I come to, mid-stride, back at the rear of the train. You can imagine the surprise that just barely flashed across my face when I saw Lt. Cromartie, the leader of “The Punishers”, talking to Cpl. Robin. Offering help. You would then see my utter lack of surprise when I see her faint as a dozen people then start to slowly appear from the treeline.
Zalaz quickly fills me in on the reminder of our encounter with “The Punishers” – wish I’d have been able to help. Apparently the dead rose. They move slowly, and the only (or at least most efficient) way to return them to their restful state is to remove or obliterate their head. Seeing these lumbering figures, I get now why Robin fainted. My instinct is to climb a tree for high ground – bth to be able to target them easier, but I get the feeling they’re not the strongest climbers. Alas, we’re in a clearing and our wagons have been circled. So, I settle for the next best thing and climb up one.
With Robin out of commission, the Lieutenant is now talking to Briff, and after a brief convo, the Lt. summons a few soldiers clad in all black, moving quietly and gracefully.
I see a dozen awakened shuffling in, and some look super fresh – members of “The Punishers” that we’ve recently killed. Others look long dead. I suss out 1 Sfardi in the group. I yell out ‘TWELVE INCOMING!‘ and promptly put an arrow through his eye, dropping him. ‘ELEVEN INCOMING!‘ I yell, nocking an arrow. I drop the one next to him and yell ‘TEN INCOMING!‘
One of the wagons has somehow caught on fire, so Briff has us redirect to handle that. Damn – I’m much better with a bow than a bucket.
Well, it soon because moot as I see a glint of a crossbow, aimed at Briff and Zalaz who are carrying Robin to (greater) safety. I nock an arrow, hide in case they attack and aren’t aiming for an awakened who may be right behind my teammates. I yell at them to get down, and they do just in the nick of time – a bolt barely misses them. There’s no awakened in their proximity, so I pop around the edge of the wagon, fire off an arrow, and hear a death scream as I re-hide. Excellent. Three arrows used, three enemies down.
The Punishers are busy addressing the awakened, so I guess that rules them out as our living assailants. Briff casts shatter – a sound attack – on the three remaining mystery combatants. One of them is more affected than the others. I see Zalaz doing some magic thing at one of them, and a guy grabs his ears and slows. I put arrows into two of them, but don’t put them down. Two of them close on Zalaz, Robin (still unconscious), and Briff. I take out one, and plant an arrow onto the other, who still has enough life in him to attack Zalaz. He doesn’t have long though, as Briff quickly finishes him.
That threat neutralized, I run over to a barrel of water. The cart that’s on fire collapses into a gush of fire, causing the two next to it to start to catch.
Again, firefighting is put on hold as I hear Tmolus call for help, followed quickly by one of his thunderclaps. I pop around a cart, hit an enemy carrying a polearm. There’s someone carrying something obviously heavy – is this all a cover for a mere theft? The three of them take off towards treeline. Tmolus does another thunderclap as I target the runners. I hit the encumbered one who drops whatever he’s carrying. My second arrow finds only night as the one with the polearm skillfully knocks it out of the air. The other is struggling to pick up the box, and is helped by the one with the polearm. Two others close on Tmolus and I. One swipes at me, but misses and Tmolus quickly dispatches the other one. The ones escaping are a higher priority, so I step to the side to target him, giving my immediate attacker a free swipe at me, which he takes. Worth it though – I use Hail of Thorns on the one with the box who again drops it. I miss the other one again – a worthy foe. My immediate attacker hits me again – and I have to say I’m hurting.
I decide to drop my bow and attack him with my rapier. He’s soon on death’s door, and knowing this, starts singing. His hands, slick with blood, drop his sword. He turns to Tmolus, still singing. He knows what’s coming, and shortly he slides off Tmolus’ short sword, and crumples to the ground.
Zalaz meanwhile has closed on those trying to escape. I close on them, and take my rapier to the one with the polearm. He reaches for a pouch, shakes it – it’s filled with coin. He says in heavily accented speech, “let me take that (the box), and this is yours.” It’s not a deal we’ll make, so he disengages and runs into woods.
Perfect. Before I can chase him down, Briff sets him alight. Zalaz loots the corpses as I recover arrows. One thing’s for sure – I need a way to carry more ammunition. Maybe the Quartermaster has some tricks up her sleeve.
We return to the carts, with the box. There are similar sized boxes in wagon it was in, strewn about. They were obviously looking for this specific one – but why? There’s something heavy in the box – but what?
I’m able to loot a useful crossbow and 6 bolts on the way to meet up with The Punishers and see how they’re handling the awakened. They’re lopping the head off the last one as I approach. Three of the nine of them have been beheaded, too. Perhaps they got infected, and precautions were taken. I take them back to wagons, where we talk.
The Lieutenant thinks this was all staged – planned. He says that his men were ambushed, likely by the same people, over by their camp. So, he doesn’t think we were responsible for the earlier events – that works to our favor in multiple ways. Briff rambles a bit, like he does, and Cromartie says that we’ll need to report to our Sergeant, and likely the Captain, too.
I get permission to secure the perimeter, which in my opinion means separate the heads from the bodies of the newly dead. I find a short sword, and secure the area, but do nothing else with these corpses – I want to leave whatever evidence this constitutes in as intact form as possible.
Session Date: 07/03/17
Title Source: Ozzy Osbourne – Zombie Stomp