Monday, February 24, 2020

201 - “Beauty and Fear” - Korr - A Tale of Heroes

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“...And vast are the works of His creation.” Vast, and so very beautiful. Korr moved to join the others that had stepped around the bend in the path. They all stood in silence, enraptured by the springs and waterfalls before them. Pungent steam filled the warm and wet air breezing down the canyon.

Thissraelle moved first, trying to step along the path but her snowshoes were clumsy on the stone. “Look! There’s no snow on the path here!” She leaned on the rock of the canyon side and reached down to untie the webbed shoe flats from her boots. Others began to do the same.

“These shoes,” Korr mused while taking his off, “were a big part of the struggle that we had to go through to get here to this place. It is interesting that they were both very difficult and even painful to use, and yet without them, the trek would not have been possible.”

“Hey, come back here!” Parith shouted at the drakeling. It had jumped from his shoulders and crawled down the path toward the terrace. Parith jumped after it, but had only removed one snowshoe, so he stumbled to his knees.

Korr carried his snowshoes under his arm and moved along the path. When he got to the terrace with the bridge, he unslung his pack and set it and the shoes down against the nearby canyon wall. He stretched his back and shoulders. Karendle and Thissraelle followed close behind.

“I’m amazed,” Korr said, “at the beauty shown here. The combination of the natural pools and the constructed shrine and path is truly artistic.”

“It is!” Thissraelle agreed.

“I wonder how it was engineered. The latticework on the bridge supports would have required...” Korr let his thought trail off.

“It was probably done magically, rather than manually. Rock shaping mages using nature powers, I would guess. It would still have been a lot of work, anyway.” She stepped toward the bridge.

“Woah, easy, hold on there!” Karendle held her arm back.


“You’re just going to stroll across it?” Karendle looked at her in disbelief. “A little caution, please. Every old story they tell kids has trouble on bridges! Something’s below it, ready to grab you, or something’s above it, waiting to swoop in on you. Or it’s ancient and ready to crumble as soon as you step wrong. Meanwhile, halfway out, you’re caught, and vulnerable.”

Thissraelle laughed, but still hesitated.

Korr looked across the chasm. “Those stories might be nothing more than just that: stories to enthrall children. Or they might all be true. However, one thing is certain, that being that the shrine is our goal, it is on the other side of the canyon, and the bridge is the simplest way to get there.”

Eddiwarth and Parith nodded to each other. “It is what we’re here for,” Parith added as he started to cross the bridge. “Isn’t it?”

Korr followed, gesturing to the others. Thissraelle glanced at Eddiwarth for confirmation, then Karendle. Finally, she shrugged and followed.

As they moved out into the center of the canyon, they felt the wind rushing through from higher up the mountain. It was both cold from the deeper snow and higher altitudes above and a bit warm and damp from the steaming springs nearby. Korr looked forward past the others and stopped, calling out. “Hold!”
At the end of the bridge, in the shrine itself, a man stood. He was dressed in black and dark brown and carried a spear, and he had a posture like he was blocking or guarding the way. His dark brown cloak billowed in the wind. His face was hidden in the cowl. He said nothing and issued no commands. Even though the man stood defensively, and the spear was pointed to the sky, Korr instinctively moved his feet and arms into a firm and ready combat stance.

Parith’s hand went to his bow. “What...?”

Before any of them could react, there was a flash behind them. “Thissraelle!” a man’s voice called out.

Korr stepped aside and turned around to look with the others. Another man stepped onto the bridge from the terrace where they had just stood. He was older, with a light-colored and flowing robe. Thissraelle’s face was distorted with recognition, surprise, and anger.

“Oh, no. Not him!” She spat the words into the mist. “By the flames of the Creator...”

Korr returned his focus forward to the man in black. The man had not moved, nor spoken. He didn’t seem to have any reaction to the appearance of the other.

“Who is that?” Eddiwarth asked Thissraelle, gesturing at the man in the robes.

Thissraelle made a deep disapproving grunt. “It’s my father.”

“Your father?” Karendle interjected. “The one you’ve been running from? The one who sent Eddiwarth to catch you?”

“Among others, apparently.”

Karendle grunted. “No wonder you have issues.”

The small drake screeched loudly, startling everyone. It sat on the stonework of the bridge between them, staring up into the sky and flapping its wings in fear. It ran toward Parith and jumped into his arms, and crawled onto his shoulders under his cloak. Korr followed its gaze upward. A very large dragon flew through the canyon, silhouetted against the narrow slit of sky above them. It flew much lower than the one they had seen before did, and they heard its roar shake through the canyon. A second one, slightly smaller, flew close behind it.

“See?” Karendle said, “ Nothing goes right on bridges.”


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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