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Old 06-11-2021, 09:03 AM   #255
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 65 (2021-06-06)

Nothing happened, and Ilzo guided the two dwarves up to Leopold and me. One of them had a mask, hiding his face. Leopold wanted him to remove it, but he didn’t comply. Still, negotiations commenced. The bandits wanted to see our money. Leopold had forgotten to bring it, but Ilzo handed over two pouches of gold and told him to bargain with those. Leopold and the dwarves discussed enlisting the gang members to Ilzo’s private army, but the dwarves admitted that their boys lacked discipline, and Leopold didn’t want to pay for training them.

This could drag on, and I feared my potion would wear off before they finished talking. I asked permission to speak, and Leopold said to go ahead. I addressed the dwarves: “I thought you wanted to attack us and take our stuff. Would you like to go back to your friends first, or do you want to begin the fight right here and now?” The dwarves assured me that they were negotiating in good faith, and had no interest in fighting us. Shoot! That was over thirty gold wasted. Good thing I hadn’t popped the other two potions as well.

Leopold asked what the dwarves wanted out of this agreement, apart from money. They wanted a bright future for the Pond, and honest work for everyone. Leopold wanted a list of those we were going to hire, and the dwarves rattled off forty or fifty names. I recognized a few from the papers the lieutenant had given us.

The negotiations went on for around ten minutes, before stagnating. Apparently, these dwarves didn’t have the authority to negotiate on behalf of all the criminals in the Pond, just a few. Leopold demanded to speak to their boss, and the masked dwarf threw up his hands and said we could meet again in three days. I cursed myself again for being so trigger-happy with the potion.

The negotiators returned to their friends and talked with them. Ilzo crossed the ridge to discuss with Va’lyndra the possibility of building an arena here. Leopold told me he didn’t think the bandits would negotiate as long as they did. Then someone raised his voice. “Let’s go home, boys!” One of the torchbearers threw his torch, not in our direction. He must have been just as disappointed as me that nothing was going to happen here. But Leopold said the bandits were going to attack, now!

I uncorked one of the vials in my hand with my teeth and glanced to the south. We had heard noises on both flanks, suggesting the bandits were trying to surround us, but I didn’t see anything. To the east, the bandits began to run towards our ridge. I quaffed the potion, which turned out to be the battle one, for I could feel my body becoming superhumanly agile. I wondered briefly why I don’t use these potions when I perform, but then I remembered that they’re really expensive, and that it would be cheating. I can’t honestly call myself the best acrobat in the world if I use performance-enhancing drugs.

Ilzo came charging from behind, to intercept the bandits threading their way past our traps. Only one of them fell into a hole, but the traps had made them wary and slow, which was their main purpose. Suddenly, a hail of arrows came out of the darkness to the south, and I threw myself down. I uncorked the other vial while Ilzo thundered past, and quaffed the potion of speed before bouncing back to my feet.

Leopold moved towards the northern cliffs, so I focused to the south while readying an arrow. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Ilzo in the torchlight, meeting the bandit charge head on. Behind me, I heard the faint zap from Leopold’s wand of lightning. I dropped to the ground under another synchronized archer attack from the south, and leaped up again, ready to shoot. I had finally spotted the archers!

Closer than them, a climber had just scaled the southern cliff, so I put an arrow in him, but the wound wasn’t serious. I heard arrows striking the ground somewhere behind me, so it seemed that Leopold was under attack as well. I stepped to the side, to one of Va’lyndra’s shaped tree trunks; I didn’t want to be shot in the back. The archers to the south counted less than ten, so I didn’t bother to drop to the ground under the next attack. I dodged easily enough anyway. I returned fire, dropping one of the archers.

Behind me, Leopold dislodged a piece of the northern cliff, making a climber fall screaming. Another climber came up from the southwest, so I shot him. I kept turning slowly to my right while finally putting down the first climber I shot, and noticed that two bandits were coming at Va’lyndra from opposite sides. I didn’t have time to call out a warning, but she heard the bandit behind her, dropping her bow and stepping aside while readying her staff.

I heard the crash of a climber slipping off the cliff-face. Then another flight of arrows came my way. I missed one of the arrows, and it struck my side, but didn’t even penetrate my leather armor. I shot at one of the men flanking Va’lyndra, but he threw himself under the arrow. The bandits Ilzo was trying to hold off discovered that they could force their way through the shrubbery near the top of the slope, and made an awful ruckus.

I ran towards Va’lyndra while drawing and shooting at her second opponent, who also dropped to the ground to evade my arrow. Va’lyndra made two rapid strikes against him, and one of them connected. The other one stood up and fumbled with his club, turning it clumsily in his hands. He was no immediate threat, so I closed the distance with the first one and gave him two fast slashes with Scorchmark.

Va’lyndra dashed off with a quick apology, leaving me with the fumbler, who readied his club and took a step towards me. Scorchmark took care of him, too, before I whirled around to see how Ilzo was doing. I noticed several more climbers on the way up, but mostly towards Leopold, who looked like a pincushion. If he didn’t know by now that he was supposed to dodge the bloody arrows, nothing I said would convince him. He was staggering, but managed to stay on his feet. Va’lyndra asked if he needed a healing potion. Ilzo seemed to be doing all right. Most of the bandits around him had either fallen or was trying to make their way through the thick bushes, but that was slow going. I shot at one of them, but missed.

Leopold made another climber fall, using his rock magic. After I had moved in among the trees, the southern archers didn’t have any good targets, but Va’lyndra had exposed herself now. She managed to dodge most of the arrows, but two struck, although they didn’t seem to do much damage. Her leather was thicker than mine, being made from hydra skin.

One of the bandits coming out of the shrubbery turned to get Ilzo in the back, but the rest charged towards Va’lyndra and Leopold, buying themselves a few more seconds of life. The northern archers sent a volley towards Va’lyndra and Leopold, but Va’lyndra’s magical shield blocked two arrows, and the only one that hit its mark bounced off Va’lyndra’s armor.

I drew another arrow from my cornucopia quiver, but dropped it. It vanished as soon as it slipped from my fingers. I stepped towards Va’lyndra and Leopold and their surrounding bandits, magicked a new arrow into existence, and shot the bandit who focused on Leopold. Va’lyndra took care of another of them with her whirling staff.

Another climber had come up from the south, and charged towards me, but he didn’t even get halfway before I greeted him with an arrow. I turned to the north again and helped Va’lyndra and Leopold with one of their bandits. The arrow struck with such force it came out on the other side and hit the next bandit, too, but it didn’t stick.

By this time, Ilzo had dealt with all his opponents, and came running to help Va’lyndra and Leopold. Va’lyndra tried a fancy whirlwind attack, and I’ve never seen her execute it so badly. After striking the first bandit, she threw the staff to the ground, just as the northern archers launched a new flight of arrows. Another climber actually reached me, but he dropped his club, so I just shot another of Va’lyndra’s opponents, while saying over my shoulder, “Go home to your mother and have her teach you the club!” Enraged, the bandit tried a body slam, but I stepped aside, grabbed Scorchmark from the air and cut him down. “I told you to go home to your mother!”

Ilzo and Va’lyndra dealt with the last of the club fighters. The southern archers decided to ignore me since I had taken position near another of Va’lyndra’s trees, and shot at Ilzo instead. Only one arrow hit, and Ilzo took it on the shield. I ducked and weaved back to my first tree, where I could return fire to the south without worrying about the northern archers. My worry was unnecessary, for Va’lyndra made a rain of ice daggers, which scattered them, at least for the moment. Ilzo jumped off the cliff so he could run them down.

The main charge was defeated, and no bandits remained on the ridge who were still fit for a fight. The southern archers – I estimated they were fewer than ten – were still in the fight, but I was more concerned that they should try to slip away in the dark than of them actually hurting me. I had seen signs of other bandits fleeing when they realized the fight wasn’t going their way, and it might be good for our reputations if some survivors returned to tell the tale of the slaughter at the ridge.
You don't need to spend 100 CP on Status 5 [25] and Multimillionaire [75] to feel like a princess, when Delusion [-10] will do.

Character sheet: Google Drive link (See this thread for details.)

Campaign logs: Chaotic Pioneering / Confessions of a Forked Tongue
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