Thursday, December 6, 2018

“Stepping Through the Door” - A Tale of Heroes - Scene 83: DeFrantis

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

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DeFrantis’ arm was getting tired as she struggled to block and dodge the relentless sword swipes of her attacker. She stepped backward from his press, trying to catch her breath and control her fear.

He swung in from the side and she leapt backward with a forward parry, barely glancing his blade away from her torso. As he swept his follow-through, she took the opportunity to reset her stance, regain her balance and ready her blade. She could see the doorway. On either side were windows showing the open night air. If we can just get to them, we can be out!

The heat from the fire and her own exertion was making her sweat, and she wiped her forehead with her free hand, gritting her teeth for the next strike.

He swung back, but she misjudged the angle and his blade glanced off of hers and slashed into her shoulder. She shrieked in pain, and her own sword clattered to the floor. Her other hand clutched at her shoulder and felt the warmth of the blood as she stepped further back, away from escape. He smiled as drew back for a thrust.

An angry yell erupted from her left, and Karendle smashed into the man’s side, toppling them both with a grunt to the floor. In the impact, he lost his grip on his own sword and it spun to DeFrantis’ feet.

She looked on in amazement as Karendle shouted and began swinging fists at the man’s surprised face. DeFrantis looked up. Eddiwarth was struggling to maintain the firewall, and it was beginning to catch onto the wooden floor, and the tapestries on the wall. She saw a man running around it, and rushing toward her.

She crouched down, scooped up the sword, and brought it up in a sweeping block. This one’s much better balanced! I can swing this one!

She stood and counterattacked, but he easily stepped away. He pressed forward, with aggression and vigor. Even with the better sword, she was still on the defensive, and her shoulder weakened her.

“I can’t hold this flame any longer!” Eddiwarth called out and collapsed to his knees.

DeFrantis couldn’t respond. As she fought she saw the man on the ground toss Karendle off of him and rise up over her.

“Just save the kids!” She shouted. We’ll do what we can.

She coughed as she blocked. Smoke was starting to fill the room. Her attacker knocked her back and she stumbled down to one knee.

We’ll do what we can.

To her right, a flash of silvery light appeared, and both she and the man stepped back to glance at it. A glowing ring grew in the open space of room, and she could see through it, like an opening into another place. A portal? Oh, no! They’re porting in more fighters! We have to run! She struggled to rise, but her legs were tired. This is it. I can’t move. We’re done.

Someone stepped through the widening ring. As he entered the room, he shouted, “DeFrantis!”

Antonerri! She skipped a breath!

He rushed forward and immediately swung his sword at her attacker. The man quickly stepped back and blocked his slash.

Antonerri! You found me!

As she stood, a large, more imposing figure stepped through the gate. “Granthurg!”

Without Eddiwarth’s focus, the firewall had subsided, even though it was spreading across the floor. Three men stepped quickly through the fire and began running toward them.

She stood and reached out with her will. Shadows swelled up from the floor and grew into tendrils tangling around their feet. One of them fell, struggling, but the others managed to step away and avoid them.

Granthurg plunged in, swinging his hammer.

DeFrantis felt hands on her shoulder, and winced. “You’re hurt!” It was Thissraelle’s voice.

We’ll do what we can. She gasped in exhaustion, then coughed.

But now we can do more! Now we can do anything!


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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!

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Monday, December 3, 2018

“A Burning Wall of Fire” - A Tale of Heroes - Scene 82: Karendle

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

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They moved quickly down the darkened hallway. DeFrantis, determined, and surprisingly forceful, was in front. Behind her was Eddiwarth. Karendle was last, herding the five children in front of her.

DeFrantis called out from ahead, “I’m trying to find a doorway to get us out of the building quickly. Then, we’ll be in a place to hide and possibly escape.”

Karendle glanced down at the sword in her hand. She hefted it, feeling its balance. She had picked it up from the men they had just fought. DeFrantis had gotten the other one, and handed off the rondel dagger to Eddiwarth. There’s gonna be a fight. We don’t have much to fight with, but we’ll have to make do.

She was struggling to keep the kids moving. They’re scared, I get it. But we can’t sit down and cry, here! Her mind focused on the hallway and Eddiwarth’s back to keep her own fear and tears down. I just wanted to learn to be a mage. That’s not too crazy to ask, is it? Just learn a few tricks? Now here I am chasing kids and running for my life!

They rushed through an opening into a large hall. DeFrantis and Eddiwarth took in the space quickly, but Karendle couldn’t see as well from the hallway’s end. She could see some candelabras and tapestries on the far wall, and it looks like the ceiling was quite high. Maybe in its day, it was a grand ballroom.

“There’s the door!”  DeFrantis called out. Just as she started to move toward it, Karendle heard heavy footsteps and shouting burst into the room. She nervously shifted the sword from one hand to the other. She could see past Eddiwarth’s shoulders into the room, where four or five armed men stood. It was dark, and she couldn’t get a good look, but the threat was as heavy in the air as the mage’s bane smoke had been.

The hushed moment when the two groups surprised each other was really only a matter of a second or two, but it seemed to suspend time. It broke when DeFrantis said, “Karendle, save the kids!”, and the men rushed forward, swords drawn.

She saw Eddiwarth crouch down low and sweep his hand in front of him. Halfway across the room, flames leapt up from the floor making a high infernal wall. Half of the men were surprised, and backed away from its heat, but others quickly started to turn around it. DeFrantis lunged forward.

Karendle backed the kids into the hallway and stepped between them and the opening to the room. What to do? I can’t just stand here and let the others get killed, but I have to guard the kids, too!

Eddiwarth shifted forward and Karendle moved to the hallway opening to see what was happening. DeFrantis had engaged with one of the men. She was struggling to block his sword blows. Another stepped toward her, and Eddiwarth thrust his hand forward. The man was suddenly in the air, swinging his feet, and flew backward into the wall. DeFrantis slipped and lost her footing on a rug, stumbling backward, then regained her balance. She isn’t doing well! She’s probably saving her powers.

Karendle turned back and looked at the frightened faces hiding in the shadows. Maybe I can help from here, like Eddiword. She dropped to her knees and set her sword down, then reached into her pouch and grabbed for the blue sapphire. Her hands shook as she felt in the bag. She grabbed it and pulled it out, and another oculus fell out and clattered onto the floor. She ignored it, but gripped the blue gem in her hands. Her eyes suddenly focused into the face of the oldest girl. She stood, hopeful, holding out the fallen stone. Her tiny voice bravely spoke, “Here. You dropped this.”

Karendle reached out and took the dull grey stone from the girl. Maybe... That might work!

She looked up at the kids, who were all huddled together in fear. She smiled at them and said, “I have an idea, but I don’t want you to be afraid. I’m not going to hurt you. Can you all be brave for me?”  The oldest girl looked at the others, and then back up at Karendle as they all nodded. Their hopeful, dirty, and tear-streaked faces hit Karendle deep, like a punch to the gut.

“Alright, then!”


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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!

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Friday, November 30, 2018

“A Fork in the Road” - A Tale of Heroes - Scene 81: Thissraelle

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

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Thissraelle had thought to rest in the back of the wagon as they traveled, hoping to restore a bit of her spent magical will, but the shaking and rocking of the wheels wouldn’t let her. Finally, she gave up and sat, braced, against the side of the wagon bed, just trying to keep herself steady as she flipped and slid from side to side. She imagined the kids getting bounced around and felt bad for them.  Suddenly with a jerk, the wagon stopped, and then rocked back a few inches. The creaking and rattling stopped, and all she could hear were the sounds of the forest birds and the horses nickering and stepping in place.

She crawled over the edge of the bed to look out between Antonerri and Granthurg. “What happened? Are we there?” She squinted out into the night, illuminated by the lanterns before the horses.  She saw the road ahead split off into two directions.

“Which way?” She said

Granthurg shrugged. “I’m not sure. The horses seemed to know the way before, but now, they aren’t moving ahead, either.”

Antonerri asked, “Do we have that map?”

“No, it’s back at the cathedral. They wouldn’t let a book like that out of the house. Besides, the map wasn’t that detailed. It didn’t show every path or even every turn of this one.”

One of the horses shook its harness, as if it were asking for direction. It stamped back and forth a little, but didn’t pull to one side or the other. Antonerri stepped off the wagon and walked forward, unhitching one of the lanterns. He stood in the triangle of wheel ruts, inspecting them.

“None of them seem any more or less worn than any others.” He took a few strides in one direction, trying to shine the light up the path a bit further. Then he came back and scouted up the other a ways, his lantern light disappearing behind the trees.

“Can you try to reach out to Karendle and see where they are?” Granthurg asked

“I can.” She replied quietly. “Although I had been planning on saving my strength for the portal, or for the fight that follows.”

Antonerri came back into view, shrugging. He reattached the light. The wagon shook a bit as he lifted himself up by the toeboard and climbed back onto the bench.

Thissraelle leaned back and found a place in the center of the wagon bed to sit. She closed her eyes and focused. She reached down inside of herself and felt her will surging. With a push, she sent it outward, forward, like a shock wave of soft blue rippling away before her. Her awareness stretched out between the trees, over the ridges, past the brush. Then she sat, waiting, motionless, as Antonerri and Granthurg looked on, wondering.

A few moments later, she felt a small surge return back to her. It wasn’t forceful, but when it hit her, it snapped her eyes back open and her shoulders jerked. She pointed down the left fork.

“That way. It’s not far, now!”


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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!

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