I had adventured across the wild lands of Pendown for years. I had thwarted corrupt lords, slain dragons, and quested throughout the realm to bring peace and justice to the world.
Now, the world was changing once again.
For two weeks, I had been exploring an unknown mountain cave system when I was approached by a fellow adventurer. He was many years my junior and seemed unaccustomed to the brisk pace I was keeping.
“Devon Duskblade, please hold!” he cried out, finally in earshot of me. He waved a piece of parchment in his hands, careful not to drop it. “Grand Heirophant Eshami begs your audience! Please return with me at once to the palace. She wishes to speak with you personally.”
I accepted the letter with little grace. What was so important that they would send such a wet-behind-the-ears scout to deliver a message to me? I thought.
I examined the parchment, folded and stamped with the blue seal of the Pendown High Court. It was indeed a legitimate summons. I hadn’t seen one in years!
The letter read:
Forgive me this letter I must deliver unto you. The world threatens to once again be torn asunder by the forces of evil, and I would trust only you to save us from destruction. The King has already gifted you with gold, furs, lands and titles, but if you could lend your sword to his cause but once more, we shall be forever in your debt.
Forever in my thoughts and prayers,
Odd, I considered — the Grand Heirophant was rarely known for sending personalized requests. The matter at hand must be important indeed!
“Very well, Scout,” I said to the courier, passing the letter back to him. I tried to sound uninterested, but the thought of some unknown peril had already set my blood flowing! “Let us return to Pendown at once.”
The courier held out his hands and began an incantation. Blue and green energies swirled around, enveloping his body, and then both of us. my vision of the mountains faded to black.
My vision slowly brightened into a brightly-lit domed auditorium. Stained-glass windows reached up to the vaulted ceilings, casting their many colors against the ivory walls.
I regained my senses. I could now see I was standing atop the altar of the city’s cathedral. The pews are nearly full to capacity with all manner of noble and peasant, many dressed as though they arrived without changing out of their sleeping attire.
The scout was on bended knee even before the Grand Heirophant approached from the main aisle.
“Noble hero, I am so pleased beyond words you have been found!” she said to me, grabbing the scout by the shoulder and twisting him to face me. She bowed to me deeply in supplication, and the scout followed suit.
“Please come with me. There is something that you must see.”
The crowd in the pews murmured as Eshami led me to one of the small exit doors to the side of the cathedral.
She opened the door and motioned up to the sky. I peered out the door and look upwards — and gasped in astonishment!
In the sky, floating directly overhead the cathedral, was a giant metal disk! It hovered silently in the sky, and were it to fall, could easily squash the whole city!
“What is that thing?!” I asked, astonished.
Eshami closed the door and led them back inside.
“It is a ship. A flying ship that rides the stars, and its master has asked for you… by name. That is why you have been summoned here with such urgency, my Hero.”
She continued to guide me past the antechamber into the very back of the building, a private area where the priests and other attendants normally worked. She opened a door, and standing before them was a glowing angel!
He was beauty personified, and I felt I knew him even though it was my first time setting eyes upon him. He had a glowing silver sword at his side, and feathery wings tucked neatly behind him. On his head rested a glowing golden halo.
“You are indeed the one I seek. You must come and join me on my vessel, for there is a great trial that must be completed. Should you fail, it could spell utter doom for your whole world.”
He stretched out his hand.
“I will accompany you, Great Angel,” I responded, doing my utmost to exude an air of grace.
“Wait!” Eshami dropped to her knees and pleaded. “Please take me with you! I serve only the Gods and I am responsible for you, Hero of Pendown.”
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