I waited until it was good and dark before I used my Boots to transport myself out of my chains. Several of Wiremu’s men seemed like they were about to start talking or something else stupid but I was able to silence them with a finger to my lips. Wiremu himself was dead asleep even though he was in manacles and once again in dire straits. My grandmother used to tell me that some minds are too small to be bothered with worry. I put a hand over his mouth and woke him up with a whisper – telling him that I would be back and not to worry. He nodded his understanding but I shudder to think what mischief he’s going to get up to left on his own.
I used my Cap to assume the appearance of Ollie and headed out of the camp. The guards on duty seemed a little confused but they didn’t challenge me. Now all I had to do was find my way back to the rest of the group in the dark overland – no problem right? I scanned the horizon looking for lights and quickly established that they were smart enough not to have any campfires this close to a potential enemy. Which was going to make it difficult for me to locate them – why is it that people only make the right decisions when it serves to make my life harder? I must be the unluckiest woman in the world.
I was cursing that fact under my breath when I heard the growling. I dropped flat just as the spotted lion pounced out of the darkness, just barely missing taking my head off in an instant. You have got to be kidding me! I snatched out my Bag of Tricks and produced a jungle cat that charged into the larger animal and instantly started getting mauled. As the two great cats (one much greater than the other) rolled and clawed and snarled at each other I drank my potion of Jump and leapt into a nearby tree – not much of a tree but something. As the cats continue to tear at each other I took up my crossbow but quickly found that I couldn’t balance in the tree and shoot at the same time. I downed my potion of Spider Climb for more stability just as the spotted lion ripped the jungle cat nearly in half.
I tagged it with a crossbow shot as it charged and leapt at the tree – thankfully lions aren’t great climbers, not so thankfully it hit the tree with such a force that it cracked along the trunk and started listing badly. I definitely would have been thrown without the Spider Climb. Clambering up as high as I could, I put another bolt in the spotted lion as it snarled and smashed into the tree – sending it toppling over. I managed to gather myself and leap to another tree, just barely catching a hold, there is no way I could have done that without the magic from the potion. I was able to hit the lion twice more with my crossbow before it was able to locate me. As it charged again I went into my bag of Tricks and came out with a boar. It charged the lion and sliced it across the belly with it tusks before the great beast bore it to the ground and started tearing into it with all four claws.
The boar jabbed with its tusks one more time before the spotted lion cracked it like a walnut. The beast had been shot half a dozen times and was covered with claw, bite, and tusk marks, but it was still raring to go. As it charged the tree, which appeared to be the only one around capable of bearing even my slight frame, I lined up a shot and hammered it right in the skull. But even this didn’t stop it, merely sent it skidding to the side for a moment. As it gathered itself to leap and rip me to shreds, out of where appeared Argo, taking it down with one swing of his greataxe.
“When you make a shot like that aren’t you supposed to make a quip? ‘Smile you toothy bastard!’ or something like that?”
I leapt to the ground, nimble as a elfen squirrel “What would be the point of that?”
The big man shrugged “It’s traditional. I heard a commotion and figured you were involved somehow. Good thing I came to look.”
“Yes, yes, thank you for saving me, I’m ever so grateful, etcetera, etcetera. Let’s get back to the others.”
“How did things go at the trading post?”
“How do things ever go?”
“That bad huh?”
On the way back I realized that I had been thinking about this situation all wrong – they didn’t have us out-armed, we had them out-manned. And nighttime is the perfect time for making people think they’re surrounded by a superior force without realizing that said force is mostly holding sticks rather than spears. It took some convincing, I don’t know why people can’t just blindly follow my commands without thinking about it, but I rallied the “troops” and we returned to the trader camp immediately. It wasn’t hard to bluff the guards into laying down arms in the least – I mean they were outnumbered four to one. They weren’t so happy once they saw their attackers were mostly unarmed but it was too late then.
Ollie and a few other leadership types came out to see what the ruckus was and found their men captured and me starting to unlock all the Vieland soldiers. Ollie took off his glasses and put them in his pocket.
“Well, I clearly underestimated you.”
“Don’t beat yourself up about it, men see a pretty face and they don’t think much beyond that.”
“Hmm, you’re not really my type.”
“Do you want to get shot in the groin or why would you make a statement like that?”
“Not particularly, I’m just saying.”
“Well don’t. Are we going to have a problem here or are you going to give up easily?”
He bowed in a courtly manner “You have me at a disadvantage madam, I place myself completely at your mercy.”
Sadly Ollie and his friends didn’t have much other than weapons and armor, which were distributed amongst the freed slaves. The exception being his spectacles which were magic rather than practical, these of course I took for myself. We took over the camp and had a bit of a celebratory feast. I took the opportunity to talk to Ollie alone.
“So what happened to the gold?”
“I have it hidden of course and you’ll need me alive to find it.”
“Of course, sadly for you I don’t care about the gold so much. What do I care about is bringing down Królewna & Bonifacja.”
“I bought one of their products and it was only okay. Therefore they have to be destroyed.”
“Harsh but fair. As a high ranking employee of theirs I can name all sorts of names. Treason and slave-trading is just the tip of the iceberg. And I will gladly testify to as much right up until the point their assassins have me killed.”
“I was hoping you’d say that.”
Wiremu wanted to take his men east to Raster and Carmin, and after some thought I decided that was the best course of action. Having a bunch of Vieland soldiers in the mix would just confuse things. Marsh and Argo and the rest of us will travel with them until we hit the Needle River, follow it north to the Compass, and then west back to Malgareth. Then I get my reward for destroying Korrok’s gem and bring down one of the biggest merchant guilds in the kingdom. Should be a piece of cake.
Funds: 10,258 gold
Inventory: Ring of Many Garments, Bag of Tricks (rust), Cap of Disguise, Secure Pocket, Resplendent Diplomat’s Palette, Secure Paypack, Skeleton Key, Brooch of Shielding, Pouch of Magic Stones, Masterful Grey Gloves, Black Marketers’ Bag, Biting Bracelet (Endless Ammunition), Boots of Escape, Bracers of the Glib Entertainer, Ring of Animal Friendship, +2 Commanding Light Crossbow, Headband of Alluring Charisma +2, Manual of Quickness of Action, Bracer of Fire Resistance (10), Spear of Piercing Thunder, Handy Haversack, Amulet of Natural Armor +1, Cloak of Resistance +2 (2), Headband of vast intelligence +2 (2), Ring of Feather Falling, Spectacles of Keen Sight
Signet ring, noble’s outfit, candlerod (9), masterwork dagger, succubi carving, Domiel family ring, walking stick, masterwork playing cards, spinel and peridot holy symbol of Kralten, diamonds (14), silver crown, waterskins (6), trail rations (7), antitoxin (9), formula book, smelling salts (3), sunrods (3), thieves’ tools, tindertwigs (6), various and sundry inebriants and intoxicants
Potion of Eagle’s Splendor
Silver ring, gold bracelet, gold and pearl pendant, gold ring, platinum necklace (2), mithril hair clasps (3), 4 small diamonds
Revenge List: Duke Eaglevane,
Piltis Swine, Rince
Electrum, watchman Gridley, White-Muzzle the worg, Percy Ringle
the butler , Alice Kinsey , “ Patch”, Heroes of the Lost Sword, Claire
Conrad, Erist priest of Strider, Riselda owner of the Sage Mirror,
Eedraxis, Skin-Taker tribe,
Kartak, Królewna & Bonifacja Trading Company, Hurmont Family, Androni
Titus, Greasy dreadlocks woman, Lodestone Security, Kellgale Nickoslander,
Beltian Kruin the Splithog Pauper, The King of Spiders, Auraluna Domiel, mother
Hurk, Mazzmus Parmalee, Helgan
van Tankerstrum, Lightdancer, Bonder Greysmith, Pegwhistle Proudfoot, Lumbfoot
Behind the curtain – I always think that crossbows have x3 critical and am disappointed when I remember they don’t. I wonder if there’s any “plausible” reason why it’s different from a bow. Ela hit level 9 , taking another level of Master Spy – Glib Lie and Mask Alignment are pretty good so my previous regret is unregreted but that’s it, she’ll be going back to rogue/phantom thief after this. She took Extra Rogue Talent as her feat, and vigilante social talent Beast Speech as that talent due to Phantom Thief.