Many Discoveries - A Stonehearth Serial by Turtlesquish

Well folks, I decided to take another shot at writing a serial for Stonehearth. I have already written the first three chapters, as well as I have developed a rather complex plot, with a lot of “discoveries” along the way. I intend to release a part ever Friday.

Feedback is greatly appreciated. Also try and guess the significance of the things introduced in this part.

If someone could build the “Valley” as described in part 1 (using this seed 1255928283) it would be greatly appreciated.

With no further ado, enjoy.

Part 1
I grew up in the farm country. Rows of corn, wheat, potatoes, pumpkins and flowers all filled the valley floor and my earliest memories. Six generations of farmers had worked this valley. There was always work to be done, and there were always things to explore. There were three villages along the valley, Deep Barrowroot was situated at the mouth of the valley, Cavetown was tucked against the mountain and New Runningdale was settled along the banks the Running Mill Lake. It was in New Runningdale where my story begins.

Although I worked the fields most of my early life, I still had the some free time where I would relax on a particular oak tree at the edge of the Running Mill Lake. I would sit on a fork in the branches and watch the mill spin, or the worker’s in the field, or the ripples on the water, or Old Sips fishing in his little boat and anything else that might be happening.

My name at the time was Micah and my surname Tenter. Around my 6th year my father had become a slave to the drink and my mother gave up being a slave to his tantrums. She had left him. Although she was rough looking another man married her, her new husband’s name was Sanin Hunterton, from Cavetown. She was happy for a time, or so I’m told. One day, about three months after her marriage, she was found dead at the edge of the mines, her head had been bashed into the stones, and deep cuts were found in her skin. Her death shook my young mind beyond description, and I began to spend a lot more time with myself. I knew it was Sanin that had murdered her, but I was a child and my voice was not listened to, and it was generally assumed that she was killed by a wild animal. The incident was soon forgotten.

I was now stuck living with my father. He would beat me when he was drunk and when he was sober. I would often listen by the door to make sure he was asleep before I entered the house to go to bed. Then I would wake up before him and leave for the fields. All the money I earned working as a farm hand I hid in a pocket in the great oak by the lake. I was miserable, but I didn’t know any other way to be.

Because of my unnatural strength and the rough looks I got from my mother the other kids kept their distance. I doubt I would have made it through these tough times without the innkeeper Sean Mont and his daughter Trillia. Trillia was many years older than I was. The first time I had come to the inn barefoot and hungry I aroused her empathy. She had given me a warm soup and a little beer to wash it down. She then combed my hair and gave me a little money. From that point on Trillia was like a mother to me.

Perhaps uncommon for some one of my age, I had a big picture plan for the future. I knew that I would need to buy a field and work it respectively. I was determined that my children would not suffer the same fate as I had. So I saved all my money for them. Living off a pittance of the money I earned.

My story began late in my seventh year, I was climbing the great oak when I heard a disgusting sound of breathing. Even now I remember the exact sound. It was not the deep and even sound of a town hearthling’s breath, nor the slightly rougher sound of a field worker’s breath. No, this was a gasping, choking, snorting, cruel breath. I froze in mid climb, my two hands were secured on the branch above, and one of my feet was still locked in a fork in the tree. The breathing got a little louder, and then I heard a thrust in the berry bushes below. The berry bush’s tough limbs fought with whoever was below, and a low grunt was audible. I heard the scrape of iron against leather, and then the chopping sound as the branches of the berry bushes got snapped. I worked up the courage to peek around the tree, I slid my face against the bark to be as hidden as possible. As my eye rounded the tree I froze…my life was in danger…


As promised, here is part 2. This one is slightly longer then the rest. The first part was mostly exposition, this part is picking the pace up a little. I hope you all enjoy.

Part 2
At first all I saw was the cleaver. It was as large as a tree ax, and it was sharp. Its edge was painted with dried blood. There was a cold look to it, a look of death. I then noticed the green hand holding it. I looked at the holder, I was face to face with the ugliest creature I had ever seen, a goblin. His skin was coarse, his back was bent and his feet were placed widely apart. His teeth protruded from his mouth in a sharp angle. I could see in his eyes that he was as cruel as his cleaver. He was as surprised as I was. I suppose it is not everyday when a tree looks back at you. I pulled my head back behind the tree as fast as I could, but it was too late.

“Com’ ‘ere” the gruffest voice I had ever heard called out. When I didn’t listen the goblin shuffled around the tree. I tried to climb higher, but his rough hand grabbed my ankle, I felt the strength behind his vice like grab. With a little tug I came crashing down. I landed face down in a heap, and my adversary took advantage of it. He grabbed both my hands and lifted me up. I struggled as much as I could, but with my arms behind me and my feet dangling in the air, I didn’t stand much of a chance. He shoved me against the great oak.

“Stop your a-strugglin, elsewise you’ll be tastin’ steel for lunch.” He whispered in my ear. I stopped struggling. “A-now, that is much bette’, listen close. You ne’er saws me, here or elsewheres. Understand?”

I nodded very vigorously but that was not enough for the goblin. He began pushing me harder and harder into the tree. The bark began to cut my skin. Finally I called out “I never saw you! I never saw you!” The pressure eased. The goblin then used one hand to hold me up and the other to pat me down. He was looking for money and he was disappointed when he found none.

“Well uh-boy you get pays for your work, where’s the pay at? answer truth’lly, or you’ll pay a differen’ price.”

“I have no money, my pa takes it all. Really he does.” I answered, I don’t know how I thought of that excuse, but I knew I couldn’t give me savings away. I needed it to buy my field. The goblin wasn’t convinced but I could tell he had thought of another scheme.

“I know you, boy, oh do I know you, i’ve seen you before and I knows you live alone with your pa in the small brown ‘ouse with broke win’ows in the vill’ge. You bring me some pay, or i’ll knife you gut and all while you a-sleep in the ‘ouse. Bring the pay and leave it in that-a pocket in this tree no later than ‘morrows sun-up.” the pocket he pointed at was the same one I hid my hard earned money in “‘nd don’t tell a soul that yous a-know about me. Or you’ll be gutted through-n-through.” The goblin shoved me roughly against the bark one last time and then shuffled away. I lay on the ground sobbing long after he left. Finally I pulled myself together. I needed to move my money, but I could feel the goblin was still watching.

In desperation I hatched a plan. I would come later that evening with a pouch, I would then pretend to put money in the pocket while I was really taking out my money. I would leave a little for the goblin and then go back to the village. With this plan in mind I headed for the inn.

The inn in the mid morning was almost always empty. Sean was wiping down some of the mugs he served beer with when I entered the inn. Sean was of typical innkeeper build. He had a rounded belly, and a jolly disposition. Both of which he gave to his daughter. He looked me over and stroked his curly beard in his calm way.

“Well Micah, who have you been fighting with?” he asked me after a few moments.

“The tree, sir.” I could tell he didn’t believe me, but in a way it was true. We stood facing each other for several moments when Trillia walked in. She gave a shriek and then ran toward me taking me up in an embrace. I felt tears come out of my eyes.

“What happened, what happened, what happened?” she said in a rushed way. I couldn’t hide the truth anymore. I can’t remember the exact words I said, but I remember a great pain leave my head as I spoke. I remember Sean’s look of sympathy, and Trillia’s tears. I remember sobbing uncontrollably as Sean led me next to the fire and put his arm around me. I remember the fear I felt of the goblin, I had broken my promise and the goblin would know it. I knew I wasn’t safe.…


Part 3. The story is beginning to pick up. This one is a little shorter then the others. But part 6 later on makes up for it. I would love feedback.

Part 3

“Listen lad, you should stay here tonight, you’ll be safe.” Sean told me after I had calmed a little. “and promise me you won’t go back to the tree.” I remained quiet, I needed to go and get my money before the goblin checked the pocket. I didn’t know how to explain it to Sean, he wouldn’t understand.

I sat by the fire for about an hour or so when Sean called out that he was going to the market to buy some food and that I should stay here. Trillia was upstairs. I decided now was the perfect time to make my move. I searched the inn’s kitchen for a pouch that I could conceal the money with. I then filled the bag with dirt. I then slipped out the backdoor and headed toward the big oak.

As I was going a rock landed near me. I turned to see who threw it and saw Brom the water carrier’s assistant. He was jeering at me. Brom was a big strong orphan. He had a nearly perfect physique. On the other hand, he avoided people when he could help it. I often saw him sit by the lake by himself. I never understood why he didn’t like me, and why he always went out of his way to bully me. I was in a hurry so I ignored him and kept going.

“Ya, run ‘way coward!” I heard him shout after me.

When I got to the oak, I glanced in all directions to make sure no one was watching, I didn’t see anyone. I crouched down by the pocket of the tree, and put the pouch near it. I executed my plan and shifted the dirt for the money. I left a little money on top of the dirt to satisfy the goblin.

I heard a footstep in the underbrush. The goblin revealed himself, he was no less ugly and cruel looking.

“Good a-boy, didja bring me the pays like you said yous would?”

“Yes, yes sir. I did” I said nervously “I better go back I’m needed back in the village”

“Stay here, ‘til I count the money. No trickery that way.” The goblin shuffled toward me and I moved away from the pocket. I concealed the pouch against my side that was facing away from him. He bent over and pulled out the few coins.

“Is this it!” he cried. “More more more you need to brings more!” I was shaking inside, I was sure he would discover the pouch of money.

“But sir, I can’t steal anymore not without the innkeeper knowing”

“Verys well, you bring me some mores pay next sun-up, you had better.” With that the goblin slinked away. I had gotten away with it. I now headed back to the inn.

As I approached the inn I noticed three footmen donning their swords and shields. Sean was talking with them. I knew what he was telling them. They were going to hunt the goblin, and the goblin was going to hunt me. I had to hide. I ran swiftly toward the village. I decided to hide in the wheat fields.

I heard feet behind me. I ran faster. My pursuer picked up his pace. I dared not look back, instead I ran as fast as I could to the wheat field, hoping that the field workers would rescue me. I ran and ran and I finally reached the edge of the wheat field. I felt someone grab the back of my shirt.

“Gotcha” a familiar voice said.


Part 4

It was Brom. He had a devilish grin on. I knew it was going to be bad.

“What’s the matter, Ugly” that was Brom’s nickname for me. “Afraid I was some goblin? I heard all about how you stole money from the inn and gave it a goblin.” Brom tightened his grip on my shirt, I knew a beating was coming. Brom was hesitating, I feared the worse. “What have we here,” he said. I felt his hands on my pouch of money.

“What are you doing?” Called a thin voice from nearby. We both whirled toward the voice, we knew who it was. Sure enough Roake the Elder was standing nearby. “So?” He said after the silence had dragged on for several seconds.

“Sorry, sir, I thought he had stolen my bucket. So I grabbed him.” Brom said in a very convincing tone.

“Do you need to reach into his vest to find a bucket?” Roake said with a hint of mock in his frail voice. Brom stammered awkwardly for a bit. The elder continued “Go back to your work Brom. Micah I want to speak with you.” Brom hurried away. “So a goblin threatened your life?” I made sure to glance behind me before I spoke.

“Yes sir.” Roake stroked his white beard with his left hand. His right hand gripped his cane tightly.

“Do you think you are safe?”

“No sir, I am certain he will find me and kill me.” I glanced behind me again.

“Afraid…don’t be afraid. Three footmen have gone to search for the goblin.Three other footmen are guarding the village. You are safe.”

“I know, but still I’m afraid,” I said. Roake didn’t say another word, he raised his eyebrows at me and then turned around and began hobbling away. I stood still for a little while as I contemplated the words of Roake. I then began to head back to the inn. Sean and Trillia were happy to see me. But the lunch crowd had come to eat so they were both busy. I decided to help. I spent the rest of the day bringing out steaming plates of food, washing the plates, sweeping the floor and all other sorts of menial labor.

My mind was completely occupied with the work. It wasn’t until I was getting ready to sleep in the loft of the inn that I remembered the goblin and his threats. A shudder went down my spine and I quickly raised the ladder that gave entrance to the loft. This done, I lay down in bed for a restless night. Sleep evaded me, every sound startled me awake. ‘Was it the goblin? Was it the goblin?” I asked myself over and over.

At around midnight, I heard a sound. At first I thought it was just my imagination but after listening more closely I heard shouting. I jumped out of bed, and ran to the small window that looked out from the loft. Only then did I hear what was being shouted, “FIRE FIRE!”