Monday, October 14, 2019

168 - “Are You Ready?” - 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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“Are you ready?” Karendle asked. She held the glowing sapphire in her palms before her. She shivered as much from tension and fear as from the chilly room air. Thissraelle nodded. She placed her hands under Karendle’s, also feeling the glow. “If they drop even a hint that they sense you, get out!”

“Right.”

“OK, I’m opening it up.”

Karendle let her mind clear, and felt the warmth of the power slide up her arms and into her mind. She took in a deep, slow breath before thinking, I’m here.

Where have you been? You’ve not contacted us for a long time. The voice was deep and intense, even a little angry. Karendle recognized it as the elf called Illitharin. His image formed in her mind, shaped by her memory. He was thin, not tall, with a measured expression that always left her feeling unsafe.

I’ve been tracking the elf wizard, like you asked. It’s not been easy since you burned down the cathedral. Everyone’s been in hiding. She looked across at Thissraelle, who nodded encouragement.

And how is it going? Have you caught her?

Karendle hesitated. She didn’t want to let them in, but wanted to find out more. No. I have some good leads. I’m pretty sure she’s still in Twynne Rivers. At first I thought she’d gone back to Dirae. Thissraelle smiled, and Karendle returned it.

Good. Good. Keep at it. If you catch her, your bounty will be much higher. My masters have deep pouches, now, and they really want her. Thissraelle gave a smug, sarcastic smirk. Karendle rolled her eyes.

What’s so important about her, anyway? Why is she such a big deal? Thissraelle pretended to be miffed. Karendle smiled and shook her head.

That’s my master’s business, not yours.

Karendle shifted her legs on the bed. She decided to push. It’s the Wizard’s Guild, isn’t it? But weren’t they in on the cathedral job with you?

There was a silence in her mind. Karendle felt sweat on her forehead, in spite of the cold. Thissraelle’s hands shook a little under her own. She continued, I’ll bet that’s it. The Guild thinks you’ve already got her! You used her for leverage. That’s how you worked the Guild over, and got them to cooperate in the attack on the Church. 

The elf voice still didn’t respond. Karendle kept pushing. So, what are you going to do now that the guild hall’s been raided and all of the wizards are in hiding?

We have nothing to worry about. We’ve had people in the Guild and the Church for years. We’re growing, and we’re not stopping. 

Karendle’s eyes widened. She thought about when she had met up them in the inn just a week ago. Or, really, three months ago. She reached out in her mind like she had then. She saw an image of a dark, black shadow taking the shape of a huge dragon, much larger than any of the drakes they had fought. It wore a large golden crown. You guys are the Dragon’s Flame, aren’t you?

Once again there was silence, a hesitation.

I want to join you. Thissraelle’s eyes widened in surprise.

What are you saying?

Karendle asserted herself. I want to join the Dragon’s Flame. 

Why?

“Karendle!” Thissraelle whispered. Karendle nodded assurance and smiled nervously. Well, you guys are making things happen. I figure that when the dragons finally do take over, I’ll want to be in a good position. You know, instead of a slave.

Alright, then... the voice suggested, bring in the elf girl. That will be your test. If you can do that, and soon, we will talk.

I’ll do it!

Very well, then. Contact us when you do.

Karendle dropped her hands as the glow subsided. She hissed out a heavy breath. She looked up and saw Thissraelle staring at her in wonder. “What? Don’t you think that would help?”

Thissraelle pulled her hands back. “What, signing up with the enemy?”

“No! Of course not!” Karendle said. “But this way we can find out what they’re doing! Already we found out that they want to overthrow King Twynnham. Who knows what else they’re up to!”

Thissraelle sat back, relaxing. She rubbed her arms. She began nodding her head as she saw the possibilities.

“Look, Thissraelle, I’m not going to sell you out.” Karendle reached over and put her hand on Thissraelle’s arm. “Let’s just string them along for a while and see how it goes.”

Thissraelle continued nodding. “Yeah. That’s a good plan. I want to find out how involved my father was in the attack. Also, I wonder if this Heathrax man fits into this somehow.”

“I’ll bet.” Karendle slipped her legs back under her blanket, and Thissraelle stood up. She walked over to her own bed. Karendle covered up and rolled over. “For now, let’s get some sleep.”


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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, October 10, 2019

167 - “Questions in the Dark” - 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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Part 13
Journey

In the previous part: Thissraelle awakens in a place that is strange, but familiar. It’s The Vast, a strange and deep void of extra-dimensional space where occasional islands of rock and matter float and spin through emptiness and clouds of colorful magical energies. The rock where she and her friends are resting holds a temple and an outpost of the Seekers of the Great Reality. They are a secret group of wizards that are committed to searching The Vast and the worlds dimensionally connected to it to find The Creator.

Thissraelle had visited The Vast as a child with her father and is thrilled to see it again. She is also excited to see her friends, Karendle and Eddiwarth, in the temple with her. She takes some time to reconcile and bond with Karendle, as well as become more acquainted with Korr and Parith, who fought by her side in the cathedral in Twynne Rivers. She also tries to magically reach out to Granthurg’s mind, but can’t find him.

She discovers that Korr is also trying to find Heathrax, though neither of them knows why. The Seekers tell them that he is believed to be living in the Emberfire Mountains. Eventually, they all decide to return to Twynne Rivers and journey north, through the deep of the Umbrawood forest to search for him.

After the cathedral attack, Tonklyn returns to the mountain hold of Kirraxal, the dragon. There, he discovers a magical key to the great hidden treasure horde of the ancient dragon kings. Included in this incredible wealth is the ancient’s crown, which Kirraxal puts on, proclaiming himself the rightful heir of the Dragon Throne.

Granthurg sails his newly-acquired barge west up the southern Wynne river toward his hometown in the Graemal Mountains. He has many questions, especially about the white-bladed dagger he holds. Why does everyone want it, and why are they willing to kill for it? He writes a letter to his friends DeFrantis and Antonerri in Dirae, telling them what happened in Twynne Rivers and sharing his fear for Thissraelle.

Finally, Thissraelle’s new team steps out of a dimensional portal back into Twynne Rivers, in “The Great Reality”. They are shocked to find that the land had moved on into late fall, nearing winter, while they spent what seemed like only a few days in the Vast. She sees the ruined cathedral and the now-empty hall of the Wizard’s Guild and wonders what has happened to Granthurg and how her father could have possibly commanded the attack on the Church. They are met in the street by a strange old man and guided to those who can help them in their journey.


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167 - “Questions in the Dark” - Karendle

"Thissraelle!" Karendle shook her friend's shoulder. "Thissraelle! Wake up!"

The room was small and dark, but bathed for the moment in a soft glow of deep blue. The chairs and beds were ornately covered and decorated. Embers from the remaining logs in the fireplace also gave a little light, as well as a bit of warmth. Even with that, however, the nightshirt that Karendle had been given did little to keep away the chill.

Thissraelle mumbled and stirred, but didn't arouse. Karendle shook her again, with a bit more force. "Come on, get up quick!"

After stepping through the portal the night before, they had followed the strange old man to this house in the residential part of NorthTowne in Twynne Rivers. The walk had felt very strange to Karendle. The cold night of a looming winter had been a surprise. Her steps seemed heavier and the ground felt solid and steady. In the Vast, the ground often felt like it was drifting under her feet. Tiredness had also overcame her, as if the time that had passed while they were in The Vast suddenly caught up and swept over her. They moved carefully, trying not to be seen.

Their host was a wealthy, older lady. She welcomed them into her home with a friendly embrace and a short dinner. As the five of them ate, the lady and the old man talked quietly. Then, they embraced with a smile and a pat before the man left. Karendle and the others were then shown to tidy rooms. Sleep had come easily.

Then in the darkness of the night, the glow of the oculus had awakened Karendle and she knew instantly what it meant. Unfortunately, she had no idea what to do about it. For now, she kept shaking Thissraelle.

Thissraelle rolled over and leaned up on one arm. The blue light bathed her face and she squinted, raising her hand. "Oh! What's that?"

Karendle sat back on her knees and half turned around. She pointed at her own bed and the source of the light. "It's my oculus! What do I do?"

Thissraelle wiped her eyes. "What? What are you using it for?" She was still quite groggy with sleep.
"No! It's glowing!"

"Mmm hmmm. Brightly. I can see that."

Karendle huffed in frustration and moved to sit on her mattress next to the oculus. The blue light cast strange shadows across her nightshirt and onto her worried face. "You don't get it! They're trying to contact me!"

"Who is? Thissraelle yawned. Suddenly, her eyes shot wide open and a look of surprised awareness swept her face. She threw off her blankets and rushed over to Karendle's bed. As she did, the light flickered and faded out. 

Karendle let out her breath and ran her hand through her hair. The room was now lit only by the orange glow from the embers in the fireplace. She picked up the oculus. It looked dull and lifeless in the dark. She shivered in the chill. “So, what do I do?” she whispered.

“Do you remember how to reach out to them?”

Karendle rolled her eyes. “Yes, I remember how to use it!”

Thissraelle shrugged. “Sorry!”

“I mean,” Karendle explained, “that I don’t know what to tell them. How do they know that we’re back in Twynne Rivers? Do they know where we’re going? They want me to catch you, and they’ll probably ask me about that.”

Thissraelle leaned back and rubbed her arms briskly. She stood and crossed over to the fireplace while she thought. She picked up some small logs from a basket, opened the small gate before the hearth, and tossed them onto the fire. As they caught, the room lightened just a bit. Finally, she asked, “What do you want to do?”

“I told you before. I don’t even want to have these things!” Karendle shook the oculus at Thissraelle’s back. “They cause too much trouble!” She tossed it down onto her pouch and lay back down on her bed. She pulled her blankets back over her. “I’ll just ignore it for now. I don’t have to respond, right?”

“No, you don’t.” Thissraelle stepped back to her bed. “But if you did respond, you might be able to find out who they really are or what they’re planning. We might finally get some answers.”

Karendle felt her nerves twitch with tension. More than a little bit of fear crept up her spine. That’s true. I was able to handle playing them once before. Maybe I could do it again.  “It’s risky. Maybe I could tell them--” The oculus interrupted her by starting to glow again, tinting the darkness of the room in a deep blue. Karendle caught her breath and looked up at Thissraelle. Their eyes both questioned and answered each other in a blink. 

“Okay, then.” Karendle reached for the gem.


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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, October 7, 2019

166 - “On Their Way” - Eddiwarth - A Tale of Heroes

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Eddiwarth jumped through the shimmering silver portal while the oval tear through the fabric of reality was still growing. He landed and nearly lost his balance. Instantly, he shivered. Wait. Why is it cold?

“Hey, move out of the way!” Karendle called from behind him. He snapped around and stepped aside. By this time, the portal was wider, with its lower arc glistening close to the stones of the street.

Eddiwarth looked around. It was twilight, getting dark, but that didn’t account for the deep chill in the harsh wind. He folded his arms and rubbed his shoulders. Where’s my cloak? Did I leave it back in The Vast? Or maybe I left it in the cathedral. The street was lit from above by an oculus on a high pole. The light shone on stones of the pavement, and cast jagged shadows behind his legs. The gutters along the side of the street were filled with fallen brown and crackled leaves. He turned his eyes up to the light. The branches of the trees near the pole were bare and a bit erie in the dim.

It can’t be winter! What’s going on?

Korr crossed through the portal next and Parith followed, with the drake clinging to his shoulders. Its tail was wrapped around his upper arm. The street was empty, without anyone passing by. All along the way, leaves and the occasional sheet of paper blew across the ground and swirled past the buildings.

On the far side of the street, he saw the crumbling ruins of a huge old building. Some stone walls still stood, but many had crumbled and fallen in pieces onto the yard. He walked toward it. The roof was gone, with only a few charcoaled timbers remaining. The boards and the rocks were well-weathered, like they had seen months of sun, wind, and rain since they’d burned.

Korr stepped up next to him. “I believe it’s the cathedral.”

Eddiwarth just stared, his brows knit.

Korr continued, “Of course, when we entered the structure, we must have come in through the west entrance. This is likely another facade. I think this is the monastery courtyard. Or, rather, it was.”

Eddiwarth shook his head in disbelief, shivered and stepped away, back toward the portal. Where’s Thissraelle? Has she not come out yet? “Thissraelle?”

He crossed around to the other side of the portal and looked through. Thissraelle was there, embracing Tarl. “Thank you so much,” he heard her say, then they broke. She turned toward the portal. He held his hand out, and she graciously took it as she stepped over the glowing threshold. She immediately shivered, reacting to the cold.

Eddiwarth shrugged. “I know! It’s weird! Wasn’t it summer a few days ago?”

She nodded. “I guess that’s what happens to time in The Vast.” Her breath clouded her face as she spoke. She handed something small, square, and dark to Eddiwarth, unfolded her cloak from where it had been draped over her arm, and swung it over her shoulders. Eddiwarth looked down at the book in his hands. It was small and leather-bound with gilt edges.

“What’s this?”

Thissraelle shifted her shoulders to adjust the cloak and pulled her hood up over her head. “Don’t you have a cloak?”

“I did, somewhere,” he said, “but I mean, what’s this?” He lifted the book.

“A gift from Tarl. From the library.” She took it from him and began walking toward the others. She stopped suddenly, staring at the burned out ruins of the cathedral. “By the love of The Creator,” she whispered.

Eddiwarth just stood next to her, not sure what to say. She spun to face across the street and looked up with wonder, almost fear. He followed her gaze. She put her hand over her mouth and sighed, blowing chilly air through her fingers.

“What are you looking at?” Eddiwarth asked.

She whispered, as if no one was listening, “My tower.”

Your tower? That’s in the Guild Hall. It hadn’t even occurred to Eddiwarth that across the alleyway would be the Wizard’s Guild halls, where he had lived and studied up until the past summer. That part of his life seemed to be so long ago, and he hadn’t even thought about it in weeks. The building was undamaged, but completely dark and empty. Karendle stepped up behind them, but said nothing. Eddiwarth looked at Thissraelle’s face, trying to understand what she was thinking, feeling. She just stared in silence.

"Good morning! Good morning!"

They all spun around, with their hands on their weapon hilts. Korr's feet planted in a defensive stance, with his hands in front of him. An old, short man in a gray cloak stood smiling under the oculus light. His hair was uneven, and a thin beard framed his smile.

"It's a lovely spring morning in the city!" He gestured upward. "Birds are calling, fish are swimming in the skies..."

Eddiwarth hadn't heard the man's footsteps. He looked at the others, who glanced back with raised brows. He started to move forward, to place himself between the man and Thissraelle.

The old man raised his chin and turned his head from side to side, looking closely at Thissraelle, then at Karendle. He shrugged his shoulders and chuckled. Then he walked between the baffled clump of people and continued down the street.

Thissraelle called out, "Wait! Who are you?"

He stopped and looked back over his shoulder with a giddy grin. "Soon you'll be traveling far, I suppose. Maybe you'll need things?" He started walking again, with a bit of a limp. After a few steps, he began to shuffle from side to side, as if dancing to unheard music.

Thissraelle looked at the others one by one. Eddiwarth shrugged and gestured at the old man with resignation. The drakeling on Parith's shoulder trilled.

Thissraelle nodded and caught up to the man, and the others followed.


The End of Part 12


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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