Nahla/ Arlene, Darvish’khan/ Chris, Jade/ Leigh, Elli/ Shalea, Rowan/ David C., David/ David R.
13 Hiathon 320 (cont.) – Bandits
We skip dinner in favor of trying to catch up with the bandits who have Ashlynn’s husband and (two) farmhands.
Darvish’khan picks up the tracks easily – we are able to follow quickly. The tracks lead into the woods and up into the hills, and they’re not particularly difficult to follow (it is a group of about five mounted bandits – they’ve put their captives up on horses with them).
We travel about an hour, hour and a half into the hills when we come across four hanging bodies wearing mismatched armor. Elli thinks they’ve only been dead an hour, that they were killed up close and personal by blades, and that they were likely archers. Jade speculates that they were not supposed to fire the wagons and that this is their punishment.
We continue up into the woods. It’s getting dark. Jade and Nahla suddenly see firelight flickering further up into the mountains (next crest over, maybe a couple of hours away?).
We keep going, down into the valley and back up towards the firelight. Jade catches a glimpse of some scout positions, as well as a whiff of livestock odor. Jade signals Rowan and Darvish’khan, and asks Darvish’khan to let Elli and Nahla know. We get close enough we can see some of the bandits (Darvish’khan notes that it seems to be just bipeds), and discuss whether we should sneak closer or Elli should try scrying. Even though it’s close to midnight (half moon) it looks like the bandits are up – we can hear talking and noises like they’re doing work (sounds of hitting leather, wood).
Darvish’khan sneaks around to see if there’s a way for us to get around and upslope of the camp. It’s a tough slope and there’s not an easy path (the camp is basically a defensible shelf – they’ve apparently had time to work up some minor improvements like a kneewall). We think there’s about 10-12 bandits including the three scouts stationed out around the camp. He moves further upslope to see if he can get to a point where he can see down into the camp so we can see where the farmers are. At one point we hear him knock a rock loose but the bandits don’t seem to notice, and he’s able to get to a point where he can see the whole shelf below him.
The shelf is pretty crowded with horses, livestock, and eight bandits. Two of the bandits are armed and armoured, the other six are stripped down and are working. One of the armed/armoured bandits has a lash and is flicking it at the folks working. There’s a tent/lean-to off to one side that’s likely big enough to contain the farmers, but why would they put captives in the tent?
Rowan thinks we can hit the two armoured guys first and it will take some time for the other guys to find bows, but if we hit the unarmoured guys first they’ll go down faster. Elli has no skill with bows whatsoever so she will stay behind with Jolly and everyone else will sneak up to the vantage point above the camp to join Darvish’khan.
Rowan shoots one of the unarmoured guys, Jade shoots a second, Nahla shoots a third. Darvish’khan leaps down into the camp and lands on the tent, which collapses. The bandits are stunned, and he is able to lunge at one of the unarmoured bandits and savage him.
Rowan shoots at his target again and the bandit falls down. Jade and Nahla are unable to find their targets in the chaos and a couple of sheep are injured. Darvish’khan aims carefully, lunges again at the guy and rips him open, and then attacks another of the unarmoured guys, who also goes down. The armoured guy with the lash flicks it at Darvish’khan but misses, the other armoured guy pulls out a longsword and cuts into Darvish’khan. The unarmoured guys are scrambling to find weapons.
Rowan looses an arrow at one of the injured unarmoured guys and the guy goes down. Jade shoots the guy with the longsword and skewers him, but he’s still standing so she shoots at him again but misses. Nahla shoots one of the unarmoured guys but only manages to nick him. Darvish’khan attacks the longsword wielder and takes him down. The guy with the lash tries to hit Darvish’khan but his armour takes most of the blow. The three unarmoured guys are scrambling at the packs and pulling out crossbows.
Rowan shoots at one of the guys trying to get a crossbow and injures him, but he’s still standing. Jade and Nahla shoot at a couple of the unarmoured guys but only succeed at injuring more sheep. Darvish’khan gets another solid blow in on the guy with the lash, and the bandits surrender.
We find that the bandits had split into two groups. The lieutenant and his group had gotten high and attacked the caravan. Several died, and so the remainder just grabbed what they could and ran. The leader had gone on some other business but saw the smoke and started heading back, capturing the farmers on the way. When he caught up with the rest of the troop he was Not Pleased, and the ones he deemed responsible were the ones we found hanging (including the “injured leader” the traders noted). When they got back to the camp, he put them on punishment duty supervised by his two armoured lieutenants. He was on watch when we attacked and actually noticed Darvish’khan sneaking in. His partner the rhy-hawk lured Jolly away and he and the other two sentries captured Elli. (We can ride and eat cookies and we’re all out of cookies.)
Elli is put on a horse, blindfolded and drugged. She overhears “treat her like an adept” at one point and her head is too fuzzy for her to do anything (except hum around the gag).
17 Hiathon 320 – Serinda
After several days, she’s taken into a place where she hears many people, and taken off the horse. Her hood is removed and she sees she’s in a palisade surrounded by several dozen people in various states of cleanliness. She has a feeling that the place is warded. They put her in a room with some food and water, and after a while her head starts to clear. After a while the person who removed her hood comes in and asks how many envoys there are. Several hundred at the college, Elli thinks? She goes on for a while about the fact that her team’s duty will be to take their captives back and hand them over to Demina for trial, and then they’ll have to talk to Sheran and she will be unhappy because she will need to negotiate for more troops, etc., etc., etc. The guy starts to look like he has a headache and eventually leaves.
After a few hours another guy comes in – he looks familiar (quite a bit like Gregor, although greyer and more fit)? After a bit of monologuing, he reveals that his name is Kolya, and he’s a relative of Elli’s, and he had hoped he would have a chance to meet her.
She’s pretty sure there would have been a better way to do it. He wonders how Gregor and the family are doing. Elli says they were fine last she heard. He tries to explain himself (corrupt people in amongst civilization, and he and the rest of the Brotherhood prefer their freedom).
He wonders if we know anything about things that attack people at night and eat them? Elli thinks that sounds horrible and tells him that she’s heard stories, but that the locals have told her they haven’t heard of any such thing. She asks where the attacks have occured? Near Cardosa, and a ship’s crew who put ashore near Elsport.
He says because Elli is family, he’s going to let her go because he doesn’t want to start a war with the envoys. She wonders if he’s going to tell her where she is so she doesn’t die wandering around the wilderness by herself. He tells her she’s in Serinda. Elli comments that declaring oneself outside of civilization is fine but doing things like setting bakeries on fire with families inside means that the envoys will probably take action anyway. He says that he hopes that he and Elli can meet again at some point, and Elli tells him that she sincerely hopes that they do meet and have the chance to work together. He says something about fate, she responds that she’s not sure how much fate has to do with personal decisions.
He leaves, and when Elli steps out into the palisade she finds it empty, and once she goes out through the gates she finds that she’s just outside town. Also, once she’s outside the wards, Darvish’khan is able to reach her and she tells him where she is.