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Old 02-22-2021, 11:56 AM   #231
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 55 (2021-02-14)

Leopold told Karl that if he could draw on better interrogation skills than those we possessed (or didn’t possess), he could get something out of Neriel himself. Karl didn’t think that normal interrogation techniques would work on a demon, and he didn’t want to expose his people to one. However, he thought we should be able to find someone in the vicinity with demonic expertise, who could help us with the interrogation. I guess we can try to locate some of those cultists that reputedly live around here, although after the big crackdown, I wouldn’t know where to look. The only cultists I knew had been burned at the stake by Fidel Sidel, and anyone with links to them had been massacred by the Church. Leopold just nodded agreement at Karl’s statement, so maybe he has an idea.

Leopold asked Karl about the consequences of kidnapping a government official from Surd. Karl informed us that a squad of soldiers from the capital had arrived not many days ago. The search operation was unofficial, or at least they didn’t announce what they were doing to the general populace. We should keep away from the soldiers and not draw attention to ourselves. I cleared my throat. Not drawing attention to myself would be highly suspicious. If we were lucky, the soldiers didn’t know about our connection to the kidnapping, but we should plan for the worst. Leopold asked Karl to inform us if he learned anything.

Karl suggested we left Urdon and proposed Garuk, since that city isn’t in Virendia anymore. After the war, Garuk lies within the territories of the new state, Free Tamburin. Leopold suggested Alvheim instead and asked Karl what he knew about that city. I had never heard about it before, but it turned out not to be that far away, further south along the Silent Lake. Alvheim is politically autonomous, whatever that means, and independent, not a part of Virendia, and a large settlement considered that it’s been kept a secret for so long.

Leopold promised Karl he’d copy Neriel’s book, so Karl could send it to the Old World to get it translated. He couldn’t be planning to use the book as evidence, then, for he needed the case wrapped up in not that many months. There was to be a conference, similar to the one we had spied on in Fort Glory, held in Virendia this time, and he needed all the proof of Serals tampering with the government he could get before that.

When we got back to the Golden Swan, Leopold just fetched his horse and left for the knowledge guild. They have a library… I went upstairs to Olivia. She was reading and didn’t want to be disturbed, so I practiced contortion behind her back.

In the afternoon, Karl’s courier came and asked for Leopold, but he wasn’t back yet. I picked open his door and searched through his papers to see if I could locate the article Leopold had promised Karl. I hoped it said “Seral Research” or something similar on the front. It took some time, but I found something that could be what I was looking for, so I grabbed it and gave it to the courier.

Leopold came knocking on our door when I was putting on my performance outfit. He wasn’t best pleased with the mess I had made of his papers, but at least I had handed over the right article and avoided damaging his precious books. He informed Olivia and me that he had talked to Va’lyndra and Ilzo – that’s why he was so late – and they had decided to go bandit hunting. We could stash Neriel at the knowledge guild. Spending the next couple of weeks in the woods would keep us out of sight from the Surd soldiers, and doing quests for the adventurers’ guild was an acceptable excuse for me not to stay in town and perform. I should probably head over there in the morning to stock up on potions.

---

So, we’re going bandit hunting. I can’t say that I’m looking forward to that. Not that Mattea and the others will expect me to sneak up on the bandits and join in the attacks, but the prospect of living rough on adventure is daunting for someone in my condition. I had hoped to be able to spend the last three months of my pregnancy in more comfort; I’m due in the beginning of January. A real bed is what I’ll miss the most. I’ll have to bring some pillows when we leave. Sleeping on the ground with only blankets for support has been a nightmare.

I would stay in town if I could, but if the soldiers from Surd discover somehow that Mattea was involved in Neriel’s abduction, they’ll come for me. It’s well known that Mattea and I are close. Mattea’s hunger is another reason I can’t stay. Even knowing how awful she feels about her betrayal, I’m sure she would do it again if I’m not there to take the edge off.

I’ve seen a glimmer of hope in Mattea’s eyes ever since I let her sleep beside me again. We’ve not been able to entangle the way we usually do for sleep since my belly grew so big, so she lies behind me and just wraps her arms around me. As bloated and unattractive as I feel, it’s a wonder that she still desires me, but there’s no doubt that she does. Every night that passes, Mattea gets more and more daring. She presses her breasts against me and I can feel her arm slide over mine. As long as I don’t acknowledge her seductive slithering, her desire to be punished has been overpowering her hunger. I don’t know how long that will last. So far, it’s only like she’s reminding me that she’s there if I want her. When she truly turns on her charm, I know I won’t be able to resist any more, no matter how mad I still am at her.

It speaks to Mattea’s seduction skills that even when she was trapped as Fabian, she managed to turn me on. I have no interest in men at all, but even I have to admit that Fabian is a very handsome fellow. While his good looks did nothing for me, Mattea knew exactly what to say to make me forget what shape she was in. Ramming that thing inside me was a terrible reminder, but it turned out to be a blessing. Now we can have the family we always wanted.

I need to forgive Mattea. We love each other too much for me not to. It’s just so hard to come to terms with what she did. Why did it have to be Ilzo? Why couldn’t she have seduced Va’lyndra instead? Part of me feels guilty for leaving. I should have known Mattea couldn’t keep her pants on for all those weeks. It’s a miracle that she even held on as long as she did.

I also need to confront Ilzo, let him know that I hate him for not hindering Mattea’s betrayal. I dread that conversation. I don’t know what to say to him that will make him truly understand that he can’t do what he did again. Maybe I can enlist Va’lyndra’s aid? Mattea has told me that she’s been hooking up with Ilzo, so she would presumably appreciate teaching Ilzo about monogamy.

In the morning, I think I will tell Mattea that I forgive her. She’ll want to – no, she’ll need to – make up, and I’d rather do that in this comfortable bed. When we leave for this next adventure, everything will be right in Mattea’s book. I still may need some time to truly come around, but with a happy Mattea lavishing attention on me and giving me regular doses of ecstasy, I hope this entire affair will recede to the back of my mind, a painful memory largely forgotten. If not, I fear it will destroy us.
__________________
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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Old 03-02-2021, 08:32 AM   #232
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 56 (2021-02-28)

Thoughts on October 10th

“Mattea? Get over here! I know you’re awake.” My hand froze on Olivia’s belly; I had heard that it should be possible to feel the baby move during the later stages of pregnancy, but I hadn’t felt anything. Maybe it was too soon, or maybe the baby was asleep. Olivia didn’t sound angry, just determined. I climbed carefully over to her other side and faced her. It was easier for me to do that than for her to turn around. “I’ve come to the conclusion that I can’t hold you responsible for Ilzo taking advantage of your Hunger,” Olivia said. “You held out longer than I should have expected. I’m not commending you for that – you did fail in the end – but I do forgive you.” I blinked tears of joy from my eyes and leaned in for a kiss, and nearly blacked out when I felt her questing for my inner sanctum.

We celebrated for hours. Olivia complimented me on my agility afterwards. “I wouldn’t have thought it humanly possible for you to get any limberer, but that thing you did with your feet …” I took the praise with a smile and refrained from telling her that I’d had to get more flexible, to compensate for her loss of mobility.

We joined Leopold in the common room. He barely glanced up from his book when we sat down for a belated breakfast. “Are you coming to the adventurer’s guild with us afterwards?” I asked him. “I need potions, and I should pay my guild fee, too. What can you tell me about the bandit quest?” It turned out Leopold and the others hadn’t actually decided on a specific quest, so that was another thing to check out once we got there.

At the guild, I picked out the potions I needed to replace and left behind my empty bottles. I thought the guild could use them. Olivia paid for my purchases, twenty-two gold and seven silver, as well as another gold piece for the monthly guild fee.

We checked out the quest board. Most were beginner quests and not very exciting, but three notes were more interesting. One described a bounty for troll ears – only right ears, though. The prize ranged from fifteen to forty gold per ear, depending on size. As we had discovered on the way here, there were many trolls in the forest near the Surd road, and there had been attacks on caravans, hence the bounty.

The first bandit quest concerned the group that Ilzo had found. The bandits counted twenty to thirty, and were known to move their camp from time to time, so while the guild knew in which area the bandits operated, the note said that their camp’s location was unknown. Ilzo found their camp one week ago, but it may have been moved since. The other bandit quest was closer. These bandits had erected a palisaded encampment two days to the south; we might reach it in one on horseback, I thought. This band also had between twenty and thirty members. Leopold and I agreed that we should confer with Va’lyndra before deciding which quest or quests we were taking.

We rode out of town and found Va’lyndra and Ilzo where we had left them. I told Ilzo that he owed us for the resuscitation potion, fifteen thousand copper. I figured that Ilzo should be the one to pay for it since he was the one who nearly killed Neriel, making us have to use the expensive potion to save him. Admittedly, I had been outside, practicing acrobatics when it happened, but it had to be Ilzo, right? He asked if twenty gems would cover it, practically an admission of guilt. “Um… Sure?” I said and passed them on to Olivia, who didn’t protest, so I guess it was fine.

I described the two bandit quests, and we decided to go for the closest one, the one with the palisade. Olivia and I would go back to Urdon and officially take the quest while the others transported Neriel to the knowledge guild. Contrary to what Leopold had said last night, Va’lyndra didn’t actually have an agreement to park our prisoner there, but since she’s a member in good standing, I had no doubt that she’d find a solution. Dragging Neriel along on quest would be bothersome.

I asked if the others needed anything. I could buy potions for them if they wished, but I got no requests for that. However, Va’lyndra asked if Olivia and I could go to the market and buy travel rations. She wanted high-quality food, and no meat. She showed Olivia an example of what she wanted.

Olivia and I let the others wrangle Neriel and headed back to Urdon. When we rode by the army camp and watch post just outside town, the soldiers paid close attention to us, so I leapt up on the saddle and put on a little show. Once we were out of hearing, Olivia said she didn’t like the way they looked at us. We agreed not to use the Surd gate again, at least for a while.

We went to the guild first. I informed guild master Gnomus that we were taking the bandit quest, the one with the palisade, and he took us aside for a private word. Another group of adventurers had tried this quest before. They had planned an ambush for the bandits when they went to get extortion money from a nearby village, but had walked into an ambush of their own and had been killed to a man. Word reached the guild via the villagers. The quest was worth thirty-five thousand now that the bandits had proven to be so difficult adversaries.

Gnomus warned us that these bandits were cunning. He thought that former Tamburin soldiers led them. He also recommended that we hired extra help for this quest. There were quite a few people at the guild hall, but I didn’t recognize anyone. Gnomus said that most people here were quite new to the adventuring game, but he pointed out a group of three ogres and a gnome, who were more experienced. “The gnome is in charge,” he informed us, “but don’t let the ogres know.” I said I couldn’t hire anyone without talking it over with my companions first.

Gnomus had some information about the bandit camp. The palisade enclosed a camp of about thirty meters in diameter. Outside the walls, the bandits had chopped down the forest out to about fifty meters. The other adventuring party had reported four towers along the palisade and a larger tower in the middle of the encampment. They had also observed five tent peaks over the wall.

An idea struck me. Since the bandits were so clever, perhaps they had spies inside our guild. I asked Gnomus if it was all right if he put up the quest on the board again, to make it appear we had decided against it. He accepted my request, but imposed a two-week limit. I said that was fine, and we shook hands.

Olivia and I went to the market next. We found a purveyor of fine, vegetarian food, and asked for travel rations. We needed food for five people, for one week – we could easily come back to town or find a farm to restock – and with three meals per day, that would make … um … I let Olivia take over. My jaw dropped when I heard the price. At another stall, Olivia bought two pillows stuffed with down. Hopefully, they’d make it more comfortable for her to sleep on the ground.

We took the southern exit and rode out to the knowledge guild. Our friends were waiting outside. Va’lyndra had arranged for us to deliver Neriel after dark. While we were waiting, we began to make plans for attacking the bandits. Ilzo wanted to storm the palisade, and said the rest of us could shoot down anything that popped up to put arrows in him. I thought it sounded stupid, but Va’lyndra claimed the plan had some merit. Leopold opined that we should spend some time spying on the bandits before we attacked. That was smart.

Since we had to wait until it got dark before handing over Neriel, we wouldn’t be leaving for the bandit camp until morning. I wanted to go back to Urdon so I could perform in the evening, but Leopold thought that was a bad idea. Since I had brought all my horses and equipment, going back now would seem suspicious, and would let anyone watching that he and the others were lingering nearby. We needed to lie low, he reminded us.

I was about to protest that lying low meant not doing anything out of the ordinary, and that for me, this would entail not skipping performances, but Va’lyndra spoke first. She asked why we had to lie low. I was confused. Hadn’t Leopold explained this to her and Ilzo already? Wasn’t that why we were going out to hunt bandits? I refrained from asking, as I didn’t want to embarrass myself in case I was just being slow again. Leopold filled in Va’lyndra and Ilzo on what Karl Morgenstern had said.

When I shared out the rations Olivia and I had purchased, Va’lyndra was annoyed that we had only brought enough food for one week, but since Leopold could find rocks to eat, she could take his share if we stayed longer. I thought Va’lyndra looked tired. I suppose her insomnia has struck again.

Since I couldn’t perform in town, I put on a show for my friends instead. Ilzo watched with great interest, which made Olivia stare daggers at him. I directed the rest of my show at Olivia and tried to keep eye contact as often as possible.

Neriel’s wings poked out of the large sack, and Va’lyndra wrapped them in blankets before we brought him inside the knowledge guild. We stuffed him inside a cell and removed the sack and blankets. I tested the ropes. They were as tight as when I first tied the knots. I asked if I could have my rope and handcuffs back now that Neriel was in a cell, but Va’lyndra said no. Since it was my rope that bound Neriel, she allowed me to exchange it for another, but the cuffs had to stay. That was fine by me.

Olivia wasn’t interested in using Lady Lovelace on me this evening. She used to enjoy tying me up and having her way with me, almost as much as I did, but it required Olivia to move about more nimbly than she was currently capable of, or at least it would be more effort than it was worth. We still had fun, but I had to do most of the movement between positions. I didn’t mind that at all, for I was finally back together with Olivia.
__________________
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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Old 03-02-2021, 08:44 AM   #233
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 56 (2021-02-28)

Thoughts on October 11th

We met the others for breakfast in the guild’s dining hall, and then we went to go on our quest. We traveled through the forest, in case the bandits were watching the road. Leopold’s pony was the slowest animal in the herd and I made a mental note to ask him to upgrade to a faster and bigger animal later. While I was thinking about that, I thought that maybe Olivia and I should sell Snowflake and get a better replacement. She’s a decent horse, but our other horses are faster and stronger.

In the evening, while we were making camp, I asked Olivia if she would do me the honor of keeping me company on my watch in the morning. She would! She said her pregnancy wasn’t giving her any difficulties beyond the unwieldy load she had to carry, so spending a few hours sitting next to me and occasionally reminding me to check on the horses wouldn’t be any trouble at all.


Thoughts on October 12th

Leopold knew best how to find the bandit camp, so he took the lead. I had heard as much as him from Gnomus about the quest, but past experiences have shown that I can’t be trusted to find a camp in the forest, so I gladly let Leopold do the navigation. When we were about an hour away from the bandits, in his estimation, we stopped and made camp. Olivia remained behind with the horses and most of our equipment, and the rest of us skulked forward while she began camouflaging our campsite.

The forest here wasn’t very dense, so we could see pretty far through the trees. We were about a hundred meters from the edge of the clearing when we lay down to observe the palisade. Va’lyndra and I climbed trees to poke our heads above the canopy, for the fort was placed on top of a small hill. The only people we could see were two men in the central tower. Va’lyndra also spotted a metal contraption there, which could be a steam cannon, similar to the one we used to break into the vault in Landfall. We were north-west of the fort, and we could see the northern gate from where we were, but not the southern one, so we moved a little to the south, in order to notice if anyone entered or left through either gate.

After a while, Va’lyndra pointed out that there were small, wooden barrels scattered around the chopped-down killing zone around the fort. She wondered what they contained, so I offered to retrieve one. Va’lyndra wanted to cast a spell on me to make me stealthier, and I accepted that, but I was shocked to find myself turning to water. My armor and equipment fell to the ground, but somehow my clothes were transformed with me. I failed to see how this would make me stealthier, but I trusted Va’lyndra. It had better work, for if I was discovered, I’d be unarmed and unarmored.

I slithered along the ground, and I had nearly made it to the barrel Va’lyndra had pointed out, when she whistled the signal meaning “Hide!” so I took cover under a bush. Archers and crossbowmen appeared in the nearest tower, looking in my direction. Va’lyndra’s spell wouldn’t last forever, so I had to hurry. I was confident in my own sneaking skills, but was unfamiliar with being made of water.

I found the barrel standing on top of a tiny mound. Split and carved-out logs radiated away from the barrel, making some kind of troughs, too small for me to lie in. I felt the barrel and discovered it was closed, so I tipped it towards me and began to roll it towards my friends. Someone in the fort shouted that they saw something, and then I heard running feet approaching from not very far away, so I hid under the bush again, leaving the barrel behind.

“What in the world? The barrel has rolled all this way?! How did that happen?” one voice asked, and I imagined the speaker scratching his head. Then someone stepped into view and picked up the barrel, replacing it on the mound. One of the bandits must have been a decent tracker, for he found where I had slithered up to the barrel. He can’t have been that good, though, for he suspected I was a snake, and they didn’t find me, even though they poked around for several minutes. I lay still, praying silently to Sulla that they wouldn’t see me, even when one of them looked right at my bush. If they found me, I’d never see Olivia again. The bandits gave up eventually and returned to their fort. I gave them enough time to get back, before venturing out from my bush. I went back to the barrel, and got away with it, this time without being spotted.

A few seconds after I got back, the spell wore off. Phew, that was close! I guess I should congratulate Va’lyndra on her accuracy, but I didn’t want her to turn me into a water … thing … again, ever. I felt weak, and naked without my armor and weapons. I let the others study the barrel while I put on my armor again. Leopold said, “The contents are stable enough that the barrel can be toppled and rolled.” A chill went down my back as I imagined transporting exploding troll parts in the barrel. Leopold lifted the barrel, listened to it while tipping it back and forth, and finally smelled it. “Oil. They’ll use it to light up the kill zone,” he concluded. I suggested shooting fire arrows at all the barrels to destroy them. We could let the oil burn out before attacking.

Va’lyndra and Leopold thought we should study the bandits’ behavior first. If their night watch routines weren’t good, we could drain the barrels instead. Or perhaps we could pour the oil onto the wooden palisade and set fire to it. Maybe the fire would spread inside? I said that if we wanted to burn their camp, it would be easier to shoot fire arrows at their tents.

We continued throwing ideas around, some better than the others. Va’lyndra could make it rain ice daggers all over their camp, although she had to get within a few meters of the palisade to set it off. Ilzo wanted to pour oil on his armor and set fire to it, in an attempt to scare the bandits. That was probably one of the worst ideas anyone proposed. Leopold had a better one. We could torch the oil barrels, fly over the fort and shoot the bandits in the back when they manned the walls to repel the attack. I remembered that Leopold has a wand that shoots lightning, which we could use to light up the oil.

My companions wanted to observe the bandits’ night routine. I didn’t want to stay away from Olivia for so long, so Va’lyndra walked me back to camp so I wouldn’t get lost. She returned to Ilzo and Leopold almost immediately, giving Olivia and me most of the day to ourselves. We turned in when it got dark, after I’d done a last patrol around the camp. Not sleeping with Olivia was out of the question, now that we were alone. The horses would alert us if danger approached, and I kept my weapons close.
__________________
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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Old 03-02-2021, 08:52 AM   #234
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 56 (2021-02-28)

Thoughts on October 13th

Our friends joined us early in the morning, while we were having breakfast, and they sat down to eat with us while they told us what they’d learned. When it got dark, the bandits had lit torches on the outside of the palisade. Another point of interest was that the bandits didn’t have a water supply inside their walls, and had to go to a small brook nearby to fetch it. The bandits also had trenches outside the palisade for when they had to relieve themselves, but that was just outside, so we’d have more luck making an ambush where they fetched water.

We spent some time planning. I told Ilzo I had fire resistance potions if he wanted to run through a burning field, although he wouldn’t be able to set his armor on fire for extra effect; the potion precluded that, since it also protected his gear. That hadn’t seemed reasonable to me when I first bought the potion, but it was magic, so it could work counter-intuitively if it needed to. I was certainly not the right person to say what could be done and what couldn’t, with magic.

My best idea was to stand among the trees and shoot at whatever peeked up from behind the palisade. Flying in might give us a better vantage point to shoot from, but if we were discovered, we’d have no safe retreat. Leopold proposed burning down the oil field a couple of days before the actual attack. He was also daunted by the prospect of the four of us fighting thirty bandits.

A final plan slowly coalesced. We would make an ambush at the brook. They’d probably send someone to check why the water carriers didn’t return, and we could ambush those as well. Tonight, we’d attack. Va’lyndra and I would drink flight potions and carry Leopold with us. Ilzo could make a distraction on the outside while we landed on the roof of the central tower. No, we wanted him to come with us. We needed a strong melee fighter to protect us. He could carry Leopold while I took out the tower guards nimbly and quietly, and Va’lyndra would hover outside, shooting at anyone that began to react to my intrusion. Once the tower resistance was quelled, we’d launch fire arrows at the oil barrels. If anyone raised the alarm, the bandits might believe the attack was coming from the outside and show us their backs.

Va’lyndra pointed out that three flight potions cost almost half the promised pay for this quest. That didn’t matter, though. We were filthy rich already, and really did this quest to have something to do while keeping our heads down. I thought perhaps the bandits may have a treasure chest or some such with all their loot, and Va’lyndra mentioned that we could sell the bandits’ weapons and armor.

During the Landfall heist, we discovered that it took several minutes to heat up a steam cannon, so if that was what was hidden in the central tower, nobody should be able to use it. Keeping it ready for hours on end was not safe. Anyway, if we took the central tower, we didn’t have to worry about it, and if the bandits were daring enough to prepare it for us, we could turn it against them. Or at least Leopold could. I don’t think anyone else knows how to work it.

We needed fire arrows. Va’lyndra took count of her supply. She had eighteen arrows of normal quality, for she hasn’t used her bow in like forever, and hasn’t thought to restock better arrows. I have a cornucopia quiver which gives me as many arrows as I need, but they disappear one minute after I create them, so we couldn’t prepare them as fire arrows. Fire arrows are more wobbly than normal arrows, so we didn’t convert all of Va’lyndra’s stockpile. I helped gather grass and moss, and Va’lyndra used her magic to attach it to arrows and to dry it out. I think she made ten fire arrows, but I didn’t keep count. Va’lyndra also made some fire bombs for Ilzo to throw at the bandits’ tents. We’d soak it all in oil before flying in.

We prepared to head for the watering hole, but Olivia didn’t like the idea of remaining alone here all day. There were monsters in the woods, in addition to bandits, who to Olivia was just another kind of monster. I suggested that Va’lyndra and I handled the ambushes. I didn’t want to take Ilzo and be alone with him for however long – Leopold had shown that he didn’t count as a chaperone, and I didn’t think he’d be very helpful in the ambush. Olivia didn’t want Ilzo to stay with her either, so the only solution was for me to remain with her. It was almost as if she had planned it. Now she’d get me alone all day again, or at least until the others were done. It might take two hours or ten, but I realized that while I wanted to show off my shooting skills, I had a much stronger desire to stay with Olivia.

As soon as the others had left, I began to flirt with Olivia. I didn’t want to postpone sex any longer than I had to, and it would be less awkward if we were done when the others came back. Afterwards, we talked for a long time, before Olivia asked me to help her with the camp chores. She didn’t want to be alone when we attacked the fort tonight, but knew that everyone else was needed there. We decided we’d pack up everything and leave her just a couple of minutes away from the fort. She’d have the horses ready to go, and could flee on Marvin if necessary.

It didn’t take many hours before the others returned. Leopold was practically glowing with excitement. He had actually been quite helpful during the ambushes. The first ambush took out two water bearers easily. When those didn’t return, four bandits went out to check on them, and a real fight broke out. Ilzo took a deep cut from an axe, which made Olivia smirk, and Va’lyndra had to be carried away after using so much magic. Ilzo was overjoyed; he had put all the bandit heads on spikes and was allowed to urinate on the corpses in sight of the fort. The rest of the bandits refused to come out, and Va’lyndra, Ilzo and Leopold decided to call it a day. Va’lyndra had just enough energy left to make a hailstorm to cover their tracks while being carried away by Ilzo.
__________________
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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Old 03-22-2021, 12:21 PM   #235
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 57 (2021-03-19)

Thoughts on October 13th (continued)

With the others back from their little ambush expedition and able to keep watch, I thought I could have some more playtime with Olivia. I couldn’t help but give her a mischievous grin when Leopold said we should all try to get some sleep during the day, so we’d be alert when it was time for the attack on the bandit camp, and Va’lyndra offered to take the first watch.

Olivia made half-hearted attempts at claiming work needed to be done, but neither of us really thought it was that urgent, so we stayed inside our tent. Play first, then chores. Or perhaps more play. While we were resting between bouts, or rather while Olivia rested while I gave her another massage for her swollen feet, we heard Ilzo take over the watch from Va’lyndra.

Several hours later, and I’ll admit that I completely lost track of time, Leopold came to inform us that we had visitors, so I dressed and got out to see who had showed up. It soon became clear that Ilzo, Va’lyndra and Leopold had spotted movement in the distance, and had ambushed two men leading oxen with provisions for the bandits. I was at first upset that I hadn’t been invited to join the fun, but then I realized that I’d rather be with Olivia. It was so good to have her back! Although… I’d feel really bad if the others ran into something they couldn’t handle without my awesomeness and got themselves killed.

One of the men was a bandit himself, but the other one was a villager. The provisions were payment to the bandits so they wouldn’t harm the village. Va’lyndra gave first aid to the bandit while Leopold led Ilzo and me to unload the oxen so they’d get some rest. Va’lyndra decided to dance in front of the villager when she was done with the bandit. The bandit was unconscious, but he’d wake soon, I guessed, so it would be wise to tie him up. I got permission from Leopold, and set about it.

Someone had cast a spell on the villager, Va’lyndra revealed, and she and Leopold questioned him about it. It had apparently happened without the villager’s knowledge, for he claimed that only demons performed magic. Va’lyndra slapped him and ordered him to sit down. Did she take umbrage at the villager’s statement?

Leopold chatted with the villager while Va’lyndra analyzed the spell. He didn’t know what we might find inside the palisade, for while he had delivered supplies before, the oxen had been unloaded outside the palisade. He did tell us that the bandits had taken two young women from the village, so we should expect there to be hostages inside. Each of the six villages had a bandit living there, probably to keep an eye on things. Our quest didn’t mention them, only the palisaded encampment, and Leopold thought we could simply inform the villages that we had taken care of the bandit camp, and they’d deal with their single criminal on their own, without fear of reprisal.

Va’lyndra discovered that the spell allowed the caster to command the villager; anything the caster ordered would be hard to refuse. Va’lyndra warned us that one or more of the bandits were mages, which might make the attack difficult. Leopold asked her if killing the mage who had cast the spell on the villager would make the magic go away. Va’lyndra thought so. It might take an hour or two, but if the magic didn’t disappear, we’d know we hadn’t killed the mage yet.

Ilzo discovered that the oxen had carried ale, and we discussed having a drink. It wasn’t ours – it belonged to the village – so we asked the villager for permission to have a taste. Va’lyndra was skeptical about the whole thing for some reason, and I decided to heed her. In the end, only Ilzo drank, and only a small taste. It wasn’t that good, he reported, so I didn’t feel a big loss for abstaining. Ilzo asked our guest if they had a wise woman in their village, and wanted to look her up to acquire sleeping draught to put in the ale before sending it to the bandits. He also proposed stuffing me and Leopold inside the barrels, so we could pop out and attack the bandits when they came to claim their provisions. As usual, Leopold and Va’lyndra explained to Ilzo why his ideas were so bad, and told him that we should stick to our original plan.

Leopold proposed to move the camp farther away from the trail where they had ambushed the bandit and the villager. Ilzo said that if the bandits sent a search party for them, they wouldn’t find our camp if we moved. Since we wanted any opportunity to cut down on the bandits’ numbers before the attack tonight, we conceded that this idea of Ilzo’s wasn’t actually that bad.

Leopold warned the villager that we would tie him up. As we didn’t know who the mage was – it could be the unconscious bandit, or someone crafty enough to sneak up on our camp – we wanted to be sure he wouldn’t cause trouble. We gagged the bandit, just in case. I asked the villager if it was all right with him that we tied him up, and he accepted, resigned to the fact that he couldn’t resist.

The villager asked where our reinforcements were. The bandits were more than twenty, and counted professional soldiers among them. Ilzo told him that we could take at least five each, so that wouldn’t be a problem.

Va’lyndra was still struggling with her insomnia and said she could keep watch while the rest of us got some sleep. Since it was still early, Olivia and I decided to have some fun before sleepy-time. By now, Olivia has gotten used to the Sulla statuette staring at us while we do our thing. We often spend some time talking after sex, but tonight we chose to go right to sleep.

Va’lyndra took the round waking people when she noticed something moving nearby in the darkness. I strung my bow while Olivia wrapped the belt with my knife and my quiver around my waist. I couldn’t see her, not without a light, but I could feel the displeasure oozing off her at me going outside naked again. I don’t know if it was worse that Ilzo got to see my stuff, or the visitors, but I suspected Ilzo.

Ilzo and Va’lyndra started to sneak off towards whatever Va’lyndra had seen. Leopold and I remained in the camp. When he spotted something in the dark, Leopold began to aim with his lightning wand while moving slowly towards it. I had no chance to see his target, so I remained where I was, guarding the entrance to Olivia’s tent.

Suddenly, Leopold fired off a lightning bolt, and then he sauntered out into the woods. He must have shot it down. It turned out it had been some kind of monster, a snake-like being with arms and a peculiar head. At least that was how Ilzo described it when they came back; they didn’t bring the carcass. Va’lyndra told us it had magical powers, but luckily, it hadn’t been able to use them against us.

This was the fourth fight today that I wasn’t needed for, and I was beginning to feel left out. Maybe the others didn’t need me anymore? Maybe I should just remain with Olivia and let the others raid the palisade without me. I talked it over with Olivia, and while she would prefer having me close, she didn’t think the others could take care of the bandits without an archer of my caliber. Her confidence perked me right up, and was about to throw myself at her when Va’lyndra interrupted.

Since we were all awake and it wasn’t that long until we had planned to leave, we should pack down the camp and prepare for the raid. We decided to leave the oxen and the provisions behind. The villager could retrieve his belongings when we let him go, after we dealt with the bandit camp.

When we were about a hundred meters from the edge of the clearing, I tied the bandit and the villager to a tree and checked on their gags. I found a rock and gave it to Olivia, telling her to smack them over the head if they began to make trouble. Olivia accepted the rock and put it down. Her body language said she wasn’t going to pick it up again. We tied all the horses together in a long string and then I helped Olivia mount Marvin. She’d rather flee if things started to look ugly, than partake in violence. She asked me how long we would be gone. I thought we should be done in a quarter of an hour, and promised to come and get her when it was safe.

Ilzo, Va’lyndra, Leopold and I sneaked towards the palisade. Something glowed in the central tower. Leopold exclaimed excitedly that the bandits had lit up the steam cannon. Maybe he could use it against them? We pulled back inside the trees. “Last chance to talk,” I said, and asked who should carry Leopold. We agreed to alter our plans slightly, so that Ilzo and I would take out the tower guards. That meant Va’lyndra had to carry Leopold.
__________________
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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Old 03-22-2021, 12:57 PM   #236
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 57 (2021-03-19)

I retrieved my flight potion from my backpack, as well as my customary potions of speed, battle and invulnerability. As the potions were quite expensive, I only drank the flight potion. I put the others in my pouch. If the bandits managed to pin us down in the tower, I would quaff them, but if everything went according to the plan, I shouldn’t need them.

Va’lyndra grabbed hold of Leopold and then we rose into the air. His weight slowed her down, so I put on a show of aerobatics while we flew. We rose a couple hundred meters, then headed over to the encampment before starting to descend towards the tower roof.

When we were around eighty meters above the tower, one bandit decided to poke his head out and look up. I had no idea how he detected us, but I didn’t stop to think. I drew an arrow and shot the bandit in the face, making him slump over the battlement, but he didn’t fall all the way out. Ilzo began a free fall to accelerate faster than the potion would allow, but Va’lyndra and Leopold descended carefully. That was probably a good idea, as the only thing that prevented Leopold from falling was Va’lyndra’s arms.

Having stopped for a second to get off a steady shot, I was lagging behind Ilzo, so I dropped into a free fall, too. I shot past Va’lyndra and Leopold, and saw Ilzo starting to slow down under me. I used the potion to keep from accelerating further, but enjoyed the increased speed immensely. Someone in the tower banged on metal, shouting “Alarm!” when I was about ten meters above the roof.

Two bandits were sleeping on the ground, so I shot one of them while descending. Ilzo swooped inside the tower and I heard someone fire a crossbow, shouting “Arrg, they’re here!” I descended to outside the battlements and shot the man who had been clanging away, who was now backing off towards me from where Ilzo entered. The arrow penetrated completely and continued past Ilzo.

Ilzo stabbed at the last man standing, the crossbowman, with Surkalpi, but he missed. The crossbowman dropped his ranged weapon and drew a longsword instead, while shouting that we had entered the tower. I drew another arrow and shot the bandit, entering the tower, but the arrow plonked off his metal armor. Ilzo stabbed again, and while the bandit showed skill with the sword, Surkalpi slipped past his guard and skewered him. The bandit remained standing and took a step towards Ilzo, slicing the air with his sword.

I knew Ilzo would win this duel, so I drew another arrow and looked outside. I saw two bandits come out of a tent, and more were on the way. These hadn’t had time to put on armor, but they were armed with swords and shields. As I predicted, Ilzo’s next attack felled his opponent.

I shot one of the bandits emerging from their tents, and noticed a flash of light in the corner of my eye; Leopold had entered battle with his lightning wand. The bandits kept yelling that we were in the tower. Perhaps I should move, I thought. I drew another arrow and fired at the only bowman I could see, but I forgot to use the advanced technique I had learned to draw and shoot rapidly and precisely, so the arrow whizzed past the bandit and struck the ground.

I withdrew to the center of the tower, so the enemy archer couldn’t see me. Ilzo jumped down a hatch in the floor and told the bandit below, “You’re my shield today!” Leopold was on my level and saw that there were no opponents remaining, so he told Va’lyndra to descend another floor. A bandit shouted “Are we in control of the tower?” and Ilzo replied “Yes!”

Looking out the south side of the tower, I saw a bandit on the ground, just getting up, so I put him down again. Under me, I heard Ilzo destroy a shield, as well as the arm that held it. One of the bandits yelled that they had to chop down the tower.

From where I was standing, I could see chained prisoners, but no bandits, so I flew down the hatch, preparing yet another arrow. Ilzo, Va’lyndra and Leopold were there, as was a huge steam cannon. I took position between the cannon and one of the four columns that supported the tower. Ilzo was bending over a bandit on the floor and grabbing him. Leopold looked down the eastern ladder. Va’lyndra flew out towards the north-west just as chopping began under us.

I flew over to Leopold and grabbed him with my legs. “Ilzo! We’re leaving! Throw him out!” Ilzo flew out over the southern battlements and dropped the bandit. Leopold shot a lightning bolt down the exterior ladder. From the west, a voice ordered, “Flee up the tower!”

I followed Ilzo, carrying Leopold between my legs. The added weight made me lose more than half my speed. Ilzo dropped to the ground, landing on the bandit. “Hello, there!” he said to the bandits under the tower. Leopold asked if we should let Ilzo deal with them and head over to a side tower. On the other side of the central tower, I could hear Va’lyndra had engaged the enemy, for they cursed, calling her elf swine.

In the east, an armored bandit appeared from behind a tent and ran towards the ladder at the eastern palisade tower. Under Leopold and me, several bandits stopped chopping up the tower supports and charged Ilzo. I fired at the armored one to the east, but twisted my legs so Leopold could assist Ilzo. Leopold tried to twist back and asked me to fly towards the tower, so I assumed Ilzo was doing all right. In fact, he had done a whirlwind attack that felled three of the four bandits, and severely wounded the fourth.

The armored bandit began to climb, so I shot him in the back, making him fall off the ladder. Leopold took aim at him, in case he wasn’t dead. The voice from the west ordered, “Kill them!” This made two scantily clad women charge Ilzo. They were unarmed. I hoped Ilzo wouldn’t kill them, as they were obviously under the same spell as the villager we had met before. I flew back inside the tower and put Leopold down. I apologized quickly for not being able to do as he wanted. Leopold ran over to the eastern ladder and looked down.

To the north-west, Va’lyndra screamed in terror and took flight. Something had really spooked her. The armored bandit was getting up, so I put another arrow in him and he dragged himself behind a tent. Leopold ran past the cannon and looked out to the west. To the north, two bandits were climbing up to the palisade. The first jumped off and whimpered loudly when he landed. I shot the other one in the back.

Leopold told me to help him down, so I flew over and grabbed him with my legs again while he put away his wand. We flew down to the ground on the western side of the tower. To our right, a small rain of ice daggers was pummeling two lifeless bodies. Va’lyndra had managed to do some good before fleeing, at least.

Leopold pointed to the tent in front of us and said we had to take out the one hiding there. It had to be the mage, so I whispered to Leopold to get fire bombs from Ilzo and throw them at the tent. Ilzo was just a few meters away, pinning one rabid hostage to the ground with each hand. Leopold ignored me, though, and drew his knife before moving towards the tent determinedly. I flew up in the air to cover him from above as he skirted the tent, but there was nobody behind it. Leopold looked up and asked me to search for a man in a fancy night gown.

I ascended while Leopold cut a hole in the tent. The mage inside cast a spell, so I fired an arrow through the roof, hoping to get lucky. Leopold ran around to the front of the tent and I shot again. I missed again. At least I heard no yelps of pain. I shot one last time just as Leopold entered the tent, but then I had to stop, for I didn’t want to risk hitting Leopold. Instead, I moved towards the center of the camp, to a better position.

Leopold came out of the tent a couple of seconds later with blood on his knife. He called over to Ilzo, reminding him that he could fly away from the girls. He should find the armored bandit instead of bothering the hostages. Since I was closer, and knew where he had been not many seconds ago, I flew past his tent and looked down. He was still there, but he was not down. He saw me, just as I saw him, and interposed his shield, but my arrow pierced it completely. Aside from the two mind-controlled hostages, I didn’t think there were any more enemies inside the palisade, so I continued shooting at the bandit until he stopped moving. Then I flew out to check on the one that had jumped off the northern palisade. He had made it almost to the forest. I put an arrow in his back.
__________________
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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Old 03-31-2021, 06:27 AM   #237
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 58 (2021-03-26)

Thoughts on October 13th (continued)

Leopold and I checked the bandits’ tents to see if anyone was hiding. We only found the unconscious mage, and pulled him outside. I picked up some rope and began tying up the bandits that weren’t obviously dead. Ilzo asked what he should do with the two rabid girls; he was holding them by the neck, at arm’s length.

Leopold asked where Va’lyndra was. I pointed. “She flew that way.” Leopold saw her despite the darkness, being a gnome. I told him I could run and catch up with her if I could borrow Surkalpi; I believed I could run faster than she could fly. Leopold said no. He’d keep an eye on her for now.

I tied up Ilzo’s girls before continuing with the bandits. Ilzo ran after Va’lyndra as soon as his hands were free, but he was far from as fast as I would have been. “You can fly, Ilzo,” I reminded him, and he took off. Leopold went to speak with the captives who were chained up under a big tarp. He said he didn’t want to release them, yet, in case they were spelled like the two girls.

Some of the bandits were bleeding, but I prioritized to tie them up as quickly as possible, so I could get to Olivia before my flight potion wore off. Leopold went on a scavenging round through the camp, gathering up whatever he found interesting and putting it on a table under the big tarp. When I had tied up the last bandit, I called over to him to give first aid to the bandits while I fetched Olivia. I ran straight for the palisade and leapt into the air, somersaulting over the three-meter-high wall. I couldn’t help myself; I just had to show off while the flight potion allowed me to perform such stunts.

I sprinted across the killing field and reconnected with Olivia in a matter of seconds. I yanked off my helmet and gave her a long kiss. “Come on! Let’s have some fun while I can fly!” Olivia got my meaning, but she shut me down, whispering so the two men tied to a nearby tree wouldn’t overhear. “How do you propose we do that? In my condition, I need to lie on my back, on something solid, when we do the deed. If the chance comes again after I’ve given birth, I promise I’ll ride you through the air to your heart’s content, but for now, I have to pass.”

I untied the two men from the tree, but they were still secured. I heaved the bandit over Bluebell’s saddle, and then we walked up to the palisade. I climbed over the wall and opened the gate. It was barred by a heavy log, and it was barely within my limits to remove it singlehandedly. Once everyone was inside, I shut the gate, but didn’t put the bar back.

Leopold asked Olivia to help with the first aid and repeated that we shouldn’t release the captives before Va’lyndra had confirmed that they weren’t spelled. I hovered over Olivia, literally, while she bandaged bandits. She asked if we needed to expend any resources beyond bandages. I said no. We weren’t throwing away healing potions on these people. Our quest was to neutralize the bandits however we saw fit. I wasn’t comfortable with killing anyone, now that we had captured them. I thought we should hand them over to the authorities in Urdon. They would most likely hang, so any healing potions we spent on them would go to waste.

Va’lyndra and Ilzo returned, and Ilzo noticed that his girlfriends were still rabid. Leopold asked Va’lyndra how long she thought the spell would last, but she didn’t reply. She went straight for the mage and started thrashing him with her staff while swearing at him. Ilzo decided to go over the bandits and identify which of them he had defeated personally. Heads began to roll. Leopold just sat down at the table with some books he had found here, but Olivia complained to me about the barbaric behavior. I had never seen Va’lyndra act like this before. I didn’t know what to say or do; the mage must have done something horrible to her while I was busy elsewhere on the battlefield. Ilzo was another matter. “Hey, Ilzo! You mustn’t chop the head off of anyone who is still alive!”

Olivia huffed and walked off, towards the gate. I caught up with her and asked where she was going. She replied that Va’lyndra’s and Ilzo’s behavior turned her stomach with its barbarity. I tried to tell her that the mage was already dead – I hadn’t checked, so it could be true – but Olivia just kept walking.

We sat down outside the palisade, leaning against it. Olivia needed time to process what she had witnessed, so we just sat there in silence, holding hands. I suddenly remembered something, so I jumped up and grabbed the top of the wall and pulled myself up so I could look inside. “Ilzo! You have to find the bandits’ treasure chest!” I would look for it myself, but I was needed here, mainly for comfort, but also for protection in case something came out of the night-shrouded Bewitched Forest.

A shout from inside got me to leap up and look inside again. “Va’lyndra! Don’t take the tent pole!” It was Leopold’s voice. To release the captives, Va’lyndra had disintegrated the heavy, upright log they were chained to. That log was the central tent pole for the big tarp that Leopold’s table was under. Va’lyndra and Leopold yelled at each other angrily. Va’lyndra was furious that Leopold apparently had found the keys to the chains, but didn’t release the captives. Leopold was angry that Va’lyndra had ignored his request to check them for magic. I didn’t want to get involved, so I dropped down to Olivia again.

Eventually, Olivia decreed that we should use the bandit camp to get some safe sleep. I helped her to her feet and we walked back inside. Olivia checked out all the tents and picked out the most luxurious one for us, except for the mage’s tent that had a big bloodstain inside. While Olivia prepared for bed, I rounded up the others and told them we could clean up tomorrow. I asked Ilzo to grab the villager he had ambushed and fetch the oxen and the provisions. Leopold had to explain to Ilzo that he should untie the villager and let him walk on his own, not just toss him over his shoulder.

I went over the knots I had tied on the bandits that were still alive, and tightened them where necessary. It took me several minutes to make sure all of the bandits were secured properly, and Olivia was asleep when I entered the tent. That was a disappointment, but she murmured contentedly when I slipped under the blankets and embraced her. I kissed her cheek and whispered, “Good night, wife!”
__________________
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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Old 03-31-2021, 06:41 AM   #238
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 58 (2021-03-26)

Thoughts on October 14th

When we woke up, I suggested to Olivia that she organized breakfast while I raised morale with an acrobatics show. She smiled and said that was fine. I put on my performance outfit and went outside. As soon as I left the tent, one of the former captives, an older woman, came up to me and asked if I was the leader of our group. I said it depended on what she actually wanted to ask. I held the most rank in the adventurers’ guild, and I knew certain skills that the others didn’t, but when it came to strategy or negotiation, I depended on the others to take the lead.

It turned out the woman wanted to know what would happen to them and to the goods that the bandits had taken from their villages. I reassured the woman that we would escort them home – the former captives hailed from four of the six villages in the vicinity – and that we had no claim on the stolen goods. They had to sort out amongst themselves what should go to which village, or perhaps there were mayors or councilors in the villages that could convene and see to the proper distribution. The woman thanked me for taking care of the bandits, and for the promise to see them safely home.

After breakfast and my show, Leopold took charge. He announced that after we had cleaned up the encampment, we would take everyone and everything to the nearest village. That village could inform the others, so they could send representatives to negotiate for the goods, as well as bring their people home.

With the help of the villagers, it didn’t take long to gather up everything in three piles. The first pile was in fact ready; it consisted of the provisions we had captured in the woods. We knew who owned that. The other piles were larger, and held what the villagers laid claim to and not. I think the villagers were afraid of Va’lyndra and Ilzo; Olivia wasn’t the only one to be disturbed by their bloodthirsty behavior last night. The villagers put some things into our pile that should have gone in their pile, but which they thought we might not believe was theirs.

The first things to go into our pile was seven crossbows and the accompanying bolts. The weapons were of decent make, and Ilzo even tested one, but he thought he could draw it too easily. He would want one with a heavier pull, I presumed. Not that he really needed a crossbow. He has his sling, from which he lobs veritable boulders.

Next came knives, longswords and axes. We moved the axes over to the villagers’ pile, for they weren’t dedicated weapons, and could be used to chop wood. We wouldn’t get much for them anyway, if we sold them. We let the villagers have the knives, too. The bandits’ bows were of poor quality, and probably not of military issue, so we asked the villagers about them. They admitted that some of the bows came from their villages, so we let them have them all. They’d be useful to protect the villages from the monsters of the Bewitched Forest.

The bandits’ shields varied in quality, not considering the number Ilzo had done on a few of them. We tossed aside the broken ones and let the villagers have the rest. There was no law against commoners arming themselves. With the Bewitched Forest so close, it was encouraged! The authorities might look askance on finding a stash of military grade weaponry, though.

There were seventeen sets of leather armor, all of poor quality despite most not having been used last night. The bandits hadn’t had time to put them on, except for the few on guard. We let the villagers have the leather armor, too. There were seven sets of plate armor, all marked with military insignia. They looked all right, quality-wise. One even looked like masterwork despite all the holes I had put through it to ensure that the wearer was dead. Looking at it now, I thought maybe I had gone a little overboard.

The bandit mage’s staff was magical, as was a small stone Va’lyndra found in his tent. We kept those, of course. We uncovered some jewelry and fancy clothes that we decided to sell; it was too fine for village people. The bandits’ furniture also found its way to our pile, but that was so heavy that we didn’t bother with it. It wouldn’t fetch much at market. Finally, there were some tools. Some of them might be useful to us, but I thought the majority should go to the villagers.

Leopold found a small library, yesterday, and now that we were divvying up the loot, he gave me two of the books. They were hardly more than leaflets, at least compared to some of the volumes I’ve seen in his possession – or Va’lyndra’s – before. He said they’d suit me. At first, I thought that was because of the size. Even someone as bookophobic as me should be able to get through these. I glanced at the first title, “Silent Whispers”. I glared at Leopold. If this was an instruction manual on stealth, he had more need of it than me. But perhaps he had already read it. Leopold devours books when given the chance. And I might learn something. Admittedly, I got by on superior flexibility and mobility, not much actual stealth practice. The other book was titled “The Maiden’s Sword”. That made me frown. I was primarily an archer, and I could fall back on my skill with knives or unarmed combat if an opponent got too close. I had no need to learn swordplay. I humored Leopold, though, smiled and said thank you, and stuffed the books into my saddlebags. Maybe I’d get around to read these books, if I broke both arms and legs and Olivia wasn’t around to keep me company in my boredom.

There was one last thing, the most valuable item here: The steam cannon. Leopold drained it of water, but it was still far too heavy to get down from the tower, even for Ilzo. “How did they even get it up there?” I asked. I retracted the question when Leopold opened his mouth. I didn’t want to listen to all the technical details about how one might accomplish such a feat. I asked how we could get it down instead. If we got it down, Va’lyndra could make a sled so we could pull it along. I was about to suggest having Ilzo quaff a potion of fetch and carry, but Va’lyndra suggested that Leopold used his earth magic to lower the tower into the ground.

Leopold considered the proposal for a moment before nodding. He instructed Ilzo and me to keep an eye on the tower as he lowered it, for it was top-heavy and could begin to tilt if he wasn’t precise enough when manipulating the earth. It turned out there was no need for us. Leopold lowered the tower carefully into the ground, building up a ramp beside it in the process, so he didn’t have to reach so deep into the earth. Then with a joint effort, we lifted it out and onto the sled, which Va’lyndra had shaped from parts of the tower. The villagers pulled back from all this blatant use of magic and watched from a distance with a mixture of fear and curiosity. They had seen us fly around and shoot lightning bolts last night, so they shouldn’t be too surprised.

We wanted to destroy the palisade so it couldn’t be used by other bandits, so I brought the villagers outside to gather up all the oil barrels that were spread out on the killing field. I balanced on the palisade and had Ilzo toss up barrel after barrel while I slowly made my way around the encampment, pouring oil onto the palisade as I went along. I may have done some acrobatics while I was up there, too. We also drenched the central tower in oil. Va’lyndra and Leopold had to rest after their spellcasting and sat down to recuperate while the rest of us worked.

The horses and oxen were so heavily laden that we couldn’t ride. We brought the animals, the villagers and the six remaining bandits out the gates and into the forest, about a hundred meters beyond the edge of the clearing. Ilzo pulled the sled with the steam cannon. Va’lyndra, Leopold, Ilzo and I returned to the forest’s edge, and I got out flint and steel while Ilzo found his fire bombs, the ones Va’lyndra had prepared before the attack. I lit the soaked ball on fire, and Ilzo hurled it at the palisade. It looked to me that the oil-soaked logs caught on fire before Ilzo’s fiery projectile actually struck, but that couldn’t be. It actually looked like the very air around the palisade began to burn. I rubbed my eyes, a difficult feat with my helmet on. The encampment became an inferno, and the flames rose a hundred meters into the air. Even at this distance, it was uncomfortably hot. Leopold and Va’lyndra decided to remain behind to make sure the fire didn’t spread to the forest, but told the rest of us to get going.
__________________
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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Old 03-31-2021, 06:52 AM   #239
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 58 (2021-03-26)

With Ilzo having to navigate the heavy sled between the trees, it only took Va’lyndra and Leopold one and a half hour to catch up. In fact, it went so slowly that because of our late start, it was dark when the lights of the village came into view.

The villagers armed when they saw us approaching, but their brave leader, a dwarf who introduced himself as Urf Beardson, came out to meet us. There was much rejoicing when the villagers saw who we brought home. Leopold informed Urf that we had dealt with the bandits and brought their friends and the stolen goods. I looked to see if I could see anyone reacting suspiciously to the news, but Va’lyndra made such a fuss about a non-human being in charge, that it was hard to pay attention elsewhere.

Urf instructed someone to clear out a house for us, so we could stay the night. I asked him if he knew who the bandit spy was, and said we were happy to help dealing with them, but Urf called over four sturdy lads and went to take care of the bandit.

A woman showed us to the house we had been assigned. Leopold said we would keep the captured bandits with us, even though it might be crowded inside. He and Walter would watch the bandits, who could sleep on the floor of the living room. I suggested that Olivia and I took the bedroom. Leopold replied that Ilzo and Va’lyndra could have objections to that.

A teenage boy came with tea and biscuits and promised a celebratory meal in the morning. He also let us know that Ferdinand, the bandit, had escaped. “Ilzo! We’re going tracking!” I shouted. “On second thoughts,” I added to Leopold, “would it be better if Va’lyndra and Ilzo went? She sees better at night than I do.” Leopold informed me that Va’lyndra needed sleep; she had slept poorly for several nights, and not at all last night. The boy looked at me with disbelief. Were we really going out into the forest in the middle of the night? “Yes, of course. We’re adventurers!” I said, as if that explained everything.

Ilzo and I brought with us some biscuits and Ilzo began looking for tracks. The boy had pointed out which direction Ferdinand had gone. We wandered around for a while before Ilzo found a broken twig and started following the tracks. It didn’t go very fast, so I walked on my hands for practice. After following the tracks for an hour or so, Ilzo declared that these weren’t the right tracks after all. We went back and found another set of tracks to follow. These led to a well-traveled road. Ilzo searched the other side of the road to see if Ferdinand had crossed, but concluded that the bandit had decided to follow the road. With all the other traffic, it would be impossible to discern which direction Ferdinand had gone, so we decided to turn back. Morning wasn’t far off anyway, and we were getting hungry and tired. It was light long before we reached the village. “Breakfast time!” Ilzo declared when he spotted the village.

Leopold and Urf had already sent off people to notify the other villages. Leopold had told our story to everyone with half a mind to listen, but he said that the villagers had interesting stories, too. I suggested I put on a show after getting some food inside me, but Leopold said the feast in our honor had been postponed until evening. Ilzo and I could go to bed, and I could have my show when people weren’t at work. That sounded good to me.


Thoughts on October 15th

Olivia woke me before it was time for our victory feast. I performed for the entire village, as I had promised, and everyone had a good time. Afterwards, I took Olivia back to our house so we’d get some privacy before the others would go to bed.


Thoughts on October 16th

We got moving towards Urdon. On the road, Ilzo wasn’t the slowest one like he’d been in the forest. It was the bandits who delayed us now. They were all badly injured. Olivia had looked them over and determined they wouldn’t die, not until we reached the gallows in Urdon, anyway. We found another village when it was time to put up for the night. This wasn’t one of the six that the bandits had ruled over, but they were still law-obliged to take us in for the night. Since we could afford to pay them for their services, we did.


Thoughts on October 17th

Moving on, we sang. I don’t recall who started it, but everyone joined in except the bandits. “One thousand pieces of gold on a wall, one thousand pieces of gold …” The number of gold pieces on the wall dropped by one for each verse until Ilzo and Leopold made up a verse about killing trolls and collecting the bounty, bringing us back to one thousand pieces of gold on the wall. The bandits groaned. We found another village in the evening and hired rooms.


Thoughts on October 18th

Getting back to Urdon took much longer than going out, but we were close, even when we set out in the morning. In the afternoon, we stopped for a minute. Leopold didn’t want to go straight into town, for we didn’t know the situation there. Someone was in the business of kidnapping important government councilors, and we knew that people had arrived here to look around discreetly for the missing Seral. Leopold asked if we should head for the knowledge guild compound instead. Va’lyndra didn’t want our captives to know where that was, but Leopold told her we could just blindfold them. So we did.

The guards recognized Va’lyndra, of course, and probably me too, but Va’lyndra was the guild member among us. My membership was merely honorary. Va’lyndra got rooms for us and cells for the bandits. I suggested that Olivia and I could go into town and speak with Gnomus about the quest we had completed, but Leopold said it was better if he or Va’lyndra went, in case people were looking for us. I was famous around these parts, and Ilzo wasn’t unknown either. I was fine with not putting on a show in Urdon tonight. I had performed at three villages in as many days, and while I would perform again if given the chance, Olivia and I had a room all to ourselves and I wasn’t about to let that opportunity slip away.

“Um… Mattea?” Olivia asked while we were unpacking our stuff. Well, she was unpacking. I was looking for the Sulla statuette so the god of love could watch us in action. “What?” “These books… um… just… why?” “I didn’t go out and buy them, if that’s what you’re thinking. Leopold found them in the bandit stash and thought I’d like them, but I have to admit, after I put them away, I forgot all about them. I have no desire to learn another weapon, and I’m stealthier than any of the others, so they’re not much use.” Olivia looked stunned. “Stealth… Weapons… These aren’t instruction books, Mattea. They’re erotic novellas!” My jaw dropped.

It didn’t take much convincing to get Olivia to read to me. We had a great time with “The Maiden’s Sword”. It got me really turned on, and only the desire to hear how the story concluded prevented me from jumping Olivia. Suddenly, she thought she heard something and waddled over to the window and peeked out between the curtains. “Va’lyndra and Leopold just came in,” she said over her shoulder. “They’re looking for Ilzo.” “Then we’d better get down to business. You can finish the story later.”
__________________
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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Old 04-14-2021, 08:37 AM   #240
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 59 (2021-04-09)

Thoughts on October 19th

Everyone met up for breakfast. Nobody had come knocking on our door last night, but Leopold informed us now about what they’d discovered yesterday. He and Va’lyndra had been questioned before entering town and Leopold thought that someone had followed them for a while. They hadn’t been able to find Master Gnomus at the adventurers’ guild, but had met his daughter, who manned the desk in his absence. They returned to the knowledge guild with unfinished business.

Ilzo had discovered that someone was asking questions about us in Urdon and informed Leopold and Va’lyndra when they got back. Leopold decided to spend the evening writing a letter to Gnomus – in gnomish so fewer people would understand it if it fell into the wrong hands – about us finishing the quest and that we couldn’t come inside town for the time being. He also wrote about the loot we wanted to sell. He and Va’lyndra paid someone here to deliver the letter and hopefully return with a reply.

I thanked Leopold for the books he had given me. They weren’t at all what I had thought. Olivia turned bright red, so I changed the topic. I said that Fabian would like a trip into town, thinking that nobody here should connect him to us. Leopold replied that it wouldn’t be good if Fabian decided to set up a show, but I reassured him that I only wanted to go to the guild to buy potions. Leopold thought that it would be best if we waited for the courier to return, possibly with an answer from Gnomus.

Waiting and relaxing sounded fine to me. I entertained the knowledge guild with acrobatics and spent some time with Olivia. At dinner, Va’lyndra received a reply. Gnomus had written back, saying that a representative for the quest giver as well as a representative for Gnomus would like to meet us near a certain boulder in the woods, north-east of town, tomorrow morning. Va’lyndra knew the location and explained it was about an hour from here.

Sensing that I was about to bring up Fabian’s trip to town, Leopold asked if I had any identification papers for my other shape. I said I had the papers we got in Fort Glory. Leopold wasn’t sure those would pass here, but I told him I wasn’t planning on going through the gate anyway. The palisade around Urdon was only four meters high, and it shouldn’t be very difficult to reach it unseen by the guards. The guard posts were just outside the gates, and there was a lot of wall between them.

I agreed that I wouldn’t go to town before we had finished our quest. Speaking of which, I proposed that Va’lyndra and I snuck over there early in case it was a trap.


Thoughts on October 20th

We rose well before dawn to prepare. We pulled the captives from their cells and loaded up Leopold’s pony with all the loot except for the steam cannon, which Ilzo was going to pull on its sled. Initially, I wanted to pack up everything on the horses, in case we had to leave after the meeting, but I was reminded that if that was the case, we had to fetch Neriel first, so we might as well leave our baggage at the knowledge guild, too.

Va’lyndra and I kept our own pace when we left and soon lost sight of the slower party following. We found the boulder at the rendezvous, and were the first to arrive, just as the sun rose. We searched the area to make sure nobody was hiding in ambush. Va’lyndra found tracks that indicated that this place was used as a meeting place once in a while, although no-one had been here recently.

I climbed the boulder and performed for Va’lyndra and any forest animals that were curious about the two-legs. Va’lyndra kept an eye on the surroundings, but appreciated my performance with the other. She even complimented my skill, which is a rarity from my companions (except for Olivia, obviously). They’ve seen so many shows that it takes something extra to impress them.

Olivia arrived with Leopold, Ilzo and the captives, and I jumped down from my perch to give her a hug. They hadn’t had any trouble on the way. Just a few minutes later, we spotted another group through the trees. It looked like five Urdon city guards, one of whom was on horseback, escorting a dandy who wasn’t accustomed to the forest at all. He startled at every sound and seemed quite out of place in his fancy get-up. The riding city guard turned out to be Fidel Sidel, a scion of Urdon’s ruling family. I suddenly felt bad for our captives. Lord Fidel had a mean streak and was likely to torture them, in my opinion.

It was the dandy who took the initiative, though. He consulted a document and asked to speak to me privately, so we walked out of earshot, if not out of sight. The dandy introduced himself as Sulle Karlsen and said that he represented the bank in Urdon. He invited me to an auction. I blinked in surprise, for I hadn’t expected him to have anything to do with the adventurers’ guild, but I guess we do business with civilians too. Sulle mistook my surprise and asked if I knew what he was talking about. I said yes.

He explained about the auction, which would be conducted in a different way than I was used to. It would be done remotely. I needed to report anything I wanted to sell within a month, and the auction itself would be held the following month. I asked about the details of how the auction was going to go, but regretted it immediately. It was so complicated it gave me a headache and I called Va’lyndra over. Sulle said he wasn’t at liberty to discuss the matter with anyone else, but he gave me a letter, which purportedly contained the specifics. I could peruse it at my leisure; I gave it to Va’lyndra as soon as he turned his back.

We returned to the others, and Lord Fidel thanked us for handling the bandits. He instructed his men to take the captives off our hands and gave me a heavy pouch that I passed on to Olivia. Leopold asked if Lord Fidel wanted to buy the weapons and armor that we took from the bandit camp. Lord Fidel considered the steam cannon, first. He offered two hundred gold for it. Since nobody else replied, I declared, “Sold!” Va’lyndra asked how much he’d pay to learn how to use it, but Lord Fidel knew we weren’t eager to come into town, so he said he’d figure it out. He counted out the gold for the weapon and gave it to Va’lyndra.

Lord Fidel got one of his men to inspect the rest of the loot, except for the crossbow that Ilzo had hanging on his back. I thought it looked too small for him, but I guessed it would do fine for a practice weapon.

After discussing with his man in a low voice, Lord Fidel offered a hundred and five gold for the lot. Leopold stated that we’d get a lot more elsewhere and Lord Fidel adjusted his price. A hundred and twenty was as high as he could go. I had no idea about the real value of the weapons and armor, but Leopold accepted, so I supposed it was all right.

Lord Fidel asked if we were planning to go east and reminded us that there was another pack of bandits that needed to be taken care of. Leopold replied that we didn’t know where we were going next. Lord Fidel hinted at a mission for us if we were heading for Garuk in the north, but Leopold repeated that we didn’t know where we were going to go.

Once the townsfolk had left, I asked if we should split the profits. Olivia gathered up the money from Va’lyndra and divided it all up according to our agreement. She got a smaller share than the rest of us, but unlike me, accepted it as fair since she didn’t take part in the dangerous stuff. She also didn’t have the same expenses as the rest of us, who carried a fortune each in weapons and armor. Leopold said the three flight potions we had used to enter the bandit camp should be reimbursed before we divided up the rest of the money. At forty-seven gold each, they were quite expensive.

While Olivia recalculated, I asked Va’lyndra when the demonologist was arriving at the knowledge guild. She said they might come today, or it could take a week. I asked if we should just hang out at the guild until they arrived. I wanted to take the other bandit quest, but their hunting grounds were almost a week away from here. Leopold informed us he had several research projects to occupy his time, and thought that Ilzo could use the time to learn the crossbow. Ilzo also wasn’t completely healed up yet. If it was urgent, healing potions could make him fit for fight, but while they aren’t that expensive individually, it adds up over time.

On the way back towards the knowledge guild compound, I asked the others if there were any potions they wanted me to get for them in Urdon. I intended to sneak into town tomorrow morning. Ilzo wanted a pile of healing potions, unexpectedly, both salves and elixirs. Va’lyndra wanted two flight potions and a water breathing potion. Leopold wasn’t sure what he’d need, but thought he should at least get a flight potion. I explained about my go-to potions for powered fighting. A potion of speed would let him move slightly faster and would also make it easier to dodge incoming attacks, while a potion of battle would improve his fighting skills. Va’lyndra proposed a potion of fear, which you throw at the enemy and watch as he runs away in terror. She also convinced him to get a potion of true sight. Restocking a few healing potions wouldn’t be a bad idea either.

When Va’lyndra and Leopold began talking about magic, I soon distanced myself from the conversation. Leopold wondered if it would be possible to separate a “power stone” from a staff that he didn’t care to lug around. He’d rather have the stone set into jewelry.
__________________
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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