My voyage on the Winged Serpent is described as passing ‘uneventfully’, so I guess they’re not counting my infamous attempt at a tango on night 2 of the voyage, during ‘under 30s’ night at the on-board disco.
When we arrive at Tor (the city that invented Torean fire, don’t you know!) I finally hook up with Glaivas, my buddy who thought that saving our gods was so important that he gave me 10 gold pieces to tide me over. Having said that, there were so few places to spend money that this was actually pretty generous.
His ‘look of admiration’ as I tell my story almost embarrasses me, but we have no extended time for such mutual back-scratching. He confirms that he is now general of the army of Tor, and that they could be marching against the late Honoric’s Legion of the Sword of Doom at any time.
In any event, our ship sets sail and docks at the Island of Plenty several days later. I still have 400 leagues (2200 kilometres!) to travel, but I still feel ‘at one with the world’. I guess all those Enya CDs on the way did the trick.
When I arrive, it is apparent that the Isle of Plenty is a quasi-Japanese society from the samurai era. Only fitting, since it seems every second person in this world is a ninja. A message is received from the local daimyo stating that the Island of Tranquil Dreams is at risk of invasion unless I make haste. I set out for ‘Kiyamo’s’ palace post-haste.
There’s a lot of ‘colour’ commentary in this section, but to summarise :
- I set off jogging for Kiyamo’s palace.
- On the way I move through a local village.
- A man tells me that an evil ‘Hannya’ and her servant the ‘O-Bakemono’ have set up camp in a nearby cave and have been raiding the village of food and money.
- When they tried to resist, local young men have been killed and the daughter of this man has been taken for sacrifice to the demon Baal, Lord of the Flies.
I am given the option of helping, or of continuing on my way and, upon my arrival at my destination, sending a detachment of soldiers to assist.
Aside : This choice is one of the most uncomfortable of the book. I know from previous experience that it is arguably better for Avenger to simply continue on his journey. But every time, I just can’t do it. The choice of helping rescue the poor villager’s daughter just forces my hand every. damn. time.
“Of course, I can help, dear sir.” I say (through gritted teeth). I set off, being the happy recipient of the best wishes of the entire village. None of them volunteer to help, but I get their best wishes. After a few miles, I see a monstrous creature breaking up logs and similar material on the hillside with its bare hands. It stinks, unsurprisingly and is unbelievably ugly. The comments make themselves, and the inevitable Donald Trump comparisons will remain unmade (or at least unsaid). I can attempt to garrotte it from behind, wait to see what happens or attempt to use a Poison Needle.
The best skill of all gets a workout!
To cut a long story short, it takes three (!) needles to put this monstrosity down, and not before it manages to strike me once with its club, causing a loss of three endurance.
I follow the creature’s tracks to what appears to be a sheer rock wall. That sort of tomfoolery has as much chance of fooling me as my ex-girlfriend, when she swore that there was no-one else. There’s obviously a secret door, and I find it, although suffering three points Endurance damage due to a flaming anti-trap mechanism which rudely considers me an intruder.
As I break into the cavern, I am confronted by the Hannya, a twenty-foot snake with the head / torso of a woman. She attempts to take control of my mind and I have to make a (literal) life or death two-dice Fate roll. 5 or less, and its back to the start for Avenger!
A 3 and a…..4. Whew.
No time to rest! The Hannya grasps me in her (its?) coils and the heat of her skin causes me another (!) three Endurance damage. No comment on the damage caused by her monstrous visage.
I have the option of breaking out another Poison Needle, striking with Cassandra’s dagger and the Blood of Nil, or using Inner Force to punch the Hannya IN THE FACE.
Mark this moment down, for I am wilfully and deliberately declining to use a poison needle.
I rather take a poisoned dagger (dipped in the greatest poison IN THE WORLD), slash the Hannya’s arm, walk delicately over the monster’s corpse, and return the frightened girl to her home and family.
Gosh, it sounds pretty darn easy when I put it that way.
In any event, I resume my travel, with their thanks ‘ringing in my ears’. Yes, I guess sometimes just doing a good deed is its own reward.
I limp quietly along, because those three Endurance penalties can really take their toll…
Stats : Endurance : 3, Punch Modifier : +1, Kick Modifier : +2, Throw Modifier : 0, Fate Modifier +1, Inner Force 3
Awesome names :Those names aren’t awesome, they’re just unpronounceable. O-Bakemono? What the heck is that?.