Hero’s Tale VYA – Part 19

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.

“Calyn, stop!”

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. &#8221Or start without them?&#8221

Inventory: fang dagger, flint & steel, heart necklace
Health: healthy

What will Bardulf decide?
A) Wait for Leonard and Calyn
B) Start

Hero’s Tale VYA – Part 18 Results

So Bardulf is going to refuse to help, as any adventurer would when faced with people who are surely on the side of evil. Right? What’s interesting is that you all said, in one form or another, that these people are not trustworthy. Time to find out if you are right.

Part 19 is in the works. I may just make is a Christmas present for everyone. In the meantime, thanks for the votes!

VYA Part 18 voting reminder

I neglected my duties through November and didn’t promote anything about voting. So, as a result of my failure, I have no votes.

What I’m going to do is leave it up for another week. If I have no votes at that point, I’m going to pick my least favorite option, or the one I wouldn’t pick if I were voting.

So, go read Part 18, and leave your thoughts. I will be locking comments on December, Friday 13, 2013.

Hero’s Tale VYA – Part 18

Here we are, into the belly of the beast! As I said in Part 17, I will be leaving this part up through November, so everyone will have plenty of time to get their vote in. Need a refresher with what has been going on? Go take a gander at the Vote Your Adventure page. Meanwhile, I’m going to get busy writing for NaNoWriMo

Bardulf walked up to the fire, and stood beside the barrels of arrows, worming his hands for a moment. A group of soldiers ran up, halting to grab weapons and arrows, before joining the fray.

“Don’t be standing around, you dolt!” one of the men called to Bardulf. “We have a battle going on!”

Bardulf warily watched the man approach. He was dressed for battle with leather armor, and a sword on his hip. “We can’t have any slackers in this army. Are you coming, or not?”

“I was outside the gate when the attack started and was told to get my wounds checked,” Bardulf countered. “I just stopped to warm up for a moment.” He felt a twinge of fear. This was not going as he had hoped.

“Don’t care. You can rest when you’re dead.” The man reached out and grabbed Bardulf’s shoulder.

Bardulf took hold of the man by the arm, knelt down and twisted, swinging him into the barrels. Arrows spilled out, and caught fire within seconds.

“You dare tell a commanding officer what to do?!” Bardulf bluffed.

The flames spread at an alarming rate, touching the spears and bows in moments.

The man pushed himself to his feet, moving burning wood around. The flames grasped the weapons, rendering them useless. “Officer?” he growled. “Everyone knows me, and I report to one person alone.” He tilted his neck, producing a series of snaps. “I should kill you, but I think Calyn Solym will want to talk with you.”

He made a motion, and two soldiers took hold of Bardulf’s arms. He tried briefly to pull away, but the men held him tight. The commander stepped forward and searched Bardulf. The hatchet was cast aside, but the fang dagger produced a different reaction.

Fear touched the commander’s face briefly. “No. You need to see the lords,” he murmured.

Suddenly, a cheer went up from the soldiers at the gate. “They’re being driven back!” “We’ve won!” Bardulf relaxed his body and let his head droop.

The commander took note of the movement. “You are allied with the natives?” He shook his head. “Such a simple people. We will have no problem overpowering them.”

The commander escorted him into the city. The dwellings were built into and carved from the rock. Bardulf noticed other levels above and below the path they walked. It was quite the sight to behold.

They stopped at a large building where a pair of guards stood. “Lord Solym is still asleep. He asked not to be disturbed,” one of the guards told them.

“He will be interested. I have someone for him to meet.” He handed the fang dagger to a guard. “Give him this and tell him we will be in the Halls.” The guard frowned at the weapon, but accepted it and walked into the building.

The commander didn’t wait, but continued to a large building that looked like a temple. Massive carved stone pillars opened into a wide cavern. Bardulf idly wondered if the pillars held the mountain up. It did not take long after entering the temple to begin the decent into the heart of the mountain.

As they walked, they passed through a large doorway flanked by two statues. They were obviously quetzal with their serpent bodies standing tall, and wings extended. One was white, the other black.

Voices echoed through the hall and stairwell as they descended. Soon two voiced could be distinguished, and the group rounded a corner, revealing a giant stone serpent head.

Bardulf flinched, and felt the two soldiers do the same. The mouth was wide open, with fangs as long as Bardulf was tall. But as detailed and intricate as the carving was, the snake only a stone carving.

Two men sat nearby. The closest, Bardulf identify by his features. His nose and hair marked him as the son of Lord Belmont, Thom. “I don’t understand why the doors won’t open,” he was saying. “We’ve been studying the script for years, it is clear that we need two quetzal to do this.”

“And yet, the two we have are not sufficient, it seems.” The second man was older, and wore loose fitting robes. His long hair was stringy, with gray streaks throughout.

“I have something you will want to see, lords,” the commander interrupted. The two men turned to look at the intrusion. The older man’s brow furrowed, his dark eyes penetrated the four men.

“This had better be important.”

The commander bowed. “It is. The natives have launched an attack against us, and this man seems to be part of it.”

Before anyone could speak further, a hiss echoed, and a large quetzal appeared before them. Bardulf’s eyes were drawn to the creatures white right eye. The scar from the cut he had given it was an angry red color. It turned its good eye to Bardulf, and smiled.

The quetzal shifted, and a man that Bardulf had not seen for years stood before them. He held the fang dagger in his hands. “Bardulf Sylvani.” He grinned, a wild look reaching his eyes. “I have waited for this moment.”

He held up the dagger. “We are missing a quetzal it seems. This is a tooth from Erol.”

The older man’s face contorted in anger, but he remained silent.

“Calm Leonard.” Thom Belmont looked at Bardulf. “Our scholar, Leonard Schuyler, has invested much in this endeavor. So you are the Ranger Lord?”

“Former!” Calyn spat. Thom gave him a single glance, and the man lowered his head.

“A great evil sleeps here, Ranger Lord. Leonard here told me of it, and convinced me that we should destroy it before someone woke it. I have one request of you. Will you help?”

Inventory: flint & steel, heart necklace
Health: some slight injuries from the battle

Will Bardulf agree to help Thom Belmont?
A) Agree
B) Refuse