Thursday, July 19, 2018

“Placing a Breakfast Order” - A Tale of Heroes - Scene 44: DeFrantis

The bright morning sun shone through the slightly smoke-tinted windows of the lower level of the village inn. Its lower angle swept the sunbeams across the tables and floor. There was already activity in the common room, even at this hour.

“Hearye, hearyeall!” A man in a bright red jacket shouted. The pubcrier’s clothing was vivid, the red cloth trimmed in light yellow piping. His hat had long white feathers sweeping toward his back. His appearance, if not his voice, cried out for everyone’s attention, and everyone in the pub turned to give it to him. He lifted a scroll and began reading the day’s news.

“King Hastone III, of House Twynham, may he live long, and protect us all, has issued a decree of a tax of 5 coppers for anyone traveling the roads to and from Twynne Rivers. This includes the western road that follows the Greater Wynne River, to our fair village. This tax will allow the king to provide soldiers to protect the merchant caravans and travellers along these roads.”

The few people in the common room muttered their complaints and turned their faces back to their breakfasts, or to each other.

The crier continued, “This is primarily due to increased danger from brigands and wizards along the vital trading routes.”

As the crier droned on, DeFrantis squinted in the sunlight and looked across the table at Thissraelle. “I don’t understand why wizardry is so despised recently.” Thissraelle shrugged, as DeFrantis continued, “I guess there are always those who use powers to steal or hurt others.” I guess I have, too, but I do try to only use it to protect myself.  Still, I’m not really a full wizard.

Thissraelle leaned forward. “I spent my life hidden away in the Twynne Rivers Guild Towers. All I’ve known is wizards and wizardry. Mages are wonderful people. I don’t understand the fear, either.”

The front door swung open, flooding the floor with morning sunlight. Just as quickly, the light was obscured by a tall silhouette that stepped into the doorway and ducked through. As soon as she recognized the giant, Thissraelle waved. “Granthurg! Over here!”

DeFrantis was surprised. “Didn’t he stay in the inn, too?”

“He insisted on guarding the barge.” She waved again. “Here we are!”

Granthurg stepped over to the table and pulled out a chair. It was clearly too small for him, but it was steady enough to support his weight. “Good morning. I trust you slept well.”

DeFrantis smiled. “I’m not used to beds. It was...” she paused, thinking of what to say, “..oddly restful. I’m very grateful to you both.”

Granthurg nodded and looked around. “Where are the others?”

“I’ve not seen either of them this morning. Antonerri is still asleep, I suppose. Presumably, the bounty hunter has left to return her capture and collect her pay.” DeFrantis hesitated, “She kind of scares me, honestly. I’m not quite sure what to make of her.”

The innkeeper interrupted them with steaming bowls of meal and eggs, and set drinking glasses before them. He stood at the tableside for a moment, looking at them awkwardly. It suddenly occurred to Thissraelle what he was wanting, and she dug into her purse for a few silver pieces. “Does this cover the rooms and the meal?”

“Thank you, miss!”

DeFrantis hung her head.

“What’s the matter?”

“I’m not used to beds, or.. kindness.”

They began eating. After a moment, Thissraelle broke the awkwardness by asking, “Will you begin your search here?”

DeFrantis nodded between bites of egg. Granturg said, “This is the village of Dirae. I heard it’s named for one of its founding settlers. It’s mostly farmers working the land for a few remote nobles. It’s the first trading stop on the westward trip up the Greater Wynne. It’s not a big city, but it might be where they brought the children. I’ve heard there is a dark market here, but I don’t know where. They could have tried to sell the kids there. Of course, now there are brigands in the forest attacking the caravans and even the barges. They could be holding them hostage.”

The two women paused in their breakfast and just stared at the Giant.

“What? I stop here in this village every time we sail up the north river. Granted, it’s not very often, but still, I hear things. People talk, especially the river runners.”

“I’ve been in dark markets before. Maybe I’ll begin there.” She returned to her meal. She didn’t see the concerned glances between her table companions.


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.

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Monday, July 16, 2018

“Placing a Dinner Order” - A Tale of Heroes - Scene 43

Tonklyn stood on a large balcony, jutting out from halfway up the side of a mountain. Really, to say the balcony was large was really an understatement. It was easily thirty to forty feet wide, and it jutted out over the mountainside at least twenty feet in a sweeping half circle. The light glowing from the oculus at the end of his staff barely chased the dark from the balcony’s edge, enhanced a bit by the moonlight. There was no ledge or railing, just a stonework masonry floor, and then a steep and fast drop down the side of the mountain. Below the balcony were crags still full of unmelted snow, spotted with trees.

Tonklyn stood a safe distance from the edge, but not against the mountainside opposite the drop off, or particularly close to the gaping open mouth of a corridor carved into that mountain. The night breeze was cold. It was the late spring, of course, but at this altitude, the air was still winter. His heavy dark brown robes and hood kept him relatively warm as he waited.

It was a clear night, with lots of stars, and an almost full moon. The view of the forest at the valley floor below him was stunning. His eyes, however, were up in the air, scanning, looking, watching.

The balcony was built just at the timber line. There were trees below, but above him only rocks and mountain, except for two other constructions, watchtowers jutting upward out of the mountain on either side of the balcony.

The wind blew stronger for a moment, and he drew his hood and cloak tighter, though his breath still formed a mist in the chill before him.

He caught sight of a motion in the air far off to his right, and his eyes focused on it immediately. It swept across the sky, silhouetted before the moon. He stepped forward and stood a little taller. As the shadow turned in the air, he raised his staff and waved it from side to side. It grew larger as it drew closer, and it came quickly. It dropped down, and for a moment was out of sight.

Tonklyn could hear the heavy flapping of huge wings and felt the wind sweeping up from the trees below. Suddenly the balcony was enveloped in shadow as a massive dragon swooped up over the edge, waving its wings to both stop and steady itself. Its neck arched over and its head looked across the balcony, finally focusing on Tonklyn, whose cloak was waving fiercely in the torrent created by the wings. As the wings drew back and up for another stroke, its back legs, easily as long as Tonklyn was high, reached down and settled onto the edge of the balcony. The muscular body was covered in skin of deep black scales with a slight tint of red reflecting on the underside. The wingstroke came, though not as hard as others, and the forelegs reached out and landed on the stone floor. The dragon leaned back on its back legs and lifted up its head. It stretched out its wings and shook them before folding them neatly across its back. It swayed its head from side to side as if to work its muscles, and finally looked at the human.

Tonklyn stepped forward and dropped to one knee, bowing deeply. “My Liege.”

The dragon snorted, enveloping Tonklyn in smoke and fumes. It turned and lowered its head to slide his body into the corridor entryway. The pounding of his feet on the floor echoed through the chambers. Tonklyn scurried after him, trying to catch up to the head. He spoke hurriedly. “There is a scroll for you, a message from the High Priests of the Church of Three Lights in Twynne Rivers. Shall I get it for you?”

“Yes. But I am hungry. Bring me a meal, and read it to me as I feed.”

“Certainly.” They stepped from the corridor into a large open chamber with a high ceiling supported by pillars all around, each with a dimly glowing oculus. In the center of this space was a vast round carpet of soft furs and blankets. The dragon strode in and circled himself onto it and settled down, with his head up and alert.

“But I grow tired of cattle and venison. Bring me something more delicate.”

“Yes, my Liege.”

“Bring me children.”

Yes, my Liege. Right away.”


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.

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Monday, July 9, 2018

“Thoughts” - A Tale of Heroes - Scene 42

The morning sun rose, and shone on the barge. When everyone woke, Antonerri offered to steer to allow Granthurg to sleep. After a moment of instruction, Grathurg rolled out a blanket and in moments was loudly snoring.

The others opened up the stores for more bread and cheese, and sat talking and asking questions. After a few hours of sleep, Granthurg woke and joined them. The river flowed under them smoothly and evenly, and the mid-spring breeze kept them cool in the sun. Granthurg got out his maps and each made their plans. Finally, they relaxed in silence as the afternoon approached.


This giant seems very knowledgeable of the things near the river. I’m not sure where to begin looking for the kids once we get to this village. I think they’re somewhere in the forest, but that’s a big area to cover. Maybe someone in the town knows something.

I barely know Antonerri, but he seems committed to helping. I know I shouldn’t ask him to go with me, but I’ll need his help. I don’t know what we’re up against!

The elf and the giant seemed to show concern for the children, but they have their own plans.  That’s kind of a shame. It would be nice to have a giant and a real wizard along! The dwarven lady is very distant. Oh, what am I saying? This is my task, why would anyone else be bothered?


I am so lost. Everything I’ve worked for is gone. Right now, my only clear purpose is helping to retrieve these children. Beyond that, who knows what the Creator has for me? Who knows what the Creator has in store at all?

Maybe He’s forgotten me. I’ve been cast aside, adrift on this river. What’s around the next bend?


It was so kind of Karendle to help me fight against the sentries sent to retrieve me. I know there will be more. My father will not rest until I’ve been hunted and recaptured. I need to be cautious. 

DeFrantis’ story of the children being sold away is so tragic! Her dedication to that quest is so noble. I should help them. I have been so fortunate in my own life. But if I travel with them, I may just bring more danger along.

I DID ask for adventure, didn’t I?


I did it. I actually did it. I captured a wizard. And from the Guild, no less! That will fetch me a nice bounty. I need to get him back to the others. But, this elf girl seems to be pretty important. She seems to be connected somehow to the Guild as well, and she’s a strong wizard, too! Maybe I can capture her, too, if I’m just careful. She won’t go down so easy, though, and it would probably get the giant very angry.

I’ll have to play this very carefully!


This is all quite a big mess. What did Rinkmorr do? What were they after? It wasn’t Thissraelle. I wonder if it was whatever was in Rinkmorr’s trunk. 

I shouldn’t even think of looking in there. That’s his private property. I wouldn’t want him going through my maps and scrolls, so I shouldn’t go through his things. But whatever is in there is changing my life, putting me in danger, so I should have a right to know what I’m tangled up in, right?

Maybe I will look. 

The river flowed steadily underneath them, and the oculus drove them slowly against the current. Granthurg took in a deep breath. He thought, I have no idea what’s going on, do I?


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.

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Sunday, June 24, 2018

Working on the Rule Book

So, I've been very focused these last few days. I've been in a bit of a breather from the story, and I've been working on The Hero's Tale rule book. It's our hope to have a first edition ready in a few weeks!

To that end, I've been scanning a bunch of old drawings!  Here are a few. I still have to tweak them in 'shop to make them good and contrasty...

There were some significant chunks of the rules that had to be rewritten since the last time I compiled it. We had changed the skills tree, the character creation process, and swapped the initiative system for "priority". 

I'm very excited to get the book printed and ready!  I'll keep you posted!

Monday, June 18, 2018

“And Who Are You?” - A Tale of Heroes - Scene 41: Granthurg

For the last hour, Granthurg had steered the barge westward in silence. Thissraelle lay near his feet, on the platform, wrapped in a blanket, fast asleep. Antonerri and DeFrantis sat together on the deck, huddled together, to tense to sleep. They weren’t talking, but just looked at Granthurg and the other woman, who sat between them and to one side.

Granthurg noticed that she was also nervous, and looked back and forth between him and the others.  Granthurg leaned forward and picked up a bundle of blankets. He stepped away from the rudder and off the platform. He offered blankets to Antonerri and DeFrantis. Antonneri wrapped one around DeFrantis’ shoulders.

Granthurg hesitated and looked at the unknown lady. She looked not quite human, but was too stout to be elvish. She didn’t look weighty, but rather that her shoulders were more broad and her back stronger than most elvish women. How did she get here? I wish I knew what she’s thinking, what she’s planning.

Finally, he stepped to her and offered her a blanket. She looked up at him, a bit surprised, and took it.

“I can pay my passage.” She didn’t look up.  “At the first village, I’ll get off the barge and return to Twynne Rivers.”

“Sure. There’s a small dock at a town just on the other side of the forest. We’ll be there by late tomorrow.” He hesitated. “I’m Granthurg. Who are you?”

She looked up. “My name is Karendle.” She said nothing more.

Granthurg nodded. He moved to a trunk by the side of the platform, and drew out bread, cheese, and a jug of ale. He offered her some, but she looked uncertain as to how to respond to his gesture.

“Go ahead,” he said, and offered again. This time she took a loaf and some cheese and began to eat.  He moved to the others and offered to them as well. Finally, he took his own bread back to the platform and stood by the rudder.  “You were quite a surprise. I appreciate your help in the fight, but I’m not sure what you’re doing with us. How did you come to be on my barge?”

She didn’t seem to be too sure how to answer. After a moment, she said, “I guess I’m a bounty hunter.”

“And you caught your target?”

“Yeah, I suppose.”  Granthurg noticed DeFrantis keeping a watchful eye on her. “I’ll have to take him back to the city.”

Granthurg continued, “Where are you from?”

She was done with her bread, and leaned back. She broke off a piece of cheese. “Originally, I’m from the Western Mountains.”

“AH! I am, too! You’re part dwarf, am I right?”  She ate, then nodded. “I wondered. You’re a little short for a human, but you don’t have elvish features! Have you been gone from the mountains long? I was hoping to get back to my city after this river run.” She replied, and Granthurg started talking about the mountains and his home. Before long, he glanced out over the barge and saw that all three were laying down, asleep. He smiled to himself and nodded. We’ll sort everything out tomorrow.

He took a hold of the rudder. It will all be fine tomorrow.


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.

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Thursday, June 14, 2018

“How Did You Do That?” - A Tale of Heroes - Scene 40: Karendle

For a moment, everyone on the barge just looked at each other. No one seemed to know who anyone else was, or why they were there. All except the giant, who was frantically looking around trying see where the elf girl had gone.  The shadow wizard girl and her friend were pretty badly beaten up, and looked like they didn’t know who they were fighting, or why. Their attackers were looking at the fire wizard in the middle of the boat like he was some sort of avenging angel, and he wasn’t there to rescue them. Suddenly something clicked in Karendle’s mind.

They’re from the Wizard’s Guild! But that revelation brought more questions. What are they doing here? And why do they want the girl?

She reached into her pouch as she scrambled to her feet. Well, I don’t care! I’m here to catch wizards, and I hate the Wizard’s Guild, so that’s all the understanding I need!

She pulled out the entrapment oculus, and pointed it at the mage in the middle of the barge, shouting, “I’m taking you down, wizard!” Surprised faces turned to look at her as the oculus glowed. A silvery light enveloped the man, drawing him toward the oculus. The light surrounded him, then shrunk around him, shrunk with him, and finally sucked him into the glowing stone.

Karendle looked at the grey gem in her hand and mused, “Amazing! It worked!”

The silent confusion was shattered by the giant’s grunts of rage as he rushed at the man who had attacked him, swinging his hammer before him. “Get! OFF! My! BOAT!” He landed a solid hit, smashing the man into the railing, which broke and sent him tumbling into the river.

The one in the white tunic rolled from his prone position on the deck to grab his sword and slash the legs of the man who had been beating him. He screamed and fell to the deck, where he was kicked off the other side of the barge. He then crawled over to the shadow mage, and helped her sit up. They, Karendle, and the giant looked from one to the other, in awkward and confused silence.

That silence, moments later, was broken by a crackling sound from the bow of the boat. As everyone looked, reality again distorted and swirled, finally spitting the elf girl, screaming, out onto the deck, sprawled across a few of the cargo crates.

“Thissraelle!” The giant ran to her and lifted her up.

“Thanks!” She shivered, clinging to his warmth, “Can I get a blanket?”

As they made their way to the steering platform, the soldier in white asked her, “What happened to the one who had you trapped?”

She smiled, “I left him in The Vast.” Karendle didn’t understand, and obviously neither did anyone else. “I’ll explain later.”

The giant wrapped Thissraelle in a blanket, then handed blankets to the others before climbing onto the platform and steering the barge out over the dark river. As she wrapped herself up in the blanket’s soft comfort, the giant sighed, then muttered, “West. West is Best.”


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.

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Monday, June 11, 2018

“Who is Who?” - A Tale of Heroes - Scene 39: Karendle

Noises from the barge jolted Karendle awake. She lifted her head up from the table on the wharf where she was sitting. She had been watching the giant and the barge diligently, but had drifted off to sleep at some point in the early night. She stood up and looked down the pier, and saw three strange men on the barge fighting with the giant and the others. Hey, who is this? She saw one of them jump at the dark-cloaked wizard girl. They’re after my quarry! I’ve got to stop this!

With a leap, Karendle took off running down the pier. Her sleepy grogginess and the swaying of the pier made it a bit difficult for her to maintain her balance. As she got to the barge, she was about to jump on board, but was surprised to see it suddenly lurch in the water, smashing into another nearby barge.

She regained her balance, took a step back, and threw herself over the widening gap of water, landing hard on the foredeck.

She scrambled to her feet, and looked aft over the cargo crates. There’s the giant, fighting one of the men, and there’s another that looks like he’s tangled up in darkness. That’s got to be the doing of the girl I’m after! But where is she? I can’t see over all this cargo!

She jumped up and clambered to the top of the pile of crates. From there, she could see much better. I’d better get my oculi ready this time! She grabbed here pouch, then looked out over the scene. The wizard girl was lying on her back, and she didn’t look good. Next two her two men were wrestling, and beyond them, the man who had been wrapped in darkness was freed and jumping to his feet. He seemed to be rushing to get to the stern where a young elven girl was sitting in lanternlight.

A sudden loud whoop of laughter from above caught everyone’s attention. Seemingly out of the dark sky, into the wash of the light of the lanterns and oculi, a young man, or maybe an elf, floated quickly down onto the deck in front of the platform. He spun toward the man rushing aft and shouted, “Oh, no, you don’t! She’s mine!”

He pointed at the man and a hot pulse of fire shot from his hand, hitting the attacker squarely on the chest, bursting brightly and loudly, and blowing him up and off the barge. He splashed hard into the Wynne. The Elf girl screamed.

Karendle dropped to the crates, trying to hide. My Holy Lights! Another Wizard! This IS my lucky day! She looked again. There was something familiar about the pattern of his red and blue shirt that she had seen before. Not the colors, but maybe the patterns or the markings?

A sudden wave hit the barge, and hit it hard. It flipped everyone off their feet, and off the deck. As Karendle landed in the now loose pile of crates, she scurried to regain her balance.

The Elf screamed again, and yelled something Karendle didn’t understand. When she could see again, the barge was stable in the water, but everyone was climbing back to their feet. All except the girl, who was being held tight by yet another young man, this one definitely human, and wearing clothing similar to the other wizard. He gripped her tightly around her waist, his sleeves and arms glowing white with bright light.

“Hold still!” He yelled at her, “We’re just taking you home!”

She shouted and kicked at him, to no avail. Then she stopped, and seemed to focus her mind. There was a sizzling, crackling sound, and in an instant they were gone. It was as if reality itself swallowed them both and gulped them down.

“THISSRAELLE!” a deeper voice screamed. The giant lumbered to where she had been on the platform and fell to the deck.


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.

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Thursday, June 7, 2018

“What is Going On?” - A Tale of Heroes - Scene 38: DeFrantis

“This doesn’t look good,” DeFrantis said, scowling at the men at the bow of the barge.

Antonerri turned. Three men had just stepped off the pier onto the barge. The way the Giant had stepped back defensively was telling. They weren’t too far away, so DeFrantis and Antonerri could hear the conversation easily in the otherwise quiet night.

“What is it you’re looking for?”

“Oh, don’t play like you don’t already know!” One of the men jumped up on some cargo boxes and began to move across them, toward the stern, toward DeFrantis. He was looking closely at each crate as he crawled over it. The other two reached into their cloaks and drew out short swords.

“Oh this is definitely not good.” She whispered. She saw Antonerri grip his own stolen sword more tightly, keeping it hidden from the view of the assailants. “What have we gotten ourselves into?” I don’t know who’s good or bad, here. Granthurg’s been very kind and gave us a good price on our passage, but he looks to be tangled up in some real problems!

The apparent leader jabbed his sword at Granthurg, who jumped back. “Hey, easy, there...”

“Just tell me where it is, and nobody has to get hurt!” He jerked his head a bit, signaling his companion. The other man ran around the boxes to the other side of the barge, heading toward the stern.

The giant staggered backward, calling out, “Thissraelle! Get the barge moving!” He was trying to get to her without losing sight of the one threatening him. The man followed, holding the sword steady before him.

What to do? She glanced with worry at Antonerri. He was watching the drama unfold intently. As the two went past him, he spun and lunged at the human, knocking him off his feet into the railing. The two of them tumbled to the deck. The giant and DeFrantis both looked on for a moment, surprised by the attack.

“GRANTHURG!” A high voice called out. They both turned to see a huge double-handed warhammer floating quickly through the air. He reached up and grabbed it, then reset himself for the battle.

DeFrantis saw the other man moving past the corner of her eye. He was almost to the steering platform where Thissraelle was standing, arms still raised to guide the hammer. DeFrantis quickly reached into her own will. She drew the shadows from around the crates and the pier upward, into the air, twisting around the man, binding him fast in darkness.  Thissraelle looked at her in surprise, then smiled quickly, and jumped back to her task on the platform.

Just as quickly, DeFrantis was knocked to the deck as another assailant landed on her from behind. She wriggled and struggled beneath him, feeling a sharp cutting pain in her arm. As she twisted, she found her face pressed to the floor as fingers twisted into her hair and pulled her head back. She saw the brief flash of lantern light reflected off a bloody dagger in front of her face.

I’m going to die!

Another heavy weight hit her and the man on her back, slamming them both flat, and knocking her breath out and smacking her head onto the deck. In another instant, the others rolled off her back and she could breathe again. She looked and saw Antonerri wrestling her attacker to the deck. Who had the advantage was not at all clear, though.

She tried to lift herself up, but one hand slipped on something wet and warm. She looked at it and saw blood. It hurt, too, higher up toward the shoulder, and it felt weak. Is that my blood? She managed to lift herself up with her other arm. She could hear the clang of the sword on the hammer to her left. To her right, Antonerri was on his back trying to fend off fist blows being thrown to his face.

The barge lurched in the water and, with a loud crunch, banged against another barge berthed beside it. The impact flipped her over onto her back. It lurched again, as it began to move away from the pier.

She felt dizzy, and that made it hard to get up. She could feel her will slipping away, releasing the shadows holding the third man. She tried to maintain their strength, but finally had to let them dissipate. .

What did we get ourselves into?


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.

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Monday, June 4, 2018

“Find the Girl” - A Tale of Heroes - Scene 37: Eddiwarth

Faloren was older, and his gait was deliberate, but the two young men had to both hustle to catch up. Eddiwarth was the first to speak up as well.

“So, what’s this quest? What’s so important?” His mind raced with scenes of battling dragons and seizing treasures. “Oh, I know! The wood elves are mustering for war, and the GuildMaster wants us to deliver an urgent diplomatic message to them! No! Wait - an ancient relic has been discovered, and we’re to go and retrieve it!”

Faloren stopped and faced them. “You impudent twits really have no idea what’s going on, do you? Personally, I wouldn’t trust you with any task more difficult than fetching me an ale, and you still wouldn't get that right!” He resumed walking.

“The GuildMaster’s daughter, Thissraelle, is missing. You’ve seen her many times here in the Guild Hall, I’m sure. The GuildMistress is beside herself with fear and worry. The Master is more calm, but is upset, nonetheless. We don’t know if she was taken or if she just left on her own. For some reason, he wants someone from your class to go and retrieve her. Something about not being able to spare more experienced members, and it being a ‘good learning opportunity’ for you.” The old teacher waved his fingers in the air to emphasize the quote.

Eddiwarth’s classmate spoke. “How long has she been missing?”

“It was discovered yesterday morning, when she didn’t arrive for breakfast with her family.” He stopped in front of a door, and willed it to move. It slowly swung open and a breeze of the evening air wafted into the hallway as he stepped into the main guild courtyard, where he stopped. He could have opened the door with his hands, and that would have also been easier, in many ways, but he liked using his powers in front of the novices. It helped show them who was in charge.

Eddiwarth didn’t notice. He started straight for the main gate out of the guild hall and into the city. His colleague chased after him. “Hey, wait! There are more questions!”

Eddiwarth turned around, with a look of exasperation. “Go on...”

“Well, where was she in the guild hall last? Where might she have gone? Do we have any ideas who might have taken her?”

Faloren said, “She has been seen in the InnerWall, near the RiverFront.”

“Seen? By who?”

Faloren thought to himself, debating. Finally, he decided to say. “The Guild has oculi hidden to see visions from all over Twynne Rivers.” He enjoyed the look of surprise on the novices faces. He walked past them toward the gate. “Really, you think they’re the Eyes of the Creator, but a lot of them are also the eyes of the Guild.”

He paused and signaled to the guards to open the gate. He handed a small jingling pouch to the two novices, and said, “Find her. Bring her back quickly. Then you can return to your studies.” He gestured to the gate. “If you’re still alive, that is.”

“Go.” He added, as they hesitated. “Now!”


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.

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Thursday, May 31, 2018

“A Quest!” - A Tale of Heroes - Scene 36: Eddiwarth

There were about two dozen novices having their evening meal together at the tables in the Wizard’s Guild school hall. They were talking and laughing, creating a low level of noise that filled the air like the thin smoke from the hearthfires burning in the center of the room. The fading afternoon light still shone through the ornate windows, but oculi mounted around the room provided most of the light. Occasionally, one of the students would get up from the table, cross to the fire and refill his bowl from the stew brewing there.

Eddiwarth was one of the louder ones, laughing and shouting with his classmates. He had only been at the guild for about a month, and had quickly tried to fit in. While his constant pranking and joking had rubbed many the wrong way, there were a few that enjoyed watching him embarrass other students and then take the fall for it. As a result, he didn’t have many friends, but there were some who were willing to associate with him, more out of a desire for entertainment, than real friendship.

He was a half-elf, born and raised in Twynne Rivers, the son of a high-elf merchant and his human mother. His father’s marriage meant they were disallowed in the city’s high-elven community, and his impulsive nature meant he never was able to focus long enough to learn a trade. The only thing he was any good at was a few bits of magic. So, as he came of age, his father managed to convince some others to use some connections and he was reluctantly accepted into the guild.

He didn’t notice when the Class Master Faloren came into the room. Quickly, the talking hushed as the lanky Master slid between the tables to stand by the fire. He turned to face the class as it all got quiet.

Just in time to hear Eddiwarth shout, “...So he said, ‘OK, but this time YOU put the dress on the monkey!” It took a moment after delivering the punchline for Eddiwarth to notice that he was the only one laughing at the joke. He quickly sat down, while others rolled their eyes and snickered.

Decorum restored, for the moment, Faloren spoke.

“Our great GuildMaster has sent me here tonight with a command. A rather odd command, I believe, but I will fulfill it, nonetheless. He wishes me to recruit a few volunteers for a quest of great importance.” Here he paused, as if it drew great pains for him to proceed. “I’m not at all clear as to why he would want to recruit for so important a task from such a pathetic collection of rabble as you all. It is beyond my capacity for understanding. And my understanding is truly vast.”

He breathed deep. “At any rate, he wishes two to three of you to go and risk your miserable lives in this quest. As with most tasks and quests you will likely undertake in your wizardic careers, success will bring with it the gratitude of the GuildMaster, and all the prestige that entails, but no actual treasure or payment. Failure, will, of course, probably bring shame on you and your family, probably posthumously, etc, etc, etc...”

A voice, trying to remain anonymous, called out, “What’s the quest?”

Faloren sighed. “If I were at liberty to tell you, I would have already done so.” He clapped his hands, and called out, “So! Who wants to go?” His face brightly beamed with sarcasm and disdain.

The fire crackled and popped as the novices all looked back and forth at each other, wondering who would volunteer. Finally a young man stood and stepped forward. “I will go and bring honor to my class and family.” He was a thin, but tall human in his late teens, dressed in a white shirt of fine linen. His hair was light, long and carefully combed, and he sported the thin beginnings of a beard.

“Of course you will.” Faloren intoned.

“OH YEAH!” Eddiwarth jumped up. “I’ll go, too! This’ll be great! We’ll get it done!” He rushed to the side of the other volunteer, shouting and waving his fist in the air.

The other students broke into pandemonium, laughing and clapping. Pleased to be rid of both of their cohorts, their cheers were, at least, sincere.

Faloren simply gestured for the two to follow him, and turned on his heel.


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Monday, May 28, 2018

“Headin’ Out, A Little Early” - A Tale of Heroes - Scene 35: Granthurg

Granthurg dropped the scrolls into his trunk and closed the lid. He locked it, and pushed it back out of the way on the deck. All the while his mind was racing with questions. I don’t understand. This isn’t right. Why do we need to leave right away? We still have a few pieces of cargo we haven’t offloaded! 

He shivered. The night was cold, and he felt it more than usual. He stood, turned and almost knocked Thissraelle over. He steadied her, stepped back, and looked down. She had a concerned look on her face.

“Sorry.” He moved around her and walked past his other passengers toward the steering platform.

“Granthurg! What’s wrong?”

He kept walking, taking a step up onto the platform.

“Granthurg!” She insisted.

He knelt by the steering oar at the stern and reached behind it, feeling for the lock he knew was hidden there.

“Granthurg! What’s going on?” She grabbed his arm and turned him toward her. “Look, I’ve only known you a few days, but you look like you’re upset.”

He nodded, then reached around again, and pulled up the rusty chain and lock. He pulled his keys out of his pocket and unlocked it. “We have to leave. I don’t know what’s going on, either, and that’s probably why I’m upset.” He pulled the chain free, then backed up on his knees. She followed. He swung open a small trap door, about the size of a couple of the deck planks. The lantern light above shone in and reflected off of something inside.

“There it is. Now if I can only figure out how to use it.” It was a stone, about the size of a human’s fist, of fine, polished jade. It was mostly green, but had some veins of brown running through it.

She leaned over to look, and recognized it as an Oculus Creator, infused with the powers of nature. “This is what Rinkmorr uses for the power to drive the barge upriver, just like I was saying.”

“Tonight he told me he needs us to leave, and go west. Something very bad is going on, and I don’t know what. Some people are after something he has. I don’t even know how to make this thing work.” He paused, then looked at her intently, “Do you?”

“I don’t know natural magics, but I’ve used oculi lots of times. I could try.”

He smiled for the first time that night. “Thanks. That’s all any of us can do.”

“What did Rinkmorr do to make it work?”

Granthurg chuckled, “He’d just sit there with his eyes closed, looking like a doof, and the boat would go. Then, when it was moving, he’d get up and steer like normal.” Granthrug stood. “Give it a try. I’ll get the barge ready.”

She reached in and felt the stone. Granthurg walked back toward the bow, and began to undo the mooring. He called out to the other passengers, resting on the cargo deck. “I hope you good folk don’t mind, but we’ve had a bit of change in plans. We’ll be casting off and heading up the Lesser Wynne tonight.”

DeFrantis and Antonerri glanced at each other, and DeFrantis spoke, “For us, the sooner we leave, the better.”

“Oh, no. No, no, no.” A deep voice from the pier surprised them. “You’re not leaving quite just yet.” Granthurg’s head snapped around to see three men standing on the pier, bathed in the light of the fore oculi. They were cloaked in dark colors. The leader was quite tall, even for a human, and his long, scraggly hair covered much of his face. He jumped onto the barge, along with his two companions. Granthurg stepped back, defensive. He looked back at Thissraelle, and saw his hammer sitting on the deck near her. He looked back at the men.

The leader spoke again, with a menacing gravel, “Of course, if you just give us what is ours, then we can all be on our way as soon as you like.”


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Thursday, May 24, 2018

“Fly By Night” - A Tale of Heroes - Scene 34: Granthurg

“Thurg!” a sharp voice hissed through the night on the wharf. “Thurg!” it sounded again, louder.

Granthurg was sitting at one of the tables on the wharf, studying scrolls by lanternlight. He looked up, then turned toward the voice.  “Rinkmorr?”

“Hush! Come over here! Leave the Lantern”

Granthurg stood and stepped out of the circle of light around the table. His face, now obscured in shadow was furrowed and confused. “Where are you? What are you--”

“Quiet, boy! This is critical.” Granthurg could barely make out the massive form and familiar face of Rinkmorr hiding behind some large covered crates on the wharf. Before he could speak, Rinkmorr interjected, “Who’s that down on the barge?”

“Passengers. I’ve been excited to tell you. I’ve booked passengers! They’ve paid half up front, like you always--”

“I thought I told you to get rid of the elf girl.”

“She’s paid her fare in full!” Granthurg was quite pleased with himself. “In gold! The others just booked on board, too. They’re all going west, up the Greater Wynne River. I told them we could get sailing really soon, as soon as you get new cargo!” He held up a small pouch and jingled it. Rinkmorr took it and hefted it before pocketing it.

“Yeah, well never mind that. West, huh? Well, west is good!”

“West is Best!” Rinkmorr rolled his eyes at Granthurg chanting the old Riverman’s adage. Going west usually meant going home.

“Thurg! Listen to me, and listen close.” He reached out and grabbed Granthurg’s shoulders and held him looking forward, into Rinkmorr’s worried eyes. “I need you to do something important. I need you to take the barge and float it tonight. Upriver, west will be perfect, now that I think of it. But go north. Drive it right away.” He paused, and looked behind him.

“But we have no cargo! We have few supplies!”

“That doesn’t matter. Just take it tonight.”

“Wait. Does that mean you won’t be on board?”

“You wanted a chance to be a riverman, now you can be! Take it all the way up to Umbramire port and wait for me there.”

Granthurg was shocked and confused. “What’s happening? What’s the rush? Are you in trouble?”

Rinkmorr’s silence confirmed this. “What did you do!”

“I owe some people some money, that’s all. Nothing you have to concern yourself about. It’s just that some people might come to collect by taking something I have, and I need it to be gone. That’s why you have to leave right away.”

“Did you lose the barge throwing lots?”

“That’s not your concern. But no. Now, get out of here!”  Rinkmorr was already moving away.

Granthurg followed him for a few steps “I don’t know how to drive the barge upriver! I don’t know the magic!”

“Get your girlfriend to figure it out! The oculus is in the stern. Now get out of here before they see me! Don’t let me down!”

“Rinkmorr!” But the elder giant had already slipped away in the darkness. Well, he’s got some nerve! What do I do now? Granthurg stood, trying to see across the wharf. Finally, he returned to his scrolls and rolled them into his carrying pouch.

And she’s not my girlfriend, either...


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Monday, May 21, 2018

“Lost and Found” - A Tale of Heroes - Scene 33: Karendle

By the time she was tired of looking for her quarry, the sun was hanging a bit low, tinting the buildings tops of the InnerWall with orange.

The night before, she had seen them escape the guard tower, and even managed to knock them to their knees with an ill-planned explosion of magical power from her oculus. That woke the soldiers on guard as well as the neighborhood. She tried to rush off after the two fugitives, but the soldiers saw her move and began to pursue her, instead. This was only made worse by the people who heard the bang and came running out of pubs and homes to see what was going on.

In the unfamiliar city, it hadn’t been easy for her to lose them. Fortunately, there were many roads and alleys for her to disappear into. She spent the night in fitful sleep under awnings and behind storage barrels, waking and moving frequently.

As the morning sun was starting to show a faint glow in the sky, she finally found a stable with a pile of straw and sank into exhausted slumber.

She awoke just before midday, and slid back out into the street. It was busy enough and she managed to blend her way along, still avoiding any contact with soldiers or constables.

After a meal in an inn, she had wondered what her next step was. She could keep searching for them, or try to find another wizard to capture. For now, she decided to resume her search. It was difficult at first to find the same guard tower, and, after following the direction of their flight into the city, it became clear that she had lost any real chance of finding them.

Still, she had spent the afternoon wandering the the streets of the InnerWall and finally found herself on the northern wharfs of the RiverFront.

By that time, it was getting to be early evening, and she sat down on a public bench, weary and needing a rest.

This is much harder than I thought. There are so many ways for someone to vanish. I’m quite hungry as well, but I need to be careful with my coin. She opened up her purse and reached in, shifting the oculi aside to find a few gold pieces remaining. I guess I’ll be OK. I just want to bring back a wizard. I want to make this happen!

As the sun began to lower, she stood and walked upriver only casually glancing around her. A fried fish at a pub here on the river would be pretty nice, right about now.

As she stepped toward a pub she walked past a couple of open air table of giants, river runners and barge steersmen, talking and sharing ale. While most were talking among themselves, a few were talking with others, non-giants. As she passed she could hear them talking about cargo rates and passenger fares. A lady seemed to be booking passage to the west.

She walked on, then paused. That woman’s voice. I’ve heard it before. Karendle turned to look back at the table. One of the giants, bulky, with a shaved head and a vest, was walking down the pier toward the barges. With him walked a man in white soldier’s livery, with a diminutive woman in a black cloak. In an instant, she recognized them. That's her! I can't believe my luck!

She quickly reached for her purse, and rushed back. Before she got to the table, she paused. Oh no. There are a lot of people here. I'm not making the same mistake twice!

She watched as they all boarded one of the barges. I'll just take my time and watch. Maybe tonight the situation will be better.

She backed away and found a small barrel to sit on, and waited.


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Thursday, May 17, 2018

“Back at The Chapel” - A Tale of Heroes - Scene 32: DeFrantis

DeFrantis threw open the door behind the altar in the small chapel and began scattering the small boxes and other debris stored there.  She pushed blankets and old sacramental robes aside until she cleared a corner of the bare floor. She looked at the tiles for a moment, trying to remember which one held her prize.

Antonerri came in behind her. “What are you doing?”

She ignored him, but simply began tapping lightly on the floor tiles. At random, at first, but then, when she got no results, she started on one side and methodically moved from one to another.

“I’ve figured some things out in the few days I’ve known you, but if you want my help, it might be useful to tell me what’s going on.”

“You don’t need to come with me.” She said, in a brusque tone. “They are in grave danger and they need me.”

“Who are ‘they’? What are you looking for?” He stepped forward.  In that moment, she started clawing at a dusty tile, but she couldn’t get under it.

She grunted in frustration, then looked around. Seeing Antonerri standing near, she said, “Give me your sword!” She held out her hand.

He flipped it around, holding it carefully by the blade, and placing the hilt into her open palm. She grabbed it and, using both hands, easily wedged it under the tile and pulled it up. She flipped it aside, revealing a hole underneath. Setting the sword down, she leaned over the hole and reached deep into it. She came up with a small pouch.

“What’s that?” Antonerri asked.

She stood up and climbed over the clutter past Antonerri to exit the small room. He followed her out into the main hall.

“DeFrantis!” He called out. She was already halfway through the door when she stopped and turned.


“What’s the big secret?”

“It’s not a secret! I’m just focused. I’m worried.”

“About the kids?”

Her shoulders, at first held back in defiance, slouched. “Yes.”

“Who are they? Where are they?” He stepped toward her, off the dais of the altar. When he reached her, he said, “Look, you don’t know me, but in the tower you saved my life. You could have left me there to rot once you got the key. But you brought me out.”

“Well, you took the blasts from the priest that were meant for me! I couldn’t leave you there.”

He put his hand on her shoulder. “OK, then. Let me help you now.”

She sighed and sat down.

“I’ve lived on the streets of the OuterWall most of my life, since I was barely 12 winters old. I learned to live off of scraps and how to avoid trouble. Gradually, I teamed up with other kids my age. As I got older, most of them left off on their own, but more young ones came to me. I took care of them, taught them to protect themselves, to beg, to survive.

“There was one boy who was with me most of those years. He was mean and hard, but he did his part to help take care of everyone.

“One day, not long ago, he told me that someone had offered him money to take the children off to the Umbrawood forest to the west. He tried to talk me into doing it. He said they’d be safe and they’d be out of our way. He said they’d offered a gold piece a head.”

Antonerri looked shocked.

“I was appalled! How could he even think of that? I told him there was no way I’d sell these kids out. How can I sell what I don’t own? Plus, they were probably slavers or worse. I couldn’t do that.”

“Then, when the rains came these last few days, and there was nobody to beg from, I set out to see if I could scrounge a meal. I ended up being captured and held under the tower with you.”

Antonerri finished the story. “And now, it seems that your friend has sold them away.”

She stood up. “I have to find them! I have to help them!”

“What’s that in your hand?”

“Some silver pieces I’ve saved. Hopefully, we can connect with a caravan or a barge travelling west to get us to the forest to search for them.” She held it out so he could see the bulging coins. “You don’t have to come. This isn’t your problem.”

He gestured to the chapel above him, and said, “The Church that once gave me purpose and belonging now considers me a criminal heretic. I have nowhere to go.”

She nodded, and they walked from the chapel.


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Monday, May 14, 2018

“Money Talks” - A Tale of Heroes - Scene 31: Thissraelle

Thissraelle walked beside Granthurg, looking at the ground. He was carrying a large load across his back, a couple of large sacks of grain tied together. She thought that would have been very difficult, but he seemed to be hefting it without straining. He was taking in the early afternoon of the city as he looked for the destination of the delivery.

Even though she had not met a Giant before, she saw a lot more of them on the Riverfront today. A lot of them seem to run the barges like Granthurg did. They mingled with the populace, mostly human, but with more than a few wood elves as well. Each was scurrying to get where they needed to be.

“Well, here we are!” he said and turned quickly to his left. He ducked his head low to push open the door of a building. From the looks of the sign, it was a baker’s shop. The smells outside confirmed this. It was a small stucco hut, braced with huge wooden beams in the corners, and across the roof. She could see behind it a few large chimneys where the ovens were.

Moments later, he came back out with a smile and two large loaves of crusty, brown bread. He offered one to her. “Freshly baked!”

She took it and tore off a piece to eat, and they started walking back toward the Riverfront and the barge. She was silent as she walked, wondering what her next move was to be. Suddenly having all the freedom also meant too many choices. It was a bit dizzying. There was one thought, however, that had kept coming back to her. Finally, she spoke.

“How could I get to Emberfire?”

Granturg stopped, surprised, then smiled, “Ah, she speaks!”

“Yes, I can, in fact, speak.” Thissraelle said. “Do your many maps say how to get there?”

They started walking again. “Emberfire is a city built into a mountainside some ways north of here. You could just get a horse and go through the Umbrawood Forest. It wouldn’t be easy, but that would be the shortest way.”

“Wouldn’t that be dangerous?”

Well, sure, Umbrawood is full of animals. Some are big and fierce, I suppose. But still, the elves travel to the city frequently, so I suppose you could take a ride in one of their caravans.”

Thissraelle didn’t like that option. “I think I’d be more afraid of the elves than the monsters in the woods!” That comment brought a sideways look from Granthurg.

She sighed. “The wood elves and the high elves don’t get along very well, I’m told. I’m not entirely sure why. They fought each other in some historic war, maybe. I don’t think they would take to kindly to helping me through their forest.”

Granthurg considered that. “Well, you could travel east around the forest, through the grasslands of the felician tribes.”

The thought of all that walking didn’t appeal to her, but she didn’t want to seem rude, either. She remained quiet.

“Or, you could sail west up the Lesser Wynne River to the towns on the north of the Umbramoor, and then hire a guide to take you along the mountains eastward to Emberfire.”

Her bread was done about the same time that they stepped onto the pier where the barge was docked. She hesitated, looking down at the pier. “What if I hired passage on your barge up the Wynne? Would you take me to Umbramoor?” After a breath she added, “I’m sorry I got your master mad at you. I don’t mean to be a burden. But, he did say that I could pay passage, didn’t he?”

“He did say that.” Granthurg helped her onto the barge. “But it’s pretty expensive. It can cost a couple of gold pieces to go all the way upriver.”

Thissraelle reached into a small pouch and pulled out three gold coins. “Well, then, this should about cover it, then!” She dropped them into Granthurg’s hand and stepped past him and took a seat on the steering platform. “When do we leave?”

“Well, we’ll want to pick up some cargo that will be going that way as well, so it might be another day or so.”

“No matter. I’m not in a hurry.” She smiled. “Now that we’re here, would you show me those maps again?”


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Thursday, May 10, 2018

“Where Have All The Children Gone?” - A Tale of Heroes - Scene 30: Antonerri

Even though Antonerri had passed through the OuterWall quarter of Twynne Rivers several times, on his way in and out of the city, he had never walked its streets. They weren’t so much “streets” as they were “the muddy spaces between the shanties” in kind of jagged lines. The roughly-made homes were dotted by occasional structures that were made into shops.

Antonerri and DeFrantis had arrived in front of a small church. It was way too small to be called a Cathedral. It had the steeple, of course, and it was a solidly built structure, not like the rundown shanties. There was no abbey, or courtyard, just walls with a roof. The three glowing lights of the Church’s emblem were painted on door.  The windows along the walls were mostly broken, and the outer walls were scraped and dirty. Clearly, this hadn’t been used for worship for a very long time.

Cautiously DeFrantis pushed open the front doors and stepped inside. Antonerri followed. The small chapel looked like it had been lifted up, turned upside down, and shaken before being set back down. There were pews, but they were scattered all over the space. In the empty center, there was a fire pit. All around the floor there was clutter of more recent inhabitants.

Antonerri watched as DeFrantis began to call out names in the little chapel. “Where are you guys? Come on out!” She appeared to be more and more nervous, as time went on and nobody was appearing. She opened a door to what appeared to be a closet behind where the altar used to be, but found it empty as well.

“Nobody’s here,” She said, but it was less a statement of fact than an expression of confusion. “Maybe they’re out begging, but if they were, someone would have had to stay back with Andrina.”

Antonerri had also been looking through the chapel, but was unsure what he had been looking for. “Who lives here?”

“We do!” He could hear a bit of fear in her voice. “There’s a whole group of us. Maybe a dozen or so. Most of them are children, under 10 winters old. They can’t take care of themselves!” She turned to the main door and stepped outside. Again, Antonerri followed.

“This is just an old Three Lights chapel, not a home!” The warm sun on his face was a harsh contrast to the dark worry in DeFrantis’ eyes.

“Well, we found it abandoned, and we made it our home. How can this happen? I was only gone, what, two or three days?” She spun around in the street in front of the chapel, looking one way, then the other. Finally, she sat down on a stone and started mumbling to herself. “If they were chased off, where would they go? They might be in the central circle...”

Antonerri also looked around, still not sure what he was looking for. He saw an older lady pulling a low cart full of breads along the way. The sun had been drying the ground some, but the path was still muddy, and making it rough for her to move the cart. Antonerri stepped across the street.

As he approached, the woman cowered and tried to pull her cart away. He stepped behind the cart and pushed it out of the muddy space and onto the drier ground of the main road in front of the chapel. Unsure what to do, she stood, surprised, and then began pulling the cart down the street.

“Pardon me,” Antonerri spoke up, “Did you pass by this church during the rains these last few days?” DeFrantis looked up as well.

The lady stopped and adjusted her ragged shawl to cover her face more. “No. I was inside” She gestured to the structure she had been coming out of.

“Did you see any of the children that had been staying here?”

“Yes, I did.”

Hearing that, DeFrantis jumped up and came to Antonerri’s side. “What happened? Where are they? What did you see?”

The old lady spoke louder now, and a bit faster. “I saw a young man shouting at them to get into a cart with a horse. It was very strange. They climbed in, one by one. No coats or anything, in the pouring rain. Then another man tossed a tarp over them and gave the young one a pouch. Off they all went, in different directions.” She thought, then added, pointing, “The cart drove off that way.”

DeFrantis reached to Antonerri, and put her hand on his arm to steady herself. Slowly she slouched to her knees. Antonerri stood, unsure what to do. Finally, he spoke to the lady, thanking her.

“She doesn’t look too good, does she?” The lady said, pointing at DeFrantis.

“No, she--”

The lady stepped toward her cart, reached in and brought out a couple of small bread loaves. “Here. She looks like this might do her good. Thanks for helping me.”

He took the loaves and nodded, then watched as she led her cart down the street.


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Monday, May 7, 2018

“We’re Not Dead?” - A Tale of Heroes - Scene 29: Antonerri

Antonerri could hear the harsh voice of the Sacerdotis Confesor echoing in the dark, heavy smoke of his cell. “How dare you interfere! Your punishment will be severe!”

The priest turned in rage and pointed his staff at Antonerri. “Your punishment will be severe!”

He shouted it again, “Your punishment will be severe!” The gem at the head of his staff glowed white. The priest shoved it at Antonerri, and a bright light leapt from the staff and shot directly at his upturned face. His eyes grew wide with fear as the shimmering brightness exploded on his chest--

Antonerri awoke with a jolt and a shiver. His eyes shocked wide open, the bright daylight surprised him. It took a few blinks for him to clear his vision.

He was sitting on cold ground, with his back leaning up against a home. At his left there were a couple of very large water barrels that must’ve given them some cover while hiding last night.

Hiding? Cover? What was I hiding from?

He looked to his right and saw DeFrantis sitting next to him, leaning on him. Her cloaked head was resting on his shoulder as she breathed quietly in her sleep. Her legs were curled up to her chest and tucked under the folds of her black cloak.

Another chilled breeze blew by and he shivered again. His mind began to clear and he remembered the escape of the night before: tipping the table, the explosion, the running, and finally the rest. Once we rested, we must have fallen asleep.

With the awareness came a stiffness of his back and shoulders, and harsh pangs of hunger.

He wiped his fingers across his eyes, then looked over at her. She saved my life. That priest would have happily killed me. She could have left me there. Why did she think I was worth saving?

She took in a sharp breath and lifted her head off his shoulder. She shook her head then looked around, and settled her gaze on Antonerri.

“What...?” She stammered, “What happened? Where are we?”

She stretched out her legs and leaned away from the wall as she looked around. “We’re still in the InnerWall, aren’t we? We didn’t get captured? We’re not dead?”

“No, the one thing I’m certain of is that we’re not dead.” He laughed. “Not for now, anyway.”

She smiled at him, then looked away. Suddenly, she jerked her head up, and scrambled to her feet. “The children! I’ve got to get back to the children!”

“What children? You spoke of them the other day, in the cell. What children?”

“Come on!” She pulled him up to his feet, and added, “We’ve got to get to the OuterWall quarter. They began running through the maze of streets, between carts pulled by animals and street vendors barking for attention. At each street corner, she would pause and look around, then she would grab Antonerri’s arm and lunge off in another direction, until she began to get her bearings in the InerWall of Twynne Rivers city.


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Thursday, May 3, 2018

“Wizards are Trouble” - A Tale of Heroes - Scene 28: Granthurg

The sun was shining on Granthurg’s face when his eyes opened. It took him a minute to adjust his sight. He saw the blanketed form of Thissraelle sleeping on the other side of the barge’s steering platform. There was a cool morning breeze blowing the smell of the early morning fish catch being cooked and sold off the wharf. The swirling air also carried the sounds of carts and people starting their day along the RiverFront.

He rolled over and sat up. He was surprised to see Rinkmorr down on the cargo deck, a few feet away. Once they were in a city, Rinkmorr usually spent his days at the inns and shops, finding more cargo, and an occasional passenger. Here, he was kneeling in front of a large open chest. It was wooden, reinforced with iron straps and corners, and Granthurg recognized this as the chest where Rinkmorr kept all of his personal belongings. Rinkmorr was looking into a smaller wooden box that he had resting on some blankets and folded shirts inside the larger chest.

Before Granthurg could see what was in the box, Rinkmorr closed it and tucked it deep underneath the clothing and bags in the Chest. Then, with a heft, he swung the chest lid closed and locked it with a key from his pocket.

Granthurg called out, “Good Morning!”

Rinkmorr jerked, startled by the greeting.

“Oh!” He hesitated, “You’re up!” He glanced at Granthurg and then back at the chest. He pushed it back into its place sternward on the cargo deck, then stood and walked toward the platform. As he stepped up, he gestured to Thissraelle’s still sleeping form.

“Look, what you do and who you’re with is your own business,” He whispered, “But be careful. She’s a wizard. A lot of people don’t like wizards. I like them less and less, the more I hear!”

“She’s fine! She’s just a lost elven girl.”

“Yeah? Well, I trust elves even less than I trust wizards.”

Granthurg thought about this, then smiled out of the corner of his mouth. “Wait. Aren’t you a wizard? You use magic to drive the barge upstream. You’ve used it to heal me, and many other times, too.”

“That’s different! I’m a merchant and a riverman who happens to know a few tricks. She’s a full wizard!” He paused and glanced back down at the chest, then gestured up at the city. “And don’t get smart with me, either. Remember they pay me, and then I pay you. And they’re not going to pay me to haul their goods if there’s a mage on the barge. Especially that one, after that clash on the quay yesterday!”

Granthurg just stared at his boss, wide-eyed and surprised.

“Don’t give me that look! Unless she’s a paying passenger, get her off the barge!” Rinkmorr turned and stepped off the platform. He strode toward the loading plank. “With any luck, I’ll have some good cargo by tomorrow and we can get back on the river! We’ve still got these few loads to take to PortsTowne as well.”

Granturg watched him stride up the pier and onto the quay.  That’s not like him to be so unfriendly! I wonder what got him so upset? We did really well with the loads this run, so it’s not about money, unless he lost it all throwing lots...

Granthurg shrugged and bent to fold up his blanket.


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.

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Monday, April 30, 2018

“Night on the RiverFront, Part II” - A Tale of Heroes - Scene 27: Thissraelle

It was dark, being night, but lights of the street and the pubs up the wharf were moments of bright punctuation. It was noisy, too, and that was keeping Thissraelle awake. Her chambers had always been quiet. This was only the second night in her life she had ever slept anywhere else. That last time, only two nights ago, now seemed almost in another life.

“So,” Granthurg’s voice wafted over the deck, “You’re a wizard.”

She thought about that. Her father had taught her many things, but she had never thought of herself that way. “Yes, I guess I am.”

“How does it work?”

She took a minute unsure how to answer. “The powers are all around us. They always have been. Most people don’t know it, and don’t care. Some, like me, learn about them. We reach out and will that power to do things.

“But you said your will was gone.”

“Yeah, you can only do so much. It drains you. Then you have to rest and recharge. As you grow, your will and knowledge increases, and you can do more things.”

“It’s kind of like having a flask of ale, then, right? Once you’ve drunk it, you have to get more!”

She laughed at the idea. “Yeah, I guess so. And just like there are different drinks, there are different kinds of power. There’s Light, and, of course, Shadow. There’s the power of Nature and life, as well as the power of the Mind. One of my favorites is Dimensional magic, but that one’s tricky. Lastly, there’s Striking power, using lightning or fire. My father taught me to use Light, Mental, and Dimensional powers. Eventually, I want to learn them all.”  She paused, then whispered, “I’m really pretty new at this.”

Granthurg was quiet for a moment, “So, why doesn’t running the barge upriver drain all of Rinkmorr’s will?”

“I don’t know. Maybe he’s got a oculus, like the ones lighting up the front of the boat.”

Granthurg sat up and looked toward the lights at the bow. Then he lay back down. “How do those work?”

She immediately thought of her father. “The oculi creatori? When a wizard creates an oculus, he’ll infuse it with his own will. That power becomes a part of the gem permanently. Then, he can use it or draw from it.”

“Hmmm.  How do you make them?”

“I don’t know. I’ve never done it. You have to be really experienced. Plus you have to have some pretty pricey gems. My dad used to buy them from the dwarves up in the mountains.”

“Your dad is a wizard, too?”

She imagined her father finding out that she was gone. He would be very upset, and her Mother even more so. They must be frantic about now. She closed her eyes and tried not to think of them. “Yeah. He is.”


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Thursday, April 26, 2018

“Night on the RiverFront” - A Tale of Heroes - Scene 26: Granthurg

Granthurg held out his hand to Thisraelle and steadied her as she stepped onto the barge. The afternoon sun had done much to dry the deck of the rains, and most of the cargo had been offloaded and either delivered or sold. He walked back to the stern platform and lit a lantern to chase the fading twilight.

“You don’t use the oculi for light?” She asked as she stepped up onto the platform. “You have those large ones hanging up front.”

“I don’t know how.” He shrugged. “Rinkmorr does. He hasn’t taught me that yet.”

“He’s a bit rude, don’t you think? He was upset that you helped me! He didn’t even want to heal you!” She thought a minute. “And why doesn’t he buy you a room at the inn? That’s not right.”

Granthurg laughed. “Someone has to watch the barge!. Oh, he’s a bit rough, but he’s good to work for. He’s fair, and he pays me well.” His hand massaged the soreness in his shoulder, where the wound was. “The fact that he had to heal the same shoulder last night probably didn’t help his mood much, either.” Granthurg grunted as he turned a large chest on the deck to face him. He hefted it open.

“Here. It’s getting cold.” He handed her a blanket from inside. Then he flipped another blanket over his own shoulders. It was colorful, and large, but it barely covered his bulky shoulders.

By contrast, she was smothered in the one she was now wearing. “Well, I should have healed you, anyway, for helping me. I would have, but I was drained. My will is gone.”

He reached back into the chest and brought out some scrolls. He gently set these on the floor of the platform near where Thissraelle was sitting. Then, he sat down in front of them and began to unroll them.

“That’s something that Rinkmorr says a lot. I don’t get it. I don’t understand how magic and powers works.” One of the scrolls was a map of Twynne Rivers and the surrounding area. He reached up for the lantern, and set it next to the map scroll. He began to study it intently. She found herself drawn to it as well, leaning over it.

His finger traced the line of the Greater Wynne River westward, past the shanties of the OuterWall, and over the rolling farmland to the Umbrawood Forest.

He tapped the paper. “There. That’s about where we were attacked.”  He carried on, thinking out loud, “But there’s no settlements or even a lord’s manor nearby. It’s not too far from the forest... but...”

“What are you studying?”

“We were attacked by a couple of river pirates while travelling yesterday. I was trying to see if there was anything that might tell me where they came from. But I don’t see anything.”

He sat back, pondering, then looked at Thissraelle. She was staring at him, both confused and fascinated.

“What?” He asked.

“I’m sorry. I’ve never met a Giant, but I didn’t think they’d be so...” She stopped herself.

He finished for her. “So Studious? So... Smart?” She dropped her gaze.

“I’m very sorry. I really have a lot to learn.”

Granthurg laughed. “Don’t worry. I really am an odd one.”  He sat back. “As are you. I haven’t been travelling the Wynne for too long, but you’re the first high elf I’ve ever seen. You really looked out of place on the wharf. What brings you to Twynne Rivers?”

“Twynne Rivers is my home! I grew up here. I’m,” She paused and got quiet, “I’m trying to get away from here.”

A cold breeze blew through the silence between them. That got awkward fast! There’s a lot going on there that she’s not talking about.

He rolled up his scrolls and traded them for more blankets from the chest. “You really would be much more comfortable back at your inn. I can walk you back there.”

She hesitated. “I’m fine. If you don’t mind, I feel safer here.”

They each spread out blankets on the hard wood deck, and before long, the gentle rolling of the waves had them each fully relaxed and almost asleep.


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.

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Monday, April 23, 2018

“Cutting the Rough” - A Tale of Heroes - Scene 25: Karendle

When she heard the first pounding on the other side of the tower door, Karendle jerked from her drowsy haze.  She had been watching the tower all night, ever since the Priest had left. She moved from one side of the street to another, sitting here, standing there, trying to look like someone just waiting for a friend.

The second hit on the door made her jump to her feet and grab the bag of oculi. She dug quickly for the red gem, but it was hard to see in the darkness.

There was a third hit and the door smashed open. Two figures stumbled out of the darkness. The first was a man in a white soldier’s tunic that looked similar to the priest’s robes. The second was a smaller figure in a dark cloak, possibly a girl. I’ll bet that’s her! The mage!

They scrambled to their feet, and the girl called out, “This way!” and they began running.

Wait! They can’t get away! Instinctively, she jumped forward and reached out her hand, not fully realizing that it held the sapphire oculus. As she pushed it forward with all her urgency, it sparked and threw a tiny burning ball of energy flying down the street toward the fleeing pair. The spark jarred her hand and knocked the oculus loose. As she fumbled to catch it, the energy ball exploded in a loud and bright blast, making her shield her eyes. The oculus and the bag clattered to the street.

After the blast there was a moment’s silence. Karendle dropped to her knees.  Where did it go? I can hardly see! She began to feel across the wet cobblestones. Here it is!

She felt the smooth stone of the street. No, that’s not it! They’re getting away!

Just as she grabbed the bag and found the gem, she heard more footsteps coming out of the tower. She scurried behind some barrells as they took off down the street. Lantern light began to appear in windows up and down the street, and her eyes adjusted back to the darkness.

Muttering dwarvish curses, she ran down the street after the fugitives.


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.

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