Monday, February 26, 2018

A Tale of Heroes - Scene 9: Thissraelle

As she rushed through the air, away from her tower room, the rain fell into her eyes. She pulled the hood lower and wiped the water away. When she looked again, she froze, then willed herself to stop only a few feet away from, could it be?  Her tower? She glanced up at the roof. It was there on the roof that she had spent many nights learning about the stars. It was through that window that the morning light had shone on her magical studies.

Yes, it was her tower! She could see the light shining out through that same window!  But there’s no balcony! What’s this?

She spun around and instantly recognized the view of the city. I’m on the other side of the tower! How did I get here?

She floated in the rain, confused, looking back and forth from the tower to the empty air over CenterTown.

I went that way, she mused, pointing past her room, then turning, And came from that way... She pointed the opposite direction. I wonder...

Slowly, then building speed, she floated away from the back side of the tower, out into darkness, and in a moment found herself floating before the balcony where she had stood just moments before. Its warm and familiar light looked odd from the outside. She floated forward. Light and understanding were also gathering in her mind. Understanding that troubled her.

My father! He’s enchanted this tower. He new someday I would try this. He knew I would want to leave. She hovered there, clenching her fists, frustration swelling inside her. I really AM trapped. I really AM a prisoner! 

She threw her head back and screamed into the rain. She screamed again. Finally, in dejection, she drifted down onto the balcony, opened the door and stepped back inside. Her shoulders shook. Her eyes dripped more rain onto her cloak, and onto the floor.


This continues the story of the heroes in Wynne, in Twynne Rivers, in the world of The Hero's Tale, Family Friendly RPGs. Here's more info on The Hero's Tale, and family friendly RPGing.

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Thursday, February 22, 2018

A Tale of Heroes - Scene 8: Thissraelle

After the final stair, Thissraelle entered the dark room at the top of the tower. The rain was making a steady rustle on the roof above. She waved her hand and three oculi shone, revealing her study table in the center of the room, cluttered with papers and books. Next to it was a huge bookshelf. She rushed to it, tossing herself to the floor at its base. From the bottom shelf she pulled a moderately sized wooden trunk. It clattered to the floor and she shushed it, then laughed at herself.

It’s not like anyone can hear me up here anyway! Especially through the rain.

She took a small key from her pocket and undid the lock, then through it open. For months, now, she had been stealing up the stairs and secreting things away in this trunk. She retrieved them, now. A heavy travelling cloak with a hood. Very finely made, with white and blue trim, it would be especially useful tonight in the downpour.

She had contemplated postponing her escape for the weather.  Escape? Is that the right word? She thought about that for a minute, and looked around at the tower. She loved this place. It was her solace and her place of learning. It was also her cell, along with the guild hall and the CenterTown below, trapping her as securely as a prison.

Finally, she had decided that she had to stick with her plan. Rain or not, she had to escape. Really, the rain would help. The storm clouds would darken the cover the night would give.

She slung a pouch over her shoulder. It had a few changes of clothing, a small blanket, a few coins, and some bread and cheese she’d brought up earlier in the day. She swirled the cloak over her shoulder and clasped it under her chin.

She leapt to her feet and pulled the hood over her head. It was only a few quick steps to a door, and she was out on the small balcony, feeling the cool wet air on her face. She looked up into the rain and smiled.

She lifted her arms to welcome the clouds and willed herself up into the air. She spun through the rain out of sheer excitement, then flew away from the tower.


This continues the story of the heroes in Wynne, in Twynne Rivers, in the world of The Hero's Tale, Family Friendly RPGs. Here's more info on The Hero's Tale, and family friendly RPGing.

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Monday, February 19, 2018

A Tale of Heroes - Scene 7: DeFrantis

“You leave my chickens be!” The innkeeper grabbed a shovel leaning by the side of the door and stepped toward DeFrantis.

“Wait, wait...” she said, “I don’t mean any harm! I just--” She began backing away, toward the fence.

“No harm would be not trying to steal my chickens!” He shouted, swinging the shovel before him. She dropped the chicken and jumped back, losing her balance. She went down with a splat in the mud and straw. Through the rain in her eyes, she could see him lifting the tool to swing at her again.

She lifted her hands, palms up, and willed herself to be hidden. The shadows all around her swelled up and swirled over her, enveloping her in darkness. She willed it outward, to cover the stockyard.

She heard the innkeeper gasp. “Wizardry!” Then she heard a crash. “I can’t see you, but I can still hit you!”

She rolled to her side, then up to her feet. As quick as she could with the slippery ground, she struggled to reach the back fence. When she reached it, she jumped up and tried to grab on to pull herself over. She slipped and fell with a splash.

“There you are!” He shouted through the rain, “I’ll get you!”

She frantically curled up and tried to make herself as small as possible in the darkness of the shadow. She could hear him slogging through the mud toward her.  She heard him grunt as he swung the pitchfork, once, twice, then she heard only rain. I’m so glad the others usually do this. I’m so bad at it!

She cowered, breathing heavily, and trying to be silent. I’ve got to get out. The shadow won’t last forever. Is he gone? With all the caution she could muster, she slid to her knees, then to her feet. She was near the fence, she was sure, so she reached behind her and felt it. She slowly turned in the dark.

She bent her knees slightly and jumped, reaching the top of the fence and grabbing on. She had swung herself up and hooked her leg over when she felt the sharp pain of impact on her head. It shot down through her whole body. She tensed, then fell, limp, into her own darkness.


This continues the story of the heroes in Wynne, in Twynne Rivers, in the world of The Hero's Tale, Family Friendly RPGs. Here's more info on The Hero's Tale, and family friendly RPGing.

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Thursday, February 15, 2018

A Tale of Heroes:- Scene 6: DeFrantis

DeFrantis slipped under the window and continued creeping along the street to the back of the inn. As she went, she began to smell the aromas of cooking meats and stews wafting through another open window. It made her empty stomach beg. This was not the distraction she needed.  She kept moving.

Soon the building ended and with it, the overhang. The wall she was leaning on changed to a fence. On the other side of it, she could hear a pig grunting. The smells had also changed. As she continued, the fence also turned a corner, and the street branched to the right into an alleyway behind the inn. The rainwater flowed out of the alley and into the street. She hurried across and into the alley, with the splashes rushing over her shoes and soaking her feet.

Feeling along in the rain and the darkness, she found a gate. She tried it, and it was locked. She looked up to the top of the fence and leapt up and grabbed the top. One of her hands slipped, and she shifted and reached again. She swung her body side to side and pulled herself up and over. She landed, feet-first, in a pile of straw. Her footing slipped in the wet straw and she fell back against the fence.

A light shone into the stockyard from an open door in the back of the inn. She could hear someone inside along with clanging pots. That must be the kitchen. To her right was a lower fence and through its sparse slats, she thought she could make out a pig. Further away, on the left was a chicken coop. Most of the chickens were huddling inside, but a few were pecking around the straw, dung, and mud under an overhanging roof of the coop.

She leaned forward, crouching on her heels and began creeping toward one of the chickens.

“C’mere!” she hissed, trying to both whisper and be a bit louder than the rain. She tried making clucking noises. “Get over here!” She moved forward, reaching for the chicken. It stood and stared at her as she got closer. She set herself for the spring, and threw herself at the chicken. It dodged away in a flurry of flapping and she landed in the muck.

The foul smell hit her immediately and she pulled herself up to her hands and knees. The clucking of the chickens sounded more like laughter to her. She scrambled to her feet and lunged at the nearest one, hissing, “You hold still!”  She grabbed the chicken and stood with a surprised expression and questionable balance. She raised her eyes to look up at the angry innkeeper standing in the light of the doorway.


This continues the story of the heroes in Wynne, in Twynne Rivers, in the world of The Hero's Tale, Family Friendly RPGs. Here's more info on The Hero's Tale, and family friendly RPGing.

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Monday, February 12, 2018

A Tale of Heroes - Scene 5: Granthurg

The barge deck heaved up and down, and the rain made it slippery and hard to stand steady. The forward pirate grabbed the railing, trying to hold his balance. Granthurg punched the downed man under him, hitting him twice. The barge stabilized a bit, as did the pirate, and Granthurg lifted up to see the him lunge. A sharp, cold pain stabbed into the giant’s shoulder and he lost his balance, falling backward. He smashed onto the deck and the cargo crates, and struggled against the assault, knocking bags and barrels loose.

He looked up into the angry determined face of the assailant as he pulled back on his sword and raised it for a second strike. Even though the man was smaller, he was positioned so as to make it difficult for Granthurg to move. He lifted his arms to shield himself, in spite of the pain.

At that moment, a deep splash of slimy river water rushed over him, down his throat, in his nose, and washed him further down the length of the barge. He rolled over as the water flowed past him, and coughed and gagged, gasping for breath. Finally, as his lungs and his head cleared, he knelt and looked up. Down the walkway, he saw Rinkmorr standing with his hands still forming the follow-through of a watershaping spell. The rest of the riverwater flowed off the barge, and Granthurg saw that the two pirates had been washed off with it.

Suddenly the awareness of the pain in his shoulder returned. He winced as he stood. The clean rain was gradually rinsing off the muddy river water, as well as the blood flowing from his wound. He grabbed the railing for balance, and raised his gaze to his friend.

“I could have handled them.”

“Yeah. Of course.” His boss smiled, with more than a hint of sarcasm. “I’ll bet you could’ve.”


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.

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

Sunday, February 11, 2018

The Land of Wynne

The Land of Wynne is the world where we first began our playtesting sessions. It's one of our group's favorite worlds and we have returned to it many times with different parties and different goals.  Now, it's the setting of the fiction portion of the blog, A Tale of Heroes. Here we include a map of the land, along with a little bit of background into each race and the place they inhabit.


We'll begin at the bottom of the map, in the south, with the humans.

The humans in Wynne are physically like those in our world. An adult male would be about 6 feet tall, a female a little shorter.

Where other populations in the world may have a reputation of one kind or another (magic, or mining), the humans are best known for their practicality and adaptability. Even though some humans might have personal or family resentments toward another race or people, for the most part they will trade with, work with, or fight with anyone. As a result, the two largest human cities (Twynne Rivers and Portstown) are an eclectic mix of peoples. It's common to see elves, dwarves, giants, and even pixies buying and selling in the markets right alongside of the more populous humans.

Portstown is along the southern coast, and is the main point where trade happens with human (and non-human) lands beyond Wynne. The city is cut into parts by the Wynne River, which is used to carry freight and travelers north. The giants dominate this service, using nature powers to ply the barges up and down river all the way west to their mountain home and back.

Portstown is a bustling, active city of medium size. Because of the active trade, many go there looking for work or adventure.

Northwest, up the river stream, is the city of Twynne Rivers. It carries that name because it rests in the fork of the Wynne (which flows from the west, from the mountains of the giants) and the Lesser Wynne (which flows from the Umbramoor Swamps in the northwest).

Because it's such a central hub for travel and commerce, it's a large and metropolitan city. Even though the people are predominantly human, there are people of almost all races here. Governed by a feudal king, there are wealthy courtiers and ministers, rich merchants, working-class craftsmen and artisans, as well as poverty-stricken beggars. Soldiers and constables try to keep order, but crime is rampant, especially in certain neighborhoods.

Human society (in both cities, and even in many small villages) is divided by guilds, factions, or churches. All three are organizations with varying goals and beliefs, all vying for status and control. Guilds are usually made up of people with a common bond, like a trade, a location, or an agreement for mutual protection. For example, there is a freighter's guild, a smithy's guild, etc. Each guild will have a pub or some kind of guild house.

A church is another kind of organization that operates in the cities and villages. They're a lot like guilds and factions, but they act more in the spiritual and religious areas of life. Churches can also vie for political power.

Outside the cities, the lands are held by the feudal lords and gentry. Villages and towns dot the lands surrounding the manors and castles of these lords. The lords will often be in allegiance to one of the factions as well as the king.

The Pixies\Fairies

The homeland of these mystical folk lies in the islands to the southeast of PortsTown. There is a lot of variety among them. They can range anywhere from 1 to 3 feet high. The shorter ones will often be winged.

Many humans say to "never trust a pixie". This is not so much because they believe the pixies to be dishonest, but more because the humans and the pixies have a history of antagonizing each other, while at the same time, trading and interacting with each other. Add to that the pixie’s cultural tendency to change their mind at a moment's notice, compared with the human leaders’ need for order, and there are frequent conflicts.

They are often fluent users of all kinds of powers.

The Wood Elves

Immediately to the north of the Twynne Rivers countryside, you'll find the Umbrawood Forest. This is the home to the wood elves.

A typical adult wood elf is about 4 to 5 feet high and quite muscular. Although there are a few larger settlements in the forest (most notably Umbrawood City), they tend to live in small family-based clans in tree-top villages throughout the forest. They have developed their own ways of agriculture, harvesting fruits and fungi from the trees and herding venison.

They tend to be a very magical group, favoring nature powers. They often use these powers to shape their villages, which are more like interconnected levels of tree houses. Even the sprawling Umbrawood City is made from the living trees of the forest.

There is a wood elf high council in Umbrawood City, headed by a King, but the outlying clans and villages really only follow them if all of the forest is in danger. If that happens, they are quick to form up an army and rally to fight.

The wood elves trade frequently in Twynne Rivers. As a result, the concept of the guilds and factions has begun to take hold in their city, much to the frustration of the current ruling class.

They dislike the High Elves, whom they consider to be elitist and arrogant. They have almost no contact with the Dwarves or the Felisians to the east.

The Arachins (Spider-folk)

Umbrawood Forest is home to many strange creatures. One of these is the race of the Arachins, or the Spider-Folk. In the distant past, they were the dominant life in the forest, but have since been slowly crowded out by the wood elves. In appearance they look like larger versions of common jumping spiders. From the ground to the top their heads, they stand 3 to 4 feet high, and can have a leg-span of as much as 6 feet.

Little is known about them. Because they can't form the sounds of humanoid speech, they don't interact with bipedal races. They are brilliantly intelligent, however. They have their own society with its own hierarchy, even though they mostly live solitary lives, living off small animals of the forest.

Most humans fear them, but, in reality, they are reasonable creatures, some good, others bad.

The Khelnar

In the Umbramire swamp, to the west of the forest, many dark creatures live. This includes a race of intelligent lizard-like people known as the Khelnar.

They spawn in the murky depths of the swamp, going through a tadpole-like process of metamorphosis into an adult.

The Giants

Further to the west of Twynne Rivers, the forest, and the swamp, at the end of the Wynne River is the mountain range home of the Giants.

These are tall, strong, and stocky humanoids, who stand anywhere from 7 to 12 feet high. They are not known for their speed or dexterity. Many of them, however, have made a study of nature powers, particularly stone and water. With the skill in water powers, they have made a trade shipping things and people up and down the rivers of Wynne.

They tend to dislike human society and pay little interest to the manipulations of the guilds, factions, and churches of the big cities.

The Western Dwarves

The dwarves are short, yet strong. They typically stand 3 to 4 feet high, yet could easily defeat many humans in tests of strength or endurance.

They live in cities dug into the sides of mountains, as an extension of their mining. They are skilled artificers, and their armor and weapons are prized throughout Wynne. They trade freely with the humans and other races in Twynne Rivers, using the giant barges as transport. They rarely put their efforts or attentions to learning to use powers.

The High Elves

The high elves are similar in height and appearance to the wood elves except they are thinner, with paler skin and more delicate features. They live in the mountains to the north of the forest, primarily in a city built onto the side of a semi-active volcano named Emberfire.

The High Elves claim that they are the race from which all other elves have descended (there are tales of desert dwellers as well as sea elves and even winged cloud elves). This leads them to a certain elitism, even racism, believing that they are superior to the other races. At times in the history of Wynne they have dominated or even ruled the land. For now, they are isolated on their mountaintop, believing all others are beneath them.

They are powerful mages, studying and mastering all kinds of powers. Their armies are fierce, being reinforced with striking powers and driven by pride. In spite of their arrogance and isolation, they have a vast intelligence and communications network throughout Wynne using crystal artifacts (Oculi Creator) infused with blue mental powers.

The Eastern Dwarves

The eastern Dwarves live in a vast intermountain complex\city in the mountains on the eastern edge of Wynne. Physically, they look like their western counterparts, but they have also chosen to isolate themselves from interaction with the rest of the world. They will sell precious and practical metals, as well as gems, but this is done by the rare caravan to Twynne Rivers. Foreign merchants are never allowed into their city.

The Felisians

The Felisians are a tribal and nomadic race of cat-like people who inhabit the plains in between the Umbrawood Forest and the Dwarven mountains. When standing on their two back legs, they are as tall as a human, at about 6 feet. The males are maned and muscular. They all have retractable claws with opposable thumbs.

Their traditional blade weapon, called the claw, is a metal grip that also attaches to the wrist, with one or two long blades extending like short or long swords out over the back of the hand.

They are both fierce fighters and noble friends, but no other race has made any effort to contact them or trade with them, perhaps because they think the cats are "wild" or "uncivilized".

The Dragons

Dragons once ruled all of Wynne, in fact most of the world. They are now few. When not killed outright, they live hundreds of years, growing to lengths of up to 40 feet or more. Dragons are almost always winged, and have the ability to breathe or spit some kind of horrible destruction from their mouths (like fire, acid, frost, etc...). Many of the older dragons are also powerful mages of varying types.

Dragons live reclusively, in mountains, deep swamps or forests, or sometimes in abandoned castle ruins.

In recent generations, there have been more stories of encounters with younger dragons. Some of the older historians and loremasters speculate that more dragons are hatching, and could be preparing for a return to power.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

A Tale of Heroes - Scene 4: Granthurg

Granthurg stepped forward, to the edge of the platform, and squinted out into the dark rain. The oculus lamps shone, but revealed nothing but river and more rain.

What were those lights? They looked like they were gleaming from the shore...  He ducked under the edge of the tarp and hopped off the platform. Instantly, he felt the chill of the rain falling on his face and bald head, and running onto his shoulders, soaking his shirt. He hefted his hammer and strode toward the bow of the boat. Maybe he could see better from there.

As he took the last steps to the bow, to stand next to the oculi, he strained to see beyond their glow. All he could hear was the torrential rain falling around him, on him.

He shrugged and shook off the wet as much as he could and turned around, to return to the steering at the stern. Along the side of the barge, halfway back, he saw two men climbing over the railing from a small boat.  One jumped onto the walkway between the railing and the tarped cargo and drew a shortsword. He shouted and rushed toward Granthurg.

The giant’s instinct was to defend himself, so he hefted the handle of his hammer between his two hands and used it to block the initial slashes of the sword. His attacker was significantly shorter than Granthurg, by at least a head and a half, and wearing a dark cloak. Behind him, another one stood, in an attacking posture, but unable to reach around past his cohort.

Granthurg continued blocking, and began pressing forward. He shifted his left hand, near the head of the hammer, then, after a block, lunged forward and used his leverage to swing the massive hammer in a side sweeping counter-attack. The boarder saw it coming and jumped back, but lost his footing on the rain-soaked deck and fell back.

As he rolled over and struggled to stand, Granthurg raised the hammer up above his shoulder and swung down, narrowly missing the wriggling man’s legs and cracking the planks of the deck.

Both men scrambled toward the stern, slipping on the wood.

Granthurg suddenly realized his friend and boss was there, sleeping.  “RINKMORR!” he shouted, hoping he could wake him before the river pirates got to him. He lunged forward, taking huge strides, and threw himself at the men. His hammer clattered to the deck as he wrapped his bulky arms around the nearest man’s torso. They collapsed with a crash, and the impact of Granthurg’s huge body swayed the boat back and forth.

“RINKMORR!” He called again, “GET UP! GET UP!”


This continues the story of the heroes in Wynne, in Twynne Rivers, in the world of The Hero's Tale, Family Friendly RPGs. Here's more info on The Hero's Tale, and family friendly RPGing.

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Monday, February 5, 2018

A Tale of Heroes - Scene 3: Thissraelle

I know it’s not the tallest tower in Twynne Rivers, She thought, sliding her feet onto each step on the circular stairway, but it might as well be.

Usually, she would just float herself up to the small study at the top. She had the ability to use the power. It was a lot easier than climbing, and it was good practice. Tonight, however, she wanted to save her powers, and her will. Actually, it wasn’t even the tallest tower in the guild hall. It was, however, her tower. She was Thissraelle, and her father was the Guildmaster of the Twynne Rivers Wizards’ Guild. When she was very young, he had given her the room at the top as a place to study magic. He made it so it belonged entirely to her. But he also made it so she belonged to it.

She paused on the stairs as she passed a window. For a moment she caught her reflection in the glass, in spite of the rain splattering on the pane. Her face was thin and delicate, with a dainty, if sharp chin, and a small slope for a nose. Her father had often told her that she was beautiful, as all high elves were. Her gaze shifted out the window, over the city. She could see many lights glowing in the CenterTown below, even though the rainwater on the glass distorted her view. She knew well the bright oculus lights of the streets below. She leaned into the window well and swung the pane open, letting the cool air and a bit of the rain to waft in onto her face and blow her thin long white hair.

Directly in front of her, and towering above, were the three bell towers of the Cathedral of The Church of Three Lights. A distance beyond that, and off to her left, she could see the Royal Palace, then the wall separating the luxurious CenterTown from the rough and tumble of the RiverFront, and the merchants in the NorthTowne. There were some lights in the streets there as well.

Beyond that lay the InnerWall, where the commoners lived, worked, and fought. Outside the city wall, there was only darkness. In the sun, during the day, she could see the mosaic made by the shanty roofs in the OuterWall. Here, at night, in the rain, there was only black beyond.

She had often wondered what life was like was like outside of CenterTown. Her father had told her frightening stories of the crime, poverty, and carnage that ruled beyond the wall. At first, she had listened, wide-eyed and terrified, but as she grew older, she began to wonder. If all of these stories were true, how would the city live? How would shops sell, and inns be kept? If all was chaos, how could the city go on?

And what would I find in the forests and mountains beyond Twynne Rivers? She had often wanted to see the world, and she wanted to start with a journey to Emberfire, the city of her people, the high elves. She had lived her entire life here in the center of Twynne Rivers, with the humans, and the only other high elves she knew were her mother and father.

Until now!

With a secretive smile, she closed the window and continued up the stairs.


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.

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

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Twynne Rivers

All of these stories begin in the world of Wynne, in the City of Twynne Rivers. Here is some interesting info on the setting, and a basic map.

Once the Players have chosen their characters and gotten a bit familiar with them, you can begin to explain the setting to them. In the land of Wynne, the Greater and the Lesser Wynne rivers flow from the mountains and the swamps in the west and northwest, across the fertile meadowland. At one point, they merge into a single waterway, and finish the path to the sea.

At the point of the merging is the city of Twynne Rivers. This city has a long and troubled history. It began primarily as a human settlement, but as it has grown from village to the hub of a great kingdom, it has absorbed and traded with many other peoples and races. Even though it is still predominantly human, it’s not surprising to see Wood Elves and High Elves, or Pixies and Giants. The latter are especially common on the riverfront, since they are commonly the ones that drive the barges up and down the rivers to trade with the villages and towns in the mountains or the Umbramire Swamp.

The city of Twynne Rivers is a large metropolis, divided into five sections, commonly known as “Quarters”.  First is the CentreTown. This is the wealthiest and most beautiful part of the city. Parks, plazas, and great buildings fill the CentreTown. At the hub are the King’s palace, the Ministry (the government offices), and the Cathedral of the Church of Three Lights. All three buildings are lavish and extensive, with gardens and surrounded by walls and gates. The poor are not allowed to walk these streets, and if they must go to the offices in the Ministry, they must either be accompanied by a representative, or enter through a back alley. In CentreTown the streets are wide and always swept clean. Many nobles and those of the King’s court make their homes in CentreTown.

To the south, on the other side of the Wynne River, and the north, is the second quarter, known as South Town and NorthTowne. Together, this is a section of the city with hundreds of shops and inns on meandering streets. This is where the merchants live and trade, and where the most successful guild halls stand. Most of the buildings are of wood and stone and are two to three levels high. Working animals haul wagons of goods up and down the streets, making pickups and deliveries.

In between these two is the Riverfront. This divides the city, on either side of the rivers. These are the docking facilities for the shipping barges that carry goods and people up and and down the waterways. The buildings are smaller, except for the larger warehouses. There are lots of pubs and inns that cater to the dock workers and travellers. Aside from the dockway that runs along the river, there are fewer streets, but rather, lots of alleyways. It’s not usually a very safe place to be after dark.

The fourth quarter of the city is called The InnerWall. This is the large circle of the city that borders the two Towns and surrounds the riverfront but is, itself, surrounded by the great city wall. The wall was built many years ago to protect the city from an oncoming invasion. It is still patrolled by the city army to this day. The InnerWall city inside of it is a dirty, congested, and twisted mass of homes, bazaars, shops, and streets. With the exception of a few main thoroughfares, the streets, alleys, stairways and pathways are known only by the people living there.  And they only know their way around a close proximity. There are occasional outposts of the city army and magistrates, which does help maintain some order, but there is still a lot of crime. There are many working craft and trade guilds in the Innerwall, as well as adventuring guilds. 

The last section is not technically a quarter of the city. This is the OuterWall. These are the hovels and homes that have built up over many, many years outside the walls of the city. There are a lot of people, mostly impoverished, that live this way, but since they are not within the walls of the city, the King’s Minister claims no responsibility to protect them. Crime is rampant, and the area is very dangerous. The City army only patrols if there is a faction getting out of control, or to maintain the safety of the rivers and trade roads that connect Twynne Rivers to others.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

A Tale of Heroes - Scene 2: Granthurg

Here is the second scene in the ongoing tale of heroes...


The early part of the spring had brought average rainfall. It might have even been a little dry this year. So, two days of steady rain, while not strange, was still a little unexpected. It had raised the Wynne River up a bit past its normal levels. Not yet high enough to flood, but high enough to make the waters flow more swiftly. Granthurg thought about this as he took the night turn steering the long barge toward Twynne Rivers. The Wynne was fairly deep and wide in the eastern parts, so there wasn’t much worry of rapids or difficulty in maneuvering. Since they were on a downriver run, their two-man crew didn’t even have to use nature powers to drive the barges, like they typically did when going upstream.

He was easily nine feet tall, with thick, muscular shoulders and a bit of a belly, all well hidden under a heavy shirt. He stood on a raised platform on the stern of the barge, with a tight tarp stretched above his head to drip off the rain. It didn’t give him a lot of headroom. The loads they were transporting were stacked and tied down on the barge deck before him, also covered.

Granthurg was one of the many giants that worked the river between his home in the western mountains and the cities of Twynne Rivers and PortsTown. They drove barges, some long, others smaller, up and down, making trade with the villages along the way. The barge he drove was not the largest he’d ever seen, but he was happy to be on the crew.

At his left was another giant, asleep under a blanket. This was the barge owner and captain, Rinkmorr. He was larger, older, and more experienced that Granthurg, and had the natural powers over water necessary to drive the loaded barge, against the current, back up to their home at the foot of the mountains. Granthurg hadn’t learned those skills, yet. He was there to load, unload, and defend. Sometimes, when they went downstream, he was allowed to steer, as he was doing.

Even at night, there wasn’t much to steering. He pretty much just had to keep the barge from running aground on the banks. There were two stones mounted on the front of the barge, magically shining light onto the waters before him, and allowing him to see if he got too close. These were the so-called oculi creatori - “the eyes of the Creator”, gems that had been purified and enchanted by the Twynne Rivers wizard’s guild. Most of the barges had them, even though they were expensive to acquire.

He squinted as he looked out over the dark, past the barge, past the light of the oculi, and into the rain. He thought he saw a glimmer of light up ahead along the river.

That’s odd. We’re not supposed to get to Twynne Rivers until later tomorrow. He looked closer, and I don’t remember a village on the way. 

He looked again. He definitely saw them, off to the right. They weren’t in the configuration of a barge’s oculi, and anything that far off to the side would have to be way too close to the banks, if not actually on the shore.

He looked on the floor behind him and saw his hammer. It was sitting there on the deck, as he had left it, ready for him to grab and swing if it was necessary. It was large, a two-handed weapon, and well-crafted. Its steel was ornately shaped, but hard and sturdy in combat.

He looked forward again. The lights were gone.

That’s not good. His eyes scanned the dark ahead of him, hoping he would find the lights. That’s not good at all.  With one hand still gripping the rudder, he reached for the hammer.

He would be ready.


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