Kingmaker: Reborn - Session 8

"I need a bed."

Jupus looked to Arina questioningly.

"We've been sleeping on the ground every night while we're traveling," Arina continued while she stretched to get rid of the creak in her back. "If we get to sleep at the trade post, I'd at least like it to be in a decent bed."

Jupus was not feeling very sympathetic to the former noblewoman. He had long since gotten use to sleeping without a bed. At least out here, there was no shit lying underneath him. Still…

"Well, this place is getting pretty crowded," the gnome mused. "We should start expanding. Maybe a bunkhouse? I imagine our prisoners would really appreciate having more than a pile of hay to sleep on. And Onestrio would appreciate being able to enter his storehouse without an armed escort."

"Splendid idea! Let's start getting the resources needed for this." Arina was already calculating what resources and how much of them they would need.

Davona was not impressed. She did not see the point of making these criminals feel comfortable. As far as she was concerned, they deserved less than a storehouse. Like a shallow grave. Nonetheless, her sense of camaraderie compelled her to aid her companions in their endeavour.

Cethin did not mind helping out. He was more interested in how this would change things up.

The away team returned to Onestrio's. Upon arriving, Cethin went off on his own, out of sight, especially from that other kitsune. Instead, Rob the human bartender showed up the outpost, already setting up his portable bar.

As Rob was cleaning some glasses, Onestrio walked up to his bar. "Welcome back, Rob! How about a beer?"

Rob took one look at Onestrio. The man had a slight unsteadiness in his stance. His eyes were a bit blood shot. A faint smell of alcohol was on his breath. Rob made a decision.

"I think you've already had enough, Onestrio," said the bartender. "You should take a break."

Onestrio was taken aback. He slammed his open palm down onto the bar counter. "Now listen here! What kind of bar doesn't serve drinks? And don't forget whose outpost this is!"

The barkeep took a deep breath, and then looked Onestrio straight in the eye. In his most suave voice, he told the other man, "Sir, think about it. You're the owner and caretaker of this now prosperous tradepost. But you need to keep a clear head and steady hand to keep it that way. I'd be happy to serve you a drink, free of charge, even, but only once you've shaken off the effects of your last drink."

Onestrio was still unhappy, but mollified now. The respectful tone and compliments about his life's work agreed with him. The man grunted, then walked off.

Rob thought he had gotten through to the man, but a little while later, he spotted Onestrio behind his house. From the corner of his eye, Rob saw the man uncap a flask, and drank from it deeply. Sighing, he shook his head and walked off. He came across the priest Joram, who was counseling several of the former bandits on how rewarding hard work can be.

Once he was done, the bartender approached the cleric of Deianeira. He told him about Onestrio and his drinking.

"Something's obviously troubling him," Rob told the priest.

Joram nodded. "Thank you for telling me this, and for trying to help him. I will speak with Onestrio whenever I can, and try to relieve what ails him."

Rob nodded, and hoped it would be enough. For both their sakes.

The away team had consisted of Argus, Sky, and Rishoi. They were now joined by Ayaki. All four then continued the exploration of the Gnarlwood.

That night, Ayaki got her first taste of the dangers of the wilderness. While they slept and the kitsune was on watch, all of the grass around them suddenly grew to entangle the party! An assassin vine crawled onto them, latching onto Ayaki.

No! I've heard enough stories to know where this is going to go! Ayaki panicked. The murderous plant nearly crushed kitsune ronin to death. Ayaki refused to die so early in her life. Her resolve kept her in the fight and she called out to the others. Suddenly, all of the grass and roots around them grew in length, and started writhing around them. The enlarged plantlife started entangling the Evergreen Company.

"What the Nine Hells?!" Rishoi spat out. She drew her revolver and started firing at the mass of vines.

Argus rolled out of his bedroll, breaking free of the entangling grass, and grabbed his earth breaker. He felt very naked without wearing his armor. Nonetheless, he shuffled up to the assassin vine, and started swinging his deadly maul into it.

Sky sat up in his bedroll. He was amazed at the way this killer plant moved, but that amazement was tempered by how dangerously it was mangling Ayaki. Sky knew better than to get close to it, lest he suffered the same fate as his new companion. In fact, he had something to help with that. Reaching into his pack, the sylph pulled out some alchemical grease and started applying it all over his body.

They all smashed and shot at murderous plant. However, it was Ayaki's slash with her wakizashi that delivered the killing blow. She was unceremoniously dropped to the ground as the vine died. A short while later, the plants around them returned to their normal size and behaviour.

"Damn, Ayaki, I thought you were done for!" Sky exclaimed as he rushed to provide her with some celestial healing.

"Good job, girl," Rishoi said approvingly.

The kitsune ronin could only groan. While taking care of Ayaki, Sky collected some of the assassin vine's juices into a vial. This could be useful…

The next morning, Rishoi and Argus were woken by getting slapped in the face by the two halves of the assassin vine. Severely annoyed, Rishoi threw it away in the air, and shot it. There was some faint clapping from the trees. The applause was not appreciated by the irate bounty hunter.

On the other hand, Argus awoke groggily to the slap. Looking at it, he only muttered "What is this?", then rolled over and got a bit more sleep.

Another prank was that Ayaki's and Sky's horses changed colours. Ayaki's horse was pink with red hair, and Sky's was blue with rainbow-coloured hair. Unlike the other two members of their party, Ayaki and Sky were amused. "I'm not even mad," Ayaki said. Sky even used his own magic to keep the illusion up after the feys' original enchantment faded.

Another time, Rishoi sat down, and a loud farting noise was here. "You know what, enough's enough," she said, and she started firing wildly into the trees. Tiny laughter could be heard, ending with another fart noise in Rasho's direction.

"Rude," Ayaki muttered at Rishoi.

Several days later, the Evergreen Company encountered a naturally made shelter of fallen trees and branches. Within it was a beast of extraordinary proportions. It emerged from its lair, revealing itself to be an enormously large bristleboar, covered in scars. The beast huffed and snorted ferociously, stamping its hooves in the ground as its bloodshot eyes stared daggers at the party.

"This must be Tuskgutter," Rishoi said.

Sky immediately cast a spell. Tuskgutter squealed and snorted as he slipped onto the grease coated ground beneath his hooves. Ayaki and Argus charged forth on horseback towards the down beast.

Rishoi fired her pistol, but missed horribly. "Damn it! C'mon Rishoi! Get your head in the game!" the malephilim muttered to herself angrily.

Ayaki's katana swung true, and sliced deeply into the beast's side. Tuskgutter roared in pain. Argus lifted his earth breaker over the beast, but the boar swirled around and gored Argus' horse. The housecarl slammed into the hard earth as he fell, but narrowly dodged his horse' falling corpse.

As Rishoi continued firing, Sky summoned a celestial eagle over Tuskgutter. Although the bird did little damage against the boar's thick hide, it served as a useful distraction. Enough so that Argus could get back up on his feet and slam his maul into boar!

Argus and Tuskgutter tussled fiercely with each other. Ayaki saw an opening. She swung her katana again, and sliced through the boar's gut. Tuskgutter reared up and squealed in pain. This opened up an opening. Ayaki swung again and missed, but Argus slammed his earth breaker down onto the Tuskgutter's head, cracking it open. In that one blow, the fearsome Tuskgutter of the Evergreen died.

Once Tuskgutter was killed, the party skinned his body, harvested his meat, and severed his head to bring back. However, Argus lost his horse in the fight, so their travel speed slowed down.

The party set their direction to leave the forest, but surveyed the unexplored portions that were on their way. They returned to Onestrio's trade post a few days later.

They turned in Tuskgutter's head to Gaspasi, the representative of the Monster Hunter Association of Lurindor. "Marvelous!" he exclaimed. "You slew Tuskgutter! Please, recount to me the tale of your hunt of this fearsome beast." The Company told him the story.

The old man rewarded them with an enchanted longbow. "This is Hide Piercer," Gaspasi told them. "It came to fame in the hands of the huntress Silvani Laralli. She graciously donated to the Association upon her retirement. May it serve you just as well." The Company agreed that Ayaki should wield the bow.

In addition, he offered each of them an invitation to join the Association, which they all accepted. Sky, being already a member of the MHAL, was rewarded with having a successful one-star hunt added to his record.

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