Wednesday, January 29, 2020

194 - “Prisoners and Friends” - Parith - A Tale of Heroes

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


“It just keeps on snowing, day after day,” Parith offered, as Eddiwarth and Korr stepped up to the ornate wooden railing of the balcony. Flakes drifted between the tree branches before them. “Day after day.”

Eddiwarth leaned back for a moment and took in a breath. “You grew up here, right? This place is pretty amazing. Homes, shops, paths, roads, all built up in the trees.” He pointed out away from the balcony, to other buildings and structures, scattered out above and below them. Each surrounded the trunk of an old enormous tree, or supported by its branches. A vast network of bridges, ramps, and walkways connected them together, each filled with the bustle of an active city.

I grew up here. This is my village. Flaming lot of good that’s doing for me. 

“At least the snow has slowed down considerably since we got here.” Korr offered. They looked out past the nearby treehouses and into the forest. It was early afternoon, but between the deep tangle of tree branches all around them and the cloudy skies, it was still pretty dim out. The wind was only a chilling breeze chasing the light snowflakes around, so the house on the branch barely moved at all. He leaned over the railing, presumably trying to see the ground.

He continued, “Hopefully, it will slow down even more and we’ll be able to get on our way.”

Parith snorted an angry laugh. “It’s not the snow keeping us here.”

Eddiwarth raised an eyebrow and frowned.

“Keeping us like prisoners,” Parith sulked. “This is my home!”

“Prisoners?” Karendle stepped up from the path. “This is a lot different than the last time I was a prisoner. Maybe it’s the good food and whole not-being-chained-to-a-pillar thing.”

Eddiwarth smiled with recollection. “Oh, yeah! You and DeFrantis. I rescued you!”

“Rescued?” Karendle smirked, and waved her hand dismissively. “Sure. Ok. If that’s how you want to remember it—“

Parith snapped, “Look, they aren’t letting us leave, right? We’re just sitting here while the captains and lords decide if we’re trustworthy or not. Three days! I can’t even visit my family!” He rubbed his hands across his face. “This shouldn’t be how it’s handled. We’re just travelers, walking up the established trade lines. Why is this a problem?”

The others exchanged glances, but nobody answered.

“High elves, humans, even dwarves,” he gestured toward Karendle, “used to travel back and forth from Twynne Rivers to Umbrawood City and even on to EmberFire! I know! I used to guide them. That was only a year ago. Now, all of a sudden, nobody trusts anyone.”

The awkward silence blew through the air like drifting snow. Parith leaned back on the balcony railing and blew out a foggy sigh.

Eddiwarth put his hand on Parith’s shoulder. “Well, for what it’s worth, I trust you.”

Parith shrugged and looked out over the town in the trees. To their right was a long walkway that angled between several strong, large trunks as it zig-zagged between buildings. It wasn’t as well traveled, being only wide enough for two abreast, and it was still covered in snow. Someone was walking on it toward them, kicking chunks of snow off the path and into the depths below. In a moment, he recognized Thissraelle, dressed in a heavy green wood elven tunic and skirt and thick furred boots. Behind her strode two men, soldiers, obviously escorting her. They were both well-armed with bladefern swords and bows, but at the moment all of their weapons were sheathed and stashed. Hmm... She’s even acting like a wood elf and they still keep her under guard.

When she noticed the group had seen her, she smiled and waved. Eddiwarth quickly waved back and called out to her.

She came off the path and onto the balcony platform where they all waited. “Thank you.” She exchanged nods with the soldiers who then walked away, back along the path. She shook the snow out of her hair. “I have good news! I spent the first half of the morning meeting with the captains and army people, and the council of the city. I know we’ve all been meeting with people these last few days, and--”

“Meetings?” Parith interjected, “or interrogations?”

Thissraelle shrugged and nodded. “Yeah, either way, with what all of you have said, and Illariel’s help today, they’re finally convinced that we’re not a threat, and they’re going to help us get through the forest and up to the mountains.”

“So, they’re escorting us out of their country.”

Thissraelle hesitated. “Sure. That may be. But we’ll get where we’re going either way, and if they go with us, we’re less likely to get attacked again. And...” She jumped ahead before Parith could interject again, “they’ve decided to stand the guards down. We’re free to come and go as we please, and can stock up on supplies for the journey.”

Parith raised his eyes at this news, a bit surprised.

“That also means that you’re free to visit your parents.”

He nodded. Well. That is good news. Alright, then.

“There’s more good news.” Thissraelle continued. “I spent the latter half of the morning talking with their sages in their schools. It was a very eye- and heart- opening experience. I’ve learned a lot about the wood elves that I would have never--” She took a deep breath, then blew out fog slowly. She gestured to Parith. “Well, I’d love to talk to you about all that someday, maybe as we travel. But right now the exciting news is that they told me of a legend of someone named Giatrice DragonFriend, who lived in the side of the mountain that the wood elves call ‘Dragonspine’. I guess it’s because of the shape of its ridges.”

Parith thought out loud, “I remember those stories. I didn’t make the connection. If you translate the sounds of the name Giatrice from old elvish into common...”

“Exactly. It comes out as Heathrax. They say that there’s a trail at the foot of the mountain that leads up to an old shrine. They’ll take us to the trailhead. I’m hoping we’ll find some clues there.”

Korr nodded. “This will bring us closer. This is truly good news.”

Thissraelle paused again, and looked around the circle at each of her companions. “I have to say, I’m very grateful for everyone’s help on this journey so far. I’m not really sure why we’re doing this, but I have a feeling that there are bigger things going on somewhere beyond our understanding. I’d love to have all of you with me, and I need you all with me, but nobody will be forced to follow me up the mountainside. Honestly, I’m a bit scared. I wouldn’t blame anyone for turning back.”

Eddiwarth’s hand jumped up. “I’m in! Creator help us, I’m in!”

Korr laughed softly at the outburst, and added, “I, clearly, must continue as well.”

Karendle and Parith nodded their agreement.

“Thank you all!” Thissraelle smiled. “And may the Creator bless our steps.”


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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Monday, January 27, 2020

193 - “Dreaming or Dying” - Eddiwarth - A Tale of Heroes

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


Eddiwarth felt a gentle swaying, a back and forth sort of rocking, but not harsh or violent.

He also felt warmth, and the weight of blankets.

Then he felt his own awareness, and his body pressing down on softness.

Back and forth.

He heard the wind, not strong, but steady, and the occasional creaking of wood. There was also a soft sort of growling noise.

He let his eyes slide open.

The room was small and the ceiling low. It looked like lattice and thatching in the dim. The light came from a few candles on the wall over his head, and the large central pillar where the side walls converged. The pillar was rough, and as he looked with focus, saw that it was tree bark. He raised his head and looked around. Next to him, in a large, but low chair, Thissraelle sat, her legs crossed under her.

Thissraelle? I must be dreaming.

She wore her traveling tunic, and a blanket draped over her legs and lower arms. Her shoulders leaned slightly back into the chair, with her head tilted slightly to one side as  her eyes closed. Her mouth dangled open, and a gentle rumbling growl tumbled out of her throat every few moments. He laughed inside.

Eddiwarth’s bed swayed, and he noticed that the chair where Thissraelle sat swayed with it. Her face tipped gently side to side with the motion of the chair. Her fine white hair had draped across her cheek and fluttered with her breath.

Eddiwarth shifted on his mattress and tried to move, but something held on.He reached across with his other arm and tossed off the blanket. He raised his heavy hand and saw Thissraelle’s fingers intertwined in his.

OK, what’s this? I really must be dreaming. His eyes opened wide. No, I’m dead. This can’t be real. I’m dead.

He shifted up on his elbows, making his bed rock a little more. He wanted to fully sit up, but didn’t want to disturb Thissraelle. He didn’t want to give her any reason to let go. The bed he laid in was a large, round, and very shallow bowl, covered by a soft feather-stuffed mattress. It was possibly the most comfortable place he had slept since leaving home for the Wizard’s Guild.

The chair Thissraelle had used for her vigil was similar to the bed, but smaller, and built with one side higher as a back support. The chair, bed, and just about everything else in the room was ornately crafted from wood. On the other side of her chair was another bowl with hot glowing rocks. That was the only metal Eddiwarth noticed.

He heard a stronger gust of wind blow by and the room and its contents swayed a little more forcefully. He leaned and rocked and shifted himself up into a seated position, crossing his legs. No matter how careful he was to not strain the grip Thissraelle had on his hand, she stirred and moved her hand, still entwined in his, to her lap. He relaxed his fingers on hers, but she didn't let go."

The lamps on the wall were dim, but they cast a warm light on her twisted hair and delicate features. When she relaxed her arms and shoulders with a sigh and a yawn, she raised her free hand to draw the back of her palm across her eyes. She blinked a few times, then raised her face toward Eddiwarth.

Well, if I am dead, this is definitely what I want to see in my afterlife. 

“You’re awake,” she said, stifling a second yawn.

What eyes. What a smile.

She blinked a few times. “How are you feeling? Are you sore?”

“I’m happy.”

She smiled and looked down at their hands, then pulled them into her lap and wrapped her other hand around his as well. “Yeah, well, you and Karendle both were hurt pretty badly. You bled a lot. Fortunately, Illariel was able to help you enough that we could get you here and have healers do their work.”

It was Eddiwarth’s turn to yawn. He drew his hair back for a moment. “Where is ‘here’, actually?”

“We’re in TreeHaven. It’s a wood elf town.”

The furniture rocked a little again. “Let me guess. It’s called ‘TreeHaven’ because we’re--”

“Actually up in the trees,” Thissraelle finished, “and there’s quite a blizzard going on at the moment. It looks like we’ll be here for a bit.”

“That might be kinda nice.” He smiled to himself.

Her head drooped in thought for a moment. Oh, oh. What’s wrong? What did I say? 

She took a sharp breath and finally spoke. “Eddiwarth, I’m sorry. I’m really sorry.”

His brows furrowed in confusion. “For what? For saving my life?”

“Of course not! No!” she whispered, “For leaving. I’m sorry for leaving you in the first place.”

What is she talking about?

“We were attacked, and I was struggling, and they were trying to smother me, and the only thing I could think of was getting away. I saw you there on the platform, and you were overwhelmed, too, and all I could do was run. I panicked. I blinked away. I should have stayed and fought with you.”

He leaned over to look at her closely and squeezed her hand. “Like you used to fight with me back at the abbey?” She laughed and gripped tighter as well.

“You’ve tried to be so kind to me, and I was not so sweet in return. I grew up without any friends, and I don’t really know how to be with people.” She sighed deeply. “I had to learn that with Karendle, too.”

What do I say? “Well, it’s not like I made it easy for you to put up with me.”

She reached up and pulled him into an embrace, tucking her forehead in beside his neck and shoulder. “When you needed help the most, I ran. It’s only luck or divine intervention that guided me back.”

He gently held her head there. “And, now, somehow, here we are, together safe and well.” He just let the winds rock them from side to side for a moment.

“Together,” she said. “Safe and well.”


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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Thursday, January 23, 2020

192 - “The Rescue?” - Eddiwarth - A Tale of Heroes

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Excitement and nervousness shivered through Eddiwarth’s bones, like the cold had, but this was a more welcome sensation. Thissraelle is well! And they’re here for me! He had been afraid for them and their safety. It was true that he was afraid for himself as well, but since he had become conscious and realized he wasn’t badly hurt, he had been more concerned with escaping and finding the party. Especially finding Thissraelle.

Then he had heard Karendle’s voice in his head!

He shifted and focused on eating his meager gruel, trying to hide his anticipation. He glanced over at the two guard soldiers. The tent interior was lit by a small oil lamp, showing plain cloth sides, with one scant blanket for a floor on the uneven ground.

When he had first awakened here, his mind had been hazy, and his back and muscles sore. In the original attack, they had covered his mouth with a gag infused with... something foul. It had choked him and tasted harsh, yet it was somehow familiar. Later, thinking back with a clearer head, he had recognized it.

Hopefully the mage’s bane has fully worn off by now. He took a deep breath to see if he could tell.

He had also noticed that the soldiers that held him captive now were not the same as the wood elf patrol that had originally attacked. These were high elves. The fact that Eddiwarth was part high elf hadn’t seemed to make them treat him with any additional kindness. Still, at least they hadn't killed him. Their leader was also slightly familiar. Eddiwarth had seen him, and recently, but he couldn’t place where. It was all quite confusing.

Eddiwarth finished his bowl. As he set it down, he heard voices and a bit of scrambling outside his tent. The two soldiers guarding him looked up with furrowed brows and moved for their blades.

What’s happening out there? Is that Thissraelle?

One of the guards moved to the folds of the tent opening and looked out. Through the parted cloth, Eddiwarth could hear a female voice arguing.

Karendle! They’re here!

He strained, but couldn’t make out what they were saying. The two guards mumbled to each other, one gesturing at Eddiwarth.

I’d better get ready... He took a slow, invigorating breath and let his will swell up inside him like a deep burning in his gut.

One of the guards said something to his companion, then faced Eddiwarth and raised his sword. “Who is that? You know her, don’t you?”

Eddiwarth shook his head. “Know who?”

“Don’t lie to me! What’s a dwarven wench doing in a wood elf forest?”

“Hmm.” Eddiwarth feigned confusion, laced with sarcasm. “I don’t know. What are high elves doing in a wood elf forest?”

“Quiet, you—“ The soldier took a step toward Eddiwarth, waving his sword, when the earth and tree roots below them heaved up and rolled like a cleaning maid shaking a rug. Eddiwarth flew up and flipped over, landing with a solid crunch in a tangle of elf and tent. He tried to breathe, but could only cough and wheeze. The side he’d landed on hurt, and he was dizzy with pain.

He rolled over and tried to sit up, but the pain in his side shot through him and he dropped on his back. He could hear screaming and shouting. Someone far away was yelling orders. Is that one of the elves under me? Or tree roots? Someone near was moving under the tumbled tent next to him. He slid his hand across his torso to try and soothe the stabbing pain. It felt warm, slick, and wet.

What’s this? He reached a little farther and felt something solid sticking out of him. Cold shivered through him.

Is that a bone? He wrapped his fingers around it. It was flat. And the edges were sharp.

That’s a sword! He coughed again, and the unpleasant taste of blood splattered the back of his mouth. The cough also made it hurt even more.

I’m wounded! I’m going to die, aren’t I? He gagged and choked again. His head was dizzy and confused. Die? No! I never got to tell Thissraelle!

The fallen fabric of the tent beside him jumped as the elf soldier pushed up and stood. He had an angry scowl and a sword that gleamed in the light of the now burning tent fabric behind him. He lunged forward at Eddiwarth with a growl.

By protective instinct, Eddiwarth reached out his left hand toward the elf and threw all of the burning will he had left in his bleeding guts straight at the soldier’s chest. A hot blast of exploding flames hit the man square, blowing him back. The force of his impact ripped the tent into burning ribbons and tore it from its tethers.



“Eddiwarth! Are you in there?”

He felt the heavy canvas being pulled from him. It hurt as it tugged against the sword, but he could no longer react. Then hands were on him. Someone grabbed his feet and dragged him away from the flames.

“Eddiwarth!” He felt hands lifting his head. “Korr! He’s hurt! Get the sword out of him!”

Eddiwarth opened his eyes and saw Thissraelle’s terrified face, her light, white hair falling down over his forehead.

She cradled his head on her knees. “Stay with me... Stay with me...”

A sudden scraping tugged at his torso and pain ripped through his side. He gasped and felt Korr’s strength pressing down on his hurt. He coughed and gasped. Thissraelle’s eyes closed and her face and hands began to glow. Eddiwarth smiled as her healing warmth started to flow into him.

Then, it stopped. The cold wind blew snow across him and he saw panic in Thissraelle’s eyes. “I can’t do it!” She whispered. “Oh, no! I don’t have the will left.”

He gasped. He reached up and touched her hand on his cheek.

“No! Stay with me! Where’s Illariel? Stay with me!”

Then his eyes closed.


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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Monday, January 20, 2020

191 - “The Rescue” - Karendle - A Tale of Heroes

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


Karendle stood, patiently waiting, just inside the ring of dim light around the encampment. The light shone from the fire and from three glowing white oculi on posts arranged in a triangle around the site. As soon as she had entered the area, the soldiers around the fire had leapt to their feet and grabbed for spears and swords. The two elven soldiers escorting her by spear point had instructed them to stand at the ready, and to alert Illitharin.

One of the two guarding her had been called quickly to the center tent, where a hushed conversation had ensued.

Karendle shifted her stand to favor the other leg in an effort to keep its knee from shaking. Ok, now. Breathe slow. No fear. Her breath fogged before her, mixing with the snow.

She glanced at the soldier to her right, then down at the spear point aimed at her heart. “Be careful where you’re pointing that thing. It’s dangerous.” He raised a confused eyebrow at her and she laughed quietly. How are we going to do this? How will we start? Did we even make a signal? We should have thought it through more completely. 

Karendle noticed a movement to the left. The flap of the far tent parted and a face appeared in the glow. She couldn’t make out who it was, though.

Finally, the soldier stepped out of the main tent and Illitharin followed. The tents and the fire ring were down a slight slope from her, and she noticed that the angle made his thin build look quite small. She smiled as that realization boosted her confidence. She said, as smoothly as she could,“I have a gift for you.”

The corner of his lips turned up a bit, but he still tried not to show a smile. “Very nice,” he said with sarcastic politeness. “Show it to me.”

Karendle brought her right hand out from under the cloak and held up her granite entrapment oculus. “Here she is. Just like we agreed.” Her left hand, damp with nervous sweat, clenched the nature oculus.

“Really?” Illitharin gestured a wave before him. “Let’s see her, then.”

Stones! I can’t show her! She fought down the panic in her rushing heart with a laugh. What do I do? Play it off... “Oh, no, no, no. You don’t want me to loose her here. She was none too happy when I trapped her. It wasn’t easy!” Karendle breathed. “She’s a full wizard of mind and light, now! Not like the novice I sent you before. Do you really want me to set her free here?”

Illitharin thought for a moment, and replied. “Suit yourself. Throw her to me.”

“Then I can join you?”

“Yeah. Then we’ll talk.”

Karendle nodded and glanced from side to side at her guards. They seemed to have relaxed a bit during her interaction with their leader. “Sure. Here you go.”

Now’s as good a time as any. I hope the others are ready! 

She turned her hips and shoulders slightly to toss the stone to him. The moment seemed to stretch out for her as she watched it sail through the falling flakes toward him. Her arms and legs flexed with the surge of will inside her. She crouched down, under the spears, drew her left hand out of her cloak, and swept it low across the ground. The earth under her hand rose up high and surged forward across the encampment in a rippling wave, like she had just dropped a huge stone into a lake. Roots, stones, burning cinders, tents and soldiers shook and tossed in its path.

Karendle herself hit the ground hard, knocking her own breath away. She heard shouts of surprise, confusion, and pain. She gasped for air and rolled over, trying to scramble away. A spear point stabbed into the back of her leg and immediately sharp shocks of lashing pain surged through her, dropping her flat on her side. She looked up through blurry eyes and saw a soldier raising a bloody spear for another thrust, this time aiming for her heart. No. I’m not going to die here. She shoved her hand forward, gripping the brown oculus tight, and a stone the size of her fist shot up from the ground. It crunched into the soldier’s jaw, throwing his head back and dropping him onto his back, unconscious.

Wincing with pain, she crawled to a nearby tree and used the unearthed root structure to lift herself up.  Ow! I really didn’t think this though.

The soldiers around the fire were hurrying to get away from the scattered coals and burning debris, some of which had landed on the surrounding blanket of dead leaves. Tongues of flame were starting to lick up into the air, like children, trying to catch the snow. Other soldiers jumped to their feet and picked up their spears as arrows flew in from between the branches in the trees. Tree roots reached up out of the earth and leaves, tangling around their legs and holding them tight. Illariel? Must be.

A screech sounded, followed by a scream, as the young drakeling wrapped himself around the head of one of the trapped elves and began clawing at his face. A loud blast blew a flaming hole in the side of a tent, blowing burning shards of canvas in a wide circle. More shouts and screams followed.

The wood elf commander had crawled over to one of his patrolmen and was struggling to cut their bindings. They had all been tousled and shaken in the wave.

Karendle took a deep breath and hung her head for a moment. She felt weak, dizzy. She lifted her hand from below her thigh where she felt the pain and saw it dripping in red. Her head felt light. She looked past her hand and saw one of the collapsed tents was becoming engulfed in flames. Figures were moving behind it.

“You!” A familiar voice shouted. Karendle jerked her head up. Illitharin stood a few steps below her, a sword in one hand, and the glowing entrapment oculus in the other. He shouted, “You are far more trouble than you are worth!” He thrust his hand out, pointing the oculus at her. The silver light around it brightened.

“No!” She frantically looked around her feet. The ground was littered with dirt and stones that her wave had shaken loose. She held her oculus up and a dozen of them leaped up into the air and formed a line.

“I’ll trap you in your own stone and leave you buried deep, here in the forest!” The silver light swept over her. She felt herself being drawn toward the heart of the stone.

No! This is not the end!

She focused her will on the stones she had lifted up. She willed them to stretch, to merge into a new shape, a long spear with a sharp point. Then with all the strength inside she hurled it at Illitharin. It flew true and pierced him at the base of his throat. He gasped and grasped it, dropping the oculus and his sword.

The silver light around her vanished and Karendle fell to the ground with a painful thud. She closed her eyes and blackness overwhelmed her.


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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Thursday, January 16, 2020

190 - “The Plan” - Karendle - A Tale of Heroes

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


Two elf sentries on watch. Side by side, Karendle thought, as images formed in her mind’s eye.

They’re just standing there, not moving around. The others have probably set up camp. But only two? I’ll bet there are more on the other side. 

Karendle, Thissraelle, and Korr sat low, hunched up in a hollow beside two tree trunks growing tight together. Rannlethin crouched nearby, clutching a high elven spear. The evening had come on, and the snow was falling steadier as well. Karendle pulled her cloak tightly around her, but not so much as to shelter her from cold or wind. The trees were doing that well enough. She needed to hide the light blue glow of her sapphire mental oculus as she projected her awareness forward into the camp. She swept her distant vision over the heads of the soldiers.

Ah! There’s the camp. A small fire- three tents. 

One, two, three... seven soldiers. Where’s Eddiwarth? Let me see...

She let her focus dance through the encampment, between the soldiers huddled around the fire, into the tents. There’s Illitharin, in the middle tent. It figures. It’s the nicest one. Destroyer take him. Next one: two more soldiers, and there’s Eddiwarth! Her mind’s eye saw him sitting cross-legged on the floor of the tent, his chained hands holding a small bowl of boiled meal. His head jerked up, then quickly lowered again.

Karendle sensed his voice in her mind, Who’s that? He quickly hid his surprise from the guards by licking another mouthful of gruel off his fingers. Is it Thissraelle?

No, it’s Karendle. I’m using the oculus. Thissraelle’s saving all the will she can. We’re close, and we’re coming for you. I’ve got to go, now. Stay alert! 

I’ll be ready! His voice was clear in her head. Karendle broke the connection, nodded to Thissraelle, and dropped the dull blue gem into her pouch.

“There are a lot of them, so this will be tricky,” Karendle whispered. “There are three tents. Eddiwarth is guarded in the westernmost tent. He’s awake. I alerted him that we’re coming.  Most of the soldiers are around the fire. Runnely, whatever your name is-- I saw three of your wood elves bound up away from the campfire.” She dug her hand into her pouch, and pulled out the brown and green nature stone, and the cold granite entrapment oculus.

Rannlethin nodded, and tightened his jaw, along with his grip on the spear. Karendle eyed him with care. His head suddenly perked up and he looked toward the camp, listening. “There it is. Did you hear it?”

Thissraelle and Karendle shook their heads. Karendle raised a brow. “The signal? It’s all just birds to me.”

“That says that Parith and Illariel are in place, now. Oh!” The wood elf smiled, hearing more. “That one means my boys heard it, too.” He drew his lips thin and made a few quick chirps.

Karendle stood up and pulled her hood back. “Well, then. Wish me luck!”

“Although I do want good fortune and the Creator’s aid for all of us,” Korr said, and followed her to his feet, “it isn’t luck that you need. You are courageous and powerful. That will carry you through.”

Powerful? She looked down at the oculi in her hands. Korr waved his finger over them. “No. I don’t mean the stones. I mean you are powerful. I have not known you long, but I have seen it.”


Thissraelle threw her own cloak off her shoulder and took Karendle in a quick embrace. “It’s true, Karendle. Go carefully. Bless your steps!”

“Yeah, for you, too.”

Thissraelle and Korr crept away, to circle the western side of the camp. In a matter of moments, the darkness of the night and the shadows of the forest had swallowed them up.


Rannlethin reached for her and took her wrist in an elvish shake. She reacted with a jerk, but after a moment, she returned the gesture. “I’m sorry,” he said, “and thank you.” Karendle nodded. He tugged his cloak tighter and moved away toward the eastern perimeter.

Powerful. She savored the relative quiet. The snow was starting to build on the leaves on the ground, and it was muffling even the birds. Karendle looked at the stones in her hand. Alright. Time to make this happen.

She stepped around the tree trunk. A cold breeze stung her nose and made her squint. With determined steps, she moved forward, carefully climbing over fallen trees and the humps of roots. She shuffled through the fallen leaves, making no effort to muffle their sound.

“Hold!” A voice said, with an accent that sounded like he didn’t speak common very often. She didn’t stop. In a moment, she saw a high elf soldier in a defensive posture, pointing a spear with a long blade. At the base of the blade, a ruby was mounted, and it glowed menacingly. “Step no further.”

Karendle paused, then continued toward him. “You won’t kill me.”

He shifted. “Hold!”

She steeled herself, trying to appear courageous and powerful. “You’re going to take me to Illitharin. Tell him Karendle wants to see him.”

A second soldier stepped up, also pointing a glowing spear at her.

“Tell him,” Karendle added, holding up the granite oculus, “that I have a present for him.”


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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Monday, January 13, 2020

189 - “More Pieces in Place” - Thissraelle - A Tale of Heroes

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


Korr rolled the man over as Thissraelle and Parith hurried to his side. She kneeled next to him and helped turn the elf’s head with his shoulders. The leaves that had been pressed under his chest were wet with blood. His dark cloak was also soaked through. His breathing was shallow and gurgling and his eyelids were weak. His eyes met Thissraelle’s in a brief moment of recognition, then closed them with a sigh. He coughed, then sucked in more air as he looked away.

“He’s hurt bad!” Thissraelle whispered, raising her hands over him and closing her eyes. She cleared her mind and felt the familiar swelling of will in her heart and hands.

“You’re healing him?” Parith’s voice jolted her. “You realize that this flamed tree-slug led the band that attacked us. He’s the reason we’re in this mess.”

Thissraelle looked down at the wounded man’s pained face. That’s true. He hates high elves like me, like Eddiwarth. He tried to take us, and would have gladly killed us. He tried to hurt my friends. She remembered only a few short months ago, when Granthurg, her huge giant friend, had lifted another wounded man up into the back of a cart. That man had attacked them and tried to kill him. Then, later, when they had arrived at the abbey, Granthurg had asked her to heal that man, too.

“Yes.” She raised her hands and roused her will again. “Yes, I am.”

The power swelled up inside her more quickly this time, rushing into her heart and through her hands. She felt the shimmer of energy in her fingertips. She set them onto the elf’s chest and her light flowed into him. His eyes flipped open and his arms and legs shook with renewed life. He coughed again, with more force than before, then rolled back to the ground, hacking and gasping for breath as his lungs cleared. The glow around the two of them faded and Thisraelle sat back on her heels feelling a warm tiredness in her arms.

Parith stared at the man as if confused, and finally stepped away. Thissraelle put her hand on Korr’s shoulder. “Stay with him, please. He was almost dead.” She pulled herself up with support from Korr’s shoulder then walked toward Karendle to continue searching the scene. Her eyes met Illariel’s. The young elf girl’s brows were up with an expression of surprise and a bit of amazement.

“So, he... And you healed...? But he’s a wood elf...” the girl stammered.

Thissraelle nodded, her arms feeling heavy. “Are you OK?”

“Yeah,” Illariel mumbled.

Karendle stepped up and nudged Illariel’s shoulder. “Don’t be so surprised. She’s kinda like that. Just don’t get her mad.”

Thissraelle smiled with one corner of her lips. “Did you find Eddiwarth?”

“No, but there is something you’ll want to see. Come here.”

She led Thissraelle and Illariel past a few trees to another small grouping of bodies. One of them, that Karendle had obviously turned face up, was human, not elven at all. He wore a dark brown cloak. His shirt was red with his blood, and a wooden-handled dagger still protruded from one side of his chest. Karendle explained, “You might not recognize him, but he was the partner of Illitharin, the one who hired me to get you, the one we connected with that night with the oculus.”

“They were the ones riding along the path in the forest.”


“That means they were planning to meet up with this patrol.”


“Which is why they didn’t attack us yesterday.”

Karendle just nodded, hands on her hips.

What’s going on? They’re coming after me. Why do they want me? Why am I so important? 

And where’s Eddiwarth? A big part of her was glad they hadn’t found him. That, at least, meant he might still be alive. She looked around at the bodies by her feet, letting the snowflakes blow past her face like the thoughts drifting through her head.

“This is bigger than just wood elves and high elves. There’s something going on somewhere that we’re not seeing.” She pointed to the carnage below. “This fight was recent. Most of the blood isn’t even dried. That means they’re still near. Come on, let’s get some answers.”

Thissraelle strode back to Korr and the elven commander, calling out for Parith to join them. The elf was sitting, wrapped in a blanket that Korr had handed him. The elf’s head was down, his hair tangled, but his breathing was steady. “Who are you?” she demanded.

He took in a breath, coughed, then said, “I am Rannlethin, from village of Oakenridge, to the south.” He didn’t look up.

“Go on,” Thissraelle continued. “Why did you attack us?”

“There are guards and patrols of your people gathering in the foothills of the mountains, on the edge of the forest. Messenger birds told us you were travelling through on the trade roads, so we had been following you for several days. Then, the head of the garrison at Treehaven sent to us to bring you in, captive. You, and the other high elf.”

“It didn’t occur to you,” Parith hissed, “to actually just, maybe, talk to us and ask us what we were doing?”

The man glanced up, shrugged, and looked back down. He shifted his shoulder under the blanket.

“Maybe if we were spies,” Parith continued, “we would have been a lot stealthier than just walking up the main trade roads, sleeping in waystops?”

“Then you were attacked by the high elves.” Thissraelle cut in.

The elf took another deep breath. “Yes. We were overwhelmed. I went down early in the fight. Their spears were empowered somehow. Probably with striking magic. When I was hit, it sent a shock through my whole body, and knocked me cold. When I came to, the battle was lost, and I was bleeding out. Then, you found us, and... Well...” He paused, “I thought they were trying to rescue you and your friend. Now, I’m not so sure.”

“The other elf. Did they take him?”

“I guess so. I was out.”

“How many of them were there?”

“When they first attacked, I saw about a dozen. I may be wrong, but there weren’t many more than that.”

Thissraelle stood up. “How many high elf bodies are here? No more than four or five, right? That means there’s still quite a few. And if their weapons are empowered, it may be a tough fight. I’ve used a lot of my will today, so I will only be a little help, magically.”

Parith nodded. Thissraelle turned to Illariel, “Can you ask the forest to find them?”

“Right away!” Illariel jumped up eagerly and moved toward a tree.

Korr stood, and noted, “If we can approach them quietly, the element of surprise may help us overcome them.”

The elf commander stood with a rustling of fallen leaves and volunteered, “I can contact the garrison at Treehaven to bring hunters. That will even the fight.”

Parith interjected, “That will take time, though.”

“Do it anyway,” Thissraelle said. “We don’t need to fight them all. We just need to get Eddiwarth out. If, in the process, we weaken them, then the wood elves will have that much easier of a task defending their woods.”

The elf stepped over to a fallen enemy and picked up his spear. “May I help you?”

Thissraelle smiled. “Of course!”

“Um, ah...,” Karendle gestured with her finger, “I may have an idea...”


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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Thursday, January 9, 2020

188 - “What They Found” - Thissraelle - A Tale of Heroes

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


Karendle was the first to see a body, and immediately called out, “Thissraelle! Come quick!”

Thissraelle stood still in her tracks, surprised. The evening was coming on, and the cold was starting to bite. They had been pressing hard through the forest for hours, following Illariel’s lead. Thissraelle turned to her right and hurriedly strode toward where Karendle had been scouting.

Karendle added, “Parith is going to want to see this, too!”

Thissraelle climbed over the high ridges of roots of an enormous oak and looked down into a small ravine where Karendle was standing. She was near a small stream trickling through the meager valley between two rises. She was pointing at a body, sprawled, unmoving, on the other side of the water. It was a wood elf, wearing a dark green cloak, splayed open on the ground and now stained with his blood. His legs were tangled in a broken branch, and rested up the slope from his head. Two arrow fletchings protruded from the stain on his chest, with very little of the actual shafts showing. Thissraelle caught her breath, and her hand jumped to her lips.

Parith stepped over the crest and also froze. “Creator’s flames!”

After a moment’s pause, Korr also arrived. Parith stepped forward, carefully navigating the slimy rocks of the stream. The drake tried to keep his balance on Parith’s shoulder by waving his wings. As he approached the body, he noted, with a hushed gravity in his voice, “These aren’t wood elf arrows.”

The scream of a young girl split through the wind and cawing birds.

Startled, Thissraelle yanked her head up. “I’ll bet Illariel found another one.” Thissraelle leapt up the embankment and ran toward Illariel’s voice and could hear Karendle running behind her. After a moment, they paused, scanning the forest, not sure where the elf girl had gone.

“Illariel!” Thissraelle called out.

“I’m up here!”

Thissraelle and Karendle jerked their faces upward. Illariel sat on a large branch near the trunk of a tree. Next to her was another wood elf, also dead, with a single arrow piercing his lower neck and holding his corpse fast to the tree trunk. His head slumped and his arms draped limp, his own bow slung useless across his legs.

We got here too late! “Are you alright?” Thissraelle called up.

“I’m fine.” Illariel responded, and reached up to gently reset the elf’s head back against the tree and straighten his hair. She jumped to the tree trunk and slid along it to the ground.

“You screamed!”

“Yeah, I was just surprised,” Illariel shrugged. “I wish he’d had a more peaceful way to become one in the heart of the forest.”

Thissraelle nodded. “Parith! Korr! Come quickly!” She stepped to the tree underneath the body, and saw drops of blood just beginning to crust and dry on the leaves. It hasn’t been long since they were attacked. Where is Eddiwarth?

The little drakeling arrived quickly, with a fluttering of wings, and settled itself on the side of a tree, gripping its claws into the bark. Parith hurried up a moment later, and sucked in a deep breath when he was shown the body in the branches.

“Those arrows,” Thissraelle ventured, “They’re high elven, aren’t they?”

Parith nodded, as Korr approached with the pack animals behind him. Parith explained, “They have metal nocks, and feather fletching. Wood elves would have used leaves for fletching and the entire shaft would be wood, all sealed and strengthened by nature power. I’ve also never seen a wood elven bow that could bury an arrow so deep into someone’s heart like that.”

Thissraelle closed her eyes, as this thought sank deep into her own heart. She glanced at Parith, but his gaze was fixed on the body in the tree. They hurt my people, and my people kill his people. She hung her head, then reached out and rested her hand on his shoulder. “I’m sorry.”

Parith just gave a sharp nod and stepped past her. “They probably went this way, if the killing path continues.” Thissraelle fell in behind him, and the rest of the group followed.

They moved through the forest with renewed urgency. Flakes of snow began to filter down through the maze of bare branches above, dancing like ghosts between the trees. Even in the cold, there were winter birds chattering. It was only a few minutes later when Parith stopped.

Thissraelle knew immediately what he was seeing. She caught up to his side, then stepped forward, moving between the bodies fallen on the bed of dirty leaves and snow dust. She counted two more wood elves, and three high elves, but there were probably more. Under dark cloaks, the high elf soldiers wore heavy padded protection on their chests. That armor, originally white, was now stained in dirt and blood. Their light hair fell in tangles among the leaves beneath their pallid heads. Their spears and bows were scattered beside them, many broken. Thissraelle looked at each body in turn, afraid it would prove to be Eddiwarth.

Karendle walked beside her, taking it all in. Parith and Korr each led a donkey behind them.

Parith coughed, then said, “At least it looks like they put up a good fight.” There was a hint of anger in his voice.

“I don’t understand,” Thissraelle mused. “What were high elves doing this deep in Umbrawood?” From the corner of her vision, she saw Korr kneel by a body.

“Thissraelle!” he called out. “This one lives!”


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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Monday, January 6, 2020

187 - “My Team, My Heroes” - Thissraelle - A Tale of Heroes

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Where am I? 

Where am I going? 

Am I even in control?

The words sliced through her memory like the cold winds swirling the leaves around her. She had said them herself in a dream so long ago. That was a different time, a different life, it seemed. It all had been much simpler back at the monastery. It was safe. She was with friends. She raised her eyes and glanced out from under her cloak’s hood. She looked at Karendle, who was so frustrated and angry, then at Parith, dejected and broken. Korr’s face was questioning, full of uncertainty.

I’m not in control. They’re all looking to me for direction. Even Illariel is confused.

She remembered St Ivarr’s instructions. Find Heathrax. She felt her nose and eyes start to burn, and told herself it was the cold.

I can choose where I go. I’m taking my team to Emberfire! 

Yes. To Emberfire.

My team. 

I’m not giving up. I’m taking my team to Emberfire!

Thissraelle tossed her head back and shook off her hood. The breeze whispered her hair and stung the points of her ears. She straightened her back, stood, and offered her hand to Parith. He looked up, raising an eyebrow. Again, She gestured with her open hand, and, after a moment’s hesitation, he took it. She tugged on him, leaning back and pulling him up to his feet. Then she crossed to Karendle and offered the same help. Korr was already standing when she turned to him. He smiled and asked, “Do you have a plan?”

“Nope!” Thissraelle chirped and blinked her eyes clear. “I have no idea. But we’re going to find Eddiwarth, and I’m taking my team to the Emberfire Mountains!” Korr nodded, and stepped back to the donkeys.

“Heathrax’s Heroes.”

“What?” Thissraelle wasn’t sure who had said that, or what he’d said.

“Heathrax’s Heroes.” Parith said, a bit louder. “It was what Eddiwarth wanted to call us. A team, right? An adventurer’s guild?” Thissraelle smiled and nodded.

“Yeah.” Karendle picked up one of the donkey’s leads and said, “A guild.”

Thissraelle and Karendle exchanged glances before Thissraelle confirmed, “It still sounds stupid, though.” They both broke out laughing.

Thissraelle started to walk back in the direction they had come. Karendle joined her, and Korr moved to follow. Parith did also, but questioned, “Backtracking will put us even farther behind, you know.”

“True, but I was thinking that we might get to a place where we could pick up the real trail. Besides, it’s as good a way as any other, for the moment, isn’t it?” Parith gave a resigned nod and fell in behind Korr.

Illariel cleared her throat. “I can probably help,” she offered. The group stopped to look, surprised, as if they had forgotten she was there.

“Really?” Thissraelle asked. “How?”

“I can ask the forest where he is.” She spoke as if the answer had been obvious. Before Thissraelle could ask what she meant, Illariel began moving from tree to tree, touching the rough bark of the trunk with a familiar and friendly caress. “I don’t know if it will work. It’s winter, and he’s almost asleep.”

Thissraelle looked back at Parith, who shrugged with open hands.

“The forest gives us life, shelter, food. I can feel his kindness in the winds of his breath and the dance of his essence...” She found a tree that seemed to be right and pressed her face to its expansive trunk before reaching her arms wide to embrace it. “Can you feel it in your soul?” She closed her eyes and started humming. “Mmmmm, the song of the forest...”

The group waited, unsure, as she hummed and whistled quietly, all the while holding herself tight to the tree and slowly creeping around it. Finally, she stepped away and, holding her open palms before her, bowed deeply.

When she rose and opened her eyes, Thissraelle stepped to her and touched her arm. Illariel blinked. “The forest knows them and will delay them for us, so we can catch up. We’ll have to hurry, though. They’re being hunted.”

“Hunted? By what?”

Illariel’s eyes betrayed a bit of fear. “By high elves.” She pointed northwest. “We’ll go this way.”


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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Thursday, January 2, 2020

186 - “A Sorry Lot” - Karendle - A Tale of Heroes

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Karendle walked in an awkward silence alongside Thissraelle. A cold wind blew steadily through the trees and across their faces, a harbinger of rain, or maybe even snow. They were cutting and trudging their way through the thick of the forest, having left the main trade road in favor of the direction that the wood elf band had gone. As midday approached, the sky grew lighter, but through the bare branches Karendle could see gray clouds above. She felt a cold draft on her knee where a bladefern had slashed her leggings. After that, she kept her eyes in front of her.

 Parith walked ahead, trying to clear a path across logs, roots, and ravines. He was trying to track the other group, but it seemed to Karendle that he didn’t really know where they were going. Korr, his leg wounds healed by Thissraelle’s magic, followed him, leading the two donkeys tethered together. The whole party seemed to be feeling the gloom, but Karendle saw that it was weighing especially heavy on Thissraelle. What a mess. She deserves better than this.

Illariel jumped and bounded across the terrain around them, her dark hair and deep green cloak tossing behind her. She kept trying to start a conversation with someone, anyone. At the moment, it was Krendle’s turn. “So, how did you guys connect up with Parthee, up there?”

Karendle glanced at her. “Huh?”

“The cute one. Seems like you don’t like each other very much.”

“Parith? I’m mad at him.”

“What are you mad at him for?”

What for!? Karendle felt a tension grow in her gut, gripping her gut, and making her shoulders shiver. She tugged her cloak tighter and looked at Thissraelle’s downturned face. What for? Then, she pulled her brows together as she turned back to Illariel and grumbled, “I’m having a problem with wood elves at the moment.”

Karendle was about to step away when she noticed that Korr had stopped. Parith looked up, first at one tree, then another. “Hang on a minute,” he said, then leapt high up at a thick trunk, vaulting himself off it and onto another before disappearing into the outstretched branches.

Karendle tossed out an exasperated sigh, her breath misting before her, and stepped forward past Korr. “What now?”

Parith didn’t respond. Karendle scanned the tangled mass of intertwined branches, but saw nothing. Thissraelle stepped up next to her, also searching. The chill in the wind blew more leaves around them from above, even though there weren’t as many of them falling as before.

With a crunch, Parith dropped down from a tree behind them. Karendle jumped, startled, and her hand went to her blade. Parith sat down, shoulders slouched, at the base of the tree and looked away. The small drake flitted and landed down next to him.

Karendle stood straight. “We’re lost, aren’t we?” Parith ran his hand through his hair, but didn’t look up. “You have no idea where they are! Do you even know where we are?”

The silence in the forest was loud and heavy. Karendle glanced at the others in turn, but nobody spoke. Nobody had any idea what to say. Finally, Parith raised his head and sighed. “It’s worse than that, actually,” he whispered, resigned. “I think that the trail I’ve been following was a false one.”

“What?” Karendle shouted.

Parith dropped his eyes again, stood, and shook his head. “At first it was pretty easy to follow. They left lots of signs. Broken branches, rustled leaves, that sort of thing. Then, it started getting harder to see, and it looked like there were fewer of them. Then, nothing. I’ve been trying to pick it back up for a while, now, but...”

“You... You...” Karendle clenched her fists before letting out a harsh growl and kicking up a fluttering of leaves in frustration. She slumped against another tree and slid to the ground. Korr also sat, unsure.

Finally, Thissraelle spoke, “I’m sorry.”

What? YOU’RE sorry? Karendle looked up at her, amazed.

“I’m sorry I blinked away when we were attacked. I should have stayed and helped in the fight.” She took a breath and held her arms together against the cold. “Then, I should have used my mind to reach out and find Eddiwarth. But between the blink and the healing, I can feel my will getting weak. Plus, I assumed from what you said that he probably would not be conscious. I still shouldn’t have left him.”

She moved to sit next to Parith, then hesitated. “And if it weren’t for my stoneshaking quest, whatever it is, we wouldn’t all be out here in the first place. We’d all still be relaxing with the Seekers in The Vast.”

Parith looked up, his lips drawn back. “No, I’m sorry. I’m sorry we were attacked. I didn’t want to admit that you were right. You’re high elves. We’re wood elves. I’d hoped I could get you through safely, that I could smooth over any problems.” He coughed and looked away. “But you were right.”

Karendle wanted to scream inside. Yes! She was right! What did you think would happen? Her own thoughts betrayed her, however, and she remembered what had brought them to that interdimensional haven. They had been fighting drakes in the cathedral. And Thissraelle was in the cathedral looking for me. If I hadn’t argued with her and run off on my own, we’d still be relaxing with DeFrantis in the monastery in Dirae.

What a mess.

Thissraelle is my friend, and she deserves better than this.


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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Start the whole story from the beginningStart from where this current story arc begins. Start from where the current story part begins