Bardulf’s adventures are continuing this week. How much trouble is he getting himself into? As usual, the previous entries are located at the Vote Your Adventure above. I’ve got a busy weekend ahead, so voting will be open until Sunday, August 25, 2013.
If you enjoy this type of story, be sure to check out Jen Kirchner’s blog. She has a Vote Your Adventure that just started, titled The Cure. It is a continuation of some previous VYA stories that she has posted. Part 3 of the story should be up today or tomorrow. Now, onto the tale.
Moving the battle away could be dangerous. And giving the quetzal too much room to move would be disastrous. Bardulf couldn’t allow that. He had to use every advantage possible.
Bardulf stepped back, watching the quetzal. He reached down and loosened his hatchet, and then readied the spear as he worked through tactics and battle plans in his mind. Every weapon would be needed in this death match.
He didn’t want to be pushed into defense right away, so Bardulf lunged forward, and swung the spear. The tip grazed scales, but did no damage. The quetzal slithered back towards the shaman’s hut, and the trees.
Bardulf continued to drive it back into the trees, swinging the spear in a wide arc. The creature dodged the swinging spear-point with ease.
The quetzal took Bardulf by surprise as it spread its wings. With a powerful flap, it jumped onto the shaman’s hut. A startled cry from the shaman inside was heard.
He understood the action a moment before the serpent coiled and struck. Bardulf leapt to the side. The quetzal hit the ground, and recoiled to strike again.
Bardulf wasted no time to attack again. He had the hatchet in his left hand, and was swung at the creatures head. It dodged, and snapped onto Bardulf’s left forearm. Bardulf’s momentum carried the spear in his right hand and allowed him to drive it into the creatures skull.
The quetzal tried to pull back, but its fangs were stuck. Bardulf grunted through the pain, and moved the hatchet into his right hand and struck down again. The creature twitched and fell to the ground, taking Bardulf with it.
The pain and poison proved too much, and Bardulf blacked out.
Bardulf struggled to open his heavy eyes. He felt weary, but he felt his energy slowly returning.
“Ah, you are awake. I knew it was only a matter of time.” Bardulf turned towards the sound and saw the shaman sitting on a nearby stool.
“What happened?” he managed to croak.
“You killed the quetzal and it almost killed you,” answered the shaman. “I made an antidote from the poison and healed you.”
“Antidote? How much?”
“Enough. But you must finish your quest.” The shaman closed her eyes. “That lies with ending this war.” She opened her eyes again. They held a distant look. "The spirits tell me your lord still lives.
Bardulf closed his eyes to think for a moment. The sounds of cries and battle reached his ears. He sat up and looked around. Burnum was nearby as well. “Why do I hear battle?”
“When you killed quetzal, enemies attacked right away. We have been holding them off. Killing the quetzal has renewed our passion.”
Bardulf felt an overwhelming fear take over him. “How long?” he whispered.
The shaman’s face was void of emotion. “Nine days.”
I’ve been unconscious for nine days? Bardulf looked to Burnum, trying to keep his mind from reeling. “The other tribes are on their way?”
The son of the chieftain nodded. “Some arrive today. We attack at sunrise.”
“I will join you.”
The shaman sighed. “You do not have the strength. You will need to be careful.” She turned to Burnum. “Give them to him now.”
Burnum turned and picked some items up. Bardulf stared in amazement at what Burnum held. The man carried a spear and dagger, one in each hand. The spear head had been replaced by a fang and teeth of the quetzal. The dagger’s blade had been replaced with a fang, like the spear.
“These are for you. The tribe made them for you, the quetzal slayer. You have earned them,” the shaman said with a smile.
“The warriors say they want you in battle. Beside them,” Burnum said. “But we have other plan also. You are like enemy. You could sneak in now with battle raging. As injured warrior.”
Inventory: hatchet, flint & steel, traveling cloak, heart necklace, 80 coins in a pouch, fang spear, fang dagger
broken left arm (healed)
What will Bardulf’s next move be?
A) Fight beside Burnum and the other warriors
B) Infiltrate the enemies by pretending to be injured
Wow, a tough choice here. It all depends on factors we don’t get to know…
How recognizable is he to the enemy? If we give him a shave and dress him in the clothes from a slain foe, will he pass in the chaos, or would his accent/mannerisms expose him? A number of obvious questions, “Who’s your commander, and did he give you any message to report when sending you back?” for example, are very dangerous. But fighting on the front lines, he’d want to identifiable to raise morale, and that would make him a primary target for the enemy, and how woozy is he really? If we send him as an infiltrator, he can have the dagger (sheathed, it’ll look ordinary enough), but the spear will have to stay here.
On the positive side, what’s his contribution in each case? Fighting, it’s mostly about providing morale and rallying focus — the number and skill of fighters on each side is enough that one more isn’t a big difference. Infiltrating, it’s more of a roll of the dice — he might not be able to do much of anything, he might be exposed and brutally killed, he could reasonably pull off a massive sabotage or assassination that causes the enemy front to rout.
While both paths are risky, I like (B) better — it seems more of a chance to make a big impact on the fight, and his state seems better suited to pretending to be low on blood than leading on the front lines.
Calyn told the enemies to be watching for Bardulf, so I don’t know that infiltrating them is such a good idea. My vote is:
A) Fight beside Burnum and the other warriors