Wednesday, December 18, 2019

185- “A Whistle in the Woods” - Korr - A Tale of Heroes

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


“It really would be good for you to eat some breakfast before we go.” Korr limped toward Karendle as she was tying her bundle to the donkey’s side. As he set his own roll onto the animal’s pack and pulled at the straps to secure it, he added, “We will be traveling at a pressured pace today, and you’ll need the strength.”

Karendle looked over at Parith, stirring a pan of mush by the fire. She scowled. “I don’t have much of an appetite right now.” The donkey shifted its feet, bumping into her.

“Karendle,” Korr said, and she looked up, with a bit of surprise at the sound of Korr using her name so directly. “Please be patient with my friend. I’ve not known him long, but he is well-meaning and is sincerely trying to help us.”

Karendle rolled her eyes. “The wood elves tried to kill us, and they scattered and captured--!”

“True,” Korr agreed, “but I remember something he said about the drake while we were in The Vast.”


“Thissraelle asked him why he kept Drakie, even though the others had attacked us in the cathedral. He said, ‘This one didn’t.’”

Karendle secured the last knot and walked away. As she went past the fire pit, she paused. Parith looked up for a moment, then, without speaking, scooped out a small bowl of gruel and handed it to Karendle. She took it and crossed to the other side of the fire to sit and eat. Nothing crossed between then but the frost on their breaths.

Korr finished attaching his pack. I don’t like this tension. He looked over at them. He had not seen Parith this upset, this... sad before. It’s not anger. I wish I understood him better. 

Korr walked to the fire pit and sat down. He pulled his cloak tighter around him. His leg was quite painful, now, even though they had cleaned off the blood and bound up the gash. Korr tentatively touched the bandage and winced as he felt the sting.

Parith’s head shot up and his eyes darted from tree to tree in the forest. “Did you hear that?” He sat up taller and grabbed his staff.

Korr hadn’t noticed any sounds other than the wind, the fire, and the birds in the trees. Even the drake had been quiet.

Parith stood slowly. “They’re back. That whistle is a wood elf signal call.” Korr and Parith leapt up, circling into defensive postures around the fire. Fire? I should use the stone stance. No. He shifted his feet in the leafy rug below him. No, I need a quicker response. I’ll use fire stance. He heard the next whistle and turned to look in the direction he’d heard it from.

“That’s not an attack signal.” Parith was thinking out loud. “It’s not any of the fighting alerts.” It sounded again.

“That’s a search signal.” He hesitated, then pursed his lips and mimicked the whistle. It came back, varied slightly. “Stay ready. Even that signal can still be a trap.”

After a moment of silence, Parith quietly spoke, pointing, “It came from that direction. Maybe you two should hide yourselves there and there.” Korr nodded and moved to where Parith had pointed. He found a place behind a thick trunk of a tall oak. From here I can see much of their possible approach, and also still view Parith. 

Parith sounded his signal again, and the response was quick and much nearer.

“Thissraelle!” Karendle shouted, and Korr heard her footfalls running through the leafy carpet. He looked around the tree trunk and saw Thissraelle drifting down toward Karendle, wrapped in a thick blanket, trailing a light blue mist behind her. She lit on the ground and jumped to embrace Karendle. Korr relaxed and moved toward them.

“Oh!” Thissraelle sighed, releasing the embrace and starting to walk to the camp, “I’m so glad I found you!”

They stepped past the platforms into the space around the firepit. Thissraelle explained, “I mean, I’m glad we found you!”

“We?” Karendle asked.

“Yes, Illarielle is here somewhere. Illarielle!”

Thissraelle looked around her, up in the branches. Korr followed her gaze, and a figure scrambled down a tree trunk to stand by Thissraelle. She was small, wearing a light green cloak. Her hood was back, and Korr could see that she was clearly a wood elf. Korr and Parith immediately jumped into defensive postures. Karendle drew her blade.

No one moved. Thissraelle didn’t respond immediately. She and Parith faced each other for a heavy moment. Finally, she spoke, “This is Illarielle. She helped me find my way back.” Everyone looked at her with distrust. “Really, she’s fine.” Illarielle held out her hands to show she had no weapon, then just gave an awkward wave.

Korr tensed and moved slowly toward them. Please, no more anger. No more fighting today!

Thissraelle pointed to each one. “Behind me, that’s Karendle. That’s Korr, and,” she sighed, “that’s Parith. I think he’s from Treehaven.”

Illarielle smiled. “Him? He’s cute!”

“Wait!” Thissraelle suddenly looked around, frightened. “Where’s Eddiwarth? What happened to Eddiwarth! Where is he?” She ran back toward the platforms, searching.

“The wood elves, they,” Parith said, then looked away, “captured him. We were getting ready to go after them.”

Thissraelle sat down hard on the platform, burying her face in her hands. “No. Oh, no. I shouldn’t have blinked away!” Karendle stepped toward her and sat down. Thissraelle looked at her with wide, scared eyes. “I panicked! The elf had me and was trying to gag me! I panicked. I shouldn’t have left him.”

Korr also stepped toward her. Karendle rested her hand on Thissraelle’s shoulder.

“We’ll find him.”


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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Monday, December 16, 2019

184 - “Pain and Hurt” - Korr - A Tale of Heroes

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Korr’s legs hurt.

One hurt from the gash that the wood elf had left with his sword.  It hadn’t been easy walking back to the encampment at the waypoint, and it had bled quite a bit, too. He had kept his focus by reminding himself that he had to get back to help the others and that Thissraelle would be able to heal it up once they were safe.

The other leg, however, hurt from the strain having to support Karendle’s weight as she hung from the tree branches. The tree’s branches, twisted by nature magic, had wrapped around her arms and held her up above the ground, kicking and complaining.

When Korr had arrived at the waypoint, he had first cut Parith free. Then, he planted his stance firmly under Karendle’s feet, allowing her to stand on his shoulders while Parith jumped up into the tree and tried to cut her loose.

“Ow! Can’t you cut any faster?” Karendle breathed. “My arms hurt.”

“Oh, deal with it. These branches are much thicker than the vines that held me down.”

“You could have just brought me up my nature stone. Then I could easily unwind them.”

“I looked for it!” Parith snapped. “I have no idea where it fell.” He resumed hacking with his blade. Drakie landed on the branch next to him and trilled.

Korr shifted his weight slightly to favor his unwounded leg. He felt the move shift Karendle’s balance as well. The breeze was cold and he realized he hadn’t put his cloak back on. Korr closed his eyes and tried to imagine himself as a solid stone whose feet sank deep into the earth.

After a moment without speaking, Parith’s blade broke through the wood and Karendle’s right arm dropped, exhausted, to her side. This changed her balance again and Korr shuffled his feet to adapt. Parith jumped over to the other branch, making it bounce and shake.

“Hey! That hurts! Move easy!”

“I am!” He settled into a new sitting position and began chopping and cutting at the branches on her other arm. He seemed to be trying not to shake as much, though. “And ‘you’re welcome’.”

Karendle huffed and slowly turned her right arm and shoulder, flexing the sore muscles. Korr looked up at them both. Wood shavings fell around him. Parith was cutting and carving at the branch just above where it had magically twisted itself around her upper arm. The arguing made Korr tense, and that reminded him how tired and pained his legs were. Karendle’s boots were also digging into his shoulder muscles. Just a few moments more, and we’ll be fine.

Those few moments extended on in awkward silence until Parith announced, “There!” and with a shove, made the final cut in the branch.

Suddenly freed, but now without support, Karendle wobbled back and forth unsteadily. She tried to balance herself and crouch down to get easily off Korr’s shoulders, but she wasn’t able to keep steady. She swung her arms, which, though free, were still wrapped in the coils of tree branches. Korr tried to move underneath her, to secure his footing, but his own legs gave out and the two of them crumbled to the ground with grunts and shrieks. Parith also struggled to keep steady up in the swaying branches. Once the motion stopped, he jumped down.

Korr sat up and shook some leaves off his shoulders. Karendle slowly rose and began working out of the wooden cuffs the cut branches had left around her upper arms. They were tight and it was difficult work.

“Maybe if you can’t get them off, you can get some artisan to carve them into ornate decorations,” Parith offered, attempting a smile. Karendle looked up with a glare. Parith shook his head and went to sit by the fire. He leaned his elbows onto his knees and ran his hands through his hair. The drake sat next to him, its tail swishing.

Korr leaned over and started to run his hands through the leaves on the ground the two of them had landed on. He held up a stone, looked it over, and offered it to Karendle. “Is this your oculus?” She shook her head, and he returned to the search. She refocused on her arm, then cursed, trying to simply pull the branch off. In frustration, she stood and stomped toward the platform where her bedroll waited.

Korr felt a cool smooth stone under the leaves, and drew it out hopefully. It was smooth, shiny, and striped with deep browns and greens. It was also not as dirty as the other one had been. He held it up. “Is this it?”

Karendle turned and stepped back. “Yes!” She snatched it up. “Thanks!” She sat down on a nearby log and cradled the stone in he palms. She closed her eyes. Korr watched the wooden coils lightly glow green, then unwrap from her arms and slither away like snakes until they dropped, lifeless, to the ground. Relieved, she swung her arms in circles to restore the circulation. She rubbed her biceps with her hands to warm them up. Finally, she noticed Korr on the ground and stepped over, offering a hand to help him up. He took it and stood, carefully, wincing from the pain in his thigh.

Karendle shrugged. “I’m sorry, but I don’t know how to heal.” Korr nodded with reassurance.

Karendle looked deep into the woods.  “Do you know how we are going to find them?”

Parith raised his head. “No. I’m not sure, anyway.” He sighed and pointed. “They all left that way. They’re likely taking them to Treehaven, or somewhere near there.”

“Well that’s fine for Eddiwarth, but it looked like Thissraelle flashed away with dimensional wizardry. She could be anywhere!”

Parith just shrugged.

“I know you don’t like her,” Karendle spat. “You must be happy now that the ‘high elves’ are gone, out of your way here in your precious forest!”

Parith leapt to his feet, fists clenched. “You keep quiet! You don’t know what you’re talking about!” Korr also stood, poised to intervene. He was ready, but he didn’t like how this fight was escalating. Parith shouted, “She was the one with harsh words for the wood elves. I was fine traveling with her, but she didn’t trust us!”

Karendle huffed. “Yeah? Well, look how that mistrust played out.” She spun around and strode to the platform. Parith cursed and sat back down. Korr hesitated, dropped his gaze, and followed her to pack up his own bedroll.


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, December 12, 2019

183 - “Nature’s Child” - Thissraelle - A Tale of Heroes

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“There you are,” Illarielle said as Thissraelle set her feet on the ground. The wood elf held out a heavy, woolen blanket. “Here, take this one.”

Thissraelle tentatively stepped forward, still holding her light blade ready and took the blanket, then slung it over her shoulder. It gave her a welcome break against the wind.

The base of the tree trunk was huge, one of the biggest Thissraelle had ever seen, and certainly much bigger around than any that were in even the oldest parts of Twynne Rivers. Illarielle sat on one of the lengths of root that jutted out on its way from the trunk down into the rich dark soil. Near her was a large rock with a steaming bowl resting on it. As Thissraelle approached, she felt warmth radiating from the boulder. “Sit down!” Illarielle chirped. Thissraelle did, with caution. She was nervous, but for the moment decided to wave away the blade in her hand. She looked at the forest around her. The morning sun started to flow between the bare branches of the trees. She could barely see the sky between the tangles, but it was lighter than the full night.

Thissraelle studied Illarielle. She was young- not even a full adult yet, but not a child, either. Her face was clear and her eyes were bright. She was definitely a wood elf, but she didn’t seem threatening. She just smiled lightly at Thissraelle, then asked, “What happened? If you were attacked, how did you get up in the tree?”

How much should I say? Is she just playing with me? Thissraelle looked at her, allowing her mind and awareness to reach out and wrap around the girl. Thissraelle searched her over for a sense of anger, or aggression, or even fear. Illarielle shifted her head to one side, with a confused look, then her eyes shot open.

“You’re checking my aura! You’re all kinds of magical!” She smiled wide and shifted her seat, closed her eyes, and opened her palms in her lap. “There. Go ahead. What do you see?”

Thissraelle was shocked and embarrassed to have been caught inspecting the girl. She stopped, but Illarielle opened one of her eyes, nodded encouragement, then closed it again. For the second time, Thissraelle allowed her thoughts to reach out and surround the girl. There was no anger, no hatred, and, strangely, no fear. Just lots of curiosity. Who is she? Is she even real?

“You’re a full wizard, aren’t you? How did you learn? Which powers do you know? Wait-- don’t say!” She looked Thissraelle over. “Hmmmm... You made a dagger out of light, so that’s one. You looked at my mind, so that’s all mental powers, right? Is that how you flew down?”

“Uh, yeah...”

“That’s why you were glowing blue! Oh, magic fascinates me! I only know nature powers. I come out here in the forest to practice and learn more. I get myself attuned to the rhythms of the earth and the winds.  The trees are my friends.” She reached out and touched the root, smoothing her hand over the rough texture like she were petting a cat. “So, how did you learn the other magics? Did you find a teacher? Elves don’t study magic except the woods and the earth. At least the elves of the forest-- Oooh!” Her brows leapt up and she clapped her hands over her mouth in surprise.

“You’re a high elf!” The sudden silence between them was as chilly as the breeze.

Illarielle’s eyes grew bigger as bits of understanding started to drop into place. “That’s why you didn’t understand me,” she whispered. She gasped, then continued, “That’s why you were attacked, isn’t it?”

How do explain this? It’s like she has no idea what’s going on.

Actually, I’m not sure what’s going on, either.

Finally, Thissraelle broke the tension. “Yes, that’s why. I’m sure of it. We were traveling north through the Umbrawood. We were just passing through on the trade road, but a wood elf patrol followed us and attacked. We don’t mean harm; we’re just trying to get through. We even have a wood elf guide! Why would they attack? We’re not dangerous!” Her voice grew tense. Her mind went through the scene, trying to find an indication of the reason for the violence, some sort of clue...

“Eddiwarth.” Thissraelle stood up. “I left Eddiwarth. They were hurting him...”

Illarielle stood also.

Thissraelle gathered up the blanket, and stepped around the trunk. “And Karendle. I have to get back to them. Thank you for your help, but I have to go.”

Illarielle stepped around the other side of the tree trunk to meet Thissraelle again. “Maybe I can help! Where are they?”

I have no idea. This realization hit her hard. I have no idea where they are. I don’t even know where I am. 

Thissraelle stood in stunned silence, staring at Illarielle.


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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Monday, December 9, 2019

182 - “Like a Leaf in the Tree” - Thissraelle - A Tale of Heroes

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Part 14

In the previous part:
As the part opens, Karendle is contacted via oculus by Illitharin, her main contact in the Dragon’s Flame. Thissraelle joins in the communication. They still want Karendle to capture Thissraelle, and she assures them that she will. Later, they also contact DeFrantis and have a joyful reunion, even though it’s through magic. They learn that Granthurg is alive, though fearful.

As they travel north out of Twynne Rivers, toward the Umbrawood Forest, Thissraelle reveals her fear of the wood elves, offending Parith. Parith also discovers Eddiwarth’s feelings for her and teases him about it. 

Kirraxal figures out some of the magical glyphs of the Dragonkin, and kills three of his servants. He uses dark shadow magic to restore them as the Dragonbonded, semi-living servants. One he sends to find and destroy Heathrax, one he sends to recover the white dagger, and one he keeps as a very loyal guard. Tonklyn finds himself uncertain of his place in Kirraxal’s plans.

The party reaches the Umbrawood Forest, and enters, travelling several days into its dormant autumn depths. Illitharin passes them on the road, and acknowledges Karendle with a knowing look. The next morning, the party is attacked and overcome by a patrol of wood elves. They try to capture Thissraelle and Eddiwarth, who are high elves, but Thissraelle teleports away using dimensional powers. Parith is frustrated and confused by the attack.


182 - “Like a Leaf in the Tree” - Thissraelle - A Tale of Heroes

With a blinding flash of light, Thissraelle blinked out of the many-colored darkness of The Vast and found herself falling. She hit something, painfully hard, on her upper left side and her body flipped around, jerking her head as she continued falling. Immediately, she fell onto something else round and hard. It was cold and it scraped her. She swung her arms and legs trying vainly to feel, but she was spinning and falling blindly. Her left thigh hit another obstacle, and threw her back into yet another. She swept her arms above her head to grab a hold and stop the plummet. It felt rough and unstable, but she gripped it tight as her eyes adjusted.

Cold air blew past her and she shivered. Her muscles ached from the beating she’d taken falling, masking the pain from the struggle with the wood elf. Her vision began to clear. It was dark, but starting to lighten in the pre-dawn sun. The rounded shape she clung to was a thick tree branch. She looked herself over. Her legs were draped over another branch off to the side and her torso was turned a bit as it dangled down in the air between the two. 

She leaned back on the branch, then hazarded a look below her. In the morning dim, she couldn’t see the ground, only layers and layers of branches.

How high up am I dangling, here?

Dangling in the cold air.

The frigid air!

She noticed that she was wearing a thin tunic and loose thin leggings. She’d been more than comfortable rolled up in her blankets just a few minutes before. What had happened? She wiped her hair out of her face and shivered.

We were attacked. 

We were attacked, by wood elves. I woke up when I heard Parith call, then there was a blast. 

Then I was struggling, and someone was trying to smother me. It smelled really bad.

She tried to move, to shift and sit up, but her muscles were too pained. She leaned back again.

I panicked. Why did I panic? 

She tried to breathe, to calm the fear that rushed up in her heart again.

Where am I? I ‘ported somewhere. Where is it?

She looked around, but could only see branches. 

I’m still in the forest. I couldn’t have gone far. I didn’t use up the will it would have take to go a long way. Where’s Eddiwarth? And Karendle?

She closed her eyes and breathed deep calming breaths. She summoned her will and felt herself surrounded by warming brightness. The pain and stiffness in her legs, back, and arms subsided and eased as the healing power flowed through her. Hopefully that will keep it all from bruising.

She reached up and grabbed a hold of some smaller branches nearby, then pulled herself up into a sitting position. She found herself on a large and sturdy branch, a short distance from an enormous trunk.

Maybe I can reach out to Eddiwarth, or even Karendle. She focused again and began to extend her awareness in a spiral around her, sweeping farther and farther away--  

A rustling of the branches below her broke her concentration. A figure in light green swung up from a lower branch and landed on the one where Thissraelle was sitting. Thissraelle gasped in surprise and pushed herself away. She swept her hand defensively, trailing a bright line of light between them. The figure crouched, balanced on the branches as they swayed a bit from landing, then held out a hand to shield its eyes for a moment. 

In the glimmer Thissraelle could see the face of a wood elf. Immediately she backed away further, almost to the trunk of the tree, and her hand summoned a short dagger of light. 

The elf tossed her hood off and spoke what sounded like a question in words that Thissraelle couldn’t fully understand. It sounded a bit like elvish, but she only made out what she thought was “you” and “healthy”. The elf had girlish features, and looked young. Her brown hair was short and messy from the hood and the breeze. She wore a loose, short cloak over a thick tunic. She held her hand up as she balanced on the branch, then said, “...Or don’t you speak elvish?”

Who is this? Thissraelle looked around quickly, trying to see others, but saw only shadows. Finally, she took a breath and answered, “Not that kind of elvish, apparently.”

The girl in green nodded, and lowered her hands. “Are you OK? Did you slip and fall?”

Thissraelle asked her own question. “Where are the others?”

The girl looked confused. “Others? I’m alone, here.”

“There were others. The ones that attacked us. Are they near?”

“Attacked! Oh, no! You must be hurt! Can I help? I’m all alone in the woods, just feeling the vibrations of the trees.” She took in a breath and swept her arms all around. “Doesn’t it feel wonderful moving through you? Oh - wait, if you’re hurt, you’re probably not feeling the wave of the life around you. Let me help you!” She started to move toward Thissraelle.

Thissraelle held the dagger out protectively. “Let’s... keep a distance for the moment.”

“Yes. Okay. That’s fine.” The girl relaxed and sat down on the branch making it sway. Thissraelle shivered and used her free hand to cling to herself for a bit of warmth. “I have a blanket on the ground. Would you like it? I’ll go get it for you! Or you can just follow me!” She jumped up and started to swing down on her branch.

“Who are you?”

The girl swung back up. “Oh! I’m sorry! I forgot! I’m Illarielle, of Treehaven.”

Thissraelle wondered. “Treehaven? That’s still a few days travel from here isn’t it?”

“Yeah, but I like to be in the woods. That, and my teacher sent me out to find herbs and mushrooms.”

“For magic?”

“No, I think just for cooking. What about you? Why are you here? Oh, wait. You must be freezing without a cloak! Let’s get that blanket.” She tossed herself off the branch onto one several layers below, then continued leaping downward.

“Hey! Wait!” Thissraelle started, then sighed. She summoned her will, cleared her mind, and in a light blue mist, floated herself downward through the shadows and the branches.


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, December 5, 2019

181 - “Disappointment” - Parith - A Tale of Heroes

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"I'm sorry to disappoint you." Parith hissed through his clenched teeth. "Let me go and I'll give you a good fight!"

The leader of the elf team laughed. His cloak was a dark brown, common for patrols in the autumn woods. It was heavy against the cold, but not long, so as to make it easier to move quietly through the trees. His hood was down across his back, revealing long brown hair. His breath misted in the chill morning air.

The elf nodded to Parith's captor, who quickly withdrew the sword and shoved hard into Parith’s back, throwing him to the ground. Before Parith could jump to his feet, tree roots sprouted up from the ground under the leaves and tangled around his arms and legs, pulling him flat to the forest floor.
Parith's eyes narrowed and he winced with the pain in his limbs. He shouted as loud as he could with his head turned to the side, "I call thee out and demand that thou shouldst explain this attack!" 

The commander raised his eyes in amused surprise to hear Parith make his challenge in full elvish. "Thou shalt not demand ought of me!” the leader replied, “You are all spies. Thou art, and thy companions, all!"

"Spies? Nay, we are travelers, journeying through Umbrawood, and I am their guide.”

The elf stepped to Parith and leaned over his head. “Tell me thy name,” he paused, then snarled, “good Sir Guide.”

“I am Parith, of Treehaven. These past three summers I have spent aiding caravans that ply the trade with the humans in Twynne Rivers.”

The commander stood and put his foot on Parith’s back, pressing him harder into the ground. 

“Humans? There was but one human among thy companions!”

They saw Korr! Where is he? Is he alive?

The commander continued, “And above this, thou dost consort with high elves! Two of them! Wilt thou deny this? Whither go ye? Not to our capitol, to be sure!”

What should I tell them? I want them to trust me, but I don’t want to reveal too much. Parith felt the boot lift off his torso and he sucked in air. “We go to Treehaven, for rest, then onward north to Emberfire.”

Parith heard the elf laughing. He told his soldiers to carry off Eddiwarth. They moved to pick him up. Finally, the leader spoke again, reverting to the common speech. “Well, you’re a fool, then. These liars have duped you. Don’t you know what is happening? Maybe you don’t. How long has it been since you’ve been through the forest? The high elves are mustering armies at the base of the Emberfire mountains, and they’re not allowing passage. Twynne Rivers is in chaos.” He began to step away, saying, “We’ll take these high elves to the militia at Treehaven, then on to Umbrawood City. They’ll have a lot to tell once they’re broken.”

He turned and shouted to the others, who followed him as he left.

“Wait! Wait!” Parith pleaded, “We’re all elves of the forest, here, aren’t we? We’re brothers! Don’t leave me here!”

“Hey! Come back!” Karendle shouted, “Let us go!”

Then for a moment the only sound was the wind in the branches. Karendle struggled again, shaking the tree’s limbs and grunting and shouting in pain and frustration.

Flames! Flaming burning flames! What’s going on? Parith struggled against the roots that held him, but they were firm. I’ve got to figure a way out of here. We’ve got to get to Eddiwarth. What happened to Thissraelle? And Korr?

“Karendle! Can you hear me?”

“Yes!” He couldn’t see her, but her voice sounded pained.

“Can you get to your oculi?”

“No!” She snapped. “I dropped the shaking stone when these creator-blighted trees grabbed me. It’s down there in the leaves somewhere. Do you have any good ideas?”

He took in a cold breath. “Yes. Yes, I did, but they involved you being able to use your stones.”

“Ow! Argh!” Through clenched teeth, she said, “Then they’re not very good ideas, are they?”

“Hey! I’m just trying to think—“ A flapping of wings and a fluttering of leaves interrupted Parith. He raised his head, straining his neck, to try and turn to look the other way and see what it was.


The small drake folded its wings and scurried through the leaves to Parith. It trilled and yapped, licking eagerly at his face. “Dra— Drakie, stop. Stop! Bite the roots. Drak— stop! Come on...” 
The drake stopped licking and jumped up onto Parith’s back. It walked up and down his ribs, sniffing and snorting. 

“Bite the roots, boy. Come on! Help me get loose!” Parith pleaded. The little dragon squawked and continued to step in circles on his master’s back. Finally, it settled down in a comfortable place, tucked his legs, rested his head, and curled his tail around himself. It breathed out a contented snort.

Stupid dragon.

Flaming stupid elves. 

The End of Part 13


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, December 2, 2019

180 - “Surprise” - Parith - A Tale of Heroes

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Where’s Korr? 

Parith wiped his eyes. They quickly adjusted to the dark and the cold. He reached across the fire pit, picked up a few small logs, and threw them into the faintly glowing embers. He pulled his cloak tight around his shoulders. Leaning over the side of the pit, he blew a gentle, but steady stream of air onto the glow. After two breaths, the unburned logs sprouted a few orange leaves of flame. As they began to grow, Parith rose up.

Where’s Korr? The thought nagged at him again. He raised his head and looked around, paying particular attention to the shelters to his right in the shadows of the trees. There’s his bedroll. At least I think that’s his, lying in a heap on the floor.   He squinted to cut through the dark.
Yeah, I’ll bet he’s practicing.

Parith settled back to his seat. The logs were burning, now, but it still wasn’t a huge blaze. And where’s Drakie? He must’ve followed Korr.

A chilly wind blew leaves across his field of vision. His attention snapped into focus and his eyes narrowed. He’d heard something in the wind, something other than the rustle of branches and leaves. “KORR?” he called out, but got no response.  Only a sleepy grumbling from Eddiwarth sounded.

He stood, grabbed his staff, and tossed off his cloak.The cold instantly surrounded him. Holding it ready, he began to turn about, scanning into the shadows beyond the waypoint. This isn’t right. He saw figures in the trees around the shelters. Two of them, at least. Maybe three. No, more.

“Awake! Everyone up!” he shouted, crouching low and creeping backward toward the shelter platforms. An arrow zipped through the air past his shoulder as he moved and stuck into the ground not too far from his feet. Startled, he jumped aside.

“What’s happening?” Eddiwarth’s groggy voice came from behind him.

Before Parith could respond, two elves in dark cloaks dashed into the clearing, brandishing bladefern shortswords. One of them rushed Parith and slashed, but Parith was able to parry the attack aside with a swing of his staff. He responded with a spin, sweeping the other end forward to strike, but the elf jumped it nimbly.

The other elf ran toward the shelters, leaves flying in his wake. Eddiwarth’s eyes widened as he leaned back. He thrust his hand forward, lashing a loud, bright white crack of lightning directly into the elf’s chest. With a grunt, the elf flew backward and landed near the fire pit.

Thissraelle bolted up from her beds and looked for the source of the blast.

“Attackers!” Parith shouted, and drove toward his opponent, turning around  him. I’ve got to keep him between me and that archer. He parried again, but his attention was diverted, still assessing the scene. A third elf stepped forward, but didn’t immediately attack.

“Eddiwarth!” Thissraelle called out. Parith saw a figure behind Eddiwarth jump onto him, grabbing his hair and pulling his head back. Eddiwarth choked out a grunt and tried to reach behind to grab the attacker. A motion caught Parith’s eye and he jumped away. The slash of the elf’s short blade tip cut through his cloak and sliced his upper arm. He winced.

Thissraelle called out again. She was on her feet, struggling as another dark-cloaked elf grabbed her from behind. He was trying to cover her face with something in his hand. There are too many! I’ve got to get over to help! Where’s Korr? He gripped his staff in both hands, toward the center, and and faced his opponent. He swung the lower end hard at the elf’s legs, who blocked with his sword. Immediately, Parith shifted his feet and whacked the upper end into the back of the elf’s head, who staggered with the impact.

Suddenly, one of the seating stones around the fire leapt up a few feet into the air and threw itself at the elf, knocking him flat.

“Ha!” He heard Karendle laugh out at his left. She stood, waving the oculus in her fist before her as she stepped out of the thicket of the woods. The elf with the commanding stance in the middle also saw her, and waved his open hands in the air. Tree limbs quickly swooped down around Karendle and wrapped around her arms, pulling her up above the ground. They held her tightly there, arms apart, kicking and shouting.

Another scream from Thissraelle snapped Parith's attention back the other way. Eddiwarth was struggling against the elf on his back, who had covered Eddiwarth’s mouth and face with some kind of cloth. His struggles were weakening, and he finally went limp. The elf dropped him, tossed aside the rag, and stood.

Parith jumped toward Eddiwarth and Thissraelle, but was immediately pulled back by a hand reaching across his head from behind and a hard-forged wooden blade sweeping before him and resting against his neck. “Don’t move!” The voice behind him commanded. Parith knew how sharp that sword would be, and knew not to struggle.

He watched Thissraelle fighting to keep the toxic cloth away from her own face. She was not as strong as her assailant, but was a fierce fighter, and resisted hard. He wasn’t able to keep the rag in place long enough to put her under, and she would break free and breathe.

Thissraelle flew up and out of the shelter, trailing a bluish mist and pulling the elf in the air with her. They twisted between the branches as they fought. Karendle called out to her.

There was a blinding flash of light surrounding Thissraelle and everyone looked away as it overwhelmed them. The elf fell from the air with a thud and a grunt. Parith’s sensitive eyes adjusted and he heard Karendle call out, “Thiss! Thiss!”

When his vision finally cleared, moments later, the two elves on the ground were standing up, slowly. Eddiwarth was still out cold, Karendle still hung in the air, and Thissraelle was gone.
“Don’t move.” The voice behind him reminded, tightening his grip.

The commander elf surveyed the scene, then stood and stepped toward Parith with a smile. “That was a pathetic fight. I wish you had done better. It would have been more fun.”


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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Monday, November 25, 2019

179 - “Three to One” - Korr - A Tale of Heroes

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When Korr’s eyes opened, it was still dark. He was bundled up tight in his blanket and that kept him relatively warm. In spite of the rest, his arms and legs were stiff, partly due to having them straight all night, but also due to the constant walking over uneven ground. The wooden platforms of this waypoint were much smaller than the ones had been in the previous night and there were no tarps to break the wind. The fire had long since dwindled, so the morning chill blew sharply across his cheek. He raised his arm and inched his hand out of his bedroll. Instantly, the cold air bit his fingers. Maybe I’ll just stay in bed for a while.

He rolled his head and saw Parith sitting next to the firepit, with a faint glow from the embers illuminating his downturned forehead and the blanket wrapped around his shoulders. He was breathing slowly. The drake slept curled around Parith’s feet, its tail swishing occasionally in its dreams.

Korr smiled. Thissraelle and Karendle had tried to convince Parith to sleep the whole night, as he’d been very active the previous days, but Parith had insisted on taking a watch anyway, settling for the final turn.

Korr closed his eyes.

No, I have to get up. I need to run my forms. He breathed deep, then climbed out of his blankets.

A few minutes later, he found a place a short ways away from the waypoint with a little more space between the trees than usual. A little bit of dim morning light was starting to filter in between the bare branches. He paced off the tight perimeter, then moved to the center. He breathed deep and tried to clear his mind.

As he moved through the first forms, his feet swished and crunched through the thick layer of fallen leaves.  He scowled, unsatisfied. His motions, the footfalls of the stances and the force of the punches, seemed to be clumsy and jerking. Maybe it's just the cold.

He paused and walked back to the center of the space and breathed. He began again, but after a few postures, stopped. My mind is distracted. I'm not focused.

He felt, rather than heard, a presence behind him and stiffened. What's this? He spun around and set his feet into a low defensive stance. He swept his hands, palms forward, before him. He saw only the shadows and the trees.

They are all around. He crossed one foot behind the other and began a slow backward turn, his fists at the ready.

Footsteps rushed toward him and he spun again, sweeping his forearm ahead of his body. It connected with the flat of a thrusting blade and knocked it aside. His shoulders turned with the motion and he brought his left fist shooting upward, glancing off of his attacker’s ribs. It wasn’t a solid hit, but it did throw the attacker off balance a bit as he went past. Korr planted his feet firm. How many are there?

His attacker scrambled to his feet. He was a wood elf, with a thin build, like Parith, but a bit younger. Behind him stood two more, one with a spear, and another with a short blade. In the dim light, it looked to be wooden, but still edged. He remembered what Parith had told them.

“What are you--” Korr was interrupted by the forward elf, who shouted something in elvish and lunged at Korr’s chest. Korr dropped underneath the blade, twisting his body and sweeping his leg before him. It caught the elf’s knee and swung his leg out from under him. He fell with a grunt in a crunching bustle of leaves.

The other two circled the perimeter as Korr rolled to his feet. He backed away, glancing around. There are no others so far. Clarity of mind. Breathing. The elf to Korr’s right began spinning his spear as he inched his way further right, drawing Korr’s attention. The elf on the left ran forward and jumped up against the trunk of a large tree, pushing off and grappling onto Korr’s shoulders. Korr felt the impact, and fell forward with the push, tucking his shoulder under and flipping the elf over him. His momentum carried him, and he sprang back to his feet, backing away. Something warm and wet ran down his arm and he suddenly noticed a painful cut where the last attacker’s blade had sliced.

Their swords may be wooden, but are sharp. I’m outnumbered and these elves are fighting deadly. Focus, control... I’ll need to do more than block.

The spearman stepped in, jabbing forward with the bladed tip. He followed Korr’s motions as he dodged from one side to the other. Korr feigned to the left, then slipped right, grabbing the spear as he spun. He swung his elbow behind his own shoulder and up over the elf’s head, then threw his arm forward, catching the elf by the chin and flipping him backward over Korr’s leg. The elf let out a gagging shriek, then hit the ground with a thud. Korr brought the heel of his other hand down on the man’s chest, and felt the ribs crack under the blow. The elf coughed and gasped.

Korr jumped back and the first attacker slashed low, cutting into Korr’s thigh. He shouted and stumbled further back. The elf hissed out some threat that Korr couldn’t understand and lunged forward with his blade. Korr dodged to the side, then leaned back on his wounded leg. Pain shot through him, and he winced, but raised his other leg and drove its heel hard into the elf’s face. He fell back to the ground with a crunch.

Korr recovered from the kick in a solid square stance, and swept his fists into place at his sides. The one remaining elf stood, his sword raised in both hands, but didn’t attack. His face was tense, with determination masking his fear. Korr's own breathing was heavy and labored.

Shouts rang out from the direction of the waypoint and Korr’s eyes widened. A loud shocking crack echoed through the forest. They’re attacking my friends! In his focus he had forgotten the others. The elf glanced back over his shoulder then dashed away, running toward the shouts and jumping up into the trees.

Flaming...! He tried to run after, but his wounded leg wouldn’t let him move with much more than a fast limp. He heard a shriek. Was that Thissraelle? Or maybe Karendle...


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, November 21, 2019

178 - “Safe Journeys” - Thissraelle - A Tale of Heroes

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The winds blew a bit colder and stronger over the course of the next two days as they continued along the shadowed road. They settled into a routine each morning. The drake would squawk and nudge Parith, then he and Eddiwarth would start a fire. As the others awoke and gathered their kits, they ate a bit, either of their stores or a little more of whatever Parith had hunted up the night before. Then, they all left on their way, continuing on the meandering northbound road through the forest.

One morning Korr must have awakened early and withstood the chilling air, as Thissraelle saw him practicing his forms in the roadway. The rest of them, however, were up and ready to leave before he finished.

Parith often left the group to run through the trees and "scout ahead". This made Thissraelle nervous, but they continued through the shadowy forest along the road. Thissraelle had wanted to smooth things over with Parith, and had tried to talk to him, ostensibly about the path, but he'd brushed off her questions with curt answers. 

"I don't think he likes me much," she said to Eddiwarth later that morning, when Parith was gone.

"Why's that?

"I think I upset him when we were leaving the city," she explained, "when I admitted I was afraid of the wood elves."

“Afraid of them?” Eddiwarth asked, “Why?”

“They don’t like high elves,” she said, “right?”

Eddiwarth shrugged. “I don’t know. I’ve never been around them. I grew up in Twynne Rivers, and I never associated with any. I never knew any high elves, either, except for a few in the Guild. But then, they also never talked to me much. I didn’t really have friends in the Guild. I don’t know why.”

“It’s all the same.” Karendle had been walking behind them. “The only elf I know that’s treated me nicely has been Thissraelle.” 

Thissraelle smiled, but it didn’t last long. ...And even I wasn’t so easy to deal with. “Anyway, I didn’t think they’d like us crossing their forest. That, and I just thought there would be lots more of them here in the woods.”

"Yeah, where are they? You'd think we would've seen a few by now. We've been in Umbrawood for, what, two days, now?"

Thissraelle nodded, and they walked in silence. She she risked a side glance at Eddiwarth. He's got a nice face. Just a scruff of a beard growing and it’s been a few days since he’s had a bath, but, still...

"What," Eddiwarth asked, when he noticed, "Do I have weeds in my teeth?"

Thissraelle tossed her hair out of her eyes and stepped on ahead. As she passed, she saw Eddiwarth raise a brow at Karendle, who just chuckled and shrugged.

Soon after, they rested for lunch. The winds had picked up and the leaves were dropping more rapidly. The four in the party sat quietly in a circle by the side of the road, eating, when they heard the now-familiar “rrawk” of the drake. It flapped to the ground and rustled through the leaves toward Korr. 

Thissraelle looked up, scanning the shadowy trees above. “Where’s Parith?” Is it me, or is getting a little darker? She couldn’t see him, or anyone, for that matter. Maybe the sky had clouded over. It IS a little chillier.

Parith slid down a nearby tree trunk and hurried toward them. “Hello! Did you miss me?” There was a bit of urgency mixed in with his sarcasm. The drake yelped and trilled, but didn’t move from where Korr was feeding him. Parith leaned into the circle and hissed, “We may have trouble.”

Thissraelle’s eyes widened. “What?”

“There are a couple of riders down the road behind us. Two of them, with a pack animal. They’re not running their horses, but they’re moving quick, like they’re trying to catch up to someone. Maybe us.”

Thissraelle and Karendle passed worried glances at each other. Parith continued. “At first I thought they were just another trade caravan, albeit a small one. But they’re moving too fast. Traders are usually not in a hurry.” He squinted back over his shoulder to look down the road.

Eddiwarth stood to look, but couldn’t see through the shadows down the curve of the road.
“Should we hide?”

Parith shook his head. “I’m sure they already know we’re here. I say we just let them pass and see what they do. But then, this is your team, your guild.” He nodded his head toward Thissraelle.

What did he mean by that? Is he actually accepting me being in charge, or is he throwing me under an oncoming rockslide? She tried to read his eyes, but got no more clarity than his words. Even still, what he said made sense. Now wasn’t the time to be mentally debating trust issues. She took a deep breath. “OK, then. You take your bow up in the trees and be ready. Eddiwarth, stand by the donkeys and make sure you’ve got a grip on the reigns. Everyone else pull in close. Ready any weapons, but keep them hidden.” As they heard the hooves of the horses rustle through the leaves and brush, she added, “Be calm and friendly, but wary.” Parith nodded.

Everyone moved to their places and prepared. 

Thissraelle reached her focus inside of herself and felt her will become ready. She saw Karendle reaching for her pouch of oculi and slip her right hand in. Korr sat on a fallen tree, but shifted his weight so he was almost in one of the stances she had seen him practice.

A dark horse and rider came into view, followed by another, who was leading a third, lighter colored riderless horse. Their cloaks were dark brown, making them hard to see. The lead rider wore a hood, hiding his face even further. 

Korr mumbled, “We should probably be casually talking among ourselves.”

“Good point.” Karendle said in a low voice. “Lovely weather we’re having...” Eddiwarth adjusted the packs on the donkeys, while looking warily at the other travelers. Thissraelle tried to keep her head down and not look too intensely.

“Hail to you, travelers!” The second man called out, but their horses didn’t stop. His voice was not deep, even a bit light. Is that him? The one we talked to? She looked into Karendle’s face. 

Karendle looked up at the man, then raised her left arm in a wave. Her right she kept in her pouch, under her cloak. “And to you.” Thissraelle saw Karendle’s eyes narrow as she nodded. It IS them! Thissraelle’s hand clenched into a fist and her shoulders tensed. 

The horses stepped on. 

As their hoofsteps began to distance, the voice said, “A safe journey to you all.” Karendle didn’t respond to his good wishes. Thissraelle hazarded a glance from behind her hood. She saw the back of his head only, with elvish ears standing out from the hair before he disappeared into the forest. Is he a high elf or a wood elf? I can’t see from here.

The friends watched warily as they disappeared into the shadows. Eddiwarth approached the group with care. Parith climbed down and joined them.

“That was them.” Karendle whispered. “The ones that want Thissraelle.”

“Those two?” Parith asked. “Why didn’t they attack, try to capture her?”

Eddiwarth rubbed his head. “Maybe the fact that there were only two of them and more of us.”

Karendle and Thissraelle exchanged knowing looks. Karendle finally let her shoulders relax. “Probably because they still think that I’m going to do it for them.”


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, November 18, 2019

177 - “Poems and Surprises” - Eddiwarth - A Tale of Heroes

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True to Parith’s word, The waypoint was not too much farther. While Karendle and Korr found wood for a fire, Thissraelle and Eddiwarth unloaded blankets and supplies. The waypoint was a fairly large circle of open ground, slightly off the main road, obviously for caravan wagons and livestock to gather. Along the northern perimeter were low wooden platforms built around the trunks of larger trees, about three to four feet up off the ground, with steps. Above those platforms were built roofs, also radiating about fifteen feet out from the tree trunks, sheltering the platforms. All along the northern sides of the shelters hung flaps of old and very thick fabric as a break against the colder northern winds. Near these, in the clearing, was a stone fire pit, ringed with more stones for sitting.

While Thissraelle arranged blankets and bed rolls on the platforms, Karendle and Korr returned with wood and Eddiwarth used his powers to light it.

Again, true to his word, Parith returned with a small roe deer, slain by arrow and slung over his shoulders.  By that time, the fire had built to good glowing coals. He called Eddiwarth over, and the two quickly gralloched, cleaned, and sliced it up. Soon, pieces were sizzling on skewers over the fire with a bit of salt and herbs.

Before long, the day’s journey had worn on them. Soon, only Eddiwarth and Parith were up, making sure the packs were ready for the morning. Parith nudged Eddiwarth’s arm.


Parith gave a toss of his head in the direction of the fire. Eddiwarth’s gaze followed his gesture. Thissraelle sat there, her cloak open on her shoulders, bathed in the flickering glow of the fire and the steady shine of a pinpoint of magical light over her head. Her face was down in a book. I thought she’d gone to sleep.

He looked back at Parith, who nudged him toward her. “Go on...”

Eddiwarth hesitated, but Parith nodded.

Eddiwarth stood, dusted himself up, and tried to make his own cloak straighter. He walked over to the fire.

“I thought you’d gone to lie down.”

She looked up. “No, not yet. I’ve just been studying.”

He sat down on a stone near hers. “What is it?”

“It’s that book that Tarl gave me before we jumped through the portal back to reality.” She closed the book and held it up, looking at the detailed gold inlays on the dark leather cover. “I guess it’s translations of some writings by this Heathrax.”

Eddiwarth glanced over. “Can I see?” She shrugged and handed him the book.

“I’m kinda hoping I can read some clues that will help us find him.” She sighed and stretched her arms. The fireglow lit her face as she rolled her neck back and forth.

Wow, she’s beautiful! Focus on the book, ‘Warth, focus on the book.

She continued, rubbing her eyes with the back of her hand, “I haven’t seen much that’s useful so far.”

“It looks like poetry.” Eddiwarth noted, looking back at the pages. He held it at an awkward angle so as to catch the light from over her head on the page.

“Yeah, that’s pretty much all I’ve seen so far.” She waved her hand and the light drifted over to him.

“Hmmm.” He stopped turning the pages.

“What?” she said, quietly.

He cleared his throat and began reading.

“If I were to stand at the top of a mountain, looking down
From such a place, I would see forever below me.
If I were to stand in the city, looking up
I would see anger, fear, and strife and wouldn't notice the mountain.
I will leave the wars to others.”

After a few moments, he guessed, “What does that mean? I don’t really see any good clues in it. We already know he’s in the mountains.”

When she didn’t respond, he turned up from the book. She was looking at him with an almost wink, a curious, surprised look.


“Nothing,” she smiled, “just read another.” He shrugged and flipped a few pages.

“Rocks fall, broken from the cliff face, over the brush in the valley
The small bushes broken and crushed under the oppressive weight of stone.
Watered by spring rains, a flower presses upward,
Brightly colored petals reaching and stretching for the laden clouds.
Who has won the battle?”

He was surprised to see that she had leaned over to be able to look over his shoulder at the poems. She glanced up and smiled. “A chef and an orator. You surprise me, Eddiwarth.”

“A chef. Yeah, right. You’ve had leftovers in the Guild Hall that were better than that meal.”

She pushed his arm playfully. “OK, sure. But you do have a nice voice for poetry.” She yawned. “One more.”

He nodded and turned the page. “This one looks a bit longer.”

“A carpet of trees sway under autumn's wind.
The breezes tell the leaves to greet the sky.
Brown, yellow, red, they chase and spin
Then rise and fall and blend their colors.
I long to fly with them.

It is a delicate dance of hopeful love
A flirtatious reel of nervous anticipation
The leaves, playful sprites, beckon to me.
The call I hear is not the tumbling leaves-
I hear your call.

I will leave my mountain and cross my forest
Where these leaves are tossed by the highest winds.
I will break the clouds with the stroke of wings
Wings of dreams that bear me over meadows of white
I will fly with you once again.
I will fly with you once again.”

For a moment, their eyes met in the dim. Then, she quickly stood and took the book from his hands. “Thank you. I hope you sleep well.” The spot of light followed her as she hurried off to the shelters, her cloak flowing behind her. She grabbed to close it against the cold as she walked. He just watched her go, confused.

Wait, what was that?


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, November 14, 2019

176 - “Who Are We?” - Eddiwarth - A Tale of Heroes

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Finding the road had been simple enough. They had merely followed the edge of the forest eastward until they came to it. In spite of a year of lessened use, it was still not fully grown over. The sun was sinking by the time the company entered the forest, and the cluttered arches of branches and leaves above blotted out even more of the fading light of day. The wheel ruts in the path that the years of caravans had worn were wide enough to walk down and it was pretty obvious which of the low brush plants were the sharpest ones. The tree trunks by the side of the road were bigger than any that Eddiwarth had ever seen, even in his time in the western reaches of the forest, around the monastery. They couldn’t see the upper branches of the trees, but the leaves from them were falling all around them in a steady blizzard of brown and red.

There wasn’t as much wind in the forest, so Eddiwarth undid the buttons of his cloak and let it hang open. “Oh, wait. It’s still cold out here!” He re-attached the top clasp.

Karendle laughed at him and rolled her eyes. Their feet crunched and swished in the leaves that had fallen as they stepped through the brush. Birds were calling in the branches. What’s so scary about this place? It’s a bit dark, but the sun still gets through.

“What we need,” Eddiwarth declared, “is a name.”

Parith cocked his eyebrows in skeptical surprise. “A name?”

“Yeah. A name.”

“A name.” Parith laughed. “For what?”

“Why, for us, of course! Who are we?” Eddiwarth gestured to everyone. “We’re all on the same quest, right? An adventure. Aren’t we a team? It’s like we’re a new adventurer’s guild! Heathrax’s Heroes!”

Karendle gave him a look of disbelief, then exchanged headshakes with Thissraelle. Parith rolled his eyes. They continued walking.

Eddiwarth held his hands out, hoping for a response. “Eh? Anyone?”

“How long did it take you to think of that one?” Thissraelle said.

“Just now!”

“Well, keep trying. Come on.”

“The Dark Forest Guild? Whatd’ya think? Korr?”

Korr just walked on, leading the donkey. “Perhaps we should wait until we actually complete a quest before we decide what we are called.” Eddiwarth just humphed.

As they walked, Parith unpacked a short bow and a few arrows from one of the donkeys.

Thissraelle looked concerned. “What are you doing?”

“I’m going to climb up a tree and shoot him if he comes up with any other silly ideas.” He slung the bow over his shoulder and slid the arrows through his belt at his hip. “Seriously, though, you guys keep going on the path, and before long you’ll get to the waypoint. I’ll probably catch up before then, but otherwise just wait for me there.”

“Where are you going?” Thissraelle asked.

“Like I said earlier, I’m going to go see if I can hunt something up for dinner.”

“Are you sure? We have some hard bread, fruit, and water.”

“Yeah, but we might as well save that for other days when we can’t find anything else. Don’t worry, I’ll be right back. You won’t even miss me!” He winked at her.

Thissraelle drew her head back a bit. She tugged her cloak tighter against the cold. Eddiwarth bristled from behind her. Parith smiled at him, then jumped several feet up to grip the thick trunk of a nearby tree. He scurried up to a low, sturdy branch. “Just stay on the path to the waypoint. Start a fire. I’ll join you there.”

“What if you get lost?” Thissraelle called up to him. He just laughed as he scampered along the branch and jumped into shadows. She threw a concerned look back at Eddiwarth, then Karendle.

What if we get lost?


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, November 11, 2019

175 - "The Sight of The Forest” - Eddiwarth - A Tale of Heroes

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Eddiwarth and Korr walked a bit ahead of the others as the brown, waving grass of the meadow sloped upward toward the crest of yet another rolling hill.

"First one to the top?" Eddiwarth said, sprinting away. Korr followed, and easily overtook Eddiwarth, who paused only a short few paces from the top, hands on his knees and gasping for breath.

"I guess I didn't know... how tired I would get after... walking for so long." Eddiwarth took the last few steps to top the hill. A cold breeze blew across the meadow, tossing his hair and chilling his nose. He gasped at the expansive view before him. "Well, by The Creator, that's amazing!"

"Truly," Korr agreed, "it is beautiful."

Less than a mile ahead of them ran a thick wall of trees as far to the left and the right as they could see. They were of several different varieties, some tall, others shorter, some narrow and straight, others with round canopies of branches. The advancing autumn had left the trees partly bare, but they still carried leaves ablaze in colors from vivid yellow to deep browns and reds. The mid-afternoon sun was baking them all in a tint of gold. The winds pulled leaves from the trees and led them dancing across the meadow.

Eddiwarth spun around and waved to the others below them. "Thissraelle! Karendle! You'll want to see this!"

The two hurried up the hill, leaving Parith leading the two donkeys. His brow furrowed with frustration.

When she got to the top, Thissraelle drew a breath. "What a sight!" She held her hand to her chest. "For years, I looked at this forest way off in the distance from the windows of my tower at the guild hall. Even in the fall, I could see it as a washed blend of brown, and green in the spring. But to see it up close is a wonder.”

Karendle added, “The trees on the western side of the forest, near Dirae and the monastery, aren’t nearly as tall as these, here.”

Parith finally joined them at the top of the ridge. “Here, take this,” he said, and handed the lead line of one of the donkeys to Eddiwarth. He stretched his back. The drake on his shoulders squawked and had to shift position as he moved. “Yeah, you think they’re tall here, but this isn’t even the deep parts of the wood yet. Somewhere near here, probably to the east a bit, is the main road through the forest. Not too far inside, there’s the first waystop. It’s a space to the side of the road with a few shelters built into the trees. I’d like to stay there tonight. If we hurry, and if we find that road soon, I might even have time to hunt up some hares or venison.”

Eddiwarth brightened up. “I’ll start a fire and cook them for us!”

Thissraelle looked at him with her brows up. “When did you learn how to cook?”

“Back at the monastery, on kitchen duty.” He said with a bit of smug confidence. “Though I wouldn’t say I’m any master chef, I’ll do the animal justice.”

Parith moved ahead, leading one of the donkeys. Eddiwarth nudged his burdened beast along behind him. “Is the road clear?”

“It used to be. It hasn’t been used as much recently, since the high elves stopped. Most of the trade with Twynne Rivers happens by barge through the western swamps, now. There will probably be some brush that grew up on the road. It wasn’t too bad last spring when I traveled. You’ll want to watch out for the bladeferns.”

“Bladeferns?” Eddiwarth asked.

“The leaves are really long and have sharp cutting edges. They’ll shred your pants and then your legs. We harvest them very carefully. Our mages use nature powers to harden them and turn them into daggers and knives. They do that with other leaves, too. Or sometimes, an artisan will carve wood and shape it into a sword, a bow, or a spear. They’ll smooth it to a sharp edge and then the mages make it hard, like steel. That’s what we used for all our battles against the high elves.” He glanced back at Thissraelle.

Eddiwarth looked as well. “That would be neat to see! Where’s your sword?” Parith just chuckled in response.

“I like to use my staff when I fight, but I lost it at the cathedral. Maybe while I go through the forest I’ll get a chance to make a new one.”


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, November 7, 2019

174 - “The Dragonbonded” - Tonklyn - A Tale of Heroes

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


A distant scream slashed the dark and echoed through the passages.

From a small lamp, suspended below the ceiling by a bronze chain, shone three oculi. A polished silver hood built above them into the lamp reflected the light down onto Tonklyn's study table, covered in books and scrolls. The light also shone on a soft, high-backed chair sitting in front of the table, but it was turned slightly, as if Tonklyn had pushed it aside while standing.  A large, thickly woven rug with ornate designs covered the stone floor, surrounding a large and shining metal dish in the center of the room. Three large stones sat in the dish, glowing with warmth.

Shrieks of terror and pain sounded again, louder this time.

Across the rug, opposite the table, stood a large bed. Thick velvet drapes hung from the bedposts, surrounding Tonklyn in dark warmth and isolation.

A deep rumbling roar shook its way down into the chamber. It blended with the harsh piercing shrill of more screams.

What is going on up there? Tonklyn raised up, kicked against the tangle of his blankets and his night robe, and parted his curtains. The wails shivered down his nerves like the grinding of a millstone. He stepped to the table and picked up his staff, lighting the oculus on the end.

As he left his room, the air in the passage quickly became cold, and continued to get colder as he got farther from the glowing stones in the bin. The stone floor chilled his feet and he shivered. The few feet of the hallway beyond the illumination of his oculus were cloaked in shadow.

Another roar cut through the cold, and Tonklyn stopped, surprised. It was getting louder, as were the screams that followed. Those died off and bounced down the reverberant stone stairs. Those screams are human voices. What is he doing? 

Tonklyn rushed up the stairs, turned the corner, and froze.

Kirraxal stood in the dim light of the main chamber chandeliers, near the table with the large scroll. The scaly skin on his neck shimmered as it reflected what little light was shining down. Three legs bore his weight and his fourth arm was extended. In his hand, he held someone up. Tonklyn could see that the figure wore the armor and tunic of their new royal guard. The dragon’s eyes stared intently at the man, and his hand shook slightly, as if he were squeezing the soldier in a crushing grasp. The soldier’s arms and legs flopped from side to side, limp and dripping blood.

Tonklyn stood in shock, unable to move. Kirraxal was focused on the body and paid no attention to the sudden shift in the shadows as Tonklyn had entered the room.

Finally, with a growl, Kirraxal loosened his grip, and the crumbled form of the man tumbled from his bloody hands to the floor with a slap. Tonklyn saw two other bodies lying there, equally distorted into inhuman postures. Tonklyn slowly stepped forward into the chamber. He squinted from the brightness of the light of his staff. It cast erie shadows against the walls.

Kirraxal turned to look at Tonklyn, then back at the three bodies lying on the floor before him. As Tonklyn came closer, he noticed that much of the blood on the floor was a dark purple, not just the normal red of the humans. What happened? Did they attack him? He quickly looked up and saw the thick purple liquid dripping from Kirraxal’s fingers and claws.

“You’re hurt!” Tonklyn called out. “Did they think they could attack you? Are there more?”

The dragon muttered. “They did not attack.”

Tonklyn stood back and raised his gaze high up toward the dragon’s face. “Then why were they killed?”

“They are not dead.”


Kirraxal dropped his hand to the floor and looked back to the three bodies. “Not completely.”

The purple blood that stained the stones was evaporating into a dark haze that spread over the floor and the bodies. That smoke stirred and shifted, like a sleeping man moving his leg underneath a blanket. Their arms and legs swept under the layer of mist, making an unearthly and haunting scraping on the stone.

Tonklyn watched in morbid fascination. “This is the from the scroll. You’re doing the death ritual you wanted me to translate!”

Without speaking, or looking away, the dragon nodded.

He didn't wait for me to translate it all. He's figured it out on his own. Tonklyn's mind and heart raced.

An elbow flipped above the smoke for a moment, then it lifted up a shoulder. Another body moaned and rolled onto its side and began to rise. It’s broken and twisted torso made crackling sounds as the muscles reknit and the bones slipped back into place. A second man stood up, but fell back to one knee.

Tonklyn's eyes widened, and he turned away, but he couldn’t help but look back at the misshapen bodies. Their skin, once made a bit rough only by short dark hairs or an occasional scar, bunched and twisted until it became a dark scaly leather. Gradually, they stood straight, without stumbling or becoming imbalanced. They looked up to Kirraxal with emotionless worship, like statues of soldiers awaiting orders.

Tonklyn stepped back, his breathing shallow.

Kirraxal spoke first. “They are the dragonbonded. They carry my blood and will serve me with a single-minded loyalty, obeying my every command. They will stop at nothing, fear nothing, and never hesitate. They will fulfill my wishes,” The dragon leered with emphasis at Tonklyn, and then looked back at the soldiers, “without question.”

Okay. Tonklyn took a deeper breath, holding it in. I get the point. I will have to be very careful.

Kirraxal looked at the gash in his palm. It had mostly stopped bleeding. He spun his body around and stepped back to his gigantic bed. His steps were marked by the scraping of his claws on the stone and the splashing of blood. He curled himself onto his mattress and brought his tail around to his chest. “Tomorrow, you will have other servants clean my chambers. Then, they can see what my dark will is capable of.

I see.

"After that, I will give these three their tasks. One will go to find the white dagger and bring it to me. Another will go to find the lineage of this Heathrax that you're warning me about.”

Tonklyn continued backing away, toward the passage back to his own chamber. “And the third?”

“The third will remain,” the dragon huffed, glancing at Tonklyn before laying down his head, “as my guard.”

"Yes, your Majesty"


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