This adventure could definitely be longer! Once I got into writing the posts, I realized there could be a lot more places for the reader to make a choice. Perhaps I’ll expand it for the next run through, but for now, please forgive how long these last few posts have turned out.
Now on to the end of the adventure!
Prince’s Game Option Aa1: River
“River,” you tell the group.
Before the others notice your gathered group, Grandma, Red and Glasses shuffle toward the side door like the grandkids just took Grandma to visit the Cathedral. Glasses holds her free arm and points out the different statues while Grandma uses the cane to move forward. Red rushes ahead and holds the door open for them.
You and Rapier kneel down between two pews and wait for them to make their exit before you stand and move to leave as well.
“Hey you,” calls a haughtily dressed lady from the other group. “You notice a group of five in here recently?”
Rapier glances over.
“Well,” you consider, “it’s been pretty quiet.”
Rapier nods, “quiet.” He agrees.
The woman gives an ‘ugh’ like you’re simple and saunters off.
You make a quick exit and find the others already waiting on the dock jutting out from the riverbank. They’ve got a boat waiting and, to your surprise, Rapier digs in his pocket and pays the fair without even asking the boatman the amount.
The bald boatman glances at the money, nods and pushes off from the dock.
“Been to this fencing area before?” you ask Rapier.
He grunts, which might mean yes.
The boat coasts through the rest of the city and then exits the city walls without fanfare. Not long after, the boatman angles the vessel toward the shore and it bumps softly onto the sandy beach that’s next to the dueling field.
Rapier gives him a polite salute in thanks and you all disembark over the side.
“I’m not much use here,” Grandma mutters as you all take in the fencing field. It’s a patch of green surrounded by willows. On the far side of the patch stands a man with his sword drawn and the point stuck in the ground. He leans on the hilt while watching you. Behind him, you can just make out the hilt of another sword stuck in the ground.
“This is my part,” Rapier mutters. “He guards the sword.”
“All the time?” Glasses asks.
“Never seen him leave,” Rapier answers over his shoulder as he approaches the waiting man.
“Back again?” the man calls.
“Hey,” Red rushes up to your teammate and whispers in his ear, then he backs away again.
“What was that?” Glasses asks when he rejoins you.
“The guard use to be a Rat member,” Red whispers. “He’s got a weak left knee.”
Again, you wonder what kind of interaction Red’s had with the Rats but then you forget the question as Rapier and the guard face off.
In your short time with Rapier, you never noticed how graceful he moves, but now on the dueling field, he becomes a dancer.
You’ve never seen the like.
Except, the guard’s just as graceful.
Grandma grunts when Rapier misses a step. She sighs when he regains his balance and presses the attack again.
It’s Glasses who cries out softly when he barely parries a series of swift strokes. Then, so quickly you miss his actual steps, he turns and attacks the guard’s left side.
The man tries to respond but the move’s too much and his knee buckles.
In moments, he’s kneeling with Rapier’s sword at his throat.
“Wow,” Red says.
The same sentiment runs through your own mind.
“Our sword,” Rapier nods to the weapon stuck in the ground.
While he holds the guard, you pull the sword and return to the group.
On the hilt spirals a deep purple, silk ribbon.
“That’s the Princess’ color,” Grandma fingers the fabric.
“Doesn’t she always wear two?” you ask.
Grandma nods. “We need the second ribbon.”
It’s then you realize that, to get to the castle, you’ll have to retrace your steps back into the city. You wrap the sword in cloth and tuck it into your belt.
“How do we get back?” you ask Rapier.
So you wait for a boat and then head back.
At the Cathedral, you head toward Under Town again because Grandma assures you she can get you all to the part of Under Town just outside the Castle.
The lid’s half off the hole into Under Town when you hear a muffled scream and look up from lifting it with Rapier to see two man hauling Red farther down the alley. They turn a corner and disappear.
“Rat Gang,” you say and drop the cover to race after them.
Rapier heads the other way to cut them off.
You reach the next turn and race down the street but you meet Rapier at the next corner. Neither one of you saw Red or the two men.
You search until dawn and realize the game has been lost. But more disturbing to all of you is the disappearance of Red. You determine after a brief break that it’s unthinkable not to find the boy. You bane together to free him from the Rat gang, no matter how long that might take.
Thanks for participating in this adventure!
The next one will start on the 27th, so until then, blessings,