As a child, my father used to tell us stories. We’d sit around the fire and he’d tell patchwork tales, sewn together from our childish delights of dragons and castles and knights, with a few twists of his own. But what am I doing rambling about the storyteller, when I could be telling the story?
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…. On a planet not unlike our own, except the skies are green and the grass is blue, and it’s populated by a strange sheep-like creature that covers the land, frolicking and calling to each other across the hillocks. They were also completely covered in bright pink wool. This naturally led to them being simply named “Pinks”.
Though the Pinks speak a language that you or I would never be able to learn, it’s not so hard to guess a basic translation, and as the sun set ever lower in the sky, a young Pink calls to it mother you can only assume it’s asking for a few more minutes play before it is sent to bed. It is not what it says that is important to our story, however, but rather an event that happened, completely irrelevant to the discussion between the Pinks nor any nightly debates they may hold, rather a phenomenon of science and magic, orchestrated by some mysterious and mischievous entity, that opened a wormhole between two very different places and times, and the voice of that young pink was carried, whirling and distorted, through time and space.
Edmax was a young, soon to be, knight, and a disgrace to his father. Edmax liked to go hunting a lark around with his friends, and he wasn’t at all interested in the house affairs, nor learning his father’s very lucrative trade as a banker, or the very pretty daughter of Lord Bast, the “neighbour” of the family, because though he lived in a fief a near 20 miles away, and there were several villages of peasants between them, those with money don’t seem to count them as neighbours. Lord Bast was running out of money. As the years had gone by, his inheritance had slowly been spent, but he knew if he put on a fine front, Edmax would marry his daughter, and once again he’d have money to spend, and he would be able to die happy that he’d never done a day’s work in his life. Edmax’s father, Lord Max, wanted more power, and his son owning two fiefs would be that extra power, and he had no delusions to allow Lord Bast to spend even a grain’s worth of his money.
Today, though, he sat in a church and mused over the fate of his son. It was Edmax’s knighting, and Lord Max hoped that this would be the start of the end of Edmax’s tomfoolery. He hoped Edmax would be a knight for a while, and then, like he did of fishing, training his dogs, and his pet fish, which he didn’t even notice spent three days floating upside-down in the bowl. Even the cat refused to eat it. Yes, Lord Max comforted himself, his son would get bored.
Edmax was fidgeting as the Archbishop performed the ceremony, standing in for the king who was away in foreign lands doing lord knows what. Rumours came back occasionally on letters that smelt very exotic, but he was never seen at home. Too many adventures apparently, and Edmax was jealous. He wanted adventures and not those that involved wooden swords and the occasional dip in the village pond.
“Arise, Knight Edmax” the old man said, and Edmax rose, and looked around, a slight grin on his face. One of his friends from the back of the church yelled at him.
“You need a quest now!”
Another let out a hoot of laughter and hollered down the hall to the shocked horror of Edmax’s mother Edmund (her father had wanted a son) and her ladies in waiting, a few of which appeared to faint, making Lord Max roll his eyes.
“A quest to visit Mistress Esstácia first, knowing you Ed! With her ‘tan all over’!”
“Hey!” Edmax replied. “I’ll find a proper quest!”
“Where?” They laughed.
All of a sudden, the room shook, and the voice of the young Pink, echoed through the room. As I said, the language of the Pinks is impossible to speak by you and I, but as those sounds travelled through space and time and entered the church room, it somehow was mutated enough to form perfect words, and so a deep booming voice uttered.
“One shall go
And evil destroyed,
The north he shall liberate,
With the help of a chicken.”
The Archbishop blinked.
“There!” Edmax announced. “That’s where I’m going to find my quest!”
“Ed dear…” His mother sighed, “You can’t just take orders from any cryptic message from nowhere.”
“Why not? Isn’t that how you’re supposed to get a quest?”
“Your mother’s right Edmax” Lord Max cut in. “and you don’t have time to go off on a quest right now anyway.”
“I’m going. I have a quest, you don’t want me to go, it’s prefect.” Edmax turned to the Archbishop. “Where should I start?”
The Archbishop looked confused, before stammering “I, I guess with the old tower in fief Ekingdale, to the north, the man who lives there is very strange but seems the starting point for most of you Knights on a quest.”
“It is settled then.” Edmax announced, as he turned to leave the church. “I’ll leave at dawn!”
“Still gives you time to see Esstácia!” Edmax’s friend laughed as they caught up with him.