The Rangers of Mirwood are known throughout the realm for their skills in stealth, reconnaissance, and infiltration. Serving as the eyes and ears of their duke and his officers, the rangers have a frightening ability to uncover what would be hidden or secret. Rangers are rumored to simply disappear and reappear at will as masters of stealth with many superstitious locals citing dark magic use. Whatever the truth may be, one thing is certain – the Rangers of Mirwood are always watching.
Since the time of the Arathorian Empire and its presence in the Kingdom of Stormwind (then known as the Kingdom of Azeroth), woodsmen and hunters have roamed the lands. With their dependence on the land itself for their survival, these men and women have taken up arms for countless generations to defend the land and its people from irreparable harm. Thus were the beginnings of the human rangers in Mirwood.
The first official organization consisting of rangers was created during the Age of Consolidation. As the young Kingdom of Stormwind stretched out to unify the human-held lands in the southern continent, the populace began to encounter large and unusual creatures with increasing frequency. To help protect the people, a ranger named Merrick Dacus, from the wooded county of Mirwood, gathered his compatriots to track and, if need be, kill these dangerous beasts. As more hunters and woodsmen rallied to his call, he named the group simply "The Rangers of Mirwood." Later endorsed by the reigning Duke of Westridge for their heroic efforts, the Rangers of Mirwood were renamed the Ranger Order of Mirwood with Merrick Dacus being knighted and dubbed the first ranger-lord of the order.
The rangers stayed together through several generations, maintaining a delicate balance as they helped the kingdom expand and solidify its reign over the surrounding lands while also protecting the wilds. Over time, in part through the efforts of the rangers, relative peace blanketed the kingdom. The rangers began to fade from public view as they contained the real dangers within the dark wooded areas. Eventually, the Ranger Order was seen as merely a folk-tale. Stories of sightings or encounters with rangers occurred once every couple of years but were typically waved off as overactive imaginations or the result of too much drink.
Only during the Gnoll War of 507 K.C. did the rangers emerge from the shadows to aid the kingdom once more. Led by the Ranger-Lord Tristyn Isaacs, the rangers answered the call for aid from the Duke of Westridge and helped win several key battles against the gnoll armies. most notable was the rangers' efforts to ride ahead of King Barathen Wrynn's daring assault against Packlord Garfang. The rangers stayed half a day ahead of the king and his party, clearing out small patrols along the way and offering intelligence, and ultimately ensured the path was clear for His Majesty and that no gnoll would be able to give advanced warning to the Garfang.
When the Dark Portal opened and the Orcish Horde assaulted the Kingdom, the Rangers of Mirwood fought to the best of their abilities but were beaten back time and time again. They watched in horror as countless acres of forests were cut down or burned – including their beloved Mirwood. With their numbers greatly diminished and their lands demolished, the Ranger Order disbanded as it joined the throngs of refugees headed to Lordaeron.
The Ranger Order of Mirwood was reformed during the Second War under the command of Sir Paxton Redbrooke, one of the few surviving rangers from the First War and a junior officer in the First Regiment. Donning the mantle of Ranger-Lord, Redbrooke was tasked with the recreation of the ranger order of old and to utilize them to help restore order and balance to the reclaimed lands of the kingdom. However, in his zeal to serve the Kingdom, Ranger-Lord Redbrooke led the entirety of the order, estimated one hundred fifty men strong, through the Dark Portal with the Alliance Expedition. The order is believed lost after the closing of the portal and the shattering of Draenor. To this day, not a single member has returned.
The Ranger Order of Mirwood reformed once again shortly after the First Regiment's return from the Uldum Expedition following the Westfall Rebellion. Duke Montclair called for the reestablishment of the order of rangers, assigning his bastard son, Sir Brandon Hood, to lead them. Under the command of the newly appointed Ranger-Lord, the rangers aided the First Regiment until circumstances forced Sir Brandon to relinquish his position within the order. In doing so, he appointed Dame Caiterina Stonewall to lead and guide the Rangers of Mirwood in the trials and tasks that awaited them.
Dame Caiterina served excellently in her leadership role, training several scouts and seeing them through their trials as Rangers. The Rangers of Mirwood under Dame Caiterina accompanied the forces of the Royal Army into Old Draenor in the War Against the Iron Horde and onto the Broken Isles in the War Against the Burning Legion. So effective was Dame Caiterina's leadership that she was appointed Baroness of Oakenvale in Mirwood.
Tragedy befell the Rangers of Mirwood in the closing days of the War Against the Burning Legion. Lady Caiterina took a company of Rangers on a scouting mission deep into Argus days before Alliance command decided to launch its final attack on the burning citadel of Antorus. The Alliance was ultimately successful in defeating Sargeras and destroying the citadel, but its destruction heralded the separation of Argus from Azeroth. Lady Caiterina and those with her were left behind as the portal closed, and are presumed deceased on the corrupted planet.
Lord Thomas Reignsford was solemnly appointed the new Ranger Lord of Mirwood a year after the war on Argus had claimed Lady Caiterina. Lord Thomas, a resolute man of significant military tenure, has redirected the rangers' efforts to match their increased usage for militarized operations in and out of the wilds.
The Ranger's Creed Edit
We walk in shadow and trek the unseen path.
We are the watchers in the woods.
We are the eyes that guard the realms of men.
We are the Rangers of Mirwood.
Ranger Ethos Edit
The Ranger Ethos details how a Ranger should carry about their duties whether they be on the front lines, behind enemy lines, or in their everyday activities. Becoming a Ranger is a way of life as much as it is a professional career.
- A Ranger shall remain loyal to their liege lord and their King.
- A Ranger shall take pride in their duty and complete any issued task with efficiency.
- A Ranger must never divulge anything secret that would compromise the realm or its servants.
- A Ranger must be respectful and honorable in all endeavors.
The order is led by the ranger-lord, appointed to such a position by the Duke of Westridge. The ranger-lord will often seek counsel from his senior-most rangers. However, all rangers treat each other with equal respect and acknowledge that wisdom and guidance can come from anyone.
The Ranger-Lord of Mirwood is the appointed leader of the Ranger Order of Mirwood. Though autonomous in the methods of executing his or her duties to protect Westridge, the ranger-lord informs the Duke of Westridge of all serious threats to the duchy and is responsible for overseeing the training and duties of all rangers.
Individuals who have completed the Trials of the Mirwood Ranger and have sworn to uphold the Ranger Code of Ethics and Creed are known simply as rangers. They are expert archers, trackers, and infiltrators in service to the duchy and the greater kingdom, often used as long-range and long-term reconnaissance scouts. Seasoned rangers – those who have been with the order for at least a full year – may take on the role of mentor for an apprentice with approval from the ranger-lord. Those who wish to become a ranger take on the role of ranger-apprentice. They are assigned a mentor who will teach them the ways of the order while the apprentice continues to act as a scout within the First Regiment.
Order Leader Edit
Lord Thomas Reignsford the Oakhearted serves as Ranger-Lord of the Ranger Order of Mirwood. He rules over the Barony of Heartsgrove, a sickly, wooded land within the Duchy of Westridge, and he is the administrative head of the Baronetcy of Oakhall, the thickly-wooded and heavily guarded lands that serve as home for the order. He also serves as an officer in the Stormwind Army, holding the rank of Knight-Captain within the First Regiment. Lord Thomas is a proficient woodsman, archer, and survivalist and is known for his calm, measured, and quiet demeanor.
The various combat roles that members of the Ranger Order of Mirwood may take on and their associated requirements are listed below.
Pathfinders are advanced reconnaissance troops that specialize in tracking and marksmanship. Those who pass the trials of the Ranger Order of Mirwood are some of the best archers that humanity has to offer. The length of bow they carry depends on their assigned task. If sent to strike targets at long range as a sniper, a long recurve bow that requires great strength to wield is the weapon of choice. If assigned to scouting and pathfinding duties, a shorter composite recurve bow that is easier to manage in close combat is selected. Lightly armored compared to their infantry counterparts, pathfinders are trained to be agile skirmishers. They typically avoid melee combat however, retreating to vantage points where they might strike at range.
- Pass the Trials of the Mirwood Ranger.
Infiltrators are covert specialists that sneak behind enemy lines to gather intelligence and disrupt enemy operations. An infiltrator should be well versed in stealth, wilderness survival, and self-reliance, for often times they are sent far ahead of their allies as lone agents. Infiltrators are issued a wide range of weaponry to defend themselves with and carry out assassinations against high value targets. One of the most prized possession of any infiltrator is a hand crossbow fitted with toxic darts. If their location is compromised, infiltrators are expected to disengage and retreat until their enemies lose track of them.
- Pass the Trials of the Mirwood Ranger.
Ranger-knights are members of the Ranger Order of Mirwood who have also earned knighthood within the Brotherhood of the Horse. Combining the distinct skill sets of swordsmanship, horsemanship, and marksmanship, Ranger-knights may take on a wide range of combat and reconnaissance roles. A Ranger-knight may elect to serve as missile cavalry or instead utilize the speed of their horse to cover great distance as a more experienced outrider.
- Pass the Trials of the Mirwood Ranger.
- Be dubbed a knight of the Brotherhood of the Horse.
How to Join Edit
To join the Ranger Order of Mirwood, those with an interest in apprenticeship must first seek an audience with the ranger-lord, or any ranger-knight under their command, via a letter of intent or in person inquiry. By their discretion, a private interview will then be conducted to evaluate the requesting individual.
If found worthy of candidacy, the interested party will be invited to start apprenticeship under a senior ranger while acting as a scout within the First Regiment. To become a fully-fledged ranger, the apprentice must continue to show personal excellence and fidelity to the order and complete the Trials of the Mirwood Ranger.
Those seeking apprenticeship within the order must meet the following baseline requirements:
- Have good standing within the First Regiment.
- Be of good moral character and practice.
- Have and practice respect for the laws of nature and man.
- Be able to undergo intense physical and mental training.
- Be willing to endure and pass the Trials of the Mirwood Ranger.
- Be willing to keep and protect the secrets of the Order at all costs.
A soldier may take on and complete these trials at any rank, but may only formally join the Ranger Order after achieving the rank of Private.
Additional Readings Edit
- Rangers of Mirwood Forum
- Mirwood Ranger Handbook
- Trials of the Mirwood Ranger
- Conquest: Bow and Arrow
- Conquest: Knives and Daggers