Thursday, November 7, 2019

174 - “The Dragonbonded” - Tonklyn - A Tale of Heroes

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


A distant scream slashed the dark and echoed through the passages.

From a small lamp, suspended below the ceiling by a bronze chain, shone three oculi. A polished silver hood built above them into the lamp reflected the light down onto Tonklyn's study table, covered in books and scrolls. The light also shone on a soft, high-backed chair sitting in front of the table, but it was turned slightly, as if Tonklyn had pushed it aside while standing.  A large, thickly woven rug with ornate designs covered the stone floor, surrounding a large and shining metal dish in the center of the room. Three large stones sat in the dish, glowing with warmth.

Shrieks of terror and pain sounded again, louder this time.

Across the rug, opposite the table, stood a large bed. Thick velvet drapes hung from the bedposts, surrounding Tonklyn in dark warmth and isolation.

A deep rumbling roar shook its way down into the chamber. It blended with the harsh piercing shrill of more screams.

What is going on up there? Tonklyn raised up, kicked against the tangle of his blankets and his night robe, and parted his curtains. The wails shivered down his nerves like the grinding of a millstone. He stepped to the table and picked up his staff, lighting the oculus on the end.

As he left his room, the air in the passage quickly became cold, and continued to get colder as he got farther from the glowing stones in the bin. The stone floor chilled his feet and he shivered. The few feet of the hallway beyond the illumination of his oculus were cloaked in shadow.

Another roar cut through the cold, and Tonklyn stopped, surprised. It was getting louder, as were the screams that followed. Those died off and bounced down the reverberant stone stairs. Those screams are human voices. What is he doing? 

Tonklyn rushed up the stairs, turned the corner, and froze.

Kirraxal stood in the dim light of the main chamber chandeliers, near the table with the large scroll. The scaly skin on his neck shimmered as it reflected what little light was shining down. Three legs bore his weight and his fourth arm was extended. In his hand, he held someone up. Tonklyn could see that the figure wore the armor and tunic of their new royal guard. The dragon’s eyes stared intently at the man, and his hand shook slightly, as if he were squeezing the soldier in a crushing grasp. The soldier’s arms and legs flopped from side to side, limp and dripping blood.

Tonklyn stood in shock, unable to move. Kirraxal was focused on the body and paid no attention to the sudden shift in the shadows as Tonklyn had entered the room.

Finally, with a growl, Kirraxal loosened his grip, and the crumbled form of the man tumbled from his bloody hands to the floor with a slap. Tonklyn saw two other bodies lying there, equally distorted into inhuman postures. Tonklyn slowly stepped forward into the chamber. He squinted from the brightness of the light of his staff. It cast erie shadows against the walls.

Kirraxal turned to look at Tonklyn, then back at the three bodies lying on the floor before him. As Tonklyn came closer, he noticed that much of the blood on the floor was a dark purple, not just the normal red of the humans. What happened? Did they attack him? He quickly looked up and saw the thick purple liquid dripping from Kirraxal’s fingers and claws.

“You’re hurt!” Tonklyn called out. “Did they think they could attack you? Are there more?”

The dragon muttered. “They did not attack.”

Tonklyn stood back and raised his gaze high up toward the dragon’s face. “Then why were they killed?”

“They are not dead.”


Kirraxal dropped his hand to the floor and looked back to the three bodies. “Not completely.”

The purple blood that stained the stones was evaporating into a dark haze that spread over the floor and the bodies. That smoke stirred and shifted, like a sleeping man moving his leg underneath a blanket. Their arms and legs swept under the layer of mist, making an unearthly and haunting scraping on the stone.

Tonklyn watched in morbid fascination. “This is the from the scroll. You’re doing the death ritual you wanted me to translate!”

Without speaking, or looking away, the dragon nodded.

He didn't wait for me to translate it all. He's figured it out on his own. Tonklyn's mind and heart raced.

An elbow flipped above the smoke for a moment, then it lifted up a shoulder. Another body moaned and rolled onto its side and began to rise. It’s broken and twisted torso made crackling sounds as the muscles reknit and the bones slipped back into place. A second man stood up, but fell back to one knee.

Tonklyn's eyes widened, and he turned away, but he couldn’t help but look back at the misshapen bodies. Their skin, once made a bit rough only by short dark hairs or an occasional scar, bunched and twisted until it became a dark scaly leather. Gradually, they stood straight, without stumbling or becoming imbalanced. They looked up to Kirraxal with emotionless worship, like statues of soldiers awaiting orders.

Tonklyn stepped back, his breathing shallow.

Kirraxal spoke first. “They are the dragonbonded. They carry my blood and will serve me with a single-minded loyalty, obeying my every command. They will stop at nothing, fear nothing, and never hesitate. They will fulfill my wishes,” The dragon leered with emphasis at Tonklyn, and then looked back at the soldiers, “without question.”

Okay. Tonklyn took a deeper breath, holding it in. I get the point. I will have to be very careful.

Kirraxal looked at the gash in his palm. It had mostly stopped bleeding. He spun his body around and stepped back to his gigantic bed. His steps were marked by the scraping of his claws on the stone and the splashing of blood. He curled himself onto his mattress and brought his tail around to his chest. “Tomorrow, you will have other servants clean my chambers. Then, they can see what my dark will is capable of.

I see.

"After that, I will give these three their tasks. One will go to find the white dagger and bring it to me. Another will go to find the lineage of this Heathrax that you're warning me about.”

Tonklyn continued backing away, toward the passage back to his own chamber. “And the third?”

“The third will remain,” the dragon huffed, glancing at Tonklyn before laying down his head, “as my guard.”

"Yes, your Majesty"


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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