Fate's dark hand
The 'bodies' scrambled to their feet and, with their 2 fellows, drew weapons and shields to ready themselves for combat. Two arrows whipped out of the trees on the right and Berthold suffered a wound.
Siegfried advanced through the woods to take the decoy group in the flank, only to have the left flank of the ambush party rush up behind him. Alane readied herself to use her longbow. Mordrin charged in to attack the decoy party, closely followed by Grundi and his axe. Not wanting to stand out in the open and be pin-cushioned, Berthold charged into the trees to attack the bowmen.
This band of outlaws were no idiots. Not only had they decoyed the PC's into a classic ambush, but they knew how to fight too. Of the 4 members of the decoy party, 3 concentrated their attacks on Mordrin while the other attacked Grundi. The right flanking group were attacking Seigfried. Faced only with the puny Berthold, the left flanking party split its attentions: 1 of them fought the desperate scribe while the other kept up a steady fire at the elf, still in the middle of the road and firing off shots with her own longbow.
Alane was the first to go. Cursing her crude longbow she resorted to a magic dart, with instant results. This was a good move, but unfortunately had the immediate consequence of confirming to the bowman the wisdom of maintaining his fire at the elf instead of turning to attack the young fellow swapping blows with his companion. An arrow whipped out, straight and true, and took the elf right in the chest.
Already wounded, Berthold didn't survive much longer. With a wicked leer, the 2nd bowman drew his sword and felled the young scribe with a single blow to the head. Pausing only contemptously to deliver a few kicks to the brave young fellow's body, the 2 murderous lowlives charged up to join in finishing off the dwarfs.
Up ahead Seigfried had a sinking feeling when he realised that he could no longer hear the sounds of action from the rear. These bandits were much sterner stuff than the rabble they'd fought before. Mordrin was performing prodigious feats in fighting off 3, then 4, then 3 again(!) of the villanous scum singlehanded, but was having a hard time taking them down. And Ulric had chosen today of all days not to bless Grundi's axe quite so lavishly as he had in the past. If these bandits couldn't be broken, and soon, then they were all doomed.
The painful and bloody battle of attrition continued. All of the PC's had parried blows that had shivered their bones and almost threatened to rip their weapons from their weary hands. Seigfried found himself fighting just one attacker, and took heart. Having already delievered a crippling blow to the leg of his attacker, then crushing his shield arm, Grundi finally felled his opponent. The bandits began to panic, and their attacks became uncoordinated.
This wasn't enough to save brave Mordrin though: an axe took him square in the forehead, and he was down and out. Now facing only 2 victims, the outlaws took heart again, and pressed home their attacks once more. All the same, their well-planned ambush hadn't given them the easy marks they'd expected, so their nerves were shaky. Thus it was that, when Seigfreid finally felled his remaining assailant, the last 3 outlaws took to their heels and fled.
Reeling from the after-effects of combat, Siegfried paused a moment to catch his breath. Grundi meanwhile took a look at the bandit he'd felled. Finding that the man was lying doggo, the dwarf finished him off where he lay. Then he attended to his fallen companions while Seigfreid took stock of their fallen enemies. The dwarf soon found that everyone was still living.
Alane had been saved by one of the small darts she kept for her magic dart spells. It wouldn't help her with a spell in the future but- by absorbing the impact of the otherwise fatal arrow- the dart had, it turned out, been much more useful to the elf.
Mordrin had been saved by his mail coif, which had turned the axehead aside at the last moment. Miraculously, this invaluable piece of armour wasn't even damaged.
Berthold too had been saved by his headgear, but also by his right ear: his leather cap had turned the blow aside and the top of his ear had been lopped off.
While Seigfried gathered up the dead outlaws' gear and other valuables he found that they had a pony tethered in the woods a small distance off the road. This was to prove useful. Meanwhile Alane and Mordrin soon regained consciousness after Grundi had tended to their wounds.
It was still only early afternoon, so the party decided that they must press on to Delberz. The equipment looted from the dead outlaws was piled onto the pony while Mordrin constructed a simple travois to carry the still unconscious Berthold. The remainder of the journey passed without incident.
Breaking out of the Drakwald on the west bank of the river Delb, the first thing the party saw was a large shanty town stretched out along the river bank. More refugees from the Storm of Chaos they realised- hundreds and hundreds of them it seemed. Passing through another watch interrogation, they decided to head straight for the merchants' quarter to sell off their booty. Arriving at the close of the trading day as they had, the PC's were fortunate enough to get all of this done without a hitch.
Thus rewarded over and above the simple fact of sheer survival, they set out to look for an inn for the night, there perhaps to ask themselves what price friendship in the grim and perilous Old World.
From Middenheim to Delberz
- #1 Distractions then departure
- Index:- My little Old World: Ashes of Middenheim