Monday, July 22, 2019

145 - "In the Cathedral Halls” - Tonklyn - A Tale of Heroes

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


My master will be pleased. Tonklyn smiled. Very pleased. 

He stood in the clean street of CentreTown and looked up through the rain at the crumbling Grand Cathedral. Two of the three spires above the front facade had fallen. The empty spaces in the walls where once-magnificent stained glass windows had shone in the night were now spewing smoke and glowing with the yellow light of raging fires. Occasional screams and crashes mixed with the thunder and the sound of rain on the streets of the city.

Shouts rang out from the pubs and shops on the other side of the street as people rushed out to see the conflagration. Tonklyn studied them as they gawked and stared in shock at the sight. He smirked and tugged his cloak hood tighter. Nobody wants to help. What a surprise. He laughed to himself. Look at them all. They don’t want to get involved. Flames, they don’t even want to get wet and cross the street!

He walked defiantly toward the cathedral.

Once he had stepped out of the rain and over the debris of the porch, he entered the foyer. Immediately, he turned left and stepped through a destroyed doorway. The hallway  ran to his right, along the side of the aisle of the cathedral. The corridor was wide, but not as tall as the aisle, with doors to the left. According to Tonklyn's memories, those doors led to the offices of the Archbishops and the Lord Father of the Church. As a page for the Royal Library, he had often be sent there to deliver or pick up books and scrolls. Tonklyn knew, of course, that the rooms were currently all empty, in spite of the fact that it was actually mid-afternoon. The church leaders were all in the upper floors on the other side of the cathedral, meeting with the Concilio Episcopi. Timing is everything.

Tonklyn walked past one doorway, then two and three, before stopping at the fourth, a rather dull set of double doors. He took a breath and drew back his hood. He paused, thoughtful for a moment, then raised it back over his head. There will be guards here. Extra anonymity would serve him well. He let out the breath, took the door handles, and barged in with a carefully staged stumble.

Immediately, he fell to his knees before the two soldiers, forcing deep gasping breaths through his lungs. “Guards! I’m glad to have found you! The Concilio is scattered, the Bishops are dying! The cathedral is in ruins! You must go and defend the Lord Father!” Keeping his head down, he glanced around. It was a small room, sort of a waiting space, finely decorated, with rare wooden panels, but without furniture. Only rugs and tapestries. It was lit by two oculi on staves on opposite sides of the room. There were two obvious doors, one behind each soldier.
The two men looked at each other, uncertain.

“Can’t you hear the fighting? The screaming?”

“Yes, of course!” one said, “but...”

“Please, come!” Tonklyn pleaded with an almost mocking edge, “Your masters are dying!” At least that part is true...

“We are sworn to guard this station at all cost.” He straightened his back to remind himself of his duty.

“Even at the cost of their lives?” By the Creator, what’s it going to take to get rid of them? He bowed himself further down and shook his shoulders as if he were crying.

The soldier who last spoke breathed deep, then mumbled to the other, “You wait here. I’ll go see.” Tonklyn heard the footsteps receding down the hall. He glanced up at the other guard, but kept his own hood pulled. The guard stood steady, hand on his sword hilt, looking past Tonklyn, nervously listening to the chaos outside. I guess I’ll have to take care of this one myself. Under the cover of his cloak, Tonklyn drew out a short, thin rondel dagger. He shifted his knee up under his body and readied his stance.

In an instant, Tonklyn jumped up, wrapped his arm around the guard’s neck and head, and, gripping him tight, plunged the dagger into the man’s chest. Its thin, round blade easily slipped through the rings of the chainmail the guard wore under his tunic. The surprised gasp in Tonklyn’s ear was all he needed to hear to know he had struck true. Still, just to be sure, he pulled back and stabbed two more times. Then, he let the man drop. The guard collapsed onto his side, then rolled on his face.

Tonklyn looked at the dagger, dripping blood, and at the red stain on his own shirt. He made a smirk as a thought crossed his mind. I’ll probably encounter more guards down below. This could work for me.

Using his boot, he quickly rolled the guard on his back. There was a widening smear of red on the rug below. Tonkyn leaned down and rubbed his hand in it, then spread as much as he could onto his shirt and cloak. He held the shirt out away from his ample belly, to assess the result. Satisfied, he nodded, then stepped over the body to the rightmost door. He studied it closely. There was no handle, no knob. After a quick search of its smooth wooden surface, he found the key slot.

Now let’s see if this works. He felt in the pockets of his cloak and withdrew a small, thin key, with an onyx stone set in the handle. He slid it into the slot, but nothing seemed to happen. He tried turning it, but it wouldn’t move. This had better work, or someone I know will die. He tried turning the key again, to no avail.

He stepped back and considered the door. He traced the frame with his eyes, looking for latches, hinges, but he saw none. Slowly, hesitating, he stepped forward, and pushed. The entire door moved slightly inward, with almost no effort required of him.

Oh. Okay. He pushed further, and it slid fully inward, then began to swing to the right. So, I guess there’s at least one person that will get to live a little longer. Tonklyn grabbed one of the oculus light staves and stepped through the doorway to see stairs descending into dimly lit catacombs. He smiled.


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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