Topic: The more or less jolly adventures of the "The Iron Fist" heroes for hire

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    The more or less jolly adventures of the The Iron Fist heroes for hire

    Chapter 1

    The three drinking buddies that mockingly called themselves The Iron Fist Boxing Club – after the fact that they managed to get out of most pub brawls with all their teeth in place, in large part due to their tendency to run away then their adversaries weren’t looking – realised probably made a terrible mistake the previous drunken night, which the morning’s hangover painfully hammered in. They’ve already paid for several weapons after accepting a task from a Wallstadt official that they’d dispatch some troublesome bandits nearby and be paid for 300 crowns if they succeed. It sure seemed like an easy enough task, seen through the lens of several flagons of ale, but appeared a lot more menacing on trembling legs and sick stomachs the next day.

    Urh the Keen Eyed was a somewhat fragile hunter, Robin Goodfellow a bit of a fainthearted jester, who barely dared to venture to the nearby forest and Ciaran The Lucky a gambler who enjoyed the finer side of life, when, of course, he had the coin to afford it. Recently Lady Luck smiled at him and his dice and he cleaned out a fat old soldier called Franz The Hungry, who was left with nothing but his dagger, as well as a couple of squires, the dim-witted Edmund and the spartan Boris, who managed to keep their gear, but not a single crown. All three wanted a chance to win their money back, so in their interest to see Ciaran make it back safely, they agreed to join the Iron Fists in dealing with the bandits, as long as they’d get to keep their share of the spoils as well.

    Early it was still before lunch when the six men headed towards the nearby forest, looking for the bandits. Soon enough they stumbled on a burnt out campfire and five ragged men around it. The outlaws knew why the armed men came so they wasted no time, grabbed their blades and rushed them.

    Robin Goodfellow, the joker that he was, strapped a dog’s skull to his head before heading out, calling it “my magic helmet – the Fangshire”. After seeing an outlaw run forth and Ciaran spearing him in the thigh, he boldly jumped forth and split his skull in half with his hatchet, yelling “One for daddy!” Another bandit thought fat old Franz would make an easy target, but the old soldier wouldn’t have any of that and quickly stabbed him in the shoulder instead and Boris finished him off with a spear thrust in the throat. Edmund, not being too clever, didn’t quite know what to do, so he hid in a nearby bush instead while Urh aimed at one of the approaching thugs, who promptly caught an arrow in the knee and Robin’s hatchet in the face. Seeing this, the bandit with a bow retreated and emboldened by his earlier show of skill, Franz lunged at the remaining nearby outlaw. But that was to be his last mistake, as the bandit skilfully skewered his enormous belly with a couple of well-aimed spear thrusts, blood gushing everywhere, until Franz collapsed and lay still. The rest of the men were shaken by this loss, Urh’s hands trembled and he widely missed as he loosed an arrow at Franz’s killer, and Edmund ran after the retreating archer, rather than get close to that deadly spear. Although shaken, Boris gathered his courage, stepped forward and speared the villain in his side and Ciaran followed his example with a couple more thrusts, avenging their fallen comrade.

    The archer kept fleeing and all five remaining men ran after him. But then he suddenly stopped and let an arrow fly towards Robin, striking his padded surcoat, but failing to puncture through. That gave Edmund the chance to catch up with the crook and trip him, while Urh aimed steady and pierced his back armour. Robin was quickly on him as well, hitting him hard with the flat side of the hatchet. But in a desperate lunge, the bandit grabbed his knife and stabbed Robin in the foot, giving him a nasty wound. Seeing this, Edmund yelled “You couldn’t just stay down, could you!” and smashed his head to a pulp with his mace earning himself a nickname “Hammerhand”.

    All five men struggled to lift Franz onto the cart to take him to town for a proper burial, while they just gathered the bandit’s weapons and provisions they found, and left their bodies to the birds. On return to town, they were met by their employer, who respectfully nodded towards dead Franz, said “A shame, he was a good man” and handed them their earnings. Their first funeral was sombre and noone said anything after this, but they knew they weren’t going back to their old lives anymore and try their luck fighting villains for coin instead as the band of mercenaries known as The Iron Fist. The rest of the day was spent patching up their bruises and wounds, particularly Robin’s cut foot, looking for equipment to buy, having a black banner in honour of their dead friend with a white fist made and convincing more men to come along, but only a caravan hand named Raimund was willing to join for the small amount of coins they had available.

    Not finding any work in Wallstadt, they walked to Wiesendorf, only a couple hours away where a concerned villager told them wild tales of a nearby forgotten homestead, allegedly feared by the locals and offered them 600 crowns if it is razed to the ground.

    They set off right away, approached it during the night and attempted to sneak up on whomever they’d find there at first light. But it appeared the nine thugs that camped there had chosen the same early hour to set off for a raid and upon seeing armed men approach they raised the alarm and charged them at full speed. Ciaran suggested they don’t push their luck and try to withdraw, but they could only make it as far as a nearby slope when the outlaws were upon them. Urh barely had time to let go an arrow which struck an approaching bandit and Ciaran and Boris quickly braced their spears into a bit of a spear wall. But the thugs were no fools and they ran around the bristling spears, setting up to strike the men’s rear, so Ciaran quickly turned and ran through the fellow that was earlier struck by an arrow, while Boris brought down one that stood right in front of him with a single well placed thrust to the eye. Five men started sneaking up on Robin, Edmund and Raimund who locked their shields into a shield wall and Urh’s arrow wounded another while they were doing so.

    Boris poked a thug that tried to sneak past and another thug’s wooden mace briefly connected with Ciaran’s ribcage, but he quickly replied with two sharp jabs to the ribcage in front of him, drawing blood and bringing a concerned look to his adversary’s face, while Robin evaded an attack and knocked the helmet of his assailant. The thugs regrouped and advanced again. Raimund struck one, Boris repeatedly spearwalled one trying to force his way past and Robin Goodfellow whirled his axe like it was a jester’s stick and split one skull, then quickly turned and chopped the head clean off a bandit that was sneaking behind him. This excited Edmund who ran past him and struck a surrounded thug, while Urh drew his dagger and stabbed him in the groin, while Ciaran finished him off with a spear to the back of the head so it struck out through his mouth like a long, silver tongue. He then spotted the thug on his other side was trying to flee and speared him as well, right through his liver. Boris stepped forth and found his would be attacker hiding in a bush and ran him through before he could plead for mercy. Urh shot the man attacking Raimund, Edmund planted a heavy blow on the other bandit’s shoulder and Ciaran finished it with a strike through the lungs. Boris then advanced on the last bandit and missed with the spear, but Robin didn’t. All the thugs were slain, the Iron Fists were exhausted but relieved they defeated a larger force without taking any serious damage and rejoiced at the ample spoils of war they found, which included several weapons and over 300 coins.

    But even more important than the spoils were the skills they picked up. Urh saw how to quickly change weapons when in danger, Robin learned how to adapt to the situation and strike true, Ciaran developed a keen eye for weak spots in the armour, Edmund figured if he could bash with a mace, he could also bash with a shield and Boris just sat there mending his armour and looking at its strong and weak spots, trying to imagine how to turn to take as little damage as possible if hit.

    Returning to Wiesendorf they didn’t receive a hero’s welcome as they’d hoped, as there were no monsters or giants defeated, but just several thugs, but they still got the money and immediately proceeded to spend much of it in the village tavern, drinking merrily and impressing the local women with heroic tales of their exploits, in which the brawl with nine thugs quickly escalated into a battle with several dozen giants.

    Avatar photoTrig

    Chapter 2

    After a rowdy night the Iron Fists headed back to Wallstadt, but the only job available, destroying a large bandit lair, seemed too dangerous, in spite of the boastful mood of the men. So they headed towards Minarken in search for employment. But on the way, in the distance, they saw a caravan being attacked by several bandits, so they sped up to help it. Unfortunately all the caravan hands were dead and the caravan itself wrecked by the time they got close and they found themselves under attack of the victorious bandits. But being scattered around, going through the loot, the outlaws didn’t attack in an organised fashion.

    The Fists quickly formed on a slope, with Urh taking distance shots at the enemies, and Raimund standing a bit back with a long billhook he purchased with the money paid by the last job. A thug rushed Boris but was spearwalled in the ribs twice and finished off by two arrows in the chest by Urh Keen Eyed. Robin Goodfellow, Boris and Ciaran the Lucky then overwhelmed the other thug that came close and speared and chopped him to bits. Two down, six to go. But where are they? Sneaking around the bushes it seems, manoeuvring for the attack.

    The men stood a while, then decided to go on the offensive. They formed up in a line and slowly advanced to where they expected the enemy to be. One was spotted and he advanced. Boris and Edmund Hammerhand softened him up, then Raimund cleaved open his ribcage with a massive billhook strike from behind them. One more came into view and was quickly cut down by Robin and Ciaran after Urh’s arrows missed him. Two more then appeared from the shadows and Ciaran and Boris braced their spears again while the rest of men cursed at them. They avoided the spears and got close and Urh felled one with two arrows in quick succession. The other was quickly surrounded, hammered by Edmund, poked with Ciaran’s spear and then split in half with Raimund’s billhook.

    The last two appeared from the undergrowth. They appeared worried but showed no sign of abandoning the fight in spite of being outnumbered. The Iron fists stood close and yelled insults at them. The first came close and Boris and Edmund moved in to greet him with mace and spear. The other moved onto a slope and hesitated. The Fists calmly stood their ground, waiting for him to make up his mind whether to fight or flee. Urh loosed two arrows towards him, but missed. This seemed to have made the bandit overly confident and he came forth. But Urh didn’t miss the second time and put a single arrow straight though his heart, killing him instantly. Boris then speared the last one and without a word the Fists set off to bury the unfortunate caravan hands. Since they did not know the destination of the caravan’s goods, they appropriated them for themselves. Urh learned how to quickly move in combat, Robin and Boris how to better hit armour, Ciaran how to adapt to enemy moves, while Raimund noticed he has become much stronger from all the physical strain.

    They continued on towards Minarken, saw a hidden graveyard in the distance on the way, but thought it wise to avoid it for the time being, for one never knows who lurks there. Minarken itself seemed to be in a poor state, likely recently looted and the villagers seemed quiet and gloomy. Selling off some of their surplus gear to the local merchant they decided to look around the village for clues. After passing through the woods they came upon some ancient ruins, with bandit raiders and marksmen guarding them.

    The surprise of a night attack worked and the raiders didn’t have time to form up. The Iron Fists bunched up as heavily armoured enemies ran towards them. Boris and Robin struck down one that came close, Urh put an arrow through the neck of a large, fierce looking bandit, wielding a massive two handed sword and Raimund hit another raider so hard he cursed loudly and attempted to flee, but Robin struck him in the back of the skull as he turned and he dropped like an empty sack. Urh quickly climbed a small mound and loosed an arrow towards an approaching raider, wounding him. Robin rushed towards a bowman that came to close and Edmund’s hammer hand knocked out another bandit. Robin managed to hit the neck of the bowman, felling him with a single strike, but an approaching raider hit him hard in the body, nearly tearing his gambeson to bits. Urh steadied his breath and took careful aim and hit Robin’s assailant, but his armour kept him safe, so Edmund struck him hard with a stunning blow. Meanwhile Ciaran and Raimund managed to wound the bandit that was attacking them, but just as they felt they were getting the upper hand, two more bowmen appeared from the darkness. Boris quickly speared his nearest foe then rushed the closest bowman, Ciaran finished off the bleeding bandit in front of him, while Edmund ran for the other bowman who shot at him, but missed, which gave him the chance to get to melee range. Boris and Robin Goodfellow overpowered the one they were attacking, and everyone ran towards the last remaining foe. Urh took aim, but the low visibility prevented him to hit. Edmund Hammerhand pummelled the bowman some, but not enough. Ciaran came up behind him and stabbed him once, and Urh’s last arrow finished the fight.

    The men could not believe their luck. They managed to claim several chain mail armours, helmets, a few swords and a couple hundred coins without any serious injuries apart form a few bruises. They hoped they destroyed the camp that looted the village, but couldn’t know for sure. Urh attached several bags to his armour, so he could carry two more quivers of arrows and Robin Goodfellow passed his dog skull helm to him, as he claimed it helped him see better at night, but likely just because he fancied a proper mail coif more. Robin also learned where to strike a shield to crack it better. Boris picked up the large two-hander and swung it around a couple of time as if attacking several enemies at once, which he seemed so good at he earned the nickname “The Blade”. Raimund adopted quick movement, while Ciaran argued he feels he’ll be luckier fighting stunned enemies than active ones.

    The Iron Fists returned to Minarken cheerful and proud, when a tall ginger man with a booming voice came forward.
    “Ye seem like a capable bunch” he said “would ye have an experienced sellsword come along? I won’t ask for more than 900 coins”
    “900?!?” said Robin Goodfellow “We can get three good men for 900!”
    “Aye,” said the man “And I would kill all three before you were done paying them. They call me Angus the Pious and this holy water sprinkler of mine…” at the mention of which he pointed to his large flail “…brings the fear of God into any man that stands against me.” Then he mumbled more to himself than to others “As long as we avoid anything unnatural…”
    The men deliberated for a while, then counted their recent earnings and agreed they can afford and welcome another strong arm after all.
    “Good, good,” he laughed. “But first, a toast to our new arrangement! I’m paying.”
    The tavern wasn’t far, some ale was still available after the recent raids and the coarse laughter of drunken warriors reverberated through the village until the drink and exhaustion overwhelmed them.

    Avatar photoSarissofoi

    Keep the good work.

    Avatar photoTrig

    Chapter 3

    The Fists left Minarken in the rainy morning on their way to …, but on their way they passed the hidden graveyard again and in spite of Angus’ objections, they decided to take a closer look. But as they left the road, they spotted they were being pursued by a troop of bandit raiders. They rushed to the graveyard and tried to hide from the bandits, when they witnessed a terrifying spectacle. The dead seemed to be rising from the graves in the pouring rain, moaning and shuffling about and strange monsters were digging up the graves and eating some corpses. Angus may have been right. This place should have been avoided. But by now there was no place to run, so they huddled together, bracing for the inevitable fight. By then the raiders have also wandered into the area and were immediately assaulted by the strange creatures roaming the graveyard.

    The corpse-eating beasts ran straight for the bandit raiders, while the living corpses were slowly shuffling towards the Iron Fists, who looked on in horror at some three dozens of enemies before them. As the living corpses came close, Boris the Blade swung his new two-hander wide and fell one and damaged another, while Robin Goodfellow decapitated the one that stretched his grimy hands towards him. All the while the corpse-eaters and bandits were going at each other, some falling, some running away, others holding ground and hacking away. Ciaran snuck away from the main battle line and hid in bushes north of the main battle line, and there he ambushed and killed one bandit bowman and prepared an ambush for another he saw approaching. But then a bandit that was nearly surrounded by the undead abominations managed to break off form them and ran straight for the little hill where the Iron Fists were positioned. They let him approach unhindered. Perhaps this was the time to form a tactical alliance with the bandits against the corpses and corpse-eaters?

    Boris the Blade stood next to the bewildered looking bandit, not knowing whether to strike at him or not, when he saw with profound horror that the two revenant corpses that lay by his feet not a minute ago, raised up and lunged forth once more. Raimund hit one with his billhook from the rear, and Boris swung his mighty blade about once again, killing one revenant, hitting another, but also striking the bandit that stood next to him who cursed him loudly and readied his guard to attack. The alliance seemed to be over, before it even begun. As Robin struck down another living corpse, he saw in the distance a corpse-eater gorging on a fallen bandit and as if the horrors they witnessed weren’t enough, he realised the beast grew before his eyes as it devoured the bandit’s flesh. In spite of all his optimism he wasn’t sure this was going to turn out well.

    For the third time Boris swung the two-hander, again felling a revenant and hitting another, but while it flew past the bandit’s head, he quickly dodged and riposted at Boris, scratching his armour, then cursing some more turned to strike at a walking corpse grabbing at his legs. “It’s a right mess if I ever saw one” yelled Angus as he was swinging wildly at a revenant, while Edmund swiftly planted his pick in its skull, stilling him for good. Or so he hoped. Everyone was covered in mud, blood, sweat by now and entirely exhausted. Even lifting the weapon was difficult, much less swinging it. Ciaran rushed bandit bowman and knocked him back with his shield, but got careless and the outlaw quickly stabbed him in the arm, causing a deep gash, before having his skull crushed by a direct hit with a winged mace. The bandit raider that Boris hit earlier now got his revenge and struck his armour a few times, before Angus pushed him away with his shield and Raimund gutted him with his billhook. Two more undead rose again and in the rear the corpse-eaters were still devouring one dead body after another.

    After the mound was secured of its assailants, Robin Goodfellow lead a charge towards the corpse-eaters, before they grew to a monstrous size. From three dozen enemies, they have reduced them to a half dozen by now, they would have to keep the pressure up, as to not lose in the final moments. Boris the Blade and Raimund hacked apart the largest of the corpse eaters, Edmund killed another and Ciaran and Angus beat down one more, while Boris was too exhausted and bloodied to continue, so he pulled back to have a look at his wounds, while Edmund and Raimund chased after the last three weaker ones and promptly dispatched them.

    It was over. They were alive. Exhausted, bloodied, dirty, but alive. Around them lay the mangled, mutilated and half-eaten corpses of nearly three dozen foes. They gathered their wrecked belongings and extracted some of the corpse-eater’s teeth to show to anyone who might know what the beasts were, but didn’t tarry about too long, for the place was horrifying and they wished to leave it quickly. Angus kept saying “I told you so” and Boris dryly added “So you did.”

    They marched quickly to Walmer Castle, where they gave an exhaustive report to the castellan, who recognised the teeth he was shown as those of creatures the villagers called “ghouls”. He suggested they avoid such places in the future and Angus immediately agreed. While they cleaned themselves up, mended their armours and fixed their weapons, they discussed strategies and tactics they employed and learned from one another how to improve their striking skills, their shield use and movement in battle.

    They headed out towards Wallstadt again and the Foothill Keep that was close by, to see if any contracts were available. There were none. Yet as they were leaving Foothill Keep, strange howls were heard from the nearby woods. They’ve just barely survived one dreadful encounter, would they have to go through another? Before they could answer, they heard yells from their rear “Form up! Form up, you fools! Have you never fought off wolves before?” A small group of professional soldiers from the keep were coming up behind them in battle formation, while the black pelts of the beasts charging form the forests were already seen closing in with great speed.

    Urh’s eyes glistened. “I’ve always loved a good wolf hunt!” he said, and Edmund, who attended many hunts with his lord, nodded in agreement. But Boris was less impressed. “Just make sure you don’t become the hunted,” he added. By then the Foothill soldiers have passed them and advanced further, to meet the wolves head-on, and Angus yelled “Go on lads, it’ll be over before we get there if we don’t hurry!” As they ran forward they saw a wolf tear out the throat of a young soldier and several soldiers hacking apart three fierce beasts that were howling and barking, scratching and biting. Boris leaped forth and chopped off the head off one, while Raimund got the last one with his billhook.

    The soldiers cursed the loss of one of their mates then said goodbye and returned to the Keep, while Urh was satisfied with the day’s catch, using his hunting knife to carefully skin the beasts, obtaining five quality wolf pelts, he said were worth at least seventy crowns each. The rest didn’t really care one way or the other, as long as it was going to buy them a bed in the next in, a warm meal and a drink.

    Avatar photomrbunnyban

    oooh, I love how you attracted the bandits to help you clear the ghouls! Wonderfully done there. Was that on purpose or did you luck out?

    Avatar photoTrig

    oooh, I love how you attracted the bandits to help you clear the ghouls! Wonderfully done there. Was that on purpose or did you luck out?

    On purpose. I saw them chasing me and instead of stopping to fight them, I headed for the undead graveyard and when they were over it, clicked it. Didn’t know it would work so smoothly though.

    Unfortunately I have discontinued this campaign, to start a new one with the new gear. So let’s just end this one with:

    “And the brave men of the Iron Fist lived happily ever after!”

    Avatar photoSalperticon

    That was a very nice read, I have to admit.
    Well done!
    I seriously hope we will see another of that kind from you in the future again.

    Also, as a quick question: How do you make those awesome screenshots?
    Uploads on imgur as .jpg as far as I have seen, but how do you make them in the first place?

    Plague Rats - we're not famous, but we get the job done.

    Avatar photoTrig

    That was a very nice read, I have to admit.
    Well done!
    I seriously hope we will see another of that kind from you in the future again.

    Also, as a quick question: How do you make those awesome screenshots?
    Uploads on imgur as .jpg as far as I have seen, but how do you make them in the first place?

    Thanks mate. :)

    I take them with F12, the default Steam key for screenshots, then go to Steam screenshots under the Battle Brothers tab, then “show on disk” and open them in photoshop for a bit of editing, cutting, etc. When I like how they look, I save and upload them.

    Avatar photoWolves

    Great job Trig!

    Balance for the Balance Throne! Skills for the Skill God! | Wolves - Spam for the Old Gods!

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