The Bandit on the Road
Scene Setup: An elf named Galdire seeks a company of adventurers to discover the fate of an order of scholars and mages lost in the Fang Hills.
Chaos Factor: 4, (Chaos roll: 5, no alteration)
Describe Galdire: Established (96) Outlaw (34), Motivation: Advise (1) Compassion (78)
Does Kaylessa notice Galdire? Notice (11) vs. Stealth (6). Yes, she notices with a raise and gets the drop on him.
Kaylessa had seen this one before. He was an outlaw. He preyed on those running away from the Wigoma Orcs. He preyed on those who became Diseased. He preyed on those less powerful. But not this time. She would bring him to justice.
“Don’t move if you value your life,” Kaylessa called out from her perch in a nearby tree.
To his credit, Galdire did not look surprised. In fact, his haggard face, covered with prideful piercings, only slowly turned towards her voice as he raised in his hands in a gesture of surrender. “It has no value anyway, but I’ll not move,” he replied.
Kaylessa whistled sharply and hopped down from her perch while Taji, her spirit leopard, pushed his way through the trees and growled at Galdire. Ollea, her spirit hawk, gave a shriek and landed on the branch that Kaylessa had just vacated. With bow still drawn on Galdire, she approached him. “You’re coming with me to the nearest enclave we can find,” she said.
“That would not be advisable,” he said. “However, believe it or not, I’m glad to have come across you. You’re just who is needed now.”
Kaylessa arched her eyebrow up in amused disbelief but decided to humor him. “Alright, I’ll bite. Why do you need me?” she asked moving closer to him.
“Don’t get near me!” he called out taking a hurried step backwards. “I am Diseased!”
Instantly, Kaylessa froze. “Then you are dead already,” she said and drew her arrow tight on its string.
“Wait!” he replied. “I may yet be able to pay for my wrongs. Hear me out.” Kaylessa nodded for him to continue. “It’s true I was a no-good vagabond, and my luck finally ran out. The thrice-cursed Wigoma Orcs had moved further south sending refugees flying, and I saw it as an opportunity to cut purses of fresh refugees. Unfortunately, the last purse I cut was from a recently Diseased elf named Ellisar. He didn’t even know he had caught it yet, and I saw it too late as well.”
“I knocked him on his arse and kept him at sword point while I rifled his purse. He kept begging me to let him pass unmolested. Said he was on a critical mission, that he had to get back to the Fang Hills where a good of scholars, mages, and other high felutin’ brain trusts were holed up studying the Disease. Seeing at least some rations and a few chits of turquoise, I laughed and left him. It wasn’t until I made camp that night that I noticed there was something else in the pack: a sample of some kind of skin.”
Kaylessa cringed at that image. “Orc skin? Not the skin of an elf, surely?” she asked.
“I don’t know for sure. But as near as I can tell, those uppity-ups at Fang Hills need this. And why else would they need except for a cure? I know this is saving my own skin, but it may also save countless of our brothers and sisters. What if this is the key?”
“If I take from you, there’s every chance that I’ll become Diseased as well. I can’t take it for you, and you’re not long for this world. While I feel a certain amount of justice has been served here, I still don’t wish that fate on anyone, even a criminal like you.”
“Then you must take this!” he replied. “What if they can find a cure and save me? What if they find a cure and save all of us?”
Kaylessa paused to think, considering her options, none of which were good. She looked him over, deciding if he was telling the truth or not. Notice (8) vs. Deception (4). Success.
“What if this is my last chance to make amends?” Galdire asked quietly, interrupting her thoughts.
That sealed the deal for Kaylessa. She couldn’t say no to someone in need, even if he was a no-good criminal. She unnotched her arrow and put it back in the quiver.
“Alright, which way to Fang Hills?”