Thursday, April 18, 2019

118 - “Returning!” - Eddiwarth - A Tale of Heroes

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With a creak and rattle, the carriage rolled to a stop on the cobblestone street along the Dirae waterfront. It shook from side to side, as Granthurg stood and jumped off the rumble in the back. After steadying themselves, two of the monastery’s brothers climbed down off the perch. While one went forward to tie the horses, the other came back to open the door. A cool breeze of the late morning off the river swept through the car.

Inside the carriage, Eddiwarth smiled at Thissraelle, sitting next to him. Antonerri and DeFrantis sat across from them, facing the rear. The carriage had a small interior, so they’d all had to sit pretty close for the long ride through the woods. When hearing of their decision to go, the Father Abbott had greeted them, thanked them, and insisted they take his carriage. Eddiwarth hadn’t minded. He got to sit, pressed close up to Thissraelle. It was nice, but it had been kind of awkward, especially with Antonerri and DeFrantis right there.

Antonerri got out first, then turned back to the door as DeFrantis rose and stooped through. He held her hand as she easily took the steps to the street.

Eddiwarth shifted forward in his seat, then half stood, half stooped to exit the carriage. Now what do I do? I should help her down, too, like Antonerri did. Right? Would she like that? Or would she be mad at me? She could easily get down by herself. I should let her. But then, I would be ignoring her. Oh, this is complicated!

He spun around to face the carriage door just as Thissraelle walked past him toward DeFrantis.

Oh, well... I guess that’s OK, then...

The monastery brother walked around from the back of the carriage bearing a number of bags, bundles, and bedrolls. Granthurg was already halfway down the pier toward his barge. Thissraelle and DeFrantis embraced, tightly, gently swinging from side to side. Thisraelle wore a simple travelling tunic with clean, but plain leggings and boots. DeFrantis was in her normal daily working dress.

“I’m so sorry I can’t go, Thiss.”

Thissraelle broke the embrace. “No! Don’t be sorry. I understand.”

DeFrantis gently held on to Thissraelle’s arms. “I’ve told you how I grew up on the streets. I didn’t have any sisters. Thank you for being my sister.” They embraced again. “Stay safe.”

Eddiwarth stood and waited, not sure what to say or do. He leaned over and picked up a couple of the bags and slung them over his shoulder. One of them slipped off as he bent down to pick up another.

Thissraelle stepped away and wiped her cheeks. “Take good care of Antonerri, and the kids.”

She stepped onto the pier with reluctance. Eddiwarth stumbled after her, carrying several bags and dragging another behind him. Antonerri stepped up to the other bags and called out, “I’ll help with those.” He picked up a few and followed after them.

When they got to the barge, Granthurg had already untied the lines holding the barge to the dock. They stepped on board and dropped the bags in the mostly empty cargo space in the middle. I guess Granthurg hadn’t had time to get any loads to carry. This whole trip was pretty sudden.

He watched Thissraelle step up onto the steering platform at the stern. Granthurg was there, kneeling over something under the floor. Thissraelle sat down next to him, focused on the same thing. “Watch this!” Granthurg said and held his hand out.

Eddiwarth’s focus was on Thissraelle. As had happened so often, he stared at her, following her long white hair flowing easily over her shoulders and her back. Yes, I’m watching! 

The barge suddenly lurched in the water and Eddiwarth almost lost his footing, shaking him out of his trance. It moved backward, floating away from the dock. Thissraelle laughed and clapped for Granthurg, then patted him on the shoulder.

“Hey! Wait for me to get off the boat!” Antonerri shouted, then jumped the short distance to the planks. DeFrantis had walked down the pier and joined Antonerri as they waved and called out their farewells.  Eddiwarth waved back, then went to sit on the platform. He smiled as Thissraelle sat next to him, but saw that her attention was on the dock, on DeFrantis.

Finally, she did look at him and smiled, but it was a kind of sad smile. What does THAT mean?

She spoke. “I’m hungry. Is anyone else hungry?”



End of Part 9


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

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Monday, April 15, 2019

117 - “That Fool Stupid Dream” - Thissraelle - A Tale of Heroes

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“A dream?” a familiar voice said, from behind Granthurg, “Lot of that happening lately, I guess.” Eddiwarth stepped into the lantern’s glow, followed by Antonerri and DeFrantis.

Thissraelle and Granthurg looked back toward the open library door. DeFrantis stepped in front of the table to answer the question on Thissraelle’s face. “We just came in. We’re not trying to eavesdrop. You’ve been... well... troubled the last few days.”

Antonerri moved behind DeFrantis. “We’re just a bit worried about you. And”--he took a breath-- “Karendle, too.”

Thissraelle nodded and looked away. DeFrantis quietly took the open chair opposite Granthurg. Thissraelle could feel the kindness and the concern of her friends, but right now it also brought an oppressive awkward silence crowding around her in the dim light.

Eddiwarth coughed, making everyone look. “So, uh... what’s this dream?”

Tension broken, breaths taken, Thissraelle explained, “Oh, nothing, really. This knight appeared to me and told me things.”

“A knight?” Antonerri said, with curiosity.

“Yeah! Tell us about it!” Eddiwarth nudged, glad to have the heaviness of the moment broken. He leaned his elbow up on Granthurg’s chair and crossed his ankles.

“Well, it’s nothing, like I said. I was flying through a storm, with lighting flashing all around me. Suddenly this knight in armor appears, and he’s glowing and everything, and he tells me that I should go take a message to someone. Then he gives me some advice and goes away.” She shrugged. “Just some fool stupid dream from my subconscious.”

No one was quite sure how to react. DeFrantis just reached out and put a kind hand on Thissraelle’s shoulder.

“What did he look like?” Antonerri asked, thoughtful.

“What?” Thissraelle shook her head back to the moment.

“What did he look like?” he repeated, then, “How was he dressed?”

“Oh, well, uh, he had silvery armor. It was nice, but it was scratched and dented a lot, like he’d been in battle for years. He wore a tunic over it, a lot like the one you used to wear, and the ones the brothers here have, with the three lights symbol on it. Like I said, it’s just a silly dream.”

Antonerri shook his head. “No, it’s not.”

All of the group shifted their eyes to him. “He appeared to me, too.”

Thissraelle’s heart skipped at this revealation.

“I was helping the brothers tend the sheep in the hills and meadows east of the forest. This was not long after we returned from the summerfest. As I wandered, trying to keep an eye on all of the herd, this knight rode up and greeted me, introducing himself as Ivarr. He was dressed as you described. I assumed he was travelling to Twynne Rivers, so I pointed him to the path, to the main road. He dismissed that, and we talked.”

Eddiwarth pressed, “Talked? About what?”

Antonerri hesitated, and looked at DeFrantis, “He said that certainly the Creator was pleased with what I had done to help free the children. He blessed me to have a happy life.” Antonerri took DeFrantis’ other hand. “Then he bowed in his saddle and rode away.”

He continued, “It left me feeling both wonderful and a bit confused. Later, the brothers celebrated the feast of Saint Ivarr and I wondered.” He looked directly at Thissraelle. “But this happened to me in the middle of the waking day. This was not a dream. It was real.”

Thissraelle looked at each of their faces, feeling the kindness, and knowing what she had to do. She saw them looking to her for a decision. Am I their leader? The strongest leader is better the servant.

She took a deep breath and straightened in her chair. “So, I guess we go after Karendle. She is one of us, and she will need our help.”


<<<>>>



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!
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Thursday, April 11, 2019

116 - “Not Much Help” - Thissraelle - A Tale of Heroes

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The evening sun was tossing its last rays over the horizon and past the trees, barely making the trip through the monastery’s open windows to dimly illuminate the shelves along the walls in the library. Crickets and tree frogs sang a quiet chorale of chirps and whistles that faded into Thissraelle’s empty mind. She slumped low in the large, cushioned chair, with her legs crossed up in front of her. She had so much to think about, so many questions that she’d been asking herself all day. Now, she was tired of it all.

She mindlessly twirled her hair around her finger, then unwound it. Twirling, then unwinding. Granthurg will be up here soon, right? I need to sort through all of this. He’ll help me clear it all up in my head. She smirked and laughed to herself. Hopefully, Eddiwarth won’t try to bring me dinner again!

She let go of her hair and waved a pointed finger in the air. A small point of light formed above it, and slowly rose, shining around her and brightening the room a bit. Absently, she swung it back and forth with her finger, making the shadows in the room sway. He called me a Wizard of Light. Nobody’s named me a wizard, before. At least, I can’t remember it. The only other times I’ve been called a wizard is by people who are afraid of me.

She dropped her hand to her knee, and let the light fade out. For now, she preferred the dark.

The door clicked open and a ray of lantern light swung into the library as Granthurg stepped in. He paused for a moment when he saw her sitting there, waiting for him, then said, “I was hoping I’d find you here. Everyone missed you at dinner.”

She smiled. “Yes. I’ve been hiding today.”

Granthurg stepped in and carried his lantern to the table near her. He shifted some of the books on the table and set the lantern down. Thissraelle sat up in the chair as he approached, then asked, “Is everyone mad at me?”

He turned a raised eyebrow to her. “Mad? Why would we be mad at you?” He sat down in the chair next to hers, making it creak under his weight.

She shifted in her chair to face him. “For chasing Karendle away.”

“Did you?”

“I don’t know,” she sighed, and dropped her head to her hands. “She sure thought so. I was only trying to help her learn!”

Granthurg just shrugged, not knowing what to say.

“But now, only a day later,” she continued, “I miss her. I’m worried about her.”

The giant nodded his head in agreement.

“I mean, we fought a lot, and she frustrated me, but she’s one of us! She’s part of our team! I don’t trust those men she’s going to meet! She told me all about them! She’s going to get hurt! I know it! Should we let that happen!?”

“So, are you saying we should go find her, help her?” Was there a hint of something in his voice?

“Granthurg,” she whispered, “What are you saying?”

“Well,” he said, looking away, uncertain how to proceed. “Well--ah--honestly, I, myself, wouldn’t mind if we--uh, that is-- we went back to the city.”

Her face drew back in the dim. “Granthurg!”

“I would like to find out what happened to Rinkmorr!” Granthurg breathed the words out quickly.

“Go back!? Granthurg! I can’t go back to Twynne Rivers!” She was almost shouting. “The Wizard’s Guild has eyes all over! I would be locked up in that old tower in a heartbeat! And whatever happened to our plans? You were going to ferry me upriver! I still want to get to Emberfire!”

“I know, I know,” he muttered, “I just... I keep wondering...”

She slumped back in her chair and the two sat in sullen silence. She absently played with the hem of her shirt. He wiped his forehead.

“Do the others,” she said, with a shaking voice, “want to go, too?”

Granthurg shrugged. “I don’t know. Nobody has talked about it.”

She let out a long sigh. “Some team. Some leader.” She shook her head and mumbled, “The strongest leader is better the servant.”

“Hmmm?”

She looked back down and ran her hand through her hair. “Nothing. I heard it in some fool stupid dream.”


<<<>>>



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

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Monday, April 8, 2019

115 - “Visitation” - Thissraelle - A Tale of Heroes

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Thissraelle lay in her bed, her legs and feet tangled in her blankets. One hand draped across her belly, and the other wrist rested on her forehead. She stared up at the ceiling, feeling the weight of her limbs sinking deeper into the blankets and mattress below her. In the night’s stillness she could hear DeFrantis’ steady breathing and an occasional rustle of her blankets.

Most nights, if she were up, she would also hear an occasional snort or rasp from Karendle’s more distant mattress, at the other end of the dormitory room. Tonight, however, those familiar sounds weren’t there.

What a day. What a strange day. 

She rolled over onto her side, feeling her night dress twist a little across her hips. She reached down and pulled her blanket further up, shaking it loose of her leg. She also tried to shake out the exhaustion she felt.

Everyone had been awkward and quiet at dinner tonight. Even Granthurg and Eddiwarth were silent. She had noticed her friends glancing away as she looked around the table. There were words that had hung in the air, not being spoken. Finally, Thissraelle had just hung her head and stared at her food. It wasn’t pleasant, but it was also not as tense.

It felt so strange to not have Karendle there today.  

Karendle wasn’t a very social type of girl, and she was often by herself, but in the month and some since the battle, she had been part of the circle, part of the team. Thissraelle half expected her to just walk back in, like she had changed her mind, or as if nothing had happened. Thissraelle took a deep breath, held it, and slowly hissed it out. Her eyes began to droop, feeling heavy.

Soon she was asleep.

Dreams drifted through her mind on a river of cluttered water, washing images and ideas past her unconsciousness like flotsam in the flow. Her inner eye looked up from the stream, and she followed her gaze, floating farther and farther upward.

Soon she was aware of rain falling around her. She wore her traveling cloak, the one she’d had on that first night that she’d flown away from her tower, away from her home. It flapped and billowed away from her waist and her dress like a flag in the wind.

Lightning flashed, and she jumped. A loud clap of thunder followed, rumbling away into the distance. In the dim light, she saw clouds around her and rain pouring down. Lightning tore through the sky again, closer this time, and brighter, but she wasn’t startled. The noise was much louder, however, and made her ears ring momentarily.

She flew through the billows, turning left and right to find a path between the swirling clouds. Where am I? Where am I going? Am I even in control? She stopped flying and spun herself around to see. Yes, it seems I am. I can choose where I go. 

She floated, resting still in the clouds for a moment. Lightning continued to flash from cloud to cloud. So, where should I go?

A harsh crack and a blinding flash of brightness struck just before her, tossing her back and leaving her stunned. Her eyes filled with vivid white and she jerked her face away and shielded her sight with her hands.

As she relaxed her arms and opened her eyes, a man stood before her in the air. It was hard to look at him at first, as the radiance shining from his face was too strong. As she looked, however, she could make out his features, his eyes, his beard, and dark hair. He wasn’t particularly tall, nor muscular, but was clad in armor and a tunic. His tunic was white, and bore the three shining stars emblem that she had come to recognize. His armor also shone brightly, though it had many scratches, marks, and a few indentations. Before him, he held a broadsword, drawn, with the blade tip at his feet.

He nodded his head in a gentle bow. “Thissraelle, wizard of light,” he said in a deep, resonant voice.

She set her head back, with a quizzical look on her face. How does he know me? Who is this? 

“I am Ivarr. I have an important request of you.”

She drifted away a few feet, unsure of herself. This IS a dream, but I still need to be careful, right?

“What...,” she hesitated, “What is this request?”

His eyes looked deep into her. She could see his shoulders move as he breathed, and his lips move as he spoke. “It’s a message from the Creator. It’s important that you find the one named Heathrax. Tell him that the dragons stir.”

“What? ‘The dragon’s stir’? Just that?”

“Yes. Just that. He will know what to do.” His illumination dimmed a little, and clouds formed around his feet.

“Hey!” Thissraelle called out to him, “Not so fast! Where is he? How do I find him? I’m not an errand girl! I’m taking my team to Emberfire!”

Misty billows gathered around his arms and chest. “The Creator has much to teach you. Follow your path, but remember that the strongest leader is better the servant.”  He faded into the clouds.

“Come back here!” she shouted, “Come back! I’m not through yet! I have more questions!”

Another crack of lightning split the air around her and her eyes jerked open. The quiet darkness of the dormitory room rushed in on her. She glanced around, taking in the shadows of the familiar things in the room; the candelabras hanging from the ceiling, the tapestries on the walls, the moonlight coming in through the open window, the table against the wall. She noticed that her legs were stretched and tense, and she was gripping and twisting the blanket in her fists.

After another slow breath, Thissraelle eased the tension from her body and relaxed her grip. She slid her fingers through her hair, wiping away the sweat on her forehead.

Well, what on the Creator’s shaking earth does THIS mean?


<<<>>>



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

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Thursday, April 4, 2019

114 - “Dragon’s Servant” - Tonklyn - A Tale of Heroes

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“Stuupid Humaan!” the dragon shouted with a deep and growling voice. It shook the chamber and cut in Tonklyn’s ears. He rolled away and scrambled across the floor, frantically looking for any cover he could find. He heard a deep growl and a rasping and retching sound come from behind him then a maelstrom of heat swept him over onto his side. His wide eyes looked at the space where he had just been and saw it engulfed in writhing flames. They spread out from the dragon’s mouth and rushed over the floor in an ever-widening circle of destruction.

Tonklyn struggled to his feet and ran. The light of the inferno illuminated the vast room, and he saw some barely discernible objects against a far wall. They might hide him. He ran toward them, his heartbeats pounding with his footsteps. The dragon behind him roared in rage.

As Tonklyn ran, he glanced back.  The dragon’s head swept across the room, looking for him. One of objects Tonklyn was approaching was a large, low table. He threw himself to the ground in front of it, sliding underneath. Quickly he shuffled his body to be fully under its cover. Only then did he dare to look.

The dragon was snorting and sniffing through the flames still burning on the floor and rugs where he had been. Can’t he see me? Didn’t he see me run? Tonklyn scooted himself further under the table, but not so far that he couldn’t see the beast.

The dragon swung his head back and forth across the floor, ignoring the fire, and sniffing as he went. “Whhere did youu go?” it rumbled. Finally it raised its head and roared in a fury, “I WILLL killl you!”  It reared back on its back legs and flexed its wings, while snaking its neck high into the upper reaches of the chamber. The motion of its wings fanned the flames below. Tonklyn felt a hot wave of pure terror rush over him. It tensed his back and shook his legs. He clenched his teeth to force himself not to release the scream he felt deep in his gut. He lay flat and hid himself in his arms, trying to become as small as possible in the dark under the table.

So this is how I die. 

He looked again, and dragon fell to his forelegs, smacking the ground with a shaking impact. It stretched its neck forward and Tonklyn saw its chest and belly shake, as if it was churning up something noxious deep inside. It closed its eyes, then retched and hacked more flames from its maw, sweeping back and forth across the room. Cushions, rugs, and tapestries in the room became covered in fiery spit. Smothering, painful heat washed over Tonklyn, making it difficult to see or breathe. The dragon raised its head, hot flaming drool running down its lower jaw and dripping onto the already burning floor.

“WHERRE ARE YOUU?”

Tonklyn didn’t dare move, and tried not to breathe. Was all that sweat from fear or the heat?

“I willl smmell you sooon ennough, and thenn I will find youu.”

Tonklyn found himself strangely fascinated by the dragon’s speech. He wondered how the humongous monster had learned common tongue. His heart was still pounding, but his mind was clearing. It shapes the words strangely. It must have learned it by study, not by interaction with humans.

Tonklyn crept forward a few inches. The fires still burned, but not as fiercely. The glow from the floor and walls lit the dragon from below and behind, giving him an awesome and even regal look. Tonklyn found himself transfixed. After all the years of reading about them, I finally actually get to see one! He studied the lines and shapes of its neck, wings, back and legs, vowing to sketch it accurately for the record. If I live, that is.

Well, if it can talk, then I can negotiate with it. He thought back on all of those years he had spent stroking the inflated egos of the sages in the library. That should help for something, shouldn’t it? 

But it’s right when it says it will find me eventually, anyway. It’s going to kill me. It will eat me alive. My wits are my only hope.

Tonklyn took a deep breath, for courage, then coughed out the smoky air. He slowly crept out from under the table and stood up. The heat from the fires all around him was painful, almost unbearable. Sweat ran down his neck in streams. Hands at his side, unthreatening, he raised his head to look at the gigantic dragon’s face. It drew back slightly, narrowing its eyes. If it could have shown a smirk of surprise, that would have been it.

Tonklyn took another breath. “Lies.”

“Whatt?” the dragon hissed.

“Everything I’ve read are lies. Or frail imaginings.” Tonklyn’s awestruck countenance was only partly forced. He tried to shape his voice into a breathy tone of wonder, while trying to control the shaky fear he still had knotted deep in his gut. He continued, himself surprised that the dragon hadn’t swept him dead already. “Dragons are clearly far more magnificent here, face to face, than the tomes of history had led me to believe.”

The dragon lowered his head and neck to within a few scant feet of Tonklyns chest, where his heart was palpitating with terror. The head was easily big enough bite him in half and swallow each part whole. Its breath intensified the heat around him. Tonklyn fought the instinct to break, to step back, or even to run, screaming, into the dark. Instead, he bowed his head, briefly, put on his most diplomatic face, then looked the dragon steadily and directly in the eyes.

“Whoo arre youu?” the dragon finally said.

“I am Tonklyn. A scholar. An apprentice to the sages of the great library of King Twynnham of Twynne Rivers.” That much is true, anyway. 

The dragon looked him over from several angles, sniffing and shifting. “And whhy havve youu come heere? Sspeak truuth or you diee wherre you staand.”

Now he’s intrigued. I’m on my way in. “I have been studying the reign and fall of the Great Dragon Kings, particularly Maxinn III. I found the records of this place, his palace, and I resolved to seek it out. What better way to learn of the King, than in the palace itself?” Still, all true. Mostly.  He tried to hide his nerves by walking back and hiking himself up to sit on the table, his legs casually crossed before him.

Tonklyn continued, “I had not expected to meet the new King. We had assumed the palace to be abandoned.” He bowed again. “It is indeed an honor. Am I fortunate to address Maxinn the IV?”

The dragon squinted at him, uncertain. He huffed out a puff of sulferous smoke, shifted his gaze again, then said, “I amm Kirraxal. The First.”

Tonklyn had smiled, then had jumped to his feet on the floor. “Then let me be the first,” he had said, sweeping to one knee, “to bow before the King.”

Tonklyn breathed in, coming out of his memories. He rested his head on the pillow of the bed in the Inn. After they had arrived at Twynne Rivers, they had easily found fine accommodations. With enough gold, things happen quickly. The room was warm and dark, the bed was soft, and the sheets were smooth.

Twynne Rivers may look like nothing here has changed, but everything has changed for me.


<<<>>>



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

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Monday, April 1, 2019

113 - “Dragon Memories” - Tonklyn - A Tale of Heroes

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<<<>>>

As afternoon became twilight, the meadow trail that Tonklyn and his men had been following had merged onto the main road leading eastward into Twynne Rivers. Soon after, they rode by the shanties and shacks of the OuterWall quarter of the city. There were lantern lights shining out of windows onto the streets, but nothing outside to brighten the road itself, like the oculus lamps on the finer, cleaner streets of CenterTowne.

Tonklyn disliked that someone had to drive through these filthy and dangerous neighborhoods to get into the city proper. While it was true that there were City Guardsmen stationed at various points along the main road, trying to protect caravans going in and out, they didn’t pay much attention to smaller groups like his. And, though he had taken care to not dress in finery or his ministerial robes, they certainly didn’t look poor. At least his supports were well armed, and well trained.

What do I have to be afraid of, here? He laughed inside as they passed a few men standing outside of a small pub. I sleep near a dragon! One that frequently reminds me that he prefers the taste of human over cattle. Still, his eyes followed the men with caution as their horses clip-clopped down the dusty roadway.

So much had changed for him in those two years since he’d last been in the city. When he’d left, he had been a lowly apprentice to the sages, given his first journeyman’s task. Honestly, they had initially laughed at his request. Find the fabled Dragon Palace? Where? And what for? In the end, they had acquiesced.

But I knew what I was looking for. I had seen the histories. I had seen what everyone else had ignored. 

In the human histories, there was little mention of the plunder of the palace. Not much was found there after the fall of the Dragon King. Tonklyn had known there had to be more there. The Dragon King’s gold had been legendary. If it had been found, the histories would have mentioned it. It would have changed the course of the nations that followed. He had known that it had to be there, still, waiting for someone to find it.

Getting to the mountains had been hard enough. Then, he had hired a dwarven guide to take him to the palace. It had taken most of his remaining grant money, because no-one had been willing to go there. Even the one he’d hired would only take him half-way up the mountainside. The last miles had been rocky and treacherous. Sometimes hiking the slope, sometimes climbing over slippery rock, cold autumn winds in the higher altitude had made it even more bitter. But he  had finally climbed out onto the ledge that he had seen from so far below.

He rested a while in the mid-day sun, leaning against the rock wall at the back of the ledge, regaining his strength after scaling so far. Next to him was a large opening. It was not natural, like a cave, but carved like a huge doorway. The stones around the opening had been carefully shaped and placed, arched to support the upper reaches. They were chipped and weathered, then, and they had been intricate and beautiful hundreds of years ago.

Tonklyn lit a torch from his pouch and began exploring. The interior was vast and expansive, carved into the mountain with high ceilings and intricate archways. At times, his torchlight wouldn’t even reach the heights. Time and the weather hadn’t ruined things as much inside. It was dusty, and empty, but he could see its past splendor.

He remembered entering a large central chamber, deep in the mountain. His dim torch lit only a few feet into the interior. As he stepped in, he saw some glimmers of reflected light, and a large black mass of boulders. He wondered if the ceiling might have partially collapsed in the room.

Could the glimmer be the the treasure? His heart skipped at the thought. As he stepped forward, he heard a loud sniff, then a deeper snort. The blackened boulders shifted and rolled, scraping loudly across the stone floor. Tonklyn thought to run, but his feet were frozen in fear.

He could see the stones shifting, and saw that they weren’t stone, but muscles, covered in black, scaly skin. Legs stretched out, and stamped onto the floor. A long, snaking neck swept around, and suddenly Tonklyn was staring into the eyes and jaws of an enormous black dragon. Its nose was was only a few feet from Tonklyn’s chest and it sniffed at him, growling. The fear of imminent death swept like a chilled wind over Tonklyn’s skin. The dragon drew its horned head back, away from Tonklyn, opened its hot and spiked-toothed mouth wide, and breathed in, deeply.

A scream ripped from Tonklyn’s chest, and he dropped to his knees, with his face to the floor, covering his head with his hands, and prayed that his death would be quick.


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

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