Monday, January 27, 2020

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

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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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