Friendly Fire

Friendly Fire

The last time we saw our Fable Adventurers, the heroes return to Franklin set ablaze under the tyrannical occupation of the evil Witch Doctor and the nefarious Enchantress. These villains maintain their stranglehold over the city with an army of reanimated guards and soldiers of the Realm. The heroes after viewing the scene sail away from the coast, plotting their assault on the town under siege.

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A light fog hangs over the town of Franklin, the only sound being the groan of the undead and the shuffling of the prisoners' feet. A trio of cloaked figures quickly sneak around the corner of the tavern and into the shrouded stable behind it. The figures pull back the material to reveal a dapperly dressed man, with an impeccable mustache and shining beard. A black cavalier hat sits atop his head adorned with a red feather. The man is sitting in the corner with a covered cart and a pair of horses harnessed to it. The Roaster leaps to his feet with a start, startled by the visitors. 


The trio uniformly removes their cloaks revealing the Gunslinger, the Barkeep, and the Distiller. The Gunslinger is carrying a set of saddlebags, the Barkeep has a canvas bag slung across his shoulder, and the Distiller is toting a leather satchel.


“You nearly scared me to death,” exclaims the Roaster to the heroes as they answer him with a chorus of “shushes.”


“Apologies,” remarks the Gunslinger as he drops the bulging set of saddlebags into the cart and plops down next to the wagon wheel. He grabs his lever-action rifle and begins pushing 45-70 bullets into the rifle’s loading port. “We had to fish this one out of the drink,” says the Gunslinger nodding his head towards the Barkeep.


The poor Barkeep is soaked, water dripping from his beard. “The blasted longboat we snuck in was thin as a rail. Unstable is what it is…” growls the Barkeep as he drops his canvas bag into the cart. He grabs the material of his shirt and wrings it as water pours out onto the ground.


“We appreciate the use of your cart, Roaster,” says the Distiller, setting his satchel gently into the cart. “I’d like to say that we’ll return it in the same shape we’ve borrowed it in, but considering the circumstances, I’m afraid I cannot make any promises.”


“I understand. If things continue as they are, owning a cart to haul my beans from the farm to my coffee shop will not do me much good,” explains the Roaster.


“I fear that if we fail there will be no hope for anything to be as it once was,” remarks the Barkeep as he climbs onto the driver’s bench of the cart.


A distant rumble is followed by a high pitch whistle, and suddenly the ground shakes and the sounds of explosions pierce the air.


The Gunslinger jumps into the back of the cart and spins his rifle around his hand, racking a round into the chamber of his rifle.


“That’s our cue boys.”


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The Witch Doctor stands in the square overseeing the movement of prisoners, when all of a sudden, the rumble of an explosion pierces the air. His head turns in the direction of the sound. Slowly he raises a hand, pointing in the direction of sound, telepathically ordering the undead horde to respond. A chorus of moans rise in one accord as a pair of battalions begin their march towards the disturbance.


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Captain Crimson watches the round leave the barrel of the forward cannon and arch through the sky, exploding in the midst of a battalion of undead soldiers. Sharpnel tears through the armor of the reanimated corpses, the concussion tossing the bodies like rag dolls.


First-mate Cole lowers his eyeglasses, leans over the edge of the crow’s nest, and calls down to Captain Crimson, “That’s a hit!”


The Scribe stands next to Captain Crimson, wincing at the strike, “Are we sure that we aren’t causing any unnecessary damage? It seems awfully dangerous.”


“Quit your whining, Scribe. I’m being careful…” says Crimson, trailing off, realizing the absurdity of his claim, “... as careful as I can be. Anyways, we can always rebuild roads, buildings, the harbor…”


“THE HARBOR?!?” interjects the Scribe.


“THE POINT IS…” interjects Captain Crimson in return, “we can rebuild once we kick those devils out town.” Captain Crimson pulls back hard on the throttle, putting the water wheel into full churn. The Mystic Wave lurches forward and the Captain mutters under his breath, “This is the first time I’ve ever attacked a city to liberate it, I’m usually just liberating their coffers.” 


The Mystic Wave rapidly approaches the harbor at top speed. “LOAD THE CANNONS,” roars Crimson. The crew members swarm both above and below pouring gunpowder into the barrels of the cannons, following it up with various styles of cannonballs. Some are more cone-shaped, while others were the typical ball shape. Some of the round balls have a timing fuse protruding from them, suggesting a sort of timed charge or “burst” round. 


Drawn by the explosions, like moths to a flame, the undead guards swarm the harbor. Several dozen guards swarm the docks armed with all manner of ranged weapons: bows, crossbows, javelins, and arbalests.


“Steady men,” growls Captain Crimson, furrowing his brow and narrowing his eyes. The harbor grows larger by the second, the Mystic Wave accelerating towards the docks. They were nearly in range now. “Steady,” reiterates the Captain. This was to make a statement, this was what you might call “an attention getter.” The first arrows start flying near the deck. The crew take cover behind the mast, barrels, and the ship railing. Two or three crew members duck down behind the deck guns, ready and able to return fire once given the order and the opportunity. 

Suddenly, Captain Crimson cranks the ship’s wheel to the left, throwing the ship into a tight left turn. The bow of the ship dips hard into the water and then rises up again. At the top of the ship’s ascension Crimson takes a deep breath and screams…


“FIRE!!!”


The Mystic Wave’s cannons roar as they fire nearly point blank into the Franklin harbor. The rounds whistle through the air, smashing through the guards and crashing into the wall and buildings surrounding the docks.The explosive rounds flatten the remaining standing guards, as the rounds explode in the air over them. Shrapnel shreds through the corpses tearing them to pieces. 


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The Witch Doctor winces, sensing the loss of his battalions. He opens his eyes and mutters, “I guess I’ll do it myself.”

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