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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