Thursday, October 10, 2019

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

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


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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