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Old 06-16-2021, 08:48 AM   #256
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 66 (2021-06-11)

Thoughts on November 5th (continued)

The southern archers launched one more, feeble volley. Now that they had my undivided attention, they didn’t stand a chance. I dropped three of them before they could nock another arrow, and the survivors decided to flee. With my blood pumping, I fired one more arrow into an archer’s back, but I let the last two go.

Va’lyndra was going around, giving the fallen bandits a last thump to the skull with her staff. Her brutality turned my stomach. She had definitely hung around Ilzo too long. Leopold had found the masked dwarf, who was trying to crawl away. Ilzo had skewered his leg, and Leopold wanted to bandage the wound, but the dwarf was determined to resist, swinging first his axe and then his shield at Leopold. I might have intervened if Leopold hadn’t managed to wrestle the axe away from the bandit, who also twisted his own arm trying to hit Leopold with the shield. He surrendered then. He still had one good leg, as far as I could tell, and could have tried a head-butt or a punch, but perhaps he saw me watching.

Leopold bandaged our captive, and asked me to remove his shield and helmet. I asked if I should tie him up as well. Leopold just said to make sure he didn’t flee, and to check him for weapons. He had a belt knife which I tossed away before getting my rope out of my backpack.

Leopold asked me to help Va’lyndra dump the dead bandits into the pit traps we had made, since we were going to fill them in as part of cleaning up the area. I asked what I should do with the still-living bandits, and Leopold said casually that I should kill them, then dump the corpses. I had never expected something like that from Leopold. “Um… I can’t just kill them! They’re harmless now.” Leopold instructed me to tell Va’lyndra if I found any living bandits; she would take care of them.

I went to find Va’lyndra, thinking that Leopold couldn’t have been serious. He must have said this to scare the captive to talk. I never had to make a decision about this, as the bandits were all dead already. They all had blows to their heads, sufficient to crack skulls. Even the ones with arrows through them. I asked Va’lyndra about that. She leaned on her staff and said that however far-fetched it sounded, she had determined they had all cracked their heads on something hard when they fell. “Like that stone.” She nodded towards it. “That one, all the way over there!?” I exclaimed. “I don’t see any blood on it.” Va’lyndra reminded me that I can’t see as well as her in the dark, and ordered me back to work, when I was about to go and fetch the rock. This would take all night, if she had to explain everything to me. Olivia would already have left for work when we returned to Alvheim, she said. Just at the mention of Olivia’s name, certain parts of me began to tingle. We needed to finish the tidying up, and soon! I grabbed a bandit and began to pull him towards one of the pits. “Hey… I saw you hitting the fallen bandits over the head, just now!” Va’lyndra convinced me I was mistaken. The darkness had muddled my senses. Of course, she hadn’t gone around murdering helpless people! What was I thinking!? After a while, Leopold summoned Va’lyndra to check how serious the captive’s injuries were.

Leopold and Va’lyndra interrogated the bandit, learning that he was Org, Varg’s double. Varg, the underboss, had been here during the negotiations, but he had left when the battle didn’t go as the bandits wished. My friends learned that this gang was the most numerous and powerful of all the criminal gangs in the Pond. They counted around two hundred members, but far from all were fighters; we had taken out the bulk of those. Org said that rivaling gangs might try to take over their territory and business, but he wasn’t sure if they’d dare.

Ilzo returned from the forest and I tried to get him to help me with the corpses. He had run down some who tried to flee, and put their heads on spikes. Now he jumped into the pit traps, chopped off heads and threw them back up, so he could do the same with those.

When there were no more corpses, except in the pits, I convinced Ilzo to come with me to see how Va’lyndra and Leopold were doing. They told us what they had found out from Org. Ilzo suggested we brought Org to the Pond and strung him up there. Leopold reminded him that we had promised not to leave corpses to be found in the city, but Ilzo said we didn’t have to kill him first.

Leopold asked Ilzo to fill in the pit traps. I came with him, and to my dismay, he jumped down and continued his grisly work of spiking the heads. He took the heads with him, leaving me with all the work. I sighed and hefted my shovel.

When Ilzo returned, he took the other shovel and helped me. Leopold and Va’lyndra came a little later and helped camouflage the battlefield. Va’lyndra was very particular about how she wanted us to leave the area. I thought no amount of magic could completely disguise what had happened here, but Va’lyndra wanted to try anyway.

She said the rest of us should return to town and find our beds, but I didn’t want to leave her alone in the Bewitched Forest. I hadn’t seen any monsters near Alvheim, but there had to be some, for Leopold had even warned the bandits about them. The monsters had to be really scary, since Leopold wanted to warn so large a group about them. On second thoughts, they might not be that dangerous, at least not to professional adventurers such as us; we beat the forty-odd bandits easily. Still, I wasn’t comfortable leaving Va’lyndra alone out here. Leopold volunteered to stay with Va’lyndra. Ilzo and I should go, he said, since we needed more sleep than them. I reminded Leopold that the rope I had used to tie Org was my good one, the one I use in my performances, and I emphasized that I wanted it back in one piece.

The walk back to Alvheim was uneventful. Ilzo and I decided not to go through the Pond. We both wanted to see the effects of tonight’s work, but it was really late, and I wanted to go to bed. We agreed that we should talk to Va’lyndra and Leopold before doing anything that could provoke the remaining bandits.

Olivia was asleep when I tiptoed into our room. I searched in the dark in case she had prepared a bath for me, but I didn’t find the bucket that the inn provided. Had Olivia been too tired to arrange my bath? Or didn’t she think I’d break a sweat against these opponents? I wasn’t really dirty. I had washed my hands in a small brook on the way back to town, and if there was dirt on my clothes, I left it on the floor. Some honest sweat wouldn’t harm anyone.

Olivia lay on her side, with her belly propped up on a pillow. I longed to entangle my arms and legs with hers, but that would have to wait another couple of months. I climbed into bed as gently as I could, and lay down behind her, and put my arm protectively over her.
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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