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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