Monday, September 16, 2019

160 - “The Works of His Creation” - Korr - A Tale of Heroes

Here's how you can read the story a week (two scenes) ahead of everyone else!

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"That dragon makes me nervous," Thissraelle said as they walked along the hallway past their sleeping rooms. The small creature bounded ahead of them, following after Parith and making him stumble as they strode. Eddiwarth walked farther ahead, frequently turning around to urge them forward.

Korr thought about that as they all turned a corner and began walking down a long stairway. "I often find it irritating as well."

"Irritating? It's not safe! Those dragons burned down the cathedral! They almost killed you!"

"This one didn't!" Parith called back from the stairs ahead. "Besides, they were technically drakes, not dragons."

"There's a difference?" The stairs leveled off to a short hall before a door.

Korr nodded. "The Seekers here showed us. Drakes are smaller and not as smart."

"They're like the dragon equivalent to puppies," said Parith

“That one on the cathedral balcony looked pretty big to me!” Thissraelle huffed.

“Apparently,” Korr clarified, “Real dragons are even bigger.”

Parith gestured to the door, as Eddiwarth took the handle. "Are you ready?" The excited grins on their faces made Korr wonder what was about to happen.

"Be amazed!" Eddiwarth exclaimed as he pulled open the door.

They all stepped through onto a wide balcony. It had a high ceiling, with thick, ornate pillars every thirty feet. Beyond the pillars, he could see the dark and colored sky of The Vast. There were about a dozen people already at the stone railing, talking and pointing to the left and below the balcony.

As Korr approached the pillars and the railing. He hurried up to an empty space next to an older man in Seeker’s robes and looked where everyone was pointing. His eyes opened wide in surprise and awe. Thissraelle gasped with excitement, clapping her hands.

A huge creature drifted slowly past the stony island where they stood, passing near the balcony, but a bit below. It looked in shape a lot like the koi fish that darted about in the pond in his master’s house, except the body was elongated. The tails and fins were longer as well, like banners elegantly streaming behind its swaying, swimming body.

“Eelwhales!” Thissraelle shrieked, “I’ve never seen one so close!” Others at the balcony were also speaking with awe and amazement.

It was easily more than a dozen feet across, and, including the tail, as long as a few buildings on a busy city street. Its smooth skin was a gleaming white, but as it undulated past, Korr saw many colors reflecting off its surface, like thousands of gems had been crushed and sprinkled onto it.

It passed by the balcony only twenty to thirty feet away. It had bony protrusions that swept back in an angular way from the point of its head, with shorter streams of thin skin rippling like streamers behind them. Underneath one was the eye, which tranquilly observed the crowded balcony as it passed. There were two others behind it, swimming fairly close. As they passed, colors streamed from their fins and tails as if the magical dust of their skins were being washed off, floating away and dissipating into the space left in their wakes.

Korr looked on, barely able to breathe. People around him were chattering with excitement, but he was entranced by the beauty of these magnificent creatures.

One of the eelwhales raised its head and a gaping mouth appeared. From deep within, it bellowed a deep haunting groan that overwhelmed the viewers and echoed across the expanse. After a moment of surprised silence, everyone around Korr began cheering and whooping in response. The great beast called out again, lowered its head, and resumed its path.

More eelwhales followed these three, coming from the other side of the great floating stone island the temple was built in. The first ones, the head of the school, swam on past the island, and out into the vast, while the others continued to round the island and flow past the balcony.

An aged voice next to Korr said, “The Vast is full of wonders beautiful and frightening. As many times in my life as I have seen this, it always fills me with astonishment and joy.”

Korr nodded to the older Seeker and quoted, “Great are the beasts of The Creator and vast are the works of His creation.”

The man smiled. "You know your scriptures!"

"My master frequently held readings of ancient works. Scriptures, histories, works of philosophy... Many passages have stayed with me."

"And what do you think? Do you believe? Is there a Creator?"

"My master says--"

"I didn't ask what your master says." The old man smiled. Korr saw Thissraelle listening intently. "What do YOU believe?”

When Korr hesitated, Thissraelle jumped in. “Is there a Creator? Who is He? Everyone seems to be telling me and other people what The Creator wants us to do! The Church, the Guild, the King... Everyone claims to have His Holy Endorsement! Who really knows Him?”

At that moment, the ground around them shook. One of the eelwhales had swum up close to the rock formations to the left and above the balcony and was rubbing its body against it, rotating back and forth as if it was using the stones to scratch an itch. Chunks of rock broke free from the arches of the ceiling and the stones above it, falling onto the balcony and out into The Vast. Sparks of color also scraped from the skin of the eelwhale and drifted down. The shaking threw everyone off balance for a moment and they all grabbed for the railings and each other, shouting.

Then the great beast rolled over, and hurriedly swam away from the island to rejoin its school. The many watchers on the balcony looked around in surprise, then resumed their places at the railing. Thissraelle stood and she and Korr helped the old seeker up.

He invited, “I would like to show you something. Follow me."


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This continues the story of the heroes in Wynne, in Twynne Rivers, in the world of The Hero's Tale, Family Friendly RPGs. Here's more info on The Hero's Tale, and family friendly RPGing. If you like this story, support us at our Patreon!
Thank you: Chet Cox, Genevieve Springer!

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Thursday, September 12, 2019

159 - “Practice and Wisdom” - Korr - A Tale of Heroes

Here's how you can read the story a week (two scenes) ahead of everyone else!

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Stance. Korr's feet stomped the stone floor.

Back straight. Breathe. He brought his fists slowly up to his side, then opened his hands, fingers raised and together, and flexed them forward. Maintain focus, tension. 

Breathe. 

Sweep left, right. Punch.

Breathe.

Step, block low, punch. Korr burst out with a sharp shout with each harsh move.

He closed his eyes before continuing.

Breathe slowly.

Turn, step forward, cross my arms. Set my stance. He stamped his feet again, growling low each time. Part of the challenge of practicing the forms was to keep them from becoming too comfortable, too routine. He swept his torso low, across his forward knee, and back up, throwing his arms into another fast series of blocks and punches, punctuated by loud barks.

It had been quite a while since he’d had the opportunity to practice his forms. He had done these motions, among others, daily, while in his master’s house. The challenges of travel and searching had made it difficult to find time and space for these routines. Here in the Seeker’s temple, however, there was this large peaceful terrace under the beautifully strange sky of The Vast and time was, in fact, immaterial.

He paused the form, holding the posture, and let his awareness flow through his body. He checked for balance and the proper amount of tension in the muscles. Satisfied, he stamped his feet back into the basic square stance, raised his fists to his side, then slowly lowered them while exhaling and bringing his feet together.

He opened his eyes.

He was surprised to see the elf girl standing in front of him, perhaps only a dozen feet away, just outside of the hallway leading into their dormitory rooms. She was wearing the simple gray robes again that the Seekers had given them all when they arrived. Her long white hair flowed down over her shoulders, framing a slightly embarrassed smile. She leaned slightly to one side, with one hand resting on her other elbow in a sort awkward way. She was thin and looked even a bit frail. He had never seen a high elf before their encounter in the cathedral, and he’d not been paying much attention to anything other than surviving at the time. She had been strong and commanding then, not so dainty or... pretty.

Korr forced his stance to relax and bowed, his hands held overlapping in front of chest. Korr had preferred to wear the loose tang suit he had become accustomed to as a disciple in his master’s house. They were a bit ragged and the drake claws had left a few tears in the fight, but they were more comfortable for practicing than the spare robes.

“Oh, I’m sorry!” she said with a light voice, “I’m interrupting you.”

Korr remained in his bow, not wanting to look up just yet. “No need to apologize. I’m not trying to be private.”

As he raised up, he saw her trying to mimic his bow and it looked unfamiliar to her.
Korr spoke first. “Thank you so much, once again, for your help as we fought in the cathedral. Your command of magics is quite impressive. I was lucky to have you and your friends come to us.”

“Yes, well, apparently it was not quite impressive enough.” She looked away. “We’re all lucky that the Seekers found us.” Her voice, cheery at first, seemed to have taken a turn for the melancholy. He just nodded. She sighed and continued. “I do need to talk to you, though, about this Heathrax character.” She started walking toward one of the stone benches on the perimeter of the terrace.

Korr followed. “I guess we’re on a similar quest.”

“Yeah, but I have no idea why!” She sat down with a bit of a huff, as if she’d been wanting to say that for a long time. “Who is he? Where is he? Why is he so important?”

Korr sat next to her, but not too close. How close is too close? What is proper here? He scooted quickly a few more inches away.

Thissraelle went on, letting more frustration come out, “I mean, is he supposed to save the world? Maybe, but from what? Up until a few months ago, I didn’t think the world needed saving! The next thing I know, I’m fighting slavers, dragons are attacking, and I’m being whisked away into interdimensional space! In the middle of all this, strange men are visiting me in my dreams and telling me to find this guy!” She ran her fingers through her hair, pulling it back out of her eyes. She shook her head. “What do you know about him?”

Korr shrugged. “He is a friend of my master and he lives in the Emberfire Mountains. Probably.” He looked over at her and tried to smile with some measure of reassurance. “You seem to be troubled with this task.”

She stood and stepped away, crossing her arms. “Don’t you want to know what’s going on? There’s something deeper here and it seems to be pulling me left and right. I want to be in charge of my life and everything is trying to push me around!”

Korr thought about this. He wanted to help. He quickly dug through memories of his master’s teachings. “When it seems to be too hard to climb the mountain, we should just look at the path in front of us.”

She turned around, one eyebrow up. “What?”

“My master would say it to us when we would get overwhelmed with our own goals. Mastering our art is a long and difficult work. I think it means that sometimes when the task looks too big, focus on the next step. Don’t look at the mountain, look at the path.”

She dropped her hands to her side. “Yeah, that’s right. So, we should probably just go back to Wynne, to reality. To Emberfire.”

Korr nodded. “And we should probably go soon. It would make sense for us to travel together. I suspect Parith will want to go. What about your friends?”

Thissraelle shrugged. “Probably. I don’t know.”

“Hey!” Parith called out, jumping out of the hallway. Korr stood and Thissraelle whirled around as Parith stepped up to them. The little drake jumped around his feet, yapping. Eddiwarth stood in the door as well. “You’re going to want to see this! Come on!”

Thissraelle looked at them, then at Korr. He tossed a look of uncertainty back at her and they followed their friends.


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This continues the story of the heroes in Wynne, in Twynne Rivers, in the world of The Hero's Tale, Family Friendly RPGs. Here's more info on The Hero's Tale, and family friendly RPGing. If you like this story, support us at our Patreon!
Thank you: Chet Cox, Genevieve Springer!

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Monday, September 9, 2019

158 - “What You Deserve” - Karendle - A Tale of Heroes

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Thissraelle spread her hands out, stunned. "What are you doing?"

Really? What does it look like? 

"You take them. You can use them."

Thissraelle quickly picked up the pouch and handed it back to Karendle. "What? No! These are yours! These are your powers!"

"No. You take them." Karendle pushed Thissraelle's hands back. "I shouldn't have them. They’re nothing but trouble for me."

"What are you talking about?"

"I can't use them." Karendle crossed her arms over her tunic and vest. She looked at her feet again.

"No, no. Don't give up!" Thissraelle's voice took on an urgency, a pleading tone. "I want to help you! I'm just not any good at it!"

"It's more than that!" Karendle dropped fists to her thighs in frustration.  She ran her hand over the short side of her dark red hair and sighed. "Look. I left the monastery all mad at you. I took the entrapment oculus back to those men who had hired me, and they paid me. Gold and another stone. Hurray! I thought I could go on doing that for a living. That would be me. If I couldn’t be wizard, I’d be a wizard hunter."

Thissraelle looked concerned. Karendle continued, "But they still wanted you. Over and over they said they wanted me to bring you in." Karendle looked up at her friend. "I knew I couldn't do that. I thought about what to do for days. I finally decided to go back to Dirae and find you.”

"But then the drakes attacked. And there you were! You came back for me! Suddenly we were fighting together again, just like before. That felt right. Side by side. Friends!"

Karendle shook her head.

"So what's wrong?"

"That wizard in the cathedral... the one that killed the bishop?" Thissraelle slowly nodded.

Karendle drew her lips thin and nodded along with her. "I recognized him. Not at first, but later, when I was here in The Vast thinking about it."

They looked at each other. "Who?" Thissraelle asked.

"It was the wizard that I had captured in the manor house." Karendle sighted. "I captured him, then collected my reward from the very people who attacked the cathedral! They turned him loose and he killed the bishop! I don't deserve these gems. I don't deserve to have powers." She punctuated her decision by pushing the pouch away and standing up.

"Wait! What?" Thissraelle stood beside her. "Karendle! That attack was ordered by my father! Those wizards were guild members!" They both paused, unsure, and tried to think through the implications.

Thissraelle spoke first. "Why would the Wizard's Guild have to hire someone to capture wizards for an attack?"

"I don't know, either. Something is not adding up, is it?"

"No." Thissraelle decided. "No, it's not." She looked at the pouch of gems in her hand. She looked up at Karendle and stepped toward her with resolve, pushing the pouch into Karendle's chest. Instinctively, Karendle gripped it.

"Take it," Thissraelle commanded. "All I know is you used these to help protect people in the cathedral and your powers saved us from the flames. You definitely deserve them." She let go, allowing Karendle to grip the bag.

Karendle smiled and took Thissraelle in a tight embrace.

A loud, high screech ripped through the air. Karendle and Thissraelle jumped back, startled, and threw up their hands to protect themselves.

"Come back here! Stop!" A voice called out from the hallway. The two ladies ducked defensively as a small drake flew across the terrace. Its body was no bigger than a midsized dog, but its tail was at least two feet long. It called out with excitement, vigorously flapping its wings. It called out more and began circling the terrace. Parith chased after it, shouting, "Come back! Hey!" Korr stepped up after him, his arms folded.

"What the flames is that?" Thissraelle shrieked. Karendle put her hands on her hips and shook her head.


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This continues the story of the heroes in Wynne, in Twynne Rivers, in the world of The Hero's Tale, Family Friendly RPGs. Here's more info on The Hero's Tale, and family friendly RPGing. If you like this story, support us at our Patreon!
Thank you: Chet Cox, Genevieve Springer!

Previous Scene, Next Scene
Start the whole story from the beginningStart from where this current story arc begins. Start from where the current story part begins