Monday, May 20, 2019

127 - “A Dangerous Dagger” - Granthurg - A Tale of Heroes

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


Immediately, instinctively, Granthurg scanned the hall. He had no weapons, no friends, and the only exit he could see right away was the main door which was blocked by a third man. He was the bigger and stronger of the three, a towering stone wall of intimidation.

The two giants stopped before him. One, on the left, was about Granthurg’s height, maybe a little taller, and the other had a full foot and a half on Granthurg. They both wore simple tunics of gray and green and leggings tucked into short boots.

“Y’re Rinkmorr’s hand, aren’t y’?” The shorter one spoke first. The taller one slowly drew a shortsword, but in his hands it looked more like a dirk or a dagger. “There’s a high price on y’r head.”

He stepped forward, then added, “Actually, I couldn’t care less ‘bout y’r head. The high price is on the dagger. So, if I have t’ take y’r head to get it, I will.”

The taller giant said, “So, you can tell us where you’re berthed, and we’ll go search it.”

Granthurg’s eyes narrowed. “And no one has to get hurt, right? I know the story.”

The taller one shifted his sword in his hand. "Well, we've been waiting here for so long, we might have to hurt you anyway," he smiled a gap-toothed grin, "just for fun!"

The dagger they want isn't on the barge. It’s the only weapon I have with me. I might have to use it, but I’m not so sure that drawing it and showing it is a good idea. Granthurg stood in a defensive posture, tense and set.

"How about y' take y'r arguments out int' the street," the innkeeper said in a nervous voice, "so my tables don' get smashed." Nobody moved.

Except that Granthurg caught a motion in his peripheral vision. Someone had stood up next to the far wall and was carefully moving toward the giant guarding the door. He carried a long and twisted staff in his hands. He looked directly at Granthurg and quickly nodded his head.

Granthurg glanced away and saw others across the room trying to catch his eye as well. He breathed in relief. I guess Rinkmorr had some friends here after all!

The tense moment hung in the air, everyone waiting for someone else to move first. Suddenly, Granthurg sucked in a breath and looked past the taller giant’s shoulder, making a face of alarm and surprise.

The taller giant turned his head to see what had happened. Granthurg seized the moment that his ruse had bought him and lunged to his left, jumping to the far side of the firepit. As he did, he saw the man with the staff swing it in a wide arc at the face of the man guarding the door. The mercenary saw the blow coming and raised his arms to block. The stick caught him against his forearms with a hard crack and he wailed in pain.

The shorter giant ran around the fire to face Granthurg. He swung his fist wide in a hook to Granthurg’s face. Granthurg ducked his head and raised his left arm to block the hit. His heart raced. He stepped in and swung his right hand low and up into the man's gut. His attacker stumbled back with a grunt, but didn't drop.

Granthurg backed away and hazarded a look over his right shoulder. The taller giant had followed him around the pit and loomed large as he lunged, sword stabbing forward.

Granthurg braced himself, unsure how defend against both the incoming blade and the first attacker. The man who had been turning the pig on the fire leaned his shoulder into the taller giant, knocking him off his balance and into a table. The legs cracked and chairs tumbled away.

Taking advantage of the distraction, the shorter giant tackled Granthurg and the two of them hit the floor hard. The impact winded Granthurg, and the attacker rolled over and straddled Granthurg's chest and pulled a blade out of his belt. Granthurg, his eyes wide and fearful, flailed his arms up trying hard to block the blade and grab his opponent's wrist. He felt a slashing pain on his right forearm that shot through his shoulder and made him jerk back. A warm trickle ran down his arm.

The attacker shouted in anger and raised the knife up high, pointing it for a plunge down into Granthurg’s neck. Granthurg winced through the pain in his arm and jabbed his right fist straight up into the other man’s belly and ribs. He grunted and dropped the knife, which scratched a line on Granthurg’s cheek and clattered to the floor.

Granthurg punched with his left, then twisted to his side. The giant fell off of him, and they both scrambled to their knees, breathing hard with exertion through gritted teeth and angry faces. A quick flash of bloodied steel appeared in between them, and Granthurg scrambled back, out of breath. His startled gaze followed the hand on the hilt, up the arm, to the scowling face of the man that had been tending the meat on the fire. He pointed the sword at Granthurg’s attacker and yelled at him to stay down. Granthurg looked across the room. The giant guarding the door was not there anymore. Behind him, he saw the third attacker rolling on the floor in pain, over a widening smear of blood.

“Thanks!” Granthurg wheezed through his heavy breathing. The man with the blade kicked hard on the back of the attacking giant’s head, knocking him out cold and dropping him flat on the floor. He smiled and nodded to Granthurg.

Granthurg crawled to the injured giant and rolled him over. His face was twisted in pain and there was a deep gashed stab wound through his side. His blood covered his shirt and pants. “Is there a healer in here?” Granthurg shouted. “Anyone with jade gemstone?” He looked around, into the quizzical faces of those around him. Nobody spoke.

He turned back to the man before him, then shed his own vest and his tunic. He wadded his shirt and pressed the linen hard against the wounded man’s side. The pressure made him wince slightly, from the pain, before he eased and dropped limp.

Granthurg leaned back on his legs and sighed, then stood, taking a deep breath. Everyone in the bar stood in a bit of a daze, but gradually began to rearrange the tables and sit back down. The innkeeper called to a barmaid, a tall girl with strong shoulders, and pointed at Granthurg. She grabbed her towel and moved to his side, taking his arm and wrapping it in the cloth.

“Thanks.” He said softly, then more loudly, “Thank you all!”


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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