Wednesday, December 28, 2011

"Philosophical Fantasy (excerpt)" by Dr. Ace T. Jericho, Rogue Journalist

[originally published in Maison Meson Quarterly, October 2001; from The Jericho Files collection]

"And you, Atlos," said the wizard. "Are you ready to take on this quest, to take the burden of this world upon your shoulders?"

Atlos shrugged. "I guess so, Master Flayto."

"Then to begin, you must first enter the Cave."

"No. Not the Cave."

"Yes. The Cave."

"But the alligator--"

"Allegory."

"Huh?"

"The stories about the Cave are allegories. Not alligators."

"Oy!"

Atlos turned at the shout.

Scam stood at the end of the lane with a mare and a wooden cart. "I've got our travel arrangements."

"Be certain you don't mix them up, Master Scam," said Flayto.

"What do you mean?" said Scam.

"Horse, then cart."

"What?"

"He means don't put the cart before the horse, Scam," said Atlos.

"Oh! Right! I knew that."

"Good horse," said Flayto.

"You know it?" said Atlos.

"The mare?" Flayto nodded. "Her name is Imbrium."

"What happens when I get to the Cave?" said Atlos.

"You must seek out the serpent Sturmandrang and defeat it. The serpent guards the only weapon which can defeat the Follies--the Hie Dagger."

"But I still don't understand why I must do this. I'm just an apprentice mapmaker."

Flayto chuckled. "Atlos Randmacnallie, there is more about you than you think. Fear not, my boy. You will have help on your quest."

"What kind of help?"

"Me," said a voice.

The two of them turned.

A tall figure dressed in black stood before them, rugged, stubbled face staring out from beneath the cowl of his cloak.

"Who are you?" said Altos.

"I am Vigilius," said the stranger, bowing with a flourish. "At your service."

"It is good to see, old friend," Flayto said to Vigilius.

"Who's the vagabond?" said Scam, walking up to the trio.

"That 'vagabond'," said Flayto, "is from the kingdom of Soren. A member of its elite soldiers."

Altos gasped. "You mean he's one of the Keer'kh Guards?"

Come back next week for another entry of The Jericho Files!
Read previous Jericho Files entries here.

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