Pinky hunts a tiger; Prentiss nearly bags a hermit.
11th August 2011.
- Lady Antonia deVore – a Heavily-armed Aristocrat.
- Captain Benson Curruthers – a Military Policeman.
- Miss April Sharpe – a Self-taught Inventor.
- Jack Prentiss – a Dodgy Pedestrian.
- Pinky – a 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.
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.
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.