The entry flap was pulled aside, spreading the light of midday throughout the modestly appointed tent of the Lord Commander. His armor and Quicksilver stood on display behind a small table at which he sat, pouring over a map of the area. Stryker spared the soldier at the tent’s entrance a glance, breaking his gaze at the map only momentarily.
“Correspondence from Journeyman Alcorn, sir.” Stryker stood to accept the folded paper with a nod and moved to other end of the tent, where sat a machine. Here he unfolded the letter to reveal a string of numbers, punctuated by spaces, and it was these that he typed into a small keypad. Upon receiving input, the machine hummed to life, and after a moment of hissing and whirring, began to print words from the code it had been fed.
“The Comb’s Beacon and Scarleforth Lake are secured. Wireless from Fort Falk- the reinforcements you sent for will be on their way down the Beacon when you get this. Commander Adept Nemo accompanies them.
“The Trolls have retreated in the north, having measured the size of the conflict before them and deemed it unwise to intervene. The Menites have established a foothold at Redwall, and are slowly spreading into the Ravensguard. Reports are coming in that the Blighted have joined the fighting, and are encamped somewhere in the Glimmerwood- we’ve been unable to pinpoint exactly where, and the scouts I sent have not reported in. Just to our north, a battalion of Iosian elves have claimed the Issyrian, and are launching daily search parties. No word yet on what they’re looking for, but rest assured it’ll mean no good to us. Finally, a group of gatormen calling themselves the Blindwater Congregation have seized the Tomb of Lost Souls, just south of Corvis. They’re as dangerous in the water as the Elves are in trees, and we’ll be hard-pressed to uproot them if it should come to that. My recommendation would be to shell the whole blasted place- though you’re not that kind of general.
“The troops are uneasy. I hope to see you at our side for the next major encounter. Signing off, Alcorn.”
Stryker quietly folded the paper and added it to a pile of similar letters on the table. He then pulled the tent flap aside and walked out into the camp. It was a bustle of activity- groups of Llaelese refugees resting in lean-to tents on their way to Ternon Crag and out of the warzone, squires and runners scurrying to and from, carrying everything from weapons, to food, to correspondence. In a large field, several warjacks knelt, their top hatches open while apprentice mechanics worked to repair minor damages.
Bull, Stryker’s Ironclad, looked down at Stryker as he walked into the sunlight. Stryker gave him a nod, and the warjack straightened, raised a metal fist, and rapped its chest three times. The bustle of the camp stopped, and all eyes turned to Stryker.
“Reinforcements from Fort Falk are on their way! By the time they get here, this camp should be nothing more than a few wagons ready to roll to the battlefront! Let’s go claim Llael, for Morrow, for Leto, and for the Swan!”
The men gave a cheer, and hurried back to their business. Stryker returned to his tent, regarding the letter from Alcorn. “It’s going to be a long war, indeed.”