My martial arts choices for this D & D-esque battle are between an Iron Fist punch (the old standby!), a Winged Horse kick or a Dragon’s Tail throw.
Now the Dragon’s Tail throw is, in my experience, high risk. As long-time readers will recall, it involves sliding across the ground to sweep the enemy’s legs out from under him (or she, or it, as the case may be). Given my allergic reaction to, you know, dying, I elect not to go with such a dangerous move, particularly on the uneven ground of a cave.
Notwithstanding my drastically lowered modifier, winged horsed kick is go!
In a nice ego boost, the book confirms that my kick is ‘shattering’. More importantly, I only need a 6 or more on two dice to hit. Unfortunately, this Fiend’s Endurance is a nasty 22 points.
I hit and manage to do 6 damage. I’m then annoyingly informed that every time I hit, there is a 1/3 chance of doing myself 1 damage on the spines (!) of the Fiend. Luckily it doesn’t happen this time. Now, this ‘Albino (!) Fiend’ needs a 9 to hit me and dismally fails.
Endurance : Me 16, Albino Fiend 16
I roll a 5 and just (!) miss. Similarly the Fiend also misses.
I smash through the pale defences, scoring a 10. 4 damage accrues. I don’t suffer the spine-related damage. The Fiend misses.
Endurance : Me 16, Fiend 12
I get a 6 (!), kick through the defences but only 3 damage. Luckily the Fiend again fails to penetrate my ninja evasion.
Endurance : Me 16, Fiend 9
I miss, but so does my opponent.
I hit and manage to do 7 damage TO THE FACE. No spine-related damage! The Fiend’s ‘to hit’ roll of 8 is a feeble attempt that my unharmed form laughs at.
Endurance : Me 16, Fiend 1
I am now directed to another paragraph because the Fiend has dropped to Endurance of less than 8.
The Fiend staggers backwards and Cassandra sticks her nose into MY business by smashing a rock against the Fiend’s head, crushing it like an egg.
Cassandra makes a passing comment as to how she was tempted to watch us beat each other to death (like that would’ve happened) and fails to mention that :
- She needed me to fight her battles to get out of here;
- Her heart clearly skipped a beat when she saw someone striking blows against my noble person.
While we’re busy gazing into each other’s eyes, Thybault, haggard but unharmed, staggers from one of the archways. In what I’ll admit is a boss move, Cassandra snaps the dead Fiend’s spine from its body in two pieces, throws one at me and flees.
Thybault makes some self-righteous comment about the wicked fleeing from the righteous. While he didn’t make a single move to help before, he does now admittedly heal me back to my maximum Endurance of 20.
More importantly, my leg is healed, with my Kick Modifier restored (!!!!)
Thybault says that he has seen a dark stalagmite which could contain the Forbidden Sanctuary, which apparently holds Glaivas. Alternatively, we could both chase after Cassandra for vengeance.
Notwithstanding my name, I don’t feel the pull to avenge the death of a High Priestess whose name I barely remember and whom I’ve never met. Glaivas, rather, has helped me in several books, and needs my help. My choice is clear, even if my name must be revised after this book.
Thybault and I go our separate ways.
Stats : Endurance : 20, Punch Modifier : +2, Kick Modifier: +3, Throw Modifier : 0, Fate Modifier : +1, Inner Force : 3