No matter what your situation is, ALWAYS take into account the unexpected…
The Caves of Hoarfrost were not kind to my old bones. It was dank and chill, shot through by cold wet winds. Unfortunately, it was the only place where we could fulfill our quest. The Sacred Stone, placed here millennia ago, allowed one to reach other worlds. And we had need of someone from beyond ours.
“Master, look, he appears! Our summoning has been answered!”
My apprentice was excited, and rightly so. We had worked hard at trying to find just the right Champion to help us in our quest. I looked into the mists as they swirled over the Sacred Stone. Hung suspended in them was a man, no older than thirty. He had a slight build, but seemed to be all muscle. Clear blue eyes, an aquiline nose and a shock of blond hair completed our would-be champion. He also looked annoyed. This was different. The few times we tried this before, the summoning brought us scared and confused candidates. He caught my eye and spoke.
“OK, who are you guys, and where am I?”
I answered him in my sagest voice. “You are in a land called Myrrdenhall. We have been seeking a Champion throughout the cosmos to help us in our quest for freedom. You are the Chosen One, the only one, the one who will lead our forces against the evil King! All you have to do is step through the mists and you will finish your journey to us.”
“Lead your forces, like in battle and all that stuff? That sounds like something out of Dungeons and Dragons or Lord of the Rings.”
“Yes! I know of none of those, but you know of the feral dragons you must fight? Amazing! A glorious victory awaits you if you can defeat our enemy!”
“And what do I get if I win? Honor, glory and the riches of the Kingdom, maybe?”
“Well, no. We’re a bit impoverished. We don’t have a lot of gold or jewels. We mostly have grain fields and orchards. But you will certainly get a share of that! You also get a chance to woo the Princess.”
“Is she a really good looking babe?”
“She… is attractive enough. If one goes in for that sort of body type.”
“She’s a big girl, then, right?”
I sighed, “I suppose so.” At this point I was feeling disheartened. Our Champion didn’t seem to be very interested.
“And let me guess, if I lose I die a hideous death?”
“Not exactly die, no. The king will use his powers to keep you alive and torture you for a few thousand years. But even so, we might be able to free you and give you another chance.”
“Let’s think about this for a moment. I come to you, lead an army into battle. If I win I get apples, oats and a big wife. If I lose I get tortured until you can free me and we do it all over again. Does that about sum it up?”
“Yes! You have it exactly! Now hurry and come through now. We plan to attack tomorrow night and must prepare you!”
Our Champion snorted and said “Forget it. I’m not going to help you. Do I look that dumb?”
“But why?” I asked with a sinking heart. “We need you desperately! Only you can save us!”
“I don’t know how things work there, but they don’t sound good. Over here I’m a hedge fund manager. I make more money in a year than the gross national product of some small countries. I’ve got houses in theHamptons,Coloradoand France, along with a condo overlookingCentral Park. I also have my own jet and I date supermodels.”
I was totally confused by now. “I’m sorry; I didn’t understand any of what you just said.”
“Let’s just say I’m as rich and powerful as any king you’ve ever heard of. I’m not going to give that up, so send me back.”
“Very well,” I said, becoming completely depressed, “just close your eyes and take two steps back. You will return to your world.”
“Thanks. And good luck with your quest. I’m sure you’ll find someone to meet your needs.”
With that, our only hope vanished back into his own world.
“Master?” my apprentice asked, “Should we try again? Maybe lower our standards? And let’s color the truth a bit, so at least we can get them to come over.”
“That’s a good idea my friend. Let’s try the next set of coordinates.” Working diligently, we intoned the location of the next world over the Sacred Stone.
“Master, look, he appears!”
I looked into the mists as they swirled over the Sacred Stone. Hung suspended in them was a man, no, a boy really. He looked no older than twenty. He was fat, no two ways about it. Little piggy blue eyes, a blob of nose and greasy brown hair completed our would-be champion. There were brown smears around his mouth, probably from the brown bar he held in his hand.
I spoke before he had a chance to. “You are in a land called Myrrdenhall. We have been seeking a Champion throughout the cosmos to help us in our quest for freedom. You are the Chosen One, the only one, the one who will lead our forces against the evil King! All you have to do is step through the mists and you will finish your journey to us.” Our Champion smiled at us. I felt a shiver down my spine…