Seeing the beacon, the party tried to sneak up on the bandit camp. Not that they knew how to sneak -- in fact, Kit managed to set off an animal trap, that made loud noises. He went weightless and hid up in the trees, but everyone was alerted, and he felt like he was being watched.
So he cast a faerie fire to try to lure the enemies into the forest, but it didn't really work -- it lured one, who was charmed and told to ignore them and keep fighting the fire, but the rest just went on higher alert. Mira told him to try to make it look like the fire was spreading around the camp, but, well... when it was that close, faerie fire wasn't really going to fool anyone.
But it was a distraction. A bunch of bandits with very large weapons surrounded Kit and started trying to beat him up, while he tried to get out of reach long enough to get a spell off, and basically couldn't -- he entangled one of them, but that was it. Cho took the main path into the camp, and faced down about ten bandits who were expecting people to come in that way -- he incinerated three of them, including the bandit mage, with his very cheesy energy-sword, before an unusually skilled bandit impaled him with a spear and took him out of the fight.
Luckily, while this was happening, Mira snuck around to the slaves, intending to free them to create chaos... but they were too tightly bound for that. However, from that angle, half the bandits were in a nice cone for her to summon Leen for a huge casting of Diamond Dust. With that half of the camp frozen solid, Leen was able to recover and send a second cone at the ones who otherwise might have been inclined to finish Cho off. It didn't kill them all -- it wasn't at full power -- but it did send most of them running off.
Meanwhile, Kit had been treed, and hurt by a nasty electrified crossbow bolt, and the same person who'd speared Cho was after him -- a drakivolki who could *fly*, how annoying! He managed to squeeze off a rather pathetic fireball just before getting... just *barely* not stabbed. [thanks to spending karma for 'best possible roll on a check'] But the fireball was flashy, if not especially deadly, and most of the rest of the bandits ran off... and he did manage to use the last of his mana to entangle the mad spear master bandit thing.
So the fight was basically over. Most of the bandits who hadn't run away weren't dead, just incapacitated, with the exception of the caster and a couple others that Cho had disintegrated. So Kit charmed the remaining leader (the mad spear master) and asked about Bob.
"Ha ha ha ha! Your friend disintegrated him!" It turned out Bob had been bound by the gigantic holy spell to a necklace that the priest (not really a mage) had been wearing. With the necklace broken, Bob would normally have been freed, but the spell hadn't really been intended for binding souls in necklaces, and he was bound to the point in space where the necklace had been. Mira, however, had some previously unsuspected item magic, and managed to modify the binding to put Bob in a body, so that Kit could explain how to break the curse on him.
They chose a drakivolki, because hey, they can fly! Bob wasn't happy with that, or with being told that he was trapped until he repented for his misdeeds. "I haven't *done* any misdeeds!" he insisted, which of course is not the way to repent of them. Kit explained, carefully, all the things he'd done in the last few days (since it was unlikely that any misdeeds from his previous life would count) that the gods would object to, or consider 'harm to mortals', and luckily for Bob, most of them were minor things that he actually *was* sorry for, like getting the guards in trouble by making them shoot each other. So for Bob, the curse was easy to break, and he was able to leave the drakivolki body if he wanted.
But he wasn't in a hurry -- he decided he'd wait until he found the body he really wanted to use. The drak was evil, at least, so he didn't feel guilty about hanging onto him for as long as it took. In fact, while the others freed the slaves, he decided to go around town killing all the helpless bandits that the drak's memories told him were 'evil'.
It was probably a good thing he broke the curse *before* that.
Anyway, there wasn't much loot on the bandits' bodies -- Mira told the slaves as they were being freed that they were welcome to take all the cash to help start their new lives, and no one was heartless enough to rescind that order once they found out. Even if it meant that all they had to show for the battle was a winged snake, worth a few gold, some crappy weapons (and some not-so-crappy tools being used as crappy weapons), and a few holy books for the, er, god of corruption. x.x
Well, and some iron slave collars. Iron was pricey, but good luck selling *those*.
Oh, and a whole bunch of copperwood, which grew in the area. Kit and Cho spent the day harvesting some, since it would take them long enough to get the slaves all free and the town cleaned up and their loot on the ex-caravan's wagons that they might as well stay the night anyway.
They also found a mission, kind of. One of the slaves was an ex-pirate, and a forger, who had been on a quest to recover some things of his from a dragon's hoard when he was captured by slavers. The dragon's name was familiar, because it was been the label on the treasure map Mira found. So, if the pirate was willing to come with them and help, they graciously agreed him to recover his possessions from the dragon they'd apparently already been on the way to kill.
At least as a forger he could probably get papers for Tess. Yay.
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