A Warm Welcome to my Blog

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Going Dark

House move going ahead, this is the big head line news of this year so far.

Tomorrow we should move house, it's been quite traumatic but up untill about 15:00 today we didn't know it was confirmed for tomorrow.

Things have been a bit quiet on the blog lately, I still have to write up the games from DevLAM and there has been some WWl planes flying around the house lately but no game reports forthcoming. I'm really slacking with this.

I don't believe we will have internet for the next week, and things might be a little fraught with Mrs V insisting on us concentrating on what she considers the important matters, like decorating and unpacking, but it probably means I shall be focussed on the trivial day to day minutiae rather than on the important things of a wargaming nature.

Hopefully it will be short lived.

Thursday, 24 January 2019

The Attempt to Rescue Fukushima Masanuri. Part 2

This the follow on story from the previous post.

Time moves on - the Shinobi is back in his tree and a plan has been agreed with Matsuki. The Shinobi will enter the prison house during the night and hide in the rafters of the building. In the morning when Fukushima is unchained and Ichi goes for his breakfast, Matsuki will lead a picked band of warriors to rescue Fukushima, the Shinobi will then prevent any enemy from entering the house and dismembering Fukushima before they arrive.

Dark falls again and Soko is back on guard, gazing hopefully at the lantern, waiting for it to go out so he can climb into Yoshiie’s warm bed. The hut at the end of the village has been commandeered by Katagiri, the Samurai in charge of guarding Fukushima.

He seems to have had more success with Kami than Inori did.

The night passes and as the guards change the Shinobi moves stealthily into the village, he easily enters the hut that is acting as the prison and has devised a clever way of replacing the bar on the door so that no one knows he is inside.

The bar is hinged at one end and drops into a bracket at the other, by slipping a loop of line around the opening end Ichi who is inside can put her arm through the window and hold the line, keeping the bar open and then when the Shinobi is inside they can lower the bar into the bracket and slip the line pulling it inside. No one can see the bar has been tampered with and the only downside is they are all imprisoned.

Morning has arrived, Mate has sent the children off with the water carrier, peace reigns around the cooking area, Oe takes his first sip of Rice wine and greets the day.

Inori emerges from the warehouse with Hidemoto, before anyone asks, they are only sleeping together for convenience.

He makes his way over to the prison hut and unchains Fukushima, he is completely unaware that there is an armed warrior 3ft above his head in the rafters.

Seeing the bright yellow kimono of Ichi crossing the road, Matsuki and his band of trained killers start to move towards the prison hut, Hidemoto has his back to them and fails to detect they’re there.

How does it go - altogether - “He’s behind you”.

Matsuki has instructed the two Ronin to remain behind and guard the road, they are to stop anyone escaping from the village and raising the alarm. He believes that there is only one Samurai to deal with, who will almost certainly be un-armoured and will be no match for three heavily armoured opponents. He does not expect any resistance from the villagers, they will be cut down like rice in the field.

Hidemoto finally hears a noise behind him and turns, it is too late for him to run or he was too brave to run but he raises his garden hoe to defend himself against the long Nodachi of the famed samurai warrior Kobayashi Yoshiro. On this side of the road Yoshiie is on guard and surprisingly he stands his ground when charged by the fearsome figure of Ishida Takeshi. The alarm is raised and everyone is alerted to the presence of the intruders.

The fighting is swift and deadly, deadly for the villagers they are both killed at a stroke, well 2 strokes but that’s just being pedantic.

The village brats look on in horror as their relatives are cut down.

Inori knows he is not going to be forgiven a second mistake, he is responsible for keeping the prisoner secure and so against his better judgement he attacks Yoshiro.

Katsumo hearing the commotion has grabbed his Katana and rushes straight at the victorious Takeshi, sure enough he didn’t have time to don his armour so he is at a major disadvantage.

In the mean time Matsuki has entered the prison hut and is bowing low to his master the Lord Fukushima, the Shinobi has already dropped from the rafters and is prepared to leave, but etiquette has to be observed first.

In spite of having some protection from his light armour Inori has been cut down quickly.

You might not have noticed so I’ll point it out, Oe the wine drinker has risen, and thrown off his old clothes to reveal he is the renowned swordsman Hanzo who is working for the Lord Hirano to ensure that Inori and Katsomoto obey his orders.

Katsumoto is fighting for his life and has been pushed back across the beaten earth of the village compound, but Katsua Takenori his friend emerges from the hut, this is a bit of a surprise to Takeshi he was only expecting one Samurai opponent.

The water woman shouts to the brats to stay out of the way, they might be young but they have enough sense to obey her.

I was hoping they would get in the way and trip one or other of the fighters to make it a bit more interesting.

Katsumoto is a demon fighter, his attack is better than Takeshi’s defence and in spite of Takeshi’s armour he takes a bad wound that lay’s him low. The defenders are fighting back and wounding Takeshi is a major point in their favour.

In the prison hut, etiquette is still being observed.

Katsumoto has reached the door of the hut and drops the locking bar in place, inside the hut, etiquette is still being observed. They failed to activate for 3 moves and now all three of them are prisoners.

Just in sight on the left Hanzo has attacked Yoshiro and beaten him back, pushing the fence over in the process and things are now starting to turn in the defenders favour. Yoshiro’s defence is much stronger than Hanzo’s attack, but sometimes lady luck is on your side.

Yoshiro has shouted for the two Ronin to come and help, they were more afraid of disobeying Matsukis command that they didn’t obey at first but in the end decided one of them should go and the other stay and guard the road.

They’re turning out to be a right pair of Jobsworths.

There is a loud ringing of steel, blade on blade but Yoshiro has pushed off the fence and is fighting back against Hanzo’s attack, the fence relieved of the pressure flips upright again.

The Continuity Dept is going to get it in the neck if they don’t pull their finger out.

If you go back 5 or so photo’s you will see Ichi is behind the village defenders, I hadn’t really thought she would take part in the fight, after all she’s only a girl.
(Although if you’ve read many of my games, you will know the female is usually much more deadly than the male).

Anyway I hadn’t generated any stats for her but I decided she would help in the fight at least by pushing one of the enemy fighters off balance so I rolled for her stats. I’ve not got round to creating the full cards for these figures and so I’m only using Rep as a catchall, Brains, Guts, Constitution, Attack and Defence. As usual I used an average dice to roll stats and she got 4,5,5,5,5 and 5, high is good. So it turns out I was completely wrong when I said she was Fukushima Geisha, she was his bodyguard incognito, she kept that from me as well as everyone else.

OK no problem she will attack Takenori in the back, but she rolled 6 and 6, she needs 5 or less to attack, bugger that didn’t go well.

Soko sees the involuntary move she was about to make, he gets a rush of blood to the head and attacks her, his intention is to subdue her rather than hurt her.

Well he’s no fighter and she is, but he beats her with a quick smack to the head, she is stunned for a minute and in that time the old man joins in the fight.

Together the two of them are stronger and manage to overpower the poor woman and tie her hands behind her back.

While that was going on the last Ronin had decided to abandon his post guarding the road and as you can see in the distance the village women are making a run to fetch help. Unfortunately with some bad dice rolls this is going to take a long time.

The fighting is starting to shift in favour of Yoshiro and Juro and our two hero’s are being pushed back as the final Ronin tries to get in the fight to help.

This is complicated by the fact that Yoshiro adhering to the Samurai code tells him to back off.

Quick close up of the fleeing womenfolk.

Ichi is being escorted away, hopefully not to a fate worse than death.

As they hadn’t invented TV she couldn’t be forced to watch 2 episodes of East Enders back to back, so it can’t be a fate worse than death can it.

The fights went on and on and on, Hanzo bottom left is being pushed back and back and back, but every so often he revives and stops Yoshiro in his tracks but he can not defeat the armour of the Samurai.

The Ronin and Takenori top, are very evenly matched and the fight sways one way and then the other.

Katsumoto bottom right had decided to stand guard by the door and hold the prisoners in place but the second Ronin had attacked him and has forced him back away from the door.

In the distance the Ronin Juro has finally been defeated, but Hanzo is still here fighting for his life. The problem was that they both have a blistering defence but a poor attack and Yoshiro’s armour meant that Hanzo could never get enough hits to inflict any damage.

Out of sight the other Ronin has also beaten Katsumoto, so we are still 2 on 2 with 3 locked up in the prison hut, it could go either way.

The Ronin rushes across the road and attacks Takenori.

Just as Yoshiro finally defeats Hanzo.

He turns and staggers up the road shouting for the Ronin to stand back, this is a fight for Samurai.

They are both tired but.

It’s over quickly and the interlopers are victorious.

All the villagers have disappeared there is no one left to fight, Yoshiro opens the locking bar and greets his lord Fukushima Masanuri.

They can hear horns sounding and know that Hirano Nagaysu is coming with his retainers and so the remaining members of the Fukushima clan make haste to leave, but in a dignified manner.

Hirano arrives in the village and is greeted by the dead and wounded, there is no sign of his prisoner, the only good news is that the Geisha Ichi is still a captive of Soko.

Well that went this way, and then that, and then back again.

I realised I’d made it too difficult to hold the prisoner, but at that point Katsumoto locked the door taking out 3 fighters and so it swung back to quite an even game. Not sure where this goes now, will they declare all out war or call it a day, honour satisfied.

Well if you’re still here, thanks for reading and if you’ve any thoughts let me know.

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

The Attempt to Rescue Fukushima Masanuri. Part 1

 In spite of the company of Ichi his favourite Geisha, Fukushima Masanuri is growing restless at the delays in the negotiations to secure his release.
He has been held as a guest of honour at the small village where he was captured a month before and is beginning to question the loyalty of Matsuki Hiroto his right hand man.
Matsuki is not the brightest star in the sky and he has decided that rather than pay for the release of his Lord it would be better to effect a rescue that would bring much honour and renown on himself and save vast sums of money which he would hope to share in.
He hasn’t really considered the outcome should this plan go awry.
Inori the village headman in his finery, proud and bold before his fall from grace.
Some time ago there was a story of Inori’s attempt to win the favour of his Lord, Hirano Nagayasu and also the hand of the girl next door Kami.
Neither of these was entirely successful, he didn’t lose his head which was one option Lord Hirano had considered, nor did he win the hand of Kami, but he did retained his position as the village head although now he sleeps in the storehouse until this mess is sorted out.
He is grateful Hirano decided the pigs needed their sty otherwise that might be his current sleeping quarters.
Hirano does not want the world to know he can’t maintain control of his retainers and so to avoid loosing face has accepted the situation, but perhaps he’s just biding his time.
Maybe Matsuki should heed the lesson to be learned from Inori's fall from grace, although I'm not sure he was in grace in the first place.
A view of Inori’s village from the south side.
Bottom right Inori’s alternative home the pig sty and far left his current one the grain store, the centre hut used to be his accommodation, a fine place as befits a Headman.
This is now occupied by the captive Samurai Lord, Fukushima Masanuri and his Geisha Ichi.
A typical evening scene in the village, happy families, Mate, poor woman has her fire out of control, the kids out of control, and the men folk have started drinking when they should be turning the spit. Does nothing ever change?
There’s a dark shape by the tree. - The village is under surveillance.
I told you Matsuki had a plan, quite a simple plan really, he’s paid a Shinobi warrior to reconnoitre the village and provide detailed information so that Matsuki can release his Lord and get the reward due to a man of his intelligence and stature.
He is quite a small man with limited intelligence so the reward might not be all he hoped for.
The Shinobi is checking the movements in the village to see if this rescue is possible.
Night falls and the village is quiet.
The Shinobi moves down into the village, but there is a problem.
A guard on the door, he doesn’t look very awake, leaning on his spade like that, but the Shinobi can’t take chances.
He watches and waits in the shadows. Soko the guard - guards, - the light in the lantern burns out, that is the signal that his shift is done, he re-lights the lantern and goes to wake the next man on the rota.
Yoshiie is not happy to be woken for the next shift but even less happy when Soko slides into his still warm bed. Accommodation is tight in the village since the influx of prisoners and guards, so every bed is valuable.
This routine occurs twice and the next time this changing of the guard happens the Shinobi is ready, he has a short time to wake Fukushima Masanuri to discuss a plan.
The door is locked by a hinged bar on the outside, so it’s easy for the Shinobi to get in, however there’s another complication, Fukushima explains that when he goes to bed he is chained to the wall just like he is now, this chain is not unlocked until they break fast in the morning. This puts paid to the obvious ploy of making a run for it in the night, they will have to come up with another plan.
Time is up, he goes back outside and quietly closes the door, puts the bar back into place and then hears the new guard coming on duty and so slinks away into the night.
The following morning the Shinobi watches the routine. Inori comes and wakes Fukushima, Ichi then fetches his breakfast, they eat together and the days activity starts.
This is the view the Shinobi has from high in the tree the following morning.
Fukushima has demanded exercise and weapon practice and so Katagiri Katsumoto who is acting as his gaoler must humour him and besides you never know when you might need a new lord and protector.
He is under strict instructions not to injure Fukushima in anyway, unless he tries to escape in which case he must kill him, so they perform their practice using wooden staves painted to look like weapons.
A closer view show’s Inori still trying to make eyes at Kami, he never learns.
After the practice Katagiri is showing Kami his fine weapon and demurely she admires it.
The Shinobi thinks about the problem he has, and devises a cunning plan, but for now he slips away to report back to Matsuki that there is only one Samurai and a few villagers to deal with, unfortunately while he is gone the situation changes.
So far so good as the falling man said, the game is played, I just need to write it up, which as anyone reading knows is harder than it sounds.
Thanks for reading the first instalment, hopefully you'll read the next.

The follow on story is the next post.

Sunday, 30 December 2018

Rufina Grey Eye's first Mission

Rufina Grey Eye re-adjusted her hat and looked straight into the eyes of the most fearsome woman, no, - make that Wizard, the most fearsome Wizard she had ever known and gulped. “You want me to lead the men on this mission, do you think I’m ready” “Fire and Brimstone you Shrivel headed Toad, do you think I would send my apprentice, carrying my name and reputation on a journey into the unknown and not have faith in my judgement that you will succeed. You Goat Brained Piece of Frog Spawn what do you take me for, some Dew Eyed – Dew Eyed Thing that doesn’t know when all that training and time I have put into to turning you from a Cross Eyed, Wet Behind the Ears Urchin from the Street of the Lost and Damned, into an Apprentice of the Great Thanda the Grim has come to fruition”

Thanda seemed to swell with indignation at this slight in her judgement, so much so that Rufina was worried that she would be turned into a Natterjack toad again, the last time Thanda was this angry she hadn’t been released from the spell for six new moons, that’s a long time as a Natterjack. She couldn’t stand insects anymore after eating them for six months, they felt like grit in her mouth, and the feel of mud between her toes and the constant croaking uuuruug, uuuruug, uuuruug. “I’m sorry I shouldn’t have questioned your judgement, obviously I’m ready, if you are sending me – then I’m ready”.

“Of course you are ready and to make sure I’m sending Aneka and Valeria with you”.

Rufina went white, Aneka was an accomplished warrior, one of the best Ruffina had ever seen, although she hadn’t seen that many but Valeria was – well Valeria was slightly insane, she carried 4 razor sharp knives and could fillet a fish or a man just as easily, she had a far away look in her eye, the left one, the right looked straight into your soul and pierced you through and through, worse than the knives.

Ruffina decided it was probably best to keep quiet and with a slightly strangled sound in her throat, she said “When and where”.

“Nicholas Price has come to me and requested we help him release his daughter, she has been taken captive by Yukio the apprentice to that piece of androgynous slime Sakura Tu. It’s a bit complicated because she is the maid servant of Thoria, the Lady of Argenis, you know of my relationship with the Lord of Argenis don't you, but that shouldn't come up if you are careful, you will be careful, - won’t you”. Ruffina realized this question didn’t need a reply. “Good”.

They are on their way back to Sakura Tu’s Black Tower and you will intercept them at the village of Grook, a backward hameau in a backward country. Aneka has chosen the warriors to accompany you, but understand this Ruffina Grey Eye – you are my apprentice, you carry my name and the name of Thanda the Grim carries power and death to my enemies, you will not let me down.

Well there’s no pressure for Rufina, a quick snatch and grab and then run like hell, that should work OK.

Aneka had chosen the rest of the band with care, there was another warrior to help with the heavy lifting but she had been able to get Akira the Bard and Tina to accompany them. These two had different accomplishments that she hoped would prove useful.

Rufina's plan is to send a couple of the band into the hamlet to find out where Yukio and Nic’s daughter are, then they can effect a rescue with the least difficulty.

Yukio was going to be the biggest threat, well maybe not the biggest threat but Rufina had to best her or Thanda was not going to be pleased and that would be unpleasant. So Yukio has to be neutralised and degraded which would reflect badly on Sakura Tu, which would reflect well on Thanda, which would reflect well on Rufina. OK got that.

There are 13 encounter tokens placed randomly, those in a building will stay put and those in the open will move about in a random direction.

The inhabitants of the hamlet can provide information on the location of the various groups, if you ask the right question in the right way and don’t upset them.
Gormy Gilbert, is one of them but he's not the worlds brightest star, or even the hamlets.

The bee hives are on the outskirts of the hamlet which is renowned for its honey production.

Although cabbage broth is the staple diet.

Akira the Bard moves up the road from the south. Travelling as a musician is a good way of not attracting unwanted attention and generally receiving a warm welcome where ever she goes.

Tina, who has other skills, has swung in a big circle to enter the Hamlet from the north, there are a few villagers about, or should that be hamleters but no one else to be seen. She peers in through the window of the nearest house and sees three surly looking fellows and maybe in the dark there is another figure, could this be Nics daughter, she’s not sure.

Moving further into the hamlet everything appears calm and still until Akira is blinded by a flash of blue light, as an encounter is revealed.

This doesn’t look good, a Fire Demon has appeared out of a worm hole in space, she’s never seen one before or indeed anything like it and her legs turn to jelly, she drops to her knees and starts to pray. Up until now she hadn’t realised how the power of prayer could help, please make it go away, please make it go away, please make it go away.

Oh it doesn’t help at all.

James the peasant nearest to the Demon runs into the cabin and hides. A couple of other peasants see it and run away screaming.

The Fire Demon is confused, everyone has run away, most screaming or are stationary and praying, the Demon is inactive.
The sound of screaming attracts Eku, Temko and his dog who emerge from the open shed and see the Demon. It turns towards them and roars.

Temko and his dog beat a hasty retreat. (That dog has a very strange expression on its face). Eku stands his ground, I’m not sure if he’s rooted to the ground because he’s too scared to move or because he is a brave and bold warrior.

Gormy Gilbert has reached the outhouse and takes a last look around before deciding to hide in the small insubstantial building behind him.

Attracted by the commotion Yukio and his/her captives appear out of the cornfield along with Herosita Gonzalez and her bodyguard. I’m not convinced if Yukio is male, female or a bit of both, I slightly favour female, this is a very old Games Workshop figure I bought in a sale, very old as in maybe 35 years, so if anyone has a clue as to who or what I would appreciate the information.

She sees the Fire Demon and has in her repertoire of spells a Bind Demon spell which is most fortuitous, she casts the spell, there is a faint crackling sound, a slight smell of sulphur and the spell is successful.

Akira has meantime recovered her wits and stopped praying in favour of hiding, usually a more successful ploy when confronted by the Devils Spawn, or indeed anything bigger and more ferocious than yourself.

Yukio and entourage move forward to examine the Demon she has enslaved, although for how long this will last is unknown. Eku has drawn his sword and has even thought about advancing on the demon but fortunately Yukio has enslaved it before he could do anything rash, and deadly, deadly to himself I mean.

Time passes, night has fallen, Tina and Akira have stayed hidden and watch as everyone goes to their own hut to sleep. The captives and Yukio together with the Demon and an underling are sleeping in the Hut centre stage, the one behind it and left contain 3 guards and the rest of the guards, Herosita and peasants were scattered around in the other huts.
The two girls make their way back to Rufina and they discuss the Demon and how will it affect them.

There was a plan and as usual not a good one, that involved holding shut the door of the first hut which contains the guards. This should keep them secure in the hut, while Rufina practiced her spell casting through the window.
Aneka, is the best warrior but also the only one with a ranged weapon, a crossbow, so she will stay in the street and provide back up where needed most.
The rest of the best fighters will burst into the hut containing Nic’s daughter and overpower the Demon and Yukio, rescuing the captive and make their way out of the hamlet north before anyone is awake to stop them.

You can maybe see one or two flaws in this plan but I do like to keep them simple.

Constantinus The Falcon was aroused from his sleep by a strong desire to go outside and relieve himself, not the most opportune moment for the hero’s of this story. A few dice later I decided he had gone outside unarmed, well who takes a sword and shield to the toilet?

Using an insight test it turned out Aneka with the crossbow was most alert and activated first, Nic second and Constantinus third. Well he had just woken up and was sleepy.

Aneka is a crack shot and even though it was dark and she was surprised by her target appearing unexpectedly she managed to hit him and he went down OOF.

Nic rushed up and pushed him inside and pulled the door shut. Unfortunately he made a noise, a loud noise that woke almost everyone.

Rufina cast her best spell, an Elemental Bolt of Power through the window, there was a Phuuttt and she felt a strong tingling sensation in her right hand that went up her right arm and into the left side of her brain and made her eyes water.

In the back of her mind she could hear Thanda’s cold grim voice from the dark days of her early training. Why she couldn’t use Lucifer’s matches like everyone else when she had to light the fire she could never fathom. No she had to do it with a spell – a spell that felt just like this one, sluggish and damp. The same tingle followed by the same pain and same watery eyes.

The three assault assassins were not as stupid as Valeria looks, and did not go running into a darkened hut, knowing that the occupants were probably waiting, especially as one is a Demon of unknown power. They surrounded the door and waited to see if anyone or anything came out.

And it did.

They had the advantage of numbers and would be able to fight 3 against 1 and deal with it more easily.
That is until Valeria the fearless warrior ran away. Her bowels turned to water and her legs into pumping pistons that propelled her so far and so fast that she was taken completely by surprise.

Fight or Flight and her legs had decided they knew what was best.

Nickolas is not a strong man but on the other side of the door is Eku and he is a strong man, it’s an unequal struggle and he bursts out of the door just as Rufina repeats her failed spell but this time the result is even worse than before, the spell rebounds savagely and she is unconscious before she hit the floor.

Aneka is still reloading her crossbow and reflecting this is not going as well as she'd hoped.

Tina rushes to Nics aid. Maybe the two of them can hold the doorway.

After a desperate fight Atsuko and Akira beat the Demon and it steps back a pace, through the doorway. Only one of them can follow, Atsuko is the fearless warrior and she steps through the door and faces the Demon alone.

In the mean time Valeria has recovered command of her legs and has stopped running. She is standing off to the left preparing to return and aid her fellows. Maybe not as quickly as they would like.

The Demon wins the next round of combat and Atsuko is pushed back and the Demon follows up.

It lashes out and she takes a massive swipe from one of his razor clawed hands and falls to the floor OOF. The Demon turns on Akira the Bard.

But she is as deft with a sword as with her mandolin and beats it back, the Demon steps back from this onslaught but seeing Aneka desperately waving to indicate she wants to fire at the beast Akira doesn't follow up.

In the background Eku who has a rubbish attack but a brilliant defence is attacking. With some almost miraculous dice rolls he has pushed back Tina and Nic this leaves the doorway cleared and enables two of his fellow kidnappers to step out and help.

The fight is not going well for Nic, he is pushed back a second time and has his back to the wattle fence and can go no further. Tina though is fighting like a tiny, fighty thing and is defeating her opponent, he is backed up against the house. Budi Kusuma believes fighting is beneath him when he has men to do it for him and watches the proceedings with care.

Aneka fires and hits the Demon in the eye this pierces it’s force field and it disappears, or in my case falls to the floor, she turns to the fight behind and draws her short sword and hefts the small buckler. Nic is down on the floor and both Eku and his mate Budi are moving towards Aneka.

Valeria has recovered her nerve and is moving back towards the hut just at the moment that Yukio came to the door and sees her. Yukio also has learned the Elemental Bolt of Power spell and she casts it straight at Valeria, who takes the full force of it and drops to the ground OOF.

This is not going to go down well with Thanda the Grim.

Akira the Bard moves from behind the door and attacks Yukio who has time to cast a Wall of Safety spell. Unfortunately for her this fails and Akira stabs her with the pointy end of her sword and Yukio falls to the floor.

There’s been a lot of falling to the floor so far.

Eku and Budi have attacked Aneka, they have fought to a standstill and here the three of them have broken off the fight to regain their breath.

Tina in the background has finally defeated her opponent and he is rolling on the ground groaning. If you were being kicked in the head you would be groaning as well.

A long shot to show Tina charged to attack Eku, Aneka is also back in combat and Akira the Bard has advanced into the hut and is fighting in the dark with a man in a brown cloak.

Although not for long.

Out of camera, Aneka has defeated Budi and Tina and Eku are having a ding dong battle. However when they both step back for a rest he realizes he’s on his own all his comrades are either dead of hors de combat, so when they call on him to put up his sword he agrees without too much reflection.

This ends the fighting and our heroines pick up their wounded and along with the rescued prisoners they make their way back to Thanda The Grim, who may or may not consider this a victory worthy of some renown.

The surviving adventurers. Aneka leading the party home but she is well aware that some polish may be required before they tell their tale to Thanda.

The wounded ones. Elemental Bolts of Power are not so powerful when cast by Apprentices even when cast at themselves.

Is Yukio female, male or androgynous? I feel I should name the Fire Demon, but what do you call a Demon, apart from Sir.

Most of the rest of the villains.

Temko and a very shamefaced dog.

This is why he's shamefaced. When I was clearing the table I found Temko and his dog still in one of the cabins, hiding ? I had forgotten all about him.
C'est la Guerre.

Well this was Rufina's first mission, not too successful will they be able to put enough of a gloss on the story or will she have to spend another 6 months as a Natterjack Toad.

Well if you are still here - thanks for reading.