With the koldun on our side, the first obvious task was to acquire his fetter’s key so that he might be more than ablative protection—however, the fort was likely still on alert from the day’s catastrophe. The ideal plan of action would be for me to provide a distration while the Barathi wenchsneaks in to retrieve it, something easily done with one more item—a bottle of spirits. The woman took over an hour, but was able to retrieve it easily enough, and with it and my satchel of powder, along with a scrap of cloth from Roderigo’s sibling’s tabard (the musketeer will likely never miss it) I assembled a crude bomb, with which I promptly detonated the midden. In the resulting chaos the Barathi—a spider, I expect, as no other Barathi would have purpose here—retrieved the key without difficulty, along with a paper chronicling the discovery of an underground Kroyu ruin.
I need to see that ruin before we go.
By the time the Barathi returned from her errand, it was quite late, so we bedded down for the night. In the morning I began reassembling the glider so as to investigate the ruin while the Barathi went to inform the koldun of our success thus far, as well as to ask of any potential allies, I would hope. When she returned, she was adamant about waiting until nightfall to head to the ruins, an attitude I find myself unfortunately agreeing with in the long run. Besides which, I was now out of powder and was going to need more before we tried to take the supply ship.
So, the Barathi wench and I headed to the lake to head off the patrols there. We caught the first easily enough—I got their attention and headed into the bushes, waiting around the first bend, gutting one with my snap blade before they knew to react—the spider got two more at the same time. Of the three remaining, I had noticed the one on my left favoring his left foot as he followed me—most probably he had twisted his ankle on a root or suchlike earlier in the patrol. Expecting his slowed movement, I stepped forward toward the falcon on my right (thus placing the middle falcon between me and the one with the limp) with a shouted, “look out behind you!” As the rightmost one started, I speared the middlemost falcon in the throat, slashing free to slice the rightmost’s throat as well, then stepped aside to avoid the only feasable attack from the leftmost falcon’s angle. As he now found himself at the barrelpoint of my pistol and the only remaining support he knew of dead at the feet of an angry Barathi woman, he soiled his trousers, then yielded.
I couldn’t well shoot an opponent who had yielded. We commanded him to disrobe then tied him—upside down to a tree, using his trousers to tie his ankles, his belt to secure his arms around the trunk, and his stockings made a passable gag. Now, having taken the first patrol’s gear, we go to take the second lake patrol and by that time it should be late enough to head to the ruin. And for the first time since this adventure began, I feel well armed.