Thursday, August 8, 2019

150 - "Searching” - Granthurg - A Tale of Heroes

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Granthurg stepped with a slight limp down the pier to his barge. It was very early in the morning, still dark. He breathed in the familiar stale smells of the river. He’d not been to his barge except for a few times in the three weeks since the fight in the chapel, partly for practical reasons and partly out of fear. Life in Twynne Rivers had definitely changed. And not for the better.

After dredging himself out of the river that night, he’d collapsed, half dead, on the bank. The following morning he’d shambled through alleys and side streets to get to the RiverFront quarter and the Old Steersman Inn. The steady rains still kept most people inside. Along the way, he’d passed the burned out ruins of the Grand Cathedral. It was surrounded by City Guardsmen, and there was no sign of Thissraelle, Karendle, or Eddiwarth. They were still sorting through the damage, but nobody remembered seeing a young elven girl, or a half-dwarf in the thick of the fight. The good news was that they weren’t among the recovered bodies, either, at least not yet.

He hadn’t stayed there long, weakened by the loss of blood. When he finally arrived at the kitchen entrance to the Old Steersman, the innkeeper rushed him upstairs to his room, where Granthurg spent the next week and a half lying under sweaty sheets, fighting off the fever from the infection in his leg.

He’d called out for Thissraelle, but the innkeeper just said they couldn’t find any magical healers. The inn staff kept changing his bandages and bringing him herbal treatments. Finally, as he had rested, his fever had broken, and he had begun healing.

As he walked along the pier he glanced back up at the quay of the RiverFront, looking for... Anyone. He wasn’t sure who might be there, but he wanted to be sure he’d not been followed. He felt the white dagger against his ankle in his boot. It felt safer having it to weild, but, considering how many wanted it, he was also vulnerable carrying it at all. He stepped down onto the deck and untied the bow lines securing the barge to the dock. He began to slowly walk aft, inspecting the barge as he moved.

About a week ago, once he had healed sufficiently, he’d come here to make sure it was secure. The storm had scattered several of the tarps, but otherwise, it had been well. He’d suspected that a few of the cargo crates had been either stolen, searched, or both. He didn’t really care if they had. That was the least of his worries. He’d squared those that remained all shipshape and tied them down again. Now, as he walked the deck, they looked to be all still in place.

His mind drifted. Memories of the past months came to him. Memories of running the river with Rinkmorr. Memories of defending the barge against what he’d thought were river pirates, then those that were after the white-bladed dagger. The dagger that Rinkmorr had left with him. The dagger that Rinkmorr had been killed for. Memories of new friends all fighting to defend Thissraelle.


His brow furrowed with worry. He untied the starboard stern line, and stepped up onto the steering platform. He’d never had a friend like Thissraelle. In just a few months, they had connected to each other like they had been friends their whole lives, like she was his little sister. A VERY little sister, to a giant like me!

I can’t let myself believe she’s gone. There were no bodies.

She had to have survived the attack, somehow. They’d gotten through battles together, before, and Granthurg knew how strong she could be. He couldn’t accept the idea that she hadn’t survived.

However, the two weeks he’d spent searching for her had turned up nothing.

It hadn’t been easy to search, either. The Church pulled all of their Holy Guard from other posts to stand and protect the burned out shell of the Cathedral, and no one was allowed onto the site. Somehow, thieves and looters still managed to scavenge the ruins, making off with gold and oculi. The leadership of the Church was nowhere to be seen. Many said the councils were killed off, and others said they were all in hiding. When Granthurg had first became well enough to leave the Old Steersman, there were still angry mobs shouting outside the Wizard’s Guild, clamoring for vengeance from the King. The Royal Guard stood watch, but did nothing to stop them, nor to calm them. Finally, the Royal Guard and the City Guard together raided the Guild Hall, and arrested what few wizards remained there. Mages of the Guild were never very common in the streets of the city, but since the attack, they’re not seen at all.

Granthurg himself was in fear. He didn’t know who knew about the blade, nor why they wanted it. But someone knew he had it, and they would eagerly kill him to get it. He he didn’t want to be seen by them, and didn’t want to lead them to his friends, once he did find them. He’d gone out, mostly by night and early morning, to try and find Thissraelle, Eddiwarth, or Karendle. He’d checked in on his barge, but never saw them there. He’d asked at the Inn they had chosen, and in the streets nearby, but nobody had seen them since the attack. It was like they had vanished.

Where do I go, now? His mind’s eye pictured Antonerri and DeFrantis romping with the kids of the orphanage. They would want to know what happened. But what if the men who want the dagger follow me there? We’re only starting to see the reach of the Dragon’s Flame. 

Granthurg untied the port stern line, setting the barge fully free of the pier. It was his boat, now. Debt-free and beholden to no one. He had no obligations and no commitments. Only questions.

So why don’t I feel free?

He also had no direction and no friends. He had almost no hope of seeing them again. He stepped back onto the steering platform and lifted the hatch over the oculus, half expecting it to have been stolen as well. But the latch was locked, and the stone intact. He held his hand out above it, closed his eyes, and searched deep in his being for the will to go on. His face burned and his eyes watered as he’d remembered learning this step from Thissraelle. Slowly, he felt it swell inside him, and heard the water churn underneath him. The boat began to move backward, out of the berth, and away from the dock.

Where do I go, now? I need to get far away. I need to escape, to think things through, to find some answers.

After clearing the docks, and moving into the center of the river, he turned the barge to the Lesser Wynne, the southern fork, then westward, toward the Graemal Mountains.

I’ll go home.


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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