Well, one of the benefits of my writing style, filled as it is with digressions and unnecessary verbiage, is that I wasn’t really that far in this adventure before I performed my involuntary imitation of a pincushion.
On this second run-through, I choose the same equipment and Disciplines.
I don’t really regret too many of my previous choices, so for the ‘already covered ground’ let’s go for the old bullet-point standby!
- After the initial travel through the twin ‘c’s of casino and countryside, I arrive at the town of Quarl, on the Quarlen river.
- I use my Pathmanship skill to identify the ‘better’ gate, pay the guard 3 Gold Crowns, and walk through town.
- I enter the same bar and, knowing that I can get the same information elsewhere, do not buy the four soldiers a round of (expensive) drinks.
- I do, however, pay 5 Gold Crowns for some food and a room.
- I once more take great pleasure in defending Cyrilus from Roark of Amory, and it is well worth losing an arrow to wipe the arrogant smirk off the snob’s face.
- I gain Cyrilus’ background info on the Lorestone, and agree to take him with me on my journey.
- Travelling the next day, I once more enter the archery tournament!
- I easily win the preliminary round (total score of 13) and face Altan!
- I triumph in the tournament, and again note that Cyrilus (and my horse!) have been taken.
This time, notwithstanding the importance of my mission, I restrain myself from grabbing (without permission) the first horse I see and rather frantically cast my eye about for an owner.
Altan ‘strides towards me’ and gives a ‘friendly wave’. He CLAIMS to be the owner of the horse, or he may just have an eye out for the main chance.
I have a feeling I’m about to be gouged.
You have to give Altan points for chutzpah, as he demands my newly-won Silver Bow in exchange for his horse!
The situation is getting reminiscent of this famous negotiation.
I hold my ground and respectfully decline to give up my hard-won bow (while realising that my quarry is getting further away all the time).
In a demonstration that as a negotiator, he makes a great archer, Altan then states that he will accept 20 Gold Crowns, or (drum roll) “any” 2 Special Items which I may have.
It is with great feigned reluctance that I give up my Gaoler’s Keys and Brass Whistle.
I guess it does show that stealing is wrong.
The best part was the text noting that Arlan made his proposal “shrewdly”.
Anyhoo, my basic Kai skills of Tracking and Hunting ensure that I am able to follow the trail of my quarry, even thought they will have long ago passed out of sight.
As I reach a tiny village, the trail unfortunately runs cold, at an area where there is a stony hill track branching off from the main road. My Pathsmanship tells me that the horsemen have actually taken neither track (!) and are therefore probably hiding somewhere in the village which I just passed. In an interesting choice, I can either ride back into the village or wait for my foes to reveal themselves.
You would think that simply riding back into the village would show that the jig is up, so I hide in the trees to await developments.
The riders emerge from a single cottage, have an argument of some kind and ride past my hiding spot, with Cyrilus draped, unconscious over the last horse. I can ambush them with my MEGABOW, try and pick off the last rider as he passes me or simply let them go and follow at a distance.
Well, if I follow, I’ll have to fight them eventually, and won’t have the same advantage of surprise. Attacking the last horse is problematic, because you would think Cyrilus won’t be able to assist in his own escape, what with being unconscious and all.
I therefore combine my Weaponmastery and MEGABOW and jump out for the ambush!
It works beyond my hopes. I kill the rider who has been leading Cyrilus’ horse, grab the reins and make good my escape. Didn’t even need an R10 check!
As our horses gallop down the highway, I ponder the (fairly obvious, to be honest) deduction that Cyrilus was, in and of himself, unlikely to be the target of the abduction.
There’s nothing worse than finding out that someone else got hurt because you personally were a villain’s objective. See this clip from the West Wing (context : the President has been shot and the African American in the scene, Charlie, is working for the President (Martin Sheen) and also dating the President’s daughter)
Anyway, just as these thoughts are running through my mind, I see my friend Roark, blocking the road on a black charger.
Roark is understandably annoyed about me shooting him through his arm with an arrow, and casts some suitably ominous spell, and I doubt that it is mere coincidence that we are next to….
[OMINOUS MUSICAL STING]
Base Stats : CS : 17, E : 20, GC 40
Final Stats : CS : 32, E : 26
Weapons : Silver Bow of Duadon(+3), Sommerswerd (+8 CS)
Backpack : Potion of Laumspur (+4E), Rope, Tinderbox
Special Items : Silver Bow of Duadon, Jewelled Mace, Copper Key, Map, Crystal Star, Shield (+2 CS), Sommerswerd, Padded Waistcoat (+2 E), Chainmail Waistcoat (+4 E) Blue Stone Triangle Pendant, Diamond, Ornate Silver Key, Dagger of Vashna, Quiver (4 arrows)
Magnakai Rank : Kai Master Superior
Magnakai Disciplines : Weaponmastery (+3 CS in Sword, Bow, Mace), Pathmanship, Divination
Kai Disciplines : Camouflage, Animal Kinship, Tracking, Hunting, Sixth Sense, Healing, Mind Over Matter, Mindblast (+2CS), Mindshield, Weaponskill (+2 CS in Short Sword)
Final Paragraph : 14