Thursday, May 16, 2019

126 - “Looking for Trouble” - Granthurg - A Tale of Heroes

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As Granthurg walked up the pier to the quay, then to the street, he idly wished that he had brought a cloak with him. The darkening skies brought a damp wind, especially near the river. Normally, he wasn’t bothered by chill in the winter or spring, but it was a bit uncomfortable in the summer when he expected it to be hot. It also wasn’t typically that dark at this time in the afternoon, but already some of the oculi raised up on poles along the street were starting to glow.

He walked east down the RiverFront street. Not too far from the berth where he had docked the barge would be The Old Steersman Inn. If anyone knew where to find Rinkmorr, someone there would tell him. Every time they had passed through Twynne Rivers, which was at least once every couple of weeks, Rinkmorr had stayed there, while Granthurg had slept on the barge as a guard. The last couple of nights he had done the same, partly out of tradition, and partly out of a more intense sense of a need for security. Some people had been willing to kill to get that strange white dagger. He wasn’t quite sure what to do with it, still, but he wasn’t willing to risk anyone of friends getting hurt over it.

He looked up at the clouds. Maybe I’ll actually get a room tonight, instead of sleeping on the barge.

He, Thissraelle, and Eddiwarth had spent a couple of days looking for Karendle. They’d had to be careful about how they dressed and where they went, to keep Thissraelle hidden from the eyes of the Wizard’s Guild. Thissraelle was tense and on edge, looking with suspicion at almost every passerby and every market vendor. She was certain that her father, the Wizard’s Guildmaster, was still looking for her, even if it had been several months since she first ran away from her tower in the guild hall. She and I first met a couple of months ago, here on the RiverFront. ‘Course, that was further downriver, where we were docked then. Karendle was there, too, when she suddenly appeared in that fight...

The search for Karendle was also difficult because they had no idea who she was wanting to meet or where she would look for them. Granthurg had quietly asked a few of the other rivermen if they’d ferried a half-dwarven girl with red hair to the city from Dirae, but nobody said so.

Oddly, none of them seemed to remember Rinkmorr, either. Even the ones that had recognized Granthurg said that they didn’t know his old boss. It doesn’t make sense. I know he had lots of friends in the RiverFront Quarter. Now, it’s like everyone’s afraid to admit they knew him.

Up ahead of him he saw the familiar shape of the Old Steersman, the carved wooden namesake statue in front of the inn. It was of a tall old giant with a bowed back and a long beard. The wood itself had aged and its paint had faded and chipped, adding to the overall look of tiredness in the carved giant’s shadowed face. Light from a large window shone across its back giving it an almost heavenly look.

The Old Steersman Inn. Granthurg recognized the statue and the inn. The entirety of the building was bigger than those next to it. The door was taller and wider and the windows higher. The stone walls of the ground floor were easily three to four feet higher than those of the buildings next to it and the whitewashed wattle and daub upper level towered up high. He had been here many times but had never actually been inside. Rinkmorr had been the one to stay here and Granthurg had stayed with the barge on the docks. Granthurg stepped through the heavy wooden door.

The main hall was huge, with a sunken floor and a high ceiling. He stepped down off the entrance porch onto the floor. It was planked, much like the deck of a barge. As he stepped down, he straightened his back and smiled. He didn’t have to lean or stoop! This inn was built for the river running giants!

The tables were all taller and the chairs stouter than any he had seen in a pub before. There were, perhaps, a dozen or so other rivermen, also giants, sitting at the various tables drinking ales from huge steins. The room was lit by various lanterns and a few oculi, all hung over each table using the same poles and hooks that were usually found on the bow of a barge. Nets and ropes hung from the pillars and rafters above. There was a round central fire pit, lined with large, jagged stones. Above it was a metal cone to direct the smoke into the flue.

Granthurg took in a deep breath of the smell of the roasting pig that was being turned above the pit as he stepped past on the way to the bar. He leaned on the counter and the innkeeper stepped up. Granthurg recognized his face but didn’t recall his name. He’d seen the man on the dock talking with Rinkmorr many times. The innkeeper was taller than Granthurg, by at least a foot, a bit broader around the middle, had thick, wavy gray-black hair, and a long beard full of thin braids. Under the beard was a dark shirt and a messy white apron. The lines in his face showed how many years he had spent himself on the river. A slight glint of recognition may have crossed his face as well as he asked Granthurg what he was to be drinking.

“Just an ale will be fine.”

“One ale!” He poured a tall drink for Granthurg.

Granthurg smiled. “Now, THAT’s a good tankard for a giant. Humans might as well drink from teacups!”

The innkeeper laughed as he set it on the bar. “I think I’ve seen y’ on the docks before, friend. Haven’t I?”

“Yeah. I’ve worked the river as a deckhand for a few years. My boss used to stay here a lot.” Granthurg took a drink.

“But now y’ve got y’r own craft?”

Granthurg set the tankard down and sighed satisfaction. The innkeeper nodded a thank you. “Yeah, I do. At least I think I do. I’m not really sure.” Granthurg looked at the eyes of the innkeeper, wanting to see if he could be trusted. “Actually, I’m looking for my barge’s owner. I haven't seen him in a while and I need to talk to him.”

“I’ll bet I know pret' much every giantish river runner that passes through Twynne Rivers. What's his name?"


Immediately, the old innkeeper hissed through his teeth, looked out over Granthurg's shoulders, then leaned in closer to whisper, "Get out."

Granthurg leaned back, shocked.

The innkeeper repeated, with greater urgency, "Get out. Now!"

"I- Ah- I'm sorry..."

"Don’t be sorry. I'm not angry. I'm helping y' get away." He tried to nudge Granthurg away. "There'r dangerous people that’ve been looking for Rinkmorr. They say he's got somethin' of theirs. They may've killed him already. Now go on!"

"Wait. Who is looking for him?"

"No time for-" The innkeeper was backing up. "Nope. Too late."

Granthurg spun around. Two large Giants were walking towards him, past the fireplace. A third was standing with his arms crossed in front of the door.

...And, of course, I left my hammer on the barge.


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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