Challenge 3: It’s Your Destiny, Eh (Between 700 and 1400 words): In this fantastic Sword&Sorcery story, you explore the Chosen One trope… but your Chosen can be neither young, pure, or lucky! Include an animal helper that sides with whichever character last said something, and a strong, boozing character with a heavy accent and an axe who is NOT a dwarf.
All objects used for the offensive are named after the sound they make, and your story resolves itself in an explosion that is not of the Chosen One’s doing. For added difficulty, include four different eighteen-letter words, which must appear at the beginning of a sentence.
Eandris had no idea why she was kneeling in front of the four Sages of Mirai. She sure as hell had not been promised coin for humbling — that is, disgracing — herself in front of them.
And with Pishlak, it was going to be even more embarrassing… If only she had invested in either a portable silencer spell or an old-fashioned muzzle.
In any case, there was no going back. The Sages were in front of her and she now had to endure both this and the humiliation that ensued.
Sage Asos spoke first, “Absentmindedness invites disaster.”
“Exactly!” Pishlak exclaimed.
Someone please put me out o’ mah misery. Eandris sighed without a sound.
Sage Brosir spoke next, their voice not betraying the break in their serenity, “Bloodthirstiness is a pathway to the pain of a thousand villages.”
“Yup!” Pishlak noted.
Eandris let out another silent sigh, knowing without seeing that the Sages were glaring at the raven perched on her headdress.
Sage Chanteth continued as if nothing had happened, “Counteraccusations solve no conflict.”
“Indeed!” Pishlak said.
If only Eandris had been allowed to move just enough to pinch the damn bird’s beak shut.
Sage Dhos finished the customary lines of wisdom, irritation clear in their voice, “Disacknowledgement of the truth does not make it disappear.”
“True!” Pishlak crowed.
Eandris wanted to just sink into the cold stone floor and never resurface.
The lights dimmed, indicating that the kneeling wanderer could raise her eyes. Knowing that it could not save this wagon wreck, she spoke up to ease her mind, “Me apologize fo’ mah mate’s lack o’… silence.”
“Sorry!” Pishlak apologized. Eandris knew better than to believe it was anything more than a customary word; the raven was a pathological turncoat unlike anyone else she had ever met. Had he not been a valuable scout, she would have turned him into a roast years ago.
Sage Brosir waved their hand. “We apologize for the sudden summoning, Eandris the Chosen.”
Eandris’s eyebrows shot up. What?
“The Mirai has spoken. A calamity is coming,” Sage Dhos explained.
The eyebrows descended into a frown. So what?
“We need a hero to face this calamity, one chosen by the Mirai to combat the haze that is coming,” Sage Asos continued.
Where do me come in? Eandris could not help wondering why Pishlak was so silent all of a sudden, not that she minded.
“The Mirai chose you,” Sage Chanteth told.
“Wha? No. No. Nonononono.” Eandris stood up, shaking her head. “No, me won’t be a damn hero. No, me and mah whoom don’t do that kinda stuff.”
“You saved the village of Northeen from the ghouls,” Sage Asos noted.
“They paid handsome coin.”
“And apprehended the vampire of Gereth.”
“Again, coin. D’ya have coin fo’ me fo’ this gig?”
Sage Asos continued as if they had not heard the question. “And stopped the false Sage that eluded us in the empire of Miraldel.”
“Tha’ guy just got on mah nerves.” Eandris was already so done. So. Done. “Listen up, ya relics. Me ain’t doin’ any ‘hero’ stuff unless me get coin fo’ it, got it? Now, unless ya have coin fo’ me fo’ this, me is leavin’, effective immediately.”
There was a pause as the dumbfounded Sages, unused to such behavior as they was, sputtered for something to say. Concluding their imminent answer, Eandris turned on her heels and headed towards the exit. “If ya change yer minds and treasuries, me shall be in the nearest boozer.”
“You cannot leave,” Sage Dros noted. “The doors are far too heavy for a person to open. They must be opened with magic.”
Maybe fo’ a frail mage like ya. Eandris smirked as she leaned against the thick wood and pushed. The doors groaned but moved nevertheless.
Buoyed by the immense pleasure of proving the “all-knowing” Sages wrong, Eandris trooped away. She eyed the disciples she passed by, surprised that some of those poor fools were half as muscled as she was. That would not last if they followed their Sages’ lead, though; magic was known to make its users lazy enough to lose as much muscle mass as possible.
To the wanderer’s joy and amusement, the nearest tavern was right next to the temple she had found herself in. It was small, especially in height, but if it served booze, she would be content.
The clientele fell quiet when Eandris sat down at the counter, her chair of choice groaning under her weight.
“Continue yer discussions. Don’ mind me.” Eandris slid some coins onto the counter. “Yer cheapest ale, please.”
“C-coming right up, ma’am,” the bartender sputtered, eyeing the stranger who dwarfed him while getting a pint ready.
Once the pint was in front of her, Eandris took it, glanced over her shoulder and proclaimed, “To the Sages’ bullshit!”
With that pint, the journey towards the next hangover began.
Three and a half downed pints later, a lanky rogue on Eandris’s right screamed half straight into her ear, “Bomb spell!”
“Dun’ shou’ in ma-” Eandris slurred before the aforementioned spell went off.
The Sages of Mirai looked at the fire from their chamber. They did not need the Mirai to tell what had happened.
Sage Chanteth looked at the incoming haze in the horizon. Now, there was nothing that could stop it. They turned to their colleagues. “Prepare your horses, dear siblings. Our haven is lost.”