“Moonwatch” – Third Adventure night (Day 3, part 3 of 3).

Sir Killington’s  retinue assembles at the bare patch of earth beside one of the smaller tents.  Here, many times, combat in the Lady’s honor has been waged and won by the Knight.  The Heroes notice a number of graves, some very fresh, lining the hillside away to the north of the encampment.

Kartug Igmutin is already at the fighting circle, limbering up and stretching in preparation for combat.  The rules have been explained: the combat will be one-on-one, to the death unless the challenger calls for a halt.  The challenger may take spells that boost his prowess, within reasonable limits of honor.  Once the fight begins, no outside interference is allowed or else the fight is in forfeit.  Just as the fight starts, Jaques and Lester will tap Kartug with Haste and Displacement to improve his chances.

The fight circle is ringed with onlookers.  At one end of the fighting area are the Heroes, backing Igmutin.  Nearby, there are three Clerics from Sir Killington’s crew; PADRE CORTEZ, Priest of Pelor; CLERIC FITZPATRIK, Priest of St. Cuthbert; and CLERIC VOTH, Minister of HeironeousSquire Barnes and two lesser squires wait on the opposite side.  And there are two of Sir Killington’s lieutenants, MERRICK and NEWTON, armed and armored and watching the Heroes as closely as they watch the proceedings.

There is a stir as the girl, Livia, emerges from the center of the camp.  She is young, lithe, an impossibly gorgeous Half-elf with noteworthy assets.  While she looks seventeen or eighteen, by virtue of her Elfish heritage she is likely closer to 30 years old.  A sensual, slightly evil aura permeates the air about her.  She demands an apple from an attendant then, taking one disinterested bite, she tosses the fruit aside into the dirt.  With a haughty glance she looks over the assembly, sneers callously, and saunters back to her massive tent and the awful, whining music.  Sir Killington’s men avert their eyes on her coming, and glare hatefully at her back at her exit.

A weak, off-key trumpet sounds.  Sir Killington’s followers and cohorts stand to attention as a cluster of Pages emerge from a tent, escorting their lord.

Sir Killington is arrayed in his finest battle armor.  While the Pages and Squires and others of the Knight’s company show the same weather-beaten grime as the camp, it is clear that considerable effort has gone into the utmost care and maintenance of Sir Killington’s gear.

The formidable Knight stands almost seven feet tall, in bright, shining steel full-plate armor, with broad Gothic-shield on one arm and a long-sword on his belt, helmet-visor closed.  Not a hint of the man within is visible from the outside; Sir Killington is a wall of overlapping metal plates, seemingly eight inches thick over his entire frame yet allowing smooth, perhaps comfortable movement.  With broad, confident steps the massive Knight crunches to a halt at his end of the combat circle.  Igmutin quietly utters a curse.

Barnes steps forward and reiterates the rules.  Kartug nervously hefts his tower shield and grips his Heavy Pick to the ready as his allies cast spells on him and then fall back to a safe distance.  Sir Killington draws his gleaming long-sword, raises it to his visor in salute, and crouches slightly, sword at the ready, shield in place.  He is like an oak tree, forged of steel and without fear or hesitation.

The fight is on.  Igmutin advances slowly, carefully.  Sir Killington issues a Fighting Challenge to his opponent, boosting the Knight’s ability to hit and damage his opponent.  Then, parrying Kartug’s opening salvo with his shield, Sir Killington steps back and calls a Daunting Challenge to Igmutin.  A lesser man would have been Shaken by this bold rebuke, but Kartug is Willful and disregards the goading.

Toe-to-toe, the Fighter and the Knight trade parries and strikes.  Igmutin lands Critical Hits but is frustrated to find that three-quarters of the time, the attacks are simply normal hits.  By the same token, Sir Killington’s solid hits are converted to near-misses by the Fighter’s fortunate Displacement spell.

In the first few rounds, Sir Killington seems to fight without interest or effort, going through the rote motions of what should be another easy kill.  But as Igmutin dodges and strikes and the two combatants clash with intensifying violence, passion sparks within the iron golem of Sir Killington.  The Knight comes alive in a way his men have not seen in a long time.  Igmutin misses and hits, wounds and is wounded.  Sir Killington hacks at the air and then connects on a slash, absorbs a Pick strike with his protective shield and then takes a staggering strike between his armor’s protective plates.

For more than a minute, the longest fight of Sir Killington’s recent purgatory on the fringes of Ridgeway, the two men wake the old gods with their fight of legend-to-be.  It would be that Igmutin had the fight just barely won – were the spells granting him half-cover from attacks, and an extra attack from Haste, not wearing off.  But the spells ended, and the pendulum of Fate swung the other way.

Sir Killington, blood-soaked and battered, struck back again and again, about to kill Igmutin when the Fighter, staggered and at the gates of Death, called for quarter.  And with sword raised and the killing blow a mere impulse of fury from delivered, the honorable Knight checked his swing and stumbled back, sparing Kartug as promised.

Pages and Squires hurried to Sir Killington and supported him.  His Clerics moved in and started healing the mortally wounded Knight back from a single Hit Point.  Pushing the Clerics and minions aside, Sir Killington raised his visor to Igmutin in salute.  Then he bent, and pulled the defeated Fighter to his feet with a nod of appreciation for a fight well-fought.  For a moment, Sir Killington looked pleased.

Then, he turned and limped away, with the help of his attendants.  His Clerics resumed their work, even diverting a moment to heal Kartug halfway back to full health before focusing on their lord.  Pages took from their lord his shield and sword, and pried off his armor as he shuffled to his tent.  Sir Killington disappeared into his lodging, battered but not beaten.

The Heroes decide to quit the camp for the rest of the day, now with full understanding of how tough Sir Killington is as a foe.  Squire Barnes approaches them, thanking the Heroes for their attempt, and encouraging them to perhaps return and try again.  His devotion to his lord is all that exceeds his true appreciation for Igmutin’s valiant effort this day.

Back in Ridgeway, the Heroes separate for a few hours.  Lester sets off to sell equipment and obtain healing potions.  Kartug desperately needs to lie down and die, or sleep; whichever comes first.

Genive takes a few minutes in a quiet corner of her free room at the inn, and uses the Mayor’s letter of purchase to forge a similar one which grants the unspecified bearer food and lodging.

Stealing away back to Sir Killington’s camp, Genive meets Barnes and gives him the forged letter as a gift, to help at least some of the Knight’s men find a restful sleep and solid meal when they can make their way quietly to town.  Barnes is most grateful.  He says he will try to use the letter when the sudden flux of merchant activity around the town quiets down.

Genive mentions that the activity is mustering for the arrival of three Divisions of soldiers, and the Squire is visibly surprised by the magnitude of the force.  As a parting gift of his own, knowing that the Heroes are soon to quit Ridgeway for travel on to MEADOWSHADE, Barnes warns Genive that the road to Meadowshade forks a few miles outside of Ridgeway and, while the two separate roads re-connect later before their destination, it is said that one of the two routes is plagued by some sort of terrible monster.  But Barnes does not know which is the unsafe route, and advises Genive and her allies to seek information in town.

The Spymaster returns to town by sunset, as the Heroes eat and drink and debate whether they have time to afford another visit and challenge to Sir Killington.

The adventure ends here for the night.




About d20horizons

D&D player.
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