalled his presence in the Straits of Darkness and it was my hope he would set aside our differences with the understanding of what we were facing. I did refuse to give forewarning of our plans or techniques, because not a month prior, he and his had enlisted our aid against the Glamredhel camp in the Vale of Isbandia, and taken the opportunity to steal a number of mounts and turn on Kingdom forces. It would have been irrational folly to be forthcoming behind a vague, last-minute invitation to engage in the battle itself.

The ruse worked. We heard first the roars, then the wings beating at the air, then we felt the heat, and finally he touched down. The battle was met with vigor, but we had never faced him before and I, for one, know better than to put all the eggs in one basket, so to speak. I had kept a mage back inside Aglaranna Watch with an escape rift, in the hopes the would baffle the demon enough for everyone to get through. We fought, for a time, and I personally held the demon's attention. When it became obvious this first engagement would end poorly, I ordered everyone back, and stayed back to delay him. I fell, and was resurrected back in the city where everyone had withdrawn to.

ROUND TWO
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While we recovered and compared notes and impressions, I deployed scouts to try and keep tabs on where this Gralob was going. One of our Pathfinders trailed him to the Ithilian Defile. I expressed a concern that it would not be possible for any individual to stand against Gralob for the length of time it would take to battle him, and hatched our initial plan of keeping a 'recovery room' a short ways away from the battle.

Regrouped and armed with our new plan, we rejoined the battle, alongside Aidan of Sar-Sargoth and Grin of the Free-Cities. Our ploy worked, to some extent. Casualties were heavy, and progress slow, and it was there we first discovered that Gralob was somehow healing and closing wounds. Not nearly at the rate he does today, but even then. Eventually, Gralob seemed more frustrated than injured, and he quit the field.

NORTHERN BETRAYAL
------------------
Despite my misgivings about Northern forces alongside Kingdom, in any situation, I did feel heartened by Aidan's presence at the battle in the Defile, and so when Gralob was sighted next in the Teeth of the World a few weeks later, not far from Sar-Sargoth, I extended an invitation for the Brotherhood to join us. They agreed, and arrived in force. Starra, Malapardis...Aidan himself declined, he was otherwise occupied at the time.

We set up the recovery room and a shrine nearby to raise the fallen. We moved in to engage the demon. The Northerners present timewarped the field, created a singularity, and began to flood, icewall, and gale to keep our people trapped with Gralob. We did what we could to recover from the shift in the field, and we took at least some of them with us.

REPRISAL
---------
Following the betrayal in the Teeth of the World, I rallied the Kingdom forces we had intended to assault Gralob with and launched the largest-scale raid on Sar-Sargoth since Grin was Krondorian and we swept the ramparts of hundreds of bladedancers. Dozens of bladedancers died, on the order of fifty or so within a fraction of a day. I made it abundantly clear to everyone who bothered to defend why they were being met this way.

I fully and freely admit this endeavor was an expression of frustration and fury. It was a warranted one, in my opinion, and mine was the opinion that mattered at the time. It was not prolonged or spitefully repeated, and once Kingdom forces withdrew, I made a post to the public news board and ordered Krondor not to align with the Brotherhood in the forseeable future, no matter the circumstances.

They say hindsight is perfect, and perhaps that is true. But given the same circumstances as they were that day, I would make exactly the same decisions again. Given the circumstances as they are -this- day, I can't really say. I probably still would. But it's irrelevant.

TEMPERS FLARE
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Not four days later, Gralob was sighted in the Calastius Mountains, and a Baroness of Krondor led Kingdom forces to engage him alongside Northerners. I arrived back in the city from an extended patrol in the middle of the battle, and immediately ordered Krondor to withdraw, as the commander of our Armies. The Baroness in question openly refused, and I resigned from my post and left the city to get drunk out of my mind in my brother's tavern for a week. Again, in hindsight, I can't really say I'd do anything differently. There's nothing a commander can do when his greatest weapon--his past experience--is dismissed out of hand.

Once heads had cooled all around, I returned and political posturing was suitably appeased on all sides. Details were explained, misunderstandings cleared up, and a plan put in place to avoid the same situation in the future.

THE TEMPLE OF KA-HOOLI
-----------------------
A few weeks later, there was an item of significance housed in the temple of Ka-hooli near Natal's east gate, in preparation for a ritual there to...hells, I don't know a damned thing about rituals and nonsense like that. What I do know is I was asked to fortify the temple and prevent any interruption during the undetermined period of time it took to complete.

I stationed scouts both ways on the road and held a position near the entrance to the temple itself. Whatever was going on down there in the ritual room unleashed a power of some sort even I could feel. And it drew Gralob. The Eagle scout stationed on the road north of the temple spotted him first, followed closely by Starra and Tora. As Starra had appeared to be the ringleader during the betrayal at the Teeth of the World, my primary concern became sealing the temple, unwilling to fight on two fronts yet again.

I sealed the gate, magelocked it, icewalled, and used every other means at my disposal, directing the scouts to stay clear of any confrontation while I remained within the temple. They reported that the two Moredhel seemed to be genuinely fighting Gralob. At that point, I rallied what Kingdom forces I could and appointed a field leader to get a group down to the temple immediately.

Our reinforcements arrived just as Gralob shattered my final wards, and I engaged him in the hall just past the entrance to the temple. Catelyn arrived with the Kingdom forces and swiftly established the recovery room as I had been training Pathfinders to between the first encounter and now. Others trickled in, drawn by the commotion, and halfway through the battle, the ritual completed. Tasiro and those others participating in it emerged from the lower level to assist in the battle, and it is worth noting that even deep inside the temple, Gralob flew away, blasting through the ceiling to do so.

A SORT OF ROUTINE
------------------
Since that encounter, Gralob has been sighted and engaged many times, always eventually simply flying off. He tends to linger around the mountains, but our initial theory of the three lunar towers holds little water, as his haunts include the Teeth of the World. While there is something to say for gaining 'practice' at this sort of encounter, the whole thing is quite a bit unsettling. I took the opportunity of something akin to a lull to investigate some other possibilities.

A SHIFT IN PATTERN
-------------------
And then Gralob attacked Sar-Sargoth. I admit I have little to no knowledge of events leading up to, during, and following that encounter. It has been suggested he did so to test the city, but I highly doubt it was only that. It makes little tactical sense to test from the middle of the place. It was also suggested the citadel or Valheru influence drew him, but I likewise doubt this theory, as Elvandar is far more steeped in raw magic and would have made the more rational first target. I suspect something or other was occurring up north at the time, perhaps akin to the ritual that drew him to the temple of Ka-hooli. Who knows. It doesn't matter--once he had the taste for it, I -do- believe he went on to 'test' our various peoples

Elvandar was next, and there Tomas and others invoked the magic of the forest against the demon. Reports imply that he was genuinely wounded in Elvandar, rather than merely flying away at his whim. It is suspected that he sought to 'refuel', in a sense, afterward, and knowing as we do that he 'feeds' or somehow gains strength from consuming or otherwise making use of life, it makes sense that he hit Krondor next, as the largest concentration of lives this side of...well, a lot of things.

CONCLUSIONS
------------
But in each encounter, we learn. From Sar-Sargoth, we learned that Gralob seemed genuinely frustrated by archers and ranged assault, unable to appropriately retaliate. From Elvandar we learned first that Gralob seems to almost passively absorb whatever it is he's absorbing to grow stronger, and that the specific magic of Elvandar is something like poison to him in this sense. Arguably more importantly, we learned that Gralob can be -injured-, and in this we have perhaps the greatest tool against him and the greatest hurdle to his defeat. His ability to heal must be crippled, or overcome, or not allowed to take effect. In Krondor, we learned that he is intelligent. He strafed archer towers prior to engaging at all. He touched down near the palace, and I wonder if even this were not carefully planned by him, a show of dominance, perhaps? When he showed signs of weakening, I ordered all magicians to leave off and begin dropping lode stones en masse. Near a dozen of them were still not enough to keep him in place--a good thought, but not enough.

I have included as much detail as possible in the hopes that this compilation of information will assist those who need it, and, true to my word, kept as much transparency as possible in doing so. All of these various bits and pieces have been patched together by myself and greater minds than mine alike. What we do now is not the work of any individual, much less my own.

IN PARTING
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So the next time one of you whining, ruffle-feathered s...people wants to tell me I don't know what I'm doing or talking about, or that I'm not qualified to lead a war I've already been leading on more fronts than most of you even know are being fought, or that I'm too proud, unwilling to admit mistakes, incapable of adapting, or in any other way unacceptable for this role, you can shove it. I am blunt, I am rude, I am gruff, crude, and generally socially unacceptable, but war is what I do as sure as most of you breathe. Now is not the time to question my capacity to do what I've done my entire life, just as I actively seek to engage and include others who excel at other things. I defer on what I don't know, anyone who's worked with me can tell you that. But what I do know, let me do. And I know tactics. I know military intelligence. I know warfare, on all fronts.

Even so, the authority I seek to secure is not some overarching dominance. I demand command of the battle on the ground at the moment we engage Gralob. Not because I want some nominal sense of glory or to force others to abase themselves or bend knee to me or my whim, but because -I know what I am doing- and have the audacity to see it through, and to bring as many people out of it alive as possible. This inane bickering and mudslinging, taking pot shots at each other is asinine at best and counterproductive at worst. It needs to end here.

Courage and Honor,
-Raelyr Matawa



ADDENDUM
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A news post made by myself, Raelyr Matawa, to Krondor's boards immediately following the initial demonic incursion between Yabon and Loriel.

Hail and well met, all--

Below is a brief accounting of the events on the 31st of Agaeis, when a major threat to the Kingdom was neatly curtailed by Kingdom forces.

What appears to have been a rogue demonologist attempted a failed a summoning on the highway between Yabon and Loriel and was summarily slaughtered. Waves of demons poured forth and fanned out between the two cities. Pathfinders took the roads around the Kingdom, securing the eastern and southern countrysides before Shinji found the main force. A group of northerners showed up, so Raelyr led them a merry chase while Caliah and Erwing rallied our main force, ready to move at Anita Square.

Shinji fell to the demon horde just as he choked out the location to we moved to engage. Grin joined us on the road and we entered into a dubious truce. The first clash went well enough, though we incurred heavy, heavy losses. Raph from Caldara revived our entire party, and we were able to rift back down to Loriel promptly, mopping up the last of the demons, save for a particularly powerful mindless demon lord. We discovered a sentient succubus there where the road ends along the northern fork between Yabon and Loriel, and engaged her in discussion while Raelyr deployed scouts to different sectors are coordinated the reports. Scouts along the Central Hills to LaMut road reported sighting the mindless demon lord, and then confirmed Starra was leading it toward Kingdom territory.

Grin, Erwing, and Raelyr moved to intercept Starra, cutting her down promptly, but were set upon by the demon lord as the battle finished up. Fortunately, the others (save scouts) arrived a step behind and it was defeated after a heated battle. Afterward, scouts were again dispatched to keep an eye on things while the main party conferred with the succubus. Scouts in Hadati spotted what appeared to be a single or pair of rampaging demons. Caliah, Grin, Erwing and Raelyr went to hunt it down and clean it up while the others remained with the succubus. Unfortunately, the stragglers were discovered to be a diversion.

A second wave of demons spewed forth from what appeared to be a portal there were the succubus was, and in hindsight we surmise that she may well have been the cause of it. In the confusion, Scathain accidentally blasted the succubus before the party was overrun. We regrouped and picked off the second wave more carefully after gathering the fallen. As the dust settled, we realized the main force of the invasion had been shattered, and sent scouts out to find stragglers, which were summarily dispatched by small strike teams, before rallying back at home to compare notes and piece together our joint findings.

Special notice should be given to Shinji: despite his lack of skills, experience, and training, he stepped up in a huge way, keeping a keen eye on things and bending everything he had to the mission at hand even at the cost of his own life.

Caliah, Fantom, Erwing, Nemi, Xisa, Shinji, Holem, Miko, Shista, Eshu, Scathain, Gweneira all participated in the effective defense.


Penned by my hand on the 3rd of Agaeis, in the year 56.