Saturday, July 17, 2010
The Dragon Story: A Hero's Test
You take a torch from the wall and proceed down the corridor that narrows after a larch archway. The Archway has statues of serpentine figures on each side, and there is something carved into the archway above you in a language you do not understand. A locked gate in front of the archway opens with Elinane's key. The further you walk, the colder it gets. The air is damp and it smells like sweat and rotting flesh. Then you get to a large wooden door. It's also locked, but Elane's key opens the lock. You try to open the door, but it won't open, because it's too heavy. It has to be heavy to keep whatever is on the other side from breaking in. You have to push with all of your strength just to open the door wide enough for you to squeeze through. A gust of wind rushes past you. It howls through the corridor and pushes the door shut. It slams back behind you fast, and it makes a banging noise that echos through the darkness below you. You hold your torch out in front of you to see as much as its light will allow. All you can see is a stone stairway going down into the darkness below. You draw your sword in your right hand while your torch is held in the other. The stairway is steep and it curves to the left. You have to watch your footing, because one false step could be your last. At the same time, you have to stay aware of your surroundings. You have to be ready for whatever hellish creatures might be preying on you at this very moment. You hear the flapping of wings around you, and then they fade back into silence and darkness. Then you hear a scream. You kneel down to protect yourself. Then your torch allows you to see very dimly at the edge of its capacity to illuminate, a grayish brown gargoyle-like monstrosity blocking your path, ready to pounce on you with its sharp claws and fanged teeth.
Come, and get your throat cut you fowl creature!” You shout at the monster who stands in front of you with malicious intent. It hisses at you and pulls back into a defensive stance. One arm is held forward over its face, while the other is held back, ready to strike. This is the first test of your abilities. Do you have what it takes to defeat the evil wizard Zihair? There was a time when you were a child. You were riding a pony around the country side, when it slipped on a rock, and broke its leg. Your father told you that the pony was useless now; that it is doomed to live the rest of its life in pain. He said “It would be better that the pony die today, than be disgraced by a life of agony.” Then he gave you a mace, and told you to put an end to the poor ponies miserable existence. You took the mace. Its spiked steel ball felt heavy on its wooden handle in your little hand. The pony lay on the ground looking at you with big innocent eyes as if it didn't understand what was happening to it. You knelt by the pony, and stroked back its main. It's eyes flinching in pain, and looking to you now for hope. You looked one last time to your father, looking for an answer, but he just noded back at you. There were no more options left for this poor soul. Without realizing it, somehow you found your arm lifting up the mace up to strike. Against all better judgment, you swung that mace down that day. An innocent life was extinguished like a birthday candle blown out when the borrowed mace crushed that pony's skull. Now the beast's teeth and claws reach out to destroy you. It's gray veiny hand reaches out to claw at your ankles in an attempt to knock you off balance, but you jump up land on the creature driving your sword through the back of its neck, into its brain. Black blood spills from its head, flowing over and down the stairs below. Its hand reaches back to claw your ankle still, but with a twist of the blade, it drops lifelessly to the steps it rests on.
You pull your sword and wipe it clean, while watching the beast for any sign of life. You have heard stories of creatures like this from your grandpa as a child. They are tricky, and have no respect for life other than how good it tastes in their bellies. You back away cautiously, before continuing on your way deeper into this chasm of chaos. Giant poisonous spiders are easy to push past by burning them with your torch, but every now and then you have to slay a snake or two. The snakes are everywhere. They slither out of the stone dungeon walls along side of you, but that's not half as bad as when they drop down from the darkness above you. You pass by the bones and rotting flesh of all the fallen heroes who came before you, before you reach the depth of the staircase. A red light illuminates a path before you. It is a narrow stone path that turns to the right getting brighter until you see its source. It looks like a red star burning bright on a wizards staff. A hooded figure holds the staff with its hard bonny hand.
Who are you?” You ask this mysterious encounter.
“I am Nathaniel the Conjurer.”
"I know who you are. You are the son of Rasurfaut. If it were up to me you would be dead, but the dragon has other plans for you."
"How do you know about my dealings with the dragon?”
"That is for me to know. You need to come with me now if you wish to stay alive.”
Nathaniel turns and walks down the corridor. The red light from his staff shines all around you. The passageway ends near an underground stream, and continues on the other side. Nathaniel mutters some strange words and some of the water in front of you turns into a path made of ice. You walk across the ice path, being careful not to slip. The path continues up a long flight of stairs headed north to a wall. The wizard puts his hand on the wall, and walks through to the other side, and you follow after him. The wall appears to be an optical illusion, but when you reach back to touch the wall after you're through it feels hard like stone. Nathaniel the Conjurer laughs silently to himself as your jaw gapes at his awesome display of power. Now you are back in the dragon's lair.
“Congratulations hero. You passed the test. You are ready,” says the dragon before you.