You jerk free from the hand that grabbed your shirt, reflexively reaching for your sword--but a gasp of fear stops you in your tracks. Looking over, you see a young man, pale and shaking.
"Forgive me, my lord," he says. "I did not mean to startle you!" He holds out one hand, slightly trembling, and invites you to sit with him. Settling your nerves, you look cautiously around the tavern, but you see nothing except a couple of mice chewing on a large hunk of cheese in the corner. You seat yourself.
The man sits across from you and licks his lips nervously. He says, "I have been instructed to bring you to the Green Sceptre, but only if you can prove your identity as the Kai Lord. Can you? Prove your identity, I mean?"
You lift one eyebrow, then turn your eye back to the mice in the corner. Using your skill of Animal Kinship, you whistle to the mice and they come running. The mice deposit the block of cheese at your feet, chirping excitedly, and then scamper off.
You place the cheese on the table between you and the young man and ask, "Feeling hungry?"
‘You are indeed a Kai Lord,’ says the sailor, but the astonishment on his face quickly changes to an unpleasant sneer.
‘Or should I say you were!’
As he speaks, a door crashes open behind you and you turn to see three harbour thugs advancing towards you. Each is armed with a scimitar and you have no choice but to fight all three as one enemy.
Harbour Thugs: COMBAT SKILL 16 ENDURANCE 25
You leap to your feet, your sword whistling from its scabbard, and prepare to face the thugs. [Our combat skill is 23 now, between the Weapon Mastery and the Shield. This should be easy.]
The three men move to surround you. With one swift movement, you step in, knock one of their weapons aside and shove him down. Whirling around, you slice open the belly of the second. He gasps in pain and falls. [First roll: 8. Does 16 damage to them.]
The third man cries out in rage and comes at you, but he's far too slow. You catch the blow on your shield, step in and slash off his head with one clean stroke. The sound of a boot stepping in blood behind you alerts you to the first assailant having risen. Without looking, you kneel and thrust your blade behind you with an upward motion--and feel it enter his soft belly and pierce up under the ribcage to the heart. [Second roll: 8. Does another 16 damage, finishing it.]
You stand. The inn is empty, and silent save for the sounds of blood leaking from the dying. The man who pretended to be the first mate, Ronan, is no where to be seen.
You check the bodies, and find nothing of value. Although you do notice that each of them has a tattoo of a serpent on their left wrist. It's worth remembering.
You leave the tavern by the side door and discover the dead body of a sailor lying beneath some stairs. Inside the collar of his bloodstained jacket is a tag bearing the name ‘Ronan’. This must be the real Ronan. He has been murdered. You cover the body and turn towards the quay, where the Green Sceptre is anchored about three hundred yards from the harbour wall.
If you wish to use one of the many small boats or coracles that are roped to the quayside, turn to 300.
If you wish to hunt down the impostor who pretended to be Ronan, turn to 67.
[Save point: 333]