Gertie & The Gang

10. I want to trick them but I don't know if we're smart enough for that

Last time on The Incredible Adventures of Gertie and the Gang, things happened which are, frankly, a little difficult to understand. The whole ordeal can be summarized as "the gang got its ass confusingly kicked." Except Rudolfo, who had the good sense to be off somewhere else. 

As they return, battered, to the town of Soonsea, they have to wonder: what adventures will assault them next? Read on to find out… 

Upon returning to town, the thoroughly busted Gertie, Helen, and Elvis meet up with the fresh-and-rosy Rudolfo. Naturally, it's time to drink beer and trade the tales of what has happened to them over the past couple of days. 

Rudolfo learns that his companions had arrived at the Citadel only to accidentally free an Illithid from captivity — an Illithid that they soon learn is, at least according to Pyax and Brynn, the killer of Helen's parents. But could they be trusted? Naturally, our heroes didn't know (in their time together, they have done a remarkably poor job of deciding who to trust). Confusion reigned, a fight broke out, and the three adventurers just barely managed to escape. 

Rudolfo tells the others about his (much more peaceful) journey to find that double-crossing Soileire and her caravan of dancers. He managed to find it but when he did, he saw that the caravan members had seemed in poor health. The heroes, as usual, still aren't certain of who to trust. Had everyone in the caravan conspired against them? Even Farah? Rudolfo can't abide by such a thought, but Helen can. 

As the adventurers fill one another in on the details, Helen remembers something else: a vision she had of Pyax and Brynn following the escaped Illithid underground. Now that they know the whereabouts of all their former associates, the heroes have a decision to make. Will they continue on in a quest for the truth, trying to discover the history of Helen's family and discover the truth about the Illithid, or will they chase down the caravan and partake in some petty revenge?

Why even ask? It's revenge time!

They decide to go out and spy on the caravan, which will hopefully give them the information they need to come up with a suitable act of vengeance. But first, they need to stop by Torvaldt's for potions. Helen, up for anything, asks Tordvaldt if he has any fun or unusual potions laying around. As it turns out, he has a Potion of Invisibility — quite a useful tool when it comes to spying. Unfortunately, it's ridiculously expensive. Only the wealthy elite can afford to be invisible, apparently. But Torvaldt is willing to let it go to the peasant Helen if she agrees to owe him a favour. As it turns out, "favour" is code for killing someone, or possibly stealing something. But after Torvaldt assures her he never orders hits on good people, Helen agrees. She now has an invisibility potion and a very hefty IOU to Torvaldt. 

The group is about to leave town and head to the caravan when they see two injured guards riding in the streets. "Goblins, hence!" the guards say, or something like that, and point towards the edge of town. The heroes jump on their horses (Helen doubles Rudolfo) and gallop full-speed toward the goblins. 

The gang sets about smashing goblins, in many cases literally. Gertie simply aims her glorious steed at the loathsome goblins and tramples over them, crushing them to putrid goblin-shaped pulps. Helen sneaks up and attacks. Elvis does some heroic things, I can't remember. Rudolfo loses his balance and falls off his horse, providing much-needed comic relief. 

Gertie hoofs all the goblins to death but one, whom they question. The weaselly little goblin isn't forthcoming with information, so Gertie relieves him of his ear. This loosens his lips. He reveals that the three goblin clans have gotten sick of adventurers riding around, killing goblins, claiming their treasure, and have banded together. An army of over 60 goblins is marching on Soonsea right now. They should be there within a day. Crap!

Our heroes knock the goblin out and bring him to the town council. The council has a hasty meeting to decide what to do. The goblin army is large enough to completely raze the town. Nezzu says she does have one magic trick up her sleeve. What is it? Oh, just raising a skeleton army made from the corpses in the town cemetery, no big deal. This sounds great, but it turns out Abit is morally opposed to necromancy. Something about how once you go down this dark path, you can never turn back, blah blah blah. 

A vote is held. The heroes decide to take the high road — the high road of near-certain death. They will not raise a skeleton army, no matter how bad they want to. Instead, they consult with master strategist Pike about how best to fight the army. Pike informs them that they need to direct the fight and draw the enemy into spots where they can strike then retreat. Even so, they will possibly be overwhelmed. 

So, death and a painful drawn-out battle awaits, instead of a fun, dancing skeleton army.

Can our heroes win a battle without the help of an undead army? Will they live to see another day and finally get their petty revenge? Why does everything always go so wrong? Find out next time on Gertrude the Ill-Tempered Dwarf and her Gang of Fools.   

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