A busy month

5 LEAGUES FROM THE BORDERLAND : KATANGA CAMPAIGN TURN 4


THE BOOK OF THE SOUTH


I never knew reading and writing could be so interesting. But since I have learned recently, I have decided to journal the saga of the motley band of wanderers to whom I have attached myself.


We call ourselves the Red Hand, and our leader is Red. She and Sonya came from the far north, together with a larger band of warriors. But now only they two are left. The rest of us... Val, myself, Karl, Batu, Conn and Erland have joined them at various stages in their journeys southwards.


But enough about ourselves.


It is the season for the wild herbs! It was no wonder Val could not find any the previous week. To make up for it, she gathers extra, enough for me to make 3 protective potions this time. Sonya finds fresh tracks as well. A large group, this time. Conn uses the time for weapons practice with Erland and Karl, to improve his Parrying skils.


Red is getting better at trading with the locals, and sells a sword for 1G. She buys another bandage and some Fine Ale in return. That will come in useful when one of those loud men get homesick and want to go home to their mothers. 


We have rested up and everyone is restless, so we head out of the village again.


We move carefully. We do not meet any travellers. It is as if they are avoiding this place. Thanks to Val’s info, we are well placed when a group of enemies, split into 3 groups, approach. 


Slavers! Perhaps confederates of the smugglers we encountered a week ago? They are led by a fierce captain. He is from the desert down south and east as evidenced by his clothes. The rest of his group are motley followers. 


BUT. Batu tells Red to beware. He’s spotted someone with a 'new-fangled' (I made sure to ask him afterwards as I did not know what it meant... it is just a 'new fangled' way to describe something that is new) weapon. He calls it a 'black powder shooter'... a weapon from the exotic far East. It is extremely dangerous as it can penetrate the heaviest of armours. But it is so slow to reload the wielder typically only gets one shot in a battle. 

Even though we have set ourselves in ambush like the cheetah in the veldt, both Val's and Batu's arrows miss the black powder shooter! I quickly cast a Charm of Iron on Batu, asking the roh to protect my compatriot as we move into the attack.


BATTLE TURN 1


Batu and Val fire again... and miss! Truly, the roh must be with the wielder of this strange weapon.


The Slavers advance towards us, taking advantage of cover now they know they are facing foes with bows. 

We move cautiously as well. It is good. Better than charging forwards like a group of younglings in their first battle!


BATTLE TURN 2


Val moves so she can fire her bow at the black powder shooter who is hiding amidst the rocks and palm trees.  She misses again, as does Batu! What is happening? I must consult the roh when we make it back to Dzanjaban. Have we offended them in any way?


The Slavers dash forward now as there is no cover to be had for them... except for one who stumbles behind as if he has 2 left feet. He is lagging behind the rest. 


Sonya and Conn move into position to receive them. 


I throw a rock at one of the three slavers rushing us. The roh be praised! A slaver goes down! Now it is the four of us against two of them! Erland and Karl move forward, waving their swords menacingly. They keep the slavers at bay until Red tcharge forward. She cuts one down with her sword. 

I notice the Stumbler decides he’s had enough and runs away. It is no wonder he was lagging behind!


BATTLE TURN 3


At last, the roh be praised! Val shoots down the captain! Batu misses again! Perhaps I should talk to him... ask him what he has done to offend the roh? Sonya attacks a slaver and is attacked in turn as two slavers gang up on her. Thankfully, Conn is also there. They trade blows but no one is hurt. That is very unlike Sonya who is a veritable mistress of fury on the field of battle.

But a slaver attacks Batu... and since he is only armed with a dagger, he reels back, stunned. I must talk to him, soon! Perhaps he should offer some propitiation to the roh?


The slaver with the black powder shooter has been hiding in the rocks and bushes. He jumps up like a hyena after a hare and fires at Val. The sound of his weapon is indescribable! I am ready to weep and mourn for my comrade in arms but as the smoke clears... I see she is still standing. Unmarked! Surely the roh are on our side now! I can see Val breathing a sigh of relief. I remember her close brush with the sorcerer ... is she being marked for something evil? I must consult the roh when we return!

But now is not the time for thinking. It is for doing! I throw another rock, and another slaver goes down! There are no more foes facing us! Red, Erland and Karl dash to aid Sonya’s group. 

However, seeing their Captain downed, three of the slavers take to their heels, leaving one behind. 


BATTLE TURN 4


Conn and Sonya move closer to the last slaver, distracting him so Sonya can attack. She wounds him! He may even be stunned. That was a nasty knock the head that Sonya dealt him!

This gives time for Val to moves closer and fire her bow. The last slaver goes down!


AFTERMATH


The others move about the field of battle, searching the bodies of the dead. I sit apart, with my back to the rock under the shade of the palm trees. I cannot defile myself by touching the flesh of the recently departed. The roh must have their due. 


In the end, we find a fine mace, a repair kit and more importantly, 15 gold pieces! The buying and selling of humans is profitable indeed!


Finding nothing else, we head back to Djanzaban, where I am now writing these annals.

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