Montag, Juni 12, 2006

In need of a Crutch

Fendor, Llewellyn and Marvin had successfully catched up with Don. While slowly moving the stairs up towards the fort's entrance hall, they noticed voices coming from the room.

Someone was asking if the blood-trail might be actually from the snake or from one of its victims? The voice was replied to by another, slightly subdued and fearful one, and addressed another person which did not yet reply to it. So there were at least three people audible with an unknown amount of yet unheard people. We decided to carefully sneak forward into the room and to attack them if they were not too many.

Unopposed we crept into the entrance hall of the fort, again setting our feet into that building. As we approached the corridor some dozen steps from the entrance door, we could make out two figures, one of them standing with his back to us, the other looking at the floor and the blood trail, which we knew was a pointed tribute to Fendor's spearfighting skills. After maybe two or three additional steps we decided to rush them. Our heavy footsteps alerted them but it was too late for our victims to offer more than a token defense.

They were three. One man equipped with a crossbow and a club and protected by a cloth quilt. Another one equipped with a small shield and a light club and also protected by a cloth quilt. And finally the best equipped foe, with a small shield, a real broadsword and with his body protected by hard leather armor. Fortunately these were all the foes which were arrayed against us at that time.

After a flurry of axe blows, spear thrusts and sword swings they were vanquished. One looked particularly bad afterward and we think he expired more or less in place. The man with the crossbow had a nasty spear wound but was still conscious and their leader had a leg wound preventing effective flight or fight.

We bound them and investigated the ground level of the fort. Most rooms were deserted and bereft of any interesting items. One room in the left wing of the fort was locked and, according to one of the bandits taken prisoner behind it was actually a rather large giant lizard. With a head similar to that of one of the trophies in an adjacent trophy room. But bigger. That discouraged us from opening the door. We were here to get some information on the bandits hounding the area after all. We had two prisoners and could have gone back to the village.

But we felt a little adventurous. And so we decided to search for some more foes to vanquish before we were ready to head back out of the swamp to more civilized areas.

We haven't investigated one particular door in the entrance hall yet, having concentrated on the corridors to the right and left hand before. One stairway up in the entrance hall was collapsed and impassable, a stairway leading down lay in darkness and was marked for later exploration. Before we actually could go back to the door which was next on our list someone called for our prisoners to make themselves audible. As they were bound and gagged they could not of course respond, but to distract the new bandits while in search for their comrades Llewellyn decided to respond, and miraculously he succeeded in lowering the bandits alertness.

Llewellyn and the others were down the left corridor at the time and one new bandit was coming out of the yet unchecked door in the entrance hall. Llewellyn took aim with his yet again cocked and loaded crossbow soon enough that the bandit coming into his view in the centre of the entrance hall had no time to react other than widening his eyes in fear.

Llewellyn released the crossbow bolt aimed in the direction of the bandit. The bolt stuck true, impaling the bandit slightly below the left shoulder. The pain let the bandit cry out, but it overcame him quickly and he collapsed onto the floor passing out. The bandits in the room behind the slightly open door were no doubt alerted by that sound and so we abandoned any pretense at subtlety and quietness and stormed forward toward the door brandishing our weapons and shields. Don and Llewellyn were slower than both Marvin and Fendor. You can attribute that to the heavier equipment of both Don and Llewellyn. Marvin and Fendor stormed into the room only to find themselves outnumbered by seven bandits.

Luckily most bandits were not yet fully battle ready and so at the time when Don and then finally Llewellyn stormed the room both Marvin and Fendor were still advancing, albeit more carefully, having already felled one foe and being directly engaged by three more. The last three bandits were not yet in direct weapon striking range but were advancing then. It was good that Don and Llewellyn took care of them, otherwise the outlook of Marvin and Fendor for the outcome of the engagement might have been bleak.

As in the engagement with the three bandits before the bandits now had a rather light mixture of weapons. Most had only light leather or cloth armor, namely 4 of the bandits. Two bandits were clad in hard leather breastplates and one bandit, looking the leader here, had a chain armor and medium shield. Most had spears or clubs as weapons, two had crossbows but these were not yet ready and so their users had to rely on their light clubs instead, greatly reducing their own effectiveness.

The engagement was the usual mess, rather hard to overview. The exchange of blows and thrusts was fast and fierce. Stools and Tables were obstructing the movement of both parties. Lucky for us the bandits were located on the long side of the stick. The only change in that picture was the bandit leader. Don had fallen over an overturned stool as he advanced on one of the ordinary bandits behind which their leader was positioned, shouting some commands trying to bring a semblance of order on the bandits side into the mess of the fight.

Llewellyn positioned himself so that the bandits had to pass him before they could strike at Don, who was meanwhile coming to his feet. One bandit thrust his spear at Llewellyn but he deflected it easily with his shield. Llewellyn feinted with his axe at the bandit leader trying to open the others defenses while not wasting a blow. The leader responded by striking at Llewellyn, but again was thwarted by a skilled shield block. As the first feint seemed not to have worked well, Llewellyn was not seeing the stance he had hoped for in the bandit leader, Llewellyn tried another feint, this time it worked better, and the defenses of the bandit leader were slightly down in one place. In the meantime all other bandits were down on the ground, having been defeated by Fendor and Marvin. Just as Llewellyn was about to exploit that gap the return swing of the bandit leader came in at a surprising angle and the shield defense Llewellyn used was a fraction of a second late. The broadsword dug a deep wound in Llewellyn's calf, which, besides being painful, also let him loose his footing. Luckily for Llewellyn Fendor and Marvin as well as Don were bereft of foes and converged on the bandit leader from three directions, so that he could not exploit Llewellyn's fall and failed in his attempts to defend three blows at once.

The fall of the bandit leader marks the culmination of the engagement as well as being also it's end. All bandits in the room had lost consciousness and were not fit to be taken along. Fendor bound Llewellyn's calf and stopped him from bleeding that way. Llewellyn took one of the bandit's spears as a makeshift crutch and was able to hobble towards the village together with his three comrades and the two bandits they had taken captive earlier. But that happened with clenched teeth and with some heavy duty cursing.

But we had two prisoners and some information on the bandits which we would be sending to the authorities in the capital. We had accomplished part of our mission.

And Llewellyn was in search for a replacement to that spear, he was In need of a crutch...