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!
Thank you: Chet Cox, Genevieve Springer!

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