Monday, July 8, 2019

141 - "A Bow and Arrow” - Parith - A Tale of Heroes

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


Parith and Korr glanced at each other, afraid. What was that huge shadow flying over? Korr finally put their thoughts into words, “Was that a dr--” A terrifying crack and explosion interrupted, sounding from down the hallway, making Parith jerk. The horrible sound of crashing stones and crunching wood echoed through the nave. Moments later, frightened screams followed.

Parith sprinted down the hallway, back toward the cathedral’s main hall. Korr was close behind. His bag bounced against his hip and legs, making running difficult. He swung it up across his back and ran harder. He heard the crashing of glass and a loud screeching cry ripped through the air of the cathedral. Something massive and black flew past his narrow field of vision.

Oh, no. This can’t be. Is that what people were talking about?

They broke out of the hallway onto the gallery above the aisles. They rushed up to the railing protecting the balcony and looked on the horror going on in the nave below. Across the chapel, clinging to the pillars and railing of the opposite balcony, was a large, black, winged dragon. It snaked its enormous head around and shrieked again. Below it lay the choir and the sanctuary of the nave, littered with shattered stained glass. Rain streamed down from the now gaping hole in the skylights, and more panes of glass broke off and fell to shatter on the floor below. Worshippers and clergy in the sanctuary screamed, scrambling for cover. Many of them left trails of blood behind them from cuts left by the falling glass.

More drakes, smaller than the larger one on the wall, flew in through the open skylight, their wings flinging rain water around the chapel. They began to circle the nave, calling out.

What is happening? This can’t be just a random infestation of drakes! Where are they coming from? His pack wiggled on his back, and he heard an anxious chattering over his shoulder. Oh, no. Is he a part of this, too?

The floor beneath them shook, as an explosion of flames burst out from under the balcony, between the pillars. The pews below them were sprayed with burning spittle and more scattered glass. Screams told him that there were people who had been caught in that inferno.

“What should we do?” He shouted to Korr.

“We need to help somehow!” Korr turned around and headed toward the stairs back to the main level.

“Wait! I have no weapon! I left my staff back at the tower!”

Korr shrugged and looked around. Parith looked as well, noticing a row of suits of armor on display against the wall of the gallery. One held a long spear. Perfect! Parith tossed off his bag and ran to the display. Korr took off toward the stairway. As Parith grabbed the spear, he paused, noticing a heavy longbow next to it. Even better! Are there arrows? If this noble had a bow, he’d have definitely left arrows, right? The empty suit of armor had a pouch hung on the wall next to it. Above it was a placard with the name “Sir Meriwarth” and details of his titles and victories.With a quick search of the display he found a quiver with a half-dozen arrows. Not very many. I’ll have to make them count! He slung them over his shoulder.

He grabbed the longbow from the wall and hefted it. It was easily as tall as he was, and that would be clumsy for him. He was a wood elf and not as tall as the human the bow was obviously made for. I’ll just have to make it work. Where’s a string?  Parith began rummaging through the pouch.

“Sorry, your lordship, I don’t mean to steal, but you’re not here to stop me, so... A ha!” His hands pulled out a few bowstrings. “Yes!” He twisted his legs around the bow and began to set the string. More screams and screeches flowed from below, and smoke began to fill the upper reaches of the nave.

A motion to his left drew his attention, and he glanced. The little drakeling was poking its head fearfully out of the tied flap of the bag. It’s chittering voice was changing to short squeals. “Fsht! Fsht! Get back in there!” Parith waved his hand at it. It dropped its head and drew back under the flap. Is it scared? Or does it want to join the attack?

The bow was much stronger than the elven short bows he was used to from the forest. Still, with effort he got it strung and ran back to the balcony.

As he reached the balcony, he saw Korr come back out of the stairwell. “Too many flames below!” he shouted.

Parith stepped up to the banister and nocked an arrow. The largest drake had climbed upward, snaking around one of the pillars, digging into the rock with its claws. He lifted the bow. It was not at all like the fine elven shortbows. This was too long, too tall for him, and the lower tip dredged the floor. He had to angle it a little bit, so he had to twist his shoulder more to keep his elbow out of the way of the string. It made it all the more difficult to draw the tight string of the heavy bow. If I were only stronger... 

He aimed at the head of the drake, and held it steady. It saw him and shrieked. Fear ripped through him, like the wave of the sound echoing in the cavernous cathedral. It shook him and the arrow loosed. It went wild, glancing off the pillar well above the beast's head. It began to crawl around the pillar and unfold its wings, as if getting its body ready to jump across the nave and attack.

Parith grabbed another arrow and slipped it into place, raising the bow again. Angle, elbow, draw, steady... The drake opened its mouth again to scream and Parith shot. The arrow flew across the vast space in a shallow arc and plunged into the side of the horror’s neck. It threw its head back, screaming in pain and clawing at its neck. While Parith nocked another arrow, it leapt into the air and few directly at 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!
Thank you: Chet Cox, Genevieve Springer!

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