A short, tubby shape stood in the doorway to ”The inn of the severed arm”.
He had a small dignified nose, and his body was covered in rusty metal armour.
He walked up to the innkeeper, a fat man with thin, greasy hair, a pig nose and a dirty, beer stained apron. The armor clad man took a deep bow before saying:
”Excuse me sir, I’m Bert Twiddletoe, a great hero and dragonslayer! Would it be too much of me to ask if yewould give me accomodations for the cold winter night? I will of course award ye efforts.”
The innkeeper scratched his almost bald head with short, fat fingers.
”Whass’ datt yu’ be sayin’?” he muttered, almost incoherently.
Bert twitched his nose, annoyed by the innkeepers complete lack of manners.
He thought for a while, then he said:
”What I said was: Would you let me stay in your beautiful abode?”
The Innkeeper scratched his head yet again.
”Sorry, don’t speak franceian,” he said, mighty proud that he had figured out what language the weird man was speaking.
”WHAT I SAID WAS: GIVE ME A FRIGGIN’ ROOM IN YER FRIGGIN’ INN BECAUSE I’M FREEZIN’ MY FRIGGIN’ ARSE OFF!” Bert shouted in pure outrage, his face as red as a tomato in harvest season.
The innkeeper smiled, rage was a language he spoke fluidlently: ”No need for shoutin’, you could’ve just be sayin so in the beginnin place,” he said and reached for a key. Bert’s face slowly turned back into a normal colour as he put three gold coins on the counter, took the keys and went up too his room.
Bert looked at the small dirty room he’d been given and sighed.
He went over to the small, filthy bed and looked in wonder at the yellow stains on the blankets. Had they been red he might have understood, red being the colour most often left after glorious, heroic battles. But yellow?
Bert scratched his head and went over to the bed, removed his rusty armor and thought of all his glorious battles, all his wonderful treasure (which had, according to Bert, been stolen while he was out saving a princess), he then went over to look at the bathroom. There was none.
”Well, I’ll be a goose in mating season! Some thieving scoundrel has stolen my bathing accomadations! I’ll have to report this to the innkeeper as soon as humanly possible!” he mumbled to himself, strapped on his armour and ran downstairs to complain.
Bert stood outside in the cold, dark night, banging on the inn’s door. ”LET ME IN! I DIDN’T MEAN TO WAKE YOU, GOOD SIR! PLEASE! I’VE PAID ALREADY!” he shouted, after a while he stopped banging on the door.
”That oafish lout… Throwing me out just for waking him… If I wasn’t bound by the knight’s moral codex I’d… I’d… I’d… do something really mean!” Bert mumbled and walked away from the inn.
He looked around him, the white snow covered the rooftops of the village of Rax. Bert shivered in the cold, his armour not doing much to warm his frozen body, he didn’t know much about Rax, but he knew he didn’t like it here. He therefore decided to use his exceptionally magnificent skills in the outdoors to find shelter and make a fire.
”Ok… so how did this work… Rock on… rock?… Yeah… Uhmm… Ok… Sparks on… What have I forgotten… Oh… hmm… I know! WOOD!” Bert mumbled to himself, all his attempts at making fire up until now had been a complete failure, but he had at least found shelter in a large cave.
”Wood… Wood… Where do you get wood?” Bert asked himself over and over again, then it struck him: TREES!
He ran outside and choose a large oak, he then drew his sword and started chopping at it. A few hours later, he had successfully cut down a tree, not the large oak, but a smaller, and in Bert’s opinion, much more convinient bush.
He dragged the bush back to the cave, dumped it on the floor, took his two rocks, and smashed them together.
After a great deal of smashing, Bert proudly looked at the result of his labor, a burning bush, he ignored the fact that it was already morning.
He sat down to enjoy his glorious fire when suddenly, he heard sounds from outside.
”An’ I said to tha chump, if ya don’t gimme yer money, I’ll chop off yer toe!”
a dark voice said, the voice was followed by rough chorus of laughter from two other voices.
Bert shot up, what horrible people could this be? Talking about chopping off toes in mid-morning, then laughing about it? Brigands, or thieves mayhaps?
Orcs or ogres? There was no use in sitting here thinking about it, the voices were coming closer.
Finding a good dark place in the depths of the cavern, which he, now that he came to think about it, hadn’t investigated yet. He ran into the dark cavern, found himself a good rock, and hid.
The voices were almost inside the cavern now, then something struck him: THE BUSH! He’d forgotten the damnable bush!
Well, it was too late now, all he could do now was to sit back and see what happened next.
Bert held his breath in anticipation, and then they came in, three large brutish looking men. (But for the rest of his days, Bert would refer to them as Ogres).
Two of them were holding a large brown bag, the third carrying a large bow, something inside the bag moved and there came muffled sounds.
”By all that’s holy! That’s the sound of someone in need! Those.. Those… vile ogres have kidnapped some maiden!” Bert mumbled to himself and instinctivly grabbed the hilt of his rusty sword.
The three men put the bag down and looked around.
”Hey, James, Homer, cum ’ere! There’s ’een someone here lately, look, it’s a burnt bush!”, one of the large men said to the others.
The larger of the three, which Bert now thought of as ”Homer the Evil”, although he would later find out that he was the one named James, went over to the bush and looked at it. This, Bert thought, was the perfect time for action, as James bent over to examine the bush, Bert jumped out from behind the bush with his sword in hand, he took a defensive stance and shouted: ”WOE IS THY EVIL KIDNAPPERS! I, BERT YE HEROIC, WILL SAVE YE ENTRAPPED ONE AND SLAY YE! FLEE QUICKLY AND I WILL SPARE YE PITIFUL LIVES!”
The three men quickly pulled together.
”What ’id he say?” one of them said
”I dunno, but he’s got a sword, I says we run and don’t look back,”
The largest one shook his head.
”Maybes we can be talkin to him, lemme try…
He-llo we hun-ters,” he pointed at himself and then continued: ”We.. Come… in… Peace..,” he said and pointed at his bow and put it down on the ground.
”Then thy must at least be evil hunters ?” Bert said and scratched his head.
The spokesperson of the hunters held up his hands.
”No, we, just, normal, hunters…” he said
”Ah! I see, you serve me lies, evil ones, WELL I SEE RIGHT THROUGH THY SCHEMES! EN GUARDE!” Bert shouted and attacked.
The three hunters ran outside in a wild frenzy.
Bert stood back and enjoyed his work, once again, Bert the good had once again slapped the ugly face of evil into a bloody pulp, now all he had to do was free the prisoner.
He went over to the bag, opened it, and looked into a flock of white birds.
As the birds flew out the cave Bert stood for himself thinking…
He finally found a conclusion to this most disturbing bag of birds, what he had freed had been nothing less than a full blooded witch! And as Bert opened the bag, the witch had fled in the form of birds!
Of course, that was the only thing that could possibly have happened, the other bit, about the men really being hunters was too silly to even consider.
Bert smiled and laid down on the cold stone floor. He thought about all the heroic things he would do tomorrow, closed his eyes, and went to sleep
A ”truly epic tale” (as Bert would have put it)