Monday, November 25, 2019

179 - “Three to One” - Korr - A Tale of Heroes

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


When Korr’s eyes opened, it was still dark. He was bundled up tight in his blanket and that kept him relatively warm. In spite of the rest, his arms and legs were stiff, partly due to having them straight all night, but also due to the constant walking over uneven ground. The wooden platforms of this waypoint were much smaller than the ones had been in the previous night and there were no tarps to break the wind. The fire had long since dwindled, so the morning chill blew sharply across his cheek. He raised his arm and inched his hand out of his bedroll. Instantly, the cold air bit his fingers. Maybe I’ll just stay in bed for a while.

He rolled his head and saw Parith sitting next to the firepit, with a faint glow from the embers illuminating his downturned forehead and the blanket wrapped around his shoulders. He was breathing slowly. The drake slept curled around Parith’s feet, its tail swishing occasionally in its dreams.

Korr smiled. Thissraelle and Karendle had tried to convince Parith to sleep the whole night, as he’d been very active the previous days, but Parith had insisted on taking a watch anyway, settling for the final turn.

Korr closed his eyes.

No, I have to get up. I need to run my forms. He breathed deep, then climbed out of his blankets.

A few minutes later, he found a place a short ways away from the waypoint with a little more space between the trees than usual. A little bit of dim morning light was starting to filter in between the bare branches. He paced off the tight perimeter, then moved to the center. He breathed deep and tried to clear his mind.

As he moved through the first forms, his feet swished and crunched through the thick layer of fallen leaves.  He scowled, unsatisfied. His motions, the footfalls of the stances and the force of the punches, seemed to be clumsy and jerking. Maybe it's just the cold.

He paused and walked back to the center of the space and breathed. He began again, but after a few postures, stopped. My mind is distracted. I'm not focused.

He felt, rather than heard, a presence behind him and stiffened. What's this? He spun around and set his feet into a low defensive stance. He swept his hands, palms forward, before him. He saw only the shadows and the trees.

They are all around. He crossed one foot behind the other and began a slow backward turn, his fists at the ready.

Footsteps rushed toward him and he spun again, sweeping his forearm ahead of his body. It connected with the flat of a thrusting blade and knocked it aside. His shoulders turned with the motion and he brought his left fist shooting upward, glancing off of his attacker’s ribs. It wasn’t a solid hit, but it did throw the attacker off balance a bit as he went past. Korr planted his feet firm. How many are there?

His attacker scrambled to his feet. He was a wood elf, with a thin build, like Parith, but a bit younger. Behind him stood two more, one with a spear, and another with a short blade. In the dim light, it looked to be wooden, but still edged. He remembered what Parith had told them.

“What are you--” Korr was interrupted by the forward elf, who shouted something in elvish and lunged at Korr’s chest. Korr dropped underneath the blade, twisting his body and sweeping his leg before him. It caught the elf’s knee and swung his leg out from under him. He fell with a grunt in a crunching bustle of leaves.

The other two circled the perimeter as Korr rolled to his feet. He backed away, glancing around. There are no others so far. Clarity of mind. Breathing. The elf to Korr’s right began spinning his spear as he inched his way further right, drawing Korr’s attention. The elf on the left ran forward and jumped up against the trunk of a large tree, pushing off and grappling onto Korr’s shoulders. Korr felt the impact, and fell forward with the push, tucking his shoulder under and flipping the elf over him. His momentum carried him, and he sprang back to his feet, backing away. Something warm and wet ran down his arm and he suddenly noticed a painful cut where the last attacker’s blade had sliced.

Their swords may be wooden, but are sharp. I’m outnumbered and these elves are fighting deadly. Focus, control... I’ll need to do more than block.

The spearman stepped in, jabbing forward with the bladed tip. He followed Korr’s motions as he dodged from one side to the other. Korr feigned to the left, then slipped right, grabbing the spear as he spun. He swung his elbow behind his own shoulder and up over the elf’s head, then threw his arm forward, catching the elf by the chin and flipping him backward over Korr’s leg. The elf let out a gagging shriek, then hit the ground with a thud. Korr brought the heel of his other hand down on the man’s chest, and felt the ribs crack under the blow. The elf coughed and gasped.

Korr jumped back and the first attacker slashed low, cutting into Korr’s thigh. He shouted and stumbled further back. The elf hissed out some threat that Korr couldn’t understand and lunged forward with his blade. Korr dodged to the side, then leaned back on his wounded leg. Pain shot through him, and he winced, but raised his other leg and drove its heel hard into the elf’s face. He fell back to the ground with a crunch.

Korr recovered from the kick in a solid square stance, and swept his fists into place at his sides. The one remaining elf stood, his sword raised in both hands, but didn’t attack. His face was tense, with determination masking his fear. Korr's own breathing was heavy and labored.

Shouts rang out from the direction of the waypoint and Korr’s eyes widened. A loud shocking crack echoed through the forest. They’re attacking my friends! In his focus he had forgotten the others. The elf glanced back over his shoulder then dashed away, running toward the shouts and jumping up into the trees.

Flaming...! He tried to run after, but his wounded leg wouldn’t let him move with much more than a fast limp. He heard a shriek. Was that Thissraelle? Or maybe Karendle...


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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