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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