As the morning dawns upon Bad Taubersheim the fields outside the city as buzzing with activity, with preparations for the sword and jousting tournaments being finalised. It is the former that opens the day, and four members of the Little and the Large, along with the other competitors, draw their lots for the honour of displaying their mettle.
Minor displays of skill and daring whet the appetite of the audience, but the first true match of the day is between Theorn and Lemony of the Band of Five. The elf taunts the shifter, but soon finds that such tactics are unwise indeed against a berserker. Brushing aside feeble attempts at martial trickery the Blade of Wrongness shears through the elf’s wrist like scythe cutting dry grass – and does not stop there but decapitates Lemony, eagerly drinking the fey soul and placing it beyond any hope of resurrection.
The Band of Five’s reaction is immediate and wrathful. Two of their remaining number rush to the tournament field with the intent of avenging their comrade. Green flame flicker around their forms and Pennyworth, observing the proceeding from the lists, experiences an immediate sense of kinship combined with strange revulsion. These flames are familiar and yet of different order to its own… The matters threaten to escalate into indiscriminate bloodshed but Destain of the Pit, the leader of the Band of Five, steps forward and stops his companions with a curt order: ‘We must not reveal ourselves yet!’ His eyes, however, are filled with cold hatred and it is certain that retribution is not avoided, only postponed.
The tournament of the sword proceeds with many displays of great martial vigour, and Max, Sir Pieter and Hollan Darkwing distinguish themselves on the field of battle. The greatest honour among the group belongs to Theorn who battles his way to face Destain in the final match. (Defeating, it might be noted, Sir Cog on the way with the aid of Pennyworth’s cunning divination of Sir Cog’s preferred tactics – this unexpected setback throws the new-model Warforged’s tactical circuits into disarray and allows Theorn to easily carry the match.) And yet Destain proves the better in the bout, fighting coldly, methodically, never allowing his emotions to guide his blade, and ultimately claiming the sword tournament trophy.
The tournament of the sword is followed by the tournament of the joust. Here Sir Pieter and Max represent the Little and the Large, accompanied by Sabine as the ‘Mystery Knight’. Unfortunately ultimate success eludes our heroes once again, and even Sabine has the misfortune of being unhorsed by her older sister Gretel von Osterhagen, making it that much more difficult for her to prove her worth to the von Osterhagens. In a surprise move the trophy prize of the joust is changed at the last minute from the Crown of Swords to a set of armour, with the crown being set as the trophy for the small group melee tournament to follow. This humble commentator wonder if it might have something to do with Destain of the Pit being unhorsed and forced out of the contention…? The final victor of the joust is Gretel.
The sun finally sets over Bad Taubersheim and taking advantage of the lull between the tournaments the Little and the Large engage in some social activities and information gathering. Max visits the grateful Sir Scrumford de Mer who is recuperating from severe wounds dealt by during a tournament bout by the irate Destain of the Pit. Per Mertesacker, the Hand of the queen, grants an interview and informs the party that the Band of the Five (or rather Four) enjoy the support of a shadowy and unknown patron; he suspects that it was this patron that arranged the Crown of Swords to be reassigned as a trophy. Moreover, the Band will likely receive covert support during the small group melee tournament – it would be advisable for the Little and the Large to be on their guard! Alarmed by these news Pennyworth performs an Augury to lift the veil of mystery from the Band’s patron, but the only prophetic image that emerges is that of a hand bearing a ring in the shape of stylized eagle in one finger. No more specific clues are forthcoming.
The next day arrives and our heroes yet again enter the tournament field. The competition now takes the form of skirmishes between small groups in constructed environments simulating the features of typical subterranean dwellings – in layman’s terms, a dungeon crawl. Four elimination rounds have been organised, with the fourth and final round to be held on the following day.
In the first match of the tournament the Little and the Large face a team led by XXX, one of the sword tournament competitors from the previous day. Theorn opens the fight with a bold gambit, charging the breath of the battlefield to immediately strike into the heart of the enemy formation. A courageous yet risky manoeuvre! For a moment the outcome of the fight hangs in balance, but the Little and the Large put their backs to the task, surround and isolate their adversaries and cut them down one by one.
Pennyworth’s attempt to promote its burgeoning coffee emporium (‘Borderlands Coffee! Straight from the Dragon’s Hoard!’) on the back of the party’s success, however, is unfortunately unsuccessful as the audience is unimpressed by such blatant commercialisms…
If the first was a brutal melee pitting force against force on an open arena, the second fight of the day is a running battle in a maze filled with deadly traps against a troupe of cunning rogues led by yet another alumni of the sword tournament. Both parties carefully edge forward in a sadistic labyrinth where the slightest misstep causes lethal acids and scouring flames to burst from walls of stone, if the hapless explorer does not first fall into their doom as the floor buckles to reveal dastardly pit traps. Finally the teams catch up in the central corridor and battle is joined – and again the Little and the Large emerges victorious, pinning their enemies with walls of fire and sword and denying them their fleet-footed tricks.
The adulation of the crow ringing in their ears the Little and the Large storm through the tunnel complex and enter the final stage of the day, ready to confront whomever is foolish enough to stand on their way…
Character status at end of session:
|Character||Hit Points||Healing Surges||Daily Powers used||Experience Points|
|Hollan||?||? remaining||?||56,999 (14)|
|Max||?||? remaining||?||63,479 (15)|
|Pennyworth||?||? remaining||?||59,435 (15)|
|Pieter||?||? remaining||?||60,684 (15)|
|Théorn||?||? remaining||?||62,351 (15)|