A quest of Heroes - S01 E31

1 month ago

Read Story: SEASON 1 EPISODE 31

Thor felt better. He had felt he was being sent to the Canyon as a punishment for his using his magic, and had felt guilty about it; but now he felt his powers, whatever they were, might become a source of pride.

As the other boys drifted ahead and Erec and Thor fell back, Erec looked down at him.

“You’ve already managed to make some powerful enemies at Court,” he said, an amused smile on his face. “As many enemies as you have friends, it seems.”

Thor reddened, shamed.

“I don’t know how, sire. I didn’t intend to.”

“Enemies are not gained by intentions. They are often gained by envy. You have managed to create a great deal of it. That is not necessarily a bad thing. You are the center of much speculation.”

Thor scratched his head, trying to understand.

“But I don’t know why.”

Erec still looked amused.

“The Queen herself is chief among your adversaries. You have somehow managed to get on her wrong side.”

“My mother?” Reece asked, turning. “Why?”

“That is the very question I’ve been wondering myself,” Erec said.

Thor felt terrible. The Queen? An enemy? What had he done to her? He couldn’t conceive it. How could he even be important enough for her to take notice of him? He hardly knew what was happening around him.

Suddenly, something dawned on him.

“Is she the reason that I was sent out here? To the Canyon?” he asked.

Erec turned and looked straight ahead, his face growing serious.

“She might be,” he said, contemplative. “She just might be.”

Thor wondered at the extent and depth of the enemies he had made. He had stumbled into a court he knew nothing about. He had just wanted to belong. He had just followed his passion and his dream, and had done whatever he could to achieve it. He did not think that by doing so, he might raise envy or jealousy. He turned it over and over in his mind, like a riddle, but could not get to the bottom of it.

As Thor was mulling these thoughts, they reached the top of a knoll, and as the sight spread out before them, all thoughts of anything else fell away. Thor’s breath was taken away—and not just by the strong, gusty wind.

Stretching out before them, as far as the eye could see, lay the Canyon. It was the first time Thor had ever seen it, and the sight shocked him so thoroughly he stood rooted in place, unable to move. It was the grandest and most majestic thing he had ever seen. The huge chasm in the earth seemed to stretch for eternity, spanned only by a single, narrow bridge lined with soldiers. The bridge seemed to stretch to the end of the earth itself.

The Canyon was alight with greens and blues from the second setting sun, and the sparkling rays bounced off its walls. As he felt his legs again, Thor began to walk with the others, closer and closer to the bridge, until he was able to look down, deep into the Canyon’s cliffs; they seemed to plummet into the bowels of the earth. Thor could not even see the bottom, and didn’t know if that was because it had no bottom, or if it was because it was covered in mist. The rock that lined the cliffs looked to be a million years old, formed with patterns that storms must have left centuries before. It was the most primordial place he had ever seen. He had no idea his planet was so vast, so vibrant, so alive.

It was as if he had come to the beginning of creation.Thor heard the others gasp all around him, too.

The thought of the four of them patrolling this Canyon seemed laughable. They were dwarfed even by the sight of it.

As they walked toward the bridge, soldiers stiffened on either side, at attention, making way for the new patrol. Thor felt his pulse quicken.

“I don’t see how the four of us can possibly patrol this,” O’Connor said.

Elden snickered. “There are many patrols besides us. We are merely one cog in the machine.”

As they walked across the bridge, the only sound to be heard was that of the whipping wind, and of their boots, and Erec’s horse, walking along. The hoofs left a hollow and reassuring sound, the only real thing Thor could hang onto in this surreal place.

None of the soldiers, who all stiffened at attention in Erec’s presence, said a word as they stood guard. They must have passed hundreds of them.

Thor could not help but notice on either side of them, impaled on spikes every few feet along the railing, were the heads of barbarian invaders. Some were still fresh, still dripping with blood.

Thor looked away. It made it all too real. He did not know if he was ready for this. He tried not to imagine the many skirmishes which must have produced those heads, the lives that had been lost, and what awaited him on the other side. He wondered if they would make it back. Was that the purpose of this whole expedition? To kill him off?

He looked over the edge, at the endlessly disappearing cliffs, and heard the screech of a distant bird; it was a sound he had never heard before. He wondered what kind of bird it was, and what other exotic animals lurked on the other side.

But it was not really the animals which bothered him, or even the heads on spikes. More than anything, it was the feeling of this place. He could not tell if it was the mist, or the howling wind, or the vastness of the open sky, or the light of the setting sun—but something about this place was so surreal, it transported him. Enveloped him. He felt a heavy magical energy hanging over them. He wondered whether it was the protection of the Sword, or some other ancient force. He felt as if he were not just crossing a mass of land, but crossing into another realm of existence.

Just a few short days ago he had been herding sheep in his small village. It seemed unbelievable that now, for the first time in his life, he would spend the night, unprotected, on the other side of the Canyon.Thor heard the others gasp all around him, too.

The thought of the four of them patrolling this Canyon seemed laughable. They were dwarfed even by the sight of it.

As they walked toward the bridge, soldiers stiffened on either side, at attention, making way for the new patrol. Thor felt his pulse quicken.

“I don’t see how the four of us can possibly patrol this,” O’Connor said.

Elden snickered. “There are many patrols besides us. We are merely one cog in the machine.”

As they walked across the bridge, the only sound to be heard was that of the whipping wind, and of their boots, and Erec’s horse, walking along. The hoofs left a hollow and reassuring sound, the only real thing Thor could hang onto in this surreal place.

None of the soldiers, who all stiffened at attention in Erec’s presence, said a word as they stood guard. They must have passed hundreds of them.

Thor could not help but notice on either side of them, impaled on spikes every few feet along the railing, were the heads of barbarian invaders. Some were still fresh, still dripping with blood.

Thor looked away. It made it all too real. He did not know if he was ready for this. He tried not to imagine the many skirmishes which must have produced those heads, the lives that had been lost, and what awaited him on the other side. He wondered if they would make it back. Was that the purpose of this whole expedition? To kill him off?

He looked over the edge, at the endlessly disappearing cliffs, and heard the screech of a distant bird; it was a sound he had never heard before. He wondered what kind of bird it was, and what other exotic animals lurked on the other side.

But it was not really the animals which bothered him, or even the heads on spikes. More than anything, it was the feeling of this place. He could not tell if it was the mist, or the howling wind, or the vastness of the open sky, or the light of the setting sun—but something about this place was so surreal, it transported him. Enveloped him. He felt a heavy magical energy hanging over them. He wondered whether it was the protection of the Sword, or some other ancient force. He felt as if he were not just crossing a mass of land, but crossing into another realm of existence.

Just a few short days ago he had been herding sheep in his small village. It seemed unbelievable that now, for the first time in his life, he would spend the night, unprotected, on the other side of the Canyon.

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A Quest Of Heroes - S01 E30

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A Quest Of Heroes - S01 E32

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