If my calculations are correct (doubtful) I could have reached Bryny today. I didn’t get to find out if I was right though because of two things. First I slipped and broke my leg. I’ve been trying to stay south of the rocky areas but everything seems to be rocky now so I’ve been trying to stay out of the MOST rocky areas. I was just walking along minding my own business when I stumbled on some small loose rocks (scree I think they call it) and when I went down my foot got caught up under a very much not small not loose rock and SSSSSSSNAP!!!
The peculiar thing about it is that it didn’t hurt that much. There was a quick blast of pain right when it happened but after that my leg just went numb. Below the knee at first but then the numb feeling started inching up the leg until it was around my hip. It was a very unusual sensation. It was numbness and tingling both somehow. I had a bit of trouble getting my foot back out from under the rock but I was able to wriggle free eventually, I imagine that process would have been quite excruciating if I was able to feel anything.
I drank a couple of healing potions and up and back at it minutes later, but it is not pleasant to think about what would have happened if I hadn’t had them with me (as I often don’t). Crawling on my hands and knees the rest of the way to Bryny with a broken shin would have been disagreeable. It was a fun reminder that I really shouldn’t be traveling alone like this, the problem is who can you trust to travel with these days? If you break your leg who’s going to help you instead of robbing you blind and or eating you alive? No one I know, and I know a lot of people.
That was a minor delay, just a few minutes, so I can’t blame not reaching Bryny on that. But the second thing that happened was more substantial. Being in rocky hill country like this is off-putting because the lines of sight (I heard someone say line of sights ones – WRONG) vary wildly from yard to yard it seems. One moment you can see to the horizon and the next you’re boxed in by rock face on all sides. I was just walking along minding my own business again when all of a sudden I came around (was it a corner? Do escarpments have corners? Is escarpment even the right word?) and where before I had seen no one all day suddenly I saw several men in black greatcoats that looked to be searching the area. But not searching for a person, their eyes were all on the ground like they were looking for a lost wedding ring or a pretty flower or some bullshit like that.
I turned invisible and crouched and slunk my way around to a higher patch were I could get a better look at them. The greatcoats they were wearing were very thick, it’s chilly here but not that cold, maybe they came over the mountain and they needed them for the high places where it really gets ball-freezing. They had on stupid red masks – I mean all masks are stupid when you see them out in the world instead of at a costume ball, but these were stupid even for stupid masks. Every once in a while some cultists or a demon freak or some fringe religious dorks think wearing a mask will look cool (it doesn’t) but those stupid masks are usually well made at least. They put some effort into them. These masks on the other hand simply looked like red sacks with eyeholes in them – eyeholes covered by lenses to boot. I guess they were more like hood than masks since they covered the entire head. To make matters worse they had on hats over the masks – which is just silly. That’s like wearing a monocle and spectacles. It’s just too much stuff on the cranium.
Turning invisible here and there and sneaking around I was able to observe that they were looking for rocks. Specific rocks I have to assume since there’s rocks everywhere and they weren’t picking them all up, but what they were looking for in a rock I couldn’t figure out. They just looked like rocks to me. Every now and then one of them would take off their stupid hat and stupid sack-cloth to wipe their face or drink or what have you and they looked normal enough but they spoke a language I didn’t understand. I’m going to guess Satander based just on geography but they didn’t look like Satanders to me. Whoever they were I didn’t like the looks of them at all so I stayed hidden. The only weapons they had were ludicrously short spears but there was just something about them that was menacing. This turned out to be a wise decision since later in the day I say one of them point their half-spear at a smallish mountain bear and fry it with a stroke of lightening.
I definitely didn’t want to encounter them after seeing that surprised bear get melted. Azul didn’t say anything about black-clad lightening spear people crawling over the mountains, which makes me question his efficacy as a border guard. Since I didn’t want to risk bumping into them I watched them collect rocks all day, the idea being once they made camp and were all snung in their beds I could slip away in the night without any risk of an encounter.
Instead what happened was this. As dusk was coming on (earlier here since the mountains block out the sun sooner) the men in black started to cluster together and jabber in whatever language they were speaking. Once they all got together there were probably three dozen of them or there abouts. But before they could make a camp or go back to a camp or whatever they were going to do, some other people started springing up out of the rocks like they had been hidden in the cracks. Looked like a mixture of hillfolk, Kostelos, and Ulpinese. After springing out they did what springing people often do – they attacked, raining down on the men in black with slings, bows, and crossbows (respectively). Lighting spears are pretty great, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned about fighting it’s that a good ambush is worth a lot.
One of them empty had fighting people told me one time that “a true master needs no second blow”. I thought he was bring a pretentious prick and bragging that he could explode people’s heads with one punch, but I think what he was really saying was something like “attack people from behind and punch them in the spine”. Getting the drop on someone is half the battle. The other half is actually battling them, but as long as you’re decent at that the first half goes a long way.
A quick fierce battle broke out that had me ducking into a hole to avoid random lightening and arrows and such. When I peeked back out it looked like there were a good score of dead people on the ground from both sides and the men in black had fled the scene – leaving behind several bags of rocks to eagerly be seized by the coalition of victors.
“What the fuck is going on here?”
“I was just about to ask you the same thing.”
I whirled around, half out of my hole, to see a white-haired young (so you know probably only eighty or ninety) looking dwarf standing behind me wearing ridiculous short pants like a dandy and long black gloves that matched her boots.
“Who the fuck are you?!”
She smiled “I was just about to ask you the same thing.”
Funds: 6642 gold
Inventory: Bag of Holding, +2 Distance Light Crossbow, traveling outfit, Ring of Invisibility, potion case, potions (Protection from Evil, Cure Moderate Wounds x2) Blessed Robes, Vampire Hunter’s Cloak, +1 Mithril Holy Undead Bane Sword-Cane
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 Sheepskin, Lumber Consortium of Three Rivers, Hellerhad the Wizard, Forsaken Kin, Law Offices of Office of Glilcus and Stolo, Jey Rora, Colonel Tarl Ciarán, Mayor Baras Haldmeer, Rindol the Sage, Essa, eyeless hag, Baron Saltwheel, Baron Harmenkar, Colonel Tarl Ciarán’s wizard soldier, Victor, Beharri, Cebuano, Mayor Eryn, Chimera Trading Company, maker of the manacles, Calvados Eure, Law Offices of Lampblack and Brimstone, Peronell Missplitter, Nightmare Hag