I steel myself for a one-on-one battle, in front of 28,000 screaming spectators.
I feel like Hulk Hogan (or, alternatively, my favourite WWF combatant as a child – Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat).
Since you asked.
Ladies and gay men, you’re welcome.
Due to the magical power of Honoric’s sword (Sorcerak – and yes, I’m the fool that left it behind after I thought I assassinated him back in book 1) I have to either deduct 1 Inner Force or, alternatively, deduct 1 from all modifiers during this combat.
On balance, I’ll accept the -1 to Inner Force (down to 3).
Honoric leaps over the ditch (which separates the armies in no man’s land) to confront me.
Since I don’t have the Acrobatics skill, I can either leap to meet him, try a Whirlpool throw as he lands, or simply leap back out of range.
I’m happy to play the waiting game – I retreat.
We face each other, with Honoric’s face is a mask of concentration, blah, blah, duel-cakes.
Forked Lightning Strike, Iron Fist or Teeth of the Tiger throw?
As attractive as the Teeth of the Tiger throw is on an aesthetic level, I’m wary of something like that against such an experienced campaigner. Forked Lightning Strike!
I’m pleased to be informed that my Yubi-Jutsu skill adds 2 to any damage roll, although this is tempered by the fact that I can’t combine this with Inner Force. Honoric starts with 24 Endurance, and does 1 Die + 5 damage (!) with Sorcerak
I need a 6 or more to connect, and get a….10! Damage of 1 Die + 4 is….5 (sigh). Honoric rolls a 5 (needed an 8) and misses.
Endurance ; Me 20, Honoric 19
I try again, and roll a……7! Damage of…8! Honoric hits, but I manage to block the blow.
Endurance : Me 20, Honoric 11
My previous block means I now need an 8 or more to hit, and I get…..11! (Loving this trend). Damage of…5 (the minimum).
However, reducing Honoric to 6 (or less) Endurance refers me to another paragraph….I’m suitable nervous.
Honoric falls backwards and, in a total wuss move, cries ‘Fly, Sorcerak!’ and the black blade promptly flies straight AT MY HEAD.
Its times like this that I’m grateful that oh-so-long-ago I selected Arrow Cutting as a skill, as it now prevents me losing 4 Endurance. Unfortunately, my said skill doesn’t allow me to grab the sword out of mid-air, and it returns to Honoric’s hand.
Several cavalry riders then decide to emerge unbidden from the enemy lines, sweep up Honoric, and return him to safety.
Credit where its due, I can hear Honoric loudly cursing them for ‘besmirching’ his honour.
Of course, I’m getting the feeling that this is similiar to the cliched fights during sporting events, when the ‘aggressor’ is secretly grateful to his teammates for ‘holding him back’ from a fight with a clearly superior opponent.
In any event, I make my way back to friendly faces, where I am informed that, if necessary, my priestesses will restore up to 10 points of lost Endurance. No word as to whether this involves the ‘laying of hands’, but a ruler can only hope.
I then confirm to the book that I have followed Gwyneth’s advice regarding my strategic positions, and the battle is joined.
And on that note, further developments must await another time.
Stats: Endurance : 20, Punch Modifier : +2, Kick Modifier: +3, Throw Modifier : 0, Fate Modifier : +1, Inner Force : 3