As you may remember from the previous (literal) cliffhanger, Paido and I reached the ridge of a series of hills and gasped at what we saw…..
…the town of Syada, in the process of being razed to the ground, as the Darklord troops mass ominously to the north and a great mass of refugees stream along the road towards our position.
A town is being bombed, the commanders are safe at a distance, and there is a mass of refugees, about whom no-one seems to give the proverbial tinker’s cuss…..
[No further editorial comment needed, hopefully…]
One wounded soldier in particular, showing commendable selflessness, screams at us about how the ‘armies of darkness’……
On a practical basis, we can no longer continue north due to the flood of refugees. There is no option available of ‘Give the refugees as much food as you can, you selfish cur.”, so we simply have to decide whether to turn west or to backtrack.
I am gently reminded to check the map before I make my decision.
Call me stupid, but west seems most likely to lead straight into the heart of our destination, being the evil swamp, so bring it on!
As we start to follow a stream of water, fed by a mountain spring, an ominous rumble informs us that the villainous army is twenty or less miles away….
We enter a forest and Paido, like a veritable teacher’s pet, mentions that this is apparently the ‘Mordril Forest’ (a Lord of the Rings rip-off name if I’ve ever heard one) and that it is gradually being poisoned by the onset of the Danarg.
Thanks, dude. I’ll let you know if that information has any actual practical benefit whatsoever….
We cross the forest stream…
and see tracks [ominous music] on the other side. The tracks are curious, because they at first seem to be those of a bear, but my Pathmanship skill helps me deduce that they are also those of a creature walking upright (!!)
I’m thinking this meeting such an individual would NOT be the best possible blind date and we rather resolve to make our discreet way through the forest, avoiding unwanted attention.
Aside : You realise that Mr Dever would never have inserted such a piece of foreshadowing without intending for it to pay off, right?
Sure enough, as we are crossing a fallen tree over a pool by a waterfall, some kind of lizard / bear / monstrosity hybrid decides to invite us to a dinner where we are the main course.
Looking at this abomination, I can only think that Donald Trump took a break from his taxing golf schedule to have a randy fling with a minotaur…..
Do I have a Bow and intend to use it?
I, sir, have not just a bow, but a MEGABOW…!
I need an 8 or more on the R10 check but, once again, I am greatly assisted by Weaponmastery in Bow (+3) and my MEGABOW (+3).
So : 80% chance. [Tempts fate] You’d think I’m pretty sure to get this, right??
R10 = 7! I love tempting fate!
You know that tempting fate thing?
My arrow pierces the creature’s throat…..
this….THING grabs my horse’s bridle and pulls my horse and I over the edge!
There is an R10 check failure at which is highly likely to be an insta-death, but my knowledge of Huntmastery thankfully guarantees a successful result.
Unfortunately, both my horse (pulled under by the creature) and Paido’s horse (lost due to panic) are no longer of use to us, and we must continue on foot.
Who could have POSSIBLY predicted a loss of horses?
The next paragraph helpfully (!) lets me know that the creature was a ‘Anapheg’ (!) and that we momentarily mourn our (stolen!) horses.
As we move deeper into the forest, a chill sets in, and a mist rises from around the trees.
A hush falls over the forest, and you just KNOW that things are about to get dangerous.
We press on, and night falls as we make camp. Paido suggests tossing a coin for the person to take the first watch, and (without a choice) my Magnakai skill of Divination tells me which side of the coin to pick. Never one to refuse an opportunity for sleep, I correctly nominate ‘heads’ and take the first sleeping shift.
The night passes without incident and we set off again in the morning.
There is then a lot of atmospheric filler about how the forest gives way to the approach to the Danarg crater, described poetically by Paido as ‘a cancerous wound that poisons all who dwell there … ’.
So, basically Alabama in the 1950s and 1960s……
We eventually end up wading through ankle-deep water and slime before reaching the edge of a ‘huge, murky pool’, and I assume the book isn’t talking about a Vegas spa.
My (higher level) Pathmanship says that heading north around the pool will lead us towards an ambush of ‘hungry swamp creatures’, while the southern path is safer, but leads us away from our goal.
Leave any thoughts you may have in comments about the choice before Lone Wolf, or any other subject!
Base Stats : CS : 19, E : 25, GC 34
Current Stats : CS : 34, E : 31
Weapons : Sword, Dagger
Weapon-Like Special Items : Silver Bow of Duadon (+3), Sommerswerd (+8 CS),
Backpack : Wrist / Fingerguard, Rope, Lantern, Meals (2), Sacks of Silver (3)
Special Items : 1. Sommerswerd 2. Platinum Amulet, 3. Crystal Star, 4. Shield (+2 CS), 5. Padded Waistcoat (+2 E), 6. Chainmail Waistcoat (+4 E) 7. Blue Stone Triangle Pendant, 8. Vial of Clear Liquid, 9. Quiver (6 arrows), 10 Fireseeds (5), 11. Pass, 12. Silver Bow of Duadon.
Kai Monastery storage :
- Backpack Items :
- Special Items : Mao of Tekaro, Diamonds (2), Boat Ticket, Power Key, Copper Key, Ornate Silver Key, Jewelled Mace, Dagger of Vashna, Brass Whistle.
Magnakai Rank : Tutelary
Magnakai Disciplines : Weaponmastery (+3 CS in Sword, Bow, Mace, Dagger, Spear), Pathmanship, Huntmastery, Divination, Invisibility
Lore-Circles : Fire (+1 CS, +2 E), Solaris (+1 CS, +3 E)
Kai Disciplines : Camouflage, Animal Kinship, Tracking, Hunting, Sixth Sense, Healing, Mind Over Matter, Mindblast (+2CS), Mindshield, Weaponskill (+2 CS in Short Sword)
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