Aldo is back with the 3rd entry in his epic! I hope you enjoy Bard’s Tale: Rot in the Oak. Interestingly here we really begin to see Aldo take some creative liberties to play up his own role in the story. Of course, why not make himself the hero of his story.
The Bard’s Tale
By Aldo Hardbottle
Rot in the Oak
We slept the day in the Ol’ Boars Inn,
bothered not by the tavern’s din.
We awoke not to comfy bed,
but paralyzed and filled with dread.
In the back of a rickety old cart, we lay,
no other sounds but the horses’ neigh.
All the heroes tried themselves to stir,
but try as we might motionless we were.
Through the forest the cart traveled on,
until a clearing we came upon,
By this time some could move their hand,
Not an ideal situation for our last stand.
They unloaded us from the wagon and onto some stones.
All around us, the clearing was covered in bones.
We were to be sacrificed to their master’s wicked tree,
unless we found the strength to act and flee.
But fortune smiled on our heroes this day,
for Noble threw himself from the stone without delay.
Shock took our captors, they knew not what to do,
“Our poison,” they cried, “its work is all through.”
With that your clever narrator from his stone did leap,
And put several of the scoundrels fast to sleep.
A battle ensued and our heroes fought hard,
and the only one wounded, was your humble bard.
Not a wound you can see, well maybe a little,
but we found out that night that a heart can be brittle.
Something pierced my leg, a smallish blade,
and it came from the hand of my elven barmaid!
Aman attacked when he saw this betrayal,
as I lay on the ground and tried to inhale.
The battle quickly drew to a close,
with Starfall striking the final blows.
In the end we captured a thug,
We asked him some questions, but he remained smug.
Eventually we were able to draw out,
Some information from the oafish lout.
There were cultists in positions throughout Oakhurst.
Suddenly from the trees a creature burst.
The cultists turned a ghastly white,
“The master has sent his pets, the Blight!”
Twiggy figures surrounded the glade,
the smell from them was woody and decayed.
Horror came, we were not ready for this,
here we would die, in this forested abyss.
Millbee alone stood ready and waiting,
he cast a spell, all while berating
his friends to set them ablaze.
Quickly, Noble broke out of his haze.
He threw fire at one and it burst into flame,
and just like that we were back in the game.
Those with spells threw fire when they could.
It made perfect sense, these creatures were wood.
It was twelve against five, maybe not the best odds,
but it seems we heroes are favored by the gods.
We beat these creatures back into the dark,
The clearing charred by our spark.
Alone in the clearing we wondered what to do,
“We must keep on moving, or more will come through
looking for us, this cult wants us dead.”
These were the words that Noble said.
Starfall just wanted to sleep.
“Can’t we stay here,” she started to weep.
After a vote we all agreed,
to make for the Citadel at full speed.
For hours we traveled the lonely old road,
towards the Sunless Citadel, our pace never slowed.
We heard in the distance a loud fearsome howl.
We quickened our pace, wolves were on the prowl.
After a few hours of an exhausting chase,
The wolves decided to strike with savage grace.
Noble was knocked to the ground,
mauled by the ferocious hound.
Aman ran to defend the horses
from the pack’s surrounding forces.
Starfall spoke to the wolves in their own tongue,
and one of them stopped, while the rest sprung.
The horses spooked and ran up the road,
with Millbe attempting the creatures to goad.
Sensing easy prey the wolves pressed the attack,
one of the beasts knocked Starfall on her back.
As the battle dragged on it was looking rather grim,
without spells, our chances of survival looked slim.
And here my friends is where we turn the tide,
worry not for none of us died.
Aman the Mul killed a rather large beast,
and Millbee was able to calm the horses at least.
Poor Noble was being dragged off into the wood,
I tried throwing darts but my efforts were no good.
But Aman was a hero and truly saved us all,
he attacked another wolf, and cracked its skull.
Sensing now we might not be the easy prey they’d hoped
the wolves backed down and off to the woods they moped.
Trudging along for another hour,
the night’s events left me feeling sour.
A cult in Oakhurst meant the town was unsafe,
The thought weighed heavily on your poor little waif.
The only thing left was to power ahead,
answers we’d find if we pulled at the thread.
The Sunless Citadel was tied to all of our woe,
We would not be safe until Belak the Outcast was brought low.