Somewhere in the background an orchestra is playing a tune which could be taken for the fourth movement of Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique. Mist swirls through ancient ruins of what was once a magnificent castle. There is a remote clatter of hooves on the cobbles of he worn road, and eddies in the mist resolve themselves into a shape.
He could probably ward one lair, but he has multiple lairs.
The ladies wander the tea-plantation, occasionally pausing to stop and inspect particular bushes and the leaves being grown.
A hard-bitten triton responsible for investigating all crimes and suspicious deaths in this part of the city arrives to take stock of the situation at one of the city's boarding houses.
'The Dragon' receives the star from the officials and then, to the surprise of almost everyone in the arena, tosses it casually into the spectators, as if to say that he fought solely for the glory of the contest, and not for any other prize. He bows to all parts of the crowd, raises his sword one last time in salute, then turns and disappears from view.
At last a fanfare announces the final fight of the day, and six fighters enter the arena, three of them flying.
After the final bout of the first round, the arena is cleared, then the semifinals get underway.
Many of the Gugs fall, and dissolve in a noisome mess of goo. The puddings kill most, but some pass through the boiling water wall once it has been chilled enough. The rusty chains stop trying to slice the puddings and form an inpenetrable web by the cave entrance.
The puddings are too busy with all the fallen gugs to bother about the cave or any attempts to bar them from it of the moment.
The officials decide to disqualify those still standing at the end of Little Kiba's bout (and the gnomes with the hand-crossbows who 'won' another one, plus a lich who won another simply because nobody else had weapons which could harm him) and reorganise the semifinals structure, to two contests, with three survivors from each semifinal to go through to the final.The use of more than two smoke-bombs in a bout by any contestant is retroactively BANNED.
The black pudding creatures start to eat their way through the gugs from the rear. Given that the gugs are quite large, there is enough eating on two downed gugs to keep practically all the puddings busy, eating, for some minutes.
Little Kiba wrote:
"Thanks for the antidote Knife. Hope we aren't DQ'ed because that fool decided to use smoke-baombs. No offense but thats worse than using poison. Want to get him if we're DQ'ed later?"
Seeing him out's sufficient for me. Make sure that if I can't win, that he's not in a position to do so either were my patron's instructions, and I prefer not to fight if I'm not being paid to do so.Is Little Kiba interested in protesting a decision if there's a formal disqualification of the remaining three (Little Kiba, the Warlord, and the man in grey), or in trying to get back into the fighting somehow?
If not, I'll skip through to the end result if nobody minds, so the aliases at the arena can get on with other things.
A hungry pack of the black pudding things which have in recent years been sighted in some parts of the Realms of Dreams arrive and tear into the rear of the gugs, teaming up to pull them down and dissolve them into a soup which they can devour. Occasionally one adopts an almost humanoid form, and blows flames at the gugs, before collapsing back down into the shape of a pudding.
Oh, sorry if the poison's still stinging. Here. Have an antidote.
An order is given to clear the Arena for the interval before the next fight, and the half-fiend warlord snarls, snaps his bow, tosses it away, and with a glare at the man in grey and Little Kiba stomps out. The giant is being dragged out by a team of grumbling centaurs, and several [called] air-elementals are being sent in to do what they can about lingering patches of smoke.
The warlord emerges from one of the clouds of smoke, looking somewhat concerned. The man with knives emerges from another, looking much more pleased with himself.
As far as spectators go, they've been watching the man in grey and the half fiend warlord deploy smoke-bombs and nip from area of cover to area of cover, the man with the knives occasionally taking shots at the giant, and the warlord concentrating his fire on the man with knives (and once snapping off a shot in the direction of where he suspected Little Kiba to be).
Little Kiba can't smell much apart from the engulfing smoke.
Sorry about the delay. Shared computer, and someone else urgently needed it.
To all intents and purposes this fight was supposed to be over in the background, but I rolled on Invisible Castle, and the kind of bad luck hit the warlord equivalent to throwing upwards of a dozen dice in a combat check at a moonbeast in the Arkham Horror and still not being able to take the wretched thing out.... : 1d20=1
As the giant is bending down, it makes it somewhat easier for Little Kiba to reach his target, although driving through the blinding, stinging spray of sand makes it difficult to see where he is landing, and he comes down in the wrong spot on the arm for the precise crippling stroke intended. The giant's face is a short way away, however....
Little Kiba wrote:
Lk shakes his head once from atop his boulder perch. "I didn't enter this tourny to prove myself. I entered because that star-gem belongs to somebody I know. I'll do watever I can to help get it for her." Lk leaps at the man feet first, hoping to throw him off balance, and rolls when he makes contact with the ground, coming to a stop in a defensive stance. He faces the man, ready to strike when he does. "And if you were any good at fighting, you wouldn't need poison to help finish off your opponents!"
The man laughs, but doesn't let up his defense.Yeah, kid. I was young and idealistic like you once. And for that reason I'm going to let you off lightly. As a lycanthrope I reckon you'll mend a broken backbone fairly fast once you're out of here.
Believe me, one day, if you live that long enough, you'll take the pragmatic approach to fighting too, and it won't mean that you're any less good at what you do. Poison for me, a pack of slavering infected lycanthrope followers for you, I bet. Whatever it takes to get a job done most efficiently.
The next boulder coming in comes in with speed and accuracy and requires Little Kiba and the man to take considerable evasive action to avoid it.
They dive in different directions to get clear, giving the man time to get back on his feet afterwards and resume his defensive stance, before Little Kiba can close the distance.
You know old dumb-as-rocks over there is finally finding his range I reckon. Last chance to surrender and walk out of this with your pride intact, kid.
Little Kiba wrote:
Sorry about the delay. Shared computer household.The kobold is out of it, and whether dead or just unconcious, a pair of arena orderlies scuttle briefly across the floor to remove the body.
The man with the throwing knives isn't letting his concentration waver one little bit, but has a few words.
So, let's get this straight, you came in here with little or no tactical plan, right?
You thought 'I know, I'll go toe-to-toe with some of the most famous and meanest fighters-and-warriors for hire in the multiverse, four or five at a time, and somehow come out on top.'
The man in grey side-steps Little Kiba's leap, and has a chance to slash at Little Kiba's flank, but instead maneuvers for a better position with regard to putting distance between himself and Little Kiba and using him as best he can to block line of sight from the giant and the half-fiend.
The kobold's hearing is actually quite good, but the footing on the sandy arena floor none too good and it goes sprawling before the boulder. It's difficult for Little Kiba to ascertain if the boulder got a direct hit on the kobold or not as the burning pain of silver and of poison entering his veins hits him as the man with the knives throws two and and in moments has a couple more knives, silver gleaming and the edges covered with something green, readied whilst he takes advantage of Little Kiba's distraction to attack from range.
The Dalesman wrote:
Agreed, weirdness. I've tweaked the first line slightly having used frenzy twice in it, (poor writing technique) but still haven't seen it come up on this thread.
Under directions from the marshals, the gladiators are sent to points equally spaced out around the Arena. The half-fiend readies his glaive, the kobold hefts his axe, the man with knives puts his hands on the hilts of a couple, and the hill giant weighs a small boulder.
The trumpets blare and the next group of fighters start to make their way into the arena. Little Kiba is at the front of this group, separate from the others. Next out are a Hill Giant in crude armour and a sack of throwing rocks, with a winged half-fiend in specially tailored plate armour walking along by his side, apparently trying to persuade the huge oaf of something. Behind them comes a fierce looking kobold in hide armour, and with a dwarven waraxe a size too big for him. Bringing up the rear comes a man dressed in grey with a lot of knives sheathed in various bandoliers about his person.
Mr. Knives could be a problem if he uses poison, the kobold is small but if he is a high lv Barb he could be a problem. The half-fiend can fly, which is a problem if he uses ranged weapons. The hill giant shouldn't be much of an issue, keen of wit and fast he/she isn't, if Lk can keep dodging it. So Lk will keep an eye on the half-fiend and the knifer.
The man in grey keeps his knives in their bandoliers and sheaths during the preparation time for the fight - apparently he's confident that he has them readied to his satisfaction already. The half fiend wears masterwork plate armour, fashioned to accomodae his wings, and has a spiked chain, glaive, and composite longbow as far as weapons go that Little Kiba can see.Any discussions before the bout that Little Kiba wants to try and engage in with other fighters?
In between the fights, there are a variety of entertainments. The group currently 'playing' in the Arena, whilst the sand is swept, and bits of broken armour and weapons disposed of by rust-monster handlers, are a group of acrobats wth musical accompaniment from two dwarves playing a series of war-gongs and musically tuned anvils.
Roll up, roll up. Last chance to sign up for the day.
The gladiatoral contest meanwhile is getting underway. The first bout see a half ogre, a team of two elves, a gnoll, an orc, and a human in the armour of a knight all squaring up against one another. The half ogre-goes down first, and is dragged out, unconcious, and then the other three realise they have a problem dealing with a team of two, and combine to take the two elves out, before splitting up to sort out between them who will advance to the next round.
Cardden pulls himself out of the smoking remains of his laboratory, thankful to be alive. His residence is partially demolished, his servants scattered.
Humming, Cardden the necromancer turns the handle on a little winch, raising the star out of the laboratory bath of pure liquid evil that he had immersed it in. He inspects it through a hand lens, taps the star with a little hammer, and sighs. His plan to turn it into a seed crystal didn't appear to be working.
Little Kiba wrote:
The man in question is a large, burly, grim-faced man, dressed in studded leather armour, with a short-sword at his belt and accompanied by a couple of men in robes covered with arcane sigils.You want it, sign up for the contest like everyone else, he growls.
A series of bouts in an arena cloaked with antimagic, so it's a trial of pure speed, brute strength, and skill at arms, and not who has the fanciest items or most wonderful spell-casting friend.
Last man or woman standing gets the prize.
One of the trio haggles with the merchant whilst the other two survey the scene, presumably on the lookout for pickpockets or other trouble. Eventually payment seems to be agreed, one of the ones comes off lookout and produces a collapsible hoop of some sort and proceeds to drop it over the head of each of four of the halflings in turn, each of the halflings in question vanishing as the hoop passes over them to clatter to the floor.