Chapter 4 – Curse
“Halt, in the name of Lord Dayhollow! You three and your pet will come with us, to Lord Dayhollow’s estate. For your own safety, you must comply.”
The four of us turned to look at the speaker. It was a human, male, looked to be in his mid-twenties, wearing a courtier’s clothes. Not a noble, but a privileged servant of a noble. He had with him four guards wearing breastplates with the same crest on them, a red sun with a hollow center. All four had wooden clubs hanging at their side, and shields on their arm.
I heard Vestele’s snort of repressed laughter next to me. When I looked at her with a raised eyebrow, she said, loud enough for the people around us to hear, “Dayhollow is one of the nobles in town. Apparently, the recent tensions have given him the idea to move from his normal shipping concerns into the business of slaving.”
The servant who accosted us started to respond, but Vestele cut him off. “Oh, they dress it up nicer, of course. The women and children who they select are taken into custody ‘for their protection’, and are never seen again outside one of the noble mansions, or a brothel owned by the servants of Graz’zt. So strange that everyone who is ‘protected’ is young, female, and attractive, and yet they all are ‘protected’ straight into a life they did not choose, and cannot escape thanks to the chains on their ankles.”
I had heard enough. Turning back to the courtier, I said, “Then you may return to your Lord, and tell him that we refuse his protection. We have no need of it, or of him. Anyone who would seek to harm us is welcome to try, but better foes than you have sought our blood, and their bodies lie upon the ground in the wilds, broken and unburied, left for the carrion beasts to feast upon.”
The courtier grit his teeth in rage. “Insolent brat! You dare refuse Lord Dayhollow’s hospitality? The guards will have you in irons, and I will see to it that you are servicing every guard in the prison before the day is out!”
I laughed. “You mean the guards who have been following me this whole time, ensuring that my companion and I did nothing against the rules of the city?” I pointed to the two guards who had been shadowing us since we left the tavern, each wearing the colors of the city guard. One of whom also bore the holy symbol of Tyr upon her chest. That one was looking on the scene with undisguised disgust.
I took two steps forward, my eyes locked on the courtier’s face, watching as he tried to figure a way to weasel his words so that the servant of the god of Justice wouldn’t report him and his lord to their church. “Know this, anyone who attempts to touch me against my will shall be cursed. For your own safety, you will leave me alone.”
The courtier screamed in rage. “You heard her, she threatened a representative of Lord Dayhollow! Sieze her! We’ll take her to the shrine of Siamorphe to be made example of, so the wretches know their place!”
Melinda’s Touch Attack Roll: 1d20+10 = 21 (Hit)
Thug 1’s Will Save: 1d20-3 = 10 (Fail)
I decided that the courtier ordering them to attack me allowed this to count as ‘self-defense’, so I didn’t bother waiting for the thugs to actually attack me. I darted forward, and an inky darkness covered my hand. Reaching out, I simply tapped the first thug on the shoulder, discharging the darkness into the man’s body.
“What the--? I can’t see! The bitch blinded me!” The thug’s cry of horror galvanized his friends into action, each of them drawing their clubs, to try and take me down.
Thug 1’s Attack Roll 1: 1d20+10 = 12 (Miss)
Thug 1’s Attack Roll 2: 1d20+5 = 23 (Miss)
Thug 2’s Attack Roll 1: 1d20+10 = 23 (Miss)
Thug 2’s Attack Roll 2: 1d20+5 = 18 (Miss)
Thug 3’s Attack Roll 1: 1d20+12 = 28 (Hit)
Damage: 1d6+3 = 5 (DR 5/Cold Iron)
Thug 3’s Attack Roll 2: 1d20+7 = 18 (Miss)
Thug 4’s Attack Roll 1: 1d20+12 = 29 (Hit)
Damage: 1d6+3 = 8 (3 after DR 5/Cold Iron)
Thug 4’s Attack Roll 2: 1d20+7 = 17 (Miss)
Their attacks were childish. The first thug was literally swinging blind, as my curse had robbed him of both sight and hearing, but it didn’t matter. He couldn’t have hit me even if he could still see. Two of his fellows did manage to land blows upon me as I danced in place, able to get the angle on me with their friends. One of those hits actually managed to do a bit of damage. I might have a bruise later.
Thug 2’s Attack of Opportunity: 1d20+12 = 22 (Miss)
Thug 3’s Attack of Opportunity: 1d20+12 = 14 (Miss)
Thug 4’s Attack of Opportunity: 1d20+12 = 13 (Miss)
Melinda’s Attack Roll: 1d20+10 = 29 (Hit)
Thug 4’s Will Save: 1d20-3 = 3 (Fail)
I could not let that injury, however small, go unanswered. Ignoring the swinging of their clubs, too slow to catch me, I placed my hand against the thug’s side, and he, too, was struck blind and deaf, much to his dismay. Now there were two still uncursed, and I danced out from between the two, placing the second thug between me and the third one.
Thug 2’s Attack Roll 1: 1d20+10 = 23 (Miss)
Thug 2’s Attack Roll 2: 1d20+5 = 23 (Miss)
Thug 3’s Attack Roll 1: 1d20+12 = 13 (Miss)
The two blind and deaf thugs tried to swing, but they no longer had any idea where I was, and were just flailing about, hoping desperately to make contact. Pathetic, really. The two remaining thugs were little better, of course, even as they moved to flank me again, they couldn’t manage to land a hit on me. The third thug was so overeager in his swing that he lost his grip on the club entirely, and it went flying, hitting the courtier in the face!
Thug 2’s Attack of Opportunity: 1d20+10 = 20 (Miss)
Melinda’s Attack Roll: 1d20+10 = 24 (Hit)
Thug 2’s Will Save: 1d20-3 = 1 (Fail)
Now, with only one enemy armed, I turned on the second thug. It was a simple matter to dance to the side of his blow. Blackness cloaked my hand as I delivered my magical counter, robbing him of sight and sound, as I had done his companions.
Thug 2’s Attack Roll 1: 1d20+10 = 28 (Hit)
Miss Chance: 1d100 = 13 (Miss)
Thug 2’s Attack Roll 2: 1d20+5 = 20 (Miss)
Thug 3’s Attack Roll 1: 1d20+9 = 11 (Miss)
Thug 3’s Attack Roll 2: 1d20+4 = 21 (Miss)
The second thug swung wildly, as before, and was unable to land a blow on me. The third thug, however, decided to escalate the situation, pulling a dagger from his belt, and slashing at me. Neither attack came close to wounding me, but I was less than pleased.
Thug 3’s Attack of Opportunity: 1d20+10 = 23 (Miss)
Melinda’s Attack Roll: 1d20+10 = 16 (Hit)
Thug 3’s Will Save = 1d20-3 = 8 (Fail)
For defeating 4 Thugs, you gain 2100 XP.
I danced inside the thug’s guard, and touched him between the eyes with my hand glowing with inky blackness. The final thug was cursed, my finger being the last thing he saw before my spell robbed him of sight and sound. With little effort, I moved past the still-flailing thugs, and appeared before the Courtier.
The courtier turned, and would have run, but a low growl from Frostmane, who had slipped behind him during the fighting, froze him in place. He let out a shriek of terror, before turning back to face me. I could see the thoughts going through his mind written upon his face, desperately looking for a way out of the trap he had caught himself in. In the end, he decided on bluster.
“You can’t do this! The lords of the city will have you thrown in irons for this outrage! Guardsmen! Seize her! This peasant is charged with assaulting the sworn retainers of Lord Dayhollow, and the illegal use of magic within the city limits!”
The two guards looked at each other, and then the one in the service of Tyr spoke up. “I judge that she acted rightly, and with restraint. You ordered her men to attack her, and she was careful to leave them all alive, without causing injury to the onlookers. As this is a case of self-defense, she is well within her rights under the law.”
Melinda’s Attack Roll: 1d20+10 = 30 (Hit)
Courtier’s Will Save: 1d20+0 = 6 (Fail)
The courtier, incensed, spit at me. I let it hit my chest, as it gave me a justifiable cause for what I did next. Once again, blackness covered my hand, as I slapped the courtier’s face with the back of my hand. Only this time, the curse I laid upon him was not simply robbing him of sight and sound.
In a voice loud enough for everyone to hear, I said, “You are a fool, and it would be best for all the world if you were not allowed to breed. Thankfully, I have taken it upon myself to ensure that does not happen. You are cursed, not with blindness and deafness, as your guards have been, but with impotence. And, if you, or your lord, should ever trouble me again, I shall ensure that they suffer the same fate. Now, go, and tell your lord to never again trouble the Twiceborn Servant of Auril Frostmaiden again!”
The courtier turned, and ran, with Frostmane’s chuffing laughter the only sound after my proclamation. As he ran, the crowd of onlookers who had been drawn to the commotion began laughing, as well. I saw one person who was kind enough to speed the courtier on his way with the gift of a chamber pot emptied upon his head as he ran. It may have been an accident, but the smile on the woman’s face led me to believe that it was not so.
The two guardsmen managed to get the four blind men under control as we watched. They sent a runner for a patrol, who could deal with the hapless thugs. While they waited, the follower of Tyr turned to me with a critical eye.
“I know full well that the curse magic you used is not the extent of your powers, young Aurelite. On behalf of the guard, and the church of Tyr, I thank you for the restraint in using nonlethal means to resolve the issue. Is there anything we should know about these curses?”
I grinned slightly. “No, my power mirrors that of the spell that casters both arcane and divine can use. They can get it removed, if they know someone who can remove a standard curse. And it is not like some other curses, that might spread to others, so no fear there. The people of Northport have done me no injury, and I see no reason to bring trouble of that sort here.”
The guardswoman breathed easier. “Well, that is good to know. However, you have most certainly made an enemy of Lord Dayhollow with your actions. While I shall report this to my superiors in the faith, and it may result in people seeking the truth of Dayhollow’s dealings, I would be going against my vows if I did not warn you of the danger you have placed yourself in. Despite the… ill nature of you and your companions, you have done no harm to the city in my charge, and deserve that much warning, at least.”
I nodded, and said, “The truth of the matter is that it may not matter in the end. We were headed to the Temple of Selune, which has put out a call for adventurers. We intend to be leaving the city before long, with our newfound party.”
The guardswoman nodded. “And, if it is not private, what business do followers of the Frostmaiden and the Succubus Queen have with the Temple of Selune? The moon goddess is no ally of your patrons, last I heard.”
I nodded. “And you heard rightly enough. But while she is no ally of the Frostmaiden, at times the two may have enemies in common. According to divinations performed, it may be that followers of Malar the Beastlord are on the move. And even if that were not the case, the lack of enmity between our patrons and Selune means that there would be no harm in aiding them, in return for growing our own fame, and the size of our purse.”
The guardswoman nodded. “You speak true enough. You are not going to be detained, as you acted in self-defense, but I would ask for you to remain here until the patrol gets here, so that we can continue to prevent any ‘misunderstandings’.”
“And so you can keep a limit on any damages that might be done if someone else gets it in their heads to be stupid. I understand completely. We can spare a few minutes to wait for your comrades.”