Upon Your Honor: Prologue

This is the story/scenario that came to me last Sunday. It should make for an interesting fictional piece, I think. Please let me know what you think. Warning: the Prologue has gratuitous violence.

It was a sunny day and a party of four was riding through the forest, toward the village of Kandel after a prolonged trip to the south. Rayland, Eben, Fonda, and Patrick had just spent an extended time on the dangerous seas. The party had found out many times just how life-threatening the relatively unexplored seas could be. After braving aggravated whales, battles with pirates, and battles with the weather, the party welcomed some solace on land. They had spent a couple of nights in the port town of Baden, then, somewhat weather-beaten and worn from fighting sails and men, the party finally set off for home.

Rayland was at point as the forest trail curved and then opened into a small open area. The trees gave way approximately ten to fifteen yards on either side but did not completely yield to a field, only allowed a small, grass-covered clearing in their midst before closing up again. As Ray rounded the trail, he saw two rough looking men assaulting a woman on a horse. One man had the horse’s reins in his hands and the other had a fistful of the woman’s skirt. With the other fist he held a sword pointed under her ribs. “We’ll ‘ave that purse presently, if ye’re expectin’ to live another day!” the one growled prodding the sword for emphasis.

From what Ray could see, the lady was in no position to defend herself, nor did she look the type who was able to. The lady was unarmed and dressed, not lavishly, rather as a low-born lady clothes herself. Ray was part of a noble party (not in blood, but in deed) and this scene did not bode well in his mind. Ray made up his mind to call out to the ruffians while he was a ways off, taking their attention off the lady, but also giving his friends a chance to hear him and to catch up. “What is the meaning of this!?” Ray called in a very annoyed voice. He halted his mount to see how they would answer him.

“We’re earnin’ our bread, and if you don’t want to be donating your wealth as well, I reckon you’d better just stay off,” growled the one with the sword. As he said this, the guy with the reins switched them to his left hand as he pulled a sword free with his right. Ray could hear his three partners coming up behind him. A quick show of force should put a stop to this, he figured.

When Ray could see his party behind him, and he knew they had armed themselves to prepare for trouble, he spurred his horse toward the two highway robbers. When the two saw him coming, they let go of the lady and her reins to face his charge. With the advantage of a charge and the position of height, he started swinging at the robber on the left side of her horse, the one who had been holding the lady’s skirt. Since the men had let go, the lady reined her horse and made a move to seek safeguard behind him.

Riding in through the opening in the trail, Eben saw a lady rider who was positioned behind Ray draw a long, shiny object from somewhere beyond his view. As she lifted it high in the air, Eben saw it was a dagger. He opened his mouth to shout Ray a warning, but before any sound could come out, an arrow hit him in the right side of the chest. There were archers in the forest! It was an ambush! To Eben’s left Patrick had been hit with two arrows. One completely penetrated through his left thigh and into his mount, the other into his left shoulder. Eben could see that the only one left in their party of four, Fonda, was ducking low but she seemed uninjured. Eben, however, had no air left in his lungs. The arrow had pierced it. His vision began to cloud at the periphery. Just before he lost consciousness and fell off his horse, he saw the lady rider plunge the dagger into Ray’s back.

Fonda knew one thing; she was in big trouble. She had been charging from the back of the party toward an apparent hold-up with odds in their favor. From her point of view it was a simple drive-off-the-robbers charge, but things had turned bad fast. Things were not how they first seemed at all. When it looked like the victim was seeking protection behind Ray, she had actually stabbed him in the back. Also, as Eben and Pat rushed to help, a large volley of arrows had come out of the woods from both sides. Eben had gotten one right in the chest, while Pat had been hit twice on his left. As soon as she saw the arrows, Fonda ducked down low to her horse to become a smaller target. After that first volley of arrows, she knew there was nothing she could do to help, especially against such odds. She spurred her horse for a direct course to the trail on the other side of the field, not caring who got in the way. As she was charging past the robbers, one of the men on the ground took a swipe at the front of her horse. The horse was going faster, however, than the man thought and instead of being able to cut the front legs out from under the horse, the sword was coming straight for the horse’s side. It took Fonda a split second to realize what was going on and that her horse was her only hope out of there. Almost without thinking, she stuck her right foot out to deflect the sword from the side of the steed. She felt a burning pain in her foot then felt the sword smash into her tibia as she raced past the man. Looking down she saw that the front half of her right foot was missing. The swing had gone through to hit her shin and break the bone. Fonda felt nauseous in the pit of her stomach. She knew she had to remain conscious in order to make it to safety. Vengeance for her friends’ deaths would only come if she stayed awake. She sat up to fight the nausea as her horse entered the forest again on the far side. Right before her horse turned a corner that would take her away from the ambush, she felt something painful hit her in the back. She didn’t dare turn her head to find out what it might be. Gritting her teeth from the immense pain now spreading down the left side of her back, a pain that made her forget about her foot, she crouched low once again to her mount. With each beat of the horse’s hooves the pain became worse and Fonda wasn’t sure how much further she would be able to make it.

End Prologue. Discussion: I know some people may be thinking “Killer GM!” and if this was a game, they wouldn’t want to play just to have their character’s killed, but here’s the scenario behind it. These are not the characters that the players would make. I’d give them these pre-made and tell the players to run them until they got to the village, where their choice of characters would be waiting to take over. Isn’t that much nicer of me?

PLEASE share what you think of my story!! :beg:

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5 Responses to Upon Your Honor: Prologue

  1. Mark's LSW (Karyn) says:

    My biggest suggestion is to work on different names. Names are very important.

  2. the Sage says:

    Roger…that’s a great action sequence, but I’m a little confused as to your purpose. In the beginning you describe it as the opening for a story, but at the end it sounds like it’s meant to be the scenario for a game. Which is it? If it’s a game, I’ll reserve comment because I know next to nothing abou the world of these fantasy games. If it’s a story idea, then there’s more I could say.

  3. brian says:

    Hey, I read it…I’ll let it stew for a while and then let you know my impressions!

  4. Roger says:

    LSW: Are there specific bad names (like Fonda) or just the names in general?
    I do like to use somewhat obscure names as well as alternate spellings. Do you think that annoys the reader?

    Sage: Treat it like a story idea. This is just the prologue, mind you. I don’t know if that makes any difference.

    The purpose, which I maybe should have explained to my critics though anyone starting the story wouldn’t know it, is to set up a reason for my main characters to partake on an adventure against a well-run group of bandits (and maybe something more sinister controlling them…)

    I’ll explain this in the comments, too, but didn’t know if you’d catch it there.

    Also, “the world of these fantasy games”. This is supposed to be set in a real, historical setting. Hopefully I only need to take small artistic liberties here and there.

  5. Jerramy(orig speling not alternate) says:

    Good hook here. A little loose on discriptin in the beginning but picks up. (I would replace the wording on “battling the weather”, it is very poetic but repetative considering the “battling pirates” come right before it. If I had been in this group I would have done the same thing as they did. . .who in gaming wouldn’t. Though if I was a ranger or fighter with any great skill with a bow I would go for a dramatic entrance with a shot to they “robber” with the sword alreay out and then charge. Names are a dime a dozen. . . no worry about the names. This does not speak to me as a specificly fantasy setting, nothing so far has peaked of magic or pantheons, this could be a medieval roleplay devoid of magic or anything else other than a central faith and feudalism. The story speaks well and the writting is strong. . .keep on oh bard of prose.

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