Monday, July 15, 2019

143 - "Fear, Friends, and Light” - 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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Thissraelle and Eddiwarth ran through the shattered doors of the cathedral porch into the main foyer. As they stepped up into the nave they stood transfixed with horror at the sight before them. The entire floor of the west end of the nave was rubble from the apparent collapse of the main spire. Ornately carved stones lay broken and scattered among the splintered wood of beams and pews. A few remaining ornate pews in the nave and those up into the choir were burning, throwing sparks and belching smoke up toward the vaulted ceilings. The skylights above were shattered, the delicate paintings in between the pillars were blackening with smoke and soot, and drakes flew back and forth, circling in the upper reaches. They occasionally dropped down to retch flaming spit onto the tapestries or the walls, or to chase the screaming monks, priests, and worshippers. A few guard soldiers fumbled with their blades and spears, and scrambled to either run or protect the priests. The noises of fear and destruction filled the huge echoing chamber above. Rain streamed in from the shattered skylights above, making odd swirls out of the ascending smoke, and hissing as it fell onto the flames below.

“Creator, help us,” Thissraelle whispered. Her heart ached. She struggled to breathe. Her eyes blurred and burned. Was that from tears or the smoke?

Eddiwarth coughed. “This is the Destroyer!”

She wiped her eyes and looked around below. She saw a few monks running out from the aisle under the gallery, turning down a hallway off to the right. She ran toward them, and Eddiwarth jumped in behind her. As she reached the aisle before the hallway entrance, she saw the rows of pillars. The ceiling in the aisle was lower, and the smoke poured up into the nave on the left. Halfway up toward the sanctuary, a raging fire burned. In its light, she saw a familiar silhouette, kneeling over a prone man. Her heart leaped. Karendle!

Thissraelle ran forward, but stopped and stood when Karendle saw her. Karendle was a mess. Her hair was ragged and her long, thick braid was unraveling. Her face was covered with smeared soot. Her sleeve was torn and her cheek scratched.

The moment hovered in the smoky air as they looked at each other. Eddiwarth ran up beside her. She glanced at him, then back at Karendle. “Karendle, I... Ah...”

Karendle nodded, then looked down. “Hey, do you think you could heal this guy?”

“What?”

“He’s pretty badly hurt. There are a lot more, too!”

The moment snapped back into immediate reality. Thissraelle shook her head and rushed over to kneel before the man. He was an older man, probably in his fifties. He would have been dressed in very fine, colorful clothes if they hadn’t been ruined by the rubble and the smoke. He looked up at Thissraelle and Karendle with painful, pleading eyes.

Karendle knelt on the other side of him, carefully shifting his bloody leg. He winced in pain. “Oh! Sorry!” she said, then released it. She gestured to Eddiwarth, “You watch for dragons!”

Thissraelle summoned her will again, filling herself with light. It felt good in her arms. All of her recent frustrations and confusion focused into the immediate need to heal this man. This she could do. She held her hands out over the man, who dropped his head back to the stone floor as the glowing warmth overwhelmed him. For a moment, she felt the pain of his wounds shiver through her as the light carried it away and released it into mist around them. Then, the light faded.

“Thanks!” Karendle said, jumping up. “I’ll go find more!”

WAIT! Thisraelle tried to say something, but Karendle ran off into the chaos. I need to talk to you! 

An explosion from farther up the nave shook the walls of the aisles. Something large fell and crashed to the floor. The calls of the beasts came to her ears with an urgent sharpness, further returning her to focus. A bit of weariness settled into Thissraelle’s shoulders. She stood, and Eddiwarth moved next to her. Together, they lifted the man up to his feet. His face was both grateful and terrified. They guided him a ways toward the exit, then turned back around to rush after Karendle.




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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, July 11, 2019

142 - "Flame, Tooth, and Claw” - Korr - A Tale of Heroes

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

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As Korr rushed toward Parith, he saw his friend draw back the bowstring with a strain and loose another arrow. The beast attacked, shrieking, with its maw gaping wide. Its long teeth dripped burning and smoking drool. The arrow sunk deep into its upper palate, immediately catching the fletching on fire.

The drake shrieked in pain, twisting and writhing in the air before slamming into the balcony and clawing at the banister to desperately get a hold. The impact knocked through one of the support pillars, and shook Korr and Parith to the floor. The long tail flipped and wrapped tight around another pillar. The drake chomped and snarled, trying to get the painful arrow out of its mouth.

Parith clambered to his feet and began readying another arrow. Korr turned around and tried to crawl away from the monster, unable to get a grip on the stone beneath his knees. Finally, he reached a rug running down the hallway and was able to get secure enough to climb to his feet. His heartbeat pounded in his temple and his breathing was fast and shallow. As he looked down the hallway, he froze in fear. The far end of the hall was filled with flames. Bishops and brothers in white, now bloodied and burning robes, were struggling to escape the clawing, screaming fury of the drakes. These beasts were much smaller, but also much quicker and more vicious in their attacks. Guard soldiers tried to defend the others, only to be slashed and overwhelmed as well.

Terror gripped Parith and planted his feet. One of the Bishops held up his staff and shot bright light from its tip, slicing a drake’s head in half. It fell, flopping and twisting, to the floor. No sooner had he done that than another beast ran out of the flames and smoke, jumped off the wall, and landed on the Bishop. The man barely had time to scream before the drake’s teeth tore out his throat and they both tumbled to the floor.

The men still standing fled the flames, running toward Korr and the stairwell. A few of the Bishops turned to throw blasts of light back down the hallway at the pursuing animals. Korr couldn’t tell which screams were from humans and which were from drakes. Flames, crashing blocks of stone, shouts of terror and attack overwhelmed his head with a rush of fearsome noise.

“Run! Flee!” they all shouted as they passed him. He watched them go by, unable to move, unable to even imagine what to do.

Focus yourself! Be the stone! Be the wall!

He stomped his feet into the stone floor, turned to his side, and set his arms in the stance, readying himself. He tried to relax his breathing. In deep, out slow. In deep, out slow...

He turned his eyes away from the blur of motion, looking straight down the hallway, slowing the chaos in his mind. Now I can see! There are one, two drakes coming close. They’re not as big. He could see them snaking their way down the corridor, one clawing on the floor, the other above, in the air. These were a little longer than a man was tall, and moved in a side-to-side slither.

The airborne one reached him first, swooping toward his head. Before it could bite, however, Korr swept his forward arm up, connecting his wrist and fist just under its head and deflecting it away. He smoothly dipped underneath its undulating body as momentum carried it past him.

The slightly smaller one on the floor leapt at Korr's forward leg, and bit into his calf. Hot pain shot up his leg and he clenched his teeth. He spun and slammed his unhurt leg down onto the drake’s neck just below the head. It shrieked and gagged in surprise. Standing above it, he drove fist strikes down onto its head. It was hard to make strong hits, as it swung back and forth, but he managed to daze it. The drake wrapped its tail and body around Korr’s leg and clawed up at his thigh and torso, leaving deep, painful scrapes. That, and the writhing under his feet, threw him off balance and he fell backward.

How do you fight these? Korr shifted his arms up to try and block the flailing claws as the first drake jumped at him, teeth bared. He called out, “Parith! Help me!”

I’m going to die! I don't know how to fight them!


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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, July 8, 2019

141 - "A Bow and Arrow” - Parith - A Tale of Heroes

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

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Parith and Korr glanced at each other, afraid. What was that huge shadow flying over? Korr finally put their thoughts into words, “Was that a dr--” A terrifying crack and explosion interrupted, sounding from down the hallway, making Parith jerk. The horrible sound of crashing stones and crunching wood echoed through the nave. Moments later, frightened screams followed.

Parith sprinted down the hallway, back toward the cathedral’s main hall. Korr was close behind. His bag bounced against his hip and legs, making running difficult. He swung it up across his back and ran harder. He heard the crashing of glass and a loud screeching cry ripped through the air of the cathedral. Something massive and black flew past his narrow field of vision.

Oh, no. This can’t be. Is that what people were talking about?

They broke out of the hallway onto the gallery above the aisles. They rushed up to the railing protecting the balcony and looked on the horror going on in the nave below. Across the chapel, clinging to the pillars and railing of the opposite balcony, was a large, black, winged dragon. It snaked its enormous head around and shrieked again. Below it lay the choir and the sanctuary of the nave, littered with shattered stained glass. Rain streamed down from the now gaping hole in the skylights, and more panes of glass broke off and fell to shatter on the floor below. Worshippers and clergy in the sanctuary screamed, scrambling for cover. Many of them left trails of blood behind them from cuts left by the falling glass.

More drakes, smaller than the larger one on the wall, flew in through the open skylight, their wings flinging rain water around the chapel. They began to circle the nave, calling out.

What is happening? This can’t be just a random infestation of drakes! Where are they coming from? His pack wiggled on his back, and he heard an anxious chattering over his shoulder. Oh, no. Is he a part of this, too?

The floor beneath them shook, as an explosion of flames burst out from under the balcony, between the pillars. The pews below them were sprayed with burning spittle and more scattered glass. Screams told him that there were people who had been caught in that inferno.

“What should we do?” He shouted to Korr.

“We need to help somehow!” Korr turned around and headed toward the stairs back to the main level.

“Wait! I have no weapon! I left my staff back at the tower!”

Korr shrugged and looked around. Parith looked as well, noticing a row of suits of armor on display against the wall of the gallery. One held a long spear. Perfect! Parith tossed off his bag and ran to the display. Korr took off toward the stairway. As Parith grabbed the spear, he paused, noticing a heavy longbow next to it. Even better! Are there arrows? If this noble had a bow, he’d have definitely left arrows, right? The empty suit of armor had a pouch hung on the wall next to it. Above it was a placard with the name “Sir Meriwarth” and details of his titles and victories.With a quick search of the display he found a quiver with a half-dozen arrows. Not very many. I’ll have to make them count! He slung them over his shoulder.

He grabbed the longbow from the wall and hefted it. It was easily as tall as he was, and that would be clumsy for him. He was a wood elf and not as tall as the human the bow was obviously made for. I’ll just have to make it work. Where’s a string?  Parith began rummaging through the pouch.

“Sorry, your lordship, I don’t mean to steal, but you’re not here to stop me, so... A ha!” His hands pulled out a few bowstrings. “Yes!” He twisted his legs around the bow and began to set the string. More screams and screeches flowed from below, and smoke began to fill the upper reaches of the nave.

A motion to his left drew his attention, and he glanced. The little drakeling was poking its head fearfully out of the tied flap of the bag. It’s chittering voice was changing to short squeals. “Fsht! Fsht! Get back in there!” Parith waved his hand at it. It dropped its head and drew back under the flap. Is it scared? Or does it want to join the attack?

The bow was much stronger than the elven short bows he was used to from the forest. Still, with effort he got it strung and ran back to the balcony.

As he reached the balcony, he saw Korr come back out of the stairwell. “Too many flames below!” he shouted.

Parith stepped up to the banister and nocked an arrow. The largest drake had climbed upward, snaking around one of the pillars, digging into the rock with its claws. He lifted the bow. It was not at all like the fine elven shortbows. This was too long, too tall for him, and the lower tip dredged the floor. He had to angle it a little bit, so he had to twist his shoulder more to keep his elbow out of the way of the string. It made it all the more difficult to draw the tight string of the heavy bow. If I were only stronger... 

He aimed at the head of the drake, and held it steady. It saw him and shrieked. Fear ripped through him, like the wave of the sound echoing in the cavernous cathedral. It shook him and the arrow loosed. It went wild, glancing off the pillar well above the beast's head. It began to crawl around the pillar and unfold its wings, as if getting its body ready to jump across the nave and attack.

Parith grabbed another arrow and slipped it into place, raising the bow again. Angle, elbow, draw, steady... The drake opened its mouth again to scream and Parith shot. The arrow flew across the vast space in a shallow arc and plunged into the side of the horror’s neck. It threw its head back, screaming in pain and clawing at its neck. While Parith nocked another arrow, it leapt into the air and few directly at him.


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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, July 4, 2019

140 - "Flames in the Rain” - Granthurg - A Tale of Heroes

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

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Granthurg? Thissraelle's faint thought-voice nudged it's way into his consciousness. Are you there?

He smiled, in spite of the cold and the rain, sensing the familiar patterns of her thoughts in his mind. He'd hoped she would reach out and let him know how she was doing. It had been a long morning, and the early dark made it seem even more so.

Yes! I'm walking along the RiverFront back to the Inn. They had all split up early that morning, Thissraelle and Eddiwarth to go look for Karendle, and Granthurg to secure the barge in the storm. He'd found it to be still well-moored, but a few of the tarps had come loose and were flailing in the wind.

His boot splashed into a puddle on the street and he pulled his cloak tighter over his shoulders. He had his heavy warhammer strapped across his back, underneath the cloak, so it didn't quite close in front. The front of his shirt was getting quite wet. The pubs and shops along the river all had lanterns lit inside, shining out of windows into the cloud-dimmed streets. A few people walked past, huddled under the roof overhang.

We found Karendle. He could sense hesitation.

Excellent! How is she?

I don't know. We're across the street. Eddiwarth was trying to reach out to you when he sensed her. He found her in the Great Cathedral.

Well that's great news! I'll head that way. It'll be a while before I can get to you, though. There was a long, heavy pause from her in his mind. He could tell that something was going on, worry, perhaps, or even fear.

Are you OK, Thiss? 

The pause went on, and he stopped walking for a moment. All he could hear was the rain on his cloak hood.

Thiss?

Yes, I'm fine. We're leaving the pub to go talk to her now. I'm not sure how to do this. I'm not good at apologies.

Granthurg laughed and started walking again. He shook some of the water off his shoulders.

It's not funny! 

I know. I'm sorry, he thought, though he still shook his head and chuckled. See? There! I said it. Now you can, too.

The tone of her mind got sharp. It's not the same! I have to--He felt her gasp in shock. GRANTHURG! OH NO! OH NO! OH MERCIFUL CREATOR! Her mind shrieked with fright and he felt a chill rush through his spine.

What? What happened?

Silence. He stopped walking again, frozen in place. He closed his eyes and tried to concentrate.

Thissraelle! What's happening?

In a heartbeat, his thoughts were interrupted by a huge explosion ripping through the dark, rainy air behind him. A rush of hot wind blew past him. He spun around to see a billowing rumbling cloud of flame and smoke riding up from the shattered facade of a chapel just down the street. The orange light from the blaze shone on two figures in red robes standing in the rain with their hands held high, gesturing at the building. Debris from the exploded structure began to rain down around them and he could hear people start to scream inside. The spire leaned precariously forward, the wooden supports underneath it weakened, like it was about to topple out into the street.

GRANTHURG! Thissraelle's voice jarred him out of shock. GRANTHURG! The cathedral here is on fire!

On Fire?

The two wizards before him started laughing. They reached out to each other with their fists and pushed the backs of their wrists together in salute, swinging their arms up high. Then, they ran into the chapel, parting the flames with gestures of their hands.

It's happening here, too! This is an attack! That’s what’s happening! He began to run toward the chapel, his cloak flapping behind him in the rain.


<<<>>>



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, July 1, 2019

139 - "More Tricks With Stones” - Karendle - A Tale of Heroes

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

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Muttering and cursing, Karendle crouched low and crawled over to the injured man. She pushed aside the remains of a cracked and splintered pew to kneel beside him. She glanced up and around the nave above them. No dragons for the moment. 

The man was lying on his belly, his finely sewn jacket covered in rock and plaster dust. His legs were buried underneath a large wooden beam and a few large carved stones. She surmised that the rocks had probably smashed the pews first, then fallen onto the man. That, at least, was probably lucky for him. She tried to push the rocks, then lift the board. Nothing moved. It was too heavy, too tightly wedged in place.

The drakes above screeched more and she could hear more flames being spit onto the cathedral walls. She ducked down behind the rubble some more.

“What’s happening? The Destroyer has come! The world is ending!” The man began crying.

“Shush! Quiet!” Karendle hissed through her teeth, “Do you want to draw all of those dragons over here?” The man stared at her, then dropped his head back down to the floor in fear.

What do I do? Well, I can move rocks. It’s a good thing I practiced. She reached into the new leather pouch threaded into her belt. The tension in her arms made her fingers quiver as she dug out her oculi. Where’s the sapphire? Just grab them!

She pulled out her fist holding the magical stones. One was a shiny, faceted blue, and the other was round and flat, a polished piece of green and brown jade. She could barely hold them both together in her shaking hand. She took one in each hand and shifted herself away from the man and the rubble.

Well, let’s see what I can do, here. She opened her mind to her will, as she had practiced many times before. She reached out with her left hand, holding the shiny blue oculus stone, now slightly glowing, and pointed it at the biggest rock. It raised quickly, up off the man, and she tossed it a few feet aside. It crashed into some of the other chunks of rubble. Next, she moved the beam. That was more difficult, as it was wedged under a downed pew as well as other rocks.

“You’re a wizard!” the man gasped with awe on his face.

“Not really,” Karendle mumbled, “I just pretend to be one. Stay down. There’s more stuff I have to move.”

She turned her focus to a large rock remaining on the man’s left foot. It started to shift in place and the man cried out in pain. “Sorry!” she shouted. I’ll have to lift this straight up. No twisting. She reset her knees and closed her eyes to focus her concentration.

A screeching sound jolted her out of the focus. A drake had heard their noises and streaked toward her, teeth and claws bared. She screamed and threw her hands up in front of her, bracing for the hit, hoping to shield herself in any way she could.

The jade nature oculus glowed warm in her hands. The rock shot up into the air, suddenly stretching itself out into a large flat disc right in front of the oncoming drake. Unable to stop or turn, it smashed hard into the improvised stone shield, cracking it into pieces. The drake and the stone fragments dropped to the ground, crashing onto the remnants of the pew.

Karendle looked in amazement at the oculus in her right hand. Wow! Maybe this thing is useful after all!

The drake flopped and turned on the floor, trying to right itself in its dazed confusion. Karendle quickly brought the blue oculus up again and lifted the man up and away from the pews and rubble, and into the aisle. With great care she set him down close to the wall.

She heard some new voices mixing in with the screams of panic and the shrieks of monsters. These were confident voices, shouting commands and laughing. Confused, she scrambled back over to the pillar and looked around. Two men were walking through the nave toward the sanctuary. Walking? No, they were floating, riding on a cloud of darkness. One wore a robe of black, the other, red. She recognized the trim patterns and markings on the robes, and it fueled anger inside her.

The Wizard’s Guild! The sniveling cowards! Why are they attacking a church?


<<<>>>



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

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