Synopsis of Episode 3
The heroes flee Stratton following the firefight at the Eagle’s Nest Inn. They disperse into three groups: Farson and Thoron, the two apprentice Gunslingers, and Klovis, the enigmatic stranger who came upriver from Tharbad; Aiden, the stoker from the train the group escaped Moria Station aboard, Sterling and Braith, former owners of both the Overhang and the Eagle’s Nest Inns, and “Rusty,” the iron/brass-automaton, recently freed from the Stratton Keep; and Maeliana on the back of Roac the Great Eagle. Kaa lies dead in the Eagle’s Nest Inn, and Tari, while not forgotten, abandoned to her own devices. They arrange to meet in Damnation.
Maeliana and Roac track down the remaining bounty hunter and Roac kills him with one swipe of his talon.
Tari sees Kaa’s body among the dead brought to Chilperic’s to be prepared for burial. Chilperic advises her to leave Stratton as soon as she can.
Wistan leaves Stratton in the early morning in pursuit of the heroes, taking three of Herion’s best horses. By mid-afternoon, he has ridden the first nearly to death.
Tari leaves at nightfall to follow her friends. Along the road to Damnation, she finds Wistan’s abandoned horse and heals it. Invigorated by Tari’s Strengthening Song, the horse speeds along the road, following Wistan.
All parties en route to Damnation. At nightfall, Farson spots Wistan pursuing them.
Samwise Spooner, Damnation’s barber, and Salvino Gustavo Esquebar, a local gambler, engage in a game of cards with a local farmer and a stranger to town.
Braith, Sterling, Aiden, riding on Rusty, and staying off the road entirely, arrive in Damnation an hour after midnight. Aiden states he wants to explore the town, while Braith, Sterling and Rusty head for the King’s Rest Inn to see if they can contact someone in the Resistance.
Aiden wanders down to the train station to see about getting work, where a train is being readied to carry two Gunslinger platoons to the Ashen Shores, the former Grey Havens, now the Western Front of the Resistance. He overhears a conversation between Fairfax, leader of an insurgent Gunslinger platoon, and one of his aide de camp, revealing their intentions to assassinate Aranath, the current leader of the Gunslingers. Aiden uses magic to warn Aranath, who confronts Fairfax. Fairfax denies the accusation and asks where Aranath got such an idea – since Aranath acted upon Aiden’s Long Whisper, there is no way for him to substantiate his suspicion. The train prepares to leave for the Western Front. Aiden, unaware of the train’s final destination, sabotages the rails to prevent the journey, in the hopes it will thwart the assassination attempt.
Wistan reaches the apprentice Gunslingers and Klovis two hours before dawn. He casts spells of mind-destruction on both Farson and Thoron, resulting in the cart going out of control and crashing onto its side. Tari arrives in time to badly wound Wistan, who flees through magical means. She attends to the wounded Thoron and Farson, while Klovis sets to work repairing the cart.
The card game finishes after the stranger reveals himself to be Lincoln Barker, an enforcer for Neburcha, Master of the Trader’s Guild in Tharbad, to whom Sam Spooner is indebted. Spooner takes his leave of the card table, and heads back to his shop to ready himself to leave. Sterling observes that Lincoln is some sort of thug, while Braith has ascertained that Sam Spooner would be the man to talk to about contacting the Resistance. Salvino wins another hand from the farmer, who has surreptitiously pocketed some of Spooner’s money, and decides to return the money to his friend, and perhaps have another drink. Salvino heads for Spooner’s shop. Lincoln follows Salvino; Sterling and Braith follow Lincoln.
Maeliana and Roac arrive at Damnation, and after scouting the town from the air, land in the woods near the town. Maeliana is initially unsuccessful at getting past the gate warden, but finally succeeds through a combination of finer clothes and magical coercion. She begins looking for her friends.
Lincoln is joined by two henchmen, and they approach Spooner’s shop. Salvino is already inside, and Spooner apprises him of the situation. Salvino gives Spooner one of his pistols, which Spooner lays on his table before sitting down with his other revolver under the table, out of sight. Salvino hides in the back room. One of Lincoln’s men goes around the back of the house, but is apprehended by a very stealthy Braith, who peacefully dispatches the thug, taking his weapons. Lincoln enters the shop through the front and demands the money from Spooner.
The train embarks, and hitting Aiden’s sabotaged section of track, derails lightly. The Gunslingers leave the cars. Aiden, having ascertained that Fairfax was the man who was plotting the assassination, singles him out. Aranath confronts Fairfax yet again, this time employing magic. Fairfax is uncloaked as a traitor to the Resistance. The two Gunslinger platoons stand, pistols drawn, tension filling the air.
Braith enters Spooner’s shop through the back, but is nearly shot by Salvino before identifying himself as a friendly. Spooner shoots Lincoln in the leg from under the table. Lincoln’s thug shoots Spooner, the bullet breaking ribs, but glancing off the bone. Lincoln’s shot strikes Spooner in the leg, opening up his femoral artery. Sterling shoots the thug from outside, shattering his kneecap. Braith and Salvino enter from the rear of the shop and cut Lincoln down, Salvino shooting the enforcer through the eye.
Chance, another new face in Damnation, observes the standoff from his vantage point near the wall, and performs a movement of hands and fingers. Simultaneously, one of the Gunslingers fires a shot. The Varaja Standoff becomes a firefight. Aiden takes cover. The fight moves into the town.
Maeliana flees the fight, hiding behind Rusty, who has come to investigate the train’s derailing. While she stands in the shadow of the automaton, Rusty’s automatic weapon-system engages. Rusty’s right hand retracts into his forearm, to be replaced by a set of revolving cylinders, which spray bullets at the oncoming combatants, who are summarily mowed down in a gory mess.
Spooner begins performing surgery on himself to remove the bullet and sew himself up. Braith assists by tying a tourniquet. Sterling fires at the Gunslingers, uncertain of what is happening.
Chance causes a number of the Gunslingers’ clothes to burst into flame, then spotting Aranath, magically numbs the Gunslinger leader’s right hand. Arantath’s pistol falls from that hand, but he recovers and quickly draws his sword…a broken sword.
Braith, having moved to the roof of the shop, sees Narsil drawn in Aranath’s hand and has a sudden epiphany about his own delusions of being the lost King…he sees Fairfax draw his pistol to shoot Aranath and fires his own shot, shattering Fairfax’s hand. Fairfax retreats. Braith yells “protect the King!” to Sterling—Rusty hears, and moves to protect Aranath. The gunfight is at a draw. The insurgent Gunslingers begin to withdraw on horseback. As they exit the city, Tari and Klovis enter – Klovis and Fairfax stare at each other in recognition, although Klovis cannot remember why.
Salvino gives his “lucky deck” of cards to Spooner before disguising himself as a Gunslinger and duping his way into their confidence. Salvino is assigned to a squad of Gunslingers accompanying Aranath’s wife and daughter to Norbury, the ruins of Fornost Erain, for safety. The heroes agree to accompany the remaining Gunslingers to the Ashen Shores, provided the train can be repaired. Meanwhile, Maeliana goes to Cobman Greenwood, the tanner, and commissions a saddle and a harness for Roac.