The Joke's On You.

How long is this going to take us? We won't get there before night will we? Why are these steps so small?” Olav ranted.

Stop crying, child. Just follow me and we'll get there eventually.” Bob replied. “They're important people, and the higher you stand in society the higher you reside.” He paused for a brief moment to look behind him, seeing a struggling Olav trying to catch breath and walking up slowly up the steps in his fine wear. “Do you know that word? Reside?” Bob cackled before moving on again. From the position Olav was in he could see up Bob's cloak. “My knowledge of words may not be so great, but at least I still have my pecker you rotting piece of flesh.” Bob turned around and kicked wildly at Olav who was fast enough to dodge his pathetic kicks. “Idiot!” Bob shouted. “Follow and keep your mouth shut, or you'll want to wish you were dead.”

A thin line on the horizon was all that was left of the sun as the two reached the top of the tower that finished off with a great marble-set open square, surrounded by fine trimmed rose bushes and flower beds on all sides. In the middle of the square were set seven thrones in a circle, all empty.

Is this a joke?” Olav shouted.

Be quiet!” Bob walked up the center of the square, the chairs were all facing the same direction, pointing at a symbol in the middle. On the ground in front of him was set a small dried-up bird-fountain, mossy and ridden with cracks and for some reason, barnacles.

I know how this works.” Olav stood beside Bob and pointed at the symbol. “Sacrificing you see. You take a small child or elder, whatever works, tie the person down and slit the throat.” Olav looked around and concluded. “Look's like we're all out of that at the moment though. Maybe we should go back and get the blind man.”

Don't be stupid, oaf.” Bob reached from inside his cloak and pulled out a small vial. He opened it and poured the dark black content into the fountain bowl. Suddenly a big gulping sound appeared from inside, finishing off with a violent coughing. The symbol around shone brightly, lighting the night and on the seats appeared faint forms, slowly materializing. Only moments later seven thin figures sat on the thrones, looking bored. One of them, most likely the important one – dressed in a gold-rimmed cloak – spoke up in a demotivated, dragging speech. “We, the council of elders salute you.” Pauzing momentarily to release a yawn he continued. “Speak or state and we shall consult.” Bob knelled down and urged Olav to do the same. “Praise you seven elders we seek your wisdom on a most important matter! We pray you shall hear us oh wise ones.” Bob spoke while kneeling as deep as he could.

Just get on with it!” One of the more plump elders shouted.

As you wish my lord.”

Bob struggled up and pulled Olav by his vest. “I bring before you one of the living.” Bob looked down in shame. The elders jumped up in outrage and a rabble of speech now filled the cold night air. “Do not bother us with your jokes.” Came from the left. “You mustn't make fools of us.” from the right. Insults came from every direction. Finally the most finely dressed elder raised his hand for silence. “Let the carcass speak.”

Bob sighed and continued. “Hear me elders, I would not dare fool you, I seek advice and council. Before you stands Olav of Hörsebehne, a man alive and lost. I bid you hear his story.”

Olav cleared his throat and spoke firmly, without fear. It took many dragging explanations and annoyances to tell the elders what had happened with his town and the strange portal. The seven now very lively and intrigued elders asked difficult questions, testing Olav's patience. “Killed the mayor?!”

The thing was close to raping me, Olav the destroyer does not get violated! He violates!” Olav protested.

Destroyer or not, you can't kill the mayor of Barkbane, you don't kill the last minotaur in Valhalla.”

Olav coughed and lost balance, dropping to the ground he shouted. “Valhalla? I'm in Valhalla?!”

The End

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