Friederich and I decide to scout out the city to get familiar with its streets. Viktoria gathers information among the locals with Dominic following. Nizar returns to the inn to rest.
Como reminds me of Venice with its proximity to the water. A lake however, is not the same as a canal. I wonder if ever I will return. I have no more ties there but feel it will forever remain dear.
Friederich? He slips down an alley so I catch up. I stop at the entrance and listen. He’s talking to someone; appears to be a street urchin.
I hope he knows what he’s doing tossing him a silver coin for information. Wow, how did he know we spoke with Lord Adolometto? Maybe I am underestimating him …
Feeling frustrated that Friederich is being cheated, “Tell him something worth the coin!” I shout down the alley. I head around the block to the opposite end of the alley in case this guy tries something. He doesn’t appear to notice me … time will tell.
A guide now!? ::deeply sigh:: I hope Viktoria is more successful than us … Oo, interesting; he has chain armor under his rags. He is definitely hiding something …
After the two depart, I dash down the alley to catch up to Friederich. “We need to be cautious. I spotted chain armor under his clothing as he left. He may be more than he seems” I suggest to Friederich. Given the time of day, we decide to head back to the inn but not before stopping to purchase a riding horse for this now “guide.” Turns out we are meeting him outside the city tomorrow an hour after sunrise.
I hope my instincts on this situation are wrong; I’m curious to hear what the rest of the party have to say …
Friederich leaves the new horse with the others in the stable before heading up to the room; he shares what we have done with the group.
Call him ‘That Guy?’ Hmm, lets add that to my list of reasons why I am cautious.
The party seems apprehensive but okay with the possibility of locating the Lords’ children. As a result, we decide it best to camp outside the city. Turns out that Viktoria didn’t get much information while she was out. Nizar looks rested though.
So much for an additional night in a bed … hopefully the rest of us feel as rested as he does tomorrow morning.
The night passed without an incident; now we wait on ‘That Guy’s’ arrival. Ah, here he comes now. Dominic asks, “Why does he keep staring at me!?” I remark under my breath, “Please don’t tell me we need to go and get the pitch!”
Should we be worried; Dominic is becoming increasingly antsy …
As he approaches our group, ‘That Guy’ asks, “so, are we ready to head out?” Nizar asks where we are headed and as ‘That Guy’ explains Friederich brings around the additional riding horse. Dominic chimes in, with exasperation, “why does he keep staring at me!?”
Could Dominic’s instincts be telling him something that the rest of us are missing? This is making me feel uncomfortable …
Lila doesn’t talk; rather she is concentrating on what ‘That Guy’ is saying. “When are your men going to attack us?” I suddenly hear Nizar ask. ‘That Guy’ doesn’t directly answer, he is circling. I really, really don’t like this. Before leaving, Lila quietly mentions to me that ‘That Guy’ is not alone.
Figures. So Dominic and Nizar’s instincts are right, as are mine. I will definitely be keeping an eye on him …
‘That Guy’ and Lila chat it up as we head to the ruined fortress. “…You seem to know a lot about that family…” Lila comments. “Well, there is wealth in knowledge …” ‘That Guy’ replies. The conversation fades as I focus on my thoughts. A heavy feeling of being outmatched comes over me …
That’s odd. Maybe having this time prior to any kind of battle warrants such thoughts to creep in … I don’t like that feeling.
I shake it off, refocus, and think about something else. As we pull off for something to eat, Lila begins playing her harp. A few moments later as the rest of us get settled, ‘That Guy’ says, as he dismounts his horse, “well isn’t that unfortunate. Your friend here just tried to enter my mind.” Before we can respond, as he stands on the ground, he disappears! ::gasps::
Nizar investigates the snow where ‘That Guy’ stood, and spots two different sets of footprints. Possibly verifying Viktoria’s prediction that he was not alone? Seems the second set is significantly smaller than the other set. With Friederich assisting, Nizar is able to follow the direction of the footprints. We quickly pack up to go with them.
Several minutes of chasing these footprints and suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, a short sword attacks Friederich!
I guess we have caught up with them! But wait; how am I to fight someone that I cannot see? This is going to be interesting …
We cannot locate them visually, but thankfully there still is snow on the ground allowing us to attack the empty space above their footprints. Instead of swinging blindly, Nizar prays. Miraculously the two figures are visible!
Wow! How did that happen?! It doesn’t matter now, now I can swing at something!
There is in fact a second person with ‘That Guy.’ It is a woman cloaked in black and adorned with the same white circle and blood-red plus sign in the center. She backs away from Friederich and appears to say something; I cannot hear it from where I am. The ground abruptly opens up to a vicious mouth with teeth! It tries to eat my horse, my party members, and me resulting in our fall toward the depths of purgatory! Immense fear begins to blanket me but somehow I refocus and look back down at the ground to realize that such horrific visions are not real.
Maybe that woman did that when she spoke. Sadly, it appears Nizar and Friederich have not shaken off the visions as I have.
Dominic asks aloud, “What is happening to them?” I share with him the terrifying image that I was able to shake off and suggest that maybe the woman is generating them. I dismount my terrified horse and engage ‘That Guy’ as I hear Lila call out a command, “Attack your comrade.”
I’m assuming this command is for one of the two adversaries …
As Dominic engages ‘That Guy,’ he responds with an attack. Wow, his sword shimmers and sparkles like Dominic’s does!
::crinkles eyebrows as if contemplating:: What does that mean? Is he of similar “being” or faith as Dominic? Okay, he’s not attacking his comrade so maybe the woman will attack ‘That Guy.’
She says something but I am too far away again to make out what it is let alone in what language. ::gasps:: ‘That Guy’ suddenly claws at his face and is wincing … Alright, that appears to be an attack.
I tumble behind ‘That Guy’ and attack; dead. Uh oh, I should’ve asked if we were holding him for questions first. I’ll remember next time.
I recite a silent prayer for him. Nizar and Friederich come to and they retrieve the horses. They loot ‘That Guy’ while Lila questions the woman. “About 25 to 30 men plus Prince Guelph…” the woman answers at some point. I was fading in and out, not really listening. The rest of us occasionally chime in with a question or suggestion but none seem to help things progress.
How long have we been talking? Should we move out of here? I suggested that but we didn’t take any actions.
I am pacing around, bored so I sit down and clean my daggers. Several minutes pass, questions fade off, as do suggestions from other party members. Viktoria suggests we move and make camp … I chime in with, “oh! So we don’t move until she says too! Did I not just recommend that we move on?!” She harps back, “No one is stopping you, if you want to move on then move.” “I am now!” I shout back at her as I stand and sheath my daggers. I stomp off towards my horse and fidget there. The others seem to be making arrangements to move on. ::sighs::
After an hour or so, Nizar sends Layil up to skrye on the fortress way ahead. In the meantime, Friederich searches for a suitable location for our camp. We are roused awake during Friederich and Viktoria’s guard shift. He believes he hears footfalls. We wait it out then suddenly Nizar hears an animal cry out then uninterrupted silence. Next morning we surmise that it was a hunter due to no other interruptions that night.
Around noon, Nizar recommends sending the woman back to the fortress to gather as many men with her before encountering Prince Guelph. The hope is she can convince about 10 men to follow her back out to hunt us down and we will ambush them.
My kind of fighting ::smiles::
Several minutes pass before Layil spots the woman leaving the fortress with, a disappointing, four men. ::deep sigh:: We wait a while, hidden, before we can make them out: two in front have heavy shields and long swords. They are all wearing full plate! The last two are wielding short swords. As they approach, I hold. I want to surprise them from behind.
I know Nizar is fighting an urge to confront them, I am curious about Dominic. Friederich seems calm and patient like myself.
::gasps:: Nizar emerges from his cover, charging one as they pass! The two from the back now charge forward so I emerge as well to flank with Nizar. Dominic emerges from up ahead, on Ghost, and engages one who is full of Friederich’s arrows. Nizar has the first kill.
We loot the bodies and clean up the battle as best we can. We find four crossbows … interesting; aren’t they illegal? Our next course of action is to wait until dark and hopefully make it through the front gate/doors. We intend to fight some of the men asleep in their barracks ….