Mistress of Time, Episode 9
*Note: This story is from a WHAT (Warrior Heroes Adventures in Talomir) encounter. The encounter is another Wandering Encounter. Travel in WHAT is done with Wandering Encounters. A Wandering Encounter is not tied to a specific amount of time as in some other RPGs (Role Playing Games), the encounter could cover the span of a few hours or several days or weeks.
Zhu Paand and her band, Fizzrelda, Gredra, Joonda, Meagle, and the wounded Umsa, are on their way back to Clerseau. Somewhere on the road behind them is Boris Goddur, the witchfinder, Brother Reynard, and his men-at-arms.
“How are you feeling this morning?” asked Zhu Paand as she helped Umsa onto the back of the pack horse.
“Much better, mistress, but don’t let me slow you down.” answered Umsa.
“She says that, mistress, but she is still running a fever.” added Meagle.
“Today, is not the day to leave anyone behind. With luck, we’ll be in Clerseau tonight where a healer can tend that wound.” said Zhu Paand. “Gredra, take the point; Joonda -“
“I know, mistress, watch the rear.” said a cheerful voice.
They began the day’s journey with a fast pace that was almost a trot. The weather was nice and the rolling landscape was idyllic, but there was no time to enjoy either. The band’s focus was to arrive in Clerseau well ahead of their pursuers, resupply, and then strike out for the border of Goranth and Zostix. By mid-morning they had slowed a little, but still maintained a brisk pace. There would be no stopping until mid-day.
“Mistress, I know you to be an ambitious woman.” began Fizzrelda.
Zhu Paand smiled and said, “That I am, Fizzrelda.”
“Why then do you care what happens to us? Anyone else would have left a wounded goblin behind, even other goblins would have left Umsa to fend for herself. Yet, again and again, you show concern for us, why?” Fizzrelda asked.
“It’s because of something you said that has turned out to be true.” answered Zhu.
Fizzrelda crinkled her nose and forehead in thought. “Something I said, mistress?” she asked.
“Yes, Fizzrelda, when you told me no one else would work for me. Men are either afraid to work for a woman or merely want to bed me. I’m half-elven, elves find me disgusting. Only you, goblins, were willing to risk your lives for my quest. So, seeing how hard it is for me to recruit help, I need to care for the help I have.”
“But we goblins are sneaky little gits.” said Fizzrelda.
Zhu Paand laughed. “No more or less than any other race. Besides, I’ve grown to enjoy the company of goblins.”
“Perhaps the company of one goblin in particular?” Fizzrelda asked. She cackled when she saw Zhu Paand blush. She knew Zhu would plead that she was drunk that night and even though she and Meagle were naked, nothing happened. But something did happen, something had happened in Zhu Paand’s black heart.
A shot rang out across the countryside. “The signal!” shouted Zhu Paand, “Everyone off of the road.”
Then a second shot rang out. “That’s not right.” said Fizzrelda. “Joonda was to fire a single shot if someone was coming up behind us and then hide. She wouldn’t fire a second shot.”
Gredra came running up from her lead position, “Did you hear that, two shots?”
Zhu Paand looked back down the road from where the shots had come. Then she turned and said, “Meagle, take the horse and Umsa, find cover and hide. Fizzrelda, Gredra, let’s go see what happened.”
They backtracked about a quarter of a mile where they found a man lying in the road. Zhu Paand asked “How is he?”
“Joonda got him good, he’ll die soon.” said Fizzrelda.
“Here’s one of her pistols; they left a trail a toddler could read, they’re not afraid of being followed.” said Gredra.
“Leave him for the crows, let’s go find Joonda.” said Zhu.
Fizzrelda took the dying brigand’s purse, rifled his pockets, and then gave him a swift kick.
They found them in a secluded clearing. Joonda had been stripped naked; three men were holding her down on the ground; a fourth with his pants about his ankles was between her legs. A fifth brigand watched the festivities while twirling Joonda’s pistol. There was a sixth brigand, he sat by the fire trying to staunch his wounds.
“This has to stop” said Zhu Paand as a ball of flame appeared in the palm of her hand.
“Wait, mistress,” implored Gredra, “if we attack from this distance, they’ll kill Joonda before we can reach her.”
Fizzrelda grabbed Zhu Paand’s forearm, “We know what you feel. There isn’t one of us here who doesn’t know what it is to be raped.”
“Mistress, let us work around to Joonda, you provide a distraction, and we can save her” said Gredra.
The fireball vanished. Zhu Paand bowed her head. “Ok,” she whispered, “but we show no mercy.”
He had no idea how the pistol worked, but it was well balanced and pleasing to twirl. He laughed and said “You got to do better Bert, she’s still squirming and fighting. How about letting me have a go at her?” Before Bert could answer, he heard someone behind him, he turned to face a woman whose face was dark with anger.
“Pfft” hissed Zhu Paand snapping her fingers. The brigand was paralyzed, he could only look on in astonishment as Zhu Paand took the pistol from his hand. “I’ll be taking this, if you don’t mind.”
Zhu Paand shouted, “Let her go!”
Zhu Paand startled the brigands. Their eyes widened as a globe of energy materialized in her hands. The three pinning Joonda to the ground let go and reached for weapons. It was too late, Gredra and Fizzrelda were among them, blades flashing in the sun. One was struck by Zhu Paand’s energy bolt, he screamed in agony as the bolt burned through his body.
The one called Bert tried to stand from between Joonda’s legs, tangled in his own trousers, he stumbled back. By the time he was able to stand and began pulling his trousers up, Zhu Paand was in front of him. She smiled as she waved a dagger before his eyes. She then used the dagger to remove his manhood. His screams turned into a gurgle as she slit his throat and then shoved his genitals into his mouth.
Fizzrelda and Gredra helped Joonda to her feet. One eye was swollen shut and the other was blackened. In fact, her body was covered in bruises and contusions.
“You look bad, girl” said Gredra.
“Yeah? Well, you should see the other guy” quipped Joonda, and then she burst into tears.
As Gredra and Fizzrelda held Joonda and cried, Zhu Paand walked over to the brigand huddled by the fire. He was shivering, holding his abdomen to keep his entrails from falling out. He looked up at Zhu Paand and asked, “Can you help me? Can you heal….”
“Sorry, I’m not that kind of witch,” she replied, “I can end the pain, if you wish.” He nodded and lifted his head. Zhu Paand plunged her dagger deep and quick.
Fizzrelda left Joonda in Gredra’s arms and walked to the motionless brigand. She wondered how Zhu Paand was able to immobilize a person and that person remain conscious. “Hey, what are we going to do about him?” she asked.
Zhu Paand walked up. She smiled a cruel smile as she wiped the blood from her dagger on the brigand’s shirt. “Get some rope and tie his hands behind his back.”
“Isn’t he frozen, solid? I mean all stiff” Fizzrelda asked as she reached for the brigand’s wrist.
Zhu Paand laughed, “Not at all. The spell just doesn’t allow him to move his muscles on his own. Make his bonds tight, we don’t want him to get loose.”
When Fizzrelda finished, Zhu Paand said, “Stand back and watch.” She gave the brigand a shove and he fell to the ground. Zhu Paand began removing his boots. “We don’t want this one going anywhere fast, bring me some coals from the fire.”
As Zhu Paand covered the brigand’s feet with hot coals, Fizzrelda asked, “Doesn’t he feel that?”
“Oh, yes, he’d be screaming his head off if he could” answered Zhu Paand. “How’s Joonda?”
“She took a terrible beating; we’ll have to carry her” said Gredra.
Zhu Paand surveyed the carnage. “The birds and beasts will feast well tonight. Let’s get back to the others.” She snapped her fingers, and the brigand began screaming as he kicked the coals off of burnt and blistered feet.
They walked back to where they had left Meagle and Umsa in silence. Fizzrelda and Gredra carrying Joonda between them. Without a word, Meagle and Umsa seemed to understand what had happened and hugged their comrade. Zhu gave them some space and time. Then she spoke, “I know we’ve all been through what Joonda had to endure today. It’s never easy. Put Joonda up on the horse with Umsa. We need to move on to Clerseau and The Blue Goblin where we can find some much-needed healing and rest.”
On another section of road, things were not going well for Brother Reynard and Boris Goddur.
“Damnation, another hit and run attack by hobgoblins. It’s as if they are purposely delaying us.” said Boris Goddur.
Brother Reynard laughed, “Now, now, master Goddur, next you will be saying your witch is responsible for these attacks.”
“How do you know she isn’t?” he hissed.
It was near midnight when Zhu Paand’s weary band reached the Blue Goblin. Edith Algen took them to the room shared by Jota and Yoko. Luckily, a healer was staying at the tavern, so they were able to get some much-needed attention for Umsa and Joonda.
Ok, I might have stacked the combat against the brigands. Perhaps rightly so, I determined the ones occupied in rape would be unarmed. Since their attention was elsewhere, I gave Zhu Paand and the goblins a +1 in the first round of melee for surprising the brigands.
And of course, Zhu Paand is cruel – she is a Black Moon Sorceress after all.
|Episode 1||Zhu Paand and Fizzrelda||Episode 5||Starting for Orlogne|
|Episode 2||The Road to Clerseau||Episode 6||A Box of Rocks|
|Episode 3||The Blue Goblin||Episode 7||To Clerseau with Haste|
|Episode 4||Suspicious Job Offer||Episode 8||Dungeon of the Ruined Keep|
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Mistress of Time, Episode 9 – Bandit Woes
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