Thursday, April 2, 2020

212 - “Striking Power” - Korr - A Tale of Heroes

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

<<<>>>

“Slow, steady breathing. Steady.”

Slow. Steady.

Korr stood on the ridge of the mountain, his feet in a solid square stance. He took in a breath, but the cold and the thinness of the air made that difficult. He looked out across the deep valley floor below. It showed the expanse of Umbrawood, but it was much further beneath him than it had been before. He shifted his feet in the snow through a few forms. He set his arms at his side, his fists turned wrist-up. His eyes were closed. The frigid wind blew past him, billowing his shirt. He tried to ignore the cold.

“Now, shape the sun,” the dragon’s deep and airy voice said to him.

Korr took in another freezing breath and opened his hands. He slowly moved them to a place before his torso, one low, turned upward, and the other above it, palm down.

Shape the sun.

Beside him, Heathrax floated, his long tendrils flowing in the wind. His long tail shifted back and forth, many dozens of feet behind them. Thissraelle and Eddiwarth had come out of The Vast with Korr and stood on his other side, also several paces back, so as not to be a distraction in the lesson.

“Good. Now breathe your will into the su—.” The dragon’s voice choked on the word.

Korr slowly exhaled.

Is it there? I’m not sure if I’m feeling it.

When he was out of breath, he paused, then hung his head and broke his stance with a gasp.

Immediately, Heathrax turned his head away and coughed out in a few loud and deep raspy huffs. “I’m sorry. I tried to hold that in, to not distract you. Try again.”

It’s not the dragon’s fault. I can’t find my will.

He held his arms and shook his feet in the snow, then reset them into his stance. He blew misty fog from his mouth a few times and glanced over at his friends, who just nodded encouragement.

He looked at Heathrax, who nodded. “Set your stance again. Shape the sun, then find your will.”

Korr followed the instructions. He closed his eyes and dropped his mind into the space between his hands.

“Maan Korr, find your will.” Heathrax whispered. “It is your will you must find. Not your Master’s, not mine, not your friends’. You have served everyone else well, but this must be for you. It must be your will. Do you want it?”

I want this. I want to learn it. I want to have it.

He felt a warmth form in his chest.

Yes. I want this. I must learn this. It is my will.

The feeling grew inside him, a warmth deep within. He willed it to flow through his hands and coalesce into the space he’d shaped between his palms. Power and heat formed there, in a small spinning ball of energy. It grew and whirled more fiercely as he channeled more and more will into it.

“Yes. Good. Are you ready?” Heathrax asked with calm.

Korr dropped his right foot back, bending his knees and turning his shoulders and torso to the side. He opened his determined eyes and focused them on a large snowy rock outcropping a short distance along the windy ridge.

He leaned into his forward leg. With a twist of his hips and shoulders he thrust the palms of his hands straight out, throwing the ball of striking power straight at the stone. It hit and exploded, shattering the upper half of the stone into tiny pebbles and a few larger chunks that fell all around them, making impressions in the new fallen snow.

“By the Creator!” Eddiwarth shouted. Thissraelle shrieked and clapped with excitement.

Korr breathed calmly and returned to a resting stance. He turned to Heathrax and bowed. The dragon returned the gesture.

As Korr looked down, he saw one of the broken stones in the snow at his feet. He picked it up and inspected it. It had several fractured facets, delineated by sharp jagged edges. He smiled in satisfaction and closed his fingers around the stone. He was suddenly aware of the cold again, and shivered.

He was almost knocked off balance by Thissraelle grabbing him and hugging him from behind.



<<<>>>



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

Monday, March 30, 2020

211 - “Here With Friends” - Karendle - A Tale of Heroes

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

<<<>>>

Where did Thissraelle go?

Karendle paced around a tiny, almost round worldlet as it twirled slowly in the vast. It was rocky and uneven, floating nearby to the main stone platform that they had appeared on when they had all first stepped through Heathrax’s portal. There were a lot of these floating chunks of stone all over, and Karendle suspected that they had been gathered there, or created in place more likely, by Heathrax.

Where is she? She was really upset when the fight ended. Then she just flew off.

I get it. By the Creator, those first two dragons were huge. I thought we were all dead. Then she had to deal with her father.

Karendle thought about the first time Thissraelle had talked about her life before they’d met. That night had been back in their dormitory room at the monastery, with DeFrantis. Thissraelle and DeFrantis had giggled and talked like sisters. Karendle had been a little distant, like a neighbor girl that wasn’t quite in the club. It had been strange to hear Thissraelle’s story, though. She’d had it pretty posh there as the daughter of the Twynne Rivers Wizard’s Guildmaster. Karendle had wondered why she’d left that life. Of course, my life in the mountains with my family wasn’t too bad, either. Not as nice as hers, but not bad. But I left it, too. I guess you just have to get out on your own. We really had a lot in common, considering how different we are. 

 I was such a jerk to her, then.

The sight of someone else’s feet in her downturned field of vision startled her, and she stopped walking. Parith was walking around the rock from the other side.

Karendle smiled, “You’re on your feet! You look like you’re doing much better.”

“Yeah. I’m still a bit stiff, though.”

“Well, considering that just a few hours ago, you were almost broken in two, I think you’re in fine shape.”

He smiled back. “Was it just a few hours ago?”

Karendle stepped aside and sat down on a nearby bump of rock. She gestured to Parith, but he shook his hand, saying, “It’s good. For now, I like being able to stand. How’s Thissraelle?”

“Don’t know. She went off alone. Eddiwarth went to look for her, and her father did, too. I should probably go back her up, but... Oh, I don’t know, she's pretty upset.”

“She’s lucky to have a friend like you.”

Karendle laughed and dropped her head.

Parith pressed, “No, seriously. I’ve seen you fight for her. You’re relentless. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that kind of loyalty.”

“Really?” She set her head to one side. “Never seen it? What about you? Weren’t you right there, sticking arrows in the dragon? What was that for? It was all for her.” She paused, “And she would do the same for us.”

“You think so? She and I fought quite a bit in the forest.”

“Yeah, well, she and I fought a lot before the cathedral, too. But she came looking for me. She fought for Eddiwarth, and she also helped you fight off the high elves.”

“True. And in the end, saved my life.”

A peaceful silence settled between them.

Finally Parith broke the silence. “These last few months have really changed me. I’ve always worked alone, guiding all the traders back and forth through the forest. I was by myself in the city until I met Korr, then the rest of you. I’ve never been a part of something like this. Heathrax’s Heroes!” He laughed, “It feels strange, and good.”

He took a deep breath and shifted his feet. “It was weird. I was at home in TreeHaven, but I didn’t feel like it. Even when the captains let me visit my family. They asked me to stay there with them, but I felt a pull to follow Korr and the rest of you.”

“Yeah. I know it,” Karendle agreed. “I keep feeling like, at some point, we’ll figure out what’s going on beyond us, though. What’s with the dragons, right? I have this sense that something is happening out in the bigger world and we’re just walking right past it.”

“Or maybe I just want to watch Eddiwarth embarrass himself trying to impress Thissraelle more.”

Karendle laughed and leaned back. Suddenly her thought jumped to her voice. “Hey, where’s the little drake?”

Parith took a sharp breath and looked away.

What? What did I say? Wait... Did the dragon...? “Oh, no! No. I didn’t see...”

Parith just nodded.

“I am so sorry...”

Parith shrugged. Or was that his shoulders shaking? Karendle jumped up and embraced him.

“I’m so sorry...”


<<<>>>



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

Thursday, March 26, 2020

210 - “Her Father’s Words” - Thissraelle - A Tale of Heroes

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

<<<>>>

The two young wizards looked at each other, then sat down. Thissraelle took Eddiwarth’s hand again, squeezing it hard as if asking for support. Eddiwarth’s face clearly showed his fear of his old Guildmaster, but he returned the gesture nonetheless.

“The first question, that of why I ordered the attack on the Cathedrals, is easy to answer- I didn’t.” He leaned back and crossed his legs under his robe in a way that said that this was going to take some time. “When the attack started, I was as surprised as everyone else, although, as I looked back on it, I shouldn’t have been. I was horrified at the thought of our guild members doing such a brazen onslaught. I was especially terrified because I was certain you had been there, and I heard nothing for weeks afterward."

He sighed. “The weeks that followed were tumultuous. The public and the King turned against us. The Church was decimated. Most of its bishops were killed. And all through that I was afraid that you had been, too. I kept trying to find you. I was also under a lot of pressure to find out who in the guild had been involved. I guess I took too long, because the next thing I knew, the King’s Guard raided the Guild Hall. We were all driven underground. Your mother and several others fled to Emberfire, and I followed soon after. It was there that I received an anonymous message that you were well, but it didn’t say where you were.”

“So you didn’t order the strike?” Thissraelle asked, “But the wizards controlling the drakes wore guild robes and guild colors! Who did it?”

“I’m not entirely sure. But while I convalesced in Emberfire, I had a lot of time to think. There is a group, a church, they call it, named ‘The Dragon’s Flame’. I gathered that they worship dragons.” Thissraelle nodded. “Ah. You’ve heard of them. In recent years, I had been told of them recruiting guild member wizards for their cause. Even though I strictly forbade it, just like those Seekers, I imagine there were many who joined. There were also some guild members who, I suspect, were captured and pressed into their organization. I’m almost certain they are the ones that burned the churches.”

Hmm. That could fit. Thissraelle began to feel the tension in her shoulders ease. Her back relaxed and her grip on Eddiwarth’s hand was not so tight. “It was the Dragon’s Flame that attacked us in the forest as well. Did you send the high elf soldiers to capture me?”

His eyebrows furrowed. “High elf soldiers? I don’t know anything about this. Where did it happen?”

“Umbrawood. They attacked wood elven patrols deep in the forest. The wood elves say that Emberfire is amassing soldiers at the foot of the mountains.”

“Flaming stones. That’s not good news. The city is closed up tight, and everyone seems to be afraid of the rest of the world, even more so after the troubles in Twynne Rivers. I had hoped that things would ease with time.”

“Then, what about the quest?”

Again, he wore confusion on his wrinkles. “The quest?”

“Don’t you know about that, either? Didn’t you send illusions to my dreams, someone telling me to find Heathrax?” Her voice was calmer, now, but still carried an edge of harshness.

“Illusions?”

“Visons! Visitations from St. Ivarr? He came to me and told me to find Heathrax. He wasn’t very clear about it, either. He didn’t say why or how to find him. Just ‘go find him’. It might have occurred to him to mention that Heathrax is not a man, but a dragon. That would have been helpful.”

“Honestly, my dear, I have no idea what you’re talking about. You’d better take that up with the dragon himself. I sent you on no quest. Actually, it was Heathrax that told me you were about to be in danger on the mountain.”

“What? How did he know I was there?”

“Again, you’ll have to ask him.”

Thissraelle slumped. “And you haven’t been trying to catch me and drag me back home?”

“Oh, my dear, dear child, what a year you’ve put us through.” He sighed and leaned back in the stone chair. His hand ran through his long white hair. “When you first left, I was sure that the Dragon’s Flame had captured you. I was furious! Your mother was beside herself with hysteria. But it only took a few hours the next day to find you in the city.

“I always knew that at some point you’d want to get out on your own. To be honest, I wanted that for you, too. At the time, I figured that you’d wander through the city and come running back in a few days, happy to be home.”

Thissraelle remembered the dimensional oculus and all that he had done to keep her in the tower, under his control. That was a test!

“I underestimated you. I kept my eye on you, though.” He smiled at her expression of sudden understanding. “Your mother was furious. I tried to explain to her that you would be fine and you would be back soon. After a few days of blame and hostility, I acquiesced to her and agreed to send some of the guild’s finest wizards to retrieve you.”

“That was him?” She said, pointing at Eddiwarth. He smiled.

“Yes. Well, sort of. I didn’t pick him. He and another novice just volunteered. They were first year students. I didn’t expect him to catch you. I didn’t really want him to catch you. But I had to appease your mother. Still, I kept spotting you and getting reports, so I knew where you were, most of the time. I heard what you did in Dirae.” He hesitated and got quiet. “I was... quite proud of you.”

Thissraelle’s heart fell deep. Proud of me? For so long I’ve been afraid of you! You’re... proud of me?

He wiped his eyes. “Many times I lost track of you. When I heard the cathedral was attacked, and that you had been there, I tried so many times to scan the burned out ruin. The city was so angry, I didn’t dare step out of the guild hall. I was so afraid for you.” His shoulders shook.

Thissraelle jumped to her feet and leapt across the gap between them. She landed on his chest and held him tight. She buried her face in his embrace and sobbed. All of her struggles and her fears were melting away into tears in his arms.

“Now look at you. You’re so strong, powerful. You’ve come so far. You’re not my little girl anymore.”

Yes, I am. I hope I never outgrow that.


<<<>>>



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