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Library: Bard tale

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Author: onnifer
Date:Feb 25 2021

Tale of the Village of Enfe'Rno
--------------------------------

  Once upon a time, a very long time, there was a village of humble,
hardworking and good-hearted people called 'Enfe'Rno'. The enfernoans, as they
were called by the rest of the world and their neighbouring villages, were
usually hard at work with cutting down logs of trees during the daytime and in
the evening the craftiest of them would use their woodworking skills on the
logs to make canoes, tent poles, huts, houses and similar. The chief of the
enfernoans lived in a moderately small house, while the wealthiest of them had
moderately large ones. It so happened that a stranger entered the village one
evening, probably guided by the light of their large campfire in the middle of
the village, where the men would whittle away, making spoons and other
utensils
for the coming evening meal the women were preparing at the same time. The
stranger's appearance was very, very strange and his garments were so high
quality and so dark black that they seemed to absorb all light coming into
contact with them. Approaching the circle of villagers, the stranger started
to
speak: 'I am Durbder, the wizard of many qualities. I am here looking for the
chief of your village.'

  'That's ME!' spoke a voice almost instantly from the circle of men, women
and
children encircling the fire. Grayhound the elder had spoken in a gnarly voice
reminding everyone that when push came to shove, he would be the one making
the
call for everyone. 'I am the elder Grayhound' he spoke and saw the wizard's
eyes flash with red as he uttered the name. 'We are enfernoans, and we want
nothing to do with any fancy wizards! Begone!' the elder continued as the
wizard's eyes started to glow red and a loud humming started to emanate from
the ground under his feet... 'BEGONE?' his booming voice suddenly asked, it
was
completely different from his voice earlier, more doom and gloom, less
a civilized wizard. 'NO! YOU BEGONE!' he said and continued 'UNLESS YOU CAN
PROVE YOURSELF WORTHY! ALL OF YOU!'

  The children started to cry, the women froze in shock and fear and the men
almost attacked the wizard to kill him on the spot, but Grayhound the elder
held up his hand and spoke, silencing everyone instantly: 'Prove ourself
worthy? How might we accomplish this?' The wizard smiled wryly and boomed
again: 'I have prepared three tests for you, one of wits, one of strength and
the last one concerning agility. If any one of you can pass all three tests
you shall be saved and that person becomes your savior and most likely chief
and elder. Such is my will. And I have the power to enforce it!'

  The elder answered him: 'So shall be it. We have some time to pick a
champion?' he asked. The man only nodded and vanished into thin air, arriving
as abruptly as he had appeared. The villagers all fled to their respective
huts, dreaming cold nightmares of warlocks, witches and wizards. The only one
who couldn't sleep at all that night was the elder who paced around in his
hut.
His hut was the smallest one in the village since he was the most humble of
them all, thus having the power to foresee the future if he concentrated on
the correct time each night and every night. Only then he would get a glimpse,
not getting an explanation until usually much, much later in life. This vision
he got just before the sun rose was of a young lad, in his early teens.

  This youngster he had seen, when he was still a youngster himself and had
his
first vision. This was before he was explained that visions were dangerous and
only the humblest of the village could bear the burden of not knowing and
knowing the future, seeing but not seeing through empty eyes adrift in the
dreamworlds of blue skies and dark space. Like a shooting star, the vision
passed.

  The man opened his eyes slowly, took a step forward and leaned on his small
table. He grabbed a dull knife, like and old relic from the olden days,
with his old and veiny hand. The man then started to scribble something on the
wooden tabletop.

  The sun rose, the villagers awoke, the man slashed once more at the tabletop
with the dagger-like knife, closed his eyes and fell asleep. It wasn't until
much later in the day that the villagers found Grayhound, dead, still lying on
top of a drawing carved onto the wooden table.

  It was quite clear that this was the drawing of the champion. And to much
despair and gnashing of teeth, the villagers realized it was the smallest
teenager of the village who was the only possible choice of who the picture
tried to mimic. Some tried to put forward the idea that the picture was of
them, only making fools out of themselves and some even tried to call out for
the wizard to appear to start the trials. These resulted in chaos and the
overall mood of the villagers wasn't that great at all. Exception to this rule
was the person solely responsible now for saving the village and proving his
worth to the wizard. Hiding anxiously in a tree nearby to see what was
happening in the village, the boy, whose name no one had ever bothered to ask,
was gnawing on his fingernails, so nervous he was.

  Suddenly, he heard someone shout out loud, so loud everyone stopped to
listen: 'WE MUST RESPECT THE ELDER ONE'S LAST WISH OR WE ARE DOOMED EVEN NOW
THE WIZARD LEFT US ALIVE! MAYBE HE JUST WANTS-' After this sentence had been
uttered, the skies fell dark, the sun set and an ominous thread of smoke
started coiling between the trees, starting to form a shape of a humanoid
creature. The shape took slowly form. Lightning cracked the silent air after
which descended a silence so deep the villagers couldn't hear each other
speak.
After a moment, the boy noticed he couldn't even hear himself breath, nor his
own heartbeats. He saw that many of the villagers had fainted, only the
strongest of will were left standing in the middle of a pile of unconscious
bodies.

  'STEP FORWARD, HE WHO IS THE CHAMPION OF THIS VILLAGE!' a voice boomed and
the shape turned into the wizard Durbder, wielding a long, clearly magical
wooden staff.

  As the three villagers left standing looked at each other in puzzlement and
fear, the boy dropped from the branch he was hanging from and stepped forward.
'I am!' he claimed as the jaws of the three champions hit the ground out of
sheer relief.

  'HA HA HA! _YOU_ REALLY THINK _YOU_ CAN GET THROUGH MY TRIALS OF FIRE, ICE &
DEATH?' the wizard boomed and smirked widely. The boy nodded fiercely and
stood
there, gazing at the wizard straight in his glowing, red eyes.

  'Fine.' said the wizard finally after a moment which seemed to last forever.
'You can even have the first trial completed for free. Let's say you completed
the trial of fire, concerning agility, by jumping down from that tree.' the
wizard continued in what everyone thought of as his 'normal voice' instead of
the great booming sound he had made this evening. The kid only nodded and kept
staring at the wizard. The wizard cleared his throat nervously and started
booming again: 'NEXT YOU HAVE TO PASS THE TRIAL OF ICE! LET'S SEE YOU BEAT
THIS
ONE!' he shouted at the boy who only shook his head a little from the sheer
force of the great sounds of wave traveling at him from the wizard and his
booming voice.

  Durbder started waving his hands silently and quickly, the speed increasing
over the short period. Then he finally stopped and made a shushing sound
through his gritted teeth. Suddenly, a huge wall of ice surrounded the little
boy from each side, making his escape impossible. The boy tried to climb the
walls, but the ice was too slippery and he fell back each time. After trying
for a while, the kid asked out loud: 'Do I have a time limit for this trial?'
The wizard looked puzzled as if he hadn't thought of this and only replied:
'No.' The kid nodded and sat down, silent.

  After a while had passed and the wizard realized the kid wasn't even trying
to complete the trial he boomed: 'WHAT IN THE NAME OF DARK POWERS ARE YOU
TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH WITH YOUR LACK OF TRYING?!' The kid shouted: 'I'm
waiting.'
'Waiting for what?' the wizard asked, slipping into his normal voice, albeit
loud so the kid could hear. 'For the ice to thaw.' the kid replied smugly and
sounded like this should be clear to everyone, even the dark wizard who
clearly
wasn't as smart as he seemed at first. The wizard seemed to totally lose his
nerves and boomed some gibberish words into the air. This resulted in the
walls
of ice cracking from inside and making a shooshing sound as they turned into
piles of fresh snow, covering the village and the wind tossing flakes of it in
the air.

  'YOU HAVE DONE WELL! ONLY THE LAST PART OF THE TRIALS ARE LEFT FOR YOU NOW.'
Durbder said and before the kid could even answer, continued: 'Riddle me this,
riddle me that: What started forever ago, runs without feet and never gets
there?' and he pointed at the kid with his long finger. 'Time.' the kid said
and stared at the wizard again, fiercely. 'CORRECT! Riddle me this, riddle
me that: What reaches the clouds, is almost endlessly sturdy but is helpless
against a little stream of water?' asked the wizard. 'Hmm, a mountain.' the 
kid muttered after pondering for a short while. 'Correct. Riddle me this,
riddle me that: Who is with you but never there for you and when you look at
it, it turns it's back on you?' the wizard asked, smiling wickedly. 'I do
not know this.' said the boy after a long period of waiting and right after
the wizard had already started tapping his foot impatiently. 'Your shadow!'
the wizard shouted triumphantly in his normal voice. 'YOU HAVE ONE LAST
CHANCE TO COMPLETE THE TRIAL OF DEATH! RIDDLE ME THIS, RIDDLE ME THAT:
WHAT IS IT WHICH WHINES OUTSIDE, SOMETIMES IT DUSTS AND USUALLY IT IS
SILENT?' boomed the wizard again, triumphantly and quite sure the boy was
done for. 

  'THE WIND!' the boy shouted and added: 'I've heard of dark wizards from 
Grayhound, may his soul rest in peace, and he told me that you guys never 
do anything that is fair. So can I have a weapon now that you are going to 
probably try to kill me? It's only fair and I've earned it!' the boy asked
and stood silently, staring at the wizard who suddenly looked much smaller,
didn't have the red glow in his eyes and just shrugged.

  'Look here now, little boy. I don't want to kill you.' he said
apologetically. 'My real name is Johnny.' the wizard admitted and continued
in a low, shaky voice: 'This wasn't supposed to be this hard for me. You
should have lost. I know now all roa... ahem, roads lead to destruction. Mine.
Spare me, oh great champion! What is your name, champion, for I would like to
know before you take what is yours and slay me where I stand?'

  'Kenban.' the boy simple stated as the sun rose in the sky, melting the
last of the snow in the middle of the village.

THE END



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