Everyone waits long minutes. Just about the time you feel Darren might be in trouble he makes it back.
Mistress Bianca: “It’s the boat isn’t it?”
Darren: “Uh, guys. We’re screwed, our skiff is burning! What’s more I looked around and there isn’t a soul to be seen. Not that I took any chances at being seen myself as it is certain there is some mother fucker out there.”
Rikard Castleberry: “Did you put out the skiff or just leave?”
Darren cocks his head.
Darren: “I will assume you have a deep seated sense of humor. I came back; there is nothing left to save.”
Mistress Bianca begins to laugh loudly.
Bart: “Did you get the crossbow and bolts?”
Darren: “What’s so damn funny, we left our stuff in there? That old armor and shield, the water…crossbow and bolts. Damnit.”
Darren: “Bart, it was a conflagration. Nothing, I mean nothing is salvageable.”
Mistress Bianca pauses, “Oh yes the bolts!” and continues laughing.
Darren looks at Mistress Bianca again with the cocked head.
Bart: “I was wondering if anything sunk in the water before burning.”
Mistress Bianca grabs her side and tries to reign in.
Darren: “It was pulled up on shore where I saw it. Not far, but on shore.”
Rikard Castleberry: “So that leaves us with 2 options. Try to follow tracks from there, or wait here.”
Bart: “I would prefer to hunt then be hunted.”
Mistress Bianca: “You look at this as a problem. Which it is, I understand. But you have to see the humor in it. We are the strongest our town has and we are stuck on an island in the middle of the swamp. We are so dumb!”
Rikard Castleberry: “I dunno, it’s a rather nice island.”
Bart: “It would not be too difficult to get back.”
Mistress Bianca: “Of course we have to hunt em down. But if we find em, that would be just plain luck.”
Mistress Bianca snickers, “Heh beautiful.”
Rikard Castleberry: “Well then, let’s go track em down, and do violent things to them when we find em?”
Mistress Bianca: “Oh that would be so fun.”
Bart: They probably have a boat themselves.”
Mistress Bianca: “And our things if they were not burned.”
Mistress Bianca: “Well?”
Mistress Bianca gestures with both hands to Bart and Darren to lead onward.
Darren: “Okay, let me get a drink of water and we’ll get started.”
Rikard Castleberry: “…”
Darren walks over to one of the water barrels left behind and fills up on water.
Mistress Bianca: Maybe you shouldn’t drink what they left behind.
Mistress Bianca: you never know when someone might put Vas S’tivate in there or something and then we’d have to drag your ass around as you sleep.
The party attempts to approach stealthily. Darren is successful, the others not quite as successful.
Mistress Bianca pulls back on a twig to move around it and it slips out of her hand and slaps Rikard in the neck.
Rikard Castleberry: “Oi!”
Mistress Bianca: “Sorry.”
The spoken noise makes Darren cringe and Bart stumble on a root.
Darren holds up one hand in a fist as he peeks out on the beach.
Mistress Bianca “I feel like a nidufigous bird.”
Darren shakes his head sadly looking out at the burning skiff.
Rikard Castleberry waves back to Darren.
Bart whispers “Something is off.”
Mistress Bianca: “I wonder how many people know what nidufigous means. I mean, globally.”
Bart spits out the branch in his mouth.
Rikard Castleberry: “I know what it means.”
Bart: “This is a trap.”
Darren nods at Bart’s words.
Darren: “I can’t see it though.”
Rikard Castleberry: “I’m good with traps.”
Darren: “I could try to get a better look on the cleared area near water?”
Bart: “Guess we should spring it then.”
Darren: “Together is good.”
Rikard Castleberry raises an eyebrow at Darren, and walks out to the water.
Bart thinks the spiders are to blame.
*Darren: “Oh shit.”
Darren is looking at the soft earth of the cleared landing.
Darren licks his lips and says under his breath to Rikard, “We should back up, you know, turn around, leave.”
Rikard Castleberry: “Why?”
Darren starts to turn around but Rikard sees a green flare go up above the water from the right tree line.
Rikard Castleberry gives his spear a twirl and faces the tree line.
Everyone sees skeletons with crossbows walking out of the water onto the shore. As the water empties out of their ribcage you notice seaweed is left behind. As if on cue all of them load their crossbows at once and step onto the shore.
Mistress Bianca wonders how to get the fluid necessary for her ritual healing from a skeleton. Ichor in the bones maybe?
Rikard Castleberry stabs at the skeleton that made the mistake of appearing close to him, twice.
Rikard Castleberry strikes it once, landing a solid hit. The skeleton is cut in half; it struggles for a moment before whatever animates it dissipates.
Bart moves forward keeping the cover of the trees.
Entering the cover of the trees, Bart discovers a new threat.
Samsolon says one word, “Fire.”
A skeleton complies.
The arrows hits Rikard dead on and deflects off his armor.
Rikard Castleberry takes a moment to appreciate his new armor.
Mistress Bianca casts Earthen Wave and the ground beneath the skeletons begins to shake as it juts upward like a wave.
All four skeletons seem to be affected and find themselves stumbling for balance, shaken.
Bart: “I recognize you from town, why do you attack us?”
Samsolon Constantine: “Who said anything about killing you?”
Bart: “Stop this before it becomes too late.”
Samsolon Constantine: “Too late for whom…I wonder.”
Rikard Castleberry steps up to the shaken skeletons in front of him, then shortens his grip, attacking each of them once.
Bone chips fly on all three skeletons and the one in the middle falls back into the water and no longer moves.
Rikard Castleberry: “Humph!”
A skeleton shoots at Rikard, but the shot whistles past his ears.
A second skeleton shoots at Rikard. The arrow hits his armor, but does not stick in.
2 more shots come at Rikard from other skeletons, but none of them land.
Darren shoots a bolt at a skeleton. The bolt severs the spinal column, causing it to collapse and die.
At that time, a poacher fires an arrow at Bianca, but misses.
2 other skeletons fire at Rikard, shots landing, but they both glance off of his armor.
Rikard Castleberry makes a mental note to send a thank you note to the smiths back in town.
Samsolon Constantine casts a spell at Bart, attempting to take him out of the fight!
The spell succeeds, and Bart now feels a strong urge to not attack, but rather stay back and watch the battle. The urge is irresistible.
The other poacher in the tree inexplicably changes target to … Rikard!
The arrow glances off his armor.
Rikard Castleberry: “…”
A skeleton shoots at Rikard, and the bolt strikes him for a minor wound.
A skeleton shoots a bolt at Rikard. The bolt lands, but Rikard ignores the extra damage it would have inflicted.
Mistress Bianca casts earthen wave again, shaking the ground beneath 3 of the skeletons. 1 manages to keep its footing.
Another skeleton shoots at Rikard, but the shot bounces off his armor.
Rikard Castleberry hulks up and tries to shake off the cobwebs. He succeeds, and then changes his grip to a traditional spear grip.
One of the shaken skeletons regains its composure.
A poacher takes another shot, but does no damage.
One of the skeletons fires a bolt, but it goes so wide it’s impossible to tell who it was aiming for.
Bart turns to watch the battle. “You know that my companions will beat you. You may have cut me off from the swamp but not the swamp from me.”
Samsolon Constantine: “You are a lucky lot. With the exception of my nephew, sacrificed upon the altar of your success.”
Darren takes a shot from his concealed position, but misses.
One of the poachers tries regains his composure, but fails, remaining off balance.
A skeleton moves up to attack Rikard, but he destroys it before it can do any more harm.
Another skeleton attempts to become unshaken, but fails.
A third skeleton shoots at Rikard. The bolt lands, but leaves no damage.
Samsolon raises his right hand and a yellow flare leaves his hands and hits the water.
A skeleton shoots at Rikard, and hits, but the bolt bounces off of him.
A poacher also shoots at Rikard, but proves just as ineffective.
A poacher keeps up the assault on Rikard, but his bolt also fails to penetrate his armor.
A skeleton hits Rikard, but the bolt bounced right off him.
Many zombies shamble forth from the water, with a pale yellow light glowing from their eyes.
Rikard Castleberry sighs audibly with a twinge of despair upon seeing what just showed up in front of him.
Darren aims and takes a shot at Samsolon.
The shot only hits Samsolon in the sleeve.
Mistress Bianca hears Darren curse loudly.
A skeleton shoots at Rikard, but misses.
Rikard Castleberry moves around the skiff to attack the skeleton to his right
Rikard Castleberry lands a solid hit, but failed to kill his target this time.
Rikard Castleberry yells to Bart as he swings at his foe
Rikard Castleberry: “Bart! What is going on!?”
Rikard Castleberry frowns at the skeleton, expecting it to explode.
2 skeletons shoot at Rikard, neither one hitting the target.
Bart: “Your Nephew died for what he believed. It made him no less the fool but he had my respect. Rikard, this is the person controlling the undead… and me.”
Samsolon Constantine smiles and adds no pithy repartee.
Rikard Castleberry: “Nephew? I don’t much care who he’s related to. He’s trying to kill us!”
A poacher shoots at Rikard. The arrow hits him hard, but Rikard soaks the damage and takes no further damage.
A skeleton fires a bolt at Rikard, but it fails to penetrate his armor.
Mistress Bianca sees the army coming and hopes desperately that her next act is going to sever the connection to the undead.
Mistress Bianca steps out of the brush and rolls up her sleeve.
Mistress Bianca screams out in a bloodlust as she tries to cast a spell.
Mistress Bianca bleeds profusely from the tear and before it hits the ground turns and coalesces upon the head of her staff that she raises and sends forth a massive ethereal fist that flies towards Samsolon with incredible speed.
The fist smashes into Samsolon hard and fast. He maintains a forced smile as he composes himself.
Mistress Bianca shouts “RAWR!”
Samsolon Constantine: “Know this, woman, my master made no mention of you in the plan. You will now proceed to know my displeasure. I encourage you to beg for mercy.”
A poacher attacks Bianca, but misses!
Rikard Castleberry attacks a skeleton, critically hitting it, and breaking it into nothing more than dust motes!
Mistress Bianca: “Well I will beg for mercy after you do. I do not care if I die here. I just care that you die!”
One of the poachers now turns its attention to Bianca, and fires!
The shot lands squarely, but Bianca soaks the damage.
A skeleton shoots at Bianca, but misses.
Another skeleton next to Bianca swings at her with his short sword, and connects, wounding her!
Samsolon Constantine: “Just say Uncle, sit down and my minions will make everything right with the world for you, woman.”
A zombie approaches Rikard’s position on his way to Bianca, drawing a free attack!
Rikard Castleberry swings through it, exploding it in the process!
The zombie is gone, though a few drops of water land on Rikard to signify its passing.
Another zombie attacks Bianca, missing wildly.
Yet another zombie strikes Bianca brutally, yet leaves no damage.
A poacher fires at Bianca, critically landing in her abdomen! Bianca is incapacitated!
A skeleton fires at the now incapacitated Bianca, but his aim is poor, and misses.
Another skeleton swings at Bianca, but misses.
A poacher stabs at Bianca, making a bloody mess out of her insides. How much more can she take?
A skeleton fires at Bianca, missing her again!
Another skeleton shoots at Bianca, hitting her in the sleeve.
Angered by Bianca going down, Rikard Castleberry roars out in fury, wildly attacking his foes, taking 3 swings at the 2 foes he can reach.
Rikard Castleberry swings first at the skeleton.
The skeleton explodes in a cloud of dust, leaving no remains!
Rikard Castleberry turns his wrath on the poacher.
Rikard Castleberry stabs the poacher hard through the abdomen.
The poacher screams out in anguish and literally turns to smoke and is no more.
Rikard Castleberry blinks in surprise at how the poacher dies.
A skeleton shoots at the prone Bianca, missing wildly.
A poacher approaches Bianca, drawing an attack from Rikard!
His strike rings true, sliding his spear into the poacher’s midsection.
The poacher screams out in anguish and literally turns to smoke and is no more.
Rikard Castleberry screams out, “Stay away from her!”
A poacher shoots at Bianca, missing wildly.
Another poacher stabs Bianca strongly, incapacitating her right arm!
The last poacher stabs Bianca, hitting her in the unmentionables! Can she hold on???