Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Paksenarrion--chapter 15-16

So Paks and her friends are trying to get back to the City of Robbers so they can tell the Duke that the rest of their garrison, and the dudes who took them hostage the first time, have all been taken hostage AGAIN. Only by way worse dudes, so this time the Duke might want to step on it.

It's also really likely that she, Saben and Canna are lost. They're kind of trying to figure that out right now. They get their bearings when they find the road...which is overrun by enemy soldiers almost immediately. Not good. Even better--they can't ask for food without endangering whoever they buy from, because they're wearing the Duke's colors, but they can't ditch the colors either, because then they'll be taken for bandits.

They eventually creep up on a farm to steal food, only to discover that the bad guys were there first, and the first thing they did was kill, maim and otherwise  violate the farmers.  They're also cooking a cow, which they abandon in a hurry because they have to high-tail it back to the garrison full of hostages. Because they'll be leaving soon.

Canna tells Paks not to think about what might be happening to their people. Paks can't stop thinking about it. Saben is still weepy over the farmers' families because they're a lot like his family too.

Reprovisioned, they take a second to look over Canna's wound. It doesn't look too bad, but she's got an open wound through the shoulder, and she's been crawling through the mud. They clean and treat it as best they can, and the chapter ends with them setting off.

Next chapter, they manage to make it through the night; Canna's wound is getting worse. Paks asks Canna if Gird, Canna's god, wouldn't heal her. Canna is aghast that Paks knows Gird does this sometimes. Apparently it's trade secret, and anyway it takes a Marshal or a Paladin--first mention of the latter--to heal.

"We could try," said Paks. Canna stared at her
. "What are you, a paladin in disguise? You aren't even a Girdsman." 
"No, that's true. But we need you to be well and strong."
 "I'm— oh, all right. If you want to. It can't do any harm."
They try. Something happens, but it's real vague and all Canna volunteers is that she can breathe a little easier now. She's doing well enough to suggest that maybe all the crossroads will be watched, and they'll need to be extra careful. They clear a few patrols, then run smack into a mounted rider. Paks handles it by throwing her pack at him, then running at him with her dagger. It's the only weapon she's got. Canna comes up from behind and kills the guy, while Saben takes care of the horse so it doesn't return to its stables riderless.

Canna's wound is doing better, though Paks is a little more banged up from the fight. They spend the next several days dodging patrols and fires--from villages and settlements the bad guys murdered and torched--and the chapter ends with them deciding that splitting up is still a really bad idea.

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