First off, I need to apologize. This entry took a lot longer than I anticipated. Some writer’s block and rewrites really didn’t help.
Next, as I look at the calendar, I’m thinking I can get one more entry in before November and NaNoWriMo. I’m going to do my best to meet that deadline. So, voting will be until Friday, October 18, 2013.
Speaking of November, I will be taking that month off again. I will probably leave the next entry up for the month, and continue in December.
So, onto the next installment! And if you need to catch up? Take a look at Vote Your Adventure link up top.
Update: I added some clarification as to what you are voting on.
Bardulf looked at the two weapons for a bit. A plan began to form in his mind. “Burnum, what do your warriors wear for battle?”
“Have armor made of leather to cover bodies. Mask with face of battle spirit hide us. Since we not know who killed each other, then less wars among clans.” Burnum frowned. “Why you smile like akhtol caught tarm’gin?”
Bardulf’s smile vanished, not understanding the phrase. “Can you get me some armor?” he finally asked.
“Is ready for you,” Burnum answered with a sly grin.
“You anticipated this?” Bardulf said with a laugh. “Then I will begin the battle with you. But I intend to infiltrate the city. I will be able to do more there.”
The remainder of the day was a blur. Bardulf was fitted for his armor, and then training with the warriors in the cave. He wanted to have a better understanding how his allies fought. And even with all his years of training and battle, the Yul’aric warriors were able to teach him some new tricks.
Scouts brought word that the warriors from the other clans had begun to arrive in the evening. Burnum went to meet with them and discuss some tactics. Bardulf took the time to scout the city from the edge of the village. A few campfires burned down in area of the city he could see.
“Hey, what are you doing here?”
Bardulf jumped as one of the soldiers stepped from the shadows around one of the huts. “You surprised me,” he hurried to answer. “I didn’t think anyone else was out.” He wore his normal clothes so, in the darkness, he looked like any other soldier.
“Sorry.” The man nodded to the village. “You seen anything? They seem quiet.”
“No. Nothing unusual. Have you seen anything?”
The man shrugged his shoulders. “Ehh, not really. I just can’t help but feel that something is going on. Erol should have been back from his hunting trip by now.” He laughed. “I really shouldn’t worry. These natives run when they see Calyn or him.”
Erol must be the quetzal I killed. “I think your nerves are just getting to you,” Bardulf said with a forced laugh.
“I heard Lord Thom talking earlier. Sounds like the scholar has almost finished deciphering the runes.”
Bardulf was shocked. Thom Belmont was alive. “Good.” He cleared his throat. “Thanks for the chat. I should get back to my patrol.”
The man gave Bardulf a pat on the shoulder, and disappeared into the darkness. Bardulf returned to the cave to sleep.
Before the sun rose, the warriors of the Yul’aric gathered in the forest outside the village. The paths to the city were just out of sight. The village and city were quiet.
Bardulf was garbed in his armor. Other than being a bit taller, he looked like any of the others. He left the money and his traveling cloak with the shaman as he would have no need of them.
Bardulf stood by himself, preparing his equipment and mind. His dagger and hatchet, as well as the fang dagger were hidden under his armor. They would be needed later. He held the fanged spear in his hands, twirling it in practice. He might be an older man, but he could still fight in a battle like this. It had been a long time since he had. And the same nervousness was there.
He felt that things were coming to a close. Like he told Lord Alain all those weeks ago, he was not a religious man. Still, Bardulf found himself holding the necklace his wife gave him, and offering up a prayer of protection to whomever would listen.
“Bardulf?” He looked up to find Burnum standing before him. “It be time,” the chieftain’s son said with a grim smile.
Bardulf nodded, and stood. “Let the dance with death begin.”
The warriors were gathered, and eager. They murmured quietly. Bardulf could see variations in armor among the tribes. If they weren’t on the edge of battle, he would find it fascinating.
With a motion from Burnum, whom had been chosen as the war leader, the Yul’aric moved as one. Bardulf ran beside Burnum at a fast pace through the village. Those not fighting were hiding within the huts and houses. A handful of men stayed back to protect the women, children, and those too old or injured to fight. It was considered a great honor by them to
In silence, they made their way to the two paths that led down towards the city. The warriors had split in half, each taking a path. Bardulf took a deep breath and glanced at Burnum. Both gave a slight nod. It was time.
With a cry that signaled the others, Bardulf charged ahead. The fang spear whirled in his hands, giving him a slight edge over the soldiers he faced. As the men were killed or defeated, Bardulf knocked them off the side of the path. Sounds of battle could be heard from the other group as they cleared their path as well.
The two paths met at an intersection where a small wall had been built. The soldiers closed the gate against the attack. A cry of “Loose!” was heard. A dozen arrows launched into the air, and rained down on the attackers. Bardulf was far enough ahead that only one struck on the shoulder. It was a minor wound, and he continued on.
There was a last group of guards, who looked terrified, but met the onslaught. Bardulf dispatched them, one by one, knocking them off the edge of the ledge. The reach of the fang spear was too much for the soldiers.
One remained, and Bardulf found himself at the ledge. The soldier managed to break through, and injured Bardulf. With a cry, Bardulf dropped the spear, and fell over the edge. As he tumbled, he saw Burnum pick up the spear, and the body of the soldier fell. The plan was working so far.
He came to a stop, and lay for a moment to regain his senses and his energy. Finally, he stood and removed the tribal armor. One of the slain soldiers lay nearby. He stripped the man’s armor from him. The helmet would serve to hide his features somewhat. He put it on, and looked up to gain his bearing.
The fall had taken him a ways from the battle, but that was the idea. The wall only extended across the entrance, not the sides. Wincing in pain from the fall and the small wound, he worked his way to an area where he could climb up easier. He slowly made it up to the city.
“Hey!” he called out as he approached. “A little help here!”
A head peaked over the edge, and then some rope. Bardulf grabbed hold of it, and found himself being pulled up over the edge.
“Thanks, I thought I was dead. Some brush broke my fall. That warrior was a beast!” Bardulf coughed out.
“He’s dead now.” The sound of cries came from outside the wall. “You’re the only one who has made it back from that onslaught. Go get patched up. This might prove to be a long day.”
Bardulf looked at the wall, and saw that the men were fighting desperately against the Yul’aric. The warriors would pull back soon, according to the plan. That would give him a chance in the city.
As he turned to make his way into the city, he took in the small encampment behind the wall. A large pot of something boiled over a cooking fire. By the smell, Bardulf thought it had sat there too long, untouched because of the attack. Nearby stood a number of weapons racks filled with spears and long and short bows. Barrels filled with arrows sat close to the bows.
Men ran back and forth from the city to the wall, then made their way slowly back to the city when wounded. Bardulf watched a moment, and wondered if it would be worth the risk of discovery to try and destroy some of the weaponry before heading into the city.
Inventory: hatchet, flint & steel, heart necklace, fang dagger
Health: some slight injuries from the battle
How should Bardulf proceed?
A) Enter the city
B) Risk discovery, and try to even the odds