Thursday, January 23, 2020

192 - “The Rescue?” - Eddiwarth - A Tale of Heroes

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

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Excitement and nervousness shivered through Eddiwarth’s bones, like the cold had, but this was a more welcome sensation. Thissraelle is well! And they’re here for me! He had been afraid for them and their safety. It was true that he was afraid for himself as well, but since he had become conscious and realized he wasn’t badly hurt, he had been more concerned with escaping and finding the party. Especially finding Thissraelle.

Then he had heard Karendle’s voice in his head!

He shifted and focused on eating his meager gruel, trying to hide his anticipation. He glanced over at the two guard soldiers. The tent interior was lit by a small oil lamp, showing plain cloth sides, with one scant blanket for a floor on the uneven ground.

When he had first awakened here, his mind had been hazy, and his back and muscles sore. In the original attack, they had covered his mouth with a gag infused with... something foul. It had choked him and tasted harsh, yet it was somehow familiar. Later, thinking back with a clearer head, he had recognized it.

Hopefully the mage’s bane has fully worn off by now. He took a deep breath to see if he could tell.

He had also noticed that the soldiers that held him captive now were not the same as the wood elf patrol that had originally attacked. These were high elves. The fact that Eddiwarth was part high elf hadn’t seemed to make them treat him with any additional kindness. Still, at least they hadn't killed him. Their leader was also slightly familiar. Eddiwarth had seen him, and recently, but he couldn’t place where. It was all quite confusing.

Eddiwarth finished his bowl. As he set it down, he heard voices and a bit of scrambling outside his tent. The two soldiers guarding him looked up with furrowed brows and moved for their blades.

What’s happening out there? Is that Thissraelle?

One of the guards moved to the folds of the tent opening and looked out. Through the parted cloth, Eddiwarth could hear a female voice arguing.

Karendle! They’re here!

He strained, but couldn’t make out what they were saying. The two guards mumbled to each other, one gesturing at Eddiwarth.

I’d better get ready... He took a slow, invigorating breath and let his will swell up inside him like a deep burning in his gut.

One of the guards said something to his companion, then faced Eddiwarth and raised his sword. “Who is that? You know her, don’t you?”

Eddiwarth shook his head. “Know who?”

“Don’t lie to me! What’s a dwarven wench doing in a wood elf forest?”

“Hmm.” Eddiwarth feigned confusion, laced with sarcasm. “I don’t know. What are high elves doing in a wood elf forest?”

“Quiet, you—“ The soldier took a step toward Eddiwarth, waving his sword, when the earth and tree roots below them heaved up and rolled like a cleaning maid shaking a rug. Eddiwarth flew up and flipped over, landing with a solid crunch in a tangle of elf and tent. He tried to breathe, but could only cough and wheeze. The side he’d landed on hurt, and he was dizzy with pain.

He rolled over and tried to sit up, but the pain in his side shot through him and he dropped on his back. He could hear screaming and shouting. Someone far away was yelling orders. Is that one of the elves under me? Or tree roots? Someone near was moving under the tumbled tent next to him. He slid his hand across his torso to try and soothe the stabbing pain. It felt warm, slick, and wet.

What’s this? He reached a little farther and felt something solid sticking out of him. Cold shivered through him.

Is that a bone? He wrapped his fingers around it. It was flat. And the edges were sharp.

That’s a sword! He coughed again, and the unpleasant taste of blood splattered the back of his mouth. The cough also made it hurt even more.

I’m wounded! I’m going to die, aren’t I? He gagged and choked again. His head was dizzy and confused. Die? No! I never got to tell Thissraelle!

The fallen fabric of the tent beside him jumped as the elf soldier pushed up and stood. He had an angry scowl and a sword that gleamed in the light of the now burning tent fabric behind him. He lunged forward at Eddiwarth with a growl.

By protective instinct, Eddiwarth reached out his left hand toward the elf and threw all of the burning will he had left in his bleeding guts straight at the soldier’s chest. A hot blast of exploding flames hit the man square, blowing him back. The force of his impact ripped the tent into burning ribbons and tore it from its tethers.

“Eddiwarth!”

Thissraelle!

“Eddiwarth! Are you in there?”

He felt the heavy canvas being pulled from him. It hurt as it tugged against the sword, but he could no longer react. Then hands were on him. Someone grabbed his feet and dragged him away from the flames.

“Eddiwarth!” He felt hands lifting his head. “Korr! He’s hurt! Get the sword out of him!”

Eddiwarth opened his eyes and saw Thissraelle’s terrified face, her light, white hair falling down over his forehead.

She cradled his head on her knees. “Stay with me... Stay with me...”

A sudden scraping tugged at his torso and pain ripped through his side. He gasped and felt Korr’s strength pressing down on his hurt. He coughed and gasped. Thissraelle’s eyes closed and her face and hands began to glow. Eddiwarth smiled as her healing warmth started to flow into him.

Then, it stopped. The cold wind blew snow across him and he saw panic in Thissraelle’s eyes. “I can’t do it!” She whispered. “Oh, no! I don’t have the will left.”

He gasped. He reached up and touched her hand on his cheek.

“No! Stay with me! Where’s Illariel? Stay with me!”

Then his eyes closed.



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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, January 20, 2020

191 - “The Rescue” - Karendle - A Tale of Heroes

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

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Karendle stood, patiently waiting, just inside the ring of dim light around the encampment. The light shone from the fire and from three glowing white oculi on posts arranged in a triangle around the site. As soon as she had entered the area, the soldiers around the fire had leapt to their feet and grabbed for spears and swords. The two elven soldiers escorting her by spear point had instructed them to stand at the ready, and to alert Illitharin.

One of the two guarding her had been called quickly to the center tent, where a hushed conversation had ensued.

Karendle shifted her stand to favor the other leg in an effort to keep its knee from shaking. Ok, now. Breathe slow. No fear. Her breath fogged before her, mixing with the snow.

She glanced at the soldier to her right, then down at the spear point aimed at her heart. “Be careful where you’re pointing that thing. It’s dangerous.” He raised a confused eyebrow at her and she laughed quietly. How are we going to do this? How will we start? Did we even make a signal? We should have thought it through more completely. 

Karendle noticed a movement to the left. The flap of the far tent parted and a face appeared in the glow. She couldn’t make out who it was, though.

Finally, the soldier stepped out of the main tent and Illitharin followed. The tents and the fire ring were down a slight slope from her, and she noticed that the angle made his thin build look quite small. She smiled as that realization boosted her confidence. She said, as smoothly as she could,“I have a gift for you.”

The corner of his lips turned up a bit, but he still tried not to show a smile. “Very nice,” he said with sarcastic politeness. “Show it to me.”

Karendle brought her right hand out from under the cloak and held up her granite entrapment oculus. “Here she is. Just like we agreed.” Her left hand, damp with nervous sweat, clenched the nature oculus.

“Really?” Illitharin gestured a wave before him. “Let’s see her, then.”

Stones! I can’t show her! She fought down the panic in her rushing heart with a laugh. What do I do? Play it off... “Oh, no, no, no. You don’t want me to loose her here. She was none too happy when I trapped her. It wasn’t easy!” Karendle breathed. “She’s a full wizard of mind and light, now! Not like the novice I sent you before. Do you really want me to set her free here?”

Illitharin thought for a moment, and replied. “Suit yourself. Throw her to me.”

“Then I can join you?”

“Yeah. Then we’ll talk.”

Karendle nodded and glanced from side to side at her guards. They seemed to have relaxed a bit during her interaction with their leader. “Sure. Here you go.”

Now’s as good a time as any. I hope the others are ready! 

She turned her hips and shoulders slightly to toss the stone to him. The moment seemed to stretch out for her as she watched it sail through the falling flakes toward him. Her arms and legs flexed with the surge of will inside her. She crouched down, under the spears, drew her left hand out of her cloak, and swept it low across the ground. The earth under her hand rose up high and surged forward across the encampment in a rippling wave, like she had just dropped a huge stone into a lake. Roots, stones, burning cinders, tents and soldiers shook and tossed in its path.

Karendle herself hit the ground hard, knocking her own breath away. She heard shouts of surprise, confusion, and pain. She gasped for air and rolled over, trying to scramble away. A spear point stabbed into the back of her leg and immediately sharp shocks of lashing pain surged through her, dropping her flat on her side. She looked up through blurry eyes and saw a soldier raising a bloody spear for another thrust, this time aiming for her heart. No. I’m not going to die here. She shoved her hand forward, gripping the brown oculus tight, and a stone the size of her fist shot up from the ground. It crunched into the soldier’s jaw, throwing his head back and dropping him onto his back, unconscious.

Wincing with pain, she crawled to a nearby tree and used the unearthed root structure to lift herself up.  Ow! I really didn’t think this though.

The soldiers around the fire were hurrying to get away from the scattered coals and burning debris, some of which had landed on the surrounding blanket of dead leaves. Tongues of flame were starting to lick up into the air, like children, trying to catch the snow. Other soldiers jumped to their feet and picked up their spears as arrows flew in from between the branches in the trees. Tree roots reached up out of the earth and leaves, tangling around their legs and holding them tight. Illariel? Must be.

A screech sounded, followed by a scream, as the young drakeling wrapped himself around the head of one of the trapped elves and began clawing at his face. A loud blast blew a flaming hole in the side of a tent, blowing burning shards of canvas in a wide circle. More shouts and screams followed.

The wood elf commander had crawled over to one of his patrolmen and was struggling to cut their bindings. They had all been tousled and shaken in the wave.

Karendle took a deep breath and hung her head for a moment. She felt weak, dizzy. She lifted her hand from below her thigh where she felt the pain and saw it dripping in red. Her head felt light. She looked past her hand and saw one of the collapsed tents was becoming engulfed in flames. Figures were moving behind it.

“You!” A familiar voice shouted. Karendle jerked her head up. Illitharin stood a few steps below her, a sword in one hand, and the glowing entrapment oculus in the other. He shouted, “You are far more trouble than you are worth!” He thrust his hand out, pointing the oculus at her. The silver light around it brightened.

“No!” She frantically looked around her feet. The ground was littered with dirt and stones that her wave had shaken loose. She held her oculus up and a dozen of them leaped up into the air and formed a line.

“I’ll trap you in your own stone and leave you buried deep, here in the forest!” The silver light swept over her. She felt herself being drawn toward the heart of the stone.

No! This is not the end!

She focused her will on the stones she had lifted up. She willed them to stretch, to merge into a new shape, a long spear with a sharp point. Then with all the strength inside she hurled it at Illitharin. It flew true and pierced him at the base of his throat. He gasped and grasped it, dropping the oculus and his sword.

The silver light around her vanished and Karendle fell to the ground with a painful thud. She closed her eyes and blackness overwhelmed her.



<<<>>>



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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Start the whole story from the beginningStart from where this current story arc begins. Start from where the current story part begins

Thursday, January 16, 2020

190 - “The Plan” - Karendle - A Tale of Heroes

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

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Two elf sentries on watch. Side by side, Karendle thought, as images formed in her mind’s eye.

They’re just standing there, not moving around. The others have probably set up camp. But only two? I’ll bet there are more on the other side. 

Karendle, Thissraelle, and Korr sat low, hunched up in a hollow beside two tree trunks growing tight together. Rannlethin crouched nearby, clutching a high elven spear. The evening had come on, and the snow was falling steadier as well. Karendle pulled her cloak tightly around her, but not so much as to shelter her from cold or wind. The trees were doing that well enough. She needed to hide the light blue glow of her sapphire mental oculus as she projected her awareness forward into the camp. She swept her distant vision over the heads of the soldiers.

Ah! There’s the camp. A small fire- three tents. 

One, two, three... seven soldiers. Where’s Eddiwarth? Let me see...

She let her focus dance through the encampment, between the soldiers huddled around the fire, into the tents. There’s Illitharin, in the middle tent. It figures. It’s the nicest one. Destroyer take him. Next one: two more soldiers, and there’s Eddiwarth! Her mind’s eye saw him sitting cross-legged on the floor of the tent, his chained hands holding a small bowl of boiled meal. His head jerked up, then quickly lowered again.

Karendle sensed his voice in her mind, Who’s that? He quickly hid his surprise from the guards by licking another mouthful of gruel off his fingers. Is it Thissraelle?

No, it’s Karendle. I’m using the oculus. Thissraelle’s saving all the will she can. We’re close, and we’re coming for you. I’ve got to go, now. Stay alert! 

I’ll be ready! His voice was clear in her head. Karendle broke the connection, nodded to Thissraelle, and dropped the dull blue gem into her pouch.

“There are a lot of them, so this will be tricky,” Karendle whispered. “There are three tents. Eddiwarth is guarded in the westernmost tent. He’s awake. I alerted him that we’re coming.  Most of the soldiers are around the fire. Runnely, whatever your name is-- I saw three of your wood elves bound up away from the campfire.” She dug her hand into her pouch, and pulled out the brown and green nature stone, and the cold granite entrapment oculus.

Rannlethin nodded, and tightened his jaw, along with his grip on the spear. Karendle eyed him with care. His head suddenly perked up and he looked toward the camp, listening. “There it is. Did you hear it?”

Thissraelle and Karendle shook their heads. Karendle raised a brow. “The signal? It’s all just birds to me.”

“That says that Parith and Illariel are in place, now. Oh!” The wood elf smiled, hearing more. “That one means my boys heard it, too.” He drew his lips thin and made a few quick chirps.

Karendle stood up and pulled her hood back. “Well, then. Wish me luck!”

“Although I do want good fortune and the Creator’s aid for all of us,” Korr said, and followed her to his feet, “it isn’t luck that you need. You are courageous and powerful. That will carry you through.”

Powerful? She looked down at the oculi in her hands. Korr waved his finger over them. “No. I don’t mean the stones. I mean you are powerful. I have not known you long, but I have seen it.”

Powerful?

Thissraelle threw her own cloak off her shoulder and took Karendle in a quick embrace. “It’s true, Karendle. Go carefully. Bless your steps!”

“Yeah, for you, too.”

Thissraelle and Korr crept away, to circle the western side of the camp. In a matter of moments, the darkness of the night and the shadows of the forest had swallowed them up.

Powerful?

Rannlethin reached for her and took her wrist in an elvish shake. She reacted with a jerk, but after a moment, she returned the gesture. “I’m sorry,” he said, “and thank you.” Karendle nodded. He tugged his cloak tighter and moved away toward the eastern perimeter.

Powerful. She savored the relative quiet. The snow was starting to build on the leaves on the ground, and it was muffling even the birds. Karendle looked at the stones in her hand. Alright. Time to make this happen.

She stepped around the tree trunk. A cold breeze stung her nose and made her squint. With determined steps, she moved forward, carefully climbing over fallen trees and the humps of roots. She shuffled through the fallen leaves, making no effort to muffle their sound.

“Hold!” A voice said, with an accent that sounded like he didn’t speak common very often. She didn’t stop. In a moment, she saw a high elf soldier in a defensive posture, pointing a spear with a long blade. At the base of the blade, a ruby was mounted, and it glowed menacingly. “Step no further.”

Karendle paused, then continued toward him. “You won’t kill me.”

He shifted. “Hold!”

She steeled herself, trying to appear courageous and powerful. “You’re going to take me to Illitharin. Tell him Karendle wants to see him.”

A second soldier stepped up, also pointing a glowing spear at her.

“Tell him,” Karendle added, holding up the granite oculus, “that I have a present for him.”


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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