Our story begins with the party on the road between the village of Veraux and Bregonne. They are in the employ of Greenbrooke Mercantile, a single wagon Halfling enterprise, owned by brothers Otto and Draxus Whitecliff.
The Whitecliff Brothers are smugglers, running tax free wine from Veraux through the portal in Bregonne to Vinenzia, and travelling from there to Sarona di Upessi to pick up narcotics to smuggle back.
Two days outside Bregonne, the party spots an ambush, spotting six piles of conspicuous and out of season leaves arranged on both sides of the road, as well as a glint of metal from the treeline ahead. When the wagon stops, the leaf piles are tossed aside to reveal six Humans in ratty leather armor, two at the far end armed with crossbows. Out from the trees and into the middle of the road steps a man, obviously their leader, dressed in fine red leather armor and a red hat with a green feather, in the process of collapsing and storing a spyglass.
Several members of the party recognize him as The Fox, a known criminal. There is a bit of banter between the group and The Fox, and eventually Draxus mentions there is a 500 silver reward for The Fox. This decides it for his brother, who tells the party “Would you mind clearing the road for me?”
Lilia steps forward and drops her hood, batting her eyes at The Fox and suggesting “Now, does it HAVE to come to this?” The Fox is smitten immediately, ignoring everyone else to focus on her. However, this does not last long, as Claus levels the HECES Mk42 at one of the crossbowman, and the lightning gun reduces the poor fellow to a lump of smoking flesh. Animus fires his projectile thrower, but it has been too long since Dr. Von Shtupp has calibrated the weapon, and it misses horribly. Korala charges one of the closest highwaymen, screaming in an attempt to intimidate him. She does frighten him, but not nearly as bad as hoped for. Finally, the shock of seeing one of his men killed by arcing electricity causes The Fox to come to his wits, telling his men “A week’s worth of extra rum to the man who brings me that one!” as he points at the good doctor and his weapon.
The battle continued to rage, as did Korala, who went berserk after her opponent struck her and drew blood. However, the ruffians began to get the upper hand as misfortune descended upon the party. Claus had to hastily dump the charge when the HECES Mk42 threatened to overload several times throughout the fight, and The Fox managed to find a chink in Animus’ armored shell with a shot from one of his fancy dueling pistols, penetrating into the Created’s inner workings and causing no small amount of damage. Korala and her opponent proved evenly matched, despite the berserk woman’s superior ability. The Fox managed to seriously wound Claus with his remaining pistol shot, causing the doctor to stagger behind the wagon for cover. But it was Lilia who fared the worst, drawing the attentions of two bandits at the same time. One armed with a short sword landed a telling blow, nearly severing the young woman’s arm at the shoulder, causing her to drop in a rapidly bleeding heap, and leaving her odds of survival looking grim.
Until, that is, Otto and Draxus rolled from where they had taken cover under the wagon. Both of them used their Life Aspect powers to heal her. (“What are the odds, Draxus, that BOTH of us just so happened to have Healing as our Life ability?” “It is a miracle, Otto, an out and out miracle that it runs in the family!”)
The melee continued to swirl, with neither side seemingly able to land a telling blow on the other. The Fox stood a short distance away in the middle of the road, calmly loading his pistol with a smirk on his face. Animus charged him just as he finished reloading the weapon (and rakishly twirling it to boot), but was unable to strike the red clad rogue. Another bandit charged to his boss’ aid, knocking the machine man off balance long enough for The Fox to take a step back and level his flintlock at Animus, exclaiming “Die, you infernal machine!”
*PING!* This time Animus’ shell performed as it was intended, and he was unharmed by the shot. Animus made short work of his combatant, leaving The Fox with only one other bandit to face the wrath of the group.
And with a tip of his feathered hat, The Fox retreated into the woods, letting everyone know “We WILL meet again!” The lone surviving bandit also managed to escape, running into the woods on the other side of the road. Before The Fox could completely escape, a recovered Claus took determined aim with the HECES…
Only to have the weapon, clearly in need of maintenance, catastrophically fail, unleashing a giant ball of static that threatened to stun them all. Most of the party resisted the effect, but it was too late, the lone highwayman and his leader had escaped.
Otto and Draxus healed their wounded guards (except Animus, who required serious repair) and stripped the thugs of any valuables remaining, gathering the bodies in the hope there was a reward for bandits. Lilia and Animus recalled there being an inn approximately half a day’s travel down the road, and it was decided they would rest there, sacrificing a small amount of travel time in order to recover.
So the first session ends with the party camped at The Bellicose Bull. Claus repairs some of Animus’ damage, but discovers he has to choose between fully repairing his mechanical bodyguard or using some of the remaining parts to fix the HECES. Repairing the HECES wins, and Animus is relegated to staying in the stable, “So long as he don’t scare the horses!” Korala drinks as much ale as their meager funds will allow her, and Lilia spends her time examining the pistol The Fox left behind, and planning to be better prepared, because they WILL meet again if she has anything to say about it.