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Legends of Siege: The Wagon Train

Discussion in 'UO Siege Perilous' started by Val'lyn De'ana, Apr 7, 2015.

  1. Val'lyn De'ana

    Val'lyn De'ana Seasoned Veteran

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    Val’lyn wiped the sweat from her brow and returned to her crossbow’s sight, rubbing at it with the cuff of his near soaked cotton shirt. She huffed at the futility of this act; as the glass fogged up moments after this task. Peering through the moisture, she found the brown rucksack partially buried on the path.

    A bead of sweat now began to run down her back, itching all the way to her belt. She cursed openly, and scratched at it.

    “Damn jungle. damn sweat.”

    A stifled laugh broke through the thick air. She looked over, almost forgetting that she was not alone. A slim man with a wide brimmed floppy hat sat a few paces away, repositioning himself against a tree and fiddling incessantly with the hilt of his sword. He yawned and settled down into a more comfortable position.

    Val’lyn snorted as she glared at her company. “You haven’t been lying on your damn stomach for the last two hours,” she mumbled.

    "Lighten up, you old elf. It'll be here soon enough."

    She clenched her jaw. Old elf? First of all, she was no elf, but a proud half-elf. And old? Sixty is not old. Given, it was far older than most men ever made it to, but regardless. She swatted away a buzzing insect, sighed, returning her eye to the sight of the repeater crossbow.

    Val’lyn constantly told herself that she would get out of the mercenary business, move on, start a family. The same things every day. But she was stuck in her ways and she knew it. Mercenary work had taught her many things, but how to raise a family was certainly not one of them. Thirty solid years of bank heists, wagon train robberies and whatever else she could find tended to impair ones skills with the opposight sex.

    Being in this goddamn jungle doesn't help either.

    A far-off rumble came to her ears, drawing her eyes down the path. Her younger companion perked up as well, moving on all four to the edge of their cover.

    "It's coming,” he whispered mostly to himself, gleefully.

    Val’lyn huffed and shook her head at the youth's anticipation. She swore he had never been like that. She he shook out her shoulder and nestled her face to her crossbow’s sight.

    "Tell me when."

    The younger man waved her off, mumbling something incoherent under his breath. Val’lyn promised herself to push the kid off a cliff if the chance presented itself.

    The rucksack full of explosion potions came back into her view, all the while the rumbling growing louder. This wagon train was the only to come through the region, making the journey once a month from the Britannia down to Trinsic. The path was fraught with danger; privateers, thieves, wild beasts and monsters. The wagon train was designed to resist all and more. Except, of course, ten stones of explosives directly under the front axle.

    Val’lyn sighed. The plan had not been her own, she was glad to say. She would have been much more elegant about it. Explosive potions were loud and unwieldy, and quite possibly overkill in this situation.

    But she was getting paid all the same.

    The younger man, Nathan or Jason or something like that, began playing with his sword more rapidly than ever. The thought of him accidentally cutting himself made Val’lyn smirk.

    "Okay, it's almost here. Maybe just thirty more seconds."

    "Maybe?"

    Again the youth waved Val’lyn off.

    The rumbling had grown deafening and Val’lyn slipped in two wax earplugs, happy to have the silence. She had offered some to Jason or Nathan or whatever, but the kid had refused, saying something about how only old people like Val’lyn needed such things. Now, Val’lyn saw, the kid was wincing at the din.

    Damn right.

    A moment passed before the wagon train came into her peripheral vision. It was huge. This number of wagons was much larger than she had anticipated, but it was all the same. The number of explosion potions that had been thrown into the bag would be more than enough.

    The kid raised his hand and Val’lyn peered through the sight, instantly finding the rucksack. It was a hundred paces away easily, but she trusted her crossbow. The old stained Yew wood and even older Minoc steel had never served her ill in the past. The sight was a newer acquisition, the best on the open market she could afford.

    "Ten."

    Val’lyn slowed her breathing, steadied her heartbeat. She would get one shot before the lead wagon was past. They needed the wagons behind intact, and knocking out the lead on this narrow one way path would be the easiest way to insure success.

    The kid dropped his hand and a moment later the lead wagon clattered over the rucksack, almost obscuring the bag completely.

    Val’lyn squeezed the trigger and felt the hard thud of the stock against her shoulder.

    The wax earplugs did little to block out the incredible blast. A fireball bigger than any she had seen erupted into the air, the entire wagon shredding to pieces and disappearing in an instant amongst the chaos. Shards of splintered wood and twisted metal ejected in all directions, whizzing past her at phenomenal speeds. The momentum of the wagons carried them forward, preventing any chance of turning them around to avoid what was certainly to come next. The explosion flipped the second and third wagons onto their sides and slid through the brush, toppling trees and causing animals to scurry away in fright as they piled up one atop the next, spilling their contents of stone and lumber.

    After almost a full minute what remained of the wagon train came to a halt, the lead wagon all but disintegrated.

    Val’lyn snapped open her quiver. She loaded a second bolt out of habit; although the explosion potions had quite obviously done their job.

    "That was amazing!"

    The sudden exhortation startled her. The kid was sitting on his knees, his eyes wide and his mouth open in a childish smile. Val’lyn huffed again and stood. She was, indeed, getting a bit old to lie on her stomach for hours on end. She promised herself this would be her last job.

    Val’lyn reached down and grabbed her hat from the ground, flopping it onto her head. The leather was damp and heavy from the humidity, but she welcomed its weight nonetheless.

    From across the path, some one hundred fifty paces away, three men appeared from the overgrowth, touting weapons nonchalantly slung over their shoulders. They walked with a swagger that made Val’lyn cringe. If there was one thing she couldn’t stand more than kids, it was arrogant kids.

    Their leader, a thirty year old ex-soldier named Favian waved curtly across the way, not bothering to look. Something about his demeanor put Val’lyn on edge. His eyes glanced to and fro, landing on Val’lyn and the kid multiple times but never lingering.

    The party of three moved towards the second standing wagon, Val’lyn and Jason/Nathan converging on the opposite side. Val’lyn seamlessly slung her crossbow over her shoulder and drew a shining short sword from its sheath.

    If she had any prized possessions other than the crossbow, it was the sword. Plain leather wraps on the grip encompassed sleek metal, shining in the light from the habitual polishing Val’lyn put it through.

    The metal wagons each had large sliding gates on either side, and Val’lyn approached the corresponding door. She flattened her body against the coated steel and pressed his ear to the seal, silently raising her sword.

    Light rustling met her ears. She thought she could hear metallic clicking, as if multiple crossbow bolts were being drawn back. Before she could react...
     
    #1 Val'lyn De'ana, Apr 7, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2015
    RueTor, startle, Pignasty and 2 others like this.
  2. Val'lyn De'ana

    Val'lyn De'ana Seasoned Veteran

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    “Knock knock!” someone yelled from the opposite side, shortly followed by the concussive blow of another explosion potion blowing open the hidden lock. Simultaneously the distinct slide of a bolt being drawn back caused Val’lyn to draw back and sink to her knees, pushing herself firmly against the large wood and steel wheels. Both doors were forced open in unison, bandits rushing in the one and three fully armed guards jumping from the other.

    A blast sounded off somewhere and Val’lyn took note of it in the back of her mind while raising her sword. The guards turned to the younger man and began swinging their halberds. A moment later Val’lyn followed suite by emptying bolts from her recently unslung crossbow.

    A quick squeeze of the trigger and the first guard fell. Val’lyn had not killed a man with the re-strung crossbow in a long time and had totally forgotten how over-powerful it was.

    The remaining guards jerked to see the body launch behind them, turned back too late. Val’lyn’s off-hand reloaded and recycled the crossbow, the second and third guard toppling over in turn.

    “Nice shooting, elf.”

    Val’lyn took a few deep breaths and slung the crossbow back over her shoulder, rising to her feet and turning to Jason.

    But the kid was sunken into the tall grass, motionless and clearly dead. The tall grass was stained with dark red. Only a moment of confusion followed, at which Val’lyn calmly turned to see Favian standing in the doorway, looking over the fallen guards with an amused smirk on his face.

    Val’lyn stepped forward and peered through the wagon. The man with the explosion potions was scanning over the interior of the car, the third bandit presently stepping up after his companion.

    “Poor kid,” Favian stated simply. “I told him it would be dangerous.” Val’lyn nodded absent mindedly, the cogs in her mind turning.

    Favian turned, motioned to the dimmer of the heavies, who obediently lumbered off and returned a minute later, a second burlap rucksack over his shoulder. He dropped it clumsily, eliciting an almost imperceptible flinch from Favian.

    Val’lyn had guessed what was in the second sack: more explosion potions. Much more, from the effort the heavy put into moving it. Too much for simply blowing open the vault wagon, she thought.

    The party paced back down the wagon train, weapons held aloft and at the ready. Near the middle was their target, a solid wagon covered all over in thick plating, the sliding door sealed from the inside. Angled slits allowed the men on the inside to see out but not be seen.

    “How many guards did you say there were?” Val’lyn asked, dropping a bolt into her crossbow.

    “I didn’t,” Favian replied with a smirk. “But if you must know, my contact told me four.”

    “How armed?”

    “Heavy.”

    “How heavy?”

    “Really damn heavy, Val’lyn,” Favian said, turning away and snatching up the explosion potions. Val’lyn chuckled under her breath. Sadistic, maybe, but she always loved making others angry.

    The group fell instantly silent as a muffled voice came from behind the slats. “You’ll never get in,” the voice shouted. “Give up while you’re alive!”

    Favian opened the bag and sunk his arm into it. “Yeah, yeah,” he mumbled. “Talk talk, they always talk.” He withdrew his hand, three explosive potions in his grasp. “Why do they always talk?” He stepped right up to the metal plating, wedging the potions into the slats. “I’ll give you something to talk about.”

    Val’lyn moved back to the trees, followed by Favian and the heavies. She pulled her crossbow around and shouldered it, crouching down behind the brush. To her sides she could hear the heavies ready their weapons.

    “Whenever you get around to it,” Favian murmured, tapping his foot impatiently.

    Val’lyn reinserted the earplugs and brought the sight to her eye, following them down the barrel and to the small sliver of explosive visible. Her breath slowed and she applied pressure to the trigger.

    Though much smaller than the previous, the heat and shockwave of the blast still pushed her back, rising into the air and dissipating in fine curls of smoke. She returned her eyes to the wagon as the smoke cleared.

    A hole about half a pace across was punctured into the plating, dagger-like fingers protruding into the dark interior. Somehow Val’lyn had expected a bigger hole.

    Apparently Favian had as well. He scoffed incredulously and cocked his head, eyes scanning over the hole. “How disappointing,” he stated dryly.

    A thin sound of crossbow fire came from the enclosed wagon. Val’lyn reacted by falling to the ground, her head whipping around the see one of the heavy’s spun by the shot, a fine mist of blood pluming into the dense air. Favian remained standing and drew his own crossbow, quickly squeezing off a bolt while strafing to the side away from the line of fire.

    The heavy was bleeding profusely from a wound around his collar bone. He stared over at Val’lyn, a puzzled expression splashed across his face. As the half elf watched, his face went lax, body relaxed with an audible finality.

    Val’lyn pulled her eyes away from the corpse and glanced towards the wagon. Favian had made his way forward, pressed his body against the plating, clear of the gaping hole. The remaining bandit mirrored him on the opposite side, long sword clutched in his grip.

    Val’lyn loaded the next bolt, by his count the last in the quiver, and stood. She was welcomed by a succession of crossbow fire, causing her to jump backwards to the safety of a gnarled tree.

    She glanced around to see Favian retrieve a vial of explosives. He pulled the stopper marking the timing of the inevitable explosion.

    Favian tossed it in. A cacophonous, too-loud blast echoed through the car. The plating seemed to bulge outwards slightly, the metal stretched from the heat and concussive force. Smoke poured from the hole and the pungent smell of burnt flesh filled the air.

    Content that the occupants were dead, Favian signaled over to the remaining heavy, who obeyed immediately. The man stepped onto the running board and stuck his head into the hole, peering around the interior. A moment later he withdrew and gave the all-clear signal.

    Favian, Val’lyn had noted, was not a large man by any stretch. Tall, thin, wiry. And now, the ex-soldier showed, he was quite agile. Effortlessly he pulled himself bodily into and through the opening, disappearing from view.

    Dull clanks came then the sliding gate rolled away, exposing the compartment beyond. Val’lyn strode across the gap, jumping up into the wagon behind the heavy.

    Her eyes were met with a grisly sight. Body parts, blood, entrails; they were strewn about, some even plastered to the walls and ceiling like a macabre sort of chandelier. Favian grimaced at the sight and the heavy leapt from the car, vomiting onto the tracks a moment later. Through the destruction, Val’lyn could make out a large steel vault inset at the end of the car, a six-spoked iron wheel sealing it shut.

    “How do you plan on getting through?”

    Favian shrugged him off. “Maybe I'll just knock.”

    Val’lyn was astonished to see him do just that. Favian paced across the floor, carefully avoiding the mess all around, slammed the butt of his crossbow against the door three times. The knocks reverberated about for a moment before dying away.

    Miraculously, the titanic gear began to turn. A series of metallic clicks and a final thump later, the vault swung open slowly. Val’lyn silently drew the final bolt into place. Her eyes narrowed, trying to discern any shapes. The hairs on the back of her neck bristled.

    Then a man strode from the vault, a long sword cradled in his arm, the uniform of the bank guards disguising him.

    “Hello, Favian.” He extended his hand and Favian grasped it in turn.

    “Jarin.”

    The man now looked about the car, seeing Val’lyn and the heavy for the first time. He nodded curtly to them, his eyes staying a curiously long time on Val’lyn's weapon.
     
    #2 Val'lyn De'ana, Apr 7, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2015
    RueTor, startle and Lore Denin (GL) like this.
  3. Val'lyn De'ana

    Val'lyn De'ana Seasoned Veteran

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    “Got a bag?” he asked.

    The heavy exited, returned with a second burlap sack, identical to the one holding the explosive potions. He threw it to Jarin, who immediately withdrew into the vault. Favian followed, the muscle bringing up the rear. She could make out the shapes of the three men and a large shelf behind them. She smiled despite herself when she recognized what lined them: piles upon piles of gold pieces.

    She was snapped from her thoughts at the distant, quiet grind of metal wheels. Favian and his men must have heard it as well; they stood erect and stared out into the car at her. Favian motioned to them to continue before joining Val’lyn. She didn't trust the thief by any stretch, but she knew she didn't have to fear a bolt in the back at the moment.

    Val’lyn pressed herself to the back of the wagon door and peeked around. Sure enough, a half dozen men were coming towards them, single file, various armaments at the ready.

    “How many?” Favian whispered.

    “Six,” Val’lyn replied. “Maybe seven.”

    Favian grunted and tapped Val’lyn's shoulder. They switched places before Favian withdrew and cursed under his breath. “Open the other side, flank them.”

    Val’lyn did so, unlocking the metal gateway and sliding it slowly aside. This side of the car was clear. She hopped down to the running board, shimmied to the back of the car, spying the first few guards in the gap.

    Favian' crossbow erupted and the first man doubled backwards, collapsing onto his companion. Shouts filled the air. Taking advantage of the confusion, Val’lyn jumped to the next car and ran along it to the end. The last man in the line was directly opposite him, staring forward singularly. Val’lyn slung the crossbow over her shoulder and withdrew her sword. She took a deep breath and steadied himself on the running board.

    Quickly she stepped out over the break, bridging the cars. The victim noticed him only too late, his features changing from astonishment and amusement to terror in an instant. Val’lyn plunged her sword deep into his chest. The guard's body toppled to the dirt.

    Without a moment's hesitation, Val’lyn swung to the next car and hopped just high enough for her hands to grasp the lip of the roof. She swung her body up, hooking a leg and pulling. She came to stand on the roof. She edged forward, first seeing the corpse and then the next man in line, swinging wildly this way and that like a cornered deer.

    Val’lyn found him swung, felling just as his companion, drawing the attention of the three remaining men. One spun around and instantly spotted Val’lyn above, drawing a crossbow up and firing from his hip. Val’lyn had ducked back not a moment too soon; she felt the breeze of the bolt past her hat.

    Another shot was fired, this time from Favian's direction; they were trapped, realization setting like a smith’s hammer. In unison they darted away from the train, trying to take the trees before being shot down. That, however, did not happen. Val’lyn quickly opened her reserve quiver and snapped in a fresh bolt, found their backs and fired three bolts in quick succession.

    A moment of silence passed before a spine-tingling shot went off. It sounded like a rocket exploding in a tin can. Val’lyn immediately knew that the last heavy had been done away with. And she was next on the agenda, now that all other opposition was gone. The suspicion was confirmed just as she thought it.

    “C'mere, elf. I have your portion of the loot,” Favian yelled. He was outside the wagon now, doubtlessly pacing rearward, attempting to find the ‘hapless’ old merc. Val’lyn removed her hat, wiped her brow with the back of her hand.

    “****,” she mumbled, looking at the wide-brimmed hat for the first time. Three neat holes now frayed the old hide.

    “Val’lyn! Don't you want your loot?”

    Val’lyn sighed hard and shook her head, infinitely tired of the incredulous voice. It was now time to shut it up.

    She waited, perfectly motionless, crouching down to the steel roof. Her hearing heightened as she searched for the slightest noise.

    And then it came. Elegantly, Val’lyn came to her feet, the crossbow pressed firmly to her shoulder. She pushed herself to the very edge of the roof, leaned precariously far out. It didn't take any more effort than that; Favian came perfectly into her view beneath her. Their eyes met. Val’lyn pulled the trigger just as she had countless times before. The bolt contacted with the center of his head; the result was profusely messy. The headless corpse collapsed to the grass.

    Val’lyn reloaded. She sighed, and inhaled deeply before getting back to business.

    Val’lyn traced the length of the wagon train with the sight, searching for Jarin on either side. Seeing him nowhere she continued forward, neatly jumping to the next car.

    A minute later she was atop the vault wagon. Val’lyn sat on the edge, well clear of the open threshold, dropped to the dirt, the crossbow never leaving her shoulder. She moved to the door and listened.

    Nothing.

    Val’lyn exchanged the crossbow for the sword, took a deep breath. A thought entered her head ands he sighed.

    She removed the hat and threw it into the doorway, expecting to hear a shot, or in the very least some betrayal of movement. But there was none. She peeked through the doorway into the dark of the vault. It was empty, save for the mess of remains, the bag full of gold coins and the still-warm body of the heavy. She jumped up into the car and retrieved her hat, returning it to her head. She felt naked without it.

    Val’lyn grabbed at the burlap sack and dragged it from the vault, still on the lookout for Jarin. She had not let down his guard, but every indication was that Jarin had run off when she had killed Favian. She stood and stretched her neck, swearing again at the humidity and heat. Every bit of her was wet and sticky with sweat.

    'Turn around. Slowly.'

    Val’lyn froze. '****.'

    'Turn around!'

    Val’lyn did so, raising her hands. Jarin was outside the train, crossbow in hand, smothered in dirt. He had been underneath the train. Val’lyn swore at herself for not checking there first.

    'Throw me the bag.'

    'You know,' Val’lyn began, 'With your friends dead, there really is no reason to fight. You take the money and we both leave, no harm done.'

    'Shut up, elf. Just throw me the bag.'

    Val’lyn grimaced. She was not an elf.

    And then another, much more relevant thought crossed her mind. Why didn't Jarin simply shoot her and be done with it?

    'Okay, kid. I'll throw you the bag.'

    Slowly so as not to alarm, she sheathed the sword and reached down, grabbing the bag from the mouth of the car. She picked it up and tossed it to Jarin, who caught it awkwardly, the crossbow falling from his shoulder. Val’lyn then saw the reason he did not fire: the firing mechanism was quite obviously jammed.

    Val’lyn smirked and drew her loaded crossbow. Jarin simply stared ahead, his eyes as large as saucers. 'I said don't move,' he managed, but his heart wasn't in it.

    Val’lyn shrugged and squeezed the trigger; Jarin pulled the bag up to act as a shield.

    A tremendous explosion erupted around her. Val’lyn was ejected from the wagon and soared through the thick jungle air, landing in a heap ten paces away in the grass. From the corner of her vision she could see a colossal fireball rise into the air, engulfing the vault wagon before fizzling away. Val’lyn's ears were ringing loudly and her eyes were watering. Her skin felt burnt and she was fairly certain her eyebrows were gone.

    The veteran dragged herself to her feet with much moaning and complaining and staggered back to the abused train. Leaning up against the opening, she stared at the place where Jarin had been. All that remained was a sizeable crater; not even his boots were left behind in the blast. Val’lyn curled her lips. 'Damn.'

    Then she figured it all out. Sitting in the middle of the car, just outside the door to the vault proper, the money bag sat innocently. She eyed it and then the crater, moving back and forth. Val’lyn fought back a chuckle at the revelation. She had thrown Jarin the bag full of explosion potions on accident. The blast had been the remainder of the explosives going off in perfect fashion. She clambered into the smoky interior and opened the remaining rucksack, flicking her eyes over the immense amount of gold coins.

    A smile curled onto her lips.
     
    #3 Val'lyn De'ana, Apr 7, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2015
  4. Val'lyn De'ana

    Val'lyn De'ana Seasoned Veteran

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    Hope you enjoyed this. But, just so you know, this was something I had on file, so it may be some time before I add another. :)

    -Val'lyn
     
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  5. Lore Denin (GL)

    Stratics Veteran

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    *Claps*

    Read the story to my son for bedtime, nice job ELF!
     
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  6. FrejaSP

    FrejaSP Queen of The Outlaws
    Professional Stratics Veteran Stratics Legend Campaign Patron The DarkOutlaws, TDO

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    Thanks for the story
     
  7. GarthGrey

    GarthGrey Crazed Zealot
    Stratics Veteran Stratics Legend GoT

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    looks for the "About the Author" page.