I approach the city of Valetta and, seriously, with the flowery language, you’d think I was approaching Minas Tirith or Tol Honeth.
Phrases like ‘massive plateau’, ‘stood since time immemorial’ and ‘complicated splendour’ are all used in an attempt to intimidate the reader as Lone Wolf approaches this city.
With a healthy dose of irony, I calmly state that :
More importantly, I reach the gate and pass by the (apparently quite relaxed) guards without challenge (?!)
Without pausing to question my good fortune, I casually slouch through the city until I reach a four-way crossing with no real indication of which way I should go. The options are Helin Way, Couchcourse, Flute Street or the road from which I’ve come, which apparently doesn’t have an identifying sign (!)
With no real clue, I resolve to go south down Flute Street, purely because I learned the flute as a youngster (before I realised that piano and particularly guitar were much more effective at getting the girls).
Of course, at the time, I hadn’t considered this :
But then, who could have?
After my horse strolls past some colorful dialogue, I stop at a taxidermist and, naturally, dismount to investigate.
I enter, and the taxidermist is only too eager to show me various examples of his work, including various victims of hunting.
He then offers to show me into his workshop, where these ‘miracles’ are achieved.
Aside : I honestly have no memory whatsoever of this encounter, but this faux friendliness, without actually trying to sell me anything, and the emphasis by the book on the man’s ‘generosity’ has put my ‘TRAP!’ radar on high alert.
I state my intention to leave, and the owner offers me some ‘refreshment’ before I leave (being a goblet full of wine). If I was worried before, now I have the absolute screaming heebie-jeebies, and I leave without further ado.
I stop at another bar (anyone else noticing a pattern, here?) called the Inn of the Crossed Swords.
In the main hall of the inn, a bizarre game is taking place, which is an apparent mix of William Tell stories and Russian Roulette. In brief, a knight is about to ride with a lance across the hall, where various men (convicted of cowardice) are sitting, blindfolded, with apples on their heads (!)
The knight’s goal is to pierce all the apples without killing any of the men.
Lone Wolf has the option of betting on this obscene spectacle.
While I appreciate the inventiveness that Mr Dever has shown in coming up with this spectacle, there is no way that I, in good conscience, could wager on whether people die.
I resolve to casually stroll over to the bar, flash a bit of green cloak, and charmingly chat to the bargirl.
On the way to the bar…….
NO, THERE IS NO WAY THAT JULIE DELPY IS IN THAT BAR, SO STOP DAYDREAMING, LONE WOLF.
Much less romantically than said daydreams, a footpad sticks his knife against my back and demands all of my gold. Since I don’t have the skill of Huntmastery, I have to decide whether I meekly hand over all my gold or fight back.
As I pull away from these ruffians, I suffer a graze (1 Endurance loss) but am otherwise unharmed.
To the death!
Lone Wolf : CS : 32, E : 25
Backstabbers : CS : 18, E : 25
I polish them off, for the mere (!) loss of another 3 Endurance.
I pocket 5 Gold Crowns from the pockets of the would-be thieves, and one of the nearby mercenaries is impressed enough with my ability that he offers to buy me a drink.
It would be poetic if he was one of the leeches who took me for a round of drinks in a previous incarnation of Lone Wolf!
As I join the troop of drinking soldiers, I feel an info-dump coming on!
- They are mercenaries, and speak of the ongoing war ‘in the north’.
- Prince Janveal has bankrupted himself in his war against Baron Maghao of Karkaste (there’ll be a test on all those names next week, promise)
- Janveal’s mercenaries being, you know, mercenaries, are now deserting and this particular company is drafting soldiers for the war in the south between Salony and Slovia.
- In particular, the Salonese Prince Ewevin needs (paid) help for his siege of the city of Tekaro.
I politely decline their offer to join them, while noting that they will be at Soren in two days.
Gee, that completely (apparently) irrelevant piece of information surely won’t come up again, will it?
I realise (in a surprising example of good sense) that it is pointless to simply wander around and try and randomly find Brass Stree, and resolve to try and get directions.
The obvious person to ask is the innkeeper who, without even asking for money, draws a rough map for me showing Brass Street on the west side of the city, near the wall.
I wander over to check out the room prices, as both Lone Wolf and I become overwhelmingly tired.
Base Stats : CS : 17, E : 26, GC 42
Final Stats : CS : 32, E : 24
Weapons : Silver Bow of Duadon(+3), Sommerswerd (+8 CS)
Backpack : Potion of Laumspur (+4E), Rope, Tinderbox, Alether Berries (3) (+2 CS for one combat)
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 : 17