By Bodukal the Reporter, published in the Albstadt News
Back to his original comrades, minus Skinup who was left with the temple to recuperate, they again entered a city’s hiring hall with their goal to rebuild the company back to 6 functional members. Their first hire was plainly a recent monk with tonsure and robe. He had been kicked out of the Fellowship of Skinsk for embezzlement, but claimed he was both repentant and eager to start a new life. He did not appear to me to be a strong candidate, but unexpectedly, Pulraka vouched for him. “I knew him growing up when he was an orphan. I believe he is a good man.” For the next recruit, they took someone with some military experience. Nippun had served in the local militia and his talents were also vouched for, this time by Pulraka’s brother, Town Elder Dulsk. With money now down to a thousand crowns in the treasury, they took on the lowest bidder, a miller named Skado. Not originally from Albstadt, he seemed to be as bright as a blown-out candle, but Nidonar said intelligence wasn’t everything in a mercenary. “Give him a pointy thing and turn him in the right direction. Plenty of soldiers know little more than that.” That sounded dubious to me, but he was the expert here.
They then switched to job seeker mode finally being directed to the office of Lobold the Wise. “Eh, word to you, Nido,” said Pulraka, “‘the wise’ is a title here. It means he’s the hereditary mayor of the town. He’s not all that bright. On a scale from 1-10 with you being a 10 and Skado being a 1, he’s about a 3.”
I was not privy to the discussion, but Nidonar was suppressing a grin when he returned. “Apparently some thief stole a fertility idol and now he’s afraid to go to bed with his wife without it. If we get it back, he’s got more jobs for us.”
They followed the tracks north and found the surprised thieves. After the last almost disastrous battle, Pulraka worked with his new spearmen, Karanika and Skado, in the art of “spearwall”, a technique to both damage enemies and keep them at bay. So anchoring themselves against a tree, the three prepared their wall. Nippun went wide east to try and hit them from the side, but was seen. The bandits charged and I marvelled at Skado’s spear usage. I saw him wound 4 different men before anyone reached a range to strike back. Nidonar started with the pitchfork, but two men snuck around the woods to attack Lindol and he switched back to his trusty axe, though in doing so took a stab wound to the chest. I could not see Nippun. He was knocked down in the bushes, but they were so thick, his opponent couldn’t reach him before he staggered back to his feet. Pulraka finished off one of Skado’s victims then rushed to relieve Nippun. His mighty axe in play, I saw Nidonar demolish his two opponents. The last man, menaced by both Skado and Karanika, lost his nerve and ran, only to get both of their spears in his back. Ransacking the camp, we found the “idol of fertility” and speaking just for myself, I wouldn’t want this thing displayed in my bedroom, even if it gave me the endurance of an ox! I heard a groan and Nidonar toppled over. Apparently, the adrenalin of battle wore off and the pain of his wound overwhelmed him. We hurried back to town. I helped carry my friend. “Chest wounds are never good,” said the doctor, “but it doesn’t seem to have hit any organs. He’ll recover with a few days rest.” The others decided to leave him back with Skinup as they went shorthanded on Lobold’s second job, a package delivery to Waldhain up North.
Deja Vu in Waldhain
By Bodukal the Reporter, published in the Albstadt News and Waldhain Broadsheet
As they marched north, I noticed everyone sending sidelong glances in Pulraka’s direction. After all, this was the first time he was leading the Fletchlings with Nidonar in recovery from his stabbing. If I was correctly interpreting the glances, it was not so much “I wonder if he can do the job” and more “maybe he should be leading us permanently”. Part of that was due to the events just before we left Albstadt. He threw the company into a “goodwill blitz”, encouraging the men to volunteer around town. When a toddler got lost, it was Skado who found him trapped in a root cellar. “That’s where I would have gone,” said Skado. I guess there are advantages to having a brain like a 2 year old. In return, Skado and the Fletchlings were honored by Lobold and Dulsk in a grand ceremony. It appears Pulraka’s homecoming was a successful one.
After we dropped off Lobold’s package, the merchant Lupodin pulled us aside. “Uh, I heard you helped out Albstadt’s mayor with his, uh problem. Well, I was expecting my own idol from the same cult but the shipment never arrived. There’s bandits in the forest to the north of town. I think they have it. If I uh, give you money, could you get it for me quiet-like?”
The company was still considering it the next day when a trading caravan arrived with a familiar passenger. It was Skinup, still banged up, but ready to head back to action. “Nidonar offered me a fair severance, but what do I do then? Caravanning is out, I guess beggar would be my next choice?” The company back up to six, they went looking for the merchant’s lost erection creator. Out of the woods came 7 bandits. Pulraka called the troops to a spot of high land. As the spearwall failed, the attackers came at the pointman, Karanika the ex-monk. Facing 3 opponents, he prayed and shielded himself as best he could. Lindol, meanwhile, kept picking off enemies around the periphery. Both sides fought methodically, strike, then shield, strike, then shield, but gradually the advantage swung in favor of the Fletchlings until the final two surrendered. They were later freed after they showed where they had buried their treasure, including that god-awful idol everyone seems to be crazy about. There were two in the loot and Skinup claimed the extra as his share. “I know I couldn’t fight well with my bad arm. Maybe I could become a gigolo if this doesn’t work out.”
The trip back was more hectic. The woods were chock full of bandits looking to steal back the fertility idols and the Fletchlings had to detour all the way down to Albstadt before working up the road to Waldhain and the waiting merchant. “Sellsword, sellsword, sell me word of your success,” he said gaily. Pulraka opened his mouth, but the rest of the company beat him to it “No swords for sale in this company!” we yelled. Pulraka glared a bit, then handed the merchant his thingie. The work of the Fletchlings, sex idol deliverers, was complete.
"Oh no, why did I do that? Stupid, stupid, stupid" - Napoleon Bonaparte