Big Bada Boom

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In our previous session of Zweihänder, we came across a group hiding in the woods near a major bridge, who were trying to blow it up. So we decided to prevent them from doing so by blowing up their gunpowder for them. Eva continues her story.

As it approached nightfall, we were running out of time if we wanted to do something about the group in the woods. We’d disabled much of the explosives around the bridge, but not all of it, so they could still do considerable damage if they’d wanted to.

So we left things as they were and head back into the woods, me leading the way around to a good spot where we had a clear view of the pile of explosives that were still in the camp. The mercenaries and workers were starting to wake up, presumably in preparation for heading out and finishing off their work on the bridge.

Noreen hunkered down behind a tree and prepped her own crossbow, setting a fire on the tip of the bolt, whilst Djarin did a similar thing somewhat closer to the target.

I settled down next to Noreen, put my hands over my ears and shut my eyes tight. I didn’t see what happened, bit I definitely heard it – my entire body was shaken by the explosion, and bits of wood went flying over head.

I carefully climbed to my feet, and beheld the area of destruction that was left behind. Djarin seemed to have taken a blow to the head, and was staggering around in a bit of a daze, and Calthar was picking herself up off the ground.

It was then that I noticed Noreen becoming frantic – in her attempt to seek cover she’d forgotten that she had lit her crossbow bolt on fire and it was threatening to burn the crossbow itself, so she shot it off into the woods.

I called out to Djarin, but he was still deafened by the explosion, and started to stagger off around the side of the camp. I followed after him, whilst Calthar and Noreen headed south towards the other side, and it would be sometime before we got to get together and make a plan.

Devastated Clearing

Many of the tents were missing from the clearing, and there seemed to be fewer trees than what I remembered. A few bodies, sometimes just limbs, lay in the mud. Over the far side a few of the survivors were struggling to their feet and trying to figure out what happened.

My feelings at this point were somewhat conflicted. If any of the survivors decided to try and set off the bridge, then it would still have been possible for them to cause significant damage, which meant it was important to hit them quickly before they recovered.

On the other hand, we had just killed quite a few people, and as we found out later most of them weren’t responsible for what was going on.

However, Djarin was still deafened, and explaining anything to him was impossible. He seemed content to sit and wait for Calthar to do something, and she seemed to be taking her time as well. But then everything I know about combat comes from either old soldiers trying to impress me enough not to have to pay when I was much younger (it never worked), or from watching these two slaughter their way across the barony.

As we waited there, one worker was trying to clamber out of the latrine pit he had fallen into when things went boom, and another was wondering randomly towards us across the blasted camp site. Someone had also staggered out of one of the few remaining tents. He looked a bit more driven than the others, and though was not in armour had a sword. A final guard had wandered off into the woods, and looked like he was possibly going to run, but my attempts to make Djarin aware of this failed.

Djarin shot the one coming towards us, dropping him but not killing him. It was then that Calthar started taking out the guards on the other side of the camp. Everyone was still somewhat disorientated, so they failed to notice what was going on. The one from the tent had made his way over to the centre of the explosion by the time Calthar got to him, and stabbed him with her sword. As he fell forward, a bolt from Noreen hit him in the head.

Whilst Djarin started to make fun of the man in the latrine pit, I tried to save the life of the one he had shot. Saving one life after we’d killed many was hardly going to right the balance, but I was feeling guilty.

I did manage to attract the attention of Noreen, and asked her to go find out where the other guard had run off to. She happily took off after him, though by the time she came back much later she hadn’t found him. Shortly after that, Calthar went off looking for Noreen, and came back later still after Noreen had returned.

After removing the bolt from the man’s chest and making sure that he wasn’t going to die, I helped the other out of the latrine pit. Apparently they were slaves, and had been sold to Ernesto (presumably the same Ernesto who had purchased the alchemicals from Noreen) and told to come here.

Leaving Djarin guarding the two of them, I went to take a look at Ernesto’s tent. The most important items was a locked box (with a key) which had what was presumably the pay ‘chest’ for the expedition (over a hundred newly minted gold coins) and a rather good quality holy book of the true faith.

Once Calthar had returned, she handed to me a couple of rings she had taken from his body after he’d been killed – one of which had the mark of the inquisition on it. Possibly we’ve killed someone who is on our side.

The last thing we did before retiring for the night was collect as many of the bodies as we could and give them a cremation. I said words over them, for whoever they are they deserve to go on to the right place.

We spent most of today getting rid of the last of the explosives from the bridge. We’d headed there immediately after breakfast, the two slaves coming along with us, I guess because they had nothing else to do.

Apparently Ernesto had been highly religious, and said prayers for the group every night. He’d also spoken a lot about duty, and cleansing things. Sounds like an Inquisitor to me.

Apart from one exciting moment when Calthar’s rope snapped whilst under the bridge, we’ve managed to make the bridge safe and empty the chemicals into the river. There was just enough time to make it back here to the village before nightfall, and get some proper sleep.

The trip back to Sielzen was uneventful, and we handed over our silver to the two slaves (now ex-slaves, since we’re out of Solbovia) and give them some pointers as to where they might be able to find work and a new home.

One thing I do want to do is to find the Inquisitor Bernado and see if he knows anything about Ernesto. It’s somewhat embarrassing that we’ve killed someone that could be working towards the same goals as us, but we probably won’t know for sure.

Samuel Penn