Adventure Story SG

East

As Elsie was hoisted upside down by the rope around her ankle. As she was pulled up into the trees above, she shrieked rather loudly, causing Faye to cover her ears. “Gees, be quiet. That was loud enough to wake the dead and I don’t want to fight that Ogre again.”
She was hanging above their heads but managed to look down at Faye. “I was taken by surprise, okay?!” Elsie tried to wiggle herself out but to no avail, then reached for the handle of her blade and unsheathed it. She swung it at the rope that held her.
After that scream, Faye had no interest in helping someone who could be that noisy. Instead, she kept watch, just in case the persons who had set the trap came back. Ailbe and Aelric scrambled around on the ground, preparing to catch her. Aelric was also looking around for where the rope was tied to see if he could help. Luckily, Elsie’s sword connected with the rope on the second swing and snapped it. Quickly she fell and Ailbe and Aelric managed to catch her, and thankfully she stretched out her sword arm so she didn’t slice through either of them. Their legs started to buckle as the sudden weight hit their arm, but they both steadied themselves.
“Thank you,” Elsie told them as she stood, removed the loop around her ankle, and dusted herself off. “Right, let’s keep going.”
“No,” Aelric answered and gripped his weapon. “Let’s wait to find out who set this trap.”
Faye looked at him. “I agree with Elsie, we don’t need to wait around for a fight, let’s move on.”
Ailbe nodded. “As much as I want to find out who did this, we do have a mission to complete.”
“FINE! Go on then.” Aelric waited for the girls to continue on, and he stuck around there slightly longer before following, just in case the trap-setters were close by.

The group continued walking north. That is until they all noticed a knotted vine hanging down to the ground from a tree to the left. In the tree was a roughly made treehouse amid the branches.

Aelric
Skill: 12 (+1 skill - temporary)
Stamina: 20

Ailbe
Skill: 7
Stamina: 16

Elsie
Skill: 11
Stamina: 21

Faye
Skill: 10
Stamina: 22


Samantha, Julian, and Desiree

They all looked at the three paths. Desiree gestured with her head, “North heads to a large waterfall that we’ll need to cross to continue. We could go East, try to find the others, but they could have changed direction and be anywhere. I think either is fine, just not to go west.”
“I think we should go North, cross the waterfall to continue North. But I also don’t mind going East, though West is completely new territory too,” Sam suggested.
“Well, I’m happy to keep going north.” There was a pause. “Umm… So have we actually decided north, east or west?”
Sam nodded but was interrupted by Julian before she could speak. “I say let’s go north.” The girls both agreed and they continued northward, toward the sound of the waterfall.

The reached the bank of the wide river that split was on two levels. Julian and Sam saw the water was calm and slow-moving to their right. Then saw the gorge where the river narrowed and ran quickly west over rock and boulders. They all made a silent decision to take the steps that led down the side of the waterfall to the bottom of the gorge. They descended the slippery stone steps to the bottom of the waterfall. Julian looked back up to see a magnificent rainbow reflected in the spray. However, it was dark in the gorge and impossible to see through the wall of water where the steps ended. Carefully walking along the steps and behind the waterfall, into a large cavern where there’s a pool of still water. The steps run round the side of the pool and there’s a stone table and chair on the far side. Julian went to the table and saw fish scraps lying on it. Suddenly there was a noise of splashing behind him. Sam and Desiree dropped the carcass. A strange creature climbed out of the pool and advanced toward the girls armed with a trident. His legs were like a man’s but his face and torso resembled a large green fish with bulbous eyes. His arms were human but covered with large scales. He is a Fish-man, and you’re unable to escape and MUST fight him.

Fishman’s fighting ability:

Skill: 7
Stamina: 6


Samantha
Skill: 11
Stamina: 21
Luck: 8

Julian
Skill: 9
Stamina: 19

Desiree
Skill: 9 (+1 for attack with helmet)
Stamina: 19
Luck: 12 (+1)


Roxanne

Roxanne waved at the Centaur and bid him a good day, to which he replies, “Good day to you too.”
She found it was pleasing to meet somebody who was not attacking her on sight and asked, “Do you have any information on two goblins, or maybe where I find the missing Warhammer of Stonebridge?”
He doesn’t know anything. “I do not wander much these days as I’m getting old. I just want to own a little gold in my old age. For three gold I can carry you across this river.”
Roxanne thought a moment and searched her pack for the nose filters. She extended her arm out to him with the filters centred in her palm. “I bought these from Yaztromo for three gold.” He had heard of the wizard, and nodded, making his way over and took the filters. She climbed onto his back and he walked across the river. The water was a dark green colour and she wondered what kind of creatures might lurk in its depths. Soon they reached the other side, she thanked him and said goodbye.
She was now at the foot of some hills…

Roxanne
Skill: 8
Stamina: 8


6 Likes

East

“I say we climb this vine and find out what’s at the top,” Elsie suggested to the rest of the group.
“Yes, I agree.” Ailbe nodded. “Maybe from there, we can look out for whoever set the trap, or attack them if they’re up there.”
"The point is to investigate the possible places where the other goblin could be,” Faye added. The all looked at Aelric, expecting that he’d already have started up the vine. But he hadn’t even moved. “I will stay down at the bottom and keep watch. Make sure nothing can escape,” he told them.
Faye shrugged. “Suit yourself.” She made her way to the vine and began climbing, and Ailbe followed.
Elsie smiled. “Not a bad idea.” She followed Faye up too.

Ape-man’s fighting ability:

Skill: 8
Stamina: 7


When Faye and Ailbe stood on the platform, they didn’t see an Apeman standing in the door frame of the treehouse. The Apeman leapt at the two, who didn’t see him until it was too late, and he roared. The creature looked even larger and hairier closer up, and they saw he wore an animal hide loincloth and held a large bone in his right hand. Faye took the brunt of the attack, and Elsie was lucky enough to roll onto the platform, off the rope, slicing the creature as she did. It roared again.
Aelric, who was watching from below, looked around him for a reasonable-sized rock. He picked up a sharp one and aimed, throwing it before the Apeman had a chance to attack again. It connected with his head causing him to stumble backward. What impeccable aim I have, he thought. Those girls clearly need to give me more credit! Ailbe watched him stumble and ran at him with her sword, plunging it into his chest and pinning him to the wall. Then pulling out her sword, he crumpled to the ground.
Faye stood up, dusted herself off, and walked to the door of the treehouse. Faye stepped over the body of the Apeman, not before making sure he’s dead, and entered his living room. Animal bones and rotting fruit littered the floor. The Apeman’s bed was made of moss and lichen and seemed to be crawling with bugs. There was a copper bracelet on the floor near Faye’s foot. She bent down and picked up the bracelet, then twisted it into place on her wrist. A powerful feeling surged through her arm and made her jump. Her arm felt strong. Faye now possesses the Bracelet of Skill (Which adds +1 to your skill).

The three girls climbed back down the vine and stood with Aelric again, saying nothing about his skilful shot. The group all continue north. Soon the path led out of the trees on to a large plain with tall grasses. Beyond it, you see the rising ground and, further off, some low hills. Each halting when the path split into three directions; west, east, and north.

Aelric
Skill: 12 (+1 skill - temporary)
Stamina: 20

Ailbe
Skill: 7
Stamina: 15

Elsie
Skill: 11
Stamina: 21
Luck:10

Faye
Skill: 10
Stamina: 20


Samantha, Julian, and Desiree

The Fishman started slowly gaining on the girls, which Julian realised he could use to his advantage. He quietly snuck back round the pool of water and the Fishman kept advancing. He was focusing on Desire, which was good because it left enough time for Sam to ready an arrow in her bow. She fired her arrow, sending it straight into his chest. However, it made him stumble forward toward Desiree rather than backwards. Desiree decided that the best thing to with a fish was to punch it on the nose to disorientate it, which is exactly what she did. She sent the Fishman flying backwards into Julian’s hammer, which he’d raised for this purpose, to swing at him. Straight into his head. The Fishman fell forward onto the ground, dead. They’d all pulled together to initiate and fulfil this successful plan. They were becoming a well-oiled machine.
Sam started to pat the creature down, “He might have something useful on him.”
“He came out of that pool,” Julian told her, gesturing to the pool. "You really think he’ll have anything on him.
She sighed, then Desiree chimed in before she could snap back at him, “There could be something around the cave though.”
He spread his arms out questioningly and turned slightly in both directions. “Where? Unless you want some basic furniture and some fish bones. Let’s just keep going.” He swung his hammer and walked around the pool. Sam and Desiree begrudgingly picked the boar back up and followed him.
They walked around the pool to the north side. Steps led back up past the waterfall and up to the top. The group took them slowly and were then at the foot of some hills…

Samantha
Skill: 11
Stamina: 21
Luck: 8

Julian
Skill: 9
Stamina: 19

Desiree
Skill: 9 (+1 for attack with helmet)
Stamina: 19
Luck: 12 (+1)


5 Likes

East

Elsie got out her map and pointed to where they should be on there. “It looks like we should head north from here,” she told the others.
Faye started walking off ahead, “Let’s go north then.”
Aelric nodded. “Yeah, I say go north too.”
Ailbe looked in the northern direction. “Me too.” They all began heading north and their path cut through the grass, which was about waist height. Although their visibility was good, they felt uneasy about any creatures that may be stalking them on either side. Suddenly, the grass on Faye’s left moved and two wooden tubes appeared, pointing straight at the group. They were blowpipes belonging to two Pygmies who blew into them, sending two darts each in the group’s direction.
Luckily, none of the darts hit any of the group. But Elsie lost her composure. How dare they sneak up on us and ruin a perfectly good plan, she thought. Rage clouding her judgement as she drew her sword, about to chase after them. No one stopped her. Instead, they all drew their blades and chased after them.

Pygmy’s fighting ability:

Pygmy one:
Skill: 5
Stamina: 5

Pygmy two:
Skill: 5
Stamina: 6


Elsie quickly caught up with the two brown-skinned Pygmies. They wore grass skirts and as they stopped and turned to face the group, Elsie noticed that they each had a bone through their nose. The Pygmies drew their daggers and the first attacked her. She aimed her blade at his head but he was too fast and she only managed to whack him in the back with the flat of her sword, causing him to tumble. Ailbe was right behind Elsie and went in for the attack. However, she was unaware of the second Pygmy charging her, running circles around her feet and causing her to topple over. But before her head hit the ground, her blade cut the second Pygmie. Aelric was on top of him before he could retaliate. Hitting the ground that hard, left the second Pygmy dazed, which was enough time for Aelric to plunge his blade into him. Seeing a small leather bag around the dead Pygmie’s neck, he ripped it off. It had three Gold Pieces inside.
Faye joined Elsie with the first Pygmie and they sliced and stabbed their blades at him as he circled them. Elsie got the final blow and the Pygmie stopped. She bent over and pulled off the leather bag that around this dead Pygmie’s neck. It also had three Gold Pieces inside.
Aelric got up and walked back to Ailbe, offering her his hand. “You okay?”
Ailbe sighed and didn’t accept his hand, instead pulling herself up and back to her feet. “Fine. Just sick of being the target to the creatures we face.”
“Maybe you just need to be more aware of your surroundings.” He began north, tossing the leather bag in the air.
“Oh, be quiet,” Ailbe demanded. “We all know your skills are no match for mine.” The girls followed him north.
As the path proceeded northwards, the grass became shorter and the ground started to rise gently. Ahead of the group, the sound of flowing water. The four of them quicken their pace and soon reach the bank of the gently flowing river. Faye saw a path leading to a rickety old bridge. The only other way she saw to cross the river was to swim, holding their backpacks above their heads to keep them dry.

Aelric
Skill: 12 (+1 skill - temporary)
Stamina: 20
Luck: 10

Ailbe
Skill: 7
Stamina: 15
Luck: 9

Elsie
Skill: 11
Stamina: 21
Luck: 9

Faye
Skill: 10
Stamina: 20
Luck: 11


5 Likes

East

Each of them simultaneously took off their packs, carefully holding them above their heads. This time, Faye lead the way. She slipped into the water and started making her way across, with Ailbe following closely behind. Elsie was next and Aelric was at the back. When the group reached the middle, their legs felt vulnerable and Elsie half expected to be bitten at any moment by some unseen river creature. “Guys, uh, what are the chances of something attacking us right now?”, she asked warily.
“None if you keep going. It’s getting dark, let’s be quick and set up camp over on the bank,” Aelric encouraged.
But nothing did happen or attack them and they managed to cross safely. They were now at the foot of some hills; wet, and it was getting darker as night set in. They decided to camp behind some rocks to the left of the path, as Aelric had advised. Having yet another spit-roasted rabbit, thanks to Faye’s hunting, they settled down to sleep as the fire died down beneath the full moon.
They had barely shut their eyes when a terrifying howl woke them from their drowsiness. Ailbe, who was the most alert and awake, grabbed her blade and ran off to hide behind some rocks. To evaluate the situation and calculate the best attack.
“What was that? Wake up everyone and be very alert, as I think we’re about to have company,” Faye warned in a loud whisper.
“Yeah, uninvited guests are not going to be received kindly when I was trying to sleep,” Aelric retorted as he stoked the fire back into life and drew his glaive. With their backs to the rocks and the fire in front of them, they stood and waited with weapons ready. Soon they were aware that they were being watched and then saw three pairs of eyes ahead, glowing red by the light of the fire. Another howl pierced the night air, followed by deep growls. Slowly the three pairs of eyes advanced. Out of the shadows stepped three Wolves, ready to leap on them.

Wolves' fighting ability:

Wolf one:
Skill: 7
Stamina: 7

Wolf two:
Skill: 8
Stamina: 7

Wolf three:
Skill: 7
Stamina: 9


The first wolf pounced on Faye and she barely had time to escape, causing her to back into Elsie’s blade slightly. Elsie moved before it caused any real damage, swinging it toward the second wolf and slicing off its ear. Aelric, however, waited for the third wolf to come to him. When it pounced, he struck, piercing its side. But one strike wasn’t enough for Aelric, he struck again. Before the first wolf could attack again, Faye swung her blade and left a hairline cut along its side. While Elsie had done the same to the second wolf. The third wolf, now badly injured, limped away, but Aelric was having none of it. His sleep had been disturbed and he was annoyed. Charging the wild animal who had attacked him, he stabbed, putting it out of its misery. Ailbe had now watched for long enough. Coming out of hiding, she and Faye thrust their blades at the first wolf, at the same as Elsie had just finished off the second. Ailbe then ran her blade across its throat, killing the first instantly.
The girls all collapsed onto the hard ground, panting, while Aelric hacked at the wolf. Supper before I sleep, he thought. Examining each of them, he found a gold-studded leather collar around the neck of the largest wolf. It must be worth 15 gold pieces, so he put the dog collar in his backpack.
Eventually, they all got to sleep, only to wake up before dawn. Although, the group didn’t decide to break camp until well after the sun has risen. Making their way up the steep winding path in the hot sun, they finally reach the top of the hill and saw the tight green circle of Darkwood forest. Too hot to speak, they started down the far side of the hill, but soon notice a wooden hut to the right of the path, with its door ajar.

Aelric
Skill: 12 (+1 skill - temporary)
Stamina: 20
Luck: 10

Ailbe
Skill: 7
Stamina: 12
Luck: 9

Elsie
Skill: 11
Stamina: 21
Luck: 9

Faye
Skill: 10
Stamina: 19
Luck: 11


Samantha, Julian, and Desiree

The group was at the foot of some hills and saw a path climbing up into their midst in the north. It is getting dark and night is setting in. “What do you think, should we get some rest?”, Julian asked, taking off his pack.
“Maybe we should roast this boar so that we don’t have to carry it tomorrow.” Desiree dumped the animal on the ground and groaned in exhaustion from climbing the stairs with it.
Sam did the same. “I was thinking just that.” Then she found some kindling, while Desiree and Julian collected some wood, and in no time at all, they had a roaring fire. They feasted on spit-roasted wild boar before covering themselves in their sheepskin blankets and drifting off to sleep behind some rocks to the right of the path.
They had only been asleep for about an hour when a deep growling noise should have woken them up immediately. There was a full moon in the sky and the light cast eerie shadows all around them. Hearing soft footsteps and sniffing, followed by another low growl. Samantha’s eyes opened wide in fear and shock. Her brain still quite foggy, she couldn’t get to grips with what she’d heard. Desiree took a second to adjust her eyes to the faint glow from their fire, blinking rapidly to try to wake herself properly. On the other hand, Julian was awake. He had pulled himself up into a sitting position, with his back resting against a rock. A shape that looked like a man stepped out of the shadows to Dee’s right. As he got closer Julian saw that his chest, arms, and face were covered with thick brown hair and long teeth protruded from his mouth. He was a Werewolf and Julian knew they had to fight this creature.

Werewolf’s' fighting ability:

Skill: 8
Stamina: 9

Both Sam and Dee felt the creature’s breath on them. Both rolling onto their stomach, they scrambled forward, however, Sam couldn’t avoid being spiked on Dee’s flail, which was on the ground near her. Feeling what it was, she gripped its handle. Julian was worried about girls and ran at the creature, jumping on it from behind. It howled again, flung him off and focused on Dee, who searched desperately for her flail. She could only find Sam’s bow and arrow, but a little too late as the creature struck her. Next to her, Sam swung the flail, which ended up spinning back and connecting with her. Julian had luckily landed on his blanket and was able to grab his hammer. Back on his feet, he ran at the creature again, bringing his hammer down onto its back. Sam tried again, causing Julian to jump back to avoid getting hit. She hit the werewolf in the side of his head, but Dee’s leg got more of a direct hit. She whelped in pain. A spike had penetrated her leg, fortunately not overly deep. Enraged, she gripped one of the arrows and stabbed the werewolf. Julian then finished it off with another hit from his hammer.
Sam threw down the weapon, exhausted. Julian took a deep breath and said, “I wish we could just have a good night’s-” He was cut off by Desiree’s uncontrollable shaking and trembling. Julian ran to her side. “Dee, are you okay?”
Desiree was unable to speak. Sam looked over at her and knelt on her other side. “Of course, she’s not, look at her. What is happening to her?”
“The werewolf, it has to be. Did she get scratched?”
They frantically searched for scratches as sweat poured from her body, although she felt very cold. She felt a burning sensation inside her body as she sunk into a raging fever. The werewolf had scratched her, damn it and she was about to change into a Werewolf herself! (-3 stamina)
After a number of agonising minutes, luck was on her side, the effects of the fever finally wore off and she gratefully fell asleep again, having a decent sleep. She can’t have been truly infected. Julian and Sam took it in turns to watch over her the rest of the night. In the morning, the three collected their belongings, patched themselves up, and headed north along the path to the hills.
The steep path works its way into the hills. It was midday once the group reached the top and the sun is quite hot. Darkwood forest was a dark green circle around them. Ahead, they saw a valley floor bathed in sunlight and silence. Two paths to decide on, to continue north or head east?

Samantha
Skill: 11
Stamina: 13
Luck: 8

Julian
Skill: 9
Stamina: 19

Desiree
Skill: 9 (+1 for attack with helmet)
Stamina: 11
Luck: 11 (+1)


Roxanne

Roxanne was now at the foot of some hills and it is beginning to get dark. Looking East, to see if anyone was around her. But the land was vast and it was getting so dark that it is hard to tell. She saw a path winding its way north, up into the hills. Deciding to make camp under a great Oak Tree to the right of the path, Roxanne drifted off to sleep with her sword by her side.
Asleep for a couple of hours, not even a terrifying howl from the West woke Roxanne that easily. Shifting over onto her back, she blinked and could make out a full moon between her lashes. Great, it’s that time of the month, she thought sarcastically. Only partially able to pay attention to the big black shape in the branches above her. A big black spider dropped down on top of her, three times her size, almost crushing her with its massive abdomen trying to hold itself up on its spiny legs.

Giant Spider’s fighting ability:

Skill: 7
Stamina: 8

Roxanne tried to reach for her sword and rolled to the left to avoid its chelicerae. Then she rolled to the right as the spider tried to pierce her again with its chelicerae, nearly rolling onto her sword. She gripped the handle and swung, slicing off one of its legs so she could get out from under it. Scrambling to her feet, she swung again, slicing through the opposite leg and watch as spider stumbled forward. Rosanne raced round it and thrust her sword into its abdomen, killing it. She exhaustedly stepped around the bulbous mass and grabbed her blanket and possessions to settle down again to a nervous sleep, but further away.
At first light, Roxanne woke and set off along the northern path again. The ground is quite steep now as the path winds its way up into the hills. By the time she reached the top the sun had reached mid-temperature but was still quite hot. All around she saw the tight green circle of Darkwood Forest. Fog hung in the tall grasses behind her but ahead the morning was creeping across the valley floor. All is quiet. She started down the far side of the hill and saw another junction with two paths.

Roxanne
Skill: 8
Stamina: 7


5 Likes

East

Ailbe looked ahead at the hut, thinking for a moment before speaking, “I think we should head into the hut. We could probably find gold, maybe some weapons, or even the last part of the hammer. We really shouldn’t miss this chance.”
Elsie agreed, along with Aelric, who said with a shrug, “I was just about to say that as well.”
“Yes, we should take the chance to go inside the hut,” Faye added. “We might find some really useful things inside.”

After discussing it, they all walked toward the hut and carefully stepped through the door, blades drawn. They looked around. The hut consisted of one room containing a fireplace, a wooden bed, a table with two chairs, a washing bowl, a wooden chest, and shelves crammed end to end with birds’ eggs. There was a lot of dust on the floor and the room does not appear to have been lived in for months. The fireplace and chest seemed interesting, but Faye was not sure if she wanted to examine them or leave. Fighting with herself internally, finally, her curiosity won out and she walked toward the fireplace.
“I guess you’re checking that part out then,” Aelric asked rhetorically, though he followed behind to watch anyway, just in case he was needed.
Once over at the fireplace, she saw a fire-blackened copper kettle in the ashes, which she picked up to inspect it. Removing the lid, she found a gold ring with a large emerald set in it. It looked like it could be worth up to 15 gold pieces. Placing it on her finger, she felt very fortunate (+2 luck points).
Elsie walked over to the chest, wanting to check it out before anyone else could do so. She saw the iron lock on the chest was old and rusted and would not open. The only thing for it was smashing the whole chest. Instead, she bent down and tried to lift the chest but it is very heavy.
Struggling, she lifted the chest above her head and sent it crashing to the floor. It burst open and amidst the splintered wood lay a large, light blue egg nearly a metre round. “Odd,” Elsie commented. Putting her hand on the egg to steady it, she felt it was cold, hard, and like marble. Cracks suddenly appeared on the egg and before she could move, the egg exploded, sending fragments of razor-sharp shell flying through the air. Five splinters of shell stick in her (-5 stamina). She pulled them out quickly and watched small drops of blood roll down her wounds.

Aelric
Skill: 12 (+1 skill - temporary)
Stamina: 20
Luck: 10

Ailbe
Skill: 7
Stamina: 12
Luck: 9

Elsie
Skill: 11
Stamina: 16
Luck: 9

Faye
Skill: 10
Stamina: 19
Luck: 11 (+2 from ring)


Samantha, Julian, and Desiree

Dee looked at the others, “I vote that we go north but I can be persuaded to change my mind if you have arguments to go east?”
Julian said nothing, but instead looked at Sam, who replied, “I vote to go north as well.” Then headed north down the hill as if that were the final decision. The others followed, down the path running through a narrow gorge between two hills. Feeling vulnerable, the group readied their weapons, expecting to be ambushed at any moment. Unfortunately, because they were concentrating on watching the sides of the gorge, they did not see a small patch of leaves and branches on the path ahead. Sam’s foot went through the thin covering of a bear trap, and she plunged four metres to the bottom of a rocky pit. To add to her misfortune, a wooden stake with a sharp tip, pointed out of the centre of the pit. Luckily for Sam, she managed to avoid hitting the stake but fell heavily to the floor (-2 stamina).
In a panic, Dee and Julian both knelt and leaned over the edge. Dee yelped, while Julian yelled down to Sam, “Are you hurt?”
Sam groaned as she stood up and dusted herself off. “I’m fine, nothing but a couple of bruises,” she called back up. Looking up, she realised that it was only about four metres deep, easy enough to get out. “You going to give me an arm up or not?” Julian stretched his arm down. “Not you, Julian, I need some length.”
Julian sat back in a huff, crossing his arms and mumbled, “No need to be rude.”
Desiree then tried stretching her arm down. “Not even I can reach you, Sam”
Sam groaned again and looked around her. The pit was circular with smooth sides, but she felt too weak from her fall to climb out. Although she doesn’t give up, she sat down and pondered her fate, thinking of a way to get out, while the others did the same.
After about half an hour you all heard a noise. Desiree and Julian stood up to see a bearded face of a stocky man wearing a fur hat. He looked annoyed. He was a fur trapper and his trap had been ruined. Julian asked, “Sir, our friend has fallen in your trap, care to help her, please?”
The Fur Trapper shouted back at him, “If you expect me to throw a rope down to her, it is going to cost you 3 Gold pieces. Failing that, I will take any magical item you have.” He smirked, knowing he had the upper hand.

Samantha
Skill: 11
Stamina: 11
Luck: 7

Julian
Skill: 9
Stamina: 18

Desiree
Skill: 9 (+1 for attack with helmet)
Stamina: 11
Luck: 11 (+1)


Roxanne

Roxanne looked at the paths but still made a split-second decision to go east. She wasn’t walking east for long before she was led to a large cave entrance. The path doesn’t seem to go any further east. But again, just like that, she went forward. Roxanne stepped into the dark cavern with her sword drawn. The air was cold and moist, but she pressed onward.
She heard loud snoring and as her eyes adjusted to the darkness she saw the large bulk of a Cave Troll asleep in a large stone chair. His skin was brown and wrinkled, and he was wearing animal hides. A wooden club lay on his lap and a large leather bag was hanging on the back of the stone chair.

Roxanne
Skill: 8
Stamina: 7


2 Likes

East

Elsie was first out of the hut, telling them that they should keep going, as she walked down the hill path. Ailbe saw the valley floor stretching out ahead, and beyond that was the sinister wall of trees - Darkwood! On the other side of the trees lay Stonebridge, the journey’s end, if the group can find the head of the hammer. Faye and Ailbe almost slammed into Elsie as she came to an abrupt stop. Aelric was a few metres behind them, taking his time and being observant. They had reached the foot of the hills with many large boulders scattered around on either side of the path. Elsie was amazed, while Aelric drew his blade, as they had noticed one of the larger ones gently rocking from side to side like a leaf in the breeze.
Faye looked at Elsie, “Why did you-”
But Aelric interjected, “Ssh!” He put his free hand to his lips and motioned to the large rock. Elsie communicated with her eyes to Aelric, gesturing that they should split up and move closer. Ailbe nodded. Aelric pointed to Elsie and Ailbe to go round while he and Faye would stay here and go front on. So that’s what they did, each drawing their weapons as they crept over.
As Aelric and Faye approached the boulder slowly, but were surprised to see it suddenly rise up on what appeared to be two stumpy legs. Aelric cursed under his breath. Then two stone arms with club-shaped fists sprung out of its sides.

Boulder Beast’s fighting ability:

Skill: 8
Stamina: 11

Faye stared in disbelief as it lumbered toward them and raised one of its great stone fists. Snapping out of her bewilderment, she watched for a second as Aelric lunged at the beast, connecting his blade with the thing’s arm joints, then she went for the other side. Unfortunately, the beast had good reflexes and was quick to retaliate after Aelric’s attack. Her blades missed, but Faye didn’t. She ran into its boulder/torso and fell onto the ground. Sneaking up quietly from behind, Elsie and Ailbe decided to attack together, they struck the joints where his rocky thighs connected to his boulder. Letting out a grumbling noise, which was probably some kind of painful groan, the beast spun round. Opening its arms wide, it then brought them together just below Elsie and Ailbe’s ears, so that their heads crashed together. The beast then lifted them like that and spun them three hundred and sixty degrees, knocking Faye and Aelric over on the past. Then dropping them to the ground where he had lifted them from. The beast wasn’t the only one who was quick, Aelric was too. He was back on his feet before Elsie and Ailbe hit the ground again, and he stuck his blade into its neck joint, watching the beast crumble.

Aelric looked down at the broken rock pile around his feet. “I wonder how such a beast ever came into being,” he said coolly, and a little proud that he had taken it down.
Getting up from the ground and dusting herself off, Faye replied, “Perhaps from the misused power of an evil elementalist?”
“Maybe it was from that loner who conned us into buying all those items we haven’t used,” Aelric suggested.
Elsie and Ailbe helped each other up, rubbing their heads. “He was a wizard,” Ailbe told him. Annoyed by his ignorance, she rolled her eyes and sighed.
Elsie spoke up loudly, so they could hear her, “You’ll never know. Let’s just keep going.” She returned to the path and headed north down into the valley. Before following the girls, Aelric picked up one of the Beast’s stones, tossed it in the air, then caught and pocketed it.
Arriving at the valley floor, the group found that the path split again; North, East, and West?

Aelric
Skill: 12
Stamina: 17
Luck: 10

Ailbe
Skill: 7
Stamina: 9
Luck: 9

Elsie
Skill: 11
Stamina: 13
Luck: 9

Faye
Skill: 10
Stamina: 15
Luck: 11 (+2 from ring)


Samantha, Julian, and Desiree

“Three gold pieces for rope?!” Sam yelled in outrage from the hole. “No thanks, I’d rather drink my strength potion and climb out of this hole myself to give you a piece of my mind, than give anything to you.”

Fur Trapper’s fighting ability:

Skill: 7
Stamina: 6

Angered by the Fur Trapper’s request, Julian raised his hammer in one hand and swung it at him. It past the trapper, his hammer swinging round to the other side of his body. Julian swung it back again. This time angrier, faster, and higher, trying to aim for his head. Unfortunately, the trapper ducked, swiping with his own wooden mallet. He knocked Julian’s feet out from under him and caused him to land on his backside.
Desiree tentatively held her flail and started swinging the chains in circles in front of her. The whooshing sound started getting louder the faster she spun them. When they were so fast that they had merged into one complete circle, she lunged at the trapper, sending the circle spinning toward his hand. Dropping his mallet to clasp his newly bleeding hand, was enough time for Julian, still on the ground, to hook a foot around the trapper’s ankle. He fell backwards and hit his head on one of the rocks. Now, unconscious.
Desiree dropped her flail, letting it hang at her side, as she walked over to Julian and offered him a hand. “Nicely done.”
Julian took her hand and pushed himself off the ground. “Thanks, Dee, but you should be complimenting yourself, did you see that move you disarmed him with?” Once up he walked over to the passed out trapper and took the rope from over his shoulder.
Desiree only shrugged, trying hard to cover up how embarrassed she felt from his praise.
“Hey, you two, I’m still down here, you know?!”, Sam yelled up to them.
“Okay, I’m coming now,” Julian called back.

When both Julian and Desiree had pulled Sam out of the hole, the started north down the hill again. With Julian leading the way since he felt the least exhausted out of the group. They hadn’t walked for too long before seeing the handle of a sword sticking out from a large rock by the side of the path. They all took a moment and just stared at it, unsure of what to make of it.
Desiree stepped toward it and rubbed her hands together, “Okay, I will take a crack at this if no one else will.” She was still a little unsure, but when neither of them fought her on it, she took hold of the sword handle and placed her foot against the rock. The sword slowly slid out of the rock. It is magnificent and was obviously made by a master craftsman. (+2 skill when using the sword)
Julian’s mouth hung open and Sam snapped at him, “Close your mouth and stop catching flies, Julian.”
He ignored her remark and continued to admire the sword. “That’s a beautiful blade, Dee. Well done.”
“It is,” Desiree agreed. It felt powerful in her hand… And very heavy. “Not sure if I know how to use it.”
“You’ll be fine. Practice makes perfect,” assured Julian. Cutting her new weapon through the air, she made sure her flail was secured to her belt and realised she’d have to carry the heavy blade, as they set off north down the gorge.

Between the hills, the three finally saw the flat green valley floor stretching out ahead and, beyond, a wall of trees - Darkwood forest! Arriving on the valley’s floor; the path ended at a junction. At the junction, Desiree scrunched up her face. “Another junction, another decision.” She sighed. “I don’t even know what to pick. East? Or West? Julian, I choose you and the map, I’ll just go with what you think.”
“The pressure you’ve just put on me,” Julian told her as took off his backpack to look at the map. “I have no idea, I’d say East but just because… I like it? … So if you have a better argument then I’m open to it…”
Sam nodded in agreement. “I like that idea. We might bump into the others.”
Taking a minute to think about it, Desiree finally nodded. “I like the thought of reuniting with the others.” She was only thinking of reuniting with one in particular.
Heading east and walking along the green valley floor, brought them to another junction in the path; North or East?

Samantha
Skill: 11
Stamina: 11
Luck: 7

Julian
Skill: 9
Stamina: 15

Desiree
Skill: 9 (+1 for attack with helmet) (+2 skill when using the sword)
Stamina: 11
Luck: 10 (+1)


Roxanne

Roxanne crept around the large stone chair with the sleeping cave troll in it and reached for the leather bag, carefully lifting it off the back of the chair. Her curiosity had got the better of her again. Luckily, she lifted the leather bag off the back of the stone chair and tiptoed out of the cave. Outside she stopped to examine the contents of the bag, finding 5 Gold Pieces and a small brass bell. Roxanne stuffed them in her backpack and returned to the junction to take the northern path this time.
Roxanne grew a little tired in the heat as she walked downhill. Eventually, the path levelled out and she found herself on the valley floor, looking at the path continue north but another split off and go west. She took the western path.
Walking west along the tranquil valley floor, she arrived at another junction. She saw that one way headed south, back into the hills, and she decided to dismiss that path. Again, Roxanne made the quick decision to continue heading west. To the right of the path, she saw a stone well with a bucket and turning handle.

Roxanne
Skill: 8
Stamina: 7
Luck: 9


2 Likes

East

Faye glanced down every path, before turning to the others and saying, “I’m thinking we should continue to head North. What do you guys think?”
Elsie didn’t feel too confident in countering Faye’s statement but knew she should speak up. “I was thinking we could try heading east. I’m not actually sure why, but I’m just thinking east.” Then she quickly added, as not to get on Faye’s bad side, “Although, I’m good with a different direction instead. Maybe north.”
Ailbe agreed after taking a moment to think. “I’m thinking east as well.”
Without adding to the conversation, Aelric simply started heading east, then turned to wait for them to take the lead from him. “Let’s just all agree to head east.”
Elsie was leading them along the quiet valley floor when the path came to an end at a junction. The way south headed back into the hills so they all decided north was the better option. The valley floor was green and pleasant and Ailbe thought about how tranquil this place should be, yet home to so many loathsome creatures. Continuing to follow the path, Aelric saw in the distance the portly shape of a balding man dressed in long brown robes head this way. As he got closer, Aelric saw he was a friar. Taking the lead, he walked closer to the friar and the others followed. The friar is very nervous and jittery at seeing the four of them.
He shuffled from side to side as Aelric started to speak, “Why are you so distraught, sir?” Aelric may not seem like the type, but he still used common courtesies on those who didn’t attack him.
“Well, young man, my sacred bell has been stolen. I am looking for anyone who knows of its whereabouts,” The friar told him. “As payment for its return, I am willing to offer a magic healing potion. Do you have the brass bell?”
“No, sorry, we don’t,” Elsie interrupted, answering the friar.
Then so did Ailbe. “But if we find it, we’ll look for you.”
The poor old friar frowned and then asked, “Do you a gold piece you could give me for a good cause?”
Unfortunately, Aelric’s formalities never lasted long. “We already offered to help you find your bell, beggar, don’t try to con us out of money as well. Why don’t you just defecate where you stand?!” With that, he stormed off along the northern path ahead of them.
The friar shook his head and said as he shrugged his shoulders, “There doesn’t seem to be any charity in the world any more.”
Faye rolled her eyes at the scene that Aelric had caused. “You must excuse his rudeness, Friar, he wasn’t loved as a child.”
Elsie reached into her pack and pulled out a Gold Piece. The friar smiled and told them, “Bless you.” He bowed and set off south, whistling as he went. (+1 Luck each) The three ran to catch up to Aelric. Finally catching up to him, they all saw in the distance the dark brown wall of trees looming upon them. The path led directly there and soon started to twist and turn between tangled roots and bushes. After many hurdles and stumbles, the path eventually split.

Aelric
Skill: 12
Stamina: 17
Luck: 10

Ailbe
Skill: 7
Stamina: 9
Luck: 10

Elsie
Skill: 11
Stamina: 13
Luck: 10

Faye
Skill: 10
Stamina: 15
Luck: 12 (+2 from ring)


Samantha, Julian, and Desiree

Reaching the next junction, Julian looked in both directions. “Okay, this time, I have to say that I think it’s way better to keep on going east. We may reunite with the others, don’t you think?”
“Words of a Wiseman.” Then Sam quickly snapped, “Enjoy that compliment, because I don’t give out many, but don’t go getting an even bigger head either.”
Before Julian could argue back, Desiree jumped in between them. “East it is then” She continued to walk along the valley floor, and the other two followed, passing a junction in the path which led south into the hills. Soon the group arrived at another junction, and again, one of the branches led south, but the other two lead north and east.
Desiree turned to the other two, “I say that we head North now, just so it feels like we’re heading back in the direction we were supposed to be heading.”
Sam was looking down both paths, actually thinking about which way to go. “I don’t know, I’m kind of curious about the eastern path.”
“Umm…” Julian raised his eyebrows toward Sam. “I say north as well. We should continue advancing, as Dee said, but if you guys want to try to meet up with the others then we can continue East.”
Sam replied quickly, “I still want to meet with others, but maybe even more, I want to explore the western path. I don’t think I’m ready to go further without the other part of the war hammer. If you guys want to continue North, I understand.”
“I’m still going north,” Desiree stately matter-of-factly. “Good luck to you on your western journey, Sam. Hope all goes well.” She felt guilty that she had been a little harsh, she hadn’t meant to be.
Sam was hesitant. “…Alright, I’ll stay with you guys, north it is. I don’t want to be alone, so let’s go north.”
Julian smiled. “Yes, north, let’s go.”
They all headed along the northern path and it wasn’t long before trouble came… Although it was a bright sunny day, a tiny grey cloud appeared in the sky, moving toward the three of you. As it approached, Desiree panicked as she saw it was moving very quickly. Finally, it hovered above Julian some five metres off the ground. Suddenly a bolt of lightning shot out of the cloud, hitting him in the shoulder. (-3 Stamina.) What happened next was all simultaneous. Desiree screamed, Julian collapsed but Sam’s quick reflexes caught him from falling to the ground, and the cloud shot off to the west at high speed.
“Jul-” Sam started but was cut off by Julian.
“I’m fine. Let’s just keep going,” he snapped, pulling himself out of Sam’s grip and carefully stood back up.
“But your shoul-” Desiree stated worriedly.
“It’s fine, okay?!”, he grumbled, setting off north again. The girls exchanged glances before following along behind. All the way to another junction in the path.

Samantha
Skill: 11
Stamina: 11
Luck: 7

Julian
Skill: 9
Stamina: 15

Desiree
Skill: 9 (+1 for attack with helmet) (+2 skill when using the sword)
Stamina: 11
Luck: 10 (+1)


Roxanne

Walking over to the well, Roxanne saw a ladder that ran down the inside to the water below. However, as she looked down there, there appeared to be a tunnel just above the surface of the water, running north. It looked to be circular with a diameter of about one metre. I wonder what is down there, she thought. Maybe, part of the hammer…
Climbing down the ladder, she does not notice a rung was missing. Roxanne slipped and lost her footing. Luckily, she managed to hold onto the ladder with her hands and carefully made her way down. At the bottom of the ladder, she was surprised to see that the tunnel ran quite a distance north. Getting down on her hands and knees, Roxanne began crawling through the tunnel. The tunnel headed north rather than west, unlike the way she were originally going. She was also surprised to see that it was lit by torches at regular intervals along its length. So she kept crawling along the well-lit tunnel until she got to a junction. Slightly unsure this time, she hesitated before turning East. The tunnel ended at a cave entrance. A curtain hung over the entrance and she was unable to see inside.

Roxanne
Skill: 8
Stamina: 7
Luck: 8


2 Likes

East

Elsie turned her head in both directions before turning back to the west. “I think heading west is best, but north would be fine if that’s what everyone else wants.”
“No, we should head west,” Aelric affirmed as if to say that was their decision. Both Faye and Ailbe agreed, deciding it wasn’t the best idea to argue with him. The walk west was arduous and uneventful. Passing two branches off the path leading south, which they ignored and then eventually arrived at another junction, only to continue north again. Then, finally, something. Amidst the trees was a small stone building covered in ivy and moss. This time Ailbe joined Aelric to examine the hut, followed by Elsie. Faye, however, decided to stay back, to keep watch. The building measured only three metres by three metres and had no windows. The door was made of stone and very solid, with no handle. Then Elsie noticed a tiny keyhole in the stone door.
“Can you find a way in?”, Faye called to them.
“Ssh,” whispered Elsie, with her finger to her lips.
Aelric came to look at the door. “Oh, curses, we need a key. Well, time to continue, I’m not in the mood to break my arm on a door today.”
Faye looked at Elsie and Ailbe and asked, “Does anyone want to have a go at it?”
Aelric was starting to rethink and about change his mind, but Elsie and Ailbe exchanged glances. “A thick stone door might open if we both tried together?”, Ailbe suggested.
“Maybe.” Elsie partially agreed but decided to try nevertheless. They stepped back together and then both charged the door. The plan worked and the door flew open. Elsie and Ailbe fell forward, into the hut, as it did.
Watching the two fall inside, Faye asked rhetorically, “Shall we go in then?”
Aelric let out a little laugh then stifled it as quick as he could. Heaven forbid that they start thinking he was congenial. Straight-faced, he nodded to Faye and followed her inside the building.
Inside they saw stone stairs leading down from the door into gloomy depths. Not able to see a thing, they descended the stairs. They felt their way down, the wall cold and rough to their touch, but slowly their eyes become accustomed to the dark. They began to make out shapes at the bottom.
Now standing in a small square room with a low ceiling. The floor was thick with dust and there were cobwebs everywhere. ln the middle of the room, there was what appeared to be a large stone box, it measured approximately two metres by one metre. The top of it was a great stone slab. Along one of the rough stone walls, there was a small alcove with a candle in it. Before they could do anything else, they needed to be able to see more clearly.

Aelric
Skill: 12
Stamina: 17
Luck: 10

Ailbe
Skill: 7
Stamina: 9
Luck: 10

Elsie
Skill: 11
Stamina: 13
Luck: 10

Faye
Skill: 10
Stamina: 15
Luck: 12 (+2 from ring)


Samantha, Julian, and Desiree

Sam looked at Julian before suggesting, “I think north is the way, mainly because I don’t want to go where that cloud went.”
Desiree watched as Julian grimaced. “I say North as well,” she agreed.
Julian, still a little grumpy, muttered, “North is perfect.” Then headed north, as if that were the final decision. Stupid lightning cloud, he thought. Across the green valley, they headed, seeing a wall of green. Darkwood forest, part two, his mind groaned.
The path led straight into the thick undergrowth and they were soon walking between tall, dark trees and thorny bushes. It was dark and quiet, then the path abruptly ended in a junction. Unanimously, they decided to head east and continued that way before the path turned northward again. Ahead they heard the thumping of heavy footsteps and the noise of breaking branches. It sounded as though some huge creature was coming down the path toward them.
“I’d like to hide now,” Desiree muttered to herself, but loud enough for the other two hear, her face reflected both shock and fear. Sam gripped Dee’s wrist and yanked her into the bushes. “Ouch! That really-” Dee started to say, but Julian jumped into the undergrowth behind them and covered her mouth with his hand. Peering out from behind the leaves, they saw the massive legs of some gigantic man stomp past them along the path. As soon as he was gone, Dee pushed them off her and stood up, dusting herself off. “A little warning would have been nice,” she told them stroppily before heading north again, ahead of them.
Sam rolled her eyes. “What? Not even a thank you?”
Julian shook his head. “No one is taught manners anymore.”
They both catch up to Dee as the path began to twist and turn, and then made a sudden sharp turn to the west. Following the new course, Julian was aware of squawking in the trees. Then Sam heard the flapping of wings and looked up to see three large birds aiming themselves down at each of you. Their beaks and talons looked razor-sharp. The three of you only have a second to defend yourself against the Deathhawks.

Samantha
Skill: 11
Stamina: 11
Luck: 7

Julian
Skill: 9
Stamina: 12

Desiree
Skill: 9 (+1 for attack with helmet) (+2 skill when using the sword)
Stamina: 11
Luck: 10 (+1)


Roxanne

Roxanne reached her hand out, and on pulling back the curtain, she saw a tiny, green-skinned creature with a large head. He had a long nose and pointed ears and his clothes are made of sacking. A large medallion hung from his neck on a silver chain. The creature was sitting at a table examining a red clay figurine of a human hand. On seeing her enter the tiny hollow-like cave, he grabbed his hammer and smashed the clay hand. He was a Gremlin chief and jumped to his feet to face her with his hammer. She knew she must fight.

Gremlin chief’s fighting ability:

Skill: 5
Stamina: 5

The Gremlin lunged at her, but Roxanne was quick to withdraw her sword and thrust it into him. The problem was that there were many factors playing against her. From the small room and lack of space for her to move to the creature’s agileness. This caused her strain and took a lot more concentration and energy than she had. Meaning that the creature had the upper-hand and took advantage of it, bring his hammer down on her leg. The pain was severe. She let out an agonising scream as her vision blurred and her body temperature lowered. Seeing movement out of the corner of her eye, she had a final attempt to get the creature. Fortunately, she was able to skewer him with her sword. Unfortunately, she had used the last of her energy.
Roxanne collapsed to the floor; heart slowing and breath growing faint. Yet, her wide, glassy eyes reflected pride that she had bested one last creature.

Roxanne
Skill: 8
Stamina: 0
Luck: 8


2 Likes

East

Aelric looked over at the alcove, seeing the candle. He gestured to it and said, “I’m going to light that if I can.” He looked at the girls’ faces and thought he could make out them all nodding in agreement but it was pretty dingy in the room. He walked over and spotted a lone match next to it. Picking up the match, he struck it on the wall, igniting the match and lit the wick.
The light from the candle cast eerie shadows around the room. In the yellow light, the girls can see the face of an old man was carved into the stone slab top of the central box. Aelric moved closer with the candle and Ailbe breaks the silence, “This slab looks like it could be moved.”
“Maybe if we all take a corner to push it,” Aelric suggested. “Though it’s going to be difficult holding this damned candle as well.”
Faye snorted at him, but she and Elsie each took the opposite corners to Ailbe and Aelric. They pushed while the others pulled. They exerted almost all of there strength to no avail. In the end, Faye grabbed the candle from Aelric and threw it into the corner. Then they left the underground hut and continued north.
The path pressed northwards through the dense trees. Then it made a sudden turn to the right and headed east. The path is so overgrown in places that Faye had to take the lead from Elsie to slice through it. The walk east was long and tiring. When they reached the next junction, Elsie consulted Bigleg’s map and made the executive decision to head north again toward Stonebridge, ignoring the narrow path continuing east. This path soon opened up into a small clearing. To Ailbe’s right, she saw a pile of branches and grass, it was some kind of lair of some large creature. Aelric’s attention was drawn to something else. No, not something, someone else.

Aelric
Skill: 12
Stamina: 17
Luck: 10

Ailbe
Skill: 7
Stamina: 9
Luck: 10

Elsie
Skill: 11
Stamina: 13
Luck: 10

Faye
Skill: 10
Stamina: 15
Luck: 12 (+2 from ring)


Samantha, Julian, and Desiree

The first Deathhawk dived down at Sam as she quickly bent over to fill her hand with dirt. She flung the dirt at the creature, temporarily disorientating it. So that it only got caught up in her hair as it swooped round as she ran west, following Dee. The second Deathhawk had tried to grip Desiree’s arm causing her to shriek and run west, but lucky it only left scratches. The third Deathhawk and Julian. It dived and Julian swung his hammer, but unfortunately, they both were able to cause minor damage, before Julian was able to chase after the other two.
The three were so worried that the Deathhawks were following them that they just ran past the junction with the path that continued west, and all turned north without thinking twice. As they start to slow down, tired and out of breath, the path soon opened up into a small clearing. To Sam’s right, they saw a pile of branches, grass, and pieces of rag, the lair of some large creature. Amongst the debris and old bones scattered about she caught sight of something glittering.
“I want to know what that is,” Desiree told them, taking a few steps toward it.
Both Sam and Julian’s eyes sparkled and followed Dee, only to pass her. They turned around to look at her, not hearing what she had heard from closeby. “What’s wron-” Julian started to ask but stopped as they followed her eye’s direction. Desiree’s lips parted slightly as she grinned. Her excitement slightly hid her flushing cheeks as she saw who had just arrived.

Samantha
Skill: 11
Stamina: 9
Luck: 7

Julian
Skill: 9
Stamina: 10

Desiree
Skill: 9 (+1 for attack with helmet) (+2 skill when using the sword)
Stamina: 9
Luck: 10 (+1)


2 Likes

The Group

Desiree was so happy that she took a step forward, wanting to give them all a hug. Then looking around, seeing no one react, she quickly stepped back again. Though, just as Dee stepped back, Sam drew a wide grin on her face before letting out a small, yet startling scream. The scream made Elsie jump, but then be filled with excitement as she saw who the scream came from. Beside her, the other three were cautious and unsure if this was merely some kind of trick, as was Julian. Feeling confident that it was only his fellow adventurers and not a trap, Julian smiled. “Where the f*ck have you four been?”, he asked.
Elsie’s smile faltered as she focused on Julian, but only ever so slightly. “Language.” She paused, allowing worry to wash over her face. “Where is Roxanne?”
Ailbe was still a little cautious and watching the three of them closely. She saw Dee’s head go down, staring at her boots. Faye saw it too, but she decided to speak up. “Dee, what happened?”
Jolting her head back up to look at Faye and the girls, avoiding his eyes altogether. She just couldn’t look at him. “I don’t know… I haven’t seen her since yesterday, not more than a few hours after seeing the four of you, we all split up.” A tear ran down her cheek and Julian comforted her, gently patting her lower back. Everyone else remained quiet. “I should have stayed with her, we should have stayed together. Then at least-”
She fell silent, but there wasn’t silence for long before Aelric piped up, “Now that we have a bigger group, we have a lower chance of losing more skilled fighters… especially with me around.” He muttered the last bit to himself. Though this was still him being sympathetic; his way of acknowledging a fallen hero.

After a moment of more silence, Sam turned on her heel, heading back to check out the glittering object nearer the lair. BUT suddenly the group were aware of a dark shadow being cast all around them. Hearing a loud roar above, they looked up to see a dragon-like creature with two legs and green scaly skin flying down to its lair. A bolt of fire shot from its mouth and panned across the group. Aelric and Ailbe instantly dive to the ground to their right to avoid the flame and Elsie and Faye to their left. Julian pulled the slightly emotional Dee to the ground in front of them, while Faye flung herself backwards.

Aelric
Skill: 12
Stamina: 17
Luck: 9

Ailbe
Skill: 7
Stamina: 9
Luck: 9

Elsie
Skill: 11
Stamina: 13
Luck: 9

Faye
Skill: 10
Stamina: 15
Luck: 11 (+2 from ring)

Samantha
Skill: 11
Stamina: 9
Luck: 6

Julian
Skill: 9
Stamina: 9

Desiree
Skill: 9 (+1 for attack with helmet) (+2 skill when using the sword)
Stamina: 9
Luck: 9 (+1)


2 Likes

The Group

The creature that landed in front of them was a Wyvern. It looked at them and opened its mouth to let out another burning roar. It was about ten metres long and had thick scales that looked hard to penetrate with a weapon.

Wyvern’s fighting ability:

Skill: 10
Stamina: 11

Ailbe noticed Faye drawing her blades and running to the dragon’s side, so she decided to play as a distraction, attacking the other side. Unfortunately, the reverse happened. The Wyvern’s long tail swished from side to side and smoke curled up from its nostrils. Faye was flung away, landing on her back a fair distance away. Ailbe went in for the attack, thrusting her longsword underneath the scales on its neck. Sam stood up where she was and notched her arrow, but before she could release it, the creature opened its mouth. She dived to the ground to avoid getting burnt to a crisp. Elsie looked around, checking that everyone was okay. Noticing Aelric was heading for the same place Ailbe had attacked just moments before, she joined him. Unfortunately, the Wyvern was aware this time and flicked its tail, causing them to soar backwards.
Aelric immediately stood, giving her a filthy look. “Damn it, Elsie, think. Do you want to die? What you just did makes me think you do? Don’t attack the same place that someone else is!” Elsie felt like a scolded child, reminding her of her childhood. She looked down, hiding her eyes that were filling with tears, and nodded to say she understood.
Julian whispered to an upset Desiree, “Stay down” before rising and running toward the Wyvern. He barely heard her thank him as he threw his hammer at its head while it opened its mouth. He leapt as high as he could, yet the heat still seared the bottom of his boots slightly, and then his hammer fell on his head, causing him to drop to the ground.
Seeing how all of her friends were at a major disadvantage, she got to her feet and wiped her eyes, despite what Julian had said. Removing her flail from her belt, she started twirling it and running. Running underneath the creature, whacking it with all her might. Seeing Dee become a little force of nature, Sam aimed her notched arrow and dodged the flames, and paid no attention to its tail.
An angry Aelric did notice how upset Elsie was and his heart melted a little. “C’mon, get up, you go that way and I’ll go this way,” he directed.
Elsie wiped her eyes and nodded again. “Okay.” She held her sword and did as she was told, and then they both took off.
Unfortunately for Aelric, there were two things he didn’t notice. One, was that Ailbe was already over in the area he was heading, and two was the creature’s tail. With another swish, the three of them; Aelric, Ailbe, and Elsie, were swept to the side, landing painfully.
“Nice one, Aelric,” Ailbe growled from her back. He was about to yell back at her when there was an almighty roar. Desiree had just pulled out her beautiful new sword and thrust it into its underbelly, while Julian had run up its backbone and was thumping its head with his hammer. The Wyvern collapsed, luckily with both Julian and Desiree jumping off and running out from under it before it did.

After 10 minutes, when everyone had caught their breath, dealt with the majority of their aches and pains, and hid the rest of them. They regrouped. Desiree stepped slightly forward in their little cluster, holding out a gauntlet and ring in each hand. “I found these near the lair. I think we should take them, they could come in handy, you never know.”
“The ring is mine,” Aelric announced quickly, reaching out to claim it.
Desiree closed her hand tightly around the ring and opened her mouth to speak. She closed it sharply when Julian interrupted her, “I’m not sure if we should take either, they could be poisoned or cursed. Do you really want to risk it?”
Faye laughed. “This is our life, Julian. Without risk, where’s the fun?”
Julian shook his head and stepped back, allowing them to argue over the items, feeling a little defeated. Elsie looked at Desiree’s closed hand and then at the group to say, “Since I’ve been leading the group, I think I should take the ring.”
“Leading? You’ve barely helped. On that logic, Faye should have the ring,” Aelric retorted.
Faye shrugged. “Well, I did clear our path a lot of the time. How about it, Desiree?”
Desiree seemed unsure and Aelric noticed. He told her, “After all the quests and battles we’ve been through, I think we all know who deserves the ring most, don’t we, Dee?” She looked between the three, they were all worthy of the ring, but why did she have to make the decision. “Please?”, he added with a wink. She bit her lip and opened her hand for him to take it. He did and slipped it on his middle finger when he was suddenly gripped with agonising pain. He fell to his knees, groaning from the pain. Elsie, Desiree, and Julian ran forward to help but there wasn’t anything they could do.
Eventually, the pain subsided and he was able to take off the ring and throw it far away from him. It was the cursed ring of slowness (-2 Skill). While they were fussing over Aelric, Sam looked at the gauntlet in Dee’s hand, pondering. “Someone should probably try that one too, they can’t both be bad luck, right?” They all looked between each other, all silently saying ‘not it’. “Dee, pass it here?”, Sam said. “I’ll give it a go.”
“Are you sure?”, Faye asked.
“What’s fun without risk, right?” Sam took the gauntlet and slipped it on, then took hold of the dagger she kept on her thigh. Slicing the air with it, she felt unusually skilled. She was wearing the Gauntlet of Weapon Skill (+1 Skill).
“Damn it!”, Aelric groaned as he watched her.

Aelric
Skill: 12 (-2)
Stamina: 12
Luck: 9

Ailbe
Skill: 7
Stamina: 9
Luck: 9

Elsie
Skill: 11
Stamina: 9
Luck: 9

Faye
Skill: 10 (+1 skill)
Stamina: 12
Luck: 11 (+2 from ring)

Samantha
Skill: 11
Stamina: 7
Luck: 6

Julian
Skill: 9
Stamina: 6

Desiree
Skill: 9 (+1 for attack with helmet) (+2 skill when using the sword)
Stamina: 9
Luck: 9 (+1)


4 Likes

The Group

Julian watched Sam’s newfound weapon agility as well, from his position next to Aelric, Elsie, and Dee. “Well, I believe you got lucky there, Sam.”
Aelric threw him an irritated look and attempted to get himself off the ground, aided by Elsie and Desiree on either side, though not happy about it. “Let’s just keep going north,” he snapped once he was standing.
“Wait, wait-” Julian put a hand on Aelric’s chest to stop him, which probably wasn’t the wisest of ideas, because if looks could kill then Julian would be dead. He moved his hand sharply. “I think it’d be stupid if we all didn’t have a boost; rejuvenate. And since we can’t really nap right now, maybe we should drink those concoctions that we bought a week ago at that flee market.”
Desiree turned to him but was slightly hesitant, “But what if we need them later? And we waste them by drinking them now?”
Ailbe was thinking again. She looked paler than normal, completely drained of energy. “I don’t think there is much left of this forest and I don’t think any of us will need it more than we need it right now.”
“Yeah, it’s a good idea. I’m going to drink mine now,” Sam chimed in, removing her pack.
Faye added, at the same time Ailbe was removing her bag as well and starting to dig into it. “Me too, I think you should.”
“Jesus, I’m exhausted, I’m going to join you, ladies,” he stated, also digging into his own pack.
While they were finding the potions in their bags, Aelric had decided that he didn’t need to take his one and to just move on early. He stepped backwards, but Elsie was on him before he could turn away. “I feel weak, I need to recover my strength,” she told him.
“Not my problem,” he replied.
“It is. You have a stamina potion, swap it with me?!”
“For what?”, he questioned, remembering the useless one that she’d bought on the day. “A stupid skill one? No, thank you, I think I’ll stick with mine.”
“For anything,” she replied. “For the fact that you don’t actually want my death on your hands, do you?” Elsie folded her arms, feeling confident that she’d be making the trade with him.
Aelric’s lip curled at the sound of this. He knew that she was right and he probably had to now, but he didn’t like it. He didn’t like being forced into it. So Aelric did what he did best, came up with a cunning plan where she would be the one to refuse, not him, and he’d get to keep it. He narrowed his eyes and started stroking his chin with his right hand, pretending to think about it. “Hmm… what do I want in return for the potion? I did pay three Gold Pieces for it, but it is more valuable now, being that everyone is taking theirs. So how about… a kiss?” He smirked.
Elsie was instantly shocked, had he really just asked for that? She looked around at the others for support, but only Faye looked like she had heard him. As she looked equally as shocked as Elsie. Elsie opened her mouth to speak, her heart was racing, “…A… a what?”
“You heard me,” he responded smugly, but then foolishly looked at Dee out of the corner of his eye. She wasn’t looking at them, so it was almost impossible to tell if she had heard. Except that her shoulders had tensed, so he knew.
“That’s really what you want?”, Elsie reaffirmed her question.
Aelric shifted uncomfortably, feeling not quite himself, and he was sure he didn’t like that. Laughing it off, he said, “No, I was teasing you, Elsie.” He noticed Dee’s shoulders relax immediately, as he removed his pack to take the bottle out. “I’ll just take you skill position for it.” Though he still wasn’t happy about it.

After the five had taken their potions, they all waited another ten minutes for the wooziness to subside and the potion to take effect. Then they collected their bags together and started north again.
They walked along the narrow path until suddenly, they all heard the sharp crack of a twig breaking and the whispering of low voices. They stopped, clustered together, back-to-back and weapons were drawn. They waited anxiously. Then from behind the trees opposite Faye, stepped four men and a woman dressed in green tunics. Each looked more menacing and bigger than the other, and than them, which possibly meant their agility would be worse. But did the group want to find out if this was the case, as they watched the five surround them with swords and axes in their hands?
The young woman stepped forward and spoke angrily, “You are trespassing on our territory and you must pay a levy of five items from your backpack or face the consequences.”

Aelric
Skill: 12 (-2)
Stamina: 17
Luck: 9

Ailbe
Skill: 7
Stamina: 19
Luck: 9

Elsie
Skill: 11
Stamina: 21
Luck: 9

Faye
Skill: 10 (+1 skill)
Stamina: 15
Luck: 11 (+2 from ring)

Samantha
Skill: 11
Stamina: 24
Luck: 6

Julian
Skill: 9
Stamina: 22

Desiree
Skill: 9 (+1 for attack with helmet) (+2 skill when using the sword)
Stamina: 9
Luck: 9 (+1)


4 Likes

The Group

Elsie, too, turned her head and replied, “Let’s just give it to them, we’re nearing the end of this forest and we’re all tired. Maybe I could give them some of my gold?”
“NO,” Aelric said abruptly, then turned his head to the group. “No gold. If you all really want to give them something, what about giving them crap? Those biscuits and that stone.”
“Yeah,” Desiree agreed. “And the necklace and flute. I could even hand over my potion.”
Faye continued on from Desiree while Aelric was skillfully getting out her potion with one hand. “If you’re giving them your fortune potion then I lose the healing one.”
Sam was thinking about what she could contribute and started to suggest something before being interrupted by Julian, “I could give-”
“No, we don’t need any more items, we have six,” Julian stated, as he watched Elsie delve into Faye’s pack, so offered to do the same for Ailbe.
When all six items were out of their bags, they passed them to Sam. In Sam’s hand were a tiny brass flute, a Potion of Fortune and one one of healing, a mouse skull necklace, the rod of Water-Finding, and a stone of a beast they had fought. She turned and handed them over, dropping them into the woman’s own hand. The young woman looked down at the items that now lay in her hand and curled her upper lip in distaste. She picked up the rock to examine it but ended up tossing it behind her. “A rock and same bones, not good enough,” she spat. “Two.” She held up two fingers as well as if her two henchmen were too stupid to understand. The two largest males, either side of her, stepped forward and grabbed both Sam and Julian, then stepped back. Each one held their hostage horizontally under their arms. Sam and Julian’s arms were held down at their side, leaving them rather constricted.

4 Likes

The Group

Aelric gritted his teeth and clenched his fist tightly around the handle of his blade, readying himself for a fight. He was furious as well as struggling to comprehend how those two had so easily been picked up like bugs.
From their newly horizontal position, Sam was shocked. Minutes she remained frozen, not quite believing what had just happened. Until finally, she began to struggle against the man who held her, to no avail. She looked across to Julian, who was in the same position and had even less movement than she did, but was not giving up. Julian was yelling at the man who held him, “Ahhh, you hideous fiend! Put me down. Why don’t you pick on someone your own size?”
The henchman that held Julian sniffed the air. Then for the first time, he spoke up, “…I never thought I’d miss the smell of gnome!”
“Congratulations. You’ve gone nose deaf,” Julian mocked. “Now how about a fair fight? You put me down and I’ll show you how this dwarf can beat you in battle without breaking a sweat.”
While Julian and Sam were carrying on, the others were discussing their best options. Aelric looked adamant on fighting them, but Desire, knowing that this was a bad idea, put a hand on his shoulder as if to say, “Not a good time.”
Ailbe suggested, “How about we barter with them? Give them more items.”
“Because we just saw how well that went,” Elsie added. “I say we give them gold pieces. How about 10?”
“12!”, came a loud voice from behind them. It was the woman answering them, as if to say, “So I’ve been able to hear your conversation the whole time. Hurry up.”
Suddenly feeling watched and a little violated, the group tensed and agreed to give them the gold. Banding together, they collected the gold from their packs to make up a total of 12 now in Elsie’s hand. She stepped forward and gave the young woman the gold. The young woman looked at the gold in her hand and nodded. “I suppose this will suffice,” she stated nonchalantly while gesturing to her henchmen with her other hand to let Sam and Julian down, which they did. Then as fast as they appeared, they receded back into the forest again.

It took the group about 10 minutes to gather themselves and regain their bearings, and stop Julian and Aelric from chasing after those bandits. Once they had, they headed north again and soon noticed the trees beginning to thin out on either side of the path. Eventually, the path led out of the trees to a ploughed field. They were out of Darkwood Forest!
The path led through the field to a stone bridge over a clear stream. Beyond the bridge were the small cottages and wooden huts of the village. A sign at the end reads ‘Stonebridge’. Before crossing the bridge, Elsie realised that she didn’t possess the other part of the hammer and they had failed their quest to help the dwarfs. They are unable to face Gillibran, the king, without the hammer. Consulting Bigleg’s map, Elsie announced, “We need the second part of the hammer. We can either walk around Darkwood Forest and enter the forest from Yaztromo’s tower again? Or perhaps just head east, find a place to rest after this perilous journey and try to find other adventure to undergo?”

The first adventure has ended!

5 Likes

Adventure 2: The Trial of Champions!

After Elsie had announced they had failed and that they had to choose between two options, the group fell silent. Each and every one of them was disheartened and upset. How could they have failed? How could they have lost one of their own; Roxanne. So young and naive, yet such a strong warrior. She would be missed. But Elsie knew she couldn’t just leave her.
“Good Riddance,” Aelric blurted out. “I’m not going back in there, risking my life, for someone who may or may not be dead.”
“How could you be so selfish?”, Elsie retorted.
“A simple no would have sufficed,” Ailbe added.
“Okay, NO.” Aelric folded his arms and leaned back on the Stonebridge sign. Sam nodded, agreeing with Aelric as if to say ’me too’.
Desiree and Julian joined the argument too, but only in their heads. More than ever did they want to make sure Roxanne was alright, however, there was a really high chance that she hadn’t made it.
Interrupting everyone, Faye declared, “I’m going back round to find Rozanne and the hammer. Elsie, Ailbe, and anyone else, follow if you want to join.” With that, she turned on her heel, heading West. The other two hot on her tail, but no one else moved.
No one even spoke until the three had disappeared, after heading to the south. Then it was Sam to break the silence. “Let’s find somewhere to spend the night and rest our heads before figuring out what’s next.” The group agreed and trudged into Stonebridge.

The next day, when the four were well-rested, they strolled the dwarves’ market. Selling things they’d collected, buying new strength potions, and spotting a poster. When they were gathered around it, Julian read aloud.

The Trial of Champions!
Win 10,000 Gold pieces and the freedom of Chang Mai forever.

On May 1st each year, warriors and heroes come to Fang to face the test of their lives. Survival is unlikely, yet many take the risk, for the prize is great. However, to become a champion is no easy task. Some years ago, the powerful baron of Fang, Sukumvit, decided to draw people into the town by creating the ultimate contest. A labyrinth deep inside the hill behind Fang, from which it only has one exit and is filled with many tricks, traps, and loathsome monsters.
Are you able to accept the challenge and win?

None of them spoke after Julian had finished. Yet, words were spoken, “I’m gonna’ do it.” The voice had a thick, country drawl, from someone who had not been brought up in the city. The four heads turned promptly to see where and who it’d come from. They were faced with a girl, one that was masked and hooded. Only her piercing green eyes were left uncovered, staring straight at the poster.
Aelric snarled, clearly not happy to be beaten to the punch, much less by a girl. “You?! This is a real damn tournament, child, not a pathetic game of stick combat.”
“Child? I’m not a child. I ‘ave as much chance as you do of winnin’, probably more,” the green-eyed girl, Kathryn, retorted.
Aelric laughed abruptly. “If you look like a child and sound like a child, then you are in fact, a child.”
“I’m not, and I am gonna’ compete.”
Sam watched the scene take place, wondering if she should cut in. Desiree, however, was in her head, wondering if she was actually brave enough to enter this tournament. While Julian, on the other hand, was quickly getting angrier and angrier. Finally, he couldn’t stay quiet any longer. “Aelric, stop it! There’s no need for such rudeness.”
Aelric ignored Julian and continued talking mockingly to Kathryn. “Child, be careful, there’s probably an age restriction.” He paused a moment and leaned a little forward. “But if you insist, fancy a wager?”
“What kind of wager?”, Kathryn asked.
He smirked. “If you do compete and you win, then I’ll give you 10 Gold pieces, but if you don’t, as I predict, then you give that Gold to me. Though if you die, then the satisfaction of knowing I was right will do quite nicely.”
She pondered the idea a moment before smiling and putting out her hand. “Agreed.” They shook hands.
In a quiet tone with a hint of envy, Desiree asked, “Does this mean the five of us are going to enter the tournament?”
Sam replied, “I believe it does.”

Despite its name, Fang was an ordinary small town in the Northern Province of Chiang May. Situated on the banks of the river Kok it made a convenient stopover for river traders and passengers throughout most of the year. A few barges, rafts and sometimes even a large sailboat could be found moored in Fang. But all that was long ago, before the creation of the Trial of Champions. Now once a year, the river is crammed with boats, as people arrive from hundreds of miles around, hoping to witness the breaking of an ancient tradition in Fang and see a victor of the Trial of Champions. A trial that Sukumvit had designed in meticulous detail so that anybody hoping to face its challenge would have to use their wits as well as their weapon skill. When he was finally satisfied with its completion, he picked ten of his finest, fully-armed, guards and sent them into the Labyrinth. He never saw them again and the tale of their ill-fate spread throughout the land. Rumours, messages, and news-sheets carried his challenge, and challengers flooded in. The first year, 17 brave warriors attempted ‘The Walk’, as it later became known, but not one reappeared. Years passed and the Trial continued, attracting bigger and bigger crowds. Fang prospered every April and May, they even dedicated a festival to it. Everyone sang, drank, danced, and laughed until day broke on May 1st when the town flocked to the gates of the labyrinth to watch the first challenger of the year step forward to face the Trial of Champions.

Having seen one of Sukumvit’s challenges nailed to a tree, Yoohan decided that this year she would attempt ‘The Walk’. For the past five years, she has been attracted to it, not for the rewards, but for the simple fact that nobody has ever yet emerged victorious. She intended to make this the year in which a Champion was crowned! To make a name for herself, to no longer be a nobody. Gathering her belongings, she set off immediately from Phan Thiet, a small town she’d been working in for the past few months. She keeps moving from town to town, never settling, never connecting, never staying longer than six months. Two days’ walk took her west to the coast, where she entered the cursed Port Blacksand. Wasting no time in that city of thieves, she bought passage on a small boat sailing north to where the river Kok meets the sea, and from there she took a raft up-river, finally arriving in Fang.

The trial begins in three days time, and the town was in an almost hysterical mood of excitement. Crystal and Emyrs had just registered their entry with officials and were both given violet scarves to tie around their arms, informing everyone of their status. For three days, they enjoyed Fang’s hospitality and were treated like demigods. Crystal may have been partaking in all festivities, but the look on her face whilst doing it was another story. She didn’t show anything on her face, no emotion what-so-ever, she never really did. Emyrs was quite the opposite, and it left them both wondering if they were going to be able to work together during this Trial. They had thought so, 14 weeks back, in the Vale of Willow, where they were going to help its people. Then they spotted the challenge and decided that they’d complete this first and then return to the Vale.
Though during the long merriment, Emyrs almost forgot their purpose in Fang and possibly would have too if it weren’t for Crystal. However, the evening before the Trial, the magnitude of the task ahead began to dominate Emyrs’ thoughts. And continued to later on too when both of them are taken to a special guest house and shown their rooms. There is a splendid four-poster bed with satin sheets to help the competitors be well-rested, possibly for the last time, but there’s little time left to sleep.

Just before dawn, a trumpet call awakens Yeonhwa from vivid dreams of flaming pits and giant black spiders. Minutes later, there was a knock on his door, and a man’s voice rang out saying, “Your challenge begins soon. Please be ready to leave in 10 minutes.”
Yeonhwa rolled over, sighing. Why did he have to be first in the line of competitors’ rooms? Though with the flip of a switch, he jolted upright and out of bed. No, today was the day and he was going to win this challenge. He walked to the window and opened the shutters. Already people were thronging the streets, moving quietly through the morning mist; spectators on their way to the labyrinth no doubt, hoping to find good vantage points from which to watch the competitors. Yeonhwa turned and walked to the wooden table on which his trust sword lay. He picked it up and cut the air with a mighty sweep, wondering what beasts its sharp edge may soon have to meet. Already dressed, as he slept in his leather armour, he adjusted it and grabbed his backpack before opening the door. Coming face to face with a small man with slanted eyes who greeted Yeonhwa as he emerged from his room. “Please follow me,” he said, turning left and walking quickly towards the stairs at the end of the corridor.

As one of the last doors to be knocked in the corridor, Scarlet was the last to leave. She and the man who’d knocked on her door left the guest-house, darting down narrow alleyways between houses. Soon she came into a wide dirt road lined with cheering crowds. When they saw her violet scarf, they cheer even louder and start showering her in flowers. The long shadows of the people in front of her shrank as the bright yellow sun rose higher in the morning sky. Standing there in front of the noisy and vibrant crowd, Scarlet felt strangely alone, aware of her coming ordeal. She wished Michael were here, standing beside her, supporting her. Suddenly she felt a tug on her shirt and saw her small guide beckoning her to follow him. Ahead was the looming hillside and the dark mouth of a tunnel disappearing into its depths. As she got closer, she noticed two great stone pillars on either side of the tunnel entrance. The pillars are covered with ornate carvings: writhing serpents, demons, deities, each seeming to scream a silent warning to those who would pass beyond them.

Felix saw Baron Sukumvit himself standing by the entrance, waiting to greet the contenders in the Trial of Champions. Felix counted 16 others standing proudly in line, their violent scarves displayed for all to see. He smiled, eager to start ‘The Walk,’ then looked to his left, to two bare-chested barbarians dressed in furs. They stand completely motionless, legs straight and slightly apart, arms thrust forward to rest on the hilts of their long, double-headed battleaxes. A tall, slightly bulky man with curly, brown hair and stubble was standing next to a blonde, meek-looking girl with a flail and a harsh-looking redhead with a bow and arrow. Felix chuckled to himself as he thought the girls should probably switch weapons. Next to the redhead was a dark-skinned dwarf with a big hammer who actually rather friendly and a what looked like the figure of a masked and covered girl. Next to them was a sleek, elven woman with golden hair, and feline green eyes like the hooded girl. She adjusted the cross-belt of daggers wrapped around her leather tunic. Felix turned to his right, to his employee of about a year, Derek. Derek had arrived in town during the last trial and met Felix at a town pub a few days later. Hearing that Felix had been struggling to cope with maintaining his land alone, Derek offered to help out, for payment, of course. So that’s what happened, Derek stayed for a year and worked as a farmhand, although it took the two months and months to be friends if that’s what they could be called now. But they were close enough now to agree to attempt this together, even if one may have had to persuade the other. Derek nodded to the smiling Felix before looking to his right. A young man was there and a little girl with very short, brown hair. Both carried swords and Derek thought that both would be dead very, very soon. The same went for the next girl with a bow and arrow who looked way to classy to be here competing. Next to her was a long-haired man who looked a lot more rugged than Derek and a long-haired, freckled child whispering to him. Or she looked like a child to Derek and children had no place here, neither did women. Of the two remaining men, one was covered from head to foot in iron-plate armour with a plumed helmet and a crested shield; the other is cloaked in black robes, only his dark eyes showing just like the green-eyed girl. Long knives and other death-weapons hung from his belt.

Half of the 17 contenders acknowledged Kendra’s arrival with almost imperceptible nods of the head, the rest didn’t even notice her. She turned to face the exultant crowd for the almost the last time. Suddenly a hush fell over the crowd as Baron Sukumvit stepped forward holding twelve bamboo sticks. Kendra drew one from his outstretched hand and read the word ‘eleventh’. After years of smaller battles and fights, while trying to find her family, it was time to attempt this Trial and put her skills to the test. the woman may have saved her life and taught her everything she needed to know to survive, but she had refused to tell Kendra one thing; where her family was.
Then the trial began! The knight was first. He saluted the crowd before disappearing into the tunnel and was followed 15 minutes later by the elf. Almost everyone else gets their turn, both in groups and individually, until only Kendra and other barbarian stood there. Now it was her turn to salute the crowd. She held her violet aloft, then took one final deep breath of cool fresh air before turning to pass between the stone-pillared gateway into Sukumvit’s corridors of power, to face the unknown perils of ‘The Walk’ through the mighty baron’s Deathtrap Dungeon.

East turned North, eventually, until finally, they reached the river Kok, where Sam had told a sailor what they were doing, and with much excitement, he granted them free passage onto his boat. Now they were starting ‘The Walk’. The clamour of the spectators gradually faded behind the group as they ventured deep into the gloom of the cavern tunnel. It reminded Aelric of the large hole belonging to the Sting Worm, except minus the slime, and he hoped it would stay that way. Large crystals hung from the tunnel room at 20m intervals, radiating a soft light, just enough for them to see their way. As their eyes gradually became accustomed to the near darkness, they began to see movement all around. Spiders and beetles crawled up and down the chiselled walls, disappearing quickly into cracks and crevices as they sensed people coming. Rats and mice scurried along the floor ahead of them, and Desiree had to bite her tongue to stop herself from screaming as she pressed her body into Aelric. Surprisingly, he didn’t seem to mind much as they kept walking. Droplets of water dripped into pools with an eerie plopping sound, which echoed down the tunnel. The air is cold, moist and dank, but after about five minutes, the group stopped at a stone table against the wall to the left. On it are 18 medium-sized boxes, each with a different name painted on its lid; there are five in the front with the group’s names.

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Fifth Stick

Julian looked at the boxes, then at the others while running a hand over his freshly shaved head. That was one of the things he did to prepare yesterday; visited a barber. He sighed, feeling a little jittery about what could be inside. “Okay, so what should we do? Do we open all the boxes or only some of them?”
Rather quickly but in a neutral tone, Kathryn replied, “I’m really not sure… we could go ‘fer openin’ a box or two, to see if it’s safe to open the others.”
Desiree was taken aback by Kathryn, as it was the most she had spoken since the day they had met her, almost two weeks ago.
“Fine by me,” Julian added.
Sam was watching, both the others and the boxes, as if calculating their options. Then she adjusted her bow over her shoulder and told them, “This sounds logical enough. We get to find out what is in the boxes without everyone being hurt if it’s bad. Just one question, who is going to open the box?”
“Well, I don’t care who else is going to but I am sure as hell going to open mine.” Aelric moved toward his box and put one hand on the hilt of his blade while placing the other on the lid. Inside was nothing dangerous, only two Gold Pieces and a note addressed to him,

'Well done, Aelric. At least you have the sense to stop and take advantage of the token aid given to you. Now I advise you that you will need to find and use several items if you hope to pass triumphantly though my Deathtrap Dungeon.
Signed Sukimvit.

Relieved, the others move towards their own boxes and find much the same, except with their own names on the notes.
Sam was the first to gather the box’s contents and turn, continuing north along the corridor. The others followed her quickly, so it went Sam, Julian, Kathryn, Dee, and Aelric at the back, as per normal. Though it wasn’t long before they reached their first junction, and it was the fastest decision for Sam to make; West, following the white arrow painted on the wall and three wet sets of footprints. Soon arriving at another junction, with this one having a direction going as well as continuing west.
Beating Aelric to the punch, much to his dismay, Kathryn muttered something, probably which direction. Although, between her half-face mask and the drawl, it wasn’t audible. This pleased Aelric, who smugly told the group, “West.”
Sam nodded from the front of the group, “Anyone oppose Aelric?” She paused, then faced forward to walk west. “That’s good then.”
Kathryn flicked Aelric a look, narrowing her eyes, as she followed onward, pushing past Desiree to walk behind Julian. Walking along the tunnel, Julian tapped Sam’s shoulder, surprised to see a large iron bell hanging down from the ceiling.


Sixth Stick

After watching nine other challengers set off and started ‘The Walk’, it was her turn, the sixth stick. Yoohan tried to appear as confident as she could, facing the roaring crowd. Flashing them a timid but beguiling smile, she started on her way. Delving deeper into the tunnel, where she found that she heard and saw less and less. That is until she arrived at a table of named boxes, hers was in the row behind. Yoohan didn’t hesitate, she made sure she tightened the violent scarf around her head like a headband, and opened her box to read a note, similar to the one the other group had, except that it was addressed to her. She took the coins and continued north, following the footprints from the competitors before her. Again, once getting to the first junction, she decided there was probably be safety in numbers and followed the majority of the footprints. Not too long after leaving that junction, did she hit another and decided much the same thing, stick with the majority.


Seventh & Eighth Stick

Crystal and Emyrs stared at the boxes before them. Emyrs was the first to speak out through the eerie silence of the tunnel, “We should open these before the next group come down the tunnel and gets in the way.”
Crystal didn’t answer for a moment, instead, looking up the tunnel to see if she should see anyone. When she couldn’t, she turned back to him and replied, “Perhaps only one of us for now. Check to see if it’s a good idea, if there’s something helpful, then I can open mine.”
Unsure why she was insisting he do so, he decided not to question her, stepping forward after muttering a quick, “Yeah, okay.” Upon opening the box, there was a stone click as a stone hit one of the walls. Crystal jumped, then looked to Emyrs, glad he didn’t see her do that. No, he was much too preoccupied with collecting the gold and note, starting to read it aloud.
However, he only got as far as his name when a voice spoke up from the tunnel. “Sorry for scaring you, sweetheart?”, Yeonhwa apologised with the hint of a mischievous grin.
Emyrs turned to see who had spoken from the tunnel they’d just come. He was about to acknowledge him but Crystal interjected. “You didn’t and I’m not your sweetheart, just watch where you kick things next time.” She moved toward her own box, grabbed her stuff out and pocketed them.
“Sorry,” Yeonhwa repeated to her. “Mind if I join you?”
Crystal only sighed and headed north ahead of them. It was Emyrs who nodded and said, “sure” before following her. Yeonhwa went to his own box, grabbed its contents and followed them down the tunnel.

The three walked silently north for a few minutes before coming to a junction. This time was no different, Emyrs was the first to speak up, “As for which direction to go, to the east or west, I don’t know. I do think we should stick together, perhaps heading to the east?”
Crystal wasn’t too sure since she was usually a lone wolf, but figured he was probably right and they should probably stick together. At least for now. “Yes, that’s a good idea” she agreed, without needing to deliberate further.
Yeonhwa, however, didn’t really want to stay with them after the situation back at the table of boxes. He didn’t care for the snarky comment earlier and eerie silences. He may as well stay on his own, so he made the announcement. “Here is where I will bid you adieu and be off in the other direction. Good luck with the challenge.” He bowed his head and backed off down the western tunnel, which he did for two reasons. One was so he didn’t turn his back to them, and two was to confuse the next group coming this way when they saw a set of footprints coming toward them as well.
Trudging carefully backwards along the wet cavern ground, Yeonhwa hadn’t really noticed all the other people’s tracks heading that way too. It wasn’t until he arrived at the second junction and turned around, that he saw them. Looking right, north, was only one set and everyone else had gone west, which was straight ahead. So Yeonhwa went for the path less travelled, the northern one, to see where that lead.
Ahead he hears the thud of heavy footsteps approaching. Out of the gloom, stepped a large primitive being dressed in animal hide and carrying a stone club. It saw Yeonhwa, grunted and spat of the floor, then raised his club and lumbered toward him, looking anything but friendly. What was he to do?

Emyrs and Crystal looked at each other after Yeonhwa left. Before she lead the way east, Crystal let out a sigh of relief, pleased that it was just the two of them again. Though they weren’t walking long before Crystal stopped in the middle of the tunnel, which if Emyrs hadn’t reacted quickly then he would have crashed into her. Ahead they saw a large obstruction in the tunnel floor, although it was too dark to make out exactly what it was. The wet footprints they’d been following carried on towards it.
Upon seeing the dark shape, Emyrs remarked, "Perhaps we should have gone the same way as the other guy.
“I hate to say it, but I think that may have been a better option,” Crystal sighed, shaking her head. She turned to face him, gesturing to take the lead for their return, but stopped when she heard someone’s approach.


Ninth Stick

Scarlet was the ninth group, or person, to set off into Deathtrap Dungeon. Although, eager and ready to get ahead of her competitors, she was the only one to run down into the tunnel. Once entering the slightly wider part with the table of named boxes, she didn’t hesitate to open her own box. Collecting her loot and continuing north down the tunnel at a steady jog. Though stopped just before the junction when she heard voices. A group were splitting up and she couldn’t help but admire the one who chose to go off alone. Waiting a few minutes for them to go their separate ways, she crept over to the junction, where she could either go East or West. Another quick decision; East, the one that much fewer had chosen.
Walking along the dark tunnel, she knew she could jog, else she’d get ahead of the two who had chosen to go that way. Although, that didn’t matter since she’d caught up to them within a minute.
“Perhaps we should have gone the same way as the other guy,” a male voice remarked.
“I hate to say it, but I think that may have been a better option,” a female replied with a sigh.
They were just about to turn around and not look to see what was ahead of them. She couldn’t quite see what it was but could see some kind of shape. So Scarlet said aloud to the pair while walking around them to try to get a better look, “What, are you scared or something? Where’s your sense of adventure? Let’s go see what is up there.”


Tenth Stick

15 minutes after the previous stick had walked, no, ran into the tunnel, it was Derek and Felix’s turn. They walked in at a leisurely pace without a care in the world. It wasn’t really a race since no one came out alive. Felix laughed as they walked down the hollow tunnel, his laugh echoing, and said, “That young girl who went before us is foolish. Running at the start, she won’t last the day.”
“Or she’ll be drinking all her water and have to beg other competitors for more,” Derek suggested rather brutally.
Felix licked his lips and skipped a step as he spun around, walking backwards. “How about a bet? I say that we will find her body somewhere ahead of us. Want to wager that?”
“Now that would hardly be a fair bet, Felix,” Derek replied with a sober expression.
“That’s true. I would take all your gold if you had taken me up on that bet.” Approaching the boxes on the table, Felix didn’t wait to think about it and just went over to open both of their named boxes. Luckily, nothing jumped out at him and he was able to look inside his own box, collecting the coins and note. Derek walked up to his, now open, box and did the same. After they had, the pair continued down the tunnel until they reached the West to East junction.
“There were quite a few girls in the competitor line-up, weren’t there?”, Felix continued on with their casual banter they had going.
“There were,” Derek agreed in his sedate tone and manner. He knew what Felix was like and that there wasn’t any point saying anything to him. Simply agree and do not further the conversation.
“You think any of them will be a damsel in destress and need a knight to come save them?”
“Perhaps, although they will be quite disappointed when the court jester shows up instead.” Derek was mocking, but unless one knew him, one would never guess based on his voice and straight face. Derek turned west without discussion and Felix caught up to his side.
“Ha,” Felix gave a short, fake laugh at him. “Seriously, though, this darkened place has enough hidey-holes for a little fondle or to get it on for five minutes.”
“You never know what may happen.”

The pair reached another junction, west or north. This time Felix made the decision but slightly taking the lead to go west, where most of the foot prints were headed.


Eleventh Stick

Once Kendra reached the the tunnel into the mountain, her senses heighten, suddenly aware of every sound and noise, every crawling insect. Being last into Sukumvit’s challenge was the best thins Kendra could have asked for. It meant that she could take her time and not have to worry about any other competitors catching up behind her. Nor did she have to worry too much about the things hidden in the tunnels for now, as all of the many competitors before her would face and probably destroy them first. That idea still only eased her mind slightly and she continued to tentatively walk down the dark passage. The violet scarf had been hanging from her hand since the starting line. Rubbing the soft silk material through her fingers, she raised her hands up to tie it around her neck like an ascot a male usually wears.
Kendra had reached the table of boxes, taking them all in. Each lid was either open or looked to have been tampered with slightly; all but one, the box with her name on it. Judging by the fact that they’d all been open, the boxes seemed safe. Stepping up to the table, she curled her fingers under the edge of the lid. Upon opening it, it was but a minute for her to skim-read the note and slip all the three items in her bag before creeping down the northern tunnel. Then after the most cautious five minute walk, Kendra came to a junction. Her eyes were drawn down to the mud-splattered white arrow that was painted low on the wall. It pointed west. Seeing the majority of the tracks head west, she thought it best for her to follow them. Less of a chance to meet creatures or traps, as there were people to find them first.
Treading warily along the western passage of the tunnel, trying to soften the squelching of the mud under her specially-crafted, thinly-stretched, leather boots. One that she dare not tell, nor ever show her people, else there would be disapproval and probable cause for banishment. Another junction was ahead; choose between continuing West and following over half a dozen footprints, or turning in the direction of north. It was a quick decision, as again, she chose the path of the many before her and continued west.

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Fifth Stick

The tap on Sam’s shoulder wasn’t needed, as she had already seen the bell hanging down from the ceiling. Hanging right above the passage in front of them. The group bunched up around Sam, who had halted in front of the bell. Five pairs of eyes were peering through the dark tunnel at the bell, which gave off a very faint glow.
“Apparently, traps aren’t exactly subtle in this challenge,” Julian stated in a mocking tone.
Desiree hesitated a second before commenting, “You really think that it could be a trap?”
“I don’t think it just grew there,” he retorted, this time with even more mocking.
Kathryn agreed with a nod of the head. “Julian’s right. It isn’t wise ‘ter even touch it; drawin’ unwanted attention in such a wee space, would nae be good."
However, Aelric had a different plan. While they’d been briefly discussing it, he’d got right up next to the bell with his hand poised on the rope below it, ready to ring. Then he did. The dull ‘bong’ from the bell sounds like a death toll. Everything around them starts to vibrate, and he gritted their teeth as his head too, started to shudder. Being so close to the bell, Aelric’s whole body was trembling and fell to the floor. He quivered and shook, writhing convulsively on the floor as the reverberations intensified. Feeling his energy drain and his glaive wielding hand feel weaker (-2 skill & -2 stamina), Aelric wanted to search desperately for a way to stop the bell.
Both Desiree and Julian threw their hands over their ears to protect them, while also opening their mouths to produce more noise. Fortunately for the group, Sam was quick and was able to wrap her arms around their heads to cover their mouths with each hand. So Desiree’s high-pitched scream and Julien’s whimpers were muffled. Despite the terrible ringing in everyone’s ears, Aelric had pushed himself off the ground to actually work with Kathryn to stop the noise. As Kathryn had taken off her boots and held them against the bell. Slowly the bell stopped vibrating and ringing in their ears gradually eased. They were able to calm down and look at each other through the gloom again, except Sam, who was listening for footsteps or something. There weren’t any.
Kathryn slid her boots back on her feet, snapping at Aelric as she did, “Nice goin’, idiot.”
Aelric snarled back, “Yeah, well, we’re not dead, are we? The bell has been stopped.”
“We could 'ave been.”
“Stop it, you two,” Sam interjected. “Let’s just continue before more trouble is caused.”
Sam pushed her way past the bell, taking the lead and continuing west. Then Kathryn after her, Desiree, Julien, and finally a disgruntled Aelric. The tunnel veered sharply to the right and continued north. They all heard a giant racket in the distance; sounds of growling and snarling and howling. Without communication, they all drew their weapons before continuing toward it. Ahead, they saw two HobGoblins squabbling over something ahead. Sam signalled to the others to go round, making it blatant to Aelric. They crept up behind the two squabbling HobGoblins. As everyone passed them safely, Aelric then leapt out of the shadows, pushing them into the wall as he ran by. Looking back to see them sprawled on the ground, he chuckled to himself as he ran ahead of the group. Taking a sharp right east, he arrived at a strange obstruction; a line of 12 wooden poles. They are fixed to the walls about half a metre apart.

Aelric
Skill: 10
Stamina: 18


Sixth Stick

Following the many footsteps down the tunnel ahead of her, Yoohan heard the faint ringing of a bell. Though the noise soon stopped. After five more minutes of walking, Yoohan stopped mid-step in front of a large bell hanging over the path. Standing there smiling at the bell for at least a minute, Yoohan decided it would not be best to ring it, especially since this had to be the one she’d heard a few minutes ago. Instead, she continued west, around the bell, to where the tunnel veered sharply to the right and continued north. Stopping again, she heard a mighty loud ruckus ahead, growling and snarling and howling. Yoohan drew her bow and arrow before starting up down the tunnel again. Ahead in the dim light, she saw two HobGoblins clambering up off the ground furiously, preparing for a combat dual. Deciding that she didn’t want to fight one, let alone two, Yoohan crept up behind the two HobGoblins, who had just locked arms, attempting to throw the other. When she was clear, she jogged along the tunnel until the sharp turn east where she met another group.


Seventh & Eighth Stick

As the pair turned around, away from something obstructing their path, feeling defeated, Scarlet said aloud while walking around them, “What, are you scared or something? Where’s your sense of adventure? Let’s go see what is up there.”
Emyrs let out a slightly-infuriated huff in quick-response to the new girl, “Suit yourself if you wish to get killed quickly.” Crystal only gave him a tight-lipped smile and then a soft punch in his bicep, as if to tell him to try to be a little more polite.
Scarlet tilted her head ever so slightly to the left to get a better look at the pair. She gave them a sweet smile but wasn’t going to be pressured into not taking a closer look as she edged closer. It was too dark to make out exactly what the obstruction was, but the wet footprints ahead of her seemed to carry on toward it. As she got closer, Scarlet saw it was a large, brown, boulder-like object. Reaching out her hand, she found it soft and spongy to the touch. Emyrs stepped closer too, over to her left. He also found it oddly soft to the touch.
Crystal stayed back, squinting her eyes to peer at it. “How about you both stop feeling it and just slice through it already?”
Scarlet gave a half nod and pulled out her sword, but Emyrs held up his hands, saying, “No, let’s not. You don’t know what’s in this object, it’d be better to just climb over it.” He felt around the sphere for a decent handhold to pull himself up.
“We don’t know what’s behind it either, so I’m going to slice through it.” The tip of Scarlet’s blade cut the surface of the object.
“Yeah, stand aside, Emyrs, destroying this thing is the best option,” Crystal told him dominantly, despite him being older and bigger than her. She drew her daggers and charged the ball. Unfortunately, Crystal was not very aware of the direction of her daggers as she ran. They left a shallow cut in the arms of the other two before both blades plunged into the ball (-1 Stamina each). Almost simultaneously, Emyrs growled her name like an annoyed parent, while screeching in pain. Scarlet sliced the object again with her sword, this time angrier and deeper, and Crystal pulled her daggers out. A thick brown cloud of spores burst out of the ball and enveloped them. Some of the spores stuck to their skin and started to itch terribly. Great lumps came up on all three faces and arms, and their skin felt like it was on fire. (-2 Stamina) The girls began frantically scratching their itchy bumps while Emyrs refrained from agitating it further. Leading the way, he stepped over the now deflated ball and headed east.
The tunnel made a sudden turn to the left and headed north for as far as Emyrs could see. The footprints they’d been following started to fade out as the ground became gradually drier. Soon they were beyond the dripping roof and pools on the floor, and then Emyrs started to breathe deeply as the air became hotter. The girls, too, slowed their pace. In a small recess of the left-hand wall, Crystal saw a section of bamboo standing on its end. She lifted it down to find it was filled with a clear liquid and gestured to the others to look too. Each of their throats was painfully dry and they were starting to feel dizzy from the heat in the tunnel.

Crystal
Skill: 11
Stamina: 19

Emyrs
Skill: 11
Stamina: 16

Scarlet
Skill: 11
Stamina: 19


Ninth Stick

Caveman's fighting ability:

Skill: 7
Stamina: 7


As the primitive being’s spit connected with the ground, Yeonhwa turned his head and twisted his leg around as if he planned to bound back up the tunnel to escape. The ape-like man already had his club in motion, bringing it down on Yeonhwa. It was fortunate that he saw the primitive’s shadow and was able to throw himself out of the way. The unfortunate part was that he smacked into the wall at some force. His back jarred in pain. Sliding down the solid dirt wall, the creature’s club changed direction, but Yeonhwa had been able to pull out his sword to deflect the attack. Sending the club into the wall and leaving his bicep open to be sliced. The primitive grunted again, a little angrier. Leaving no chance for the primitive to retaliate, not even risking standing up, he then ran his blade across the side of the caveman’s thigh. He made a groan this time, at the gash on his thigh, which was one groan too many. As Yeonhwa used the time that the man cried in pain, to quickly thrust his sword higher. Into the top of his thigh. Only to pull it swiftly out, lift the hilt over his own head and stab the blade into the primitive’s upper stomach.

Pushing himself back into a sitting position, he rested just long enough to catch his breath. When he had, he stood and peered over the fresh corpse, examining it. The only thing of interest on the dead Caveman was a leather wristband with four small rats’ skulls hanging from it. He thought about whether to take it or not, as it wasn’t exactly fashionable, but then again it would show others what he was made of. So he slipped it off the primitive’s wrist and onto his own. The leather wristband had been made and cursed by a Hag. It leaves the wearer unable to remove it, and it slows down reactions and dulls their senses. (-4 Skill) Yeonhwa kicked the tunnel in anger and stomped off north. Though not far along, he stopped stomping, as he saw a backpack propped up against the tunnel wall. He wondered if it belonged to one of his rivals.

Yeonhwa
Skill: 8
Stamina: 21


Tenth Stick

Turning west, they didn’t walk long before they faced what seemed to be a large bell in front of them. Walking right up in front of it. “That’s a bell, probably a trap, and you’re probably going to ring it anyway,” Derek stated, keeping his serious tone as he observed the bell.
Felix beamed, before flashing Derek his glistening silver pupils and replying cheekily, “You bet. How could I refuse such a great suggestion as that?!” Then before Derek called even think about rolling his eyes, Felix pulled on the rope hanging from the inside of the bell. Again, not that the pair knew this was the second time, the bell’s dull ‘bong’ sounded like a death toll and everything around them started to shake. Biting down hard on their teeth to try to stop their heads doing so too, which wasn’t successful as they were forced to drop to the floor. Trembling and convulsing as it got worse, as did the feeling of loss of strength and experience (-2 skill & -2 stamina). An involuntary noise escaped their lips, almost in unison. From Felix was a high-pitched scream, which he quickly tried to cover up by clearing his throat. Derek, on the other hand, let out a much gruffer scream-like yell. Their heads were rattled and there was now a need to stop the bell, though with the noise and vibrations it made it hard to stand, let alone think of a way to stop the ringing.
Despite the terrible ringing in Derek’s ears, he could hear footsteps running down the tunnel from where they’d just come. Their loud screams had attracted a tunnel guardian, a co-leader of its own kind. Standing over Derek was a HobGoblin; its face bore a sick smile as it pressed the point of its sword against his neck. Unable to defend himself, he couldn’t prevent the HobGoblin from running its sword through him. Felix hadn’t heard the footsteps, so it came as a surprise when he turned his head to see his friend brutally murdered. The mere seconds it took for the creature to pull his blade from Derek and hold it to Felix’s neck, was only enough time for Felix to grip one of his arrows. As the blade poked into his neck and he felt a trickle of blood, the last thought he had was regret. He regretted ringing that darn bell because if he hadn’t then Derek would still be alive.

Sorry Martha and Blue, the main results of each choice are all already planned out before actually chosen. Though I’m honestly the most disappointed about this 'cause they were my FAVOURITE conversations to write. I LOVED these two characters. You’re both welcome to help Brooke (fifth stick) with any decisions, and I really hope you’ll be keen for the next adventure after this one!

Derek
Skill: 11
Stamina: 0

Felix
Skill: 10
Stamina: 0


Eleventh Stick

Walking down the tunnel, Kendra heard ringing sounds from somewhere ahead of her. The walls were vibrating and for a few seconds, before she could steady herself, her legs felt like jelly. Once her legs were steadier, her ear became attune to two screams, followed by heavy footsteps coming closer. Drawing two of her daggers, she stood on guard, ready for the upcoming approach. A HobGoblin ran past, too focused on where it was heading to bother with her. After the creature had passed, Kendra continued walking, rather slowly, keeping her daggers out in front of her. Only two minutes had passed when she heard the footsteps approaching again. It was the HobGoblin back again and this time it noticed Kendra and ran to attack her.

HobGoblin guardian's fighting ability:

Skill: 8
Stamina: 6


As the HobGoblin ran toward her, it brought its sword down, which she parried with her daggers. The creature stepped back to adjust itself for another strike, except that Kendra struck it first. She plunged her dagger into his gut, causing the creature to double up. When it did, Kendra lifted her leg up and kicked it in its new wound. Falling backwards from the kick, Kendra thrust forward and stabbed one of her daggers into its chest. It was dead.

With a quick wipe of her daggers, she trudged forward again, to the bell. She didn’t seem surprised to see a large bell hanging down, blocking most of the path, and was especially unfazed by the two bodies laying on the ground in front of it, bleeding out. Taking a closer look at the bodies, she recognised them; two of her challenge competitors, the previous stick before hers. Both were tall, well-built men. That thought nagged at her mind, if two rather strong males could be killed here, then what hope did she have?! Attempting to push the thought aside, Kendra kneeled between the men and carefully closed their eyelids while saying a little prayer she knew. Just one to bring peace. Waiting a few minutes in what was dead-silence, she decided to search the bodies, thinking that they’d want someone to make good use of any possessions to try to win the challenge. She took the contents of the backpacks, which included potions, 4 Gold Pieces, and weapons.

Once shouldering her pack again, Kendra bowed to them then looked at the bell. It only appeared to be one of the first of many challenges this mountain would throw at her. With that logic, and the two other challengers laying there, she decided it was best to walk around it, as she wouldn’t want to draw attention to herself. Continuing cautiously west, the tunnel veered sharply to the right and continued north for as far as she could see.
Hearing a tremendous commotion in the distance, growling and snarling and howling, Kendra kept her daggers steadily out front and walked carefully down the tunnel toward it. Ahead in the dim light, she saw two HobGoblins fighting, punching and kicking each other furiously. There is a leather bag lying on the floor, and it seems to be this that they are fighting over. Not wanting to see the fighting continue, nor witness any more death in the tunnels, Kendra decided to break it up, quite loudly.

“Oi! You won’t solve your problems this way. Why don’t you try sharing the bag?”

HobGoblins' fighting ability:

Skill: 7
Stamina: 5

Skill: 6
Stamina: 5


The two HobGoblins stopped their fight immediately. They didn’t understand what she was saying and just snarled at her viciously. They drew their short swords and ran forward to attack her. Kendra dodged the second HobGoblin’s attack and then jumped out of the way of the first HobGoblins’s attack. Unfortunately, leaping into the second’s thrust, left a cut in her arm. Though not letting the pain faze her, she rolled behind the second and thrust her right into its back. With her left, she jabbed at the first. When it leapt forward to attack, she cut it and then pierced it with her right.

The two HobGoblins lay there unmoving. They looked to have nothing of any use to her on them, so she decided to open the little bag on the floor. Inside was a corked earthenware jug. Kendra uncorked it and sniffed. It smelled sharp and acrid.

Kendra
Skill: 12
Stamina: 21




Questions:

Fifth and Sixth Stick
Do you wish to step between the poles or across the top of the poles?

Seventh and Eighth Stick
Do you wish to drink the liquid or continue north without drinking it?

Ninth Stick
Should he look inside the backpack or would he rather continue north?

Eleventh Stick
Do you wish to drink some of the liquid or dip a piece of cloth in it?

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Fifth & Sixth Stick - @Littlefeets, @BlueInferno, & GROUP DECIDERS

Aelric stood there analysing the poles, thinking about the best way around them. He was just about to start to make his way between the poles when the group caught up to him and he heard the voice that he’d grown to like.
“And where do you think you’re going, mister?”, Desiree chided him with her arms folded and a hint of a coy smirk on her face.
Aelric stopped at the sound of her voice and turned around, rolling his eyes at the demand but smiling at the words. “I’m going to make my way through this obstacle course, care to join me?” He offered Desiree his hand.
Desiree was thinking of taking it, however, Kathryn interjected before she could, “I think both ways could cause problems but if we go ova the top o’ them then we’re higher up and away from bein’ attacked.”
Sam nodded. “I agree. Above them is safer.” She turned to look at Julian beside her. “You agree with us, don’t ya?”
Kathryn looked around at him too. “Yes, Julian, you are the decidin’ factor after all.”
With all eyes on him, he hesitated, panic filling his eyes and mind. “What?”, Julian snapped at them all. “I’m supposed to be your deciding factor for whatever way we go. So if whichever I choose goes wrong then you can all just blame me. Don’t think so, I ain’t doing it.” He crossed his arms angrily.
No one answered him, they didn’t have a chance. Their eyes were too focused on the girl who was walking up behind Julien. Her dark hair was out, down to her shoulders, pushed back off her face by what looked like an opal decorated headband. With it, she wore a long-sleeved, rusty tight-knit tunic, woollen tights, brown leather boots, and a smile. She got rather close to Julian and said with her own brand of sarcastic charm, “Yeah, you’re totally right, you don’t want to go making decisions, not ones that can be life or death. No, staying here in this spot seems like a much better choice.”
Julian jumped away from her in mild fright, then barked back, “Hey, I can make a decision if I want to.”
“I have no doubt in that, I’m sure you can,” the girl, Yoohan, said again in a soft tone. Then she gave him a little wink and turned to Aelric. “Which way were you thinking of going?”
Aelric didn’t respond but Desire surely did. She reached for the hand that he had just offered her and gripped it… tightly, and rather protectively. “We’re going around the poles.” She made sure to emphasise the ‘we’ and then turned them both around to face the poles.
Julian raised his index finger up to them and said, “I’m coming too.” He ran up behind them, making sure not to look at Yoohan as he did. However, seeing both the boys leave, she was going too, it didn’t matter if Blondie was there or not.

Desiree was actually pulling Aelric by the hand, between the poles, with Julian and Yoohan closely following, taking care not to touch any of them. Sam and Kathryn, however, weren’t so sure. As soon as the four turned to make their way between the poles, Sam and Kathryn exchanged glances. Kathryn nodded to Sam, who immediately took the lead. With a small run-up, she leapt confidently onto the first pole and then strode onto the next, with Kathryn on her tail. As she landed on the third pole, it immediately released a shower of sharp splinters, each several centimetres long. They flew out in all directions at great speed, and they couldn’t avoid being hit. (-2 luck) Lucky for the group of four, they were already further along than the third pole. Seven splinters pierced Sam and eight pierced Kathryn while they both managed to scramble over the remaining poles. When they reached the end, to where the others stood, the two sat down to the painful task of removing the splinters. Julian stood there watching them the whole time, smirking.
“Be quiet, Julian,” Kathryn growled at him, despite him not making a noise. Yet, the smugness stayed.

After the last splinter was removed, the now group of six hurried east. The tunnel later ended at a junction. The footprints they had been following turned north. With Aelric and Desiree still leading the group, Dee allowed Aelric to continue north as he gently pulled the hand of hers he held. Then further along the wet footprints turn east and he followed them, everyone trailing after him.

The passage opened out into a wide cavern that was darker and drier. The footprints they had been following had faded and disappeared. Standing before the group, in the cavern centre was a large idol about six metres high. On each side was a giant stuffed bird-like creature, and the idol itself had jewelled eyes.

Aelric
Skill: 10
Stamina: 18

Desiree
Skill: 9
Stamina: 20

Julian
Skill: 9
Stamina: 22

Kathryn
Skill: 11
Stamina: 19
Luck: 6

Samantha
Skill: 8
Stamina: 24
Luck: 9

Yoohan
Skill: 12
Stamina: 21


Seventh and Eighth Stick - @wanderingechoes, @Daunt, and @Caticorn

Crystal examined the section of bamboo, trying to see what the liquid was. “Any ideas on what this could be?”, she asked, sounding out of breath.
Scarlet coughed. “One way to find out, pass it over and I’ll drink it.” She reached for the bamboo.
Shaking her head, Crystal held onto it a little tighter. “No, we’ll share it. I found it after all.” She looked over at her travel companion. “You in too, Emrys.”
He backed up slightly from them, scoffing, “I’ll do whatever you two aren’t, especially after what just happened. I’m not trusting either of your decisions after being attacked by a giant boulder. You two drink it first and keep it far away from me.”
“Suit yourself,” Scarlet replied with a shrug, turning back to the girl and the bamboo with reckless anticipation.
Crystal pursed her lips in contemplation, almost rethinking the idea after hearing what Emrys said. Though the girl’s eagerness stopped her from second-guessing herself. She put the bamboo to her lips and tentatively sipped it before passing the rest to Scarlet. The water in the bamboo pipe is welcomingly refreshing (+1 stamina). The air around the girls didn’t feel as hot as it did before.
Scarlet discarded the pipe and shrugged with a cocky smile. “See, didn’t kill me.” She continued north in good spirits. They followed on, but not in a hurry to catch her up. Crystal starts to give him a sympathetic shrug, except he doesn’t look so good. The temperature continued to rise, though only for Emrys, the water must have had cooling properties for the body. As he struggled to take a step, the heat intensified until it felt like white heat and became unbearable, he felt like he would pass out.
“Are you okay?”, Crystal asked with concern.
He shook his head, trying desperately to stop himself from blacking out, but the heat was too much and he fell on the floor. Only his immense strength and grim determination kept him from falling unconscious. Picking himself up, he nodded to Crystal and pressed on.

Mercifully, the temperature starts to drop rapidly. It was almost cool again when they reached Scarlet, who was standing there waiting. On the left was a closed door with a small iron plate in it.

Crystal
Skill: 11
Stamina: 20

Emyrs
Skill: 11
Stamina: 16

Scarlet
Skill: 11
Stamina: 20


Ninth Stick - @astralis

Opening up the backpack, Yeonhwa saw a single Gold piece lying at the bottom. He he reached in to retrieve it, he suddenly a tickling movement on the back of his hand. Withdrawing it slowly, he tried to control his mounting panic upon seeing a Black Widow spider. Before Yeonhwa can shake it off, it sinks its poisonous fangs deep into his wrist (-6 Stamina). Noticing his hand trembling as he pocketed the Gold Piece (-1 Skill), he cursed owner of the backpack. Yeonhwa took a moment to breathe and shake off the pain before setting off north again.

Yeonhwa Kim
Skill: 7
Stamina: 15


Eleventh Stick - @astralis

Kendra removes her pack and rips off one of the smaller flaps covering a pocket. Carefully holding the jug, she drops the cloth into it. Acrid smoke rose from the jug; the liquid is unmistakenly acid. Recorking the jug, Kendra was careful to place it in her pack and shoulder it again, hoping to maybe use it later.
She continued northwards a few metres before it took a sharp turn east, soon arriving at a strange obstruction of 12 horizontal poles. Seeing long splinters scattering the floor, she wondered where they came from; above or the sides.

Kendra
Skill: 12
Stamina: 21


Questions:

Fifth and Sixth Stick
Would any climb up to take the jewels or just walk around it leave the cavern?

Seventh and Eighth Stick
Do you open the door, slide the plate, or just continue onward?

Ninth Stick
What did you think about him finding a spider in there?

Eleventh Stick
Do you go over the top or between the poles?


Group Deciders and Readers:

Deciding for Aelric, Desiree, Julien, and Sam
@Tellyg47, @anon93806337, @ChaoticDeluge, @jaytastic, @Skyler2, and @unsungcheerio

Those just reading: @sunflower.flow, @duck, @Duckling, @celestialkitten, and @TheDancingFryer

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Fifth, Sixth, & Eleventh Stick - @Littlefeets, @BlueInferno, @astralis, & GROUP DECIDERS

Being the shortest of the group, Julian had to step back from the others to see the jewels at the top of the giant, which seemed to gleam in the lowly lit room. He walked forward again, to the group, and looked up at Sam with a mocking grin. “I suppose you’re going up there to pry that out of its eye?”
As if to try to get the upper hand, she matched his grin and retort, “The other idea I had was to ask Aelric to help me throw you up there to get it. How does that sound?” She looked over at Aelric, who wasn’t paying attention.
“Over my dead body.”
Sam shrugged. “Could be arranged.”
Aelric whistled loudly, in amazement, which stopped their little argument. “I’m going to get one of those.” Then suddenly pulled his hand away, as if just remembering he and Dee were still holding hands. He smirked at her in his usually cockily kind way. “For me, obviously, don’t get any ideas about, you know.”
“Obviously,” she responded, blushing. “Just try to be careful, Al.”
Kathryn laughed abruptly. “Al?”
“You know me,” Aelric answered, winking at her. He then faced Kathryn. “What’s the matter, Masky? Why don’t you stop laughing long enough to put your money where your mouth is and take the risk too?” He pointed up to the giant statue.
Sam stepped forward, speaking through a laugh, “Masky, I like it. I’m not all talk, Aelric, I’ll join ya.” He nodded.
“Rich comin’ from the idiot who rang a trap bell about an hour ago,” Kathryn hurled back as the two got close to the statue’s bottom.

The statue was very smooth and would be very difficult to climb. Some rope would help with that but no such luck, they’d have to try to free-climb. Slowly and carefully, Sam and Aelric began to climb. Sam is about to grab ahold of its large ear when her foot slipped. Yoohan’s flew open in fear and she had to cover her mouth with her hand to stifle a scream. Luckily, Aelric managed to grab ahold of her arm to stop her from falling, and she was able to grip the giant earlobe and regain her footing.

Kendra noticed that the ground in front of her was scattered with wooden splitters, ones that had clearly been flung out when the person before her tried to walk between the polls. She could tell from the few droplets of blood down there too. That was why she decided to run across the top of them. Kendra pulled herself up onto the first pole and stood there confidently. Then began to stride quickly across, not wanting to stay still for too long. Unfortunately, it didn’t work. Halfway across, a shower of splinters was released. (-2 luck) They flew out in all directions and she couldn’t avoid being hit; seven splinters embedded themselves into her flesh. She let out a silent yet anguished scream and stumbled off the poles, dropping to the ground. Kendra plonks herself on the cold ground and painfully pulls each of them out. Not bothering to mop up the small amounts of blood around each wound, she got up and quickly continued on. Hearing chatter up ahead, she quickened her pace.

Kendra reached the large cavern and found a group of six challengers just metres in front of her. Four stood watching as the other two climbed up a giant idol that took up the majority of the cavern before her. She saw the pair on the idol reaching out for the right eye and thought she couldn’t let them get both jewelled eyes. Quietly, Kendra sprinted around the group of four and leapt onto the giant, clearing a good metre and gripped the surface with both hands. Her fingers slipped but still managed to hang on. Fumbling around as she tried to carefully climb the idol, trying to find handholds while also working her way away from where the other two were climbing.

As Sam was attempting to pry out the jewel in the right eye with one of her arrows, Kendra had to climb up higher to where she was next to the left eye. As she had one of her daggers in hand and started to prise it out, she saw the girl’s (Sam’s) arrow touch the right eye. Much to everyone’s surprise, it shattered on contact, releasing a jet of poisonous gas directly into her face. It seemed to have missed the boy (Aelric), who struggled to grab Sam as she passed out and bounced down the idol to the stone floor. Without time to contemplate what had happened, she heard a creaking sound from below as she touched her own jewelled eye. Looking down, she’s shocked to see the two stuffed birds taking flight. Their wings flapped in jerky movements but they are soon above her, looking set to attack.

Aelric
Skill: 10
Stamina: 18
Luck: 10

Desiree
Skill: 9
Stamina: 20

Julian
Skill: 9
Stamina: 22

Kathryn
Skill: 11
Stamina: 19
Luck: 6

Kendra
Skill: 12
Stamina: 14
Luck: 10

Samantha
Skill: 8
Stamina: 0
Luck: 8

Yoohan
Skill: 12
Stamina: 21


Seventh and Eighth Stick - @passionfruit, @Daunt, and @Caticorn

Being the closest to the door, Emrys knew in his gut that they should just continue on but curiosity got the better of him. It wanted to know what was behind the door. In a completely deadpan way, he joked, “Do you choose to continue down the path or open door number one?” Emrys paused before answering himself. “I choose to have a peek.”
He slid the small plate open with ease and found himself peering into a room with a deep pit in the floor behind the door. On the opposite wall were two iron hooks, on one hung a coil of rope.
Crystal rolled her eyes at his comment while also smiling and shaking her head while walking closer to the door. “Let’s just go in.”
“Just what I had in mind,” Scarlet agreed with a little smirk to Crystal, putting her hand on the handle. The door swung open into the small room, but before any of them knew what was happening, Scarlet found herself falling through the air. She landed heavily at the bottom and winced in pain. (-4 stamina) Looking up at the pit walls, she could see they were roughly chiselled and had plenty of toe and finger-holds to clamber back out easily. Scarlet cursed herself and made a note to be more careful when entering rooms or opening doors. She climbed, reaching the top on the opposite side. Grabbing the rope and stuffing it in her pack before leaping back over the pit to rejoin the others. “See,” she shrugged, the smirk still on her face. “As easy as that.”
“Apart from the bit where you fell down a hole, right?”, Emrys retorted. “And the language you used when you were down there. Yeah, I heard, but don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone how tough you’re not.” He continued north, taking the lead.
Almost through gritted teeth, Scarlet whispered to Crystal, “I think I really hate him.”
Crystal tried to hold back a laugh to respond quietly, “I think he feels the same about you.” Then she followed Emrys and Scarlet followed her.

Ahead the tunnel turned sharply to the left. Emrys turned the corner with the girls close behind him and they almost bumped straight into two fierce-looking orcs who were armed with morning stars and dressed in leather. Taken by surprise, they then draw their weapons as the orcs swing their morning stars at them.

Crystal
Skill: 11
Stamina: 20

Emyrs
Skill: 11
Stamina: 16

Scarlet
Skill: 11
Stamina: 16


Ninth Stick - @astralis

Yeonhwa arrived at a junction in the tunnel. A new brunch leads west but the wet footprints he had been following continued north, so he keeps following them north. He then does the same at the next junction too, which tried to change to the east but he kept heading north following what has turned into over half a dozen footprints.
He had arrived at a large darker cavern that was much drier than the tunnel had been. Yeonhwa wasn’t alone. There was a large idol taking up most of the cavern’s space with a group before him. Two were on the idol and one seemed to be being attacked by a pair of bird-like creatures. Yeonhwa seemed to have caught up with some more of his challengers.

Yeonhwa Kim
Skill: 7
Stamina: 15




Questions:

Fifth, Sixth, & Eleventh Stick
What’s Kendra’s first move?
Does anyone else want to try to help?
How do you feel about Sam? What do you do and how do you react?

Seventh and Eighth Stick
Either you can choose a number from 1 to 6 OR I can throw a die and it can be random?
What’s your first move in the battle?

Ninth Stick
What will he do? Either he can stand and watch, try to help fight the bird things, go around the group/idol and go ahead of them, OR something else.


Group Deciders and Readers:

@Tellyg47, @anon93806337, @ChaoticDeluge, @jaytastic, @Skyler2, @unsungcheerio, @sunflower.flow, @duck, @Duckling, @celestialkitten, and @TheDancingFryer

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Fifth, Sixth, Ninth, & Eleventh Stick - @Littlefeets, @BlueInferno, @astralis, & (@unsungcheerio & @Skyler2)

“Samantha!”, Julian yelped as he watched her fall to her death. When her body landed, there was a distinct sound of bones cracking and a quietly uttered pun, “Things have gotten dead serious here.” Luckily, no one seemed to hear Yoohan.
First to run to her side was Julian, leaving both Desiree and Kathryn staring in shock, water erupting from Dee’s eyes. “Sam, are you okay? Can you hear me? It’s me, Julian. Wake up. I’m getting worried now. If you’re messing with me, it’s not funny. Say something.” Julian’s voiced was becoming increasingly panicked.
In that short space of time, Aelric had managed to ignore Kendra’s situation and carefully climb back down, running over to kneel beside Sam. He had two sets of eyes following him, one was Dee and the other was Yoohan. he didn’t notice, instead, feeling for a pulse that wasn’t there, Aelric began chest compressions on Sam. “Juls, she’s not playing, she needs breath to her lungs.”
Julian looked at him with glassy eyes that knew Aelric was right. He nodded and put his mouth to hers, trying to fill her lungs.

Just a few metres away, a distraught and worried Desiree saw where Sam and Aelric had placed their bags before climbing, and a person rifling through Sam’s. “What are you doing, Ryn?”, Dee reacted though croaked sobs. “That’s not yours.”
Kathryn replied unemotionly, not turning to look at Desiree, “Sam is dead. No one else seems ‘ter want it so I’m ‘elpin’ meself.”
“You have no right.” Dee didn’t know where her voice was suddenly coming from. Perhaps it Aelric rubbing off on her, although he was much of a talker either, or maybe it was her way of standing up for Sam one last time. Whatever it was, anger consumed her. “Put. It. Down.”
Kathryn stopped and so did Yoohan, who turned her eyes away from the boys to watch the dramatics. Kathryn turned on her haunches to look at Dee, straight in the eyes. “She is dead, can nae you see that. She will nae need it any more. Just because yer lover an’ I do nae see eye ‘ter eye, we got ‘ter have a problem ‘ter?”
“No.” Dee paused, long enough for Ryn to think she had won. “My problem is with you taking Sam’s STUFF.”
Yoohan rested her hand on Dee’s shoulder to try to calm her. Although she loved drama, maybe now wasn’t the best time with these heightened emotions. So she attempted to lighten the situation by softly saying, “Perhaps Kathryn was hungry and stealing food but her plans were foiled.” To that, Dee only shrugged off her hand.

Bird-things:

Flying Guardian 1
Skill: 7
Stamina: 8

Flying Guardian 2
Skill: 8
Stamina: 8

Kendra did have the time to focus on what was happening at the bottom of the statue. Right now she had to pry out this gem before the bird-things got to her. She couldn’t get to it, her fingers kept slipping. Then just as the first guardian dived at her, she pulled with all might and her fingers still slipped, sending her elbow backwards into the birds beak. It recovered quickly, diving at her again but she climbed down two handholds and the bird went crashing into the gem turning it too, to dust. This time it was the other guardian who dived her. Thankfully it had given her enough time to take out one dagger while she hung on one hand. She struck the second bird and the first attacked again. It was disorientated and she swiped at it. It flew around in a small circle and aimed again, this time flapping wildly with its claws out. However, Kendra got her arm between its legs and struck it with her dagger in the abdomen. The guardian dropped to the ground.
The second came at her from behind in the same position as the first and clawed along one shoulder blade. (-1 stamina) Kendra clenched her teeth together at the agony and almost let go of the statue. Though when the bird came around, she was ready; striking at it as hard as she could. It was flapping unsteadily now, just one good thrust was what she needed. When it came closer, she threw her arm and caught it, she twisted her blade. It fell to the ground too.

Yeonhwa brushed the dust and muck from the tunnels off his clothes. While he did, he watched the scene take place before him. Trying to revive the dead, an argument over a backpack, and a girl fighting two creatures alone with no one watching. No one but Yeonhwa. He thought about the possibility of approaching, but what would be the point?

Aelric
Skill: 10
Stamina: 18
Luck: 10

Desiree
Skill: 9
Stamina: 20

Julian
Skill: 9
Stamina: 22

Kathryn
Skill: 11
Stamina: 19
Luck: 6

Kendra
Skill: 12 9
Stamina: 13
Luck: 10

Yeonhwa Kim
Skill: 7
Stamina: 15

Yoohan
Skill: 12
Stamina: 21


Seventh and Eighth Stick - @passionfruit, @Daunt, and @Caticorn

ORCs

First Orc:
Skill: 5
Stamina: 5

Second Orc
Skill: 6
Stamina: 4

Four morning stars coming flying toward, shot from each of the orcs’ hands. One wheezed past them, over their heads. Another bounced off one of Crystal’s daggers as she swiped at it in order to avoid contact. As for the other two stars, they found their targets. Each planting themselves into Scarlet and Emrys’ thighs. Emrys grumbled, his teeth clenched, while Scarlet’s agonised scream was internal. (-3 Stamina each)
Staggering backwards, away from each other as they attempted not to touch shoulders, they managed to regain their balance with support from the tunnel walls. With the tunnel being too narrow for both orcs, the second one stayed back and focused it’s attention on Crystal. She wasted no time, attacking the second creature, swiping with her daggers. They cut through the orcs leather. She has so much momentum, Crystal spun on the spot and swiped again before the orc could counter the attack. Slashing up and down this time, drawing blood, and leaving the body of the orc on the ground at her feet. Coming to a stop unsteadily, Crystal looked pleased with herself.
Acompanied with a slightly unsteady step forward and a quick intake of breath, Scarlet took her sword in both hands and went for the first legs. The first orc, the one wearing a hat, jumped over the swinging sword and came back down on the uneven hard rock surface like a ton of bricks; crashing to the ground. Emrys lept at the opportunity when he was down, not wanting to mess around, and brought his axe down hard, into the Orc’s head, killing him.

Emrys hobbled over to search the second Orc’s pockets. He found a Gold Piece and a hollow wooden tube. Pocketing them both, as Crystal did the same with her Orc but came up dry, he sat down carefully to search his bag for cloth. Scarlet was already on the ground, about to pull the star from her leg.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” he told her matter-of-factly with a hint of irritation.
“And why not?”, Scarlet snapped stubbornly.
Eventually finding cloth, he ripped it with teeth and and hands before retorting sarcastically, “Do you want to bleed out?” Emrys wrapped the torn rag around the top of his thigh and tied it tightly. Then with swift precision, he pulled the star out and pressed down hard on the wound with the strange hat he’d grabbed off the dead orc. Holding it down with one hand, he picked up the other half of ripped rag to offer to Scarlet. “Need me to help or can you do it yourself?”
“I can manage,” she snapped, snatching the cloth and tying it around her own leg as he had just done to his. Crystal stood by watching them. Grimmacing when she pulled out the star, Crystal could tell by her face that she was trying to hold back a scream as she pulled. “I suppose you going to share you bandages?”, she asked snarkily as she watched him wrap his leg.
“Why? Were you not smart enough to bring any?”
“Hey!”, Crystal interrupted loudly. “Enough. Unless you want me to leave you here and go off ahead of you alone.” She flashed Emrys a sharp smile, as if to say that she would do it even if they entered together as a team.

When the squabbling was over and they were bandaged up to continue, to continue west. As the walked along the tunnel further, droplets of water start falling from the ceiling. Crystal, who was leading her two hobbling comrades, saw wet footprints heading west, made by the same boots that they were following earlier. They lead the trio to a closed iron door on the right-hand side of the tunnel, but didn’t seem to go any further.

Crystal
Skill: 11
Stamina: 20

Emyrs
Skill: 11
Stamina: 13

Scarlet
Skill: 11
Stamina: 13




Questions:

Fifth, Sixth, Ninth, & Eleventh Stick
What will Ryn do or say? Will she wish to or be allowed to stay with the group now or will she go off ahead of them?
What does Dee do/say? Will Julian and Aelric hear it and step in?
Will Yoohan say any more or try again to stop in from escalating?
With the creatures gone, will Kendra climb down or try AGAIN to pry out the jewel?

Seventh and Eighth Stick
Do you wish to open the door or keep going west?

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