YF 262, My Lords, the The Imperial campaign to stem the incursions of the Winter King has been laid low by the basest Elven treachery. Rovere, the Cardinal Palantine, lies who knows where, most like in the hands of the enemy. Word has come that they didn't even make the crossing of the Sorrowfords. I regret my responsibilities to my master took precedence in the end but I will recount what saw there. It began with our discoveries in the ruins of LlanCastle.....
The Mage Arcturus, and his Apprentice, had ranged ahead of the main force with some picked men. Before the expedition set out, Arcturus had spent his time well, deep in the Collegium Archives of Holy Celestine. There he uncovered the locations of many places of power; and when the Imperial column marched in sight of the ruined tower of Llancastle they lost no time in seeking out What they knew lay there.
A well of mana, a kind crossing point between the Astral and the material. Purportedly, any with a gift for the arcane could gain great knowledge simply by drinking it's mana infused waters. What he and his men found there was a rival, an Elven Mage with a gift for enchantments and alchemy. The Elf managed to drink from the well before he, and his apprentice, were laid low by determined crossbow fire. Despite this immediate victory, the men there were keenly aware that they must make haste to warn the army that Elves were in the YFirwald Valley. Arcturus raced to reach the well before time ran out but was thrown from a high battlement by the magics of the Elven Apprentice.
So, wiser for the experience, and carrying some treasures as consolation, the human party rejoined the main column. So warned, the Paladin Rovere make good use of our hard-bitten Caledanian outriders to determine the shape of the Elven trap.
My Lords, I can report we met the enemy ready and prepared. Our pike were In column on the left, flanked by supporting crossbows and with our blackpowder mortars overlooking them from the hill above. The Cardinal was in the centre, with his bodyguard of picked men from Bravast. Lancers, Celedanians and pistol armed Cuirassiers were all arrayed to our right.
The Elves simply formed a line of glittering and silent archers. There were some cavalry in their centre but they took little part in the battle.
The Pike and Bravast guard advanced forward to the beat of their marching drums, and the rhythmic booming of the mortar shells exploding amongst the Elven lines. I could hear the popping sounds of pistol fire, to the right beyond the forest but could not immediately make out what transpired there.
The first blow came early. My Master, Arcturus, miscast a major spell. The unravelling of its arcane energies caused no lasting harm but left him simply unable to cast further spells.
For a while, I was preoccupied tending to my master. I knew the signs, to the un-gifted it was as if he had a splitting headache and loss of short term memory. He made me search through our belongings to see if there were some scroll, potion or other charm In our possession that might be turned on our enemies. I knew there was not. I looked up and saw that our infantry had fallen into disorder.
Quite near to our own position, in the crossbow men, a body of stealthy Elves had come forward and were shooting up the deadly mortars. Later, I learned the Evil Faefolk had used poison, and the gunners died a cruel and painful death. A new sound filled the air nearby: The whispering rush of Elven arrows as the enemy seemed to be focusing on our infantry.
Disaster had struck on the right flank and all the cavalry were routed. The horse were gone, the chief Wizard incapacitated, the artillery was under attack and we could see men falling away at the flanks of the two marching infantry columns. Casting our eyes over the trail of motionless bodies, filled with Elven arrows, I urged my master to retire from the field. He was not willing to do so while his Apprentice fought on. As the Apprentice hurried over with his companion bowmen, we saw the Cardinal's bodyguard had been annihilated completely and the pike smashed and run down by the merciless Fae.
We were lucky to escape.
I can only hope my Lords will not let this slight to Imperial honour go unavenged.