Those who have heard the mystical tales...

Friday, March 29, 2013

II: The Royal Visitor

Holden and Paddy did not make it to the battle at Robert's Dale, because the two were on an adventure of their own. The two had traveled to Fort Ni Aps for a job. It just so happened that a member of foreign royalty had come to Bamah to visit Schaff, and she chose to stay in Fort Ni Aps.
"I need protection," she told her governess-turned-chambermaid. "I want to meet the Bards, too. Ooh! I want them to protect me!"
"So be it," replied the chambermaid. When she returned, she said, "The majority of the Bards, including King Schaff himself, are in a nearby village, preoccupied with some strange case. However, there are two young men, members of the Bard clan, who have guaranteed their assistance."
"Wonderful!" cried the girl. "I expect them to be gallant, chivalrous, and..." At that moment, Holden and Paddy burst through the door in full tuxedo, wearing polarized sunglasses and in-ear walkie-talkies.
"...odd," she finished.
"Ma'am? I'm Holden, and this is Paddy, my partner. We've been in the protection business for a while now and it is our professional opinion that we move you. Now."
The royal visitor stared, confused.
"Just kidding with ya, you're fine," laughed Paddy.
"Oh good," she sighed, still obviously uneasy.

The next morning, the royal visitor went for a walk with her chamber-maid.

"Karen," she asked the maid.
"Yes, my lady?"
"These Bards. I'm not sure I want... them."
"Whatever do you mean?" asked the chamber-maid.
"They're weird! Last night at supper, they made fun of each other, made random comments, they just... They're so WEIRD! Are all the Bards like this?"
"To be honest, I haven't the slightest, my Lady," the chamber-maid replied. (Or Karen. Karen is easier to write.) Just then, Holden flew past them in a golf cart, as Paddy followed on a pogo stick. Both were laughing. (And wearing the same tuxes as the night before.)
"I hope not, at least."

That afternoon, just after lunch, Holden and Paddy were playing their favorite card game just outside the royal visitor's room (literally. Many times she could not get out without knocking over their table, and many times she almost did.) Angry with them for blocking off her exit, she climbed out the window and ran off into the town.

Holden and Paddy finished their long game, and went inside her room to check on her.
"Well, damn," said Holden. "She's gone."
"LANGUAGE! You can't just say 'well' whenever you want!" laughed Paddy.
"Apology... unaccepted! Just kidding," replied Paddy. "We kinda need to find her. Soon." The two looked out the window dramatically, searching for their runaway royalty among the scores of people.

Meanwhile, the aforementioned visitor walked among the townsfolk. In her old nightgown, she blended in quite well. Except for the giant green stone around her neck. If anyone had seen that, it would have given her away. Fortunately, only one person noticed it. UNfortunately, it was an evil sorcerer who was in Ni Aps looking for a job (Why would a sorcerer need a job you ask? For money. He's not an alchemist or a vagabond. He needs money to get by.) So, he kidnapped her to hold her for ransom. (He's evil, remember?) However, he did not kidnap her in the usual manner. He took advantage of her royal naiveté, lured her into the house he was renting, and locked her inside.

So yeah, actually. The usual manner.
"Hello again, my dear," he said, removing the bag from her head.
"Mm-mmm-mm," she replied. (Oh yeah, he bound her and gagged her.)
"I bet you're wondering who I am," said the sorcerer. The captive shook her head.
"No? Are you sure? I prepared a monologue."
She spit out the gag. "Let me go!"
"No. You wouldn't listen." He stormed off.

Paddy and Holden ran into the shopping district, scanning right and left for the missing girl. Paddy noticed the sorcerer leaving his home. The sorcerer locked the door, glancing around him, put up his hood, and disappeared into the crowd. Paddy grabbed Holden.

"Hey! Listen! This way! I think she's in here! Et cetera!" He put his ear to the door. Inside, he heard crying.
"See?" Holden followed suit.
"Well, that was fast. Let me go get my ax, and we'll get her out," he replied. Holden took off to the castle. When he returned, Paddy was gone. Suddenly, Paddy jumped off the roof of the building onto Holden.
"Aah!" he screamed. "Oh, it's just you."
"Ow," came the reply. "How did you-"
"Gimme that," said Paddy, grabbing the axe and taking down the door. Inside, the two found their visitor, bound to a chair in the corner.
"Are you ok?" asked Holden, rushing to her side.
"How did you find-"
"Here's your necklace," said Paddy, bringing her the green stone, which he found sitting on the sorcerer's table.
"Keep it. My father gave it to me, but it doesn't mean as much to me as his other gifts. Thank you for saving me."
"It's our job, ma'am, but we failed you. If you want us to find our replacements, we will be happy to," answered Holden.
"No, I owe you another chance. You'll make the most of it, won't you?"
"That we will." The three returned to the castle, and further events went as planned.

The sorcerer returned to his home, followed by a robed figure.
"Here we are--wait... No. NO!!! Where is my door!?" he screamed. Running inside, he found the royal visitor and the blue stone missing.
"It was right here! I swear!" he cried.
"I believe you," the figure replied. "No one would smash a random door for no reason. You had the princess, but they found her. Now they know about the stone, too. Find them. Kill them. Bring it to me."