The Afflicted

Episode 27

On The Trail

Theracian Action Hour aka The Saga Continues.

Last time saw our adventurers having a looooong rest, tackle a bunch of baddies, Hamilton being successfully revived by Maisey (much to her relief and happiness), and Astrea off doing who-knows-what, who-knows-where. They managed to survive AGAIN. After quick consultation, they decide to leave the temporary camp and follow the footprints…. The footprints lead them to a large group of the enemy. Giants and kobolds and ….. who cares?!

Oh my indeed. While they are contemplating this new trial, they spy something in the distance. Two things, to be precise. They see a dappled, grey horse being ridden by someone very well-dressed, well-groomed, and more than likely, quite well-heeled. At his side is a Winter Wolf. It’s huge and quite imposing. It moves alongside the rider and his horse, as if it is their companion. The group eye this stranger warily. Who is he and what does he want? Given that he is riding with his hands concealed under his cloak, Larry shoots an arrow at the rider. He hopes that this will move the horde’s attention from the group to the stranger. Despite this, the rider approaches and greets the motley crew. Maisey starts spouting a stream of questions his way. Ivanna claps her hand over Maisey’s mouth when she blurts out, “If you’re looking for Astrea, she’s not here!” The rider is most perplexed by this outbust. He introduces himself to the group. “I’m Verey Cade (?) from the Grimwoods. This is my companion, Ralstaff.” “Who hired you?”

Ivanna asked suspiciously. “Governor Knighthill sent for me.” He turned to address Ivanna, and then each member of the party in turn. “He requested help defending his town and surrounding shire from a group of cultists. However, when I arrived in Greenest it had been completely razed. The keep was littered with dead soldiers. Governor Knighthill was nowhere to be found.” Maisey begins trying to explain but Mallus interjects. “I know where the Governor is.” Meanwhile, one of the captives starts crying. The child’s mother tries to soothe him to no avail. Larry can hear the child’s wailing but chooses to ignore it. He struts over to a large rock, lifts a leg up to place his foot on the rock, and places his hands on his hips. He is unmoved by the cries of the child and the mother’s attempt to calm him. The child’s weeping annoys one of the ogres so it picks up the child and dropkicks him into the distance. The mother screams and is swiftly decapitated by the ogre.

The party is aghast! They decide to take action. VC jumps down from his horse and draws his pistols. He takes aim at one of the mercenaries and misses. His second shot hits the merc in the head and blows his head clean off in a shower of lightning. (nat 20) “There goes the surprise attack,” Larry notes, with a dash of side-eye. Thrilled with the onset of hostilities, Maisey bursts forth and fires her crossbow at a merc. “I’m contributing!!” she shouts. The arrow misses and hits VC in the knee. He glares at Maisey. Hamilton bulrushes the merc to protect Maisey and knocks him flat. Ivanna also bulrushes a kobold in an attempt to knock it over, but doesn’t quite succeed. Mallus inches forward and casts ‘Call Lightning’ which inflicts massive wounds on the huge half-orc. Larry sprints at a merc but slips, falls over and faceplants. Raulstaff is unimpressed and bulrushes the merc next to Larry. The giant wolf flattens the merc and holds him down with a massive paw. The horde focuses their attention on the group. Kobolds fire a flurry of arrows at Ivanna and she is injured. “Pah,” she scoffs. “Toothpicks.” She pulls each arrow from her flesh with a minimum of fuss. The ogres and half-ogres approach the party. One of the ogres throws a javelin at Maisey and misses. One of the half-ogres throws a javelin at Hamilton and boar is seriously wounded. Maisey cries out. Two attack Mallus but their aim is off and they miss. A merc stabs Larry while another ogre throws a javelin at Ivanna and misses.

VC shoots at an ogre and injures it. He then shoots at the ogre in front of Raulstaff but misses. Maisey is extremely distressed as she tries to shield Hamilton from the ogre. “Hey!! Second-rate Shrek reject!!” She yells with all the anger she can muster. Her vicious mockery spell hurts the ogre’s feelings so much that he dies. Maisey surprises herself. For the first time in her life she truly understands the power of her words. Hamilton attacks the flattened merc, hurts it, and runs back to Maisey. Ivanna is extreeeeemely angry. She smashes the handle of her axe through a kobold’s head and then moves forward to attack another kobold. She swings her axe and hacks him in two. Mallus calls lightning on a half-ogre and it bellows in pain. Larry tries to punch a merc but just swings and misses. Perhaps a little ruffled by missing such an easy shot, he unleashes a flurry of blows. Nothing connects. It just looks like Larry is throwing a huge tantrum. VC points a bit of side-eye at Larry. He then shatters the flattened merc and partially freezes a merc. The merc is covered in icicles. Ogres begin moving toward Ivanna, Maisey, Hamilton, and Larry. An arrow hits Ivanna, grazing her torso. This does not please the barbarian and she begins to rage. An ogre throws a javelin at Ivanna and misses. Another ogre attacks Maisey and wounds her. A merc fires off an arrow at Hamilton but misses. One of the other ogres throws a javelin at Mallus and hits, yet is able to maintain his concentration. Another javelin is thrown at Raulstaff but completely misses. Two ogres lob javelins at Larry. The first javelin misses. Larry catches the second javelin, throws it back at the ogre, and spears it with its own weapon. A merc tries to stab Larry but misses.

VC attacks a half-ogre and an ogre that is near Maisey. He injures the half-ogre and almost lethally wounds the ogre. The ogre is covered in blood and does not look well at all. Maisey busts out some hideous laughter on the ogre. It erupts into massive guffaws – such is the ogre’s mirth that it falls down and squashes a kobold, killing it. Oblivious to the accidental death, it continues to roll around on the ground laughing. It can’t stop. Maisey casts ‘healing word’ on Hamilton and manages to treat some of the boar’s wounds. Hamilton, somewhat renewed, attempts to charge a half-ogre. Being not quite a full health, he charges straight past it. In an absolute rage, Ivanna attacks an ogre. Again and again. She inflicts some grisly wounds on the ogre. It sways unsteadily. Mallus calls lightning on an ogre and sizzles its hands like sausages on a BBQ. Larry manoeuvres between a merc and an ogre and attempts to hit them both. He hits the ogre but misses the merc. He unleashes a flurry of blows. As he punches the ogre in the face he back-kicks the merc, killing it. He finishes off the ogre with a massive uppercut to the balls. Raulstaff gores a half-ogre’s throat. An ogre attacks Ivanna with great clubs while two kobolds flank her and stab her. An ogre throws a javelin at Mallus. The javelin hits Mallus but he is able to maintain his concentration. A half-ogre attacks Raulstaff. An ogre throws a javelin at Maisey. She reacts with some cutting words in anticipation of injury but it doesn’t really work. Two of the mercs guarding the prisoners attack Larry. They both launch javelins at him. The first punctures his left arm. He catches the second javelin and lobs it back. It stabs into the arm of one of the mercs.

VC decides to take a shot at the half-ogre that has been bothering Maisey. The shot shatters the beast’s skull, killing it instantly. With his second shot he takes aim at the ogre coming toward him. He encases the ogre in lightning. He backs away and reloads, all the while keeping the enemy within range. Maisey unsuccessfully has a go at the laughing ogre. The ogre stops laughing but is still flat on its back. Hamilton picks up Maisey to take her away from the ogre. The ogre tries to hit Hamilton. Maisey casts shield and they manage to evade the ogre’s swipes. They gallop into the distance. Ivanna swings her axe at the ogre and cleaves across its chest. She swings again, straight across the first massive gash. The ogre’s body is on the verge of peeling open. Mallus casts lightning on an ogre and weakens it somewhat. Larry decides to charge at one of the mercs guarding the prisoners and gives him a good roughing up. Raulstaff charges at a half-ogre. He tears its leg off and rips open its jugular. He then advances on the mercs with the prisoners. The prostrate ogre stands up and moves toward Maisey. The other two ogres move menacingly toward Mallus. An ogre slashes at Ivanna and the two kobolds have a crack but only one makes any kind of mark on her. Raulstaff is wounded slightly by an ogre. One of the mercs tries to run away from Larry. “Good luck with that,” Larry smirks. The other 3 mercs shoot arrows at Larry. He deftly avoids all their darts (see The Matrix: Neo). An ogre hurls a javelin at Maisey but her shield helps deflect it.

VC fires both his pistols. The hammer on both pistols is stuck. VC adjusts the hammers and tries again. Unfortunately, he realises he did not refill the chambers properly. He moves toward Maisey. Maisey contemplates her options. She decides a bit of compulsion wouldn’t go astray on the 3 ogres surrounding Hamilton, Mallus and herself. Her spell is successful on 2 of them and she directs them back to the area covered by Mallus’s lightning strikes. Hamilton approaches the unaffected ogre. He attacks and gores the ogre with his tusks. Ivanna slays the ogre but she completely fails to injure the 2 kobolds. It’s safe to say she’s pretty peeved. Mallus tries but fails to hold his ground. Larry moves in to have a go at 2 mercs. He totally misses so he launches himself at them with a flurry of blows. He knocks both of them to the ground. One of the prisoners picks up a dagger, cuts himself free, and kills a merc. Larry tells the man to take his child and run. Raulstaff leaps on a merc and rips its head off. The ogres under the influence of Maisey move back into the range of Mallus’s lightning. The one not-compelled ogre heaves a javelin at Maisey. She deflects it with some cutting words. Two kobolds slash at Ivanna. Two other kobolds are focussing on VC and Raulstaff. The remaining merc guards try to run away from Larry. “I’m faster than you, you little shits.” Larry sniggers, chases and punches them.

VC shoots at an ogre and inflicts some serious damage. It seems that the ogre is on death’s door. He decides to then shoot at the kobold that had previously tried to hit him. He obliterates it. Maisey wanders over to the beaten and bloodied ogre. “You are irrelevant to the plot,” she whispers, viciously mocking it. With those savage words, the ogre’s life is snuffed out. Hamilton is just chilling out, thinking about hard-boiled eggs. Ivanna grabs both the kobolds flanking her by the scruff of their neck. She raises them into the air and slams their heads together, into a bloody pulp. “That’s what you get for annoying me with your toothpicks and interfering with my extraction of the ogre’s teeth.” Mallus calls lightning and one of the ogres explodes. Larry punches the floored merc and shoots an arrow on the retreating merc, killing them both. He sprints after the remaining merc as it rushes to escape the monk and let reinforcements know what has transpired here. Larry activates his step of the wind and catches the escapee. Raulstaff bloodies the ogre but the ogre smashes back, clobbering the wolf.

VC shoots at the ogre, hitting it in the torso, blowing its chest apart. Ivanna slaughters the last kobold that has been harassing her. Larry crouches on the ground and uppercuts the last merc in the junk. The force of this launches the merc into the air, killing him. The party is getting some serious experience under their belts now….. L E V E L N I N E Mallus Maisey Ivanna Larry ‘Til next time…. *merc = mercenary

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