Early evening in the taproom of the Whiskey Troll Tavern and it was jumping. There were crowds of heavily salted and slightly pickled pirates, small groups of cloaked figures plotting who knows what, and large huddles of fight fans. These gladiator groupies had faces smeared with paint the colors of their favorite fighter. Jíen sat at a small table near the ever gaping entrance of the place, his cloaked and cowled skeletal minion behind him posed as a servant.
Through the pungent haze of pipe-smoke the young necromancer observed a hemp merchant a gold necklace dangling on his leather-clad chest and a porter hauling a small locked chest on his shoulder following. Following them attempting to be inconspicuous were Jíen’s companions, Trantox the assassin (played by Jenn), and Dravor the blackguard (played by Gil). The dark pair ducked over to and sat down at the necromancer’s table. The conspicuous pair kept an eye on the porter and merchant whom disappeared into the backroom of the place guided by one whom Jíen assumed to be the owner.
Trantox and Dravor were babbling something about the merchant to Jíen but he was unable to understand the Westlander tongue especially through their thick Poisonwood accents. It was about a half an hour before the merchant and his porter came from the back and sat for a few jacks of ale & whiskey. After about another half an hour the porter and merchant took their leave of the tavern. Jíen’s companions patted the necromancer on the shoulder to follow as they crept up from their seats to follow the seemingly clueless merchant.
Outside the purple moon and its ring were already beginning to appear in the golden horizon as the hemp merchant rejoined his men, 6 porters in total and 3 armed bodyguards. This group proceeded to a caravan of wagons gathered near a wide pavement at the end of the street. Each wagon on their sides had a green hemp leaf painted on a brown field bounded by a loop of twisted yellow rope. The Ivoran caravan had a group of 8 armed guards in chain mail, steel caps on their heads, armed with short spears. The caravan master was a broad fellow with a long peppered mustache and a longsword and bowie knife as sidearms.
As Jíen and his companions observed from afar the merchant paid his porters and they left the company no doubt heading towards less notorious taverns than the Troll. The merchant proceeded to talk to the heavyset caravan master for several minutes then the merchant and his 3 bodyguards walked away back down a wide and busy side avenue as the sky darkened. The hemp merchant and his men were heading to the north end of town. Dravor told the necromancer that they were going to the Golden Feather Inn.
By this time Jíen had learned that the hemp merchant’s name was Ranor. In addition, blackguard Dravor had wordlessly communicated to the necromancer that they were to kill the merchant by dragging his finger across his own throat then rubbing his thumb and forefinger together.
As the dark trio followed them through the bustling crowd the merchant and his guards suddenly turned into an alley as if by some strange fortune two large overturned wagons completely blocked the street. The merchant kept rapidly rounding the turns through the maze of narrowing filth choked alleyways of Ezmer until the only people that could be seen traversing the back-ways were the dark trio and the merchant and his men.
So of course caught at this impasse the merchant, who unfortunately was no fool, turned his men shuffled around him and the blackguard immediately threw a spell at the largest and foremost bodyguard.
The large man was engulfed in blood red flames which burst from his body scorching the other 2 guards. Trantox the assassin dipped his dagger into a vial marked with the Hyvalian characters for black-lotus. So, Jíen cast a Wound spell quickly at their target just a second before Ranor and his guards pulled their weapons. Unfortunately the merchant was able to shake off most of the spell-effect.
The Deadlands necromancer with his minion at his left side stood behind the assassin with his golden poison-dipped dagger and the bronze-armored blackguard. The merchant and his scorched guard were equipped with copper studded soft leather cuirasses with chain mail patches about the shoulders and over their bellies as well as bronze studded leather bracers and bronze leg guards over their knee-high blacked leather boots. The big burnt guard pulled his great axe from his back after having smashed himself into a full gutter-barrel extinguishing the evil flames in the filthy blackwater. The second guard pulled his great sword, and the third aimed his crossbow. Merchant Ranor pulled a shortsword and stepped over to the guard with the crossbow.
The guard armed with the great sword charged Dravor the blackguard whom failed to parry in time with his own massive weapon, a horse-cutter zanbato, and felt the bite of the more standard heavy bladed weapon. A crossbow bolt flew at Trantox putting a nick into the assassin’s ear. The Poisonwood assassin immediately dashed further into the alley towards the guard armed with the crossbow and his intended prey.
Jíen took a step forward to touch the great sword wielding guard with a Crippling Touch spell but missed. Dravor swung his zanbato at the same guard hacking into his cuirass and drawing some blood. The still smoking head guard with his great axe moved back 10 ft. towards his master. The guard with the crossbow moved up and readied to load his weapon. The guard dueling with Dravor took a swing with his massive weapon and getting through the blackguard’s defenses wounded him horribly.
Me (Jíen’s Player): “Trantox WTF! Get in there and stab the dude with yer dagger so we can get outta here!”
Jenn (Trantox’s Player)(having just seen the damage dealt to Dravor): “No way I’m getting close to those guys! I’m out numbered!”
Trantox deftly switched up his weapons and used his already loaded crossbow to fire a bolt into the back of the great sword wielding guard. Jíen tried to grasp the same guard again but again was too slow to land his spell. Dravor in a desperate move tried to disarm the guard of his great sword but failed miserably. Trantox using his unequaled skills with his weapon put another bolt into the back of the same guard. As the guard winced when the arrow nailed his flesh, Dravor swung with all his might opening a hideous wound in the man’s chest but the guard was still standing.
Dravor clumsily struck again at the guard, both men equally wounded and both very near death, but the guard knocked it aside easily. The guard with the great axe and Ranor the hemp merchant both moved in the opposite direction of their attackers out of the alley and into the street. A crossbow bolt flew and imbedded itself in a graffiti decorated adobe wall near Jíen. The shooter-guard then proceeded to reload. Seeing that the battle was a bit too evenly matched for his comfort the necromancer decided to flee.
Jíen and his minion flew through the twists and turns of the dreary maze of alleys and streets until the young Deadlander was positive of no pursuit. If his companions survived, he was certain they wouldn’t, he was pretty sure he could smooth over any ill-feelings brought about by his strategic withdrawal.
In the meantime he tried to hook up with a contact, one Korvo-Doom, in the slavers’ quarter but found the slaver’s place locked up tight, it was night after all. So the disappointed mage slunk back to his crypt and before settling in to sleep he spent the last of his spells by infusing them into some of the thieves’ bones he had acquired. After he added 3 bone-wands to his gear, 2 charged with the Wound spell and 1 with Exsanguination he reclined to enjoy a well-earned rest.
As he lay down however, he thought that he might want to start formulating a plan.
To Be Continued…
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