Saturday, September 10, 2005

Ale & Whores, pt.. 2

It was around this time that we noticed a carriage for hire parked off to the side of the square. Targ rushed over and roared at the driver, gorrilla-like, beating his chest with his fists. Convinced, the driver started to run off, but fortunately, Ibrim coaxed him back with gold. After all, we don't know how to drive a carriage! We hopped in the carriage with Ian (the driver) at the reins, and ordered him to follow the escaping brigands.

With a snap of the reins we were off, thundering down the cobblestone street. Ian skillfully guided the carriage past grocery carts and market stalls as we steadily gained on our quarry. I fired a few shots from my bow. Some missed (oops!), but I took out one of the brigands, and he fell from his horse onto the street.

With this first casualty came oppourtunity as well. Ibrim rushed to the side of the carriage and waited as we gained on the rider-less horse. As we came up along side it, he leapt from the carriage onto the horse's back! Hargis quickly followed, and they spurred the horse ahead. Not wanting to be left out of the fight, Targ eagerly waited for another rider-less horse to appear. One did, in short order, thanks to Ibrim and Hargis's mounted assault. Unfortunately, Targ, not being the brightest of souls, miss-timed the jump. He missed the horse entirely, but managed to cling tenaciously to the back of the carriage. He was dragged behind the carriage in this manner for some time, bumping and scraping all the way, until he at last succeeded in his struggle to clambor back into the cab.

While Targ was fighting a losing battle with the pavement, Ibrim and Hargis were giving the fleeing thugs a reason to run. I fired my bow at the brigands, to soften them up, and then Ibrim and Hargis went in for the kill. This worked splendidly until...disaster struck! In my zeal to stop the brigands, I had momentarily forgotten that I am but a young mage, and poorly suited to combat. One of the brigand's bolts struck true, and I fell, my life-force ebbing from me as I slipped slowly into oblivion...

But the story does not end there. As I lay dying in the carriage, Ibrim the Pious noticed my plight (no doubt from the large trail of blood), and came to my rescue! In a truly heroic feat of skill (or I suspect, mostly luck), he leapt once more from the horse into the carriage. With the divine power of Kord, he healed my wounds and I was up and running once again.

While I was out, Targ had managed to get himself onto a horse and was slaying brigands with impunity. I began shooting at them again, but more carefully this time, peeking my head up just long enough to fire before ducking back behind the relative safety of the side of the carriage. Ibrim tried to leap onto another horse, but it seemed his luck with such exploits had run out. He too was left dragging behind the carriage until he found the strength to heave himself back up onto the floor.

At length, Ibrim managed to mount another horse in this bizzare manner, and once again rushed into the fray. Soon, the only remaining foe was the leader of the foul brigands, with his captive still in tow.

We careened through the streets after the fugitive. Although the driver was quite skilled, occassionally we clipped the sides of buildings and the like, as sharp turns and break-neck speeds seldom combine smoothly. I was becoming quite concerned about the durability of the carriage when I saw the brigand leader take a sharp turn up ahead. Ibrim, Hargis and Targ attempted to follow suit, but could not make the turn at such high speeds. Their horses' hooves lost purchase on the slick cobblestones, and they all fell, skidding to a halt. I glanced at Ian and realized, to my horror, that he meant to make that turn. With steely determination he eyed the corner, and I braced for impact.

Ian's superior skill allowed him to guide the horses around the sharp turn, but the carriage did not fare as well. It smashed to pieces on the alley wall, and he and I tumbled onto the street. Just as I was getting my bearings, Ibrim, Hargis and Targ ran past me on foot, still pursuing the last brigand!

"What are you waiting for? C'mon Mina, let's GO!" Ibrim shouted as he raced past. I sighed and darted down the alley after them with all the dignity I could muster. The alley was thankfully short, and ended in a cul-de-sac! The brigand had miscalculated and was trapped! He had dismounted his horse and laid his now-unconcious captive to the side. His weapons were drawn and ready when we approached.

A few words were exchanged, but the dialogue ended abruptly when the ruffian told us to "Sod off", and lunged at Hargis. A fierce battle ensued, during which the damnable brigand put up quite a fight. I managed to fire off a few spells, but they only served to anger him. The battle became desperate, and my companions started to fall around me. To be honest, I'm not sure who struck the final blow against the villain, as I was struck down also. Indeed, it was lucky for us that Ian, the carriage driver, had crept up the alley and witnessed the scene! He administered first aid and healing potions to the dying as the brigand finally fell. Later, I suggested to him that he leave his cabbie proffession and become an EMT...