It’s a new year, and time for the next part of the story. I hope I have answered your questions as we enter the next stage of the story. If you want to read previous entries, go to Vote Your Adventure up top for the list. I am going to have voting go until Friday, January 11, 2012.
“Your father?” Bardulf couldn’t hide his surprise. Burnum simply nodded. Bardulf looked over the chief, who studied Bardulf. He guessed that the chief was a few years younger than himself, since the chief’s dark beard had only some gray streaks as opposed to his own that was gray streaked with brown. The chief was obviously older, but they were not as far apart in age as Bardulf expected.
The chief frowned and began speaking with Burnum. They went back and forth. Burnum pointed to Bardulf as they spoke. The chief finally nodded, but the frown remained. He began speaking to Bardulf, his voice low and rough, while Burnum translated.
“You save members of tribe. You have thanks. But your tribe did this.” He gestured to the men gathered around. “Your people came in peace. Enslaved us. Why you here?”
Bardulf considered the question. He wavered about telling them his story. But that thought was short lived. He needed the help of the Yul’aric, and they needed him.
“I am sorry that you have been hurt. It is another tribe, not mine, that has done this. I am searching for some explorers…” Bardulf didn’t have to tell much of the story. When he mentioned the winged serpent that attacked Lord Belmont, Burnum stopped and stared at Bardulf. The others looked between the two of them, and spoke to Burnum, who finally translated what Bardulf had said. The warrior gasped, and whispered among themselves. The chief mumbled something inaudible.
Before Bardulf could ask anything, Burnum spoke. “You have seen quetzcal and lived.” His eyes were wide with amazement.
“You know of it? Can it turn into a man? Or is it a man that turns into this creature?”
Burnum nodded. “Yes. There two now. Men you seek came here. They stole secrets we guarded. Two changed into quetzcal.”
Bardulf felt a weight fall off his shoulders, and a new one replace it. He was where he needed to be. But what next? Could he talk to the explorers? Or would they try to kill him? One of the quetzcal already wanted him dead. He wouldn’t be able to do this alone any longer. “Can you show me where they are?”
Burnum translated his request, and the Yul’aric began talking franticly. Bardulf got the impression that they were trying to convince their chief, listened with patience. He finally held up his hand for silence. Burnum translated as his father spoke.
“Warriors want to help.” He paused for a moment. “I cannot trust you. We suffered much under enemy. I dare not hope. My son has fratinal. He will help you. I hope the faith my tribe put in you not misplaced.”
The chief stood to speak to his tribe before leaving. Burnum did not translate what was said. As the chief left, he glanced back at Bardulf. He looked to Burnum, and spoke a few words. Then without another word, he walked out of the cave.
Bardulf sat for a bit, while Burnum and the others talked amongst themselves. After a little while, Burnum walked up to Bardulf. “I am going to show you where our enemies are.”
In the twilight, the two of them skirted around the edge of the village. The bright moon allowed Bardulf to glimpse some of the buildings. Neither of them talked. Bardulf knew he could ask questions later. They moved along the ridge of the mountain away from the village. Bardulf noticed that they were moving around to the other side of the valley.
Finally, they arrived at an outcropping, and Burnum pointed back towards the village. Cooking fires burned in the village across the divide. But light from another source drew Bardulf’s eyes. There were fires lit somewhere below the village on the mountainside. As he looked, Bardulf realized what he was seeing. The village was built on the edge of a cliff, and these lights were below in the mountainside.
Burnum spoke, “There is a hidden city in the cliff-side. The secrets we protected are there. That is where you will find your prey.”
Bardulf formed a question in his mind but stopped before he asked. A shadow blotted out the moon. Looking up, Bardulf recognized the shape of a winged serpent. He looked at Burnum, fear was evident on his face. In the moonlight, Bardulf watched the creature fly down towards the hidden city, and disappear.
With a sudden urge to scout the hidden city, Bardulf began to climb down the rocky outcropping.
“Where you going?” whispered Burnum.
“I need to see what I am up against. Right now would be the perfect time. They won’t see me in the darkness.”
Burnum shook his head. “No. I ask you not to do this. It be dangerous.”
With a sigh, Bardulf stopped his climb on a small perch to think.
Inventory: hatchet, flint & steel, traveling cloak, heart necklace, 80 coins in a pouch
Health: broken left arm
Will Bardulf listen to Burnum’s warning?:
A) Yes. Go back to the cave and start planning.
B) No. It is a good time to go scout the enemy in the darkness.