Thursday, July 25, 2019

146 - "Into the Catacombs” - Tonklyn - A Tale of Heroes

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Tonklyn walked down the long, dark corridor. The walls were rough cut stones- uneven, but sealed together somehow, probably with nature magic. The ceiling was high and arched. Every dozen paces or so there was an opening on either side, leading to small burial chambers. The man who had told Tonklyn how to find these halls had warned him that there were stories of dark magics kept down in these chambers. The man’s voice had been quavering as he told the tale.

“I’m not worried,” Tonklyn had snorted. What else did he think I was coming down here for?

The way was dimly lit by small oculi above each opening. The oculus staff Tonklyn was carrying shed a bit more light around him. Tonklyn took a moment to check inside each chamber. Then, he continued counting the openings. When he approached the fifth gap, he slowed and paused before entering. He'd been told that in this particular alcove, there might be more soldiers or priests. He listened carefully, but heard nothing. Even the chaos going on above couldn't penetrate the earth and stone. His mind ran various options for approaching the room. Finally, he decided.

He set the staff against the wall, lowered himself to his knees, then grabbed his chest over the bloody shirt stain. Wait. There's more blood on the other hand. He switched, then groaned quietly. He waited a moment, groaned again, a bit louder, then crawled through the opening and into the chamber.

A monk clerk of the church sat on a tall stool before a narrow writing table. He focused on a long scroll of paper on the angled surface of the table. One end of the scroll had dropped off the table and unrolled along the floor. The desktop was lit by a single small opal oculus suspended from a thin metal arm. 

“Help me!” Tonklyn breathed, “Please, help me!”

Without looking up from the scroll, the monk said, “It's a little early for dinner, isn't it?”

Tonklyn tried a little harder, scraping himself painfully to the center of the floor before collapsing with a much louder grunt. 

Finally, the monk raised his eyes. They became immediately large and frightened when he saw Tonklyn. The man jumped from his seat and rushed to help. 

“Oh, flames! Oh, flaming flames! By the Creator! Are you hurt? What do I do? What do I DO?”

“Please,” Tonklyn gasped, “The cathedral is under attack. Drakes, flames, destruction... It's the Wizard's Guild!”

The brother saw the blood all over Tonklyn’s chest and recoiled in horror. “No!” 

“The Bishop’s Council, the Lord Father, are all scattered. Most of them-” Tonklyn fell into a coughing fit, as if he was gasping his last. “Most of them are dead or wounded.” He motioned for the brother to lean in closer.

“What is it?”

“The Lord Father told me to come here and tell you to get the artifacts. They're very important. He said we have to hide them until we hear from him.”

The brother hesitated. He looked at the door behind the desk, then back at Tonklyn. “I've never been in there. I've never even seen them!”

“We must get the artifacts!” Tonklyn felt his anger rise up, then calmed himself and fell back into character. “We have to hide them from the Wizard's Guild! The Lord Father insists!” He punctuating his words with urgency, then collapsed back to the floor, eyes closed.

The brother felt for breath on Tonklyn’s chest. Tonklyn tried hard to make it weak. Finally, the monk stood and opened a drawer in the desk. Tonklyn opened one eye a slit and watched. The brother pulled out a small box and set it on the desk. He opened it and drew a set of keys from it. They jingled as he moved to the door. He slid the key into the lock and the door swung quietly inward. He picked up he oculus mounted above the desk and stepped hesitantly into the dark.

Tonklyn rose up, moving silently. He readied his dagger under his cloak, then rushed forward behind the monk to plunge it again and again between the ribs of his upper back. The brother fell, gasping, to his knees, then to the floor, unmoving.

Tonklyn drew a few deep breaths to calm his shaking hands, then sheathed his dagger. He picked up the oculus lamp and surveyed the room. It was empty except for a small wooden table against the far wall. There were no shelves, no tapestries, and no chairs or rugs. Tonklyn stepped over the body below him and strode to the table. Two large leather-bound books rested there, under a layer of dust and neglect. The covers were each more than a foot, maybe two in height, and the pages were a hand's width thick.  

Wait, where’s the dagger? Tonklyn shifted them from side to side, trying to look under or behind each book. It’s not here!

In a rush of fury and fear, he looked all around. Under the table, under the books. He shoved the body aside with his foot, and looked beneath it. He shone the light of the oculus close and inspected the table again. In the dust, he saw his answer. There was a faint square on the table where dust had not settled as much. It was about the size and shape that a box would have to be if it held an ornate magical dagger. He looked closer. The dust from one side of the square had been disturbed. Someone else got here first. Someone else got the blade. It looks like it's been gone for quite some time. A moment of fear shivered through him. Kirraxal will not be pleased. 

He sighed and wiped away the sweat that was drizzling down the side of his temple. He tipped his head and smirked in resignation. Then, he hefted the two tomes up into his arms, shifted his feet to make himself more stable, and walked out of the chamber.


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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