Thursday, February 28, 2019

104 - “The Welcoming Dawn” - Antonerri - A Tale of Heroes

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


The morning sunlight from the small window reached across Antonerri’s chamber and drifted down onto his shoulders. It didn’t take long for it to warm his face and cross the threshold his eyelids held for awakening.  He rolled over, yawned, and stretched before he sat up and raked his fingers back and forth through his hair.

He tossed off his blankets and stood, then sauntered over to the small table with the washbowl. He lifted the pitcher and filled the bowl. As it settled, he could see his reflection in the water. He rubbed his beard. It was coming in quite full. He turned his head from side to side, admiring it. Should I shave?

He wet and soaped a rag from the table and rubbed it all over his cheeks and chin, then picked up the razor next to the bowl, and dipped it in to wet it. As the water settled again, he looked at himself. I don’t know. DeFrantis says she likes it, but it itches, and it’s hot in the summer...

After a moment to consider, he closed the razor and dropped it on the table. He used the rag to wipe his face and clean himself off, then dressed.

He eased down the stairs into the galley, and nodded to the trio of monks who were starting to prepare the mushy grains that would become everyone’s breakfast. Antonerri was not fond of it, but it did help him start the day with a full belly and enough energy to get things done. Around their feet were buckets of fresh milk and baskets of eggs full from the early morning chores. He stepped toward the tables that he knew were at the other end of the room, then stopped.

DeFrantis was there, sitting, with her head leaning into one hand, propped up by her elbow on the table. She was hunched over a potteryware cup with dark brew steaming up into her face. Her hair was strewn into a mess and her eyes stared vacantly into the cup. Her shoulders drooped and her shirt was skewed, like she had not paid attention to how she had put it on.

Oh. She doesn’t look well. This was not how she normally looked at the table. Antonerri was usually there first, able to get the brew started and have her cup waiting for her. I’ll have to handle this delicately.

She didn’t move, didn’t seem to even notice as he approached and stepped behind her. He put his hands gently on her shoulders and leaned forward to kiss the top of her head. She stirred, raising her head and leaning back into him. He smiled, “Good morning, beautiful.”

DeFrantis groaned and sank back down. He kneaded the muscles in her shoulders for a second then turned to the pot to get his own cup of brew. He walked around, sat across from her, and took a tentative sip from his hot cup. “You don’t look like you slept well.”

“I thought you said I was beautiful.”


“I’m not feeling so beautiful today.” She took a longer sip. “You're right. I didn’t sleep well.”

“Another nightmare?”

DeFrantis nodded. “And Marisee also. The poor girl. She asked me to use the shadow. That got her back to sleep. But I remained awake.”

“Can’t you do that magic for yourself?”

DeFrantis sighed, “Yeah, and I have before. It’s very soothing in the moment, but it doesn’t last.” She sipped again, slurping. “In the end, it’s just easier to roll back over and try to sleep.”

Antonerri looked at her sad and exhausted face. His face of hope. The face that had saved him from himself. He smiled, in spite of the situation, and reached across the table to cover her hand in his.

She looked up at him, her eyes dripping. “Antonerri, you were a soldier. How do you do it?”

His brow tightened. “How do I do what?”

“How do you go on, live?” she sniffed. His look was still confused. She went on in a whisper full of shame, “I killed someone! I had a blade in my hand and I used it. I killed! Not just the one. There are others who are dead because of me! How do you ever get over that?”

He set down his cup and took her other hand in his, and looked deep into her pleading eyes. I can’t count how many times I’ve asked myself these same questions. “I wish I could tell you. I could say that I was just following the orders of my officers. I could remind you that you were fighting for the lives of frightened helpless children. I could remind you that the slavers and guards and wizards would have eagerly killed you, and almost did. I could tell you how wonderful it is that you can now be here, alive, with me, and be able to comfort a crying child in the night...”

He leaned in close. “But none of that really answers the question, does it?” She sighed and shook her head.

“I just carry on. I just keep going. The Creator hasn’t ended me yet, despite my best efforts, so there must be some reason. Maybe you’re that reason for me.”

She allowed herself a smile, then leaned into him for a kiss. She slowly stood, picked up her cup, and held out her hand before they walked back to the orphanage.


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

No comments:

Post a Comment