H.E.R.O.'s Episode 2

Princess Pain-in-the-Buffalo

The party was on the outskirts of the Briar Patch when Fotira and Ashmorian finally caught up to them. Nene wanted to be in the Briar Patch when they caught her spies so as to risk fewer eyes seeing her secrets and so the party pressed on deeper into the swamps. Finally she looked around and called out loudly, "Ah-ha, White Faced Jokers. That’s just the sort of rare plant I came here to find. We’ll stop here so that I can take notes and gather them. You lot fan out and see if you can find some more. Understanding her to mean look for her spies they fanned out. All but Ashmorian who positioned him close to her to make sure she stayed safe. She looked at him and loudly said, “I don’t need some lumbering brute standing over me and possibly crushing rare specimens.” and far more quietly, “But I do need you far enough away that those following me feel safe enough in getting close to me.” Ashmorian didn’t like it, but he could see the sense of her words and so he looked around for a good vantage point and stated, “Since you don’t want me near you I’ll be over here.” and moved off to a bit off rock. As a vantage point it wasn’t much, but, it was higher, and definitely drier than the rest of the area around them.
Isdar looked for the White-Faced-Jokeras he moved out, it was a rare plant after all. He idn’t spot any, but, was very excited to see a Five-Starred White Eclipse, now this was truly a find! He looked around for Nene, but she was to far away, so, making a mental note to tell her when the party re-grouped he got down to the business at hand and began blending into the brush so he could locate her followers. Skar-ten hated hunting in these conditions, but forced his mind to the task at hand. Moving as silently as he could he finally spotted his prize,one of the spies! With a great leap he landed on top of her and laying a paw across her mouth he quickly whispered ”Shhh, Shhh, don’t scream! I want to talk to you.” Not believing him she began to struggle. More urgently Skar-ten told her, “Stop that! Don’t scream. I just want to talk to you. Look, I’m going to let go. I just want to talk!” As soon as he let go she fled,transforming into a giant snake as she did so. Skar-ten tried to chase after her, but from nowhere an arrow thudded into the ground next to him, he cursed and dove for cover, but the next shot was far luckier and nicked him in the foot. He cursed, and looked for Ashmorian. He’d need to get this treated quickly before an infection could set in. He spotted him easily, now to get to him without taking an arrow to the knee. Skar-ten began the slow process of hiding in the brush to escape an unseen enemy. He finally got to Ashmorian and told him, “Fix this before it gets infected.” Ashmorian took one look at it and asked suspiciously, “What did you do?” Skar-ten answered, “Never mind that now. Just fix it.” and looked around for Nene. Not spotting her he lowered his voice and said, “Look, never mind that now. I just need you to fix it.” and that’s when it thunked into him, he could feel the herbs working their way into his system and in moments the pain began to ease. Fotira no doubt exercising her own brand of medicine. No bedside manner that one, but, at least her potions always worked. Ashmorian was still looking at him expectantly, “I’m notfixing anything until you tell me what your up to.” He knew Skar-ten well and that much hedging boded ill. Skar-ten answered him, “Never mind anyway. Fotira’s got it.”
Isdar in the meantime had spotted his target. Hiding in the brush to his left less than 10meters outhe was intent on watching the camp. He smiled to himself, “This should be easy.” he thought. And moving forward he mis-judged a bit of brush and slipped. The noise alerted the watcher and in a flash they were gone. Cursing to himself Isdar decided to return to camp. With the spies alerted there was no more hope of catching them soon. When he got there he found the others already there. And Ashmorian was looking decidedly disgruntled at Skar-ten. “Figures.” Isdar thought to himself. Skar-ten seeing Isdar, and looking around and not seeing Nene decided to confess to his activities. When he’d finished the others didn’t have much to say. They were starting to really dis-like their employer. But, they had a reputation to maintain, so they’d do the job, they just wouldn’t be stupid about it. Speaking of their employer, where was she? The looked around and none of them could spot her. And then they started hunting her in earnest. You’d think a robe of that rich purple hue wouldn’t be hard to spot. And when they finally found her, they knew why they hadn’t spotted it. Nene was nearly submerged in the swamp. A gash on her right temple and her pale color told the story clearly enough. Beside her lay a Five-Starred White Eclipse, no doubt she’d forgotten to look after her own safety in the excitement of such a find Isdar thought to himself. But, that wasn’t what was important right now. “Search her for the map.” he said, “While she’s unconscious.” They searched her thoroughly, no map. “Well this journey’s done. Might as well bring her around now.” Ashmorian knelt and prayed a simple prayer of healing. Slowly her color began to return. When she came to she moaned and put her hand to her head. “What happened?” she asked. “You got to far away from your protection Ashmorian answered disapprovingly, “Maybe next time you’ll listen and stay close. Not that it matters now. They’ve got the map.” Far to woozy to wonder how they knew that, she just answered weakly, “Im-imposs-ible.” and holding out her right hand she flicked, twisted and then splayed her palm while barely breathing the spell and the map appeared. “Nice trick.” Skar-ten thought to himself. “I wonder if I flicked, twisted and splayed her hand while she was unconscious if it would have the same effect.” Isdar thought to himself with a wry smile.
They found an encampment of the people they were after, almost deserted they were able to approach it. Isdar wanted to speak to them, warn them that they knew they were there and after them. He, Skarten and Fotira approached after disabling the wards warning of their approach. A woman answered, and looking at them narrowly told them to leave. Isdar said, "We’ll be happy to leave you in peace. We’re explorers. As long as you leave us in peace and do us no harm. We’ll leave you in peace and do you no harm. The woman’s manner changed then, and she smiled at them. “I’m sure we can discuss this. Why don’t you come in, stay and have tea with me. Surely intelligent rational beings can come to such a mutually beneficial accord. All of you can come in, call the others. They’re perfectly welcome.” It was a snake’s smile, all predator looking at prey. Isdar was satisfied. He’d warned them, now time would tell who was the smarter hunter.
When they returned to where Nen and Azijdian waited for them Nen asked. “Well, are they dealt with?” Isdar answered her. "We warned them off. " Nen was angry, “You were supposed to make sure they couldn’t follow us any further.” “If I’d wanted incompetence I’d have hired another group at a much lower price.”
Skarten looked at Isdar and just said, “You made the deal for the job. You deal with her.”
Isdar looked at Nen, “The deal was that we would make sure they couldn’t follow us, and we will.” But not here where they have the advantage. Let’s go."
Unable to do anything else for now. They left, after all, they still needed to find a safe, or at least as safe as possible resting place for the night. Isdar and Ashmorian knew Nen was clearly still suffering from the blow to her head even if she was trying to brazen it out. She needed the rest, and they needed the break.



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