Monday, August 26, 2019

154 - “Into The Vast” - Thissraelle - A Tale of Heroes

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Story Four
The Dragons of Emberfire

Part 12



My head!


Throbbing pain.

My head...

Thissraelle’s arms and legs jerked.

She groaned.

More aching.

Pain shot through her limbs and up her spine.

She opened her eyes.


Bright light!

And yet, more pain.

She brought her hand up to cover her eyes. Her arm was stiff and sore as it moved. Her head still pulsed with pain. She moaned and moved her head slowly from side to side. That only made it hurt worse.

Under her hand, she blinked her eyes, then opened her fingers. As her eyes adjusted, she moved her hand away. To her right, there was a smooth stone wall, rising up to the ceiling above her. Just below the top was a line of small, dimly glowing oculus stones set into the wall in a line. Thissraelle blinked again and raised her head. She was in a small, sparse room. It didn’t seem as brightly lit as it had when she had first opened her eyes. Across the room was a large cushioned chair, next to a door.

She turned and leaned up. Her head throbbed with a pounding headache; her arms and shoulders were stiff and aching. She lay on a thick, soft mattress set on a stone bed, with a delicate blanket draped over her.

Where is this?

She eased the blanket off her legs and sat up on the edge of the bed. It wasn’t large, but it was comfortable. She was wearing a loose and thin gray robe of a fine, smooth cloth that felt like silk. The sleeves were long and open wide.

She raised her hands and rubbed her temple. Everything in her hurt. She stretched her shoulders back and that helped a little.

Where am I? Ivarr said I wasn’t dead, and this definitely doesn’t feel like heaven... She took in the small stone room, looking all around. It certainly doesn’t look like heaven, either.

She slid off the bed and stood. Her legs were a bit shaky, but they held. The robe hem dropped to just below her knees. She looked down at her bare feet and wriggled her toes, as if to see if they were real. Satisfied, she took a step, then reached out for something to steady herself. Finding nothing, she lurched to the wall and held herself up. Something didn’t feel quite right about this place. Standing on the floor felt oddly unreal, yet the feeling was still somehow familiar to her. Even though her mind was starting to clear, she wasn’t quite sure where that memory was from.

She saw her clothes draped across the chair, and her memory jolted a bit. That was what she had been wearing in the rainy streets of Twynne Rivers, looking for Karendle with Eddiwarth. It was what she’d been wearing as she struggled through the fires and fought the drakes in the cathedral. She stepped over to them and leaned on the chair. The leggings were still damp and muddy and the shirt and cloak smelled like smoke. So that was all real? And not too long ago. What happened? I was healing people, and wizards attacked the Bishop. I ran to help and...

Beyond that, her memory failed her.

She wobbled to the door, then stepped out into a hallway that ran left and right. Along the way there were many doors similar to the one where she stood, and rows of oculus lights up high, just like in her room. She thought she heard voices from the left and stumbled toward them. The smooth stone floor had the same strange feeling, as if the gravity was a little off. Or was that just her aching head?

The corridor ended in an opening, and she stepped through it onto a large stone terrace. She looked up in wonder and recognition. The sky above was a dark black, with huge distant expanses of colored clouds spread randomly in the emptiness. Red, Green, blue, white, in all shades swirled around each other. In spite of the dark sky, the terrace was well illuminated, as though lit from nowhere at all.  I’m in The Vast! She smiled, forgetting her pain for a moment. She spun out onto the terrace, her eyes drinking in the strangeness and the colors of the sky. I haven’t been in The Vast since I was a little girl! Huh. Maybe I am dead!

She ran to the edge of the terrace, where a stone railing stood, like a balcony. She leaned on it, looking in wonder out over the expanse. Down below, like above, were more clouds of color. Off in the distance, she saw more rocks, like floating islands drifting in the void. Others were smaller. Some were steady and stable, others gently turned or rolled. They all seemed to move slowly together through the skyspace, and Thissraelle realized that the landmass she stood on must be turning very slowly as well. Near a distant island, she saw a school of eelwhales, gigantic silvery creatures peacefully swimming with slowly undulating bodies through the space of the void.

“Hey! She’s awake!” A familiar voice called out.

She whirled around to see her friends, Eddiwarth and Karendle, walking toward her from a stone bench next to the wall near the corridor opening. Thissraelle shrieked and rushed toward them, jumping into an eager embrace. “Oh, it’s so good to see you both!” She stepped back, smiling, holding one hand of each friend and darting her gaze back and forth.

“How are you feeling?” Eddiwarth asked, surprised, squeezing her hand.

“I hurt all over, but it’s fine.” She smiled. “It’s fine. What happened? How did we get here to The Vast?”

“The Vast? The what?” Eddiwarth’s eyebrow tricked up.

Thissraelle dropped their hands and stepped back, pointing to the sky and all around her. “The Vast. That’s where we are. It’s this vast interdimensional space, full of nothing, and everything, darkness and light. Isn’t it beautiful?”

“So, we’re dead, then?” Karendle asked, hesitant.

Thissraelle laughed. “Probably not. When I was little, my father brought me here a few times, using dimensional powers. Well, not ‘here’, in this place, but ‘here’ in The Vast.”

Eddiwarth looked around. “It feels a lot like it did when I was trapped in the stone. That was weird.”

Karendle still looked uneasy. “We’re ‘probably’ not dead?”

“Well, that depends. How did we get here?”

“Tarl rescued us.” Eddiwarth explained. “Right after you got hit by the wizard’s magic, someone opened up a portal, like you did back at the manor house. A lady in a gray robe, sort of like yours, called to us to jump through. You were out cold, so we had to drag you into the portal. Korr and Parith helped.”

Thissraelle stepped back up to them, “Korr and Parith? And who is Tarl?”

Eddiwarth just shrugged. “We don’t know them. They came through with us. They also carried a few of the injured brothers. We put you and the monks in beds. Tarl changed you out of your wet, messy clothes, and then went back through a portal to try and save more people.”

“So, then, we’re very probably not dead.” Thissraelle nodded, “How long was I asleep?”

Karendle and Eddiwarth made confused faces at each other, “An hour, maybe two? Or... seems like a couple of days? Time is funny, here.”

Thissraelle laughed again, then suddenly stopped. “Where’s Granthurg?”


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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