Monday, June 3, 2019

131 - “On a Night Like This” - Parith - A Tale of Heroes

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The rains had come on pretty suddenly, washing the rooftops in a steady rinse. Parith and Korr had been close to their appropriated home in the bell tower when the storm had started, but the dark, the winds, and the wet had made the slopes and peaks of the building tops more treacherous, so they had been forced to walk slowly, more carefully.

Once they were on the church’s roof, they approached the leeward side of the bell tower and climbed through the large opening in its side. Korr went first. As Parith rolled his drenched body through the opening and lowered his back to the floor, Korr stood, letting his shirt drip out. Parith leaned up a bit on his elbows and shook his head, whipping the water out of his hair.

It was late, past the twilight, and the heavy clouds had long obscured any rays of the sun while it set, so it was quite dark. Even the dull glow of the city from lanterns in houses seemed to be dimmed by the gloom.

“A bit chilly and wet tonight, eh?” Parith squinted to see the tiny space in the tower.

“Ch-ch-ch” Korr held his hand back toward Parith, shushing him.



Parith could barely make out the outline of his friend’s form, standing in the dark. A cold, wet breeze blew past them. Korr was a bit tense, looking across the tower into the shadows.

Parith whispered, “What is it?”

Korr slowly moved his hand to point across to the far corner of the tower. Parith strained to look, but before he could see anything in the shadows, he heard a slight scraping of claws on the wood, and then an angry hissing breath. It wasn’t very loud or deep. He could barely hear it over the sound of the rain on the roof. Still, it made him shiver even more than the cold wind.

Parith wiped his forehead and eyes dry with his hand. At least as well as he could. Squinting, he peered into the corner. Something moved, scraping claws on the floor, and flapping a wing. A bird? It can’t be too big... He sat up all the way. There was a loud hiss and a blur of motion as it scampered against the wall of tower to the other opposite corner, with more flapping wings. He started and instinctively pushed himself away from it. As it crossed under the opening in the wall, through the rain, he saw the wings were more like a bat’s, without feathers. Korr immediately dropped his body into a defensive stance. Parith sat up fully, then began crawling around the big opening in the floor, approaching it from the left.

As he got to the wall nearest its corner, it scrambled, flapped, clawed and hissed some more. Parith could see a bit of shiny, reflective skin. He inched closer.

By the Creator! He jumped back a few feet shielding himself with his hands. “It’s a dragon!”


More hissing and scratching came from the shadows.

“It’s a dragon!”

“A dragon? How can you tell?”

“Just look at it!” Parith said, “You know, serpent head, thin, scaly body, bat wings, tail...” The creature stayed in the shadows, making a high-pitched growling noise. “I wonder how it got up here!”

“We’ve heard many people talking about seeing these creatures of late. Is it a drake or a dragon?”

“I have no idea!” Parith tried to remember the argument the two men from the adventurer’s guild had been having. What had they said? What’s the difference?

“Give me your bread!” Parith demanded, holding his hand out to Korr, who hesitated. “Come on, I’ll bet it’s hungry.”

“You’re going to feed it?” Korr sounded incredulous, but reached into his shoulder pouch for the remains of his bread loaf. “Does it even eat bread?”

“I don’t know, it probably eats meat, but it’s not like we’ve got a roast of pork feast here with us, and I don’t want to give it my finger. Come on, hand it to me!”

Korr gave Parith the half loaf, and he broke off a small bit of it, reaching toward the creature. It hissed with fury and flapped, pulling back. Why doesn’t it just fly away? It must be hurt.

He left the bit of bread on the planks of the flooring and scooted back a little. When the hissing stopped, he saw a leathery snout tentatively inch out of the shadow toward the bread, sniffing and snorting.

“Be careful!” Korr whispered.

“It’s fine... It’s OK...” Parith coaxed in a cooing voice.

The head on a long neck lashed out, snapped up the bread, and the beast scrambled back to the wall. It made loud, sloppy chewing noises. Then it went quiet again. After a moment of silence, its nose poked out of the shadow again and sniffed.

“Ah, you like that, eh?” Parith smiled and looked up at Korr, who shrugged. Parith broke off another piece and tossed it out, but not quite so far. It smelled at it a few times, then crept forward. As it emerged into the relative dim underneath the opening, they got a slightly better look at it. It was long and mostly thin, about two to three feet, and it looked less like a big lizard and more like a sort of plump snake with short stubby legs and wings. In the dark, the body looked deep red and the wings a slightly dirtier brown. It reached a long neck out and snapped up the bread, keeping its eyes directly on Parith.

Parith kept throwing out chunks of bread, and it loudly ate each one. It crept forward and leaned back on its hind legs, raising its upper body. It held a piece of bread in each claw, and its neck looped up and down as it ate them.

“I think this one’s a baby.”

Korr slowly lowered himself until he was sitting on the floor. “How can you tell?”

“I’m not sure, but he’s too cute to be grown up!”

Korr gave him the same disbelieving look that he had so many times in the last few days.  Parith sighed and continued, while feeding the last bits of the loaf. “Seriously. Look how his head and claws are a bit large and awkward. The eyes are also bigger and tail looks more short and stubby.”

He tossed the last bit of bread to him. “Sorry, little guy. That’s all I got.” It slurped it down, then sniffed at the floor for more, inching ever closer to Parith. “That’s it!”

“You seem to have a way with animals.”

Nervously, Parith extended his hand. “Yeah, that comes from growing up in the forest. I’ve never seen one of these, though.” The creature raised his head a bit and sniffed Parith’s fingers He eased his hand over, turning it palm-down and gently touched the top of its bony, bumpy head. It made a high trilling sound. Parith began to scratch the back of its head. It chirped a little louder, and pushed its head up into his palm.

Parith looked up to Korr with a big grin. Korr smiled and nodded. "I guess he likes you!"


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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