The results are up. Thanks everyone!
Sorry this is a day late. Writing and editing didn’t happen as fast as I wanted. But, we’re back and going through the rapids! If you need to catch up, go find the previous parts in the Vote Your Adventure link at the top. Now, to borrow from Matt Cauthon: “It’s time to toss the dice!”
Oh, and I’m going to close the voting Saturday, October 20 at Noon EST.
Bardulf’s hatchet bit into the wooden post as it cut through the rope holding the boat to the dock. He yanked the hatchet free and grabbed the rope before the boat floated away. It wavered as he got in, but didn’t dump him. With another chop, the rope was removed from the boat and the current pulled it downstream.
It took a moment to find the lone oar in the moonlight. Bardulf looked back as the shouts approached the river. The people could clearly be seen against the backdrop of the flaming stables, but they were getting water to fight the fire and ignoring him.
Moonlight glinted off the rocks as the rapids approached, and Bardulf prepared himself. He steered the boat to the center of the river, and aimed towards the side of a large rock. He pulled the oar out for a moment and took a few deep breaths. “Time to see what the Heirslayer is really like.” Bardulf plunged the oar into the water, and pushed towards the rapids.
He was carried around the rock by the current. Using the oar, Bardulf steered the boat around the rocks and rapids, moving from current to current.
Soon, Bardulf noticed two large boulders downstream. He didn’t have time to maneuver around them, but judged that the boat would fit between them. Pushing forward, he pointed the nose between the rocks.
Amidst the noise of the rapids, Bardulf heard voices. He looked off to his left, and saw some figures in the moonlight. It looked as thought the slaves had made it, and were waving and calling to him. Bardulf chose to ignore them for now, as he needed to focus.
With swift stokes, the boat shot between the rocks, only bumping one. The river opened up, and he felt a moment of relief. He realized that something was wrong when the current picked up, and a roar of water reached his ears. He was headed towards a waterfall.
There was no way to move to the shore at this point, the current was too strong. Bardulf took hold of his wife’s necklace for a moment, and steeled himself. He tossed the oar away as it would only burden him.
Bardulf felt a surge of adrenaline and fear as the boat went over the falls. Mercifully, the drop didn’t last long. The boat crashed into the water and broke apart. As the river threw him around, he felt a sharp pain in his left arm. He blacked out a short time later as he was thrown against a rock by the river.
He woke to the sound of people talking, but couldn’t understand them. Birds sung nearby, and a chorus of frogs greeted him. He could feel the warmth of a fire to his right, and his clothes were dry. Bardulf blinked as he opened his eyes to sunlight.
Pain in his left arm prevented him from sitting up. He glanced over, and found that it was encased in a makeshift splint. It must have broken after going over the waterfall.
“You awake now.”
Bardulf slowly turned his head to see the leader of the slaves sitting down beside him. “What happened?” he mumbled.
“We see you go down water. Pull you out. Fix arm. Bring you here.”
Bardulf shifted and managed to sit up a bit. They were at a lake. The former slaves were all working.
The man noticed his gaze. “Get ready travel, fight. We help us people.”
Bardulf thought a moment. “You should all go somewhere else. Those who did this to you will do it again. And they will know you are coming.”
“No. Women go else where. Village down from home. Some men protect. Rest with me. Fight.”
Bardulf nodded and took a deep breath. His ribs throbbed a bit, but it seemed like Malic’s magic helped protect him. “Good. I am going with you, even with these injuries.”
The man grinned, his teeth showing. “You warrior. Fight to death. Me go where you go. I have fratinal.” He pointed to himself. “Me Burnum.”
“I am Bardulf.” As much as he wanted to ask what fratinal was, he decided to ask later. “We need to start traveling soon.” He struggled to his feet, pain lancing through his body. Burnum gave him an arm to steady himself.
The slaves were happy to see him standing. Bardulf could now see that they had been fishing and gathering fruits from the area. The men looked like they had gathered supplies for bows and arrows as well as spears.
Burnum gave a command, and everyone quickly gathered the equipment and supplies together. Within an hour, they were ready to go. There was no sign that anyone had even been there.
Burnum looked to Bardulf. “We follow you.”
Bardulf wondered why they were letting him choose. They knew the land better. He didn’t dwell on it and pondered the options. They could all travel with the women for a while. There was no evidence of pursuit, but it couldn’t hurt to lend some extra protection. Plus it would give him some recovery time. Or, he and the warriors could start traveling to their home right away.
Inventory: hatchet, flint & steel, traveling cloak, heart necklace, 80 coins in a pouch, small wooden box of healing ointment
Health: broken ribs, minor burns, broken left arm
Where will Bardulf lead everyone?
A) Help protect the women for a little while and heal a bit
B) Go to the slaves home right away