Thursday, June 13, 2019

134 - “A Knave in the Nave” - Karendle - A Tale of Heroes

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This is all wrong. What am I doing here? Karendle stepped carefully, almost reverently, along the aisle to the right inside of the grand old cathedral. She had never seen a building so ornate and intricate. The pillars to her left reached up at least a hundred feet, she guessed, to an arched ceiling painted like the sky. Even though the rain of the late afternoon had made everything prematurely dark, the ceiling and the aisle below were lit by large glowing white oculi mounted in the capitals of each pillar. They gave a heavenly look to the clouds artistically rendered above her.

She almost lost her balance staring up. She reached out and steadied herself on a pillar. Her eyes drifted back down to the floor level.

She could see people in monk's robes walking forward and back in the aisle up ahead. They seemed to be in a hurry, like each was busy on his own task. The brothers back at the monastery never seemed to be that anxious to get anywhere. Maybe that was because this was the big city, not a tiny little abbey in the woods. She watched them disappear into a hallway off to the right.

After leaving the pub earlier in the afternoon, she had wandered the RiverFront streets, unsure what her next steps would be. She hadn't thought this far ahead in her plan. The best she could think of was to go to a shop to look for a heavier cloak against the rain, but even though she now had plenty of money, she just didn't see anything she liked. Neither her mind nor her heart was in a place for shopping.

Before long, she had come to the gate of the finer CentreTowne quarter of the city. She paid the gate tax and walked in, finding herself in awe of the clean streets and magnificent buildings. Soon, she stood before the great cathedral of The Church of Three Lights.
She didn't know anything about the Church. She didn't know what they believed or how they worshipped. She sure didn't believe it. But the rain had been hard and the light from the doors had looked warm.

She stepped from the aisle, turning to her left between a pair of pillars, and walked along one of the pews in the main nave. The ceiling was even higher here, and she could hear the steps of the brothers and other worshippers echoing through the vast space above her. It was also lit by many oculi in the pillars. There were hundreds of panes of glass skylights that, had this been a clear day, would have kept the entire chapel, the nave, the choir, and the sanctuary full of bright sunlight.

She reached out and felt the seat of the pew. It was covered in the smoothest velvet she had ever touched. As she reached the center of the pew, she turned and sat down. As she looked across the nave, she could see a few others sitting scattered through the chapel as well. A few were in small groups, but most were alone, like she was.

She leaned back and took in the enormity of the expanse above her. She could see blurry flashes of lightning in the darkness of the skylights. She suddenly felt very small, very unimportant.

I got what I wanted. She shifted forward in the seat and leaned on her knees, her head down. I got another oculus. I got more money. I did what I was hired to do. That's an accomplishment, right?

As soon as she thought it, however, it sounded wrong, like she was trying to convince herself. It was an accomplishment, to be sure, but it was nothing compared to how she had felt after rescuing the children with DeFrantis and Thissraelle. That was real. That felt right.

Thissraelle! Why does that name keep coming back to me?

All her life she had been alone. She didn’t fit in with the dwarves, and she didn’t fit into the human city, either. I’m not a fighter, and I’m not a wizard. What am I? Who am I?

I’m a knave. A bounty hunter. I bring people down for a living.

She rubbed her temple with her fingers, then ran them across the short side of her hair. The haunting understanding in her heart was that the only real friends she had, that she had ever had, were back in the monastery. Why is this so difficult? I’ve got a job to do. I can go catch more wizards. Since I can’t be a wizard, I’ll just use fake wizardry to go bring down real wizards!

She smirked. Is that plan really just as stupid as it sounds in my head?

She sat back and looked up again into the painted clouds on the ceiling. She knew what she needed to do. Facing Thissraelle wouldn’t be easy. She looked up into the beautiful vaulted spaces above her, laughed quietly at herself, then sighed. I need to stop going to church, is what I need.


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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, June 10, 2019

133 - “Tears in the Rain” - Thissraelle - A Tale of Heroes

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Hey! Eddiwarth's voice rang out in Thissraelle's head. I haven't seen Karendle or anyone. Where are you?  She leaned against the slick wet wall beside her. She stood on one foot, holding the other painfully up off the ground.

Not where you are, obviously, she snapped back.

I'm getting a lot of pain through your mind, here, are you hurt?

Yes! I twisted my ankle and I'm cold and drenched. I can hardly walk.

I can locate you! I'm on my way!

She slumped against the wall and hung her head. What am I doing? Why am I here, alone in the dark?  Suddenly, all the fear and pain and frustration washed over her like the rain. All of the tensions of the last weeks overwhelmed her. She slid down the wall until she sat on the wet stone pavement. He knee throbbed as she brought them both up to her chest. She began to cry, her years mixing with the cold rain dropping of her hair and the hood of her cloak. I’ve ruined my friendships. I’m completely lost. Maybe she shouldn’t have even left the tower in the first place.

She didn't know how long it was before she heard splashing footfalls running toward her. She looked up Eddiwarth crouched down before her. He reached out to support her shoulder.

"Can you stand?" he asked. "Let me help you." She lifted her arms to his shoulder and began to push. Halfway up, he put his arm around her waist and they started hobbling along, side-by-side.

"I'm sorry. What happened?" he asked. "You really look a mess!"

She shot a narrow glare up at him, but didn't respond. She just focused on moving one foot at a time.

They limped on in darkness and silence. She coughed, then sniffed. Eddiwarth tugged her hood further over her head. The team was falling apart. Karendle was gone; DeFrantis and Antonerri had a place at the monastery. Where is my place? The gloom in the skies reflected the overwhelming sense of emptiness in her heart.

They turned a corner and began to make their way back toward the main boulevard of CenterTowne. The rain had made a wide but shallow puddle against the building and they had to wade through it to get to the street. The cold soaked further into her unhurt foot.

When they finally stepped out of the alleys, she looked across the street and saw the familiar wall of the Wizard's Guild. Behind it, she recognized the shapes of the buildings of the compound. There was the Main Hall, the Library, the Training Hall, and way behind them all, she saw the tower where she had studied and grown. The tower where she had been trapped and where she had made her escape.

She stood still, even though she felt Eddiwarth trying to keep her moving.

She dropped her head again. "Well, go ahead."

Eddiwarth paused. "What?"

"Go ahead. Take me back home."

He looked at her, confused. He wasn't sure what to say or how to respond. All that came out was another, "What?"

"Take me back to my father. It's what you wanted all along, right? It's what he told you to do, isn't it?" She looked at him, accusing. He just stood, stunned, like he had been hit by lightning. "Isn't that why you brought us here?"

"No! No! I thought Karendle was looking for wizards! I thought we were trying to find her! I thought..."

"Don't lie to me! He sent you to fetch his poor, lost daughter! Well, here I am, and there he is! Take me in! I hope he pays you a lot for me!"

"Don't be crazy! Let's get you off that foot and out of the rain."

She started punching at him with her free hand. "Let go of me! Let go!" She pushed him away, hard, and lost her balance, falling back into the puddle. She lay there, the rain soaking her clothes and face, until she felt his hands sliding under her knees and shoulders. With a grunt and a shaky stance, he lifted her up, and carried her around the corner and into a warm, lighted pub.


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

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Thursday, June 6, 2019

132 - “Lost at Home” - Thissraelle - A Tale of Heroes

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

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Where is he? 

Thissraelle looked up and down the street, but couldn’t see Eddiwarth. The rain fell heavy and steady all around her. She rested, leaning up against a building under a second story overhang. It gave her some measure of shelter while she watched. The plain dark cloak she had on was heavier and more practical than the more delicate white one she usually wore. This one did a better job of protecting her from cold and rain. Even more, its appearance was much less obvious and protected her from being recognized. At least that was the idea. Remembering this, she held her head down and tugged on the side of the hood.

It was late morning, but the smothering layer of thick clouds and the chill wind made it feel more like late evening. There were people walking by, covered up against the rain, but not many. Not like a normal day. The cobblestones of the street here in CenterTowne were clear and clean, not dusty and cluttered like they were in RiverFront, or even back in Dirae. There were trees along the street, and well-manicured shrubs and grasses. This is the part of Twynne Rivers where the wealthy and powerful lived. This is where she had grown up. This was also definitely where she did not want to be right then. She glanced up and noticed that it had gotten dark enough to trigger the glow of the large oculi mounted on tall poles up and down the main street. They weren’t as bright yet as they would be when night fully fell, but they did help illuminate the way.

Eddiwarth had also told her that the Wizard’s Guild used them to watch the city. That hadn’t really surprised her, but it had made her much more wary as they had walked. She was sure that someone would see her and tell her father she had returned.

She dropped her head and adjusted her cloak again, then slipped back into an alleyway. The overhang of the building wasn’t as long here as it was in the front, and with the wind twisting through the alley, it blew drops of rain into her face.

I don’t know how he talked me into coming here. This is the last place Karendle would come!

She turned her head around the corner of the building and glanced up the street. A short walk away was the cathedral of the Church of Three Lights. She knew that just on the other side of those tall, majestic spires and arching buttresses was the great hall of the Wizard’s Guild. Looking past the cathedral, through the rain, she could make out the stone wall that surrounded the compound of the guild.

Only a few months ago, she had lived there. She had grown up there. She had also been trapped there. Her mother had feared the commoners that lived outside of Twynne Rivers’ CenterTowne, and didn’t even trust the humans that lived within it. She constantly reminded Thissraelle that they were high elves and were strangers in the city. She had only been allowed out of the grounds of the Guild if her father assigned one or two of the mages as an escort. She missed her parents greatly, but running away had also given her a wonderful sense of freedom.

Footsteps sounded along the wood deck walkway in the front of the building. Suddenly, someone passed in front of her. She jumped, startled, and stepped back. In an instant, without thinking, she looked up at him, and their eyes met. He was a younger man, with dark shadowed eyes. His wet hair was pressed against his forehead. His face was frowning. He turned away as he walked on.

He saw me! He’s with the Guild! I know it! He’ll take me back to my Father!

Fear seized her legs and tensed her arms. Her heart pounded in her ears. She ran deeper into the alley, holding her head low, hiding in the folds of her cloak. He’s following me! Where is Eddiwarth?

She turned at a small intersection, going back in the general direction that she had last seen him walking. I’ve got to find him. We’re getting out of here. We’ll find Granthurg and leave the city.

It was hard to see her way in the dark, narrow alley. Her foot slipped and twisted on the wet cobblestone and she went down, hitting her knee hard on the stones. Pain ripped along her leg from her ankle, through her knee, and up to her hip. She winced and pulled it up, tight against her. She rolled on the cold stones as she cried out.

He’s going to catch me! I can’t run!

She opened her eyes to face her captor.

He wasn’t there. Rain fell into her face and she blinked in the darkness of the alley. There was no one there. Hadn’t he followed her? She relaxed her leg and sat up. Her hard breathing sounded heavy in her ears. She scrambled to her feet, but the pain in her leg dropped her before she could stand. She gasped as she rolled over and crawled to side of the building. She quickly looked both ways, but there was still no sign of the man. Was he hiding? Maybe he walked on. I can’t wait here and see.

Using the building for support, she limped further down the alley, further into the darkness, and closer to the Guild.


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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, June 3, 2019

131 - “On a Night Like This” - Parith - A Tale of Heroes

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The rains had come on pretty suddenly, washing the rooftops in a steady rinse. Parith and Korr had been close to their appropriated home in the bell tower when the storm had started, but the dark, the winds, and the wet had made the slopes and peaks of the building tops more treacherous, so they had been forced to walk slowly, more carefully.

Once they were on the church’s roof, they approached the leeward side of the bell tower and climbed through the large opening in its side. Korr went first. As Parith rolled his drenched body through the opening and lowered his back to the floor, Korr stood, letting his shirt drip out. Parith leaned up a bit on his elbows and shook his head, whipping the water out of his hair.

It was late, past the twilight, and the heavy clouds had long obscured any rays of the sun while it set, so it was quite dark. Even the dull glow of the city from lanterns in houses seemed to be dimmed by the gloom.

“A bit chilly and wet tonight, eh?” Parith squinted to see the tiny space in the tower.

“Ch-ch-ch” Korr held his hand back toward Parith, shushing him.

“What--?”

“CH-CH!”

Parith could barely make out the outline of his friend’s form, standing in the dark. A cold, wet breeze blew past them. Korr was a bit tense, looking across the tower into the shadows.

Parith whispered, “What is it?”

Korr slowly moved his hand to point across to the far corner of the tower. Parith strained to look, but before he could see anything in the shadows, he heard a slight scraping of claws on the wood, and then an angry hissing breath. It wasn’t very loud or deep. He could barely hear it over the sound of the rain on the roof. Still, it made him shiver even more than the cold wind.

Parith wiped his forehead and eyes dry with his hand. At least as well as he could. Squinting, he peered into the corner. Something moved, scraping claws on the floor, and flapping a wing. A bird? It can’t be too big... He sat up all the way. There was a loud hiss and a blur of motion as it scampered against the wall of tower to the other opposite corner, with more flapping wings. He started and instinctively pushed himself away from it. As it crossed under the opening in the wall, through the rain, he saw the wings were more like a bat’s, without feathers. Korr immediately dropped his body into a defensive stance. Parith sat up fully, then began crawling around the big opening in the floor, approaching it from the left.

As he got to the wall nearest its corner, it scrambled, flapped, clawed and hissed some more. Parith could see a bit of shiny, reflective skin. He inched closer.

By the Creator! He jumped back a few feet shielding himself with his hands. “It’s a dragon!”

“What?”

More hissing and scratching came from the shadows.

“It’s a dragon!”

“A dragon? How can you tell?”

“Just look at it!” Parith said, “You know, serpent head, thin, scaly body, bat wings, tail...” The creature stayed in the shadows, making a high-pitched growling noise. “I wonder how it got up here!”

“We’ve heard many people talking about seeing these creatures of late. Is it a drake or a dragon?”

“I have no idea!” Parith tried to remember the argument the two men from the adventurer’s guild had been having. What had they said? What’s the difference?

“Give me your bread!” Parith demanded, holding his hand out to Korr, who hesitated. “Come on, I’ll bet it’s hungry.”

“You’re going to feed it?” Korr sounded incredulous, but reached into his shoulder pouch for the remains of his bread loaf. “Does it even eat bread?”

“I don’t know, it probably eats meat, but it’s not like we’ve got a roast of pork feast here with us, and I don’t want to give it my finger. Come on, hand it to me!”

Korr gave Parith the half loaf, and he broke off a small bit of it, reaching toward the creature. It hissed with fury and flapped, pulling back. Why doesn’t it just fly away? It must be hurt.

He left the bit of bread on the planks of the flooring and scooted back a little. When the hissing stopped, he saw a leathery snout tentatively inch out of the shadow toward the bread, sniffing and snorting.

“Be careful!” Korr whispered.

“It’s fine... It’s OK...” Parith coaxed in a cooing voice.

The head on a long neck lashed out, snapped up the bread, and the beast scrambled back to the wall. It made loud, sloppy chewing noises. Then it went quiet again. After a moment of silence, its nose poked out of the shadow again and sniffed.

“Ah, you like that, eh?” Parith smiled and looked up at Korr, who shrugged. Parith broke off another piece and tossed it out, but not quite so far. It smelled at it a few times, then crept forward. As it emerged into the relative dim underneath the opening, they got a slightly better look at it. It was long and mostly thin, about two to three feet, and it looked less like a big lizard and more like a sort of plump snake with short stubby legs and wings. In the dark, the body looked deep red and the wings a slightly dirtier brown. It reached a long neck out and snapped up the bread, keeping its eyes directly on Parith.

Parith kept throwing out chunks of bread, and it loudly ate each one. It crept forward and leaned back on its hind legs, raising its upper body. It held a piece of bread in each claw, and its neck looped up and down as it ate them.

“I think this one’s a baby.”

Korr slowly lowered himself until he was sitting on the floor. “How can you tell?”

“I’m not sure, but he’s too cute to be grown up!”

Korr gave him the same disbelieving look that he had so many times in the last few days.  Parith sighed and continued, while feeding the last bits of the loaf. “Seriously. Look how his head and claws are a bit large and awkward. The eyes are also bigger and tail looks more short and stubby.”

He tossed the last bit of bread to him. “Sorry, little guy. That’s all I got.” It slurped it down, then sniffed at the floor for more, inching ever closer to Parith. “That’s it!”

“You seem to have a way with animals.”

Nervously, Parith extended his hand. “Yeah, that comes from growing up in the forest. I’ve never seen one of these, though.” The creature raised his head a bit and sniffed Parith’s fingers He eased his hand over, turning it palm-down and gently touched the top of its bony, bumpy head. It made a high trilling sound. Parith began to scratch the back of its head. It chirped a little louder, and pushed its head up into his palm.

Parith looked up to Korr with a big grin. Korr smiled and nodded. "I guess he likes you!"

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