Monday, September 2, 2013

Savage Hyboria Forgotten Islands: Episode 2 "Allies"

 Three days after being shipwrecked on a strange island chain near the Black Kingdoms Heimdall and Alenna spot two bodies laying on a sandbar just off shore.  Though the bodies appear to be dead they decide to investigate.  After gathering some; healing supplies, water, and food the castaways drug a large log into the surf.  Using the log as a flotation device they paddled out to the sandbar. They discover the bodies of two women lying on the sand.  One is fair skinned with light colored hair and the other dark skinned with blue black hair.  "That one has the look of my people" Heimdall explained gesturing towards the fairer skinned woman.  Both women were armed with short swords and the dark skinned woman had a round shield.

 Using her healing skills Aleena determined that both the women were alive but unconscious.  She reached into her makeshift pouch and produced some strong smelling herbs which she then waved under the nose of the fair skinned woman.  The woman stirred and awoke.  "Where am I?  What happened?" the women spoke in the AEsir tongue.  "We don't know.  Are you a slave?" replied Heimdall.  "Yes... Yes I was a slave.  We escaped last night.  This woman, I don't know her, she helped me.  She could speak the slavers language and she tricked the guard" the woman explained.  Heimdall related what she said to Alenna.  Moving to the other woman the priestess used the same technique to revive her.  "Do not be alarmed.  We are also escaped slaves.  We want to help you" Alenna said, in Aquilonian, as the woman awoke.  Surprisingly the woman replied using the Aquilonian tongue.  "Praise be to all the gods!  I thought I was dead for sure".  

 The women explained that after they had escaped they tried to steal one of the slavers boats but it was too heavily guarded so they stole some empty barrels they used to keep themselves afloat.  They tried to head north to another island but the current and a storm blew them south instead.  Neither of them could remember washing onto the sand bar.  Both women were exhausted by their ordeal but uninjured.
"Looks like we have company!" Alenna exclaimed pointing out towards the open water.  Several miles away to the north there was a small sailed vessel heading their way.  "The slavers have found us!" the dark haired woman said.  Quickly the four escaped slaves paddled for shore using the log again as none of them were skilled swimmers.  Alenna slipped from the log but Heimdall was able to catch her with his free arm.

After reaching the shore Alenna and Heimdall helped the exhausted women to the old well house where they could take refuge and hide.  The two then crept up a small hill so they could observe the beach more easily.  The slavers had landed their large raft on the beach.  There were eight of them and a strange looking dog of some sort.  The dog and it's handler quickly found their sent and about half the party began tracking the escaped slaves.

 Alenna and Heimdall fell back toward the runes as the slavers followed their previous trail.  Alenna prayed to Mitra to hide them from the slavers as they ducked behind some dense foliage.  The slavers were approaching the well house when Heimdall and Alenna sprung apon them attacking the two slavers in the back.  Both found their mark with blows that sent the slavers reeling but neither were killed.

 The slavers regained their feet and fought back with vigor.  Neither side could gain the advantage and though heavy blows were traded there were no injuries.  The dog attacked Alenna stunning her and knocking her back.  Seeing that things were going poorly the AEsir woman charged from the well house and attacked the dog with a ferocious battle cry.  The dog turned and made a strange laughing sound then lunged at the woman but was immediately impaled by a strong thrust from the Nordheimer.

 The fighting continued.  Heimdall dispatched one of the slavers with a vicious slash from his scimitar.  Both Heimdall and Alenna had been wounded but were still on their feet.  Unfortunately the AEsir woman miscalculated a lunge against one of the slavers.  The slaver dodged aside and her blade sunk deeply into Alenna's thigh.  Alenna screamed then her eyes rolled back in her head and she passed out on the ground.  Seeing this the other woman joined the fight.  

The sounds of battle had drawn the attention of the slavers waiting on the shore.  Three more slavers charged Heimdall one of them armed with a massive two handed scimitar.  Heimdall dispatched one of the men with a thrust to his guts however the slaver with the great scimitar came down hard on the AEsir's shoulder and cut deeply through muscle and tendon and bone.  Heimdall let out a yell then fell to the ground.  The dark skinned woman was also knocked down by the slaver tracker.

Two of the slavers turned and ran back towards the beach but the man with the massive scimitar remained.  He was a skilled fighter and did not show the fear his comrades displayed.  It seemed as he would easily dispatch the escaped slaves but with one wild slash the AEsir woman cut him across the throat nearly taking his head clean off.  With a shocked look the slaver fell to the ground dead.

Raka could hear the other slavers arguing in Stygian, the language that they used, from the beach.  She was uncertain as to what they planned to do but she knew that they had only barely managed to win their fight against these slavers.  Gesturing to the fair skinned woman to help her she began to drag the Aqualonian woman away from the site of the battle.

Rozlynn understood what her companion was trying to do.  She took hold of the AEsir man and grasping him under his arms she began to drag him away.  He was heavy but fortunately she had experience with this kind of thing.

Though badly wounded both Alenna and Heimdall regained consciousness just a short time after the battle.  Though it took some time Alenna was able to use both her magic and healing skills to heal her companions.  Although exhausted from the days events they all agreed that the slavers would likely return in greater force just as soon as they could.  Raka and Rozlynn introduced themselves.  Rozlynn was and AEsir who had been captured by the Vanir who had sold her to Balooka.  Raka claimed to be from Vendhya a land far to the East.  She had been a slave many years and had traveled through many lands before ending up in the slave markets of the Barachan Islands.

Raka told Heimdall and Alenna that the slavers had established a camp on the small island just a mile or so to the northwest.  At the camp they had recaptured about forty slaves and thirty guards.  They had one large sailboat and two smaller rowboats and the raft they had built from salvaged wood.  Balooka was alive but only a few of his officers had survived.  She believed the slaver who wielded the great scimitar was one of his top men. She also explained that the slavers knew this chain of islands was inhabited both by natives and pirates and the slavers also claimed some kind of monsters inhabited some of the islands.  Blaooka had spoken of trying to hire the pirates or buy a ship from them so that they could escape the islands.  

The four decided to return to the ruins.  There was no sign of the slavers.  Only the body of the strange dog remained.  Raka called the dog a Hyena and explained that it was a kind of wild dog from the deserts.  The slavers used them for tracking down escaped slaves.

Certain that the slavers would return within the day Heimdall began digging pit traps around the ruins.  The women sharpened wooden spikes for the traps coating them with rat dung from the rats nest in the tower as a kind of impromptu poison.  Heimdall also made four crude javelins.  Having made the best preparations they could each of them took up hiding positions and waited.

Eventually the slavers raft returned in the late afternoon.  There were seven slavers aboard and another hyena.  There were also five barbaric looking warriors aboard armed with flails.  Four of the slavers came ashore and all of the warriors.

 One of the slavers and the hyena began making their way towards the ruins with the five warriors.  The hyena and it's handler discovered several pit traps as they move along cautiously.  The animal would catch the sent and alert.  Heimdall began to wonder if the effort of digging all the traps had been worthwhile.

 Rozlynn attempted to sneak closer to the enemy but three of the warrior spotted her and immediately charged.  One of the warriors however fell into a pit trap and impaled himself on the caustic spikes.

Heimdall threw one of his javelins at the slaver but it was deflected by the mans leather armor.  Alenna and Raka charged out from their hiding places and attacked the others.  The combat was short and brutal.  The three men were cut down by the women and the hyena was killed by one of the AEsir's javelins.

Rozlynn was fighting for her life.  Wielding the great scimitar she had taken from the earlier battle she dispatched the two warriors quickly enough but before she could rejoin her friends three more slavers charged her from an adjacent hill.

 Heimdall, Alenna, and Raka rushed to Rozlynn's aid.  As they charged into the fray three more slavers came over the hill.  Rozlynn wielded the massive blade wildly and although the slavers attacking her were able to evade her blows they kept their distance.

The three slavers on the hill joined the battle.  One of their number fell victim to another pit trap falling head first onto the spikes.  Alenna rushed to Rozlynn's side and cut down one of the slavers just as the AEsir woman dispatched another.  With a savage blow Heimdall split the skull of another spilling his brains onto the ground.  The final slaver threw down his arms and begged not to be killed.

After taking the final slaver captive they tied the man up and left him in the ruins.  Taking the slave'rs raft they circled the island to make sure they slavers had not landed another force somewhere else.

The day had been and exhausting battle for survival.  Even though they had won a great victory against the slavers they knew that Balooka's men would return.  They also knew that the slavers had allies.  Their captured man told them that Balooka had hired the warriors from the pirate city on one of the larger islands to the west.  The knowledge that the slavers had recaptured many slaves meant that they might also find some allies of their own if they could free them.  They knew that no matter what happened there was still far more fighting ahead of them.

Notes:  This was quite a grueling session.  The first battle almost ended in the recapture of the players by the slavers.  I had added a slaver officer because I was expecting two more players but I had forgotten how powerful I had made him and did not scale back the encounter enough.  Had it not been for a very lucky damage roll on the part of Rozlynn's player this session would have been quite different.  I now have four players and may potentially gain another three or four which will make for a fairly large party which will also lead to larger encounters.  I've got a lot of projects to get wrapped up for this campaign.   

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