Welcome back for the second part in this adventure =)
If you missed last week, here’s a quick recap: You rode into the desert oasis town of Caspian and received a rather cool welcome from the inhabitants. Red, the tavern keeper, agreed to allow you to sleep in one of his rooms if you promised to stay inside all night. You agreed, but midway through the night there’s a deep roaring outside and the ground begins to shake. Readers voted to go outside to investigate. (If you would like to read the start to this adventure, click here.)
Now, let’s see what happens.
Oasis Disturbance Option B: Go Outside
The subtle shuddering in the floorboards continues, growing in strength until dust floats into the air from the surface and each dry board creaks against its neighbor. Red, the tavern keeper, may have asked you to stay in your room all night but you’ve a sinking premonition that your room might not last till dawn and it might be safer to move your body elsewhere.
With a firm grip on the doorknob, you turn it carefully and peek into the hallway beyond. Darkness greets you but it’s a sleepy kind of hush, not a creepy kind. Keeping your steps soft, you exit your closet room and make it three steps down the stairs before a grating, grinding crash shakes the walls. Even before the noise stops, you notice light coming from under the door of the room you just left. It’s silvery light, like someone opened a giant window…except there wasn’t a big window in that room to open. Maybe it’s time to get out of town, you decide, and take the last six steps down to the bar two at a time.
Before your feet finish thudding on the landing, someone’s got you by the arm.
“Should’ve told you to leave town!” Red shouts. He spins you toward the back door where you assume the kitchen sits.
“How do I have anything to do with this?” you shout right back, both from his rough handling and from your surprise.
By now, Red’s shoved you through the kitchen and toward the door outside. He lets go of your arm to swing the door open.
“Look at that!” He points through the door but does not step through it.
Beyond the door lies the backyard of the tavern and beyond that sits the stables. Or rather, what used to be the stables. A jumbled heap of timbers and thatch meets your gaze, and now that you know what you’re hearing, you realize some horses must have survived because their worried neighing carries through the tavern yard.
“Opher!” You run to search for her but Red grabs your arm again before you exit the door.
“Where do you think you’re going?”
“My horse. Your stables. We’ve got to help them!”
He lets go like you burned him. “And go out there? You’re battier than a belfry.”
For a moment, you simply look into the big man’s dark eyes. Under the bravado, there’s a layer of fear so thick he’s almost drowning in it. No argument will make him leave the questionable safety of the tavern.
“Fine,” you say, and step out the door.
It’s a relatively clear night with only a few scattered clouds to hide the moon occasionally. You’re so focused on the stables that you don’t immediately see the creature running toward you waving its spindly arms. When you do catch sight of it, however, you freeze as your brain stumbles over an explanation.
“Look at you!” the creature crows. “All that lovely skin and hair and—and—and look at your eyes! You have eyes!”
This would be a very strange statement except the creature doesn’t have eyes—or skin—or hair. It’s just bones and now that it’s standing right in front of you, there’s no denying what’s talking at you.
A dinosaur, or at least it’s the talking bones of one. About the size of a thin, medium sized dog, the teeth and snout look like they could leave quite the wound in all your lovely skin.
But the dinosaur isn’t biting, or even really aggressive. Instead, it grasps your hands in its long claws and sighs, “You’re perfect. Please help us.”
“Um,” you say.
“Oh right,” the dinosaur drops your hands and takes a step back. “They all say I’m a little much. Calm, Calvin, stay calm and explain.” This last bit seems to be said more to himself than to you.
“Someone stole the toad king,” Calvin says.
“I know, right!? Who would do such a thing? But they did and now we need to un-damn the lake or we all stay dusty, thirsty skeletons. Help us?”
“My horse needs my help first.” You point toward the rubble of the stables as you try to edge around Calvin.
He grabs your arm and then flinches back. “Calm, Calvin, calm. Don’t scare the human,” he tells himself, then, “un-damning the lake will help everyone, horses included. What do you say?”
Bb. Help Calvin?
Bc. Find Opher?
Let me know in the comments which option gets your vote. Next Thursday we’ll return to see how this adventure continues.