Flash Friday 30/08/2013: Weapon of Choice (Part 1)
Dennis was a weak, grubby, and somewhat whiny stableboy in a poor and impoverished town, which only meant one thing for him: he was prime hero material.
Of course, everyone wanted to be a world-saving hero. Any young boy that held up a sword that was actually a stick, and used it to fight off a fearsome dragon that was actually their sister, wanted to become one. Such men usually would enlist in the army, or find themselves a combat trainer to ensure that they can reach their maximum villain-slaying potential when they were chosen to save the world. These men either became the victim of whatever powerful and sinister evil awoke that the hero had to slay, become a town guard and give directons to the hero and his party when they passed through, or cashed it all in and got a job in accounting. None of these people would ever become heroes, mainly because the gods found their backstories not nearly as fun as others’.
For example, the boy in a farm-based rural town in the middle of nowhere.
Dennis was excited, to say the least. He had just turned eighteen, the legal requirement for being sent on missions from the heavens that spanned entire countries and ended in a hellhole someplace. He did have two older friends in the town, but one of them discovered a hidden talent for magic and used it to defeat an evil lord, and the other one ran into an adventuring party at the local tavern and ended up leading the team against a red dragon that threatened to re-awaken after a thousand years. Both of them retired very early in their lives and settled down in the countryside with their damsel-in-not-much-distress-anymore.
Now, it was his turn.
The signs all pointed to good things. He had received a letter from his father, an old beaten thing that was presumably sent years ago, back before his mother and father were killed. Tearing open the worn lip of the envelope, he drew the letter out with shaking hands and read the contents.
If you’re reading this, then I am already dead. Of course, you and I both knew this the day we gave birth to you in this dump. Kids can’t become proper heroes without a little bit of parental casualty and a burning desire for venegance. It just comes with the career.
As such, now would be a good time to put you on the road to victory. Hidden behind the large stone in the wall of the stable lies a chest, filled with the contents to help start your adventure. Use them wisely.
Oh, and don’t play around with girls. Just because I’m dead, doesn’t mean I can’t spin in my grave.
Just as Dennis thought. The old ‘long lost legacy’ start.
Dennis practically skipped to the stables as he thought about what it was that was left behind. It was definitely going to be an enchanted armour that was left for him after generations, his great great grandfather being a proud and noble warrior. No, wait. It was definitely a tome which, when opened, grafted every single spell known to man into Dennis’ mind, allowing him to become one of the best wizards in the land. By the time he had moved the stone, he had several thoughts as to what it was that Gerald had left him.
The chest was depressingly small.
Dennis grabbed hold of the pen-sized chest, dragging it out of its hiding spot. The thoughts of grandeur still buzzed around his mind; after all, this little box was a good enough size to hold a wand, or an amulet, or some other kind of enchanted knick-knack that would no doubt give meaning to the phrase ‘size isn’t everything’.
No wait, scratch that. It was just a feather.
Dennis held the feather in his hand. It didn’t have any magical runes on it. It didn’t appear to be special or enchanted. In fact, the tip of it wasn’t even sharp enough to use as a quill. Dennis would have felt an incredible wave of depression, if he didn’t also spy the letter that lay at the bottom of the box:
This isn’t what it looks like, I promise.
See, your mother and I decided to get you something that would last, something that would do you good even after your quest is done. As we all know, any items that bestow its wearer with great power is likely to be lost, broken, stolen, forgotten about, or sold to a crooked merchant during the quest. Most importantly, however, the evil villain is ubdoubtedly going to discover the weapon which fate has bestowed upon you, and build up some sort of defence against it. It’s just how these things work.
So, instead of giving you a weapon, we’re giving you this feather. Don’t worry, however, as by now the goblin scout that has been spying on you all day has seen this, and is off to tell his evil orkish overlord about your heritage. You, in the meantime, can use this letter at the blacksmith in town to exchange it for a suit of armour and a sword that your mother and I helped save up for. That way, when you finally encounter the evil ork and he mocks you that your weapon of fate is worthless against him, you can knee him in the stomach and lop his head off. Bastard won’t be seeing that coming.
Dennis looked over his shoulder. Sure enough, just before it disappeared over the side of the hill, he saw a lone goblin skipping and punching the air, ready to tell Dennis’ chosen villain that he was about to perform his quest with nothing more than a feather.
Dennis smirked, pocketing the letter. He always liked giving surprises.
With thanks to ‘Allwritegirl’ of FM Writers, who asked for a story using ‘a secret behind a stone, a feather, and a disgruntled stableboy’.