The Fireside Tales - Epilogue and Afterword

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The Fireside Tales - Epilogue and Afterword

Postby Miggnor » Fri Jul 07, 2017 7:00 am

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Epilogue

“That was the last time I saw her.”

The fire crackled and popped under the moonlit air. Its light played over the trees and bush that surrounded the clearing the five of them sat under. Shadows danced along their faces and glinted against the eyes of the four who listened with various forms of attention. The fifth did not turn her gaze from the fire, anxiety, nervousness and a multitude of other emotions preventing her from looking at the others.

Her voice was soft, uncertain as she continued, “I had heard rumors of a woman of her description moving north toward Mendev. There were stories as well, but I was not sure which to believe. My hope is that I can find her in Kenebres and talk to her.” She shrugged, “That’s it. That’s why I am here.”

The others sat in silence for a minute, taking in what the fifth had said. The only sound to be heard was the rustling of leaves in the slight breeze and the continual pops of the fire. Finally, one of them spoke up.

“Are you sure that she was spotted moving north?”

The woman who spoke up was of a race Shayliss never knew existed before. Her skin was dark red, like blood which dried up under the sun. That skin was smooth like a human’s until it reached her limbs. There, scales like a dragon’s formed uneven patterns that covered her hands and bare feet. Fingers and toes ended in long, sharp claws that looked as if they could cut paper or steel in similar fashions. What was more interesting than that, or the fact that she chose to wear almost nothing except hide that covered the necessities, was the fact that she was blind. She wore a blindfold made of animal hide and lines of scars could be seen poking out of them. Other than that and the jagged horns poking out of her head, she looked like a human with a sharp jawline and an upturned nose. Two features that were contrasting but also seemed to fit her well.

The fifth shook her head, “No, Moridra. But I have been searching for two years for her and this is the first and only lead I have. I am going to follow it up and find my answers.” She shrugged, “Maybe she wanted to attend Armasse?”

A soft snort came from one of the other forms around the fire. It was an animal, a white wolf to be precise. The beautifully maintained fur that covered its body ruffled slightly as it shifted its head in semi-sleep. If its eyes were open, they would show blue orbs that pierced through the fifth person’s mind and seemed to read what she was thinking. Of course, the beast could not do so, but she kept weary around it anyway.

Next to the beast was its owner. She was taking burrs and splinters out of her longbow with a swordbreaker dagger. The blade smoothed the wood of the bow without issue and the occasional fleck of it fell onto the grass. Her armor was made of leather with bits of chainmail at the most vulnerable places of her body. On her back was a green hooded cloak which shifted under the breeze with a quiver full of handmade arrows underneath. The black and green feathers poked out from underneath the cloak.

As if responding to the wolf, she snorted as well, “I agree, Blueeye.”

The fifth person did not turn to look at the pair but asked, “What?”

A smile formed on the woman’s face and she said, “That is no way to track prey. You will only find disappointment at the end of the hunt.”

Before the anger could settle in the fifth, a hand of pure night touched the huntress’s shoulder, “Kaira, please.”

Kaira looked up the arm to the face of its owner: a woman of midnight black skin, silver ponytail and bright white wings made of bird feathers. Her red eyes showed rebuke but kindness and under that gaze Kaira fell silent. The woman’s armor was of fine plate and chain. Despite the long travel from Numeria, it did not have a speck of dirt nor hint of rust. Not even a scratch showed in it. Attached to a weapons belt at her chest was a holy symbol, the symbol of Iomedae: a longsword pointed downward surrounded by a sunburst. On the other side of that weapons belt was a longsword bearing the same symbol and a tower shield of metal.

“It is obvious this pains her.” The woman whispered, “Your words do not help heal her.”

The fifth only nodded and muttered, “Thank you, Strune.”

The last person at the fire other than the fifth remained silent. Like the fifth, he looked as if he felt awkward around the group but maybe not for the same reasons. His green skin betrayed him as a half-orc, the bastard children of Golarion. He wore only a simple robe of cloth, metal spiked gauntlets and a necklace of white and black beads. No weapon was strapped to him nor did he have a spellbook on him. He did not even have a backpack of supplies except for food. The only thing exceptional about him was the mark on his exposed shoulder: multiple vortexes spiralling toward a central point, as well as the multitude of scars on his exposed limbs the worst being tiny dots outlining his mouth. His name was Snaga, a name not possibly given to him.

As the fifth stared at him from the corner of her eye, she could see those painfully pierced lips moving with the softest motions possible. As if he did not want the others around the fire to know he was muttering to himself. However, the fifth knew what he was doing. The half-orc was a summoner, a mage who could summon a special creature from the other planes called an eidolon. Snaga was even more special, though, as he could fuse directly with the eidolon, gaining its abilities. At that point, they were essentially one being.

Unease grew in the fifth and she rose to her feet. Muscles strained and bones snapped, “I need to walk a bit.”

“Just be careful, dear.” Strune said.

The fifth did not make any acknowledgement of the statement. At the sight of her movement, her horse lifted its head from its content grazing. The fifth shook her head at the mare and muttered, “No, Shadowshine.”

The black horse gave her a look as if it was trying to tell her that it did not care for her before continuing its grazing. The fifth moved in and out of the many trees until she arrived at the surface of a river. She stepped into it, without care for the soak racing up her leather tights or the metal plates of her armored coat. Her gaze locked onto her reflection, which was just starting to form together again after the ripples broke it apart. The expression on her face was a mix of many things: fear, anxiety, longing, pain and loneliness. Her eyes moved immediately to the two scars on either side of her head.

“I will find you, Valtyra.” She whispered to the reflection. Her fingers rubbed at the ring on her finger, a ring of sapphire, gold and etchings, “I will find you.” Her hand moved to her chest, partially uncovered by the buttons of the shirt she wore. She pulled back the shirt more to reveal the top of a seared on brand. It burned eternally, seeming to not give the red haired woman rest. Even though it has been a year since she got it, she is always reminded of its presence by the pain and nightmares it created.

“Before it is too late.”

Shayliss Vinder dove her head into the river to clear her mind before turning on a heel and returning to camp.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Well, here we are. After almost two and a half years of writing, editing, rewriting and publishing, The Fireside Tales has reached its end. I am happy and grateful that so many of you have read it and loved it. This project started as a way to get myself through a rough time in my life yet I could not have imagined how much of an impact it and the RCM community has on my work both on RCM and outside of it. This will be a time that I never forget.

Now that the gushy stuff is out of the way, I want to talk a bit about current and future projects. A sequel to The Fireside Tales is in the works. It will be structured slightly differently than TFS was in that instead of trying to fit everything into one continuous ‘novel’ or ‘book’ I will be splitting it up into multiple 'books' with short breaks in between. This is to make sure I can get the content to you as fast as possible without burning myself out. Within these short breaks from the main story will come some fun short stories to enjoy still based in the Pathfinder universe. I will be taking a month off to rest and plan these next stories. But then we will start right into it! In the meantime, though, if you need more reading in your life, please read all of the other works on RCM such as Sim’s Saturday and Rogue Agent.

If that is still not enough, then I can point you a few places. One is my Weekly Story site. Unfortunately, I do not currently work on weekly stories however, they are still up for your perusal if you wish. Another is my novel Captured published on Inkitt.com. It was a project I worked on for a couple of years for writing contests on Inkitt and was just finished a few weeks ago. You can be one of the one-hundred to get a free online copy! One final place I can direct you to, if you enjoy reading an RPG in action, is The World’s Edge, a play-by-post RPG that I am playing with an online friend in a whole new world.

There are plans to edit The Fireside Tales even further, but they have not been set into stone yet. Stay tuned!

Again, thank you and I hope to see you all when The Fireside Tales: Wrath, Book One (title not finalized) tentatively comes out on the week of August the 4th!

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Do you have any comments, questions or concerns? Please leave a comment or email me at sean.francis@rivalcastmedia.com!

Also, you can follow me on Twitter for updates on The Fireside Tales, or just random statements I may make: @Miggnor23.

I'm quite lost. Can I see the previous Chapter?

I just arrived! Could I see the first chapter?

Next Story Coming August 4th! (Tentatively)
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