Sir Galwaith had sent his squire, Jim, back to town as they approached the crumbling citadel looming out of the tangled forest.
“I don’t think I can do this without some help, lad. Head to to town as quickly as you can, and gather as many able men as are willing to aid us. I’ll scout the citadel and wait for you up ahead,” Sir Galwaith had said. Jim returned to the clearing where he’d left his master, a motley enough crew trailing behind him. The friendly blacksmith, Henry, the stable boy, Montez, a wild-haired, wild-eyed halfling clutching a straw doll, and a filthy looking man who followed silently after them when Jim had run into the center of the village hollering for help.
Jim’s heart sinks. The corpse of Sir Galwaith’s noble steed lays in the grass with the broken haft of a spear rising solemnly from his chest. Around the fallen horse, a pack of wild dogs circles, and they sneer and snarl at Jim and the volunteers as they stumble into the clearing.
“Ready yourselves!” Jim calls to his companions.
(Initiatives: Hermann (cutpurse) 20, Grozzli 17, Dogs 12, Montez 12, Henry 7, Jim 6)
Already trailing behind the others, Hermann, filthy and ragged looking, clutches his dagger and eyes the dogs as warily as he watches the others. Grozzli looses a stone from his sling with a high pitched cry (11/15 w/2), while Henry lamely raises his hammer to ward off his canine attacker and has his good natured throat ripped out. Grozzli ducks under his attacker’s lunge with a snarl of his own (5/11 w/+2). Montez, seeing the blacksmith gurgling his own blood swings wildly at Henry’s killer (7/15). With a cry, Jim lunges at the wild dog before him, looks like he might miss, but with a twist of fate and his wrist, Jim tears at the dog’s coat with his blade (burn three luck to hit for 1 point of damage). The dog yelps in pain and regroups.
Hermann darts up to stab at Jim’s attacker (19/15 for 2 more damage, 3 total). Grozzli roars with crazy laughter and tries to tackle the dog growling at him, but the feral beast evades Grozzli’s quick hands, then darts back in, grips the small man by the inside of the thigh and shakes the life from him. Grozzli’s neck breaks with a sickening snap (4dmg/1hp). Jim’s attacker, pricked by his longsword and Hermann’s dagger, darts at Jim’s face clumsily (5/10), and Jim has to hurriedly adjust his steel helmet. The dog attacking Montez trips over Henry’s corpse (fumble, -4 next round), and Montez brings his club down on the back of Henry’s killer (17/15), hammering the beast into the dust with a yelp before it springs away (3dmg/6hp). Jim swings mightily, hoping against hope that his luck will hold and strikes the dog a savage killing blow (15/15 w/-3), slashing the wild dog’s head clean apart with a mighty blow (8 dmg/3 hp).
Hermann gives a savage grin and moves quickly to the stable boy’s aid, his strike going wide as the beast twists warily about the two (5/15). Grozzli’s killer tosses away the little corpse and lunges for Jim, recovering from the shock of blood spraying into his face (18/10). Jim dies with a surprised cry torn from his throat along with everything else (2 dmg/2 hp). Grozzli’s killer turns and snaps at Hermann (17/11), and drops the filthy man with a tearing bite to the inside of his thigh. Blood surges out in a spray (5 dmg/5 hp). Montez swings clumsily (5/15), dismayed by the sudden death of his companions, and the snarling beasts he faces alone now.
The dogs circle the stable boy, gripping his club tightly, fear rolling off of him in waves. Both dogs attack, and the boy screeches and throws himself out of their way (4/11, 6/11). Montez spins, eyes squeezed tightly shut and swings his club with all of his might (15/15). The club smashes the head of the dog who killed both Henry and Hermann to pulp (4 dmg/3 hp).
The remaining dog flees into the woods, and Montez slumps to the ground among the bodies.