The Green Eye of the Little Yellow God, episode 5

Pinky hunts a tiger; Pren­tiss near­ly bags a her­mit.

Played

11th August 2011.

Dramatis Personae

  • Lady Anto­nia deVorea Heav­i­ly-armed Aris­to­crat.
  • Cap­tain Ben­son Cur­ruthersa Mil­i­tary Police­man.
  • Miss April Sharpea Self-taught Inven­tor.
  • Jack Pren­tiss – a Dodgy Pedes­tri­an.
  • Pinkya Low Youth.
  • Agent Andrews – a Stal­wart Agent of the Min­istry.
  • Jemadar Khan of the Ben­gal Lancers.
  • 3 Men of the Ben­gal Lancers.
  • A Doomed Ban­dit Chief­tain.
  • A Wise Old Man.
  • A Tiger Demon.

Plot

The remain­der of the bat­tle was over quick­ly, with the major­i­ty of the ban­dits out of action and the remain­der flee­ing. Anto­nia attempt­ed to save the leader, but he was bad­ly injured and her min­is­tra­tions only made him worse. He expired in short order.

After chas­ing hors­es for a few min­utes, the group decid­ed to press on, fol­low­ing the trail of the ban­dits’ hors­es. Pren­tiss grabbed the ban­dit leader’s over­sized tul­war, think­ing it might be a slight­ly more prac­ti­cal weapon than his trade­mark giant span­ner. As the sun began to low­er behind them, they entered a clear­ing con­tain­ing the burnt-out remains of a vil­lage. They exam­ined the ruins and it became obvi­ous that the entire pop­u­la­tion had been slaugh­tered and the vil­lage torched months before. Cur­ruthers became con­vinced that they were being watched but was unable to pin the feel­ing down.

They left the vil­lage feel­ing some­what dispir­it­ed and pressed on up the steep-sided val­ley. About a quar­ter-mile lat­er, Pren­tiss near­ly rode his horse over an ancient fig­ure stand­ing in the mid­dle of the road. Cur­ruthers ven­tured for­ward and attempt­ed to con­verse with the old man, but he obvi­ous­ly didn’t speak any of the lan­guages the for­mer police­man knew. Even­tu­al­ly, it took using Khan as an inter­preter to talk to him. Speak­ing lit­tle in response to ques­tions, the old man indi­cat­ed that he was a her­mit and had seen the vil­lage pop­u­la­tion slaugh­tered by the ban­dits in ret­ri­bu­tion for not hand­ing over their food crops. He also con­firmed that the ban­dits resided in a lush val­ley not much fur­ther up the canyon and drew a map in the dust show­ing its loca­tion, along with the pres­ence of a small lake and an ancient tem­ple. He referred to the val­ley as the Val­ley of Heav­en­ly Peace or, pos­si­bly, of Serene Holi­ness – the trans­la­tion wasn’t clear. Thank­ing the old man and offer­ing him some food, the team moved on up the val­ley.

It was near dark by the time the group reached a cleft over­look­ing the promised jun­gle val­ley. Decid­ing it would be safest to explore dur­ing dark­ness, they left the hors­es just out of sight, with Andrews and two of the Lancers, while they climbed down to the curi­ous­ly well-con­struct­ed road lead­ing into the jun­gle.

Dark­ness fell as they reached the edge of the trees and Pinky led them along the road, main­tain­ing a short lead as they crossed the perime­ter. For about half-an-hour, things remained peace­ful, then Anto­nia realised that the third Lancer, who was bring­ing up the rear, had van­ished. They wan­dered back along the road, look­ing for signs of him and then Pinky decid­ed it might help if he climbed a tree. Dis­ap­pear­ing back into the brush with­out telling any­one, he found a suit­able can­di­date and scaled it. He failed to spot the miss­ing lancer, but did see a humanoid fig­ure mov­ing par­al­lel to the riv­er. Descend­ing from the tree, he head­ed to inves­ti­gate, com­ing up behind a hunched fig­ure about the size of a human. He decid­ed to kill it before it spot­ted him and thrust his dag­ger at it but, unin­jured, it turned to face him. At this point his nerve near­ly failed him as he was con­front­ed by what appeared to be a tiger walk­ing on its hind legs. It slashed at him with over­size claws and only his youth­ful agili­ty saved him as he screamed for help.

The oth­ers now piled into the under­growth, head­ing for the source of the screams. Luck­i­ly for Pinky, des­per­ate­ly evad­ing the enraged creature’s swipes, he was clos­er to the road than he appeared. Although April was tak­en aback by the sight of the crea­ture, the oth­ers made short work of it, tak­ing it down with sev­er­al gun­shots to the chest.

Notes

Fol­low­ing Sav­age Worlds’ usu­al unpre­dictabil­i­ty, the bat­tle with the tiger demon was over dis­ap­point­ing­ly fast although, as will become clear in the next episode, a lot of this was down to Anto­ni­a’s firearms prowess.

At this point, I was hop­ing the play­ers would remem­ber the her­mit, he was intend­ed to play a sig­nif­i­cant role as an infor­ma­tion source lat­er in the sto­ry.