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The Vintage Blades Journal

I, Ernst Behl, hereby write this journal to document my ventures into the Middenland region upon the defeat of marauding Chaos forces from the north. Bored with life as the youngest son of an Ostermark noble, I found myself filled with a desire to test my martial training outside of the mansion. Upon hearing of the desolation in Middenheim, I began to speak with my friend Hergard, a Priest of Morr. He was always a quiet fellow, but wise in the ways of life and reliable with his advice. He wished to travel into Middenland to help ensure proper burials for the multitudes of dead bodies spread across the land. A plan began to quickly form within my educated mind. I offered to cover the equipment and travelling expenses if Hergard would gather a group of proud and strong men willing to help me search for adventure and wealth within the ruins of Middenland. Hergard wisely agreed to help me in my cause if I would help him with his. Within 8 days, he had found an abundance of talented men, all of Ostermark descent.
Thus, we were prepared for a long journey. We packed light and travelled via coach until we reached the northwest boundary of Hochland. Along the way, one small group of bandits threatened us. One shot from my pistol sent them running for the hills and left one filthy bandit bleeding on the road. Aside from that encounter and a visit from an old gypsy woman, the trip was rather uneventful. We stayed two nights in the Buckled Stone Inn. The potatoe soup at a nearby tavern was especially delicious. We joined with a group of Hochland Merchants who were travelling west as well. Our total party size was 19 men... certainly a deterrant for an hostile enemies along the road. We continued on foot until we found the ruins of town rasacked by chaos forces. The Hochland merchants continued west while we moved into the town.

Battle One
My name is Hergard, a Priest of Morr. It is with regret that I will be continuing this journal in Ernst's stead. He died in battle today, having led a defense against scum from Marienberg. He has done honor to his family and to Ostermark and will be remembered for his valor. We were searching for valuables amongst the ruins of a large town when an arrow suddenly pierced the heart of Migen! We rallied together and launched a counter-assault against the attacking Marienbergers. Our archers proved to be less useful than what their incessant bragging suggested. Ernst took the initiative and shot one enemy in the chest while the rest of us moved forward. A group of men (who appeared to be twins) approached from the left flank to engage Uhler. He was barely able to defend himself from their rapid attacks, swinging his massive sword wildly. I sprang from the shadows of a nearby building and swung my scythe in a wide arch. It struck true, dropping one man to the ground with a horrible gash across his back. I later learned that the man was the leader of the foreign warband.
Ernst charged a swordsman along the right flank, but tripped on a stone, twisting his ankle. The accident proved to be a fatal mistake... the enemy swordsman quickly siezed the opportunity, lunging with his sword. Ernst was unable to recover quickly enough to parry the attack and soon found life draining from a gash in his throat. Men screamed from around the town and blades clanged, but the Marienbergers quickly lost heart and retreated into the woods. One of our swordsmen died from an abdomen wound, a mercenary died from infection, and Ernst died of a sword wound. I ensured that each man was given a proper burial and burial rites. Since Ernst has died prematurely, the men insisted that I assume the role as the new leader. This is a position which I reluctantly accept and only to ensure that my mission in the area is fulfilled. I certainly do not look forward to my new role and do not understand why the men perceive me to be of leadership quality.

Battle Two
The ruins of this town fill our hearts with dread during the quiet nighttime hours. The sensation has been taking a toll on the men and morale is low. I suggested we leave the town for a few days in order to purchase some supplies from the nearby village. I sold two silver goblets that we found in a burned building for a reasonable amount of gold crowns. The money was quickly used to hire an experienced swordsman and purchase helmets from a local blacksmith. The men spent some time in the local tavern and we slept in a small inn. Since our funding has dead along with Ernst, we have been forced to cut our relaxation time short. We headed back to the last town with the hope of finding some more valuables amongst the ruins. Along the road, we were met by a roving band of beastmen. They were upon us before we had much opportunity react. The fight was quick and bloody... we ran (and some men limped from their new injuries) as fast as possible. Thankfully, the men escaped without any injuries. I, however, did not fare so well after an encounter with a centigor. It kicked me to the ground and trampled upon my injured body. I appear to have suffered permanent damage to one leg and to my left lung. I also find that my left hand twitches uncontrollably from time to time. I must thank Morr for my survival and will continue in his service until the end of my days. We fled into the surrounding forest in order to circumnavigate the beastmen. After two days of wandering, we managed to find our way back to the road. We followed it north and our fortunes soon improved...

Battle Three
At the top of a hill south of town, we discovered a burned manor house. We approached with caution in early evening. In the dim light, we spotted a number of hunched humanoids darting around the outskirts of the building. It was obvious that they were not human and I gave the order to attack. The archers immediately took two of the beasts to the ground. We moved toward the entrance of the ruins when a massive creature charged from beside the building. It was about eight feet tall with muscles rippling across its body. It possessed rat-like features and spittle oozed from the sides of its mouth. Five of us immediately attacked the beast, but were unable to pierce its tough skin. Thankfully, our archers were so effective with their attacks that the enemy quickly lost heart and fled the area. One of their number was found unconcious beside a tree with an arrow in its belly. It appeared to be a ratman... one of the legendary skaven. We sketched a quick picture of the creature as evidence of our discovery. We also found a number of valuables within the manor house, which we later sold to passing merchants. They were accompanied by an imperial duellist, who happily joined our ranks for a portion of the wealth we discover. I believe he will be a valuable addition to our group. The men have begun to refer to themselves as The Vintage Blades. Uhler appears to be growing stronger and has improved his skills with a two-handed sword. We soon found the ruins that we were seeking and set up camp along the outskirts. The following day, we discovered a slaver merchant along the southern edge of town. We sold the skaven captive in order to fund our expedition.

Battle Four
We once again ventured into the ruins in search of valuables. Lukas spotted other men who were doing the same. He instantly recognised them to be the Marienberg scum who killed Ernst. I told the men to approach quietly so that we could exact revenge upon them. A trained dog spotted us first. It growled and barked, alerting the Marienbergers of our presence. It bolted toward the duellist who calmly pulled his pistol and shot the creature in the head. It slid across the dirt and died. The enemy quickly regrouped and was able to provide an effective defense. We managed to take down a few men, but too many of us were losing individual battles. I sustained a nasty cut across my left arm while fighting the enemy leader. The situation rapidly deteriorated when their leader gutted our last swordsman. The duellist was then knocked to the ground as an arrow (from an elven mercenary) grazed his head. I reluctantly called for retreat and can only hope that we caused significant damage to the enemy. Most of us sustained superficial wounds, but our pride is what was truly harmed. We have vowed to engage this new enemy whenever possible and have agreed to ensure that they suffer for the four men they've killed.

Battle Five
We were resting comfortably in a ruined house along the outskirts of town when a howl pierced the quietness of the cool nighttime air. We jumped to our feet and grabbed weapons as fast as possible. Within moments wild dogs and beastmen swarmed from the surrounding forest. We gathered in front of the doors in order to blockade every available entrance. The archers performed well, taking two beasts down before they could reach the building. The battle began quickly as enemies launched through the windows to attack from within. I found myself facing an especially large beastman, who appeared to be the leader. I swung my scythe perfectly as soon as the monster cleared the window. It was instantly knocked across the room. A minotaur managed to climb the stairs in search of our archer friends. A shaman utilized some sort of dark sorcery to fly upstairs and engage Hans, who fought well and managed to hold his ground. Uhler screamed a battle cry and knocked a beastman off its feet with his massive sword. This action seemed to be enough to cause our foes to reconsider the wisdom of their attack. They fled back into the woods and were gone as fast as they had arrived. None of us were able to sleep for the remaining few hours of night. We were lucky to have escaped the onslaught with no injuries. The next day, we travelled into town, sold some valuables, and hired another marksman. He possesses a blunderbuss which should provide excellent protection over the coming weeks. Uhler and Herpin continue to show amazing development as they've been training together. Lukas, however is far too arrogant. He tried his hand in a pit fight and lost miserably... also losing his weaponry.

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