The Hero’s Quest VI – The Road

Love Interest looks longingly at the back of The Hero as he trudges down the road. The dramatic single teardrop makes a reappearance on her cheek before tumbling into the dirt. A rarity, as normally the teardrop appears only on the face of The Hero.

The road is dirt, not paved, to allow The Hero to look suitable travel-worn when he arrives at his destination. Paved roads may be much more practical, but they have a tendency to keep people too clean. This is the same reason that dictates that our Hero must be walking, not hitching a ride on a cart.

As evening draws in, it begins to rain again, forcing The Hero to take shelter. He wraps his travel-cloak around him, an item of clothing not previously mentioned because before now he has not been travelling, and shields himself against the cold and wet.

The Hero is terrible at planning so has no place to sleep for the night.

It is a trait of Heroes in general to be terrible at planning. Many problems that face a Hero could be solved by taking the time to come up with a reasonable plan beforehand, but the fate of a Hero is to dive headlong in to trouble without concerning themselves with such things as essential logistics, provisions and plans.

He seeks shelter under some trees and, other than a restless night, does not suffer anything of consequence.

And so follows a travel montage of The Hero wearily walking the road, sleeping rough, eating scavenged food and going to the toilet at a decent distance from the road so as to avoid uncomfortable encounters with other travelers.

After an uneventful journey The Hero becomes appropriately dirty with mud covering the bottom few inches of his cloak, which is the most important function of a travel cloak. Once The Hero has reached the optimum state of road-worn he is free to arrive at the gates of The Capital City, and indeed he does just this.

He is greeted at the gates by two guards. They are typical guards in the sense that they are very mismatched, one wiry thin while the other is comfortably plump. They have the traditional air of nonchalance about them, and are suitably incompetent. This is The Hero’s first interaction with comic relief.

In the manner of all guards everywhere, they single The Hero out of the crowd drawn, no doubt, by The Hero’s air of importance to the story.

They engage The Hero with some witty repartee.

“Well, well, well. What do we have here then?”

These guards were also, apparently, 19th century British Policeman.

“Well, Guard #1, it would appear that we have a vagabond trying to enter The Capital City.”

“That does indeed seem to be the case, Guard #2. Oi, you, what do you have to say for yourself?”

The Hero is unfamiliar with the narrative of how such conversations are supposed to proceed and unperturbed by the guard’s ability to pronounce # in casual conversation. Instead, he is refreshingly honest in his reply.

“Gentle Guards who I am honoured to stand before. I am embarked upon a quest of most importance! My farm was burned and my Grandfather killed. He died in these very arms, no less. I must enter The Capital City to present myself before Mysterious Letter Writer (Who is definitely not my Father)” The Hero responds to the guards, himself displaying his linguistic prowess by effortlessly pronouncing a pair of parentheses.

Guard #1 looks to Guard #2 and nods. They have been guards long enough to recognise a Hero on a noble quest when he stands before them. With a mere look between them, they step aside and allow The Hero to continue on his journey.

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