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Author Topic: Hell or Plunder - Combat Determines Captor or Captive  (Read 1994 times)

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Offline SiannaTopic starter

Hell or Plunder - Combat Determines Captor or Captive
« on: January 25, 2008, 03:20:12 PM »
Hell or Plunder

...any who is good, and careful
loves her who is his own and cares for her, even as I now
loved this one from my heart, though it was my spear that won her.

Hell or Plunder is a game of historical domination where combat determines who will be the slave and who the slaver.

Starting right in the middle of a clash between forces, the players will be divided into two rival factions locked in conflict during the Amazon against Amazon siege of Themiscyra in the era of ancient Rome. 

The outcome of that clash will determine which players are dragged back in chains to the camp of the other, but the action will not end there.  Characters develop over the course of the story, the exquisite process of power play between owner and slave plays out and surprises will await.

Writing quality is emphasized, and though a system will be used to resolve the initial conflict and future challenges, the game will be largely freeform.  All types of prose are welcome, but as the characters will be Greek warrior women or Roman mercenaries, the feel of the enterprise should be epic:  Heroes whose lives are the zenith of story in a land where the Gods still walk the same earth as men.  This is the land of the Illiad and the Aeneid - where courage, honor, nobility, obedience or even the wiles of fate can lead to apotheosis.  Let our characters feel and act accordingly.

The historical setting of this conflict was between two wild-minded, proud Amazon tribes, and most characters should come from them.  It takes place in the woods of Themiscyra, one of the first Amazon settlements, which is being sieged by a rival tribe - the Amazons of Amasya.  Amasya has decided it will ally with a King who is seeking to dominate the land, and the Amazons of Themiscyra refuse to accept the rule of any one man.  It has led to Amasya attacking, here to the unbroken forests of Themiscyra's river shores, and here to the battle where our characters will clash.

For afficionados of Greek myth, epic poetry or the work of Robert Howard, this is a game you must play.  With the added element of unpredictability the inaugural combat adds, it is a game you are sure to remember.

Character Creation

Character creation can be a simple three-step process or a one step process:

I.  Look over this splendid entry on the Amazons to get a sense of who they were and who you might be.

II.  Submit which of the four following attributes - Strength, Constitution, Size, Intelligence, Willpower, Dexterity or Appearance - you want to be exceptional in, or use the Invisible Castle die roller to roll those attributes, in order, with 2D6+6.

III. Look over the basic character sheet, under Skills, and spend 460 points on them.  I will soon post the base Skill percentages for Weapon Skills.

OR

I.  Tell me some about your character in a basic background and personality description and I will make you a perfect fit of a character.  This way, you need never worry about numbers, system or anything.  It will all be behind the scenes.


_____________________________________________________________


Writers, poets, players who crave the thrill of chance - dare to join and see if your destiny will be hell or plunder.

Offline VandalSavage

Re: Hell or Plunder - Combat Determines Captor or Captive
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2008, 03:30:51 PM »
I will most certainly be playing in this.

Not only do I relish the opportunity to play in such a setting, I also look forward to the risk factor involved.

I'll play one of the Themiscyran Amazons; the besieged ones.  I trust the two factions will be balanced out?

Offline SiannaTopic starter

Re: Hell or Plunder - Combat Determines Captor or Captive
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2008, 03:41:32 PM »
I will most certainly be playing in this.

Not only do I relish the opportunity to play in such a setting, I also look forward to the risk factor involved.

I'll play one of the Themiscyran Amazons; the besieged ones.  I trust the two factions will be balanced out?

Perfect, I was hoping you would join us Mr. VS; You provide a certain sense of Menace to any story - capital M.

The factions will be balanced when we begin. Ultimate victory or defeat will be dependent on the course of events within the narrative.


Offline VandalSavage

Re: Hell or Plunder - Combat Determines Captor or Captive
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2008, 04:08:15 PM »
The factions will be balanced when we begin. Ultimate victory or defeat will be dependent on the course of events within the narrative.

Quite satisfactory.  I trust we will have a good deal of opportunity for interactions in camp.  The thought of your description of life in a tribe's camp - or the war camp of the Amasyans - is an exciting one indeed.

I'll be looking to the Odyssey for some inspiration in the meantime.

Offline SiannaTopic starter

Basic and Combat Base Skill List
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2008, 04:28:13 PM »
You have 460 points to add to the base skills among this list. Or, as mentioned previously, just send me a character concept and I will create a character for you that fits your vision - no need to worry about mechanics.

Base Non-Combat Skills

Bargain 15%
Climb 40%
Conceal Object 25%
Craft (specify what) 05%
Disguise 15%
Dodge (DEX x 2%)
Evaluate 15%
Fast Talk 15%
Hide 20%
Insight 15%
Jump 25%
Listen 25%
Million Spheres (Mysticism) 00%
Move Quietly 20%
Natural World 25%
Navigate 10%
Oratory 05%
Other Language (specify) 00%
Own Language (Greek; INT x 5%)
Physik 30%
Pick Lock 05%
Potions 00%
Repair/Devise (DEX x 4%)
Ride 35%
Sailing 15%
Scent/Taste 15%
Scribe 00%
Search 20%
Swim 25%
Throw 25%
Track 10%
Trap 05%
Unknown Kingdoms 00%
Young Kingdoms (history) 15%

Base Weapon Skills

Brawl 50%
Wrestle 25%
Cestus (steel glove) 25%
Sword 15%
Greatsword (double-handed sword) 05%
Knife 25%
Staff 25%
Club 25%
Mace/Hammer 25%
Morningstar Flail 10%
Axe 15%
Spear 15%
Scythe 05%
Strangle Cord 15%
Drayer's Whip 05%
Thrown Axe 10%
Thrown Dagger 15%
Thrown Spear 05%
Javelin 15%
Sling 01%
Bow 10%
Net 05%
Shield 15%

« Last Edit: January 25, 2008, 04:39:18 PM by Sianna »

Offline VandalSavage

Re: Hell or Plunder - Combat Determines Captor or Captive
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2008, 05:10:58 PM »
All done. 

Now to wait for a nemesis and come up with myths about myself.  Rather like real life.

Offline VandalSavage

Re: Hell or Plunder - Combat Determines Captor or Captive
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2008, 07:19:10 PM »
Here is a brief background entry.

Antibrote



A warrior of the Themiscyran Amazon tribe known as the "Daughters of Fire," Antibrote (Greek) was mentioned in Greek historian Strabo's annals of the Third Mithradaitic War in the region, "The Amasyad".  In Book 4 of the Amasyad, which covers the assault on Themiscyra by the Amazons, Strabo describes Antibrote's appearance:

"Like the golden bulls of Parthia, her flesh was the heaviest, the smoothest of brilliance, and swept in mighty contours from her wolf fur boots to the shining onyx of her hair, a restless mane that fell from ten hands high.  When the warriors of the Daughters of Fire were arrayed, she towered over them, truly seeming like Diana's hand had craft her to be installed in some vaulted marble temple. 

"And indeed there was a stillness about her; the listening quietude of caves and of mist-silenced mornings.  But when at last Charis, the Chieftess, roared out her charge cry and the young Daughters descended on the shielded ranks of Pontus below, Antibrote moved like thunder through the clouds, a fluid, flashing force.  In both hands she bore a vast, double-headed axe, but one hand was wrapped in chromatic charms of her own making, while the other was bound as though wounded.  And like the bull her golden body so well resembled, she collided with the forces of Pontus and bowled them like snipe from the briars.  Soon a dozen pyres of blood glowed on the titanic altar of her form."


Later mention of Antibrote comes when the tribe's lieutenant, Sahbra, is calling out the assembled warriors' accolades during a blessing before the first clash with the arriving Amazons of Amasya:

"...And five honors be to Antibrote, who gathers the names of things on stones, who tends the children of silent moments, who is our wall, who eats salt and speaks honey, who tells us we will never die so long as we choose to live."

Peripheral mentions of Antibrote make her out to be young, the daughter of one of the tribe's elder warriors who had retired from the field of battle and become the mistress of dye work for the Amazons of Themiscyra.  She is seldom seen in the social gatherings of other girls her age, leading some scholars to postulate that she was a social outcast, despite her many "honors."  This theory puts forth the notion that her size prevented her from being very close with the others. 

All evidence is that Antibrote was a proficient warrior foremost, and one of remarkable beauty, but also a solitary, perhaps even philosophical individual, adored but not truly understood by her tribe.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2008, 07:22:18 PM by VandalSavage »

Offline SiannaTopic starter

Re: Hell or Plunder - Combat Determines Captor or Captive
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2008, 05:45:39 AM »
Antibrote sounds fascinating. I can't wait to see her in action.

As soon as we have a few more players on board we will commence.

Who among the huddled masses is bold enough for Hell or Plunder?

Offline VandalSavage

Re: Hell or Plunder - Combat Determines Captor or Captive
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2008, 03:34:57 PM »
It seems we have as much difficulty as Agamemnon in getting this epic war going.  If only I had a daughter I could sacrifice for the pleasure of the gods.

I will keep hope alive.  There is little joy in fighting with myself, after all.  That's what solitary writing is more about.  I trust that soon the devout writers will look on the bright side of the potential for uncertainty the combat element holds, and the combat dedicated players will see the potential in the character development.

Surely sooner or later someone will step into the woods with us.

Offline Cherri Tart

Re: Hell or Plunder - Combat Determines Captor or Captive
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2008, 09:41:36 PM »
oh oh oh! this sounds delightful! umm... i'd like to try this out if you don't mind waiting a day or three for me to put my warrior together?  i'm not very big on stat games, but i'd even be willing to try the point and dice method if that makes things easier on everyone? :)

Offline Apple of Eris

Re: Hell or Plunder - Combat Determines Captor or Captive
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2008, 10:15:54 PM »
Damn you cherri, you shoulda joined the Pirates of the red river game. I never get to play with you! *whines* ;)

Offline SiannaTopic starter

Re: Hell or Plunder - Combat Determines Captor or Captive
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2008, 11:14:38 PM »
oh oh oh! this sounds delightful! umm... i'd like to try this out if you don't mind waiting a day or three for me to put my warrior together?  i'm not very big on stat games, but i'd even be willing to try the point and dice method if that makes things easier on everyone? :)

Happy to have you Ms. Tart.

You can either PM me an outline of your ideal character, or use the character sheet to design one yourself, whichever is most comfortable for you. I would guess that it will be a couple or few days before we are ready to begin. I would like to have three or four more players.


Offline VandalSavage

Re: Hell or Plunder - Combat Determines Captor or Captive
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2008, 11:35:59 PM »
oh oh oh! this sounds delightful! umm... i'd like to try this out if you don't mind waiting a day or three for me to put my warrior together?  i'm not very big on stat games, but i'd even be willing to try the point and dice method if that makes things easier on everyone? :)

Very fine to hear you're interested, Cherri. 

I would imagine what may be easiest for you would be to compose a backstory and leave the numbers to Sianna, if you're unfamiliar with systems and such.  All the same, if you want to venture it, we can guide you.

Offline Cherri Tart

Re: Hell or Plunder - Combat Determines Captor or Captive
« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2008, 11:39:36 AM »
Just a quick update - i am working on writing up my Ainia and hopefully will have her done by day's end - i'm trying to put some care into her and it's taking a tiny bit of research to make her perfect - thanks for being patient - i'll PM her to you as soon as i can.  :)

Offline VandalSavage

Re: Hell or Plunder - Combat Determines Captor or Captive
« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2008, 03:11:11 PM »
Very good to hear things are coming along.

In the meantime, I hope more talent takes the field.

Offline Cherri Tart

Re: Hell or Plunder - Combat Determines Captor or Captive
« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2008, 12:55:34 AM »
yay - Ainia has taken the field!  *feral smile* 

Offline Cherri Tart

Re: Hell or Plunder - Combat Determines Captor or Captive
« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2008, 11:01:50 AM »
Ainia the Cat

She stood small yet fierce, the fire of Nemesis beating in her heart;
A silver dagger flashing in the sun, itís song swift and sure.


Unlike her Amazon brethren, Ainia grew not to great heights.  Small in stature, lithe and graceful, those are the attributes the gods bestowed upon her and yet they also gifted her with the heart of a warrior and the fierceness of a tigress.   Quick on her feet and quick to anger, her war like nature is tempered by the grace and beauty of a swan and a great love for her sisters in arms.  And so it is that despite her misgivings at alliance with a King of men, she has gone to war with her fellow Amaysanís against a rival tribe.

Upon the golden shore she stood, watching the waters washed with blood;
Her sisters lay about her feet while ravenís circled above.


Fierce and warlike in battle, and yet playful in peace, her sisters named her Cat, although some teasingly likened her to a tigress as well.  In combat, she eschewed the bow and spear that were common weapons of her people, and instead favored knives or the roman forged gladius (paired with a throwing net) or a bullet cast from a sling to, as she was wont to say ďget the attention of, and quickly at thatĒ her opponent.  And, although not strong, her natural speed made her more then a worthy rival in hand to hand unarmed combat.  Not possessing brute strength, she instead uses trickery and her natural athleticism, adhering to feats of a gymnast to keep her free of being pinned.

Thus she came upon the scene unheard, her footfalls unnoticed, the Romans never expecting that one could run so far and so fast as to spoil their plans.

Sure of foot and swift of stride, Ainia had long ago proven herself an able sprinter as well as a long distance runner.  As a game she would often run run the length of a field, offering bets to any who thought they might strike her with rocks before reaching the finish line.  Soon, there were very few who would take what they considered a fools bet.  As well, she is at home, hidden in shadows, often able to avoid even the most avid searchers, patiently hidden in the shadow, unmoving.

It is said that the furies were born with hair the color of flames, and yet Ainiaís is the color of rich amber honey.  Nor are her eyes black with death, but rather as green as the wood in springtime and her skin is dark from the sun.  Like the Spartanís whose prowess in battle is renowned, she prefers single combat to be conducted in the nude and even in armed conflicts, she goes lightly clad if at all, protesting that armor only hinders her.  Also, she is not unaware of the distraction a naked female form often cause when fighting a male opponent and is not afraid to take any advantage and all advantages she can.

She danced upon the points of spears;
Her cry wild and free.


She is quick to anger, and quick with words, and yet just as quick to forgive and forget.  Among her sisters, she is playful and teasing, although outside of the tribe she is slow to trust and it is often remarked by those visiting that she is shy, something that cause no end of amusement to those who know her all too well.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2008, 12:44:10 PM by Cherri Tart »

Offline VandalSavage

Re: Hell or Plunder - Combat Determines Captor or Captive
« Reply #17 on: February 02, 2008, 02:01:42 PM »
Splendid character description, Cherri.  It was compelling, thorough and evoked the tone of the setting.

Now I hope it will evoke other players as well.

Offline Cherri Tart

Re: Hell or Plunder - Combat Determines Captor or Captive
« Reply #18 on: February 02, 2008, 11:39:18 PM »
Thank you Vandal.  :)  and yes! really, now, i mean, it's got gladiators and amazons!  we should be turning away players!

Offline Garreth

Re: Hell or Plunder - Combat Determines Captor or Captive
« Reply #19 on: February 05, 2008, 01:51:30 PM »
On Vandal's invitation, I've decided to join in with this game. I didn't understand the first thing about that skill chart, so I'll just give you a description of my character, and I'm sure you can find me some fitting skills.

Pulcheria of Boratius

This story starts a little while back. You might remember that time, but I don't know if this particular incident did catch your attention. It was the day that general Boratius enslaved a whole village of Amazon women. Ionea was one of the fiercest warriors of her tribe. As agile as the otter, with her skin bronzed by the sun and her long dark hair she was truly a sight to behold. But it was her beauty that became her curse when Boratius decided to take her as his personal servant. He took advantage of her every night and it was not long, before her always so slender belly started to show a serious bulge. Boratius was very pleased with this as he had been without children and now he had someone to carry forth his name. It was not an easy birth; Ionea contracted puerperal fever and died a few days later. Boratius raised the child whom he named her Pulcheria, meaning beautiful in Latin, himself, hoping to teach her to become a proper Roman. Since the gods had not seen it fit to grace him with a son, he was determined to at least was a beautiful daughter. Unfortunately for him, Pulcheria had many of her mother's traits.

"Shhh, be quiet now, or they'll catch us" Pulcheria whispered to the three girls who followed her on the tips of their toes. Silently she opened the door and peered into the pitch black supply room. She knew her father didn't want her in here, which made it all the more fun to try it anyway. She would have to hurry though, because she was sure her friends could not keep the men who were supposed to guard this door occupied for long. If she had been by herself, it would have been easy, but somehow she always took the other girls with her, it was much more fun that way. She was just about to motion the other girls to follow her into the room as she heard an angry male voice at the end of the corridor. "What are you girls all doing here?! Get out!" followed by all sorts of screams and giggles from her companions as they fled in all directions. Pulcheria herself was the only one who thought of hiding inside the supply room, and duck away behind a barrel of wine.

It was that night, behind the wine barrel, that she found out about her origins, and it was the last night she was seen in the little Roman village. She felt the roughness of the sand under her feet for the first time in a long while as she ran into the woods where her father had told her never to go, because a tribe of evil women lived there. Her raven locks freely danced in the wind as she cursed her father, and everything Roman, for all times, forever.

Her youth wasn't easy after that. She always felt a bit like an outsider, with her dark Roman hair and her unusually curvy body. So she made sure she always had friends around her. She worked hard to win the hearts of everyone in the tribe. Even as she grew up, she had a great need to have people around her, wherever she went. Her favourite moments where to long winters where they would dance and sing, and she'd sing like none of the other girls could. Like all the women of her tribe, she received combat training, and though she didn't excel in any particular field, she took a liking for the bow, because she enjoyed sneaking around and preferred the surprise attack over direct combat. Usually playful, leaving the hunt to her more warlike sisters, she still gets particularly bloodthirsty when it concerns Romans. The only moment when she doesn't have people around her is when she enjoys her favourite midday game. Posing as a lost Roman girl and then leading any Romans that come to save her into a trap, stealing their money, supplies, and usually, all their clothes. She's gotten quite adept at it too, often returning to the village with valuable fabrics or gold.

But tonight is one of those evenings, that the fire is burning, and everybody is cheerful. They're asking Pulcheria for a song. Look, there she goes. She never refuses when people ask her to sing.

Maidens of the golden hills, of ancient trees, of Mother Earth, listen to my tale.
 The tale of a girl so far away, from homeland, house, and friends.
 She wander'd through the open field, and hummed a tune, a tune from home, a tune about her lands
 And all the people who heard her sing, were moved to tears at once.



Offline SiannaTopic starter

Re: Hell or Plunder - Combat Determines Captor or Captive
« Reply #20 on: February 05, 2008, 03:32:44 PM »
Welcome Garreth, So pleased to have you. Pulcheria sounds delightful. I really enjoyed her background.

I will work on her character sheet and PM it to you. There is no need to worry about the game system, it will all be behind the scenes. 

We need one more and we will be ready to begin!

Offline Cherri Tart

Re: Hell or Plunder - Combat Determines Captor or Captive
« Reply #21 on: February 06, 2008, 10:15:36 AM »
yay!  welcome to the fold, Garreth! 

Offline VandalSavage

Re: Hell or Plunder - Combat Determines Captor or Captive
« Reply #22 on: February 06, 2008, 03:35:42 PM »
Splendid work, Garreth.  Welcome.

Pulcheria's background adds another distinct character - something that's a gift to any story.  I'm excited to see how these three will interact.

Do we expect she would be among the Amazons of Amasya, then, who fight on the side of Rome's enemy?  Or among the Themiscyrans, fighting for independence from all nations of men?

Offline SiannaTopic starter

Re: Hell or Plunder - Combat Determines Captor or Captive
« Reply #23 on: February 10, 2008, 10:28:32 AM »
My apologies Garreth and all for being rather absent lately. I will be getting Pulcheria's details to you by PM sometime today barring a natural disaster.

We need another player yet, if any of you are able to twist an arm or drag a friend kicking and screaming to join us, we can get started.

Offline SiannaTopic starter

Example of Combat in Hell or Plunder
« Reply #24 on: February 11, 2008, 01:13:26 PM »
This is an example of how combat plays out with the Stormbringer system. It is as simple as writing what your character would do next.

The rolls, math and rules will be calculated behind the scenes based on your posts and character's skills. This example shows combat between 4 opponents (3 npc) simultaneously, in blue are the player posts (me) and the red are the GMs (VS) posts of results and NPC actions.

I'll post the same example with an explanation of how each result was calculated for those of you who are curious how it all comes together behind the scenes, but I will wait on that until we have a fourth player.


******************************

It was no time for thinking, nor did she want to. Thought was shoved aside with a violent lunge forward. She rushed into the man with the net.  She would not be pinned down!

Sianna shoved the shield at his flank and swung her sword low swinging upward, as if to cleave him in two.


Ungainly in the madding clots of mud, Sianna lurches like a bull shredding its hobbles and bursts into the Net-wielding warrior.  He dances aside, his trident shearing against her sword blow with sparks.

Before her shield can strike his flank, she hears the pop of the Two-Sword's weapon - Grund's man - shearing swift as a bullet for her head.  Her athletic form twists, bringing the shield up, blocking a slash of his gladius that surely would have severed her head in a single motion.

Then her shield must twist again, knocking the staccato jabbing of the trident away as the Net wielder stings it at her vulnerable side.  But, rather than press his advantage, Two Sword must turn as well, the mess of soil slurping vomitously around his boots, to bash aside the titanic swing of the Armored warrior's club.


Sianna's confusion is costing her and she makes an effort to focus on one thing at a time. The one with the net needs to go down before he can cast it. She swings her sword at him again.

Sianna's sword smacks like a bolt of lightning into the Net wielder's trident.  In a sparking eruption, the weapon goes hurling, end over end, into the crowd, slamming into the wood walls to impale point first, skewering a gasp from the stunned audience.

But the gasp is smothered by the wailing of the warrior, as Sianna's stroke carried past the spear, sheared into the chubby meat of his thigh, and cleaved a chunk out of it.  It looks like sectioned pork.  It sprays like a burst cask.

Blood blows everywhere in a theatric scarlet fan as the warrior clutches his leg and topples into the ground before Sianna, shaking and bawling, spit-strewn lips writhing in the mud.

The shocked crowd hoots, boos, cheers and snarls a host of half-formed demands and idiot expletives.  But in Sianna's immediate experience, there is only the warrior, now humbled to the helpless agony of an infant, pink and twitching, holding his chopped leg as he leaks color and sobs.

Behind her, the crash of wood on metal signals a fierce melee between Two Sword and the Armored warrior.

Spinning to face the two-sworded warrior Sianna set her stance and forced as much power as she could into the strike of her sword against the back of Grund's man's neck.

The crowd boos as Sianna lunges for the Two Sword's back.  They go silent as he whirls, striking her sword away, and nearly pokes her clear through the eye with his sword.

Knocking his blade back with her shield, Sianna swings it to block his next attack, but then feels the sting of his sword shearing through the armor plating on her shoulder.  It is a flesh wound - she bats his blade back before it can bite bone or shear nerve; she bats his next attack away - but is still an agonizing heat lancing through the whole of her side.  She can feel blood coursing down her arm.

The crowd cheers, hoots.  Two Sword spins, making the Armored mauler stagger back, his swing falling short.


She couldn't afford another fumble like that. If the damn noise would stop she could concentrate! The burning in her shoulder brought need the to dispatch Two-Swords into sharp focus.

Reverting to what she knew best, Sianna got her weight behind her shield and shoved it at him trying to topple him while her arm pulled up to slice at the space between the plates of his armor.



A blaze of motion results.

Her shield snaps up; he is cast back; he is springing forward; his sword is at her eye; his sword is sent hurtling off by her shield; her sword is in his belly and he buckles, wailing, goes down like a ruptured sack, crumples, and the Club wielder is coming in, driving his maul for her head; he is stumbling back, parried, groaning...

And the crowd roars in cheering her.

Spinning around Sianna's sword is a blur as it slices through the air at the stumbling Club-Man.

The Sword meets the club and is beat aside.  The crowd gasps.

But as his club rumbles down, Sianna's shield strikes it aside and her sword flashes up.

Only by barely catching it on his club does the Armored man keep it from piercing his gut, and sending him to join Grund's man on the ground in fervid spasms.


Sianna dives back in with the shield bashing at his flank and sword slashing toward his middle.

Sianna's shield sends him sprawling to collide with the wall, blood arcing from a broken lip.

His club beats aside the second attack desperately, keeping him alive and fighting as he struggles back to his feet.

"Stay down!" Sianna snarled.

Again she shoved forward with the shield with her sword swinging up toward his chest.


Bashing away at the club fighter, Sianna makes contact with his head, knocking into his broad shoulders and sturdy helmet.

The next blow glances cleanly off of his armor.

And when he swings, she follows with a skilled riposte, stabbing into the greaves of his layered armor and drawing a thin convulsion of blood.

He groans, backing up, then springing forward with a grunt and a slice of his maul.


"Down, I said stay down!"

This time Sianna lunged forward with her sword leading and jabbed it down at his knee while she lifted her elbow and bashed her sword at his face


Sianna sees the shield cleave for his knee; she sees his club dash down, deflecting the blow.  And she sees her sword point drive high, over his arms' long drop to where they blocked the shield.

She does not see where within his bronze helmet her sword drives.  She only hears the horrid, wet ripping noise - hears a clotted pop, and the pinging crackle of sinew pulling straight off of bone.  She only smells the ripe, sweet reek of blood as it jets from his crooked helmet.

Then she sees him collapse, wailing, holding his head in one hand, and tenderly cradling the fibrous stump of a dangling ocular nerve in the other.

The crowd rushes with a collective gasp.  Then they roar to cheer the victor - the victrix - of the grand event's ultimate combat.

In the stands, Sianna can feel the Wolf watching her with lambent pride.  But the first sight she sees above her in the stands is the form of Grund, bent nearly double in impotent rage, glaring down over the wreckage of his flopping champion to where the girl who bested his finest stands tall.