Monday, January 28, 2013

Heroes of Legend: Trest Strikes

As the heroes continued on their journey to the holy site of Aaryon they decided to stop in cities along the path to visit temples. In each of the cities the end result was the same thing.  The temple is raised to the ground and all the priests murdered.  The assaults all happened on the same day regardless of location, the first moon after the gods fell silent.  With the suddenness and violence of the attacks none of the people were willing to admit to following Aaryon.  The mention of her name was enough to cause most to withdrawal.  Other played at ignorance claiming to know no person of that name.  When they left a city hostility followed them until they had left the city.  This caused them to be concerned for the safety of the now 30 pilgrims that followed them.

A few hours outside the city of Temri the heroes saw an unusual site, a boy running in their direction.  It wasn’t until he was close that they could see blood stains on his cloths and slash on his left arm.  Alexander had to physically restrain the boy to get him to stop so he could help him.  He told the tale of a wagon train with settlers trying to make a new life in Almora.  The wagons were attacked in the forest over a day’s run further up the road.  He alone escaped the raiders that had preyed on his family.  His eyes showed fear when he talked of the raiders moving through the woods with unnatural ease and the beast they had that moved with lightning speed and claws as long a daggers.  As the tale progressed tears came flooding forth and the boy was unable to continue.

Alexander assigned one pilgrim to take the boy back to the Temri for medical care and to get investigators while the rest of them went see what happened to the settler in the woods.  Where it took the boy a day to run the distance they were able to travel it in a fraction of the time. 

The wagons were easy to spot because two of the wagons still smoldered off the path.  There were to many tracks to make sense of what happened except that a groups of wagons were attacked.  The strange thing was the number of bodies left.  Even though the attack happened about two days prior there should be more evidence of an attack.  The wagons were also smaller then a settler would use.  The whole thing felt wrong.

As Alexander was pondering this two of the pilgrims fell with arrows sticking from them.  Suddenly we were surrounded by soldiers with at least one caster.  Juniper found the caster and engaged her; she was a priestess of Trest.  The flight was not going good for Juniper, as she was busy with the priestess a pair of soldiers flanked her.  As she called for help Milo was a scholar first and a fighter third, so his help was limited to just distracting one of the soldiers.  Unfortunately for Juniper the soldiers distracted her enough for the priestess to strike a massive blow.  Juniper staggered a few steps.  She recovered quickly enough to default a blow from the soldier.

Her left arm went numb as her side became slick from blood flowing from her shoulder.  The soldier was able to knock her sword from her hand.  Her vision blurred as she heard halfling fighting close by.  The last thing she saw was the halfling fighting the other soldier.

The assault was well timed and executed.  The only flaw was they underestimation of the pilgrims skills.  Once the initial shock of the surprise wore off the pilgrim’s rallied strong.  If there were more priestesses or another spell caster the battle could have easily tipped in their favor.  Arwata the halfling also proved invaluable in the fight.  She was able to get the archers out of the trees with little effort.

When the fighting stopped there were ten less pilgrims.  Milo was able to save Juniper with a salve that stopped the bleeding and promote rapid healing.

“This assault shall not go unchallenged.  We will avenge our fallen; we shall march on the next temple of Trest and raze it to the ground!”  Alexander said to the group.  Cheers erupted all around.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Heroes of Legend: A Monster Raises

As they left the city Alexander insisted on arming the pilgrims so they can defend themselves during their journey.  The roads were becoming dangerous with the chaos going on in the heavens.  The bandit attack was just the precursor of what was to come.

With their numbers now at fifteen it would discourage most of the bandit from attacking them.  The Halfling woman from the temple refused to wear more than the barest clothing or touch a weapon.  She insisted that these items hindered her natural movements.  Alexander was unsure that someone as small as her could defend herself even if she had armor and weapon.  As Alexander was about to send her away she begged to prove she was capable of defending herself during the track to the holy site of Aaryon.  Not wanting to harm the woman he agreed to test her but only with a paddled practice sword.  She agreed that she had to win 3 of 5 bouts.  Alexander wanting to end this test he feinted a sword slash.  She anticipated this move and countered this with a sweep of his legs.  When his vision cleared from bouncing his head off the ground he saw her over him with a neutral expression on her face.  Her speed was incredible.  Learning from his mistake Alexander took the second and third bout scoring hits to her arm and shoulder.  What he failed to realize was that she was studying his movements so she could adjust her style to maximize her advantage.  The fourth bout was over as soon as it started.  He raised his weapon slightly to gain momentum when she was striking the palm of her hand under his jaw.  The strike was so quick that he was unprepared and staggered backwards several steps.

Pride was on the line for the fifth bout.  Alexander was not slacker when it came to unarmed combat but not where near her skill.  She had his timing which meant he had to change up his style and go for less power and shift to a using a single hand to keep a hand open to guard against her ability to get inside his sword swing.  Whether she won or lost this bout she was going to be allowed to stay with them.  The two combatants took their marks and the match was started.  Alexander feigned a sword swing.  She rushed to get inside the swing that wasn’t coming.  He spun out of the way and hit her square in the back with his elbow sending her towards the ground.  Unlike him she rolled into the fall and came up into a fighting stance.  There was a momentary loss of control as her expression neutral to anger back to neutral.  She bowed low accepting defeat.

“I shall level your camp and follow my own course of enlightenment.  You are a worthy opponent.” She said

“Please stay and forgive my ignorance in your ability to protect yourself.  I have a feeling your talents will be needed.”  Alexander said after he returned her bow.  “You are by far the tallest of your race that I have ever seen.”

“My entire line is nearly a head taller than most of my race.  The saying in my village is we are part human.”  Even though she had just told a joke a she still had the same neutral expression.

At this time a crowd had gathered to watch the fight.  Juniper didn’t like this woman from the start.  She was going to get in her way of having Alexander.  She just hoped that she would not have to do something drastic to get the woman to leave.