Monday, November 19, 2018

“I Just Need a Little Air” - A Tale of Heroes - Scene 78: DeFrantis

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

<<<>>>


“What are you looking for?” DeFrantis asked, twisting painfully against the pillar she was leaning on.

Eddiwarth stood near the dark window, inspecting it. “I don’t know. The glass looks pretty thick. It might be hard to break.”

She wriggled some more and tried to use the tension on the chains around her wrist to straighten herself. “Come here.”

Eddiwarth tapped on the pane. “Even if we break it, I’m not sure the opening would be large enough for us to get out.” He looked back at  DeFrantis. “Besides, we have to figure out how to get you out of your chains first.”

Karendle added from across the room. “That’s what we’re trying to do. That’s why we got you out.”

DeFrantis added, “Come over here. I think this will help.”

Eddiwarth stepped over to the pillar DeFrantis was chained to. “I’m not sure I understand what you’re getting at.” He grabbed the ring holding the wrist chains tight up above her head and tugged on them. “These feel pretty solid.”

That’s not what I’m talking about. Just focus on what I’m saying. She leaned forward, away from pillar, and arched her back. The position stretched her arms back behind her neck and she winced in pain. “Under my shirt, across my back, there’s a small dagger. That will help you break the window.”

“What?”

Just pay attention and focus! She sighed, then coughed. She leaned her head as far forward and down as she could. “Just reach down my collar, and find the small dagger that I hid there. It’s not that hard.”

“Reach down your shirt?”

Really? This is not that complicated! “Yes, and quickly. This hurts!”.  She hissed, “And don’t think of grabbing anything but the dagger!”

He hesitated and slid his hand down her neck under her collar. His hands felt cold and the invasion was awkward. She felt his arm and hand inch closer to the steel that she had hidden there.

“Got it?”

“Yeah, I think so. It’s not easy to grip.”  He slid his hand out slowly and pulled back. It was a small stiletto, more of roundel dagger. The blade was thin and triangular and came to a sharp point. It had a small metal handle, about as long as the blade, with a T-cross guard. The entire length was crusted with dried and smeared blood.  DeFrantis flexed her back, shifting on the floor. Ah! That’s much better! That’s been poking me ever since I hid it there.

“Ok. Now take that, and use the blade to break the windows.”

He still looked a bit confused, but he started walking over anyway. “Why do we want to break the windows?”

Oh, by the Creator, give me patience! “We need relief from the mage’s bane smoke. If we can get some fresh air, maybe we can muster up the will to break out of these chains!” 

“Just trust us and do it!” Karendle added. “But try to do it as quietly as possible....”

DeFrantis heard a few light taps as he nipped at the glass with the blade. Then there was a harder hit, and another harder one that, with a crackling and tinkling, told her that he had done it. Immediately, she felt a slight and cool breeze dust across her legs. “Yes! That’s it! Do another pane!”

There was another crack and tinkling of glass on the floor. “How’s that?” Eddiwarth called out.

Karendle said, “Now do one on the other end of the room, so the air blows through!”

As he moved, a bit of wind blew across DeFrantis’ face, and she breathed deep, sucking in the cool air. She coughed as she got some of the dense smog in her lungs along with it. “I can... feel it! That’s what we need!”

A moment later another crackle sounded and suddenly a more steady draft was coming into the room. As the smog grew thinner, DeFrantis breathed deep and felt that familiar surge as her head cleared and her will returned. She could hear Karendle taking in air as well.

She brought her hands forward, focusing her attention and her will on the shackles. Her will was weak, but growing, as she surrounded the shackles in shadow. She pulled on them, tensing them against the pillar. She jerked and felt them cut into her wrists. These chains that bind me will no longer hold me down. Now, I am their master! Now, they set me free!

She felt her arms and wrists relax and drop down into her lap as the shackles that held them dissolved into shadow. She looked at them, and rubbed the soreness with her hands, her face in a smile of satisfaction. She hurried to her feet, and strode over to Karendle.  “I’m out! Hold your hands up! Now it’s your turn!” Karendle smiled and raised her shackles.

DeFrantis knelt next to her. As she started to focus on the chains, she heard the wind coming through the broken windows. The wind carried with it the sound of a child crying.


<<<>>>



This continues the story of the heroes in Wynne, in Twynne Rivers, in the world of The Hero's Tale, Family Friendly RPGs. Here's more info on The Hero's Tale, and family friendly RPGing. If you like this story, support us at our Patreon!
Thank you: Chet Cox!

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

Thursday, November 15, 2018

“Am I Dead?” - A Tale of Heroes - Scene 77: Eddiwarth

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

<<<>>>


Eddiwarth raked his hair out of his eyes and tried to blink away the burning. Something was irritating them. He coughed again, then twice more. Smoke. That’s what’s making my eyes hurt. He coughed again, though not as hard, and was finally able to see, albeit with a bit of a blur.  His head hurt.

He turned his head toward the voice he had just heard. He squinted, and saw the shadowy form of a person sitting by a pillar.  “Who are you?”

“I’m DeFrantis.” It was a feminine voice, fairly young. He blinked and wiped his eyes clear. His elvish vision helped him see a bit better in the dark, too. It was a young lady, wearing dark clothes, and her hands were chained to the pillar. “We need your help.”

“Who is ‘we’?” His voice was still rough from the thick incense in the room. The smell was a sickly sweet note, and it made it hard for him to breathe, and hard to think.

“That would be me. My name is Karendle.” The voice from behind his back startled him, and he quickly spun around. Defensively, he raised his hand, and raised thoughts of fire in his mind. He tried to channel those through his fingers, but there was nothing there. The thoughts and will were weak and empty. No flames, no magic. Nothing.

He looked at his hand and his fingers. Why didn’t that work? Maybe I’m dead. I’ve been killed, and I’m dead.

“Did you just try to blast me?” Karendle’s voice continued, “I can’t say that I’d blame you. But it won’t work here.”

“What?”

The other voice, DeFrantis, said, “Yeah, that smoke you’re breathing is choking off more than your voice. Your magic’s gone, too.”

These voices sound familiar. I’ve heard them, but I don’t remember where. Where have I been? He coughed a few more times, then rasped to clear his throat. He crawled aside, so that he wasn’t trapped in between the two women.

Memories started coming back to him. I was with Hamrisonn in the city. We were looking for someone. I don’t remember who. 

I was on a river barge. He and I were after something, or someone. It was there. I floated down to get it, and suddenly everything went black. I must be dead.

DeFrantis spoke again, “I imagine it’s all kinda confusing. I’m not sure who you are, or why you first attacked us, either. A lot of that can be sorted out later...”

“I attacked you?”

“Yeah, but...”

“Somehow it all went blank. I’ve been out of it for a while, haven’t I?”

“Yeah, a few days, but, like I said, right now...”

“I attacked you? Why? What happened to me?”

Karendle interrupted, “Well, there were people on the barge fighting, then you jumped in, then I jumped in, then people got hurt, and you got trapped, and right now we just need to have you help us get unchained.”

Eddiwarth took all this in. I attacked? I got trapped? 

“We can sort all of that out some other time, though. We need to get out of here and find the children before anyone else comes back and tries to kill us. So, we’d really like for you to help.” DeFrantis said, trying to smile in the dark. “Please?”

“So, I’m not dead?”  This made Karendle laugh. I guess not.

I don’t know. Sure. I can help, I guess. I don’t know what’s going on, but I guess I can help a couple of fair damsels in distress... He stood, then reached his hand out toward DeFrantis, and stopped, remembering. “Wait. How can I help if I can’t use magic?”

DeFrantis sighed. “Yeah, that will make things difficult. But I think you can help us get our magic back.”  She shifted in place, shaking her chains, and pointed to the wall behind her. “Do you think you could break one of those windows?”


<<<>>>



This continues the story of the heroes in Wynne, in Twynne Rivers, in the world of The Hero's Tale, Family Friendly RPGs. Here's more info on The Hero's Tale, and family friendly RPGing. If you like this story, support us at our Patreon!
Thank you: Chet Cox!

Previous Scene, Next Scene
Start the whole story from the beginningStart from where this current story arc begins. Start from where the current story part begins

Monday, November 12, 2018

“Am I Evil?” - A Tale of Heroes - Scene 76: Karendle

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

<<<>>>


“What? Who?” DeFrantis asked, then gasped with realization, “The wizard you caught on the barge!”

Karendle just nodded, not really thinking that DeFrantis probably couldn’t see her. She was lost in her thoughts as she held the polished stone in her hands. Her dwarven eyes could see a bit in the dark, and she looked at it.

This was to be my new life. Wizard hunter. I was going to get back at the Wizard’s Guild. They were going to pay me well for him. I was going to be able to prove myself. This stone holds all of my opportunity, my future. Should I set all of that free? Should I let it go?

“Can you loose him? Give it a try!”

It also holds a person. A person I trapped. A person I don’t even know. He’s a wizard, and one of the Guild, even! Wizards are evil, right? Like DeFrantis. She’s a wizard, of sorts. But she saved me. And she’s just trying to save the kids. She’s been trying to save them their whole life. How can that be evil? 

She felt the smooth, polished surface under her fingers. It was round and gray, like a stone out of a river. I caught him. I reached out with this stone, and caught him, just like an animal in a trap. I was going to sell him. I would have taken him and sold him to my own connection, in my own little dark market, just like the slavers and thieves were doing. Selling people. Real people. And children!

Does that make me evil? As that thought hit her, she recoiled. I’m not evil! Am I?

“Karendle? Are you alright?”

Karendle took a breath before she said, “Why did I let myself get trapped in their game?” DeFrantis didn’t respond, and Karendle didn’t honestly expect a response.

No more! I choose the game, now. I choose the moves! 

She clenched her eyes and gripped the oculus tight in her determined fist. She stretched out the hand holding the oculus and focused on it. Even using the will embedded in the oculus was difficult with the mage’s bane, but after a moment she felt a shiver, and the stone began to glow with a silvery light. The light grew, and Karendle opened her eyes. She could see across the room, into DeFrantis’ delighted face.

The silvery glow leapt from the stone, in the direction of Karendle’s point, and settled on the floor, surrounding a reclining body. He was wearing the same dark pants and loose shirt he had on the day of the fight on the barge. He lay still until the glow subsided, when he began groaning and rolled over. He breathed, then coughed, hard. He gasped for breath, rasping and finally crawling up on his hands and knees.

“By the Creator!” he wheezed. He tried to look around, sat back on his heels, and finally said, “Where am I?”

DeFrantis just giggled. “We’re not entirely sure, either!”


<<<>>>



This continues the story of the heroes in Wynne, in Twynne Rivers, in the world of The Hero's Tale, Family Friendly RPGs. Here's more info on The Hero's Tale, and family friendly RPGing. If you like this story, support us at our Patreon!
Thank you: Chet Cox!

Previous Scene, Next Scene
Start the whole story from the beginningStart from where this current story arc begins. Start from where the current story part begins

Thursday, November 8, 2018

“Oh, To Breathe Again” - A Tale of Heroes - Scene 75: DeFrantis

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

<<<>>>

Part 7

Reunion


DeFrantis is trying to find the street children she's been caring for. They'd been taken from her and sold off as slaves. Now, the slavers have captured her and Karendle and are holding them captive. They have managed to magically contact Thissraelle, Antonerri, and Granthurg, in hopes that they'll come to the rescue. But who is The Dragon's Flame?


“I wish I wasn’t so hungry,” DeFrantis heard Karendle say, across the darkness, “Because this gruel tastes absolutely horrible.”

I’ve had worse. DeFrantis thought about that for a moment. Actually, I’m not so sure of that. She carefully held the bowl close to her face, partly because the chains holding her wrist high wouldn’t let her hold it any other way, and partly because that was the only way to use fingers from her other chained hand to scoop the meal into her mouth.

“Is it really this bad,” Karendle continued, “Or is it the mage’s bane smoke that makes it taste like this?”

DeFrantis carefully wiped the last of the gruel from the wooden bowl with her fingers and then licked them clean. Disgusting. But having something in my stomach is a good thing. Something. Anything. 

I wish I’d had a bit of time to prepare. If I’d known when they were going to feed us, I might have been able to figure out a way to snatch a key from the guard. The last time that had happened, with the Confessor Priest and his guard, it was kind of improvised. Maybe it was her hunger and her bane-addled mind, but she hadn’t seen an opportunity to move on this time.

“You’re very quiet.”

DeFrantis raised her gaze. Even though the rain had stopped, the sun had also set, shrouding the entire room in darkness. She squinted to try and see where Karendle had been, where the voice was coming from. There was only shadow and smoke. She dropped the bowl to her lap, and it rolled off and clattered onto the floor.

“So, you’re awake? You’re done eating? Are you lost in thought?”

DeFrantis shifted her aching back, breathed deep, and then coughed. “Yeah. Just thinking.”

“...About...?”

“I’m just trying to think of a way to get us out of these chains.”

“That would be nice.” Karendle agreed. “I hope they can find us soon.”

“Yes, well, that really would be nice. But, honestly,” DeFrantis tensed her chains, “I’m getting a bit tired of waiting. If I could just use my shadow power, I could make short work of these locks. If I could just clear my head!”

“This smoke is just so thick. It’s hard to breathe, much less to think!”

“Well, that’s how the incense works. It makes your head all foggy, and suppresses your will. It makes you despair, if you let it.” DeFrantis crossed her arms and held her shoulders, as if to comfort herself.

“Yeah. I get it. What I wouldn’t give for one breath of fresh air.”

Yeah. Fresh air. To breathe deep and feel alive.

Fresh air.

Fresh Air!

“Fresh air!”

“What?”

“If we can somehow break a window or open a door, that might bring in enough air to restore even a part of our will!” That’s what happened the minute we opened the door to the holding rooms in the guard tower back in Twynne Rivers! The moment I got good breath in my lungs, I felt my will return! “Help me, Karendle! Help me think of something! Is there something we can throw at a window? Maybe someway to wedge the door open when they come in. Anything?”

There was silence as they both tried to think. DeFrantis began to twist and squirm against the chains, trying to see if she could reach where she had hidden the dagger.

Karendle said, “What about the oculi? Can you use any of them? Can you use their will?”

“Are any of them onyx? For shadow?”

“No, and I only know how to use the sapphire for connection. I don’t know if it can be used to move things.”

“Too bad you lost the red one. You could just blow up the chains.”

“Yes, but...” Karendle’s voice trailed off in the dark.

DeFrantis stopped struggling. “...But what?”

“What if someone else broke the window, or opened the door?”

DeFrantis squinted. “What are you talking about.”

“I just remembered that I have someone trapped in this stone...”


<<<>>>



This continues the story of the heroes in Wynne, in Twynne Rivers, in the world of The Hero's Tale, Family Friendly RPGs. Here's more info on The Hero's Tale, and family friendly RPGing. If you like this story, support us at our Patreon!
Thank you: Chet Cox!

Previous Scene, Next Scene
Start the whole story from the beginningStart from where this current story arc begins. Start from where the current story part begins

Monday, November 5, 2018

“Over the River and Through The Wood” - A Tale of Heroes - Scene 74: Antonerri

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

<<<>>>

Thankfully, the rain had stopped by the time they were ready to travel. It was still overcast, and dark, and the rain had made the ruts of the wagon’s path very muddy. Still the horses were strong and pulled them forward.

“This must be a path they’ve traveled many times. They seem familiar with it.” Antonerri commented. Granthurg nodded.

Getting across the Wynne had been a fairly simple task as well, using Granthurg’s barge. Clearing off the ransacked rubble to make room for the wagon was not as easy and had taken much of the rest of the morning. Then they began the journey into the southern deep of the Umbrawood Forest.

It was dark inside the forest, partly because of the overcast skies, and partly because of the thick canopy of trees which gave the forest its name. The leaves had just come on to the trees about a month before, and were thick and strong. It was clear that this path was used, but not used very much. There was some underbrush, much of it new growth, but it wasn’t high enough to impede movement. Even so, the ground below was uneven, and full of old tree roots and it made travel bumpy and a bit noisy. A thick layer of last winter’s dead leaves, now wet from the spring rains, was helping the wagon get through the mud. It gave a musty smell to the trail.

“I don’t understand.” Antonerri asked, “What is the significance of the Dragons? Who is this ‘Dragon’s Flame’ we’re hearing about?”

Granthurg was thoughtful before responding, “Yeah, I don’t know, either. I’m trying to put it all together in my mind. There are some histories I remember. Some I read, and some I was told as a kid. They say that the Dragons used to rule this land.”

Antonerri was surprised at this. Thissraelle stirred in the back of the wagon and leaned forward between them to hear the story.

“Even before the Mage Kings of the High Elves. The story goes that they were quite oppressive and enslaved the humans for generations. Then they started dying off, and nobody knew why. The humans and the elves finally overthrew them, and that’s when the elven Mage Kings began ruling Wynne. Now, of course, it’s all fractured. It’s like each group has divided up into its own space.”

He paused and thought. “I’m not sure what the ‘Dragon’s Flame’ is. The man who attacked me said they were cultists that worship dragons. There are still dragons in Wynne, but not many live, and few ever see them.”

Thissraelle took this in. Antonerri looked at his companions then down at the horses and the trail before them.

“I’m so grateful to know you two. Your knowledge, and,” He gestured to Thisraelle, “Your magic has been a great help. I hope we can get to DeFrantis before...” His voice trailed off.

Granthurg smiled and put a huge hand on Antonerri’s shoulder. “Don’t worry, friend. We’re here.”

Thissraelle added, “We take care of each other. We’ll find them. Once we’re closer, I’ll be able to place them and hopefully I can open a dimensional portal straight to them.”  She paused, and sighed. “That may, however, take most of my will. I’m not sure how useful I’ll be in a fight after that.”

Granthurg gave Antonerri’s shoulder a friendly shove. “Getting us there will be a great help. Leave the fighting to us. That will be our job!”

“Once we find DeFrantis, hopefully then we’ll be able to find the children she’s looking for.” He smiled at his new friends. Isn’t this what I always wanted? Why I joined the church guard? To fight for those that could not fight for themselves? 

But there was a fear inside him as well. A fear of the unknown. What are we getting into? What’s waiting for us? Am I up to this? We’ll need the blessings of the Creator for this, and I’m not yet sure I deserve that.

The wagon rumbled and creaked along the dark, hidden path.


<<<>>>


This continues the story of the heroes in Wynne, in Twynne Rivers, in the world of The Hero's Tale, Family Friendly RPGs. Here's more info on The Hero's Tale, and family friendly RPGing. If you like this story, support us at our Patreon!
Thank you: Chet Cox!

Previous Scene, Next Scene
Start the whole story from the beginningStart from where this current story arc begins.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

“There They Are!” - A Tale of Heroes - Scene 73: Granthurg

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

<<<>>>

Antonerri pushed the plates, dishes, and food aside to clear a space on the table. He wasn’t too gentle about it, as plates clanked and bits of flatware clattered onto the floor. With a thump and a slight grunt, Granthurg dropped an armload of books and half-loose scrolls onto the table. He began rustling through them as everyone gathered behind him.

After a moment, Granthurg found the particular scroll he was looking for and laid it onto the table, rolling one end out. He paused, then rolled the other end up, and scooted the scroll back to do it again.

“There we go!” He stood up, looking down at the drawing on the table. It was a map, and fairly detailed.  “So, this is Wynne. It’s a really old map, but it’ll help. This is Twynne Rivers, and here are the two branches of the Greater and Lesser Wynne Rivers. All over this area, you can see that land dotted with manors and villages. Over here is the southern part of the Umbrawood forest. If you follow the northern Wynne River along here, you’ll get to Dirae. That’s where we are right now.”

He spun around, trying to orient himself, and mumbled, “Which way is East?”

Antonerri jumped up, too, and pointed, “Well, that door leads into the main sanctuary, so, the front door would be--” He turned a little, “--there.  Then--” He turned a little back the other way, “That would be East.”

Granthurg nodded agreement, and leaned back over the maps. He took the two scroll sticks, lifted the map, and oriented it on the tabletop to line the map’s Eastern direction to the way Antonerri had been pointing.

Antonerri joined him at the table. “Thissraelle! Which way to DeFrantis again?”

Everyone looked at Thisraelle as she pointed out the south window of the hall, toward the river, and the forest. Then he she closed her eyes and took deep breaths. After a moment, she adjusted her arm slightly. “That way.”

“Hold that!” Granthurg said, and began tracing a line from Dirae that followed the general direction of Thissraelle’s arm.

“Just a minute.” Antonerri drew his sword and laid the straight edge of the blade at Dirae. He turned it, glancing up to match the direction as close a he could to Thissraelle’s arm. “Like this?”

Thissraelle looked down and nodded.

They all looked as Granthurg’s finger followed the edge of the blade across the river and into the forest. Soon it touched a spot marked with a shield and some small writing. Granthurg squinted close and read, “Barony of Westwood.”

“What’s that?” Thissraelle asked. Everyone looked at each other, but nobody, including the friars, had ever heard of it.

“Hold on...” Granthurg moved a few of the scrolls and grabbed a tome he’d been reading. It was labelled “Wynne”. “This is where I found out about the dagger!” He began flipping the pages.

Antonerri glanced over at Thissraelle with a hopeful look. “Is this where DeFrantis is?” Thissraelle just shrugged, but smiled, anyway.

“THERE! Oh, by the Creator!” Granthurg called out, and pointed at the page. It was full of shields, coats of arms, and at the top was the title “Heraldry of House Twynnham of Wynne”. Granthurg was pointing to a crest. The others looked at the page, at his insistent finger, then up at Granthurg. They didn’t share his moment of clarity. “That crest was carved into the side of the wagon we took from the slave market! I didn’t think much of it at the time, because the wood planks were weathered and it was hard to recognize the charge. I assumed it was a gryphon or a lion or something. But I’ve figured it out! I know where they are!”

Antonerri glanced back down at the page, at the crest under Granthurg’s large tapping finger.  “It’s a dragon!”

<<<>>>




This continues the story of the heroes in Wynne, in Twynne Rivers, in the world of The Hero's Tale, Family Friendly RPGs. Here's more info on The Hero's Tale, and family friendly RPGing. If you like this story, support us at our Patreon!
Thank you: Chet Cox!

Previous Scene, Next Scene
Start the whole story from the beginningStart from where this current story arc begins.