The Gauntlet 2021 3: Chosen By The Mirai

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.”

[Sept20] Tribble Month 30: Farewell

Prompt: Farewell

Friat watched as her former mentor, Ezidretim, gasped in pain. She could do nothing. Even the best healers in the whole world could do nothing to save him even if they were right there beside her.

The injuries were too severe.

“Ezi, is there anything I can do to ease your pain?” Friat’s voice was hardly louder than a whisper.
“No, Kindling. Just say with me… until the end,” Ezidretim croaked. “I’m… sorry you had to see me go like this… but I’m glad to I got to train you. Just know… that no matter what… I’m proud of you, Friat Brann.”
“Ezi…” Friat fought the tears. “Thank you for everything.”
“Thank you, too, Kindling.” Despite of the intense pain, Ezidretim managed to put a smile untainted by pain on his face. “Take care, always remember what I taught you and follow your heart.”
“I will, Ezi, I promise.”
Ezidretim could already feel himself fade away. “Burn brightly with the dragons, Kindling. Farewell.”
“Farewell, Ezi, the bright dragon fire that lit me up,” Friat breathed, smiling through the heartache.

Ezidretim’s eyelids fell over his eyes and stayed there. They would stay that way forever.

Once the injured fire sorcerer’s heart stopped beating, tears blurred Friat’s eyes.

Then, for the first time in her life, the fire sorceress wept openly in front of a crowd, her tears soaking her former mentor’s clothes for the last time in her life.

[Sept20] Tribble Month 29: Almost Overwhelming

No prompts used.

The power of the fire was almost overwhelming when Veriwia first started to learn to use it. She had lived most of her life in a settlement with little contact with magic or on the run without little to no contact with a single being, let alone someone who can use magic.

Nevertheless, the others assured her that it would be all right, that she would get used to it in time.

Veriwia decided to believe them.

Surely everything would be all right now.

[Sept20] Tribble Month 20: Possessed Armor

No prompt used.

The armor looked rusty and inanimate but it somehow spoke to Bereth.
“It’s possessed,” his mentor told. “You shouldn’t touch it. It’s eaten more than its fair share of seasoned magicians.”
“Why is it here?” Bereth asked.
“Because some dummy thought that it belongs into a museum even though it should be sealed away until the world produces an exorcist strong enough to turn it into mere armor.”
“You’d be surprised how many museum-goers have been eaten by this thing here during the time it’s been here.”
“Actually, probably not after the rocket crab case.”
“Good. That’s a vital step to becoming a magician who might get less than average stupid bystanders killed.”
“Are there statistics for that?!”
“There are.”

The fact that there were such statistics spoke a lot about those bystanders.

[Sept20] Tribble Month 19: Two People

No prompt used.

“Have you ever heard that when united two people who mix together well form something great?”

I had not, back then.

“Well, Unar, perhaps someday you will meet such people. They might be a duo of strangers, they might be people you know, or perhaps you will meet someone who will form something great with you.”

I recalled the elder’s words one day when I looked at Ria. I had left on my journey alone, thinking I’d do everything on my own, but then I had met her along the way. We had formed a good team. No, a great team.

“If you do meet someone like that, take good care of them.”

Back then, I promised that I would.

I was also going to keep that promise no matter what.

[Sept20] Tribble Month 17: Hot Embers

No prompt used.

The embers were still hot even though everything around it was days old. Magic.

There was a fire mage or a dragon on the loose, although it was already days away. If it was a dragon, it could already be hundreds of kilometers away if it had flown.

The hunter growled. He would catch this being, no matter who or what it was.

[Sept20] Tribble Month 10: Rotted Ice Home

The prompt: Loss

The world as my people knew it is in shambles, turned into mere pieces of rotting ice. I followed the destruction from afar with my telescope from the safety of the island based on rock rather than ice. I wish they would’ve seen reason when I told them of this development in the ice base of our island.

One of the earth dragons I had befriended during my time here came to my side, so I put my telescope down and scratched his chin. “Don’t worry, buddy. I’m sure everyone will get used to this place.”

Many probably would not. They would yearn for their icy home. It was too bad; our island wasn’t the only one that had already gone through this or was going to go through this. The ice was melting and there was nothing we could do.

[Sept20] Tribble Month 9: Humanity

The prompt used: Humanity

What is humanity? Ria folded her wings as she stared down on the human world from the City. How do they differ from us?

She had been asked to ponder those things for her next lesson.

“Looking for humanity?” an older angel asked her.


“You don’t find it here. You need to go down, among them, to find your answers.”

“Are you sure it’s a good idea?”

“It is what you must do if you want the answers. Go, young one.”

Apprehensive, Ria opened her wings and started her descent onto the earth of the human world.

[Sept20] Tribble Month 8: Sense of Pride

No prompts used.

I had seen postcards sent from Inky Academy — the cousin of a child in my village worked there and that child loved flaunting it — but those pieces of paper could not capture its beauty.
“Impressed?” Ria asked. I nodded. She grinned. “This is nothing compared to the City.”
“I can believe that,” I remarked. Ria did not flaunt her home but even after being cast out of there she did have a bit of a sense of pride about where she came from.

Well, we all did in these parts. Maybe it was just natural.