Bricks and Bats
Soubrette was already disliking this Tortage place.
Seems like no one does their job, and everyone's got an angle. And while corruption or double dealing have never been a problem for Soubrette, the caliber of crook in Tortage seems awfully cliche.
After making her way through the jungle, Soubrette delivered the tart Calsilda to the gates, with promises of debts to be repaid later she was glad to be rid of her. And while the gates to the outer territories of Tortage were open, the main gate to the city itself was manned by a guard named Laranga.
Seems Laranga doesn't really take his post as watchman seriously, and has a soft spot for half naked nearly drowned slaves. For while it would be a little too obvious to let me past the gate still wearing my slaver manacles, Laranga had no problems sending Soubrette to the blacksmith who's a little ways out in the wilds to have her manacles removed.
The blacksmith as it turns out... is building a wall. Which seems to Soubrette, to make him more of a mason, as opposed to blacksmith. But, I guess the guilds are lax out in Tortage, and any fool with an anvil and hammer is fit for the smithy.
Turach the "blacksmith" is so busy building his wall he needs Soubrette to take stones from a nearby quarry to help him in exchange for breaking the bindings on her manacles. For some reason the extremely convenient nearby quarry is too much for the blacksmith. And Soubrette smells trouble. Or possibly it's the nearby lava flow... sometimes sulfur smells like trouble too.
Soubrette starts off down the path to the quarry. At the top of a small rise the outlines of several men catch Soubrette's attention. They're armed, and don't seem to have the stature of town guards. Pirates, or misc marauders Soubrette guesses.
They don't seem to take any interest in Soubrette while she's a ways off, which makes her think they're guarding some pass.
Soubrette began to scout the area, examining a stream that ran along the path, and determining if the slope to the other side of the path would provide cover or opportunity to out flank the pass up ahead. The stream was no good, as it seemed to dead end into a small water fall, which was also guarded by pirates. The slope on the other side would almost work, except the pass up ahead curved to the right, leaving an open area between it and the slope. Soubrette figured she could probably use some of the plants as cover and sneak up on them.
After a few seconds of considering her options Soubrette figured creeping along the river's edge, using the plants for cover was her best course of action.
She drew closer to the two bandits, and spotted three more just behind them. A large boulder blocked most of the view on the right, but Soubrette could tell there were men on each side of the small wooden bridge that crossed the stream. Soubrette would be forced to make a frontal assault, taking on at least three and possibly all five of them at once.
As she readied an arrow on her bow, Soubrette made one last split second review of the situation. Take out the lead pirate on the right, engage the second one directly against the boulder, then use the rock to provide cover while attempting to pin down and eliminate the other men across the bridge. Seemed fun enough...
And just as Soubrette stepped out from the cover of the shrub by the stream... three people came charging up the path. The pirates on the path took aim with their bows, targeting the oncoming attackers. The pirates' first shots were off, and their arrows lodged harmlessly into the dirt. The oncoming trio barely paused to engage the pirates on the path. One large attacker, screaming battle cries, crushed the leftmost pirate with a blow from his battle hammer, and then all three pressed forward across the bridge.
This drew the attention of not only the pirates on the bridge, but also several others on the far side of the stream. With the developing melee leading away from her Soubrette took the opportunity to venture out onto the bridge.
The scene was utter chaos. The bridge defenders were engaged with the three attackers, only one pirate maintained range with his bow, the two or three pirates that were still standing toe to toe with the trio were fighting a frantic battle. Chopping and attacking with no real sense of timing or skill. It seemed like an idiot's assault. Several bodies lay on the ground and Soubrette couldn't really tell which were the brigands and which were the supposed heroes.
Not wanting to be left out... Soubrette walked up almost directly behind the last pirate still committed to his bow. Soubrette drew back an arrow, making a sharp whistle to get the pirate's attention... and instantly let loose an arrow at the pirate's head at nearly point blank range... the resulting impact nearly caved in the pirate's face... as the arrow passed clean through the pirate's skull. Dropping him to the ground, hopefully killing him instantly.
Soubrette looked beyond the crumpled pirate to see the quarry off to the left.
Several suitable bricks were just lying out in the open. Soubrette smiled as she thought the pirates would do well to simply sell the bricks and hire some decent mercenaries... that might do a better job of holding that bridge against attackers. Although they really should keep the area cleaner. Bits of bone and debris were scattered about, and the ground was stained with blood.
Soubrette quickly acquired the bricks, keeping a watchful eye on the pirates. She had two bricks squirreled away when she began to hear a low pitched screech. As the noise grew increasingly louder, Soubrette spun on her heels, drawing an arrow and fitting it into her bow all in one motion.
Expecting to find another pirate Soubrette was shocked to find a large demon bat directly behind her, which caused her to let loose a wild arrow.
The shot passed clean through the bat's leathery wing, causing no real damage. Although the wound clearly upset the bat as it began to screech menacingly. The demon's wings beat furiously, stirring up the dust and dried blood around the quarry. Soubrette tried to blink away the marble grit that stung her eyes, and set another arrow... but as she backed up to gain a bit more distance on the giant bat, she tripped over a large block of stone.
The fall left her flat on her back, her bow useless, her ass bruised, and her confidence sinking...
The demon bat screeched and swat at Soubrette. The talons on its long winged arms made long gashes across her forearms and chest. With the noise and constant flapping Soubrette couldn't get her bearings.
She did her best to deflect the demon's attacks with the haft of her bow. Trying to use it's length to push back the beast as she scootched backwards to gain her footing.
At least until the bat snatched Soubrette's bow right from her grasp. Taking the weapon in its strong claws and snapping it in two...
Maybe it wasn't the sulfur after all.
Desperate for some wiggle room, Soubrette rolled backwards into a somersault. Coming up on her feet in a tight crouch. Having no weapon, she reached for a stone block that was laying nearby.
As the bat approached, screeching and flapping, Soubrette brought the stone back, and flung it with all her might. Her muscles straining with the effort... a decidedly unladylike guttural scream coming from her mouth.
The pale marble block spun through the air. A dusty tail stretched out behind it. It hit the demon bat with a muffled crunch! Catching the demon in the upper chest, crushing its collar bone and knocking it out of the air.
The wound from the stone made flying impossible for the bat, and it flailed on the ground trying to retake the air.
Soubrette wasted no time. She quickly grabbed another rock and charged towards the bat. She dove at it, landing on it's wounded arm in a sort of awkward tackle, pinning it to the ground with her weight and proceeded to pound at it with the smaller rock. The bat screamed furiously against the pain in it's shoulder as it tried to pull free of its attacker but Soubrette was careful to keep her leverage on the beast and keep it down.
Bringing the rock crashing down on the bat Soubrette blindly struck the animal. She knew her only hope was to keep it down, keep it off balance, and smash its brains in with her rock.
The closeness of the beast filled Soubrette's senses. The odd leathery stench of it's wings, the prickly hair on its back... the loud piercing screeching noise, its beady black eyes and mouth full of sharp teeth. Soubrette just kept driving the rock into the bat's body... raining blows down onto it's back, neck, face and body.
She struck it until the hard muscles of the beast's back we a mish mash of lumps and dents. Flesh bent hideously askew, bones broken beneath the weight of the stone. She mashed the bat in the face... till the sharp teeth gave way to a bloody stump of a mouth and the beady eyes were replaced with a bloody red pulp. She smashed and hit the damn thing until finally the awful screeching stopped.
Her hand clenched tight on the rock, Soubrette eventually became aware of the searing pain in her own shoulder. Although more so from use, and not from injury. The realization that her body was screaming at her gave Soubrette pause.
Breathing heavily... and covered in gore... Soubrette realized the demon bat was no longer moving.
Standing on wobbly legs Soubrette got off the beast. She went and collected one last stone for Turach... ironically enough, the larger block she'd used to knock the bat down with. And decided that she'd had enough of nearby quarries for one day.
Her shoulder hurt... she bled from nearly a half dozen cuts on her body, and her ears would probably ring for a week from all the screeching but Soubrette had her rocks, and would soon have her freedom.
The pirates had not tried to re-position guards on the bridge so Soubrette simply strolled out of their camp.
Her body stiffening under the weight of the stone, Soubrette eventually managed to return to Turach. Dropped the bricks at the blacksmiths feet and held up her chains with a pissed off look on her face.
Turach mumbled some crap about Stygian steel, I suppose not noticing Soubrette was Stygian from being covered in blood 'n all ...and then broke the binds on her manacles as promised.
Compulsively rubbing her wrists, one arm hanging limp at her side... pain echoing every step. Soubrette made her way back to Laranga.
Soubrette presented herself...and her lovely new tan lines to Laranga. Bleeding, covered in blood, dust, dirt and generally looking like she'd had a roll in the hay with a butcher's apprentice fresh off of work. She was allowed to pass through the gate.
What a town....
Soubrette couldn't wait to see what she'd find inside. Hopefully the inn has a good store of cheap rum.