And we’re back! Sorry about the delay, the holidays didn’t allow as much writing time as I had hoped.
Voting will be up until Saturday, January 11, 2014. As always, the previous entries are all linked above for your reading pleasure. Away we go!
Bardulf stared at Thom and scoffed. “Why should I join you? You seem to be committing evil, not stopping it. The Yul’aric are enslaved! Calyn attacked…”
There was a swift movement, and Bardulf stumbled from a punch to the face.
Bardulf straightened, and took in his surroundings with trained eyes. The former Ranger looked up at Thom, and then glanced at Leonard, who nodded slightly. Calyn stepped back, and Thom took his place in front of Bardulf.
In Bardulf’s mind, the tensions he felt all fell into place. He would need to be careful with his answers.
After a few moments of silence, Thom finally spoke. “Now, Ranger Lord.” Thom ignored the sniff from Calyn. “What were you going to say?”
Bardulf shifted his gaze to Calyn, but addressed Thom. “Only that your father lives and sends his greetings, my lord.” The only reaction from from the former Ranger was a slight frown. There was no reaction from Leonard on the other side.
Thom nodded. “I’m glad he is healthy.” The lord took a deep breath, and closed his eyes. He turned and clasped his hands behind his back, patting his hands together in what could have been a nervous tic. “I hope you will be,” he finally said. Bardulf frowned, and saw a smile appear on Calyn’s face.
Thom turned to the guards. “Take him to the room and prepare him.”
“But it is not night!” Calyn argued.
“We don’t have time to be waiting till nightfall,” Leonard’s smooth tone was almost calming. “It will still work.”
“What?” Bardulf asked.
The smile Calyn gave him made Bardulf shiver. “You’ll see soon, brother.”
He was led down the hall to another room, a spear-point poking his back. Inside, a man poured a liquid into a cup, and forced it down Bardulf’s throat. He tried to spit out the foul tasting brew, but was unsuccessful. Within moments, he felt himself getting groggy.
Bardulf never fell asleep or blacked out. Later, he recalled being tied up onto a table. The warmth of the sun could be felt, and then excruciating pain. He was moved a few times after that and began to drift in and out of consciousness. When he finally came to, he was alert, focused, and refreshed.
He was back at the serpent’s head, alone. Bardulf sniffed, and realized he wasn’t alone. Thom was nearby.
Lord Belmont walked into the room, carrying the fang dagger. He nodded when he saw that Bardulf was awake. “I thought you’d be awake soon. Calyn and Erol were the same way.” Thom continued before Bardulf could get a question in. “You know, you did more damage than you might think to the weapons supply this morning. It didn’t seem like much, but it may have turned the tide in the favor of the Yul’aric.” He glanced around, probably to see if anyone was there. Bardulf could have told him there wasn’t anyone. “Truthfully, I’m glad.”
“You don’t like what has been happening?”
Thom shook his head. “I told the truth, I want this evil destroyed.” He paused and looked at Bardulf intently. “I’m sorry what I had to do, Lord Sylvani. I won’t ask for your forgiveness. I just ask that you do your best.”
“What did you do?”
“You are the next quetzal. You were drugged for the ceremony.”
Bardulf closed his eyes against the flood of emotions. Fear, anger, and revulsion all vying to overwhelm him. For a moment, he thought the tumult would win, but his years of training won over. Bardulf took a deep breath, and opened his eyes with a determined focus. He fixed his eyes on Thom, who had turned away. “What do you need me to do, my lord?”
The younger man turned. Bardulf thought Thom was steeling himself from his emotions as well. “The ritual requires the blood of two quetzal. Calyn and Erol’s did not work. I hope Calyn and yours will.”
“And if it doesn’t?”
Thom shrugged. “We try something else.”
“So what next?”
Thom handed the fang dagger to Bardulf. “We need the blood of both of you. The question is, do we wait for Leonard and Calyn to start?” He reached into his pocket and pulled out a vial filled with red liquid. ”Or start without them?”
Inventory: fang dagger, flint & steel, heart necklace
What will Bardulf decide?
A) Wait for Leonard and Calyn
Side note, I like the sideways references to Bardulf’s … new sensory abilities, especially that he didn’t find it strange that he could tell Thom was there by scent.
So, yow, a tricky situation. Once again, it isn’t clear what it would mean to wait vs. start. That starting is an option at all seems to imply that Thom has a sample of Calyn’s blood to hand. On the one hand, whatever is awakened here might not be something the two of them (Thom+Bardulf) could handle. On the other, Leonard+Calyn might act in the interests of greedy evil powerhungering. It seems to me that the second is greater danger, and we should seize the chance to have the ritual happen now without L+C, to make it more likely that whatever happens here will not be harnessed for evil purposes. I’m voting (B) Start.
I’ll update the text to clarify the choices, but you are right on track in your thinking, Matt.
I think it would be better for them to start without Leonard and Calyn. Though they have no idea what will happen, they might have a better chance to destroy the evil without the others present.
My vote is B) start.