As promised, here is the comic fantasy “novel” that my son wrote as a home-school project. I’ve decided to split it in half because cliffhangers are fun and ten thousand words in a single blog post is a bit much. Look for the second half tomorrow.
Here’s a brief post about the project, in case you’re aching for some background. For the record, this is his work, only lightly edited by me.
The Twin Swords of Zordain
Nack Town, a small village. Not a lot of interesting things happen. This seemed to be one of those very un-interesting days.
I was down in the training field using my short sword to turn the already destroyed training dummy into fragments of destroyed training dummy.
My “training equipment” consisted of a pile of straw that is–or was my training dummy, a large rock for who knows what and a tree.
My house was a few meters away and the Rigel’s farm was about the same in the other direction.
I sighed and walked back to my house. It was almost lunchtime.
My dad greeted me when I walked into the kitchen.
“Luke,” he said. “The Invastigans have overrun Renchinor and taken their war boats. The soldiers had to retreat. Nack Town is their next target.”
“Yes,” he said.
“Awesome! I can test my epic sword skills and–” At this point I drew my sword and knocked over a vase. “Oooooops.”
“No swords inside Luke.”
“Fine,” I grumbled.
I un-buckled my belt and tossed him my sheathed sword. He grabbed it then put a plate of rice and hage meat in front of me. I ate the meat greedily and picked at the rice.
“I’m going to find Cass and Garth.”
I grabbed my sword and ran out the door.
Cass was a wizard in training from a rich family, Garth was a part-elf paladin that totally wimped out on the whole “cleric” part, and me? I was a boring old human. My dad was a famous war general and my mom was daughter of the Casanopalan king. Unfortunately, I smashed through the gates after riding down the hill on a battering ram last time I was there, so I wasn’t allowed to stay with her in the palace in Evelon.
Garth’s house was closer than Cass’s mansion. Or Mr.Waugly’s School for Wizards. That’s where she usually was, anyway. I knocked on the door of Garth’s hut. Garth’s dad answered.
“Hey Luke,” he said, “Garth is down in his lab.”
“Thanks,” I replied.
I walked to the stairs.
“The Invastigans are coming to Nack Town you know,” he said.
Garth’s basement lab was a small room with only a few torches for lighting.
Garth was running around a large machine with a wrench occasionally hitting or twisting something. Cass was sitting in a chair with a large amount of soot and ash on her face and clothes.
“Okay,” Garth said. “Try it this time.”
“Will it explode again?” Cass asked.
“That’s not very reassuring,” Cass said. She cast lightning into a hole in the machine. It squealed and screeched then one of the gears exploded, half of it flew off the machine and bounced off the wall, landed on the floor and rolled a couple feet before landing on the flat side and falling over.
The other side, while attached to the axle, slid out of the machine and landed on the floor, making a loud clattering noise. The empty hole in the machine sprayed yet more soot onto Cass’s face. Cass sighed.
“Sorry.” Garth cringed. “Please don’t hit me with a fireball agai-oh hey Luke.”
“Hi Garth, hi Cass.”
Cass wiped her face. “Hi,” she said. “Did you know the Invastigans are supposed to be attacking?” Cass stood up and shook some soot off her dress.
“Yes,” I said, “I’ve been training extra-hard to prepare.”
“Do you really think the army will let you fight the Invastigans with them?” asked Garth.
“I don’t think they will,” Garth replied. “The Invastigans will probably just capture you for ransom anyway.”
“I’ll just fight my way out!”
Garth gave me a slightly confused look.
“I sincerely doubt it.”
“It’s really dusty in here,” Cass interrupted.
Garth and I gave her menacing looks.
“Okay, okay, don’t explode.” Cass ran up the stairs. Garth and I followed.
The midday light blinded me for a few seconds. I blinked. The world slowly de-blurred itself.
Garth dragged me and Cass through the mild bustle of Nack Town, past the farms, across main street, around the tavern and into Mr. Heerson’s shop. He was the blacksmith.
“Hello, Mr. Heerson,” Garth said.
“Hi kids,” he replied, “What can I do for you today?”
Around here, you were called a kid until you joined the army or turned forty and certainly none of us were forty. I mean, I’m the oldest and I only just turned fourteen!
I handed the smith my short sword.
“Sharpen mine too!” Garth tossed his mace onto the counter.
“Dude,” I told him, “it’s a mace, It doesn’t need sharpening.”
“How much will it cost to sharpen these up?”
“Let’s see… that will be two silver pieces.”
I grabbed one from my pocket and tossed it onto the counter. Garth did the same.
“Thanks for the business,” he said as he sat beside the grindstone and stepped on the pedal. “Haven’t been getting a lot of customers lately. With the Invastigan war coming up all the soldiers have been called to duty and have to use the military smithy instead of the local one,” said the smith. “Much cheaper in large quantities y’know. Bunch of random sales like, for instance one hundred fifty-three weapons sharpened for nineteen gold pieces. Weird stuff like that.”
He took my short sword off the grindstone, looked at it for a moment, then laid it on the counter. “That one’s finished.”
I sheathed the sword then the smith’s chatter faded away.
I daydreamed about Casanopalan ships under a red sky. The ships were filled with Invastigan soldiers. My dream-camera seemed to zoom in on one of the ships… although cameras hadn’t been invented yet. I didn’t care.
An Invastigan soldier, clearly a captain, drew a large breath and blew hard on his war-horn. The camera turned to Nack Town. The Casanopalan soldiers gathered at the edge of town in a thick line. The ships docked and the Invastigan army attacked. They easily broke the first line of defense but were stopped at the second, mostly because this time the line was full of cavalry. I left the daydream when Garth shook me.
“C’mon Luke, we have to get out of here!”
“Why?” I said but reluctantly left the chair anyway. Then I realized the war-horn was still sounding.
I followed Garth past the small chair in the middle of the shop and snuck to the door.
An Invastigan soldier on a horse rode by the door then stopped and backed up. Mr. Heerson, seeing the danger, held Garth’s apparently blunt mace above his head and bashed the soldier off his horse. The horse neighed and clomped off to who knows where.
The soldier grunted and stood up. Greatsword in hand, he ran towards the smithy with a face that told us he wasn’t about to give us a pastry. Luckily, I stabbed the guy in the side before he could hit the smith. Blood splattered onto Cass’s dress. Mixed with the soot, it was a nasty combo.
“Come on,” Cass groaned, while failing to wipe it off. “What’s next? Mud?
A Casanopalan horse sped by, splattering dirty rainwater all over her.
She rolled her eyes. “Of course. Oooooooof course.”
“It’s not safe here,” the smith said as he handed Garth his mace. “You better head to the docks on the other side of town. There you can escape to Evelon, where the defenses are greatest.”
“Escaping?” I said, “I’m not escaping. I wanna stay here and fight!”
Garth glared at me.
“Okay okay I’ll go but gimme a sec I gotta go do something, meet you at the docks.” I ran out the door. Outside was complete chaos. Casanopalan knights pushed the forces towards the beach, some foot soldiers ran down Trecolant Street struggling to take out an Invastigan cavalryman breaching towards the farms. General Kroft was standing on main street summoning several Skiiel-Voork (big gorilla things) from a portal he had made with his sword. A couple Zeltister that looked bored were sitting around, doing nothing. I had seen plenty of drawings of these, but this was the first time I had actually seen them in real life. It was a little disappointing. An Invastigan axe flew through the air and ricocheted off the side of a tower with a few archers in it, and hit a soldier with the handle, knocking him out. No telling which side he was on.
I ran through the fray cutting a few Invastigan dudes on the way to my dad, the general.
“Hi, Dad!” I said when I found him. “Can I go to the docks and escape and stuff?”
I realized he was in a duel with a Invastigan. I stabbed the guy with my short sword.
“Yeah,” he said. “Tell your mother hello.”
I ran in the direction of the docks and took the long way that doesn’t cross Main Street to avoid the
Skiiel-Voork. When I got to the docks I found Cass and Garth hiding behind some crates. Garth motioned for me to get behind the box. I did. To my left I saw some barrels. To the right I saw pretty much the same thing.
“A few Invastigan soldiers and a lieutenant are guarding our boats,” Cass whispered. “Unfortunately, we’re far enough away that they will be able to draw their weapons before we are close enough to hit. If we move around that way carefully we should be able to-”
I never figured out what we should be able to do by using the other crates because I was already running at the Invastigan soldiers.
I took out the first soldier easily, the second one blocked my first blow but I slashed him with the second kicked him in the chest and delivered the final blow.
The lieutenant locked his axe on my sword then started pushing really hard. I started sweating. Then he drew a dagger. I wasn’t expecting that! He swung it at me once I dodged it. He swung it a second time. This time he lightly scratched my chest.
“Cass, this is when I could use some help!”
Cass stood up and dramatically launched a fireball at the guy. As he turned to look at it, the fireball hit him in the face, sending him into a double backflip then landing on the dock with half his body. His back made an un-pleasant cracking noise before he slid into the water.
“Owwwwwww.” I said ripping my shirt a little bit to examine the cut. I tore a bit of fabric off my sleeve and wrapped it around my body in a way that stopped the cut from bleeding.
Me, Garth, and Cass climbed into the boat. As we paddled, I saw the legendary Invastigan general Kroft run to the dock.
“Ohmigosh!” Cass said, “Is that General Kroft?”
“Yeah!” I said.
Cass handed Garth a bow.
“Why do I have to take the shot?” Garth whined, “Let Luke do it. He’s more experienced with this kinda stuff.”
“You’re the elf,” I replied.
“Eighth-elf, mind you.”
“You’re still part elf”
“Fine,” he grumbled. “Wait there’s only one arrow?”
“That’s why you’re taking it.”
He grabbed the arrow and carefully fit it into the string. He pulled it back farther than I expected and fired the arrow. It flew straight towards Kroft but before it hit him, he cut it in half with his sword.
“Awwwwwwwwwwwwwww,” Cass said with a hint of disappointment. (Or not so much “hint” more like 47.34% but that’s too specific for this scene.) At that moment an arrow or two stabbed through the front of the boat. A few more stuck to or bounced off the side. I guess those archers weren’t as good as the ones near Kroft.
“Ghaaaa!” Garth screamed.
“Arrows!” Cass said rather more calmly than Garth. “Row faster, Luke!”
“You wanna try?” I handed the oar to Cass.
“No! Sorry. Could you please row?” (She put extra emphasis on the please.)
“Row at the same speed you were rowing at earlier?”
“Thank you.” I grabbed the oar and started rowing like mad. It didn’t take us much faster than when I was rowing casually so I stopped exerting myself and slowed down.
Everyone was quiet for a minute.
“Who’s up for carrots?” Cass asked.
Me and Garth groaned but we both took one anyway. I tried to bite into one.
“These are rock-hard!”
“Would you rather eat the wooden rim of the boat?” Cass asked.
I sighed and ate five entire carrots. Garth ate six. My spirit told me I had to eat two more so I did. Garth ate two more. I cut mine in half and ate both halves.
“Hey, that’s cheating!” Garth exclaimed.
“No,” I replied. “You can do it.”
It appeared to be a little harder to cut a carrot with a dull mace but he managed it anyway. He ate both halves. Cass ate eleven carrots. I ate four more. So it turned into a carrot-eating contest. I sighed.
”This is going to be a long trip.”
“Guys!” I said, “is that it?”
“Evelon, here we come!” Garth yelled.
The boat bumped up against the beach. Garth wobbled for a second then tripped over the edge of the boat, fell face-first into the water, quickly jumped out, then lay in the sand, laughing.
I stepped out of the boat more carefully.
We walked up to the gate to the village.
I looked around.
“I think we’re in Stella Bay.”
“Who goes there?” said a Casanopalan knight.
“Luke,” I said.
“Rigel? you know, son of princess Amanda?”
“Princess Amanda has a son?”
“Dude, I’m like fourteen. Where have you been?”
“That explains it. Cold gets to your head. I’ve been there once.”
“Anyway come in.”
We walked into the city.
“I think the palace is that way,” I said, while pointing in a random direction. As we walked down the street a man in a large hat tried to sell us hats. I bought a cheap helmet that broke immediately when I put it on my head.
“There it is!” Cass pointed at the palace.
I ran up to it and pushed through the door.
Immediately ten or twenty knights surrounded me.
“Who goes there?”
“Luke Rigel, son of princess Amanda.”
“Princess Amanda has a son?”
I sighed. “Who here came from Rechinor?”
Everyone raised their hands.
I sighed again and said, “Just show me the way.”
The knights let me up to a large room with a large throne in the middle. The king was sitting on it.
“Who goes there?” he asked.
“Me,” I said dully.
“Hello Luke!” he bellowed. “Amanda’s son right?”
“At least someone recognizes me.” I said.
“Ha!” the king bellowed. “The guard was from Rechinor right?”
“Where did you get that cut?”
I looked down at the dagger wound.
“Nack Town.” I said. “Garth doesn’t really do ‘Cleric’.”
“Ah,” The king replied. “Servant!”
All of the servants but one immediately jumped out of view. The remaining servant looked around.
”Why am I always the closest.” he mumbled. “Yes, your Highness?”
“Get the cleric to come heal Luke.”
The servant walked out of the room and a tired-looking man came in. He seemed to be the cleric.
“Would you take the bandage off so I can heal it?” the cleric asked, like he had said the exact same thing a million times.
“Sure,” I answered.
I unwrapped the bandage and the cleric mumbled a spell. My cut healed almost immediately.
The cleric started to walk away.
“Can I learn how to do that?” Garth asked.
The cleric rolled his eyes and looked at the king.
“Show the man how to cast a spell,” the king said.
“Come on kid, I can show you,” The cleric said.
They left, headed to the training room.
At this point Mom opened the door and said, “Luke! I heard you were here!”
“Dad asked me to say hi so hi and hi.”
“Goodforyou,” the king said. “The Invastigans somehow have reinforced their army with mythical creatures! We think they have uncovered one of the legendary Zordain swords. They open portals to another world and make you undefeatable! The only thing they couldn’t block is dragon fire!” The king laughed at his own joke. Then he put on a more serious face.
“We also know your father was captured in Nack Town.”
“NO!” I yelled as I bumped into the wall, hitting a pot. It slowly tilted to the right then bumped another pot, knocking it over, too. I ran to catch the next pot but it slipped out of my fingertips. I reached for another but, once again, missed. They started falling like dominoes, tilting to the right slowly, hitting the next pot, then rolling out into the corridor, shattering on the ground then spilling out ashes. After repeating this sevral times, I finally managed to grab the very last one. Unfortunately I had too much momentum and crashed into the wall.
“THE ASHES OF THE ROYAL LINE!” yelled the servant, ”ALL EIGHTEEN OF THEM! They have fallen! Again! Man, why do we keep putting them there?”
The king seemed unconcerned. “Anyway, we think General Rigel is being held near the temple where one of the swords was hidden, too.”
Another servant walked over and whispered something in the king’s ear, then commenced walking into the hall of kings and flipping a piece of broken pot to see who got clean-up duty. The first servant looked disappointedly at the fragment of pot and walked away to get some glue and a broom.
“Amanda,” the king said, “the feast is ready.”
“Can Luke join us?” she replied.
“Of course!” he said. “And so can his companions!”
I sat down next to Garth. Cass sat across from me.
I picked up a piece of crelle with my fork and dropped it on my plate. Then I did the same with some fruit and a couple pieces of hage and poured some milk into a goblet.
Cass put all of the rice on her plate and some grapes.
Garth made a similar plate as me. We ate like a pack of wolves after surviving on rock-hard carrots for a day or two.
When I bit into my last bit of hage a messenger ran into the room and yelled: “The Invastigans have taken us by surprise and have overcome the village!”
A stray arrow flew through the window and penetrated my piece of crelle. I dropped it, drew my short sword, crept to the door and opened it.
This time the Casanopalans were doing a lot better.
“Ha! These guys didn’t even bring any creatures!”
The thing is, the Casanopalan army was really good. I mean reeeeeeeally good. Like, I’ll tell you a story. The whole reason the Casanopalans are usually peaceful is because they were so powerful no one would challenge them. So all the soldiers got bored and went home.
I know. Weird, right?
Anyway, I ran down the stairs just in time to see a Invastigan dude get thrown into an anvil.
“That’s gonna leave a mark,” I cringed.
Cass shot a fireball at the same guy. He flew through the wall of the shop, then we lost sight of him in the battle.
“That’s gonna leave a bigger mark,” I said a little more calmly.
I ran through the battle killing some Invastigans as I went.
Garth was already there, crouching so no one could see him, occasionally whacking an Invastigan horse or leg.
“Hello,” I said, sitting next to him doing basically the same thing. Cass rolled past a guy and put him in a telekinetic cage.
Cass turned towards me and Garth. “Hi.”
The telekinetic cage dude ran towards Cass with his weapon raised.
A horse rammed the guy away from Cass.
“Would you like a helmet?” someone asked. “Fifty percent off due to battle!”
I looked over to see the hat vender holding a felt hat with a feather in it.
I handed him a silver piece and he gave me the hat. The vender looked at his new silver piece greedily and pumped his fist before a horse clobbered him. The silver piece rolled and fell on its side next to me.
“Man,” Garth said to no one in particular, “those Invastigan cavalrymen can’t ride a horse at all!
“And you can do better?”
“I took 19 advanced horse riding lessons!”
“You know, that’s one class away from making expert.”
“The last class was supposed to be today but my experiment wasn’t finished!… oh, and the Invastigans attacked.”
I picked up my silver piece and stuffed it into my satchel.
“Luke! That’s stealing!”
“I can’t let a good silver piece go to waste!”
Cass glared at me.
I walked over to the unconscious body of the hat vendor and placed the silver coin on his palm carefully.
A knight ran by yelling: “THEY HAVE MONSTERS!”
I ran with Garth and Cass to the back gate where the king and the other nobles were trying to get the door open.
“Druddicanava of Aboringplaceicantrememberthenameof!” announced the king, “Go up to that control panel and open the back gate!”
No offense your majesty but THATPLACEISREALLYFARAWAYANDI’LLNEVERMAKE
“Use your hat, Luke,” Cass whispered.
“But I just got it,” I pleaded.
Once again, she glared at me.
Right as the king was asking the last noble if she would go up to lower the gate I threw my new hat like a frisbee (although they hadn’t been invented yet, I didn’t care) and cut the rope holding the gate closed.
“Well, Luke, thank you. That solves that problem.”
Cass inched along the path first. A robber grabbed her and held a knife to her throat.
“Gimmeallyourmoney,” the burglar said.
Immediately a sword, eight arrows and an axe or two impaled the robber.
We ran to the ships.
“The Invastigans will get to us fast enough that they can shoot us with arrows!” the king said.
“I can cast wind into your sails and make you sail faster,” Cass responded.
“But then how will you get to our ship?”
“I can fly to it.”
“Dude,” Garth said, “isn’t that phrase a little outdated?”
“No!” the king said defensively.
Everyone was crammed into the king’s fancy ship.
“Does anyone volunteer to get of this boat and use my old one?” The king pointed at a rickety old sailboat that could only hold four or five people and had a few arrow holes in it from target practice by Casanopalan archers.
When no one answered I sighed and said, “We’ll get off.”
Me and Garth got off the first boat and climbed into the second one.
Garth raised the sail and yelled to Cass:
“Do your wind thingy!”
Cass started the spell and at that very moment the line keeping the sail up ripped in half. Our sail fell down just before the wind spell started.
The king’s ship took approximately 8.7 seconds to sail out of sight. Our ship went about two feet.
“Sorry,” Garth said.
“Can you do that again?”
“No.” Cass answered “It’s a very powerful spell and casting it again before nightfall could knock me unconscious.”
“Argh!” I said while kicking the ship. “Looks like we’re going to have to do this the old-fashioned way.
Cass climbed over the rim of the boat.
“Get us out of here before the Invastigans get to the dock!” Cass said, pretty obviously to me, but Garth came with me to the lower level to use the oars.
There was also a small hole in the side of the boat that you could see the dock from.
Me and Garth started rowing.
I took some time to look around the area.
We seemed to be exiting from the west side of the island, towards the Forest of Shiie, the twin peaks Delto (the bigger one) and Dominio (the smaller one) and, most importantly, the Zordain Pyramid. After we made it a few yards away the Invastigans started to pour out of the back gate and onto the docks.
“Cass!” I yelled towards the upper deck, “watch the arrows!”
“I am!” Cass replied faintly through the thick layer of wood separating the two decks.
“We’re almost out of their range!” Cass yelled down into the lower deck. Garth rowed faster. I rowed faster, too. I guess he was trying to keep up with me and when I sped up it overwhelmed him and he flew head-first at the seat in front of us. Good thing he was still wearing his helmet.
“Hey!” Cass yelled from above “Why did you stop ro-” THUNK!
Garth heard the un-pleasant noise and rushed to the upper level. I followed him up.
Cass was hiding behind the thick post that held the steering wheel, clutching her leg, teeth clenched. An arrow had flown by her leg and scraped it. I rolled over to her and hid behind the post. Garth painfully clanked over in his full, oversized set of chainmail armor. When he finally got to the post he sat on the other side of Cass, sprinkled a few herbs on a piece of cloth and wrapped it around her leg.
I looked around the corner and an arrow flew at me. I ducked my head behind the post again.
Garth was casting a healing spell on Cass.
Immediately Cass’s leg looked fine.
“Wow,” Cass said to Garth, “that cleric must have taught you well.”
“Yeah, he was really good.”
I crawled to the back of the boat, staying behind crates and barrels. Cass followed the same way. Garth started, too, but just then an arrow hit Garth in the head. It didn’t actually pierce his helmet but it threw the oversized helmet into the side of his head, knocking him unconscious. Garth lay on the ground looking like a pile of armor. Cass almost said something but I put my hand over her mouth and whispered: “He doesn’t know we’re all the way over here. We should use that to our advantage.”
“Okay.” she replied, with no concern about stealth. “I think there are some arrows in that chest.” Cass pointed to a chest in rolling distance from our current hiding position.
“Stay here,” I whispered.
“Sure,” she said, again with no concern about the archer. I rolled to the chest she pointed at, drew my short sword, and stabbed the chest. It basically exploded spilling tons of arrows on me, but also gave away my position. I ducked behind the box to my left and grabbed as many arrows as I could risk. The Invastigan archer shot a few arrows in my general direction. Most of them missed the box I was hiding behind completely but a few hit the rotten wood of the box.
I grabbed the short bow Garth had on him and loaded one of the arrows into it. A few more arrows broke through the front side of the box spilling out two or three shields. I slowly peeked above the box and looked for the archer. An arrow suddenly burst through the box but it held, though shakily. I prayed the box would hold another arrow as I saw an emerald sash for a moment, the Invastigan symbol. I aimed towards where the archer seemed to be and shot the arrow. I ducked behind the box to grab another arrow but at that point an Invastigan arrow hit the box. The box gave, letting another arrow fly straight at me. I grabbed a shield from the few that fell out earlier and raised it to block the arrow. It ricocheted crazily off the hard metal and flew off the side of the boat making a splash as it hit the water. I slowly sidestepped towards Cass, shield-blocking arrows as I went. Still holding the shield, I passed Cass the shortbow and the arrows.
She knew what I wanted and stepped behind me, bow at the ready. I ran towards the front of the boat holding the shield in front of me to block the arrows as Cass ran behind me. At the front of the boat I kneeled to the ground and motioned to Cass to fire an arrow. Cass stood up and shot the arrow then ducked behind the shield and waited.
I counted to one hundred and didn’t hear any arrows clanking off the shield so I dropped the heavy thing on the floor of the boat and ran towards Garth. I shook him, kicked his armor and even rolled him back and forth but he stayed out cold.
“I can’t get him up, can you try?” I asked Cass.
“Watch and learn.” she said, carefully removing Garth’s helmet and slapping him three times. By time number two Garth was awake and yelled “OW!” on the third time.
He got up slowly, fazed by the blow to the head but sprinted, first slowly but quickly growing faster, around the ship before stepping in the hole for the ladder and fell the short distance to the lower deck.
Cass looked worried for a moment until Garth climbed back up, laughing his “I just hurt myself in a stupid way that doesn’t really hurt very much because I’m wearing heavy armor” kind of laugh.
Cass told him to go to the lower deck and row so if any more archers tried to attack us they would be too far away to hit us. He scurried to back down the ladder.
I walked to the cabin in the back of the boat and lay back on the hammock.
“You do know that you have to row too,” Cass told me.
“I know, I know,” I replied.
The hammock ripped in half under me. I fell on the floor.
Then I got up and walked towards the ladder. Garth was standing in the middle of the ship looking up in disbelief. He rubbed his eyes. And squinted. Then his eyes grew wide and jumped into me, ramming me away from a tall column of flames.
“DRAGON!” Garth yelled.
Mirrored from Twenty Palaces. You can comment here or there.