Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Hero Quest

“Volod is gaining power,” said Horace, slamming down his tankard, “We have to do something!”

“I wasn’t saying otherwise,” Whisper sighed, mopping up the mead Horace had spilt in his aggravation, “But what can we do?”

Adir looked murderous. “I say we storm the castle and kill him on the spot.”

Whisper sighed again. “You know why we can’t do that.”

“What kind of warrior are you?” Adir demanded.

“A sensible one,” said Whisper, tossing her head, “One not so willing to overlook the fact that the moment we step foot on castle grounds, Volod will murder the prince.” She scowled, “If only there were something we could do!”

“Excuse me,” a soft voice interjected. The trio looked round, to see a slim halfling standing beside their table. She had large violet eyes, and short purple hair, and was wringing her hands nervously, “But you sound like heroes – and a hero is just what I need.”

“Sound like heroes?” Horace repeated, “We are heroes? Surely… surely you’ve heard of us?”

“Just say yes,” Whisper whispered to the hafling.

“You haven’t heard of us!” Horace shouted, causing half the bar to turn and stare at him, “We are the kingdom’s heroes! We stopped the last ogre uprising! We slayed that dragon last summer! We are the Heroes of Kallune.” Dramatic music played. The hafling looked around for the source, and saw a minstrel sitting in the corner. He waved to her.

“Right,” she said, turning back to the Heroes of Kallune, “Well, you’re exactly what I need. I know where Volod gets his dark magic. If you can destroy the Dagger of Al’mal, you destroy Volod.”

“Dagger of Al’mal?” Adir repeated.

“Tell us everything!” said Whisper eagerly.


Heron rubbed his tired eyes, pulling his candle closer so he could read the books in front of him. He kept checking the contents of one against those of another. Then, he pulled down another book, and began leafing through it. He had been at this for hours. The court librarian had finally fallen asleep in his chair, but Heron kept searching. He would find what he was looking for if he had to stay in the library for a year.

Fortune was with him. He had been in the library for only ten hours before he came across what he wanted. “This has got to be it,” he said aloud, “Now, to tell the heroes.”

Snatching up the book, he hurried silently out of the castle. As he was little more than a servant, the guards paid him no mind, which suited him fine. If only they had known what information he carried! Well, to be honest, it was best that they didn’t know. If they had, he'd be dead within seconds.

Heron rushed to the inn, hoping the heroes were still awake. He didn’t see them in the bar, but he asked the barmaid anyway. “Are the heroes here?”

“Nah,” she said, “Them lot got it into their heads to go running off on another quest. You know, one of these days they’re gonna’ get themselves killed, and I’m gonna’ go out of business.”

“A quest?! But this is much more important! I told them to wait for me,” said Heron despairingly. The heroes had promised to hear him out – though, admittedly, this wasn’t the first time they had done so.

The barmaid looked sympathetic. “Look, hun’, I’m sure they wouldn’t have left if it hadn’t been important.”

“Do you know what their quest was?”

“Well, I did hear somethin' about a dagger.”

“The Dagger of Al’mal?” Heron asked, surprised.

“That’s the one.”

“I wonder how they heard about it. I was coming to tell them all about it!”

“A girl told them about it,” said the barmaid chattily, “One of them half-elves, by the look of her. ‘Said the only way to stop you-know-who was to destroy the dagger.”

“Why don’t you just say Volod, he doesn't -- destroy the dagger?!” Heron yelped, her words catching up to him, “But-but-but! they can’t destroy it! That can’t be what she said!”

“It is, or I’ll give up eavesdropping forever,” said the barmaid indignantly, “Hey!” she continued, as Heron ran for the door, “Where you off to?”

“To save the world!” came the reply.


Today's Novel Idea Prompted by: "A party of heroes has set off across the world to destroy the evil magical artifact... except they've been lied to, and that artifact is really the only thing that can save the world. Now our actual hero has to catch up with them and stop them before they unwittingly destroy their only shot at victory over the enemy." Courtesy of: Breakingchains, on the NaNoWriMo Adoption Forum, "Adopt a Quest."

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