Thursday, October 31, 2019

172 - “Talking in the Shadows” - Tonklyn - A Tale of Heroes

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Kirraxal lifted his head, snaking it from side to side, shifting his gaze back and forth. An unearthly hiss rose from deep in his throat. It came out of his mouth as an sulfuric smoke that traced his movements.

He closed his eyes and sat on his back legs and massive tail. A mist of darkness coalesced around him from the shadows in the corners of the dimly lit chamber. It swirled around his chest and undulating neck.

“Stand with me!” he growled.

Tonklyn jolted with surprise. What? He wants me involved in the shadow contact? He immediately stepped from the table where he had been standing and moved to Kirraxal’s side. Tonklyn’s plump frame was covered by an ornate and newly crafted robe. It was long and black, trimmed in gold edging and a red sash and belt. He adjusted the passed shoulders, pleased with the design. He considered it to be suitably elegant for the Chancellor to the Dragon King.

The darkness swelled up around them and he suddenly felt weightless. He knew that he wasn’t physically moving- that his body actually remained in the mountain palace hold. With a rush, he felt his consciousness flash through the night, leaping from shadow to shadow. In a moment, it flew across the landscape, through the forest, and into the city that he knew was Twynne Rivers. The shadows carried them to the civil palace in the center of the city, where all of the King’s ministers and Councilmembers lived and worked. Tonklyn knew this place well. Here's been there many times as a page for the Royal Library.

He felt slightly dizzy and even a bit nauseous. Frankly, he didn’t like it much when Kirraxal contacted him through the shadows, and now he liked being projected this way even less.

As the room opened up in his awareness, he saw an ornately decorated smoking chamber. Fine wood tables and richly padded chairs were carefully placed around the perimeter of the room. Elaborately hung chandeliers with bright oculi illuminated the room from above.

In the center of the room, Tonklyn saw three men scramble up from their chairs. They hurried to get to their knees before the swirling dark and misted image that they were seeing took shape.

In spite of the uneasiness he felt having his mind stretched and flung far across the kingdom, Tonklyn admitted a certain satisfaction to see them kneel before him. Well, kneeling before Kirraxal, really, but standing there beside the Dragon King did carry quite a weight of importance.

Tonklyn recognized one of the men. It was the elf named Illitharin, who had helped plan and execute the attack on the cathedral and the other two chapels. The others were humans that he'd not met. One of them, however, wore livery that Tonklyn immediately recognized as a minister of the Kings High Council. Though he didn’t recognize the man, he wore silver and gold braids across his shoulders in a pattern that denoted high rank within the council chambers. The other was also human, and wore a simple traveling tunic and leggings with sturdy boots. He definitely looked to have just come in from the road. All three of them bowed low.

The dragon broke the haunting silence. “Hopefully, you will have brought me news of progress.” He spoke in a grave and menacing voice.

The first man responded, “Your majesty.” Tonklyn noted the deference given to Kirraxal now that he wore the crown. No longer was he simply “the master” or “my liege”. “I hope you will be pleased with our efforts here in the capital. With two of the major factions essentially removed from before the king, his High Council is now imbalanced and uncertain. Others factions are attempting to assert their dominance. In the chaos, our own ranks are growing with disciples.”

He continued with an added layer of religious humility, “As your high priest here in the city, I have been able to induct many new acolytes to our order. Many are users of the powers of shadow, and of striking force, and we are beginning to move across the city to take advantage of the instability.”

He looked at the more roughly-clothed man, who spoke next. “Some of the more devout recruits will be coming with me to Portstown to strengthen our presence there.”

“Very well. You will carry on. My Chancellor will continue to coordinate with you.”

Illitharin spoke up. “I have a message for His Excellency, the Chancellor, if I may.”

His Excellency? His Excellency the Chancellor. I like the sound of that!

Kirraxal snorted. “Be brief. It is not easy to maintain this connection.”

“The daughter of the Guildmaster has returned to Twynne Rivers. You and I spoke of her soon after the attack. We've found that she and her companions were instrumental in bringing down the slaver chapter in Westwood Manor in the western Umbrawood forest, and fought in the cathedral raid as well. You had asked me to follow through on any information regarding them.”

Tonklyn nodded. “Go on.”

“Well, we have someone in pursuit. One of her companions has said she wishes to join us. They were seen leaving through the northern gate of the wall. If they’re leaving, they might be going north.”

Tonklyn mused, “If so, we might have some followers of our chapter in Emberfire City go to meet them and welcome them.”

The minister looked surprised. “We have a presence among the High Elves? Why was I not informed?”

“There is much you don’t know!” Kirraxal growled with menace. The minister quickly bowed again.

“Forgive me, Your Majesty!” he said, with immediate fear, then, after hesitating, added, “May I speak?”

“If what you have to say is actually useful, yes.”

“If it please Your Majesty, I believe it will be. Are there not legends of clutches of dragons living to the north in the harsh peaks of the Emberfire Mountains? There is a more ancient, much forgotten tradition among the old wizards and scholars of the High Elves of a hero, one called Giatrace Dragonfriend. Perhaps those of our order could be tasked to find the heirs or descendents of this Dragonfriend. They could be crucial to your goal of uniting the dragonkind under your rule.”

Tonklyn scowled and turned in shadow to nod at Kirraxal.

“Yes, this has some interest. Maybe it will be useful.” The mists began to swirl again, and with a deep lurch in his belly, Tonklyn found himself standing back in Kirraxal’s chamber. He reached out with his hands to regain his balance.

Kirraxal gave a snarly growl. “Why didn’t you have this useful information?”

Tonklyn frowned. He didn’t like being upstaged. Was that a snarl or a laugh? Neither would be a good thing, and Tonklyn couldn’t tell. "I must do more research."

"Yes. You must." The dragon hissed.


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!
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Monday, October 28, 2019

171 - “Friends” - Thissraelle - A Tale of Heroes

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The room was dark and a bit chilly, in spite of a few glowing embers remaining behind their hearth. Thissraelle was wrapped up tight in her blanket, starting at the ceiling.

"Karendle!" she whispered, "Are you awake?"

After a moment's silence, Karendle responded, "Mmm, hmmm."

"Sorry. Nevermind." Ah, stones! I shouldn't have said anything.

"Well, now I'm up." Karendle rustled her blankets. "What did you want?"

Thissraelle hesitated, "I just had a question, I guess. But I didn't want to wake you. I can ask tomorrow."

Karendle let out an exasperated sigh. "No, it's fine. Go ahead."

Thissraelle rolled onto her side, toward Karendle, and raised up on her elbow. She waved her fingers at the ceiling and spot of bright light appeared, illuminating the inn room. Karendle winced and pulled her hands up in front of her eyes.

"Sorry!" Thissraelle waved again and the spot dimmed a bit. "So, you used that blue mental oculus to contact me when you were trapped in the old Manor house in the woods, right?"

"Yeah. It was DeFrantis' idea. But I did it."

"So, you can contact people other than the guys in the Dragon's Flame."

"Sure. I guess. I don't know how it works, really. You probably do better than me."

Thissraelle lay back down. "I wonder if the Dragon's Flame will know about it if we use it."

"I don't know. I really don't." Karendle sat up. "You want to reach out to DeFrantis, right?"

"I've been thinking about her a lot. She probably heard about the cathedral attack, but she doesn't know anything about what happened to us after."

Karendle twirled her braid on her finger. "And we don't know what happened to them, either. We only know that there were attacks in the city itself. There could have been chapels burning all over."

They looked at each other as that thought sank in. They threw off their blankets and lunged for Karendle's pack resting by the table in the small room. Karendle reached it first and dug for the pouch holding the oculi. She tossed it to Thissraelle.

Thissraelle caught it and handed it back. "You try first!"

"She's a long way away! When I did it before, it was only a few miles from the manor to the monastery. Contacting the Flame guys was in the same city."

Thissraelle waved her hands toward the pouch. "Try it! It's your stone. You know how to make it work." Karendle sighed and shook the large cut sapphire out onto her palm. She closed her eyes and summoned her will. The stone responded with a glow almost immediately.

Thissraelle reached up and supported Karendle's hands, like she had before. "Think of DeFrantis."

"I am!"


Thissraelle waited. She could sense their will reaching farther and farther away. She felt... Emptiness. Nothingness. Her mind was dark.

Come on DeFrantis! Where are you?

They kept their hands together, feeling the warmth of the gem. They pushed their will further.


What? What's this? DeFrantis' voice sounded faint in their minds.

DeFrantis! Thissraelle’s heart leapt. Karendle and Thissraelle smiled at each other.

What? Who? DeFrantis paused, then realization seemed to come to her. Thiss? Is that you? Am I dreaming? Am I still asleep?

Yes! It’s me! I’m here with Karendle!

Karendle jumped in as well. Yes! We’re here! Are you well?

DeFrantis shrieked with excitement in their minds, and, probably, out loud. Yes, love, it’s Thissraelle. She’s in my mind! There was a pause. She was apparently speaking to someone. Yes, it’s Thiss and Karendle. They’ve reached out to me! They’re alive!

Thissraelle’s eyes widened. Wait. Who are you talking to?

What, just now? DeFrantis thought, That’s just Antonerri.

Antonerri? But you... Didn’t we just wake you? 

Oh, Thiss, it’s been so long! Antonerri and I were wed about a month after you left, after we heard about the horrors in the chapels. We heard nothing for so long. We worried that you had died. But, you’re not dead! Am I really not dreaming this? I’ve had some strange dreams. 

Oh, it’s real! But you’re MARRIED?

DeFrantis laughed. Yes! Married! So you found Karendle?

Karendle interrupted, Yes, she did! 

She and I and Eddiwarth were all deep in the cathedral fight, Thissraelle explained, trying to rescue the poor monks being hurt and killed by the drakes, but we were snatched out when the danger suddenly got too deep. 

Karendle, are you well?

Yes, Karendle thought, and I’m glad to be back as friends. I’m sorry I was so difficult...

DeFrantis was quick to interject, Don’t worry. It’s all fine, now. Eddiwarth is with you?

Well, not at the moment, Karendle thought, but yes, he is travelling with us.

DeFrantis asked, Is he still trying to win Thissraelle over? Thissraelle’s face twisted in a surprised smile. Karendle laughed out loud. DeFrantis went on, I’ll take that as a ‘yes’...

Thissraelle rolled her eyes. Yes, fine, he is. But at least he’s not being as annoying about it as he used to. She felt a tiredness, an emptiness gradually begin to overtake her and she got suddenly very quiet. I have to ask, though, before our time and will run out...

Karendle was still smiling, but her expression shifted to a half frown when Thissraelle continued, When we got back to Twynne Rivers, we found no trace of Granthurg. I tried to reach out to him, but I wasn’t able to find him. Is he...?

Antonerri and I received a short letter from him. It would have to have been written between the time of the attack and our wedding, but it took a long time to get to us. He’s alive, but fearful. He wouldn’t say where he’s going, but did say that he planned to return to Twynne Rivers someday soon. 

He’s alive! Thissraelle breathed deep and let relief wash over her as those words sank in. He’s alive.

Yeah, I was so happy to hear from him, but he didn’t know anything about you or Karendle, either, so I have been really worried. DeFrantis paused, like she was taking deep breaths as well.

Karendle nodded. Thissraelle could feel their will growing low.

I’m a bit afraid as well, DeFrantis. There are some frightening things happening in the world, and I think our adventure in the manor house rescuing the children was just like poking a hornet’s nest with a stick.

Karendle interrupted, Except the hornets may be dragons.


Thissraelle continued, I won’t say where we’re going, because dangerous people with dangerous powers may be checking on us, but we’ll keep contacting you. 

Be careful, Thiss. DeFrantis sighed.

I will. Give Antonerri an extra hug from us. As Thissraelle was saying this, the glow of the oculus faded and she dropped her hands. Karendle did, too. Thissraelle wiped her eyes and choked out the words, “Thank you.” Karendle smiled and reached over to embrace Thissraelle. That felt strange, coming from Karendle, and it was short, but it felt good to be with a friend, and good to know that the others were alive. Thissraelle wished she could be where they were to hug them, as well. She also felt the familiar tiredness of her drained will.

“Well,” she said, “I think I can sleep now.”


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!
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Monday, October 21, 2019

170 - “Boys’ Night In” - Parith - A Tale of Heroes

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Eddiwarth opened the door and stepped into the room. "I don't think I've ever walked that far in my life."

Parith and Korr followed him in. "Yeah, it's been a while since I traveled the entire day," Parith said, "so I'm not used to it, either. We made pretty good time, though. All the way to Windydale." I’m pretty sore, too, though. It’ll be nice to sleep in a bed before we get to the forest.

"Is that what they call this little waystop? Not much here."

"It’s part of some Dutchy. I don’t know the name. It's not on the main trade road, which is good for us. It’ll help us avoid whoever might be chasing the wizard girl. We won’t want the local Lord to know we’re here." Parith stretched his arms above his head and stepped over to the window. He snapped the latch and swung the shutter open. Instantly, a cold breeze rushed through the room.

"What are you doing?" Eddiwarth shouted and grabbed his cloak from where he had left it on the chair. It was a thick one, dyed a dark green. Here held it over his arms and chest.

Parith raised his hand to his lips and whistled sharply, twice. Immediately, they heard a flapping of wings and the drakeling landed on the windowsill. He jumped onto Parith's shoulders. "We're fed, now it's his turn."

He walked over to the bed and pulled a bundle of cloth from his pocket. He flipped it open on the bed, and the drake eagerly jumped down and began eating. He made soft contented trilling noises in between his slurps and gulps. “Is that yummy?” he asked, scritching the drake on the head while he ate.

"At least close the window, please!"

"Just a minute."

Eddiwart blew out a breath. "It's cold outside! That draft is freezing."

Korr had been quietly sitting on the floor access from the one chair in the room. He stood and closed the shutters. "Well, thanks." Eddiwarth sat down in the chair. “And what did you mean by ‘whoever might be chasing the wizard girl’?”

Oooh, did I hit a nerve? Parith just shrugged, but smiled a bit inside. He looked his traveling companion over. Korr shook his head, then sat back down in a sort of meditation posture. Parith glanced back at Eddiwarth, who avoided his gaze and shifted in the chair to face away from the bed. I shouldn’t mess with him, should I? Parith fed more meat to the drake. It yapped and snarled eagerly.

Oh, why not?

“Why?” Parith asked, without even hiding a smirk, “Are you wanting to be the one chasing the wizard girl?” Korr opened his eyes and glanced warily back and forth between the other two.

Eddiwarth’s eyes darkened and he tensed.

Ah, the arrow strikes home!

“Are you just upset because she spent so much time walking with me today?”

Eddiwarth looked down and muttered, “She just needed to understand the path through the woods. She had to make the plan.”

Parith fell back on the bed and laughed. The drake jumped to his hands and began licking the remnants of dinner from his fingers. Eddiwarth jumped off the chair and stood tense, his jaw set. Korr shifted his legs on the floor, preparing to intervene.

Parith sat forward and leaned on his elbows. His grin was broad. “Easy, there, friend, easy. You don’t have anything to fear from me. I’m definitely not her type. I’m much too... well... too much lowly wood elf for her tastes.”

“She’s not like that.” Eddiwarth jumped in, but his shoulders and arms were less tense.

“Oh, no?”

“I’ve seen her. She’ll throw herself in front of any danger if she can help heal someone that’s hurt. She’ll fight for anyone that needs help. Flames, she fought for Karendle, and she’s part dwarf. She’s... amazing...” He sat back down and dropped his head. “I’m only half-elf, and she... she...” He hesitated, like he wasn’t sure how to finish that sentence.

This guy’s serious. He’s got it really bad. Parith glanced over at Korr, who had relaxed and was focused on Eddiwarth.

“Ah. Look.” Parith said, “I...”

Korr spoke up. “Does she know what you’re thinking?”

Eddiwarth shrugged. “Probably not. Nothing I do seems to get her notice.”

Korr looked up, as if trying to remember something. “I know nothing of women. There were women in my cohort of disciples. We trained together, studied together, and worked together. Yet I have no idea how to be together. Our master often spoke of his own wife and when he did, he looked much like you did just now. He taught, ‘As you share yourself, you must find yourself.’” He sighed. “I don’t really know what that means.”

Eddiwarth raised his head and tilted it to one side.

“How about this for an interpretation, then,” Parith said. “Relax and don’t force it. Take your time and she’ll notice you.”

“Yeah. That’ll work” Eddiwarth didn’t seem so convinced. He slouched back in the chair. Parith reached over to the stack of blankets folded at the foot of the bed and tossed him one. It landed on his face and chest. Eddiwarth didn’t immediately react, but began unfolding it as Parith handed one to Korr.

This one’s a new branch on the tree, I think. Parith glanced back at Eddiwarth. I like him. I still think I can have some fun, here, though.


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!
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Thursday, October 17, 2019

169 - “The Way to the Woods” - Parith - A Tale of Heroes

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“I spent the last three summers guiding trade caravans through the Umbrawood Forest,” Parith said, “so finding our way won’t be a problem.”

The sun was rising in the mid morning, shining a bit of warmth down past the chill breeze of the day. They had been walking all morning, through the NorthTown quarter of the city, through the InnerWall gate, and finally past the hovels of the OuterWall. Parith and Korr were each leading a small donkey along a small side street. Thissraelle walked alongside Parith and the animal, and Karendle and Eddiwarth followed the group, last in line.  The OuterWall was not as crowded at this time of day, and they hoped to avoid eyes as they made their way out of the city.

The sun was warm, but the shanties and other structures cast a lot of shadows, and there was a chill wind from the north.

Thissraelle kept her hood up. In addition to the cold, she didn't want to be seen. Their host back in NorthTowne had already taken them to a few shops and suppliers on their way out of the city, and Thissraelle and Karendle had spent most of their remaining gold on cloaks, provisions, blankets and the two pack animals. She was worried that someone would have been paying attention to their path.

"How well do you know this party of the city?" Thissraelle asked.

"Well, I've come through the main roads a few times when I've been with caravans. I've never been on these side streets, though. They seem to be a lot like the ones on the western side of the OuterWall, where Korr and I were living." He paused, thoughtful. “It might be best to not take the main trade road. Everyone uses it. That goes up through Tre’ah Village and then on into the forest. Instead, there’s a small farming berg up a side road to the west. We might even be able to get an inn there tonight, and then get to the edges of Umbrawood by midday tomorrow.” Parith enjoyed the feeling of being in charge, of knowing the way and planning the path.

Thissraelle nodded. “We’re in your hands.”

“We’ll get there just fine!” Parith smiled.

“Your confidence is... assuring, I guess.”

He laughed. “You’re not so sure, I guess.”

She pulled her cloak a bit tighter  “I’m a bit afraid, I’ll admit.”

“Well, it turns out that in many ways, the winter is the best time to go through the forest. Life sort of shuts down. The bears and the spiders go underground. The woods themselves sleep, so there’s much less danger and not so much to hinder your travels.”
“Bears and spiders?”

Parith laughed again. “Yes. But don’t worry. They’re not as bad as the wolves. Not in the cold, anyway.”

“And the woods?”

“Some say the forest itself is aware, like it's a creature itself. If you don’t respect it, it will fight you.”

“Do you believe that?”

He just smiled.

“What has me really the most nervous, though,” Thissraelle hesitated, “are the inhabitants.”

“What, like the deer and the birds?”

“I mean the people. The elves.”

He wasn’t sure of this. “What do you mean?”

“Well, you’re a wood elf, and I’m...”

“...A high elf?” He finished her sentence for her.

“Eddiwarth, too, though he’s really half-human.”

Really? You're afraid of the wood elves?

“Have you ever actually met a wood elf? I mean, really interacted with one?”

“Yes! I have!”


“Well, you, for one. I mean, I appreciate all you’re doing for us. I’m glad you’re here to help us.” She hesitated, “I just don’t know how others will react to us, or who’ll be there...”

“You don’t trust me?"

“I do! We're putting ourselves in your hands. Still, I hardly know you.”

Parith nodded with a smirk. “And yet you make assumptions based on my heritage.” They turned a corner.

“I’m sorry. I don’t mean to disparage anyone. I’m just afraid.”

Parith raised his hands dismissively, then said, “Don’t worry. I’m sure that once we get you to the High Elves of Emberfire, your fine and noble kin will treat me with the same kindness and respect that the wood elves showed to you in your travels.”

Really. Parith shook his head and tugged on the donkey's reins before stepping ahead.


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!
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Monday, October 14, 2019

168 - “Are You Ready?” - Karendle - A Tale of Heroes

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“Are you ready?” Karendle asked. She held the glowing sapphire in her palms before her. She shivered as much from tension and fear as from the chilly room air. Thissraelle nodded. She placed her hands under Karendle’s, also feeling the glow. “If they drop even a hint that they sense you, get out!”


“OK, I’m opening it up.”

Karendle let her mind clear, and felt the warmth of the power slide up her arms and into her mind. She took in a deep, slow breath before thinking, I’m here.

Where have you been? You’ve not contacted us for a long time. The voice was deep and intense, even a little angry. Karendle recognized it as the elf called Illitharin. His image formed in her mind, shaped by her memory. He was thin, not tall, with a measured expression that always left her feeling unsafe.

I’ve been tracking the elf wizard, like you asked. It’s not been easy since you burned down the cathedral. Everyone’s been in hiding. She looked across at Thissraelle, who nodded encouragement.

And how is it going? Have you caught her?

Karendle hesitated. She didn’t want to let them in, but wanted to find out more. No. I have some good leads. I’m pretty sure she’s still in Twynne Rivers. At first I thought she’d gone back to Dirae. Thissraelle smiled, and Karendle returned it.

Good. Good. Keep at it. If you catch her, your bounty will be much higher. My masters have deep pouches, now, and they really want her. Thissraelle gave a smug, sarcastic smirk. Karendle rolled her eyes.

What’s so important about her, anyway? Why is she such a big deal? Thissraelle pretended to be miffed. Karendle smiled and shook her head.

That’s my master’s business, not yours.

Karendle shifted her legs on the bed. She decided to push. It’s the Wizard’s Guild, isn’t it? But weren’t they in on the cathedral job with you?

There was a silence in her mind. Karendle felt sweat on her forehead, in spite of the cold. Thissraelle’s hands shook a little under her own. She continued, I’ll bet that’s it. The Guild thinks you’ve already got her! You used her for leverage. That’s how you worked the Guild over, and got them to cooperate in the attack on the Church. 

The elf voice still didn’t respond. Karendle kept pushing. So, what are you going to do now that the guild hall’s been raided and all of the wizards are in hiding?

We have nothing to worry about. We’ve had people in the Guild and the Church for years. We’re growing, and we’re not stopping. 

Karendle’s eyes widened. She thought about when she had met up them in the inn just a week ago. Or, really, three months ago. She reached out in her mind like she had then. She saw an image of a dark, black shadow taking the shape of a huge dragon, much larger than any of the drakes they had fought. It wore a large golden crown. You guys are the Dragon’s Flame, aren’t you?

Once again there was silence, a hesitation.

I want to join you. Thissraelle’s eyes widened in surprise.

What are you saying?

Karendle asserted herself. I want to join the Dragon’s Flame. 


“Karendle!” Thissraelle whispered. Karendle nodded assurance and smiled nervously. Well, you guys are making things happen. I figure that when the dragons finally do take over, I’ll want to be in a good position. You know, instead of a slave.

Alright, then... the voice suggested, bring in the elf girl. That will be your test. If you can do that, and soon, we will talk.

I’ll do it!

Very well, then. Contact us when you do.

Karendle dropped her hands as the glow subsided. She hissed out a heavy breath. She looked up and saw Thissraelle staring at her in wonder. “What? Don’t you think that would help?”

Thissraelle pulled her hands back. “What, signing up with the enemy?”

“No! Of course not!” Karendle said. “But this way we can find out what they’re doing! Already we found out that they want to overthrow King Twynnham. Who knows what else they’re up to!”

Thissraelle sat back, relaxing. She rubbed her arms. She began nodding her head as she saw the possibilities.

“Look, Thissraelle, I’m not going to sell you out.” Karendle reached over and put her hand on Thissraelle’s arm. “Let’s just string them along for a while and see how it goes.”

Thissraelle continued nodding. “Yeah. That’s a good plan. I want to find out how involved my father was in the attack. Also, I wonder if this Heathrax man fits into this somehow.”

“I’ll bet.” Karendle slipped her legs back under her blanket, and Thissraelle stood up. She walked over to her own bed. Karendle covered up and rolled over. “For now, let’s get some sleep.”


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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Thursday, October 10, 2019

167 - “Questions in the Dark” - Karendle - A Tale of Heroes

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Part 13

In the previous part: Thissraelle awakens in a place that is strange, but familiar. It’s The Vast, a strange and deep void of extra-dimensional space where occasional islands of rock and matter float and spin through emptiness and clouds of colorful magical energies. The rock where she and her friends are resting holds a temple and an outpost of the Seekers of the Great Reality. They are a secret group of wizards that are committed to searching The Vast and the worlds dimensionally connected to it to find The Creator.

Thissraelle had visited The Vast as a child with her father and is thrilled to see it again. She is also excited to see her friends, Karendle and Eddiwarth, in the temple with her. She takes some time to reconcile and bond with Karendle, as well as become more acquainted with Korr and Parith, who fought by her side in the cathedral in Twynne Rivers. She also tries to magically reach out to Granthurg’s mind, but can’t find him.

She discovers that Korr is also trying to find Heathrax, though neither of them knows why. The Seekers tell them that he is believed to be living in the Emberfire Mountains. Eventually, they all decide to return to Twynne Rivers and journey north, through the deep of the Umbrawood forest to search for him.

After the cathedral attack, Tonklyn returns to the mountain hold of Kirraxal, the dragon. There, he discovers a magical key to the great hidden treasure horde of the ancient dragon kings. Included in this incredible wealth is the ancient’s crown, which Kirraxal puts on, proclaiming himself the rightful heir of the Dragon Throne.

Granthurg sails his newly-acquired barge west up the southern Wynne river toward his hometown in the Graemal Mountains. He has many questions, especially about the white-bladed dagger he holds. Why does everyone want it, and why are they willing to kill for it? He writes a letter to his friends DeFrantis and Antonerri in Dirae, telling them what happened in Twynne Rivers and sharing his fear for Thissraelle.

Finally, Thissraelle’s new team steps out of a dimensional portal back into Twynne Rivers, in “The Great Reality”. They are shocked to find that the land had moved on into late fall, nearing winter, while they spent what seemed like only a few days in the Vast. She sees the ruined cathedral and the now-empty hall of the Wizard’s Guild and wonders what has happened to Granthurg and how her father could have possibly commanded the attack on the Church. They are met in the street by a strange old man and guided to those who can help them in their journey.


167 - “Questions in the Dark” - Karendle

"Thissraelle!" Karendle shook her friend's shoulder. "Thissraelle! Wake up!"

The room was small and dark, but bathed for the moment in a soft glow of deep blue. The chairs and beds were ornately covered and decorated. Embers from the remaining logs in the fireplace also gave a little light, as well as a bit of warmth. Even with that, however, the nightshirt that Karendle had been given did little to keep away the chill.

Thissraelle mumbled and stirred, but didn't arouse. Karendle shook her again, with a bit more force. "Come on, get up quick!"

After stepping through the portal the night before, they had followed the strange old man to this house in the residential part of NorthTowne in Twynne Rivers. The walk had felt very strange to Karendle. The cold night of a looming winter had been a surprise. Her steps seemed heavier and the ground felt solid and steady. In the Vast, the ground often felt like it was drifting under her feet. Tiredness had also overcame her, as if the time that had passed while they were in The Vast suddenly caught up and swept over her. They moved carefully, trying not to be seen.

Their host was a wealthy, older lady. She welcomed them into her home with a friendly embrace and a short dinner. As the five of them ate, the lady and the old man talked quietly. Then, they embraced with a smile and a pat before the man left. Karendle and the others were then shown to tidy rooms. Sleep had come easily.

Then in the darkness of the night, the glow of the oculus had awakened Karendle and she knew instantly what it meant. Unfortunately, she had no idea what to do about it. For now, she kept shaking Thissraelle.

Thissraelle rolled over and leaned up on one arm. The blue light bathed her face and she squinted, raising her hand. "Oh! What's that?"

Karendle sat back on her knees and half turned around. She pointed at her own bed and the source of the light. "It's my oculus! What do I do?"

Thissraelle wiped her eyes. "What? What are you using it for?" She was still quite groggy with sleep.
"No! It's glowing!"

"Mmm hmmm. Brightly. I can see that."

Karendle huffed in frustration and moved to sit on her mattress next to the oculus. The blue light cast strange shadows across her nightshirt and onto her worried face. "You don't get it! They're trying to contact me!"

"Who is? Thissraelle yawned. Suddenly, her eyes shot wide open and a look of surprised awareness swept her face. She threw off her blankets and rushed over to Karendle's bed. As she did, the light flickered and faded out. 

Karendle let out her breath and ran her hand through her hair. The room was now lit only by the orange glow from the embers in the fireplace. She picked up the oculus. It looked dull and lifeless in the dark. She shivered in the chill. “So, what do I do?” she whispered.

“Do you remember how to reach out to them?”

Karendle rolled her eyes. “Yes, I remember how to use it!”

Thissraelle shrugged. “Sorry!”

“I mean,” Karendle explained, “that I don’t know what to tell them. How do they know that we’re back in Twynne Rivers? Do they know where we’re going? They want me to catch you, and they’ll probably ask me about that.”

Thissraelle leaned back and rubbed her arms briskly. She stood and crossed over to the fireplace while she thought. She picked up some small logs from a basket, opened the small gate before the hearth, and tossed them onto the fire. As they caught, the room lightened just a bit. Finally, she asked, “What do you want to do?”

“I told you before. I don’t even want to have these things!” Karendle shook the oculus at Thissraelle’s back. “They cause too much trouble!” She tossed it down onto her pouch and lay back down on her bed. She pulled her blankets back over her. “I’ll just ignore it for now. I don’t have to respond, right?”

“No, you don’t.” Thissraelle stepped back to her bed. “But if you did respond, you might be able to find out who they really are or what they’re planning. We might finally get some answers.”

Karendle felt her nerves twitch with tension. More than a little bit of fear crept up her spine. That’s true. I was able to handle playing them once before. Maybe I could do it again.  “It’s risky. Maybe I could tell them--” The oculus interrupted her by starting to glow again, tinting the darkness of the room in a deep blue. Karendle caught her breath and looked up at Thissraelle. Their eyes both questioned and answered each other in a blink. 

“Okay, then.” Karendle reached for the gem.


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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Monday, October 7, 2019

166 - “On Their Way” - Eddiwarth - A Tale of Heroes

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Eddiwarth jumped through the shimmering silver portal while the oval tear through the fabric of reality was still growing. He landed and nearly lost his balance. Instantly, he shivered. Wait. Why is it cold?

“Hey, move out of the way!” Karendle called from behind him. He snapped around and stepped aside. By this time, the portal was wider, with its lower arc glistening close to the stones of the street.

Eddiwarth looked around. It was twilight, getting dark, but that didn’t account for the deep chill in the harsh wind. He folded his arms and rubbed his shoulders. Where’s my cloak? Did I leave it back in The Vast? Or maybe I left it in the cathedral. The street was lit from above by an oculus on a high pole. The light shone on stones of the pavement, and cast jagged shadows behind his legs. The gutters along the side of the street were filled with fallen brown and crackled leaves. He turned his eyes up to the light. The branches of the trees near the pole were bare and a bit erie in the dim.

It can’t be winter! What’s going on?

Korr crossed through the portal next and Parith followed, with the drake clinging to his shoulders. Its tail was wrapped around his upper arm. The street was empty, without anyone passing by. All along the way, leaves and the occasional sheet of paper blew across the ground and swirled past the buildings.

On the far side of the street, he saw the crumbling ruins of a huge old building. Some stone walls still stood, but many had crumbled and fallen in pieces onto the yard. He walked toward it. The roof was gone, with only a few charcoaled timbers remaining. The boards and the rocks were well-weathered, like they had seen months of sun, wind, and rain since they’d burned.

Korr stepped up next to him. “I believe it’s the cathedral.”

Eddiwarth just stared, his brows knit.

Korr continued, “Of course, when we entered the structure, we must have come in through the west entrance. This is likely another facade. I think this is the monastery courtyard. Or, rather, it was.”

Eddiwarth shook his head in disbelief, shivered and stepped away, back toward the portal. Where’s Thissraelle? Has she not come out yet? “Thissraelle?”

He crossed around to the other side of the portal and looked through. Thissraelle was there, embracing Tarl. “Thank you so much,” he heard her say, then they broke. She turned toward the portal. He held his hand out, and she graciously took it as she stepped over the glowing threshold. She immediately shivered, reacting to the cold.

Eddiwarth shrugged. “I know! It’s weird! Wasn’t it summer a few days ago?”

She nodded. “I guess that’s what happens to time in The Vast.” Her breath clouded her face as she spoke. She handed something small, square, and dark to Eddiwarth, unfolded her cloak from where it had been draped over her arm, and swung it over her shoulders. Eddiwarth looked down at the book in his hands. It was small and leather-bound with gilt edges.

“What’s this?”

Thissraelle shifted her shoulders to adjust the cloak and pulled her hood up over her head. “Don’t you have a cloak?”

“I did, somewhere,” he said, “but I mean, what’s this?” He lifted the book.

“A gift from Tarl. From the library.” She took it from him and began walking toward the others. She stopped suddenly, staring at the burned out ruins of the cathedral. “By the love of The Creator,” she whispered.

Eddiwarth just stood next to her, not sure what to say. She spun to face across the street and looked up with wonder, almost fear. He followed her gaze. She put her hand over her mouth and sighed, blowing chilly air through her fingers.

“What are you looking at?” Eddiwarth asked.

She whispered, as if no one was listening, “My tower.”

Your tower? That’s in the Guild Hall. It hadn’t even occurred to Eddiwarth that across the alleyway would be the Wizard’s Guild halls, where he had lived and studied up until the past summer. That part of his life seemed to be so long ago, and he hadn’t even thought about it in weeks. The building was undamaged, but completely dark and empty. Karendle stepped up behind them, but said nothing. Eddiwarth looked at Thissraelle’s face, trying to understand what she was thinking, feeling. She just stared in silence.

"Good morning! Good morning!"

They all spun around, with their hands on their weapon hilts. Korr's feet planted in a defensive stance, with his hands in front of him. An old, short man in a gray cloak stood smiling under the oculus light. His hair was uneven, and a thin beard framed his smile.

"It's a lovely spring morning in the city!" He gestured upward. "Birds are calling, fish are swimming in the skies..."

Eddiwarth hadn't heard the man's footsteps. He looked at the others, who glanced back with raised brows. He started to move forward, to place himself between the man and Thissraelle.

The old man raised his chin and turned his head from side to side, looking closely at Thissraelle, then at Karendle. He shrugged his shoulders and chuckled. Then he walked between the baffled clump of people and continued down the street.

Thissraelle called out, "Wait! Who are you?"

He stopped and looked back over his shoulder with a giddy grin. "Soon you'll be traveling far, I suppose. Maybe you'll need things?" He started walking again, with a bit of a limp. After a few steps, he began to shuffle from side to side, as if dancing to unheard music.

Thissraelle looked at the others one by one. Eddiwarth shrugged and gestured at the old man with resignation. The drakeling on Parith's shoulder trilled.

Thissraelle nodded and caught up to the man, and the others followed.

The End of Part 12


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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Thursday, October 3, 2019

165 - “Sending Another Message” - Granthurg - A Tale of Heroes

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To my dear friends DeFrantis and Antonerri-- 

Granthurg wrote the words, then looked skyward in thought. He sat on the edge of the steering platform of his barge as it drove steadily up the southern Wynne River. Travelling against both the current and the slope made the going slower. He could hear the water churning behind him, under the influence of the nature oculus hidden beneath the stern. Granthurg was no wizard, but he had learned how to activate the power of the oculus stone to drive the barge upriver.

The trees of the Umbrawood Forest had been fading from view in the eastern distance. Gentle meadows and occasional groves had turned into rolling hills. He pulled his cloak over him as the twilight gathered. The nights in Dirae had been warm and happy, but the weather had gotten a little cooler as the summer started to prepare for fall. In addition, the closer he got to the Graemal Mountains in the west, the more brisk the climate became.

Graemal, a giantish city in the shadows of the mountains, was his home. It had been the middle of spring since he had last been there, and it would be wonderful to see his family again. It would not be solely a reunion, however. So much in his life had been shaken up in the last few months, and he definitely needed some time to sort out the changes.

But before he got to Graemal, there was a small wayport town. He would stay the night there, and find a riverrunner to carry this letter back to Dirae. He dropped his gaze back to the almost empty paper on the crate before him. He sighed, unsure where to start.

Finally, he forced his hand to move.

I hope this letter gets to you, and I hope it finds you both and the children all well. I, too, am well enough. I wish I could say I was happy and safe, but I don’t feel either one. I feel mostly fear and sorrow.

I’m assuming that by now, you’ve probably heard much about the events in Twynne Rivers. Yes, I was there, and I helped defend the churches, as did Thissraelle and Eddiwarth, I believe. I won’t talk about the details of that night partly out of the heavy feelings I associate with my own failure, and partly because I don’t fully trust those who might end up carrying this letter.

I have lost Thissraelle. I have no idea what happened to her, nor Eddiwarth or Karendle. Yes, the last mental contact I had from Thissraelle indicated that she had found Karendle. I, myself, was gravely wounded in the attack and spent at least a week recovering. Afterward, I searched for them all in vain. My only hope for their safety rests in the fact that they were not among the recovered dead, either, and no one I spoke with had seen anyone of their description since then.

Because of these and other attacks, I’ve been in fear for my own safety as well, and for this reason, I chose not to return to you in Dirae. I didn’t want to bring further danger to you, the children, or the brothers at the abbey.

At some point, I plan to return to Twynne Rivers. I have much I need to learn about the dragons and their history. Some dark things are happening, and I have a feeling that our experiences are merely the snow-covered top of a much, much deeper mountain. When I do, I hope to be able to visit you, if you are still in Dirae.

With all of my affection,


Granthurg folded the letter, sealed it with wax, slipped it into a leather pouch, and tied it closed. He stood and took hold of the rudder and looked out as the river flowed past him. Through the darkening evening, he could see the faint glimmer of the lights from the docks of the wayport town appearing in the distance. Without even thinking about it, he began to nudge the barge toward that side of the river.


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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Start the whole story from the beginningStart from where this current story arc begins. Start from where the current story part begins