Live And Let Die, by Chris Hoekstra

Story name: Live and Let Die
Author: Chris Hoekstra
Publication date: January 20, 1999 (on TSA-List)

Date: Mid-June 706 CR
Location: Metamor Keep, Metamor Valley

Overview

Rickkter joins a routine patrol, and nearly gets them over their head.

Summary

Tired of lounging about the Keep, Rickkter asks the patrol master George to go on patrol despite his misgivings. He assigns him to Jione's patrol the next day. Rickkter shows up later, furnished with several weapons. Rickkter irritates her immediately by pretending not to be paying attention; when she calls him on it, he recites everything she said exactly. He tells Kwanzaa that he wanted to see her true character, and the best way to see that is to get them angry.

They journey into the north. As they pass a curve, Rickkter stops the party and fires a knife into the trees. Hearing a shriek, he draws his katana and charges into the trees, where a Lutin camp has occupied. Rickkter takes them down almost single-handedly. Jione is ready to head back, but Rickkter notes that there is too much food for a single party, and there must be more Lutins nearby; he reminds them that took down as many a few weeks ago. With resignation, Jione continues the patrol.

After several hours, Rickkter recognizes Jione is exhausted, and insists on taking point. He points out an unseen sentry, thanks to his ability to see energy flows. They peek over a hill to find a camp of a hundred Lutins. Seeing that they are outmatched, Rickkter and Jione pull away, but they soon realize the Lutins are pursuing them. Jione tries to spread the archers out, but Rickkter moves the archers to the front, while he and Kwanzaa attack the rear. The Lutins emerge, and they use every weapon they have to dispese them.

As the last of the Lutins falls, Bender chases one of the remaining Lutins, and another Lutin stabs him in the arm. Jione takes out the last Lutin, and Rickkter quickly ties up the wound, but it won't be enough. Bender needs to get to the Keep immediately; the only way is for Rickkter to use a teleportation spell. He takes Bender and Moorly with him, with Jione and Kwanzaa making their way back on foot.

Hours later, Jione meets Rickkter in the hall, who informs her that Bender will recover with rest. Jione learns what motivates Rickkter to learn healing, and what he would do for his friends.

Characters

Main characters:

  • Rickkter: The newest member of Metamor Keep, a raccoon morph. His fur is very dark for a raccoon. He has a been a bounty hunter and mercenary for twenty-five years, although more experienced members of the Keep doubt his abilities, especially after his recent illness. He wields his katana and wakinzashi, two large knives at the waist, throwing knifes on his chest, and a large machete at his right shin. He dresses in all black with gold trimming, with magic bracers he got in A Place Where There Is No Darkness.
    • He learned healing magic from his lover. He had been frustrated for waiting to be healed after battle, and for waiting around after battle while his friends and allies suffered and died.
    • The amulet he wears says "I fear not battle, I fear not death. Live and let die."
  • Jione: A formidable scout commander, a female gendermorph. She does not like Rickkter at first, as he questions her authority and ability, but after he demonstrates his ability, she comes to respect him.

Supporting:

  • Bender: An archer, and a wolf morph. He nearly gets eaten by a carnivorous plant, and then suffers a near-fatal Lutin wound. By the end, he is recovering in the infirmary.
  • Moorly: An archer, and a small equine morph.
  • Kwanzaa: A scout, and a shrew morph. She is nearly as skilled with the sword as Rickkter.

Minor characters:

  • George: Patrol master of the Keep, a black jackal morph. He has a secretary to assist him.

Referenced:

  • Brian Coe: The Keep medic.
  • Phil: Head of intelligence for the Keep.

Points of interest

  • George mentions a trade route with Edys Mills. Lutins have been attacking this route in large numbers.
  • Kwanzaa, Bender, Moorly, and Jione are all on team eight.
  • Rickkter mentions the Kanaric Swamp, a cesspool of evil and decadence.
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