Posted 30 May 2012 - 03:14 AM
Disclaimer: Quest For Glory and its characters are owned by Sierra On-Line.
Chapter 2: Katta, Fox, and Saurus Tails
Marcus immediately felt safer the moment he walked inside the Hero’s Tale Inn. It was cozy, with a crackling fireplace by the wall, and a table and chairs in the middle of the room. The innkeeper was something Marcus had never seen before- a cat wearing a green robe! Noticing Marcus coming in, the cat got up from its kneeling position where it was cleaning itself, and stood up on its hind legs and bowed respectfully to him.
“Welcome! Welcome, traveler, to the Hero’s Tale Inn! I am Shameen, at your service. May I help you in any way?” The cat spoke in a male voice.
Marcus was so shocked at the idea of a talking cat as an innkeeper, that he almost forgot why he’d come in here in the first place. He recovered and cleared his throat, “Ahem! I’d like to rent a room for myself and my two friends, if it’s not too much trouble.”
Shameen shook his furry head, “No, no. It’s no problem at all, Effendi. That’s the point of an inn, after all.” Marcus nodded, and then asked, “If you don’t mind me saying, I never expected a cat to be running an inn here. What exactly ARE you anyway?”
“I am known as a Katta. I and my wife, Shema, come from the desert of Shapeir to the south.” Shameen explained. He gestured his paw to the chairs, “Why don’t you sit down? I bet you’re hungry after traveling, yes?” Marcus sat down and began to relax. This wasn’t so bad. One of the doors opened, and out came another Katta wearing a blue shirt and pink pants that Marcus assumed was Shema. Shema smiled sweetly and said, “Welcome, Wanderer From Afar. I hope you enjoy your stay here in Spelburg. Can I get you something to eat or drink?” Marcus nodded and ordered some lunch for himself. He thanked her and paid her, and Shameen gave him three room keys. Marcus thanked him and walked out to find his companions.
As Rico entered the tavern, he got the immediate impression that he wasn’t welcome here. The patrons and barkeep glared at the young thief. The floor and walls were filthy with dirt and grime and sticky beer making it smell awful and look like a pig sty. There was even some weird green slime on one of the stools, which might be useful… if it didn’t look radioactive enough to possibly burn the skin off his hand.
He noticed a trapdoor being guarded by a goon in the corner of the room. He certainly looked like a Crusher to Rico. Rico went over to the goon and said softly, “Purple Saurus.” The goon nodded and opened the trapdoor for him, which revealed a small flight of stairs, leading down someplace dimly lit. Rico grinned; this must the Thieves Guild he was looking for!
He fearlessly went down the stairs into the Guild, and he liked what he saw; while the place wasn’t very bright, Rico had a good set of eyes anyway. He was standing a small room that didn’t have much in terms of furniture other than a picnic table and a single chair in which sat a man dressed in a brown short sleeved shirt, red pants and a teal cape, whom Rico assumed to be the leader, nonchalantly throwing daggers at a dartboard on the wall, while drinking some coffee. There was a knife stuck into the wood of the table, and a bunch of other knives in different sizes hung up on another wall in a half-circle in a display underneath some small vases. Rico began to walk over to get a closer look when, he saw something quickly fly past him and embedded itself in the wall- a dagger! Rico got out of the way and turned around just in time to see the leader holding another dagger aimed at him. The leader frowned and said seriously, “Don’t touch those. They’re mine!”
Rico stuttered, “S-sorry chief, I’m not from around here. I just started up in the family business, see.”
The chief thief rolled his eyes at Rico’s response, and glared at Crusher. “Beginners, Crusher! Why do I always get beginners?! It’s bad enough that I’m the best of the best an’ I’m stuck in this little hick town with barely anything good to steal,” Well, that’s just lovely, isn’t it? Rico thought disappointed, “but there are also those brigands we have to deal with, who spook off any sort of business I had before! And now, this little kid,” he pointed at Rico, “thinks he can hang out with the big boys, just ‘cause he’s part of a “family business” as he puts it?” he turned to Rico and crossed his arms, “Tell me something kid, how old are you?”
“Um, nineteen chief,” Rico said.
The chief looked him up and down, scrutinizing him as if he were a horse for sale at a fair. He took a few steps backwards until his back was almost touching the wall, and pulled out another dagger. Pointing it at Rico he said, “Alright, kid. Let’s see how good your reflexes are, huh?”
Rico just nodded and braced himself. The knife went flying at him, fast as lightning! Rico barely dodged in time. The chief grumbled, “You’re slow, kid. That’s not good for a thief, you know,” he threw another knife, another close call, “Who taught you anyway?” he stopped throwing for a minute.
Rico replied in relief, “My parents, chief; I’ve only been in the business for about a year or so.”
He dodged a bit faster, noticing how the chief thief was holding the dagger in a certain position which seemed to pinpoint where he was aiming to throw. The chief smiled a little at the small improvement, “Think fast, kid!” he said before throwing TWO daggers at Rico this time!
Thunk! Thunk! Rico ducked and rolled quickly. Two more flew at him as he was getting back on his feet. Rico dodged one, caught the other by the blade and threw it back! The chief, being a master, dodged easily.
This went on for a while. The chief would throw one or two daggers. Rico would dodge, getting slightly quicker each time, with occasionally the chief asking Rico a question before throwing. Yeesh, how daggers does this guy even have?! Rico thought as he swiftly dodged another knife. The chief stopped throwing, and his smile grew wider, “Not bad, kid; I think that’s enough for now, I need to rest my arms a bit.” Rico nodded in understanding, and the chief went back to drinking his coffee. The chief looked at Rico, “Well, you want to become a qualified thief, eh?” he pointed to the door next to the dartboard, “It’ll cost you 25 silvers to ‘work’ here in town. Can’t pay it,” he smirked, “I think you know what to do.”
Rico grinned and nodded. He checked his pack and took out his money bag, seeing that there had been a note attached:
Rico- according to some of our associates, you’ll require a “Thieves License” to work in towns like Spielburg. So, for now, here’s some money for you to –hopefully- pay for at least the license. I’m sure you’ll find the money to pay for whatever else they sell... elsewhere (heh heh! You know what I mean, right?). Good luck, son!
Looking in the money bag, he had 48 silvers; Pretty good, if he had anything to say about it. He paid Boris, and when he got his license he waved it around happily and shouted, “YES!! I’M AN OFFICIAL THIEF; A BONAFIDE PURLOINER!”
The chief thief tried to keep Rico quiet, “Shhhh, not so loud! Do you want the sheriff to hear you?!” Rico shut up. He began walking up the stairs back to the tavern, but not before Rico bowed before the chief thief and gave him ‘the sign’, “Thank you chief, I’ll be back later on tonight.” The chief signed back, and Rico left.
Standing at the gates of Spielburg, their bags all packed, and weapons on their belts, our three Heroes in training all felt a shiver run down their spines. Not only because of the cool breeze but also because they knew that once they walked away from these gates and away from the path, they would be completely alone except for each other.
Finn looked up at the sky. It was mid-afternoon right now. He thought he heard a noise down the path, sounded like a bark. “Hey, do you hear something?” he said to Marcus and Rico. They listened, the bark came again, and it sounded pained.
“I think something is hurt over this way, come on!” Marcus said, dashing toward the sound.
Not very far down the path, they found a little red fox. The fox looked at them, and then did something amazing: it talked!
“Help me, Heroes! I’m stuck!” the fox whimpered. Marcus noticed that the fox was stuck in a trap, and went over to spring it, but Rico stopped him.
“Marcus? Two things: 1. I don’t trust him. He could be faking it, after all. And 2, you don’t know how to pick a lock. I, however, do. Let me handle this.” Rico insisted.
“How do you know he’s not trustworthy?” Marcus protested, “Just look at him! And, just because you’re part of a ‘shady group’, doesn’t mean that all traps must fall to your skills.”
The two continued arguing like this. Finn rolled his eyes at this pointlessness, and having an idea, pulled out one of the scrolls he’d bought- specifically the Open spell. Reading the scroll, the spell was imprinted on his brain and with a ‘poof!’ the scroll disappeared. Finn bent down near the fox, which looked at him cautiously, and concentrated…
SNAP! The trap came apart and the fox was free! The fox turned around in a circle, checking over himself; Not injured other than his leg, the fox smiled at Finn appreciatively, giving him a respectful nod of his head “Thank you kindly, young wizard. Is there anything I can do for you, monsieur…?”
“Just Finn, if you please.” Finn replied, “Hmmm… any advice, Herr Fuchs?”
The fox nodded. “Please, just call me Reynard, kind one of magic. Well, first off, sometimes it pays off to be polite, even to rude people,” Finn nodded in agreement, “and here’s a little tidbit- the ogress, Baba Yaga, put some sort of spell or enchantment on the Baron’s daughter, Elsa, some years back. If you wish to break the spell, talk to the Dryad in this forest, provided you do something in exchange for her,” Reynard said. He pricked his ears, “Oh, and another thing: a brave knight once told me years ago, that in order to be crafty like me, you should pick up anything that is not nailed down.”
“And if it is nailed down?” Finn questioned.
Reynard smirked, “Look for loose nails or boards, of course!”
Finn rolled his eyes a bit, “Of course. Although, you really shouldn’t tell this to me; you should tell Rico instead, he’s the stealthy thief, not me.”
Reynard was about to do so, when he noticed that Rico and Marcus were still arguing! Finn facepalmed with a groan, and he pulled out the one small dagger he had and cast the “Zap” spell on it. He swung it around in an arc to catch their attention, “Hey!! Stop arguing, you two! This is getting ridiculous! I’ve already freed the fox, and gotten some nice advice from him, in the time you two dunderheads were fighting, so shut up!” Marcus and Rico did so, and were surprised at their friend’s reaction. Usually, he didn’t yell at people like that. Usually, he was the gentle, quiet one.
Reynard cleared his throat, and told his wisdom to Rico and Marcus. Then, with a flip of his bushy tail, Reynard left them with an, “Au Revoir, Ta-ta, I hope we’ll meet again someday,” and disappeared into the bushes.
“So, where do we go from here?” Rico asked.
“Hmmm… how about the castle? I’m sure we can find info about the brigands and that accursed Baba Yaga there.” Marcus said, heading north.
Suddenly, Marcus sensed it again- an unfriendly presence. Drawing Shamgar, he and his companions searched all around and froze in their tracks when they heard something utter a low, nasty growl. “Get ready, guys.” Marcus said softly, his eyes shifting. Finn and Rico nodded.
The growl grew louder into it turned into a roar! Then, something huge with sharp teeth and purple scales jumped out of the bushes straight toward them!
Marcus tried to hide his fear, remembering what the ‘monsters’ section in his F.A.C.S. pamphlet said this was- a Purple Saurus!
The Saurus leaped up and tried to pin down Rico, but remembering what the chief thief taught him earlier, he quickly ducked and rolled out of the way.
When the monster’s back was turned, Shamgar was thrust into it! Letting out a screech, the Saurus whipped around and clawed at its attacker! Marcus screamed in pain clutching his chest, but stood his ground regardless, slashing his sword across the monster’ eyes, which blinded it!
The creature felt pain course through its leg, as Rico stabbed his knife into it! In unison with Rico, Finn managed to get a stab in as well with his ‘Zap’ powered dagger! As Marcus made his slashes faster and faster, the awful shrieks from the Saurus nearly deafened them.
Rico, feeling brave, jumped up in the air and tried to land on the Saurus’ back!
“Yeehaw!” Rico cheered, stabbing his knife repeatedly into the Saurus’ back. The Saurus turned its head and tried to bite Rico who bent over until his head was almost touching his tail.
Finn focused his magic power while the monster was distracted with Rico and Marcus, feeling his hands warm up. Looking down, he watched rather impressed, as a small ball of fire appeared in them! Pushing his right hand forward, the newly acquired ‘Flame Dart’ spell flew and struck the Saurus in the side! The Saurus screeched, and threw Rico off like a bronco. Rico went flying and face planted into the grass, not moving. Finn threw the other ‘Flame Dart’ at the Saurus to keep him away from Rico, and the fire set the Saurus’ tail aflame!
Now, the Saurus went completely nuts and turned around over and over in circles shrieking like mad! Finn kept casting ‘Flame Dart’ again and again, the little flame balls getting bigger and stronger with each hit! The fire on the Saurus’ tail went out, and it started becoming woozy from its wounds (plus, of course, it had been spinning around in circles a minute ago which is bound to make anyone dizzy!), so much so that it could barely stand.
Seeing his chance, Marcus struck Shamgar horizontally across, slicing the Saurus’ throat! The Saurus tried to manage a roar, but all that came was a gurgle and blood seeping from its mouth. Before the spark in its eyes died out completely, it managed to slice at Marcus, cutting him again deeper in the stomach, and then collapsed on the ground dead.
Rico got up, rubbing his head. “Ow… ooh, my head hurts,” he muttered. Rico crossed his eyes and looked down at his nose. Great, lovely, it seemed to be busted and bleeding a bit. He looked up, noticing the dead monster. “Oh, hey, I guess you guys didn’t need me,” he said with a grin.
Finn didn’t answer, as he was too busy trying to see if he could do anything for Marcus, who had fallen soon after he’d killed the monster, and wasn’t getting up. Finn really wished he’d learned how to heal before they’d left! Luckily, Marcus was still breathing and Finn still felt a heartbeat (thank goodness! Imagine, losing a comrade during their first battle out in the wilderness!), although both were rather faint.
Finn looked around for something he could do to help, then noticing a pair of glowing eyes in the bushes. Seeing what looked like a familiar bushy white-tipped tail, Finn went over to the bush and asked, “Reynard? Is that you? Please, I need your help!” the fox poked his head out of the bushes, and saw Marcus. The fox needed no explanation, and motioned ‘follow me!’ with his paw.
Finn and Rico dragged Marcus’s body in the direction where Reynard was heading to, and low and behold, they were greeted by a nice, homely little hut with the sign of the healer (a blue bottle) above the door! Reynard scratched and yowled at the door, until he heard the bar unlatch from the door and a kindly voice said, “Come on in! It’s open!”
The two men breathed a sigh of relief as they dragged Marcus inside. They were safe!