Voting is closed now. Thanks everyone!
This is the seventh part of a Vote Your Adventure story. More information can be found here. If you need to catch up, check out the Vote Your Adventure link at the top of the page. I have links to all the previous entries setup there. I’m going to allow voting to go for a week again. I’ve got a busy week, so I don’t feel bad doing so. Voting will close Monday, May 28, 2012. Enjoy, and please vote!
Bardulf decided that he would investigate his mysterious opponent first. If he was still in town, Bardulf wanted to be prepared.
“Your horse is being taken care of right now,” the innkeeper said as he returned. He picked up a mug that had just been brought back by one of the serving girls, and began wiping it clean. “Is there anything else you need?”
“Actually, there is. Is there a physician in town? I’ve got some injuries that I want checked.”
The innkeeper shook his head. “No physician, but we do have an apothecary. He’s the one we go to for any sort of injury.”
“Perfect. Where can I find him?”
* * *
Bardulf picked his way through the streets following the directions he had been given. The moon was now rising into the sky, casting dim shadows. It was an eerie town at night. Unseen eyes seemed to watch him from every window. “You’re letting your nerves get to you, Bardulf,” he told himself.
The directions were clear, and Bardulf found himself in front of a small hut. In the dim light, it looked to have a thatched roof. He was able to see part of a garden around the back. This was typical for the herbalists and apothecaries that Bardulf had met. A strange smell emanated from inside as Bardulf approached the door. He knocked.
He knocked again. “Hello?”
“What d’ ye’ want?”
Bardulf almost jumped as an old man walked around from the back of the house. He was a short man with a hunched back. The top of his head was bald. Shocks of white hair created a spiky crown around his head and down to his beard. His eyes were unnerving. They were large, like an owl, and gave him a crazed look. But Bardulf got the distinct impression that this man was completely sane.
“Ye’ deaf? I may ‘ave som’n ta help dat.”
“Sorry, I, um. You surprised me. I have some injuries that I wanted looked at.” The old man frowned as he looked at Bardulf. “My ribs. They were cracked, and I want to be sure that they are healing properly.”
“Ah!” The man began with a wide smile. “Why didn’ ya say so!” He pushed open the door. “Go on, I’ll check on ‘at fer ya.”
The smell was overpowering as Bardulf stepped in. He choked back a cough.
“Don’ mind the smell. Got a brew cook’n.” He motioned to a stool. “Take a seat, and pull tha’ shirt off. I’ll ‘ave a look.”
Bardulf unlaced his shirt and removed it. The pain wasn’t as bad as a few days ago, but it was enough to make him wince.
The old man’s thin fingers were nimble as he pressed on various places on Bardulf’s chest, inspecting the ribs. He was silent as he did so. Finally he gave a nod and straightened up. “Look’n good. Ya’ got tha’ ingery ’bout a week ago?” The man turned to look at something on a shelf.
“Yeh. I got into a nasty fight,” Bardulf answered. “Maybe you can help with with something else. I’m looking for a friend. He was injured pretty bad in that fight, lost an eye. We got separated on our way here. Did anyone like that come to you for help? He was supposed to wait for me here, but I haven’t seen him yet.”
The apothecary paused as he was rummaging through things on the shelf. “‘Bout three days past?”
“Right around then, yes.”
The man turned, a wild smile on his face. “Yep, I did ‘elp a man miss’n an eye. ‘E left wit a caravan going west de next day.”
Bardulf nodded. “Hopefully I can catch up, then. He’s going to need my help.”
The old man stepped up to Bardulf, and looked him in the eye. “Wern’t ya taut not ter lie?” With a swift movement, he hit the side of Bardulf’s head with a small bag hidden in his hand. A puff of dust clouded around Bardulf. “‘E said some’n would be fallow’n.”
Bardulf crashed to the ground. His body refused to obey, and his eyes wouldn’t focus.
He didn’t know how much time passed, but he knew that the old man went somewhere and came back with another. Bardulf couldn’t see who it was.
“Dis be the one I talked ’bout. ‘E was ask’n ’bout da boss.”
“I’ll take him. We’ll have a nice chat when he comes to later.” The man picked Bardulf up. “Give me his stuff, there. If this moron is really with the boss, then he’ll need it.”
The man carried him across the town. Bardulf could tell they were close to the inn, the music could be clearly heard.
They arrived at a door, which the man knocked at. It opened to allow them inside, and he was taken to a room and tied to a chair. Slowly his vision returned to normal and he was able to control his body.
“Good, you’re alert.” The man looked large, but sat in the shadows. Bardulf couldn’t see any features. “Who are you?”
Bardulf hesitated as he formed an answer. “I’m one of you. Didn’t the boss tell you about me?” He moved his feet a bit. They were firmly touching the floor. He pushed, and rocked the chair a hair.
“Boss doesn’t work with others. He would have told us.”
Bardulf shook his head, clearing the remaining cobwebs in his mind.
“Not going to talk any more?” The man stood. “I’ve got ways.” He stepped over to the door, and knocked twice.
“Yeah?” said a voice on the other side.
“Bring me my tools.”
Bardulf hear the person outside step away from the door. He took that moment to rock the chair back and forth, bringing himself to his feet. He sprinted forward, and spun at the last moment. The back of the chair crashed into the man and broke. The man’s head hit the wall with a thud. Bardulf and the questioner hit the ground a moment later.
Getting to his knees, Bardulf searched the man with difficulty. In the dim light, he could see the man’s face. It was familiar, but he couldn’t remember from where. He found a knife and pulled it out. The ropes the bound him fell away moments later.
Footsteps echoed outside the door as the ropes snapped.
“I’ve got the tools.” The door unlocked with a snick, and opened. Bardulf wasted no time. The man entering the room dropped to the ground, the knife protruding from his chest. The box of tools crashed to the ground.
Bardulf saw his equipment nearby, which he picked up. He also grabbed the knife on the way out the door.
In the hallway outside the room, the music echoed from the stairwell. He realized that he was in the basement of the inn. Voices could be heard from down the hallway the other direction. They seemed to be coming his direction.
Equipment with horse: bow, 9 quivered arrows (some were made while traveling), 5 packets of healing herbs, rope, compass
Inventory on Bardulf: knife, hatchet, flint & steel, traveling cloak, heart necklace, 80 coins in a pouch, small wooden box of healing ointment
Health: broken ribs, minor burns
Where should Bardulf go from here?
A) Sneak up the stairs into the inn.
B) Find the basement entrance.