After the (not) cliffhanger from the last episode, I introduce myself to an apprentice of the Brotherhood of the Crystal Star (AKA the ‘good guy’ wizards). He, in turn, introduces himself as Banedon, and gives me some further gratuitous exposition that, to be frank, has little to do with this book and everything to do with setting up plot-lines for the future.
Aside : Pretty much every veteran of the Lone Wolf adventures takes the necessary choices to meet Banedon at this point, since he is [SPOILER] a recurring character in so many future books. However, it doesn’t really make that much difference if you avoid this encounter. Anyway, exposition ahoy!
- Banedon was sent to our Kai Monastery with an urgent letter.
- Aside : Letters in writing. How quaint.
- The letter warns that the Darklords are massing a ‘massive’ army on the other side of the mountains.
- The Kai Lords are urged to cancel the holiday celebrations and prepare for war.
- One of the wizards, Vonotar, betrayed the Crystal Star wizards, killed one of the elders, and fled to Helgedad, giving them information about the Kai Lord gathering.
- Banedon gives me a Crystal Star Pendant as a token of our friendship.
- Aside : Save his life = best friends. OK. Got it.
I push on and, now that I have no other protection, crash straight into a Giak ambush. Awesome.
As a black arrow creases my proverbial eyebrows, I sprint away, presumably avoiding low-hanging branches.
I can either climb up a hill, breaking cover, or continue through the forest. Since I’m trying to evade pursuit, continuing through the forest seems the easy choice.
The ‘Mountain’ Giaks aren’t able to spring readily through the forest, and I presumably manage to avoid (this time) any pesky branches. I gather my wits (and belongings) and push on, free from pursuit.
As I move through the woods, I spy a bush with thorns known as ‘Sleeptooth’, where a single prick can cause the victim to feel weak and sleepy. So, basically chartreuse.
Sorry, I was busily thinking of the words ‘single prick’ and this came to mind :
My KD of Tracking confirms that I am near a ‘friendly village’ and I can avoid the Sleeptooth (aka Gallowbrush) and move on.
I move towards the small village of ‘Fogwood’, but note that there is no smoke from the huts’ chimneys and the whole area is quiet.
My skill of Tracking detects Giak tracks all around the huts, and I can smell an ambush from a mile away. I move on.
As I hurry away from the village, I spot a raven perched on a conveeeenient branch.
My lack of the KD of Animal Kinship means that the bird flies off, and I will never know if this could have been a meaningful encounter, or simply a bad omen.
I move further down the track and see a cloaked stranger, with the raven resting on his arm.
Honestly, I do remember this encounter from my youth, and this mysterious stranger is a villain.
I immediately draw my Axe and attack, knowing that this stranger is a Vordak!
His stats : CS : 17, E : 25
After a few R10 calculations, I defeat the Vordak, but at the cost of reducing my Endurance to the level of 5.
Like an idiot, I then pick up the gem which is in the Vordak’s belongings, and the burn from collecting it reduces my Endurance by a further 2 points.
Till next time, team!
(Edit : I, of course, should have recovered 2 Endurance points (Healing skill) due to the 2 paragraphs following my battle with the Vordak. Endurance total below has now been lifted to 5)
CS : 12, E : 5, GC 3,
Weapons : Axe, Spear
Backpack : Meal, Vordak Gem
Special Items : Map
Final paragraph : 304