While making myself useful within the Solace Bridge Outskirts, I stopped to talk with some children playing and singing a rather scoundrelly tune.
“What manner of song is it you sing?” I asked.
“It’s the story of Bloody Bones!” said a small lad making gestures with his hand that were either a salute of greeting or the beginnings of a curse.
“Bloody Bones? That doesn’t sound like a virtuous song young minds like yourself should engage in. How about something more uplifting like that song about the chap that hails from Nantucket? Or the ballad about the young lass named Roxanne?”
I received nothing but blank stares and frowns.
“We don’t want any of that rubbish, we want the Ballad of Bloody Bones!” he said and skipped to the other side of the fire.
“Well, be that as it may, there are for better melodies for people of your young and impressionable age. Perhaps some ale drinking songs then? They will serve you better in later years,” I countered.
“Told you he was a coward,” called the little blighter staying just out of my reach.
“I tell you this young man, the last person who called me a coward received a terrible lesson to the contrary.”
“Oh? And what did you do? Fall to the ground and cry out, ‘not in the face!’ at him?”
I was on the verge of drawing my sword when I noted a nearby guard giving me a sinister stare.
“I don’t believe I like your tone young man,” I said.
“I know I don’t like your face,” he replied.
“This is a ferocious fighting helm made from the skull of a wicked, winged, beast you miserable sod!” I bellowed.
“If you’re so ferocious, why don’t you go and get us the songbook of Bloody Bones?”
“I don’t believe I need to prove my valor to you,” I grumbled.
“Coward!” yelled a small girl.
“Bloody Bones will just stab him in the back like all the others,” declared another. “He wouldn’t last five minutes!”
“Now see here!” I started.
“Don’t go out alone! You’ll end up face down in the ditch!” The girl cried again.
“I’ve fallen face down in the ditch so many times it’s lost all meaning!” I bellowed back. “Nevermind! Where was the last place any one saw this infernal book? I will go and retrieve the ridiculous thing, just to bring this nonsense to an end.”
“On the outskirts of town,” he said. “In the ruins. They’re haunted.”
“Haunted?” I asked.
“You’re not scared are you?” the boy chided.
“Bah, I fear nothing,” I replied. “Which way are the ruins?” I demanded.
He pointed far off into the distance. “Way over there. On the other side of the chasm. You can use the bride if you aren’t afraid of heights. Or you can go all the way back down there and cross through the stream.”
“Bridge? What bridge?” I asked.
“That rickety thing over there,” the boy said pointing. But, judging by the size of you, it’ll most likely collapse while you’re in the middle.”
“Steady on!” I replied. “This is all armor!”
“If you make it across, follow the path and Bloody Bones will appear when you least expect him!” He finished with a menacing gesture as though leaping out from the bushes.
I have to admit, his rendition was a little unsettling. “Very well,” I said. “You wait here and try not to burn down the entire bivouac, and I will look for this book. Perhaps,” I continued trying to instill a dash of fear, “I’ll bring back his head as a grizzly souvenir!”
“I could use it as a pillow,” declared the boy, obviously missing the point of my comment. Realizing they were a tough crowd, I crossed over the makeshift bridge which was far more rickety than I had been led to believe and followed the path.
The wood turned dark and foreboding, with the trees closing in on me. After that incident with the Reaper in Greymark, I studied each movement, ready to spring into action at the slightest limb reaching out to cause me harm.
With the trees behind, I passed a putrid cemetery, a noxious green vapor coating the countryside. The air was heavy with the fetid stench of the undead. Just as I thought of it, several of the undead vermin leapt out at me, trying to infect me with their dreaded contagion. Despite their strength, the poor wretches are slow and I dispatched them with ease. That will show the rotten little urchin.
I kept moving and reached the outskirts of what I assumed was the haunted ruin. To my surprise, a ghastly, boney figure appeared right when I least expected it. He floated on a vaporous cloud of the same putrid air. I tucked behind a rock to get a closer look without being observed.
Alas, my choice of hiding place was ill-conceived and with deliberate intent he rushed toward me. I scrambled to my feet and prepared for battle.
As with all my adversaries, I set both the ground and my weapon alight. Just as he reached me, his dreadful, boney hand punched me right in the face.
“How dare you give credence to that little reprobates words,” I yelled out, swinging with full fury.
While a frightful looking creature, a few savage strikes to the head, followed by the debilitating power of Body Slam, left Bloody Bones crumbled in a pile.
“Take that!” I said with a hiss, kicking at his head, to not only show my superiority, but to confirm he was dead.
Rifling through his charred and brittle remains, I discovered he was indeed in possession of a song book. I quickly scooped it up and returned to the camp.
“See! See you little rapscallion! Not only am I still alive, I got the blasted song book!” I gloated and tossed the book at the little ring leaders feet. “There is your foolish book. Now sing something less dreadful.”
“Where is his head?” asked the little girl. “You said we could have it.”
“Get your own!” I bellowed. “I’m putting this little beauty on the mantle!”
Very well, this looks to be exactly the type of place some miscreant named Bloody Bones would hide in. And I’m quite sure that isn’t his real name.
Just as I suspected, clear signs of villianious bahvior.
More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia
- The House on the Hill – Part I – The Call for Justice
- Yule Hat Obtained, Guild Created
- The economic instability – A Crate by any other name
- The Tale of the Hood of Truth
- Because I could not stop for Death
- Bring me the head of the Ichor Witch!
- Turn Around is Fair Poison
- Stone Cold Violence on the mean streets of New Britannia
- Helping out the Refugees in Soltown
- Down into the Necropolis and Down to the Bottom of the Shaft for Shroud of the Avatar Release 16