In one of the more mundane choices of this adventure, I can travel south-west through a wooded area or west through an open area with ‘less cover’. Notwithstanding the (presumed) lack of machine-gun nests, I can’t argue with the option of using forest as concealment. South-west it is!
After two days of travel, no doubt interspersed with Facebook updates and daydreams about sporting triumphs, I am suddenly confronted with three apparent brigands who seem determined to relieve me of my 15 gold pieces, by force if necessary.
I can use Acrobatics if I have the ability (nope), throw a Shuriken (maybe), close for battle (not yet) or….wait for it….whip out the Poison Needle!
After thinking about it for about half a second, I simply, in the words of Lana Turner, put my lips together and blow.
The needle kills the leader and the supporting cast are terrified by my apparent wizardly powers and they exit, stage left.
I search the leader’s body and find (as ominous music rises on the soundtrack) that these supposed ‘brigands’ were actually soldiers of the Legion of Doom (Honoric’s crew) and that they held written instructions to patrol the area and kill any ninja in the area. How they were meant to identify said ninjas is left unsaid. Luckily, I had been keeping my ‘ninja’ nametag safely in my wallet.
I compose myself and stroll into the city of Tarith, no doubt while wearing the appropriate suit and noting the social protocols. There is a reward notice posted inside the gate, advertising a payment of 400 (!) gold pieces for anyone bringing this organisation the heads of any one of the supposed villains named Tyutchev, Cassandra, Thaum or Olvar. In addition, any snitch giving details of their whereabouts gets blood money of 20 gold pieces.
Aside : For those who have ever played Fighting Fantasy Gamebook 11 – Talisman of Death, these names will be groan-worthy familiar as the extremely frustrating and bad-assed bete noires of any hero in this world.
More importantly for my current purposes, I recall the name of Olvar as being the loud-mouthed barbarian that I killed in the mountains during book 1 (and I still haven’t forgiven that slacker Runeweaver for not helping me at all during that pitched battle).
I saunter inside and try my luck at claiming the reward. Precisely what I’m going to use the money for, given that apparently there is nothing in this world worth spending cash on, is an open question. Having said that, I do coincidentally have bids out on turning the ‘Island of Tranquil Dreams’ into the ‘Island of Casino Dreams’.
In an understandable display of common sense, the priestesses decline to pay me the reward money without proof. I KNEW that letting Runeweaver keep that magic headband was going to cost me. Talk about getting the grief without the gravy!
After this frustrating encounter with Orb’s equivalent of the public service, I take my leave.
Status : Endurance 20, Punch Modifier : +1, Kick Modifier : +1, Fate Modifier : +1, Throw Modifier : 0, Inner Force : 5
Awesome names : Tyutchev is just hard enough to pronounce to be memorable.