“The Challenge shall come from the Fell to the Fall and plans shall be shattered”
-From the Prophecy of the unending scroll
Being the Chosen One, thought Sir Garfan, is not as fun as it sounds. The enormous battle Troll, whose name was Tug, attempted to bifurcate Garfan with a huge battle-axe, reinforcing that notion. The wind moaned like it had regretted getting out of bed that morning, and as he glanced back at the sheer drop looming close behind him, Sir Garfan agreed. The cackling taunts of the Fell Wizard standing nearby only added insult to possible injury.
“Cut him into tiny little pieces, and then Darkness will rule FOREVER!” shrieked the dark conjurer as he cast a spell sinking the knight waist deep into the ground. Fortunately, the sudden drop also brought him under the arc of the Troll’s swing.
“You fool! Do it like we rehearsed!”
“You rehearsed?” asked Garfan.
“NO! Shut up!”
Tug, deprived of a line of sight on his target, looked at the horizon and lowered his battleaxe to his side.
Jumping up and down, the wizard pointed at Garfan.
“He’s right in front of you!”
Tug squinted and said, “That him?” he asked as he pointed at a distant tree.
“Look down, you imbecile!”
Even Trolls have feelings and the tone in the magic man’s words was unmistakable, and little more of his self-worth died. Sighing, he looked down; then his tiny eyes went wide… well, as wide as Trollishly possible.
“He down here!” Tug proclaimed triumphantly.
“Get him NOW!”
Tug raised his battle-axe, which he secretly called Mrs. Cutty (after his mother), and was about to strike when his head was separated from his body.
Garfan, who had grabbed a hold of the lowered axe haft and was pulled neatly out of the earth by the windup swing, had chopped off Tug’s head with his sword, sending it flying over the cliff. Garfan, then landing lightly on his feet, stabbed the body twice more, muttering, “Two three”, and leapt in front of the startled wizard, who stumbled backwards, tripping over the hem of his robes.
“So,” asked Garfan, resting the point of his sword at his opponent’s throat, “you’ve read the prophecy?”
The wizard — who called himself “Wrathwar the Wrathful”, but was in fact Walter, Walter’s Son (his parents were not terribly imaginative, his father’s father’s father’s et all were all named Walter; the family motto might be, if they had one, “Call him Walter, I guess…” — tried to pull out his spare wand, but the pressure of the sword point suggested that he drop it on the ground.
“Yes, who has not read it?” retorted Wrathwar (Walter).
“Apparently no one,” remarked Garfan.
“It states very clearly that if a Fell Wizard meets you upon a cliff this day that the Chosen One will fall!”
Garfan sighed. “Really?” asked the knight.
“Indeed!” replied the wizard.
Wrathwar paused. “Well, you see, there is a lot of debate amongst the wise as to the interpretation of the prophecy.”
“Uh huh. So, it could be wrong?”
The wizard squirmed uncomfortably, and not just because of the sword at his throat.
“Well…” he paused here. “In theory, I suppose. It is. Possible.”
Garfan smiled. It wasn’t a reassuring smile, and that was not an accident.
“Let me lay out what I think happened, okay? You heard that I was traveling along this road, hired this hench-Troll,” he indicated with a slight nod to the headless body of Tug. “Then you skimmed the unending scroll to find something that vaguely fit the situation and hustled out here to ambush me.”
“I didn’t skim it! I’ve highlighted all the passages with fell!”
“Because you’re a Fell Wizard?”
“Yes! Is that so wrong?” replied Wrathwar, who was beginning to take this a little personally.
“You are the Chosen One! If you fall, then the darkness can reign over the entire Land! I could usher in a New Order!”
“Let me ask you something,” said Garfan affably.
Wrathwar eyed him suspiciously. “Is this some sort of trick?”
Garfan shrugged “Or I could just kill you right now.”
“What would you like to know?” asked Wrathwar with undivided attention.
“All you guys, Fell Wizards, demonic priests, dark warriors, all the assorted evil plotters in the world, you’ve all read the prophecy, correct?”
“And you all believe it’s true?”
“Yes! No one questions that!”
“Okay, so if I’m the Chosen One, fated to save the world, and, whether I want to or not, defeat the forces of darkness wherever I go… If this is true why do you jackasses try to kill me on an almost daily basis?”
“To shatter the prophecy! So the forces of Hell-“
“Bubbbbbb! Stop right there! You believe, whole-heartedly, in a prophecy that you are trying to stop. You need to figure out what you believe in.”
The fell wizard gave this some thought.
“That is a new perspective,” said Wrathwar.
“Think about it.”
“I have to say, I never really never looked at it like that.”
Garfan took the sword away from his throat. “Okay, get out of here.”
Wrathwar got up and brushed the dirt from his robes. “You’ll spare me?”
“Yes, if you’ll think about this whole prophecy thing.”
“I will, Sir Garfan, I will!” said Wrathwar enthusiastically as he backed away, bowing as he went. “You are truly a great hero!” Wrathwar toadied.
“Thank you, I guess.”
“I shall tell all I meet of your wisdom and mercy!”
“That’s not really necessary.”
As the fell wizard reached the edge of the forest, he pulled a wand from one of the many secret pockets sewn into his robe.
“Psych! I will not think about it at all!” And with that he hurled a bolt of writhing purple energy straight at Garfan, who with a flick of his sword, deflected it back at Wrathwar, who promptly exploded into goo.
Garfan strode up and stabbed the goo and whispered, “Two Three.”
“Well done, sir.”
Garfan turned to see Lockford, his squire, emerge from the woods.
“You know, most squires would have been in the battle with their knight, helping out.”
Lockford, who was dressed in simple but well tailored and clean clothes, sniffed. “I prefer to think of myself as a gentleman’s gentlemen. If sir had been in any real danger, be assured that one would have assisted in an appropriate manner. But it seemed that sir had the situation well in hand.”
“And the enchanted sword that sir wields, crafted with an edge that never dulls and the ability to shatter spells of a certain level of power, supplied an additional layer of confidence.”
“I know all about Alacritas, thank you”, he said as he sheathed the blade.
“And of course, there is the matter of the prophecy.”
“Please, I’ve heard enough about the bloody prophecy for today, thank you very much.”
Lockford raised an eyebrow.
“Lower your brow. We need to make a fire; this Troll is beginning to grow back.”
They looked at the huge corpse near the cliff’s edge. A tiny head, the size of a wild strawberry, had sprouted from the neck stump. It eyed them with a dull malice.
“I see. And the rest of the Troll in question?”
Garfan peered down to the lowlands below.
“His head should be a thin layer of jelly. And I cut him three times. That should take care of things.”
Lockford started a fire as Garfan spread brush over the body for the bonfire.
“It would be prudent to dispose of the entire Troll.”
“What part of ‘I cut him three times’ was unclear?”
“Is sir certain that was enough?”
“Do not make me discus this for the seventy-ninth time Lockford.”
“The geas is…” began Lockford
Garfan tapped his fingers in a syncopated pattern on his armored leg that told Lockford his master was unwilling to continue with the conversation.
“As sir says,” said Lockford as he set the body ablaze. They both moved upwind, as the scent of roasting Troll is as appealing as it is to kiss one.
“Maybe it’s part of the prophecy that this Troll shall rise again for some mighty purpose,” mused Garfan.
“The prophecy is subject to many interpretations,” replied Lockford.
“The only thing I’d like to interpret now is a hot meal and a cold ale.”
Lockford sniffed as he stared at the blaze.
“I know I used ‘to interpret’ incorrectly.”
“Indeed, sir. When I record this for posterity, I shall endeavor to capture the more heroic aspects of the moment.”
“So you’ll just make something up then?”
“Perish the thought, sir. Let us say that I shall ‘Interpret’ your true nature.”
Garfan threw some more brush on the fire. “I’m not sure you understand the relationship between Knight and Squire.”
“I am only doing what is in your best interest, sir. As I promised your father.”
“Even when I demand you do otherwise?”
“Especially then, sir.”
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