Duty Session 97: Convoy Escort Quest I
Escort quests, the bane of any experienced gamer. Assisting people who are unable to defend themselves as they trudge slowly through dangerous environments on a preset path. When implemented well, they're a chore - when implemented poorly, they're a nightmare.
The merchant guilds and the People of the Land will pay handsomely to see this convoy deliver its goods - and its people - to the destination, and your group is needing to head that way anyway for your own reasons, so it's time to hitch up and hit the road. It can't be all that bad of a quest, right? Two days of travel will fly right on by.
(Note: This Duty takes several IC days to complete.)
Rec. Party: 3+
World Rewards: None
This is not normal. None of this is normal. How Arashi got roped into this she STILL can't figure out. Yet here the were fang is, hanging out near a convoy complete with Cho- .. Pecos and landers, ready to get a move on to wherever their goal is. They wouldn't say! Just that they had a long way to go. Whatever.
"So as long as they know where we're going, I guess. We'll just play security." This is the kinda thing he specializes in, after all.
The dire-shire doesn't look too interested. "I'm here because..." hrm. "Someone asked. That's the only reason," she mutters, clearly not wanting to share details for some reason. In truth? Her -patron- showed up out of no where and pointed her toward the convoy, and that was it. Arashi wasn't going to say no.
The smith is right. Security is what she plans on doing and ---- what? Who is this blubbering idiot running up calling their credentials into question? "Are you kidding me right now..?" she mutters. She just walks up to the man, glares, and walks by, not even bothering to acknowledge his protests with words. She's just ready to go, so she gives a nudge to one of the Peco. "We're going. Get over it." She doesn't care about what the merchant wants.
But there is always that one person that thinks they know better than everyone else and tries to give lip on what's right or wrong and how they should go.
And there's a *ssshsh* as an arrow passes *milimeters* above the complainer's head, imbeds in a nearby tree, and sends arcs of electricity zapping to the sides into two other trees.
"You know how hard it is to shoot past a 'friendly' to hit a target?" Shiruba remarks, tapping her bow against the side of the kart. "You also made her mad. Probably don't want to slow down a departure any longer."
He transforms while walking with the guy, using his increased strength to clamp down on his shoulder, "So you see, the thing is, she's the nice one. If I wanted to I could throw you through that window over there." He points with his free hand at one of the nearby buildings, about a hundred yards away, "But I won't do that, because I always follow through on my contracts. So please, go back to your cart. Sit down, shut the FUCK up, and let us do our thing, okay?"
He slaps the guy hard on the back, and then turns around and walks back towards the other two, shaking his head in disbelief.
High ground? Ranged? Monsters? Normally at least ONE of these Arashi could deal with, but as the arrows come raining down, Arashi has to take cover by the caravan, unable to do much. She does -not- like this. Not one bit. If there is one thing this solo player cannot stand, it is the feeling of not being able to contribute. That is happening right now. In spades. "The hell is this freaking quest..?"
If there's one thing he knows first hand, it's how to deal with a convoy when you take ranged fire from a disadvantaged position. Keep moving and don't stop!
Someone who has at least a bit of magic familiarity might notice the sparks of brown and grey energy crackling across the shaft and small runes glimmering. And then she fires. SHOOM! .... Into the side of the hill instead of the monsters. Did she miss?
"Wait for it." Shiruba does draw another arrow at the ready. "Wait for it..."
Abruptly the monster archers are sent scattering in various directions as the -very hill beneath their feet- bursts up and chunks of rock jag their way out of it. Several monsters poof in sparkles. "And -that- is why being a Spell Fletcher is cooler than some normal archers." A few more manage to survive and scatter, though Shiruba fires again, this time with a normal arrows to pick several of them off.
Down the trail they go, when are they going to stop? ... Seems the pecos know. This was a ... long quest, it turned out. A lot of walking, but at least food is served. ... mushy.. tasteless food. .."Thanks.." is a unimpressed bit of gratitude given the chuckwagon lander, the mare tugging out a sliver of something from her inventory to nom on instead. She grabbed... something from someone back in Alne. It's just hard to tell what.
And then it turns out they don't have enough supplies. The merchant from earlier blubbers on about costs and budgets and on and on but all Arashi does is stand, find -his- wagon, climbs into the back, returns with a spare wheel, and tosses it to one of the landers. After prying it apart with some assistance from the hilt of one of her swords. WOOD WORKING. HUZZAH.
He uses his knife to sharpen some sticks into makeshift barricades to put around the camp, and then stands duty for a good chunk of the night before finally getting some sleep. The next morning, they'll set off again.
Until the caravan stops for the night. Shiruba hops down from the wagon, and is about to go off to hunt down something to eat when one of the Landers complains about the spokes of his wheel being broken. Shiruba walks over, crouchs down to inspect the wheel, and stands back up.
"Here." She pulls a couple of the normal arrows from her quiver and hands them to the Lander. "Those should be about the same length as the spokes, just bundle a few together for the thickness." She's just working with what she's got.
The night goes by without a hitch. Literally. How else do you think they found enough wood to figure everything out! The morning comes just the same and everything is put back. Arashi -actually- puts the wheel back, hitches are reconnected, pecos are watered, and off everyone goes. A nice uneventful morning is had. It makes up for the night before.
That's when Thurman and Harden show up. Yammering about things to one another with a small troupe following along with them.
Thurman is heard first, "Oh yeh, I got a gold jacket from muggin a fella."
Harden replies, "Oh I love muggin' people. It's the best. You lot better remember it. Muggin is life!" he hollers behind to the group. Was that a groan from someone? It's when he looks back that he and Thurman both spot the caravan and all it's people. "Oi oi oi. What've we got here? A bunch o'weary travellers tryin to cross the wilds?"
Thurman is all smiles, "There's a toll for comin' down our road! You gotta pay us all yer stuff! Everything in them wagons, the pecos too! We want everything ya got!" he actually laughs afterward.
Harden pauses, looking at the adventurers before pulling Thurman to the side.
Harden: "Ey, now, wait a minute. I've seen some a those folk. They were out in the dunes! They took on a whole legion o' flesh eating beetles!"
Thurman: "Oooh, yeah? Betcha they got good loot. LET'S MUGGEM!"
Harden: "No no, wait, that one there, the were-horse? I heard she rode a huge sandworm and cut out its spine!"
Thurman: "Oh whoa! That's awesome! LETS MUGGEM!"
Harden: "I.. Wait. That other one. Just yesterday she made a whole hill explode to take out some monsters!"
Thurman: "Wow. Bet they have an amazing bow! LETS MUGGEM!!!"
Harden: "... Thurman I--"
Thurman: "HEY! Harden. What are we?"
Harden: "... We're .. Da.. mmnnngh. Nope. Not sayin it."
Thurman: "What. Are. We?"
Harden: "..........w ... we're muggers."
Thurman: "And what to muggers do?"
Harden: "We ... WE MUG PEOPLE!"
Both: "SO. LETS. MUUUUG'EEEEEM!"
And that's when the pair, and the whole troupe, charge.
The wolfgirl is on high alert as the convoy starts into the forest. She's played enough RPGs in her time to realize that this, moreso than those hills a few days ago, is perfect for some skullduggery. Sure enough, she isn't disappointed... but these bandits sure are mouthy for NPCS.
A brow raises when one even specifically points out her and her bow... Wait, is that programmed behavoir to mention things that happened earlier in the chain of events, or something more?
We probably will never know for sure.
As is Shiruba stands up from her 'shotgun' seat on the cart. "You like my bow? You want it?" She draws back the string. There's no arrows notched in it, as this time she forms the very arrow from flames.
"Come get it."
She lets the blazing arrow fly just as the bandits are going into their rush. It hits the foremost square in the chest.
And EXPLODES from the Fireball spell that was channeled into making it, flames jetting out in multiple directions to scorch the thugs on all sides!
Shiruba goes first, because they did specifically point out her bow. Plus, well, he wouldn't want to be in the way when that explosion goes off.
Blade drawn, Kaydon moves a moment after the arrow is launched. The smoke hasn't even cleared yet when the were fang launches himself through it, slashing down several of the bandits with rapid strikes.
Practiced movements from years of playing games like this, mixed with real life training in tactical movement and conservation of momentum. He doesn't even think about it when he goes in.
Meanwhile, Arashi is seeing red, thirsting for blood. The monologue just gives the dire-shire a chance to get both her weapons out, to set her stance, to get ready for a bloodbath. ... Then Shiruba fires an EXPLOSIVE arrow and Kaydon follows through with his weapons, mowing down, well, everyone. Arashi didn't even get a hit in! She can't even LOOT THEM.
"....." If you put a table in front of this were fang, it would be flipped. INTO THE SUN.
Thurman: "Mph.. Bad idea.."
Harden: "Told ya they're dangerous."
Thurman: "We'll get'm.. next time... wait'n see.."
Shiruba's ears wilt back slightly. "Did -no one- start with the Doctor profession?" Then slaps a palm to her face. "Good grief, I think the developers liked playing that trail survival game on hard mode too much."
She hops down to help forage for stuff, but that is not the kind of hunting that she is at all skilled in.
NIGHT TWO. This ... has been a long day. Angry horse is slowly becoming Bad Horse. They need a vent. The fact that a few of the landers on the convoy aren't doing well is even more strain. No healer, no alchemist, no nothing. All she can really do is slip toward a nearby river and come back with water for those that need it. "Worst. Quest. Ever."
A river. The same river Arashi went to get water from the night before. And here comes the merchant, panicing about getting the wagons across the river. Though the -slow- turn that Arashi makes toward him, fire in her eyes from pent up frustration, shuts him down in a moment. If looks could kill he'd be toast. Not to be denied her reward, the were-fang takes hold of a wagon hitch with no pecos. Pulls, and swims across the river, wagon in hand. On the other shore she pulls it onto shore and promptly sits down on the bank. That took a lot of effort but, well, she still needs to work out some frustration. "Can I have my reward now..?"
He's doing the best he can to ensure that the group all makes it, no matter how frustrating and, in some cases, annoying some of the landers can be. They have a job to do, and his reputation as a mercenary depends on it.
Or well she thought as much. She tries shooting a few arrows into the river to make a stone bridge... but only gets a few spread out stones to rise. ".. Huh, must be mostly silt on the bottom or something." She shrugs. She can hop across the stones, but they're too hide spread for anyone Landers to jump across unfortunately, so she'll just go stand guard on the other end in case there's more idiot bandits or such.
Thus, the day is saved! Thanks to .. those adventurers over there. Huzzah! The merchant, who had been so obnoxious the entire way, finally shuffles out to the trio with money for each of them. A LOT OF MONEY. Arashi's is set down close to her, two decent sized bags of coins, with the others getting similar. Once distributed, the merchant wanders a little closer to Arashi, whispering "Look inside them," before quickly shuffling off to avoid any potential wrath from the mare.
Frustrated, but curious, she does in fact take count of her new found wealth. Coins, coins, more coins, and a ring? She takes it out, peers at it for a long while, then her expression changes as she reads two things. A name, and a nation.
Hayashi Unmeiha - Ezzo Empre
She stops when the equine curses, and leans a little closer to look. "How did a ring from the Ezzo Empire get into one of your loot bags?"
"Someone I know insisted I go on this quest... I don't know much more beyond that," the mare admits as she continues to glance over the ring for other details. Other than the inscription on the inside there's nothing else to be seen on the simple gold ring. It's not even enchanted. It IS a quest item, though. One that ends up in her inventory along with the gold.
Go home? "The way you came, probably. Though staying in this local town the night may not be a bad idea." Pause. Long pause. Horse think. ".....Want to split a room?" Gasp.
Her ears tilt upright, and the wolfgirl whirls around to give Arashi a thankfully brief hug. "That's a great idea!" Then she lets go and bounds off into town.
Hugged? Ok. This is fine. The gratitude is appreciated. Kaydon paying? "Split," she states again as she gets up and slowly starts to follow after Shiruba. Still kinda wet. "Shiruba, get extra towels!" If you can. This isn't a hotel, something the Were fang's player is forgetting."