Monday, December 2, 2019

180 - “Surprise” - Parith - A Tale of Heroes

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


Where’s Korr? 

Parith wiped his eyes. They quickly adjusted to the dark and the cold. He reached across the fire pit, picked up a few small logs, and threw them into the faintly glowing embers. He pulled his cloak tight around his shoulders. Leaning over the side of the pit, he blew a gentle, but steady stream of air onto the glow. After two breaths, the unburned logs sprouted a few orange leaves of flame. As they began to grow, Parith rose up.

Where’s Korr? The thought nagged at him again. He raised his head and looked around, paying particular attention to the shelters to his right in the shadows of the trees. There’s his bedroll. At least I think that’s his, lying in a heap on the floor.   He squinted to cut through the dark.
Yeah, I’ll bet he’s practicing.

Parith settled back to his seat. The logs were burning, now, but it still wasn’t a huge blaze. And where’s Drakie? He must’ve followed Korr.

A chilly wind blew leaves across his field of vision. His attention snapped into focus and his eyes narrowed. He’d heard something in the wind, something other than the rustle of branches and leaves. “KORR?” he called out, but got no response.  Only a sleepy grumbling from Eddiwarth sounded.

He stood, grabbed his staff, and tossed off his cloak.The cold instantly surrounded him. Holding it ready, he began to turn about, scanning into the shadows beyond the waypoint. This isn’t right. He saw figures in the trees around the shelters. Two of them, at least. Maybe three. No, more.

“Awake! Everyone up!” he shouted, crouching low and creeping backward toward the shelter platforms. An arrow zipped through the air past his shoulder as he moved and stuck into the ground not too far from his feet. Startled, he jumped aside.

“What’s happening?” Eddiwarth’s groggy voice came from behind him.

Before Parith could respond, two elves in dark cloaks dashed into the clearing, brandishing bladefern shortswords. One of them rushed Parith and slashed, but Parith was able to parry the attack aside with a swing of his staff. He responded with a spin, sweeping the other end forward to strike, but the elf jumped it nimbly.

The other elf ran toward the shelters, leaves flying in his wake. Eddiwarth’s eyes widened as he leaned back. He thrust his hand forward, lashing a loud, bright white crack of lightning directly into the elf’s chest. With a grunt, the elf flew backward and landed near the fire pit.

Thissraelle bolted up from her beds and looked for the source of the blast.

“Attackers!” Parith shouted, and drove toward his opponent, turning around  him. I’ve got to keep him between me and that archer. He parried again, but his attention was diverted, still assessing the scene. A third elf stepped forward, but didn’t immediately attack.

“Eddiwarth!” Thissraelle called out. Parith saw a figure behind Eddiwarth jump onto him, grabbing his hair and pulling his head back. Eddiwarth choked out a grunt and tried to reach behind to grab the attacker. A motion caught Parith’s eye and he jumped away. The slash of the elf’s short blade tip cut through his cloak and sliced his upper arm. He winced.

Thissraelle called out again. She was on her feet, struggling as another dark-cloaked elf grabbed her from behind. He was trying to cover her face with something in his hand. There are too many! I’ve got to get over to help! Where’s Korr? He gripped his staff in both hands, toward the center, and and faced his opponent. He swung the lower end hard at the elf’s legs, who blocked with his sword. Immediately, Parith shifted his feet and whacked the upper end into the back of the elf’s head, who staggered with the impact.

Suddenly, one of the seating stones around the fire leapt up a few feet into the air and threw itself at the elf, knocking him flat.

“Ha!” He heard Karendle laugh out at his left. She stood, waving the oculus in her fist before her as she stepped out of the thicket of the woods. The elf with the commanding stance in the middle also saw her, and waved his open hands in the air. Tree limbs quickly swooped down around Karendle and wrapped around her arms, pulling her up above the ground. They held her tightly there, arms apart, kicking and shouting.

Another scream from Thissraelle snapped Parith's attention back the other way. Eddiwarth was struggling against the elf on his back, who had covered Eddiwarth’s mouth and face with some kind of cloth. His struggles were weakening, and he finally went limp. The elf dropped him, tossed aside the rag, and stood.

Parith jumped toward Eddiwarth and Thissraelle, but was immediately pulled back by a hand reaching across his head from behind and a hard-forged wooden blade sweeping before him and resting against his neck. “Don’t move!” The voice behind him commanded. Parith knew how sharp that sword would be, and knew not to struggle.

He watched Thissraelle fighting to keep the toxic cloth away from her own face. She was not as strong as her assailant, but was a fierce fighter, and resisted hard. He wasn’t able to keep the rag in place long enough to put her under, and she would break free and breathe.

Thissraelle flew up and out of the shelter, trailing a bluish mist and pulling the elf in the air with her. They twisted between the branches as they fought. Karendle called out to her.

There was a blinding flash of light surrounding Thissraelle and everyone looked away as it overwhelmed them. The elf fell from the air with a thud and a grunt. Parith’s sensitive eyes adjusted and he heard Karendle call out, “Thiss! Thiss!”

When his vision finally cleared, moments later, the two elves on the ground were standing up, slowly. Eddiwarth was still out cold, Karendle still hung in the air, and Thissraelle was gone.
“Don’t move.” The voice behind him reminded, tightening his grip.

The commander elf surveyed the scene, then stood and stepped toward Parith with a smile. “That was a pathetic fight. I wish you had done better. It would have been more fun.”


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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