Result 10 – Part 1

Comply and give him the bag, then grab your battle axe and try to get the bag back (lethal).

Without a word, you slowly and carefully shuffle the backpack loose, shifting the straps to the very edge of your shoulders. Keeping your hands in sight as much as possible, you take hold of the straps ready to remove the bag, but, you don’t take off the bag and hold it out; instead, you let it drop straight to the floor.

The second you feel its weight leave you, you reach back and grab the handle of the axe, spinning to your left as you swing the axe around and down in a quick, diagonal strike.

The thief staggers back, suppressing a low groan, clutching his chest. He was lucky; you saw him flinch and start to lean back just before your blade hit, allowing him to narrowly avoid having the axe buried directly into his shoulder. You still managed to hit him with your glancing strike though, and that’s what matters.

Standing in front of your bag protectively, you bring up the axe as you get into a fighting stance. It’s difficult to tell in the dark, but you think you can see a little blood on the head.

Seeing you ready to attack, the thief regards you for a moment, then chuckles, bringing up his knives, which are not small things. You tighten your grip on the handle, demanding that he back off. He tuts at you.

“You got lucky, girl.”

You scowl, letting him know that now you’re even. You warn him again to leave. He responds by lunging at you.

“That toy won’t help you now..!”

You dodge to your right to avoid his right stab then bring up the axe handle to deflect his left slash, pushing him back a little. He recovers, stabbing at you again in immediately. He’s quick, and would definitely be able to get the best of most of his victims, but you’re quicker; able to dodge or block his blows. He narrowly fails to slice you across your left side and you punish him with a slice across his side in turn.

Though he cries out, it does not deter him, and he pushes forward again, returning with another flurry of stabs and slashes.

Did you offend him by not rolling over and surrendering, or is he desperate for money?

You’d prefer not to kill him, or, at the very least, get his blood everywhere, especially not on your new clothes; he might’ve already ripped them when he pressed the knife to your back!

Though each of your strikes is increasingly strong and on point, he only seems to become more determined to win, which in turn, makes it increasingly difficult to avoid his blades and deal more non-lethal blows. By the time your patience has run thin, his attacks seem more like a broken, spinning fan with knives crudely attached to the blades.

He misses again, but you do not. You dodge his stab and swing your axe down hard into the side of his left thigh. He cries out in pain, immediately dropping a knife and clutching at the wound. You do not stop; bringing up the axe again, and swing it once more. You turn the axe and strike him hard in the side of his head with the flat of the blade. He teeters for a moment before collapsing and lying motionless.

You remain as you are, waiting poised and ready, catching your breath. You carefully approach him, nudging him first with your foot, then crouching to check his pulse; he’s still alive, but out cold. Hmph.

You look at the shadowed figure slumped on the floor and consider leaving. Then you consider your attacks. All your previous strikes to his torso had been met with some resistance; you figured that he must be wearing some sort of leather armour or thick clothing under his coat, but the cut to his leg felt different; either he isn’t wearing armour there, or you managed to cut him in an un-armoured area. Either way, a wound like that will bleed heavily, and with him being passed out, the chances of him bleeding out and never waking up again are pretty high.

You huff again. You came out for a night on the town, not murder. His fault for trying to attack you, but, the least you should do is give him a chance to not wake up dead. Maybe then he’ll reconsider his choices and give up this life of crime.

You glance around at the buildings; they all remain as dark and dead as before, with no lit windows or people gazing at you from within. And the alley itself remains empty. You stride over to your bag, pick it up and put it back on, before going back and shifting the thief into a sitting position.

He’s wearing a bandanna over his face, which you remove to make his unconscious breathing easier. When you touch the leg of his trousers, your fingers immediately come away bloody. You’d better hurry.

You wipe the blood away onto his coat, then rummage in your bag for your small medical bag, grabbing a couple of bandage rolls from inside; when you walk around with a battle-axe, keeping bandages handy is a must, at least as far as you’ve experienced. You also take out your lighter and set it down, with the small flame doing its best to cast some light over the area.

Working quickly (but not with the greatest of care), you do your best to compress and bind the wound, using up the roll of bandage, and you supplement it by cutting strips away from his coat. You notice the sound of metal shifting as you move his coat while cutting it.

When you’re done you inspect your handiwork. He’s no longer in danger of bleeding out, but he’ll definitely need to see a doctor and get stitches. He’d better hope that he wakes up in time.

You glance at his face; square and red-brown skinned with a softly shaped jaw that sports a medium-length red-brown goatee, he seems relatively young, not quite in his 30’s you’d say. Hmm.

With your first aid done, your next goal is to investigate the source of that metal clinking, so you rifle around through his inner coat pockets. Unsurprisingly, you discover a fair few items; two wallets and a money bag, a small dagger in a sheath, a large handful of loose change with a few notes, and a very fancy gold necklace. Apparently, he’s had a busy night. You decide to confiscate the items and also pick up the two knives. A near-death experience, as well as having his loot and weapons confiscated are twice as likely to make him change his ways!

You stand, glancing around; still lifeless in the area. You’re about to turn off your lighter when you remember your instruction paper. Oh no…

Fingers of panic start to creep over you as you consider the prospect of getting lost again, but it quickly subsides when you spot it with the help of the lighter; it didn’t get lost, and fortunately, it didn’t blow away, though, considering the still, stuffy air, you wonder if anything could blow away in here. It did, however, end up in a gutter a couple of feet away from where you were originally standing.

You gingerly retrieve it, and look back at the thief; from here, he could easily be mistaken for a passed-out drunkard.

Looking back at your slightly wet, slightly gross paper, you remember what you were originally doing before you were rudely interrupted, and once more glance up at the buildings, albeit still on high alert. Holding the lighter high, you scan the sides of the buildings at the junction, and sure enough, you see “Prentor Alley” engraved on a wooden board attached to the side of one. In the dark, it’s near impossible to see, but with the light, you can see the remains of some curled, dried paint on one part. Apparently, it wasn’t always camouflaged.

With a final glance at the thief, you extinguish your flame and hurry down the dark path.

It’s well after 11 pm when you finally trudge back into Slaryn house, and you hardly imagined you’d be so happy to see the place. Back in your room, you dump your stuff down on the chair, wash up in the bathroom, rinsing away the traces of dried blood on your hands, then soon collapse into the bed; clean and relatively soft.

The next morning, you wake more than an hour later than your usual early time, with sunlight peeking past the edges of the curtains, and the clock on the table reading 8:36 am. With no pressing need to get up, and no immediate plans, you remain lying in bed for a while, letting your body rest a bit longer as you continue to enjoy the warmth trapped in the blankets.

You think back to the events of the night before, and wonder what became of the thief. Did he wake? Did he find someone to take care of his injuries? You suddenly remember the items you took from him and decide to take a closer look.

You throw open the curtains and illuminate the room, looking down at the street below. People are already going about their business, moving back and forth on foot, or occasionally by small carriage.

You retrieve the confiscated stolen items from your bag, spreading them out on the bed. Wallets, money bag, amulet, loose money, dagger. You leave the two knives hidden and wrapped up in a bundle of your old clothes on the chair.

Neither the money bag nor wallets contain any identifying information save one, which has a small white card with the name “L Byrd” handwritten in a box on one side, and a series of cryptic numbers and letters on the other, as well as a date from several months ago. Not much to go by. You make a note of how much money is inside each of the wallets and the moneybag, and add to that the total of the loose money; you end up counting just over 250 cogs.

You move on to the amulet; a pretty, delicate thing likely snatched right from a lady’s neck, judging by the broken chain. However, the main part is still intact; a rough-cut, modest-sized, pale pink translucent gemstone, set in a tear-shaped rose gold frame. You’re not sure what the gemstone is, nor whether the frame is real gold or not, but it is quite heavy, and seems pretty well made.

Illegal gains.

The 8-inch dagger is light and thin, with a brilliant silver blade etched with rune-like engravings down the centre. It has a decorative guard, a grip inlaid with 4 small, clear gemstones, 2 on either side, and a disk-shaped pommel with another rune shape engraved on it. You slide the dagger back into its sheath; gold-brown leather with silver metal trimmings.

You stare at the loot, wondering what you should do with it. Maybe you should try turning it in to the local law enforcement. Perhaps they could track down the owners, or those that were robbed might report the items missing.

Somewhere outside, you hear the muffled sound of a clock chiming. 9 am. You decide to think about it a bit later, but for now, you want breakfast. The hotel does provide breakfast for the guests, so you’d better get down there before it gets too late.

You get dressed, opting to wear your loose, comfortable outfit this morning. You remember the night before again, and check yesterday’s clothes; fortunately, there is no sign of a hole in the back of your top, and see no signs of blood, though the dark material may be hiding a dark secret.

You saunter downstairs and head into the small canteen, where a cook idly potters about with plates and trays of food, and two other guests sit eating their breakfast. You spy a small buffet-style table and go over to see what’s on offer. Even before you’ve reached it, the scent of fried meat reaches you, but by the time you get there, you’re already starting to have flashbacks. Delicious smell, horrendous food… You stare at the meat strips, wondering if they too are lying in wait, ready to strike you with disappointment or pure horror.  

“Is this going to be your final meal, or..?”

You snap out of it and turn to see Ameronis standing beside you. It takes a moment for you to fully recognise her though; after all, you only saw her face for a short time. She’s not wearing her mask or travelling robes at all, but instead is also wearing a casual dull-coloured outfit; in this, you can see that she does have a somewhat stocky build and medium-long brown hair that flows around her face. She laughs at whatever your expression was before you came to.

“Did the bread just tell you it killed your whole family? What’s going on?”

You groan and tell her not to ask; you’d much rather forget the stupid antics from last night. This only makes Ameronis even more intrigued.

“Oh? Well, now I have to hear it! What exactly did you get up to?”

You relent and agree to tell her an abridged version that omits certain parts, but later; you don’t want to talk about your actions in a quiet room with strangers within earshot. Ameronis glances around and suggests that you both grab some breakfast and take it back to one of your rooms; you can eat and talk in peace there.

Ah, fine. You turn back to the food on offer, while Ameronis grabs a tray and plate and begins to help herself. Considering your near-starving state yesterday, you decide to get a decent helping of the ‘safe’ foods; some fruit, a couple of slices of toast and a fried egg. You also take a small bowl of porridge oats, which you pray is just regular porridge rather than some cursed Dernan version, and, for the sake of science, a single strip of the fried meat. Finally, you pour yourself a hot cup of tea. You wait for Ameronis and glance at the cook as you stand with your tray, ready to walk out of the canteen. You wonder if she’ll yell at you for leaving the eating area, but when you follow Ameronis out of the room, the cook doesn’t bat an eyelid; either she didn’t notice, or she doesn’t care.

Upstairs, the two of you sit at the small table in your room and start to eat. Wanting to get it out of the way first, you nibble on the meat and immediately regret it; whether it’s the oil that it was fried in or some light coating of seasoning, the taste is appalling. You drop the meat on the tray in disdain (having considered flinging it across the room instead), and wash the taste away with some tea. When Ameronis asks if it was that bad, the floodgates open and you rant about your experiences with the cuisine so far; Ameronis had asked that you tell her about any good places that you found, but you instead vent about the exact opposite.

Ameronis listens to your complaints, amused but sympathetic, and, after apparently developing a death wish, asks if she can sample your rejected meat strip. You warn her not to if she values happiness in life, but allow her to try. She cuts off a little piece and eats it, remaining composed as she does.

“It’s very…um…unique…” she says, diplomatically. She does not ask for another piece.

You give the porridge the stink eye as you prepare to take a small spoonful, but are more delighted than you ought to be when you discover that it is, in fact, just regular porridge, and pretty good at that. You laugh to yourself at the absurdity of the situation in general. A quick taste test of the bread and the egg clear them as acceptable too, so at least there’s that.

As you eat your food, Ameronis enquires about the rest of your evening and your exploration, pointing out that having spent the whole night in her room, she’s eager to go about and explore herself today and happy to hear your report and views so far. You go back to the beginning and recount your trip along the high street, the places you saw and leaflets you gathered, and ending with your inadvertent misadventure in the maze of alleys. Ameronis takes note of the places you mentioned, considering whether she might check them out herself later, but shows mild concern when you talk about wandering around alone in the alleys in the dark.

“Wow. You’re lucky you made it back in one piece. I heard that the crime rate is pretty average here but it’s been increasing lately and there’s a few hotspots that are causing some trouble as well. No idea where those are though, but, y’know…”

You casually mention that you might have wandered through such a spot, and when asked, you give her a condensed version of your encounter with the thief; how he snuck up on you and you subsequently beat him up and confiscated a stolen necklace and wallet from him. Now you’re wondering whether you should turn the items in to the police or if that’s a lost cause.

Ameronis is initially surprised when you mention being attacked, but having fought with you twice already, unsurprised that you managed to beat him so easily, remarking that he’s lucky he’s not dead.

He might be…

As for the police, she seems unsure.

“It’d certainly be a noble thing to do. You may not be able to tell who the owners of those items are, but the police force should have detectives; they’d have to figure it out. If they do find the owners, maybe they might give you a reward? Perhaps they might step up their patrols in that area.

But be careful though; sometimes you go to the authorities, trying to do the right thing, and they, looking for an easy victory, find a way to turn you into the culprit. Depends on how crooked they are. Perhaps the thief goes to the police and says that he was attacked and robbed of his money and necklace. Then later, you show up claiming that you “found” said items and boom; you’re the one in jail, while the items are handed back to the thief with no further questions asked. Then they get to parade you around and congratulate themselves on catching “the bad guy”…”

She shrugs.

“Call me cynical for sure, but I’ve seen too many stupid scenarios like that play out, so I tend to consider the worse. It’s your call though. Do what you think is best.”

You eat in silence as you consider her words and your own thoughts, but haven’t quite made up your mind when she asks you if she can see the leaflets you got. You reach into your bag and hand them to her. She reads each one in turn, then asks if you have any plans for today. You look out of the window as you sip the last of your tea, and tell her that you have no concrete plans, but you will check your map again and look for any interesting spots to explore, though you plan to give the alleyways a wide berth this time.

“A wise choice.”

With breakfast finished, Ameronis stacks the plates and trays and offers to take them back downstairs, bidding you good luck on your upcoming exploration. After she leaves, you sit at the table and pour over your map again, trying to burn into your mind the layout of the immediate area and some local landmarks to keep you oriented. You also try to figure out where you got lost yesterday but have to give up when you discover several sections of paths and buildings, which look like tight, messy weaves on the map, are too tightly knit to include any of the street names. Also, this map only shows a certain radius of the town centre; several of the weave areas are cut off by the edge of the map, suggesting that most of them are quite large. It turns out, your fear of getting lost deeper in wasn’t unfounded…

You struggle to decide whether to leave the map or bring it, but decide to bring it; normally, you prefer not to be seen looking at a map in public, so as to not out yourself as a tourist and make yourself any kind of target, but the alternative is worse.

Clearing your day bag of any unnecessary items (and replenishing your bandages from the dwindling larger supply in your main travel bag), you prepare it for today’s adventure. Before you leave, you hide away the stolen loot and knives under a loose floorboard. Then straightening yourself out in the mirror, you head out to experience Derna in the daytime.

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