Fantasy Adventure Speculative

A man sat alone at a table in a shadowy corner of the tavern, keeping to his own thoughts, lost in a mug of ale. He was wearing chainmail, with a sword sheathed at his hip and a heavy, iron helmet sitting upon the table next to his empty porridge bowl. He was clearly a knight, wearing the colors of the kingdom of Rhylaria and the markings of Queen Valda on his shield. He did not look up when the bard approached.

“Good Sir Knight, I do know thee,” Aldos insisted. “Are you not Sir Alfred of Rhylaria?”

“Go away bard,” was the response, as the man lifted his mug to his lips, quaffed the last of his ale and then wiped the suds from his moustache. “You are an ass wart. A plague upon whatever fine and noble town you find yourself in at any given moment.”

“My good sir knight,” he gasped. “You harm me so. I love this great land and shall forever, until I die.” 

“Which will be soon bard, if you do not find yourself on your way,” Alfred growled. The knight waved his hand and bid the tavern girl to bring him another ale.

“Please good sir, it would be my honor to play for you.” The bard sat down at the table uninvited and began playing his lute:

‘Long, long ago

In a land far away

Sir Alfred was born

And destined to slay.’

‘He would slay Blaze the Dragon

And Devon the Red

The Hunchbacked Calyphus

Yes, all of them, dead!’

‘These deeds were his destiny

Against all the odds

He would revel in victory

A champion of the gods.

‘Now his greatest of battles

Doth still lie ahead

Next Volger the Giant

Must soon end up dead.’

The stars have foretold this

And fate does not lie

Sir Alfred of Rhylaria

You can not deny!

The bard stopped and set his lute across his lap. “So, what do you think? It is a work in progress good sir, but I assure you it will include your every triumph in song.”

The knight looked unimpressed. “So how much is that small village in the valley paying you to convince me to get rid of the giant? How much do you profit from all of this?”

“Good sir, you offend me,” the bard defended. “All I sing is your story as it was foretold by the oracles of old.”

“I am not the knight from the prophecy and you are an idiot; the town fool,” he snapped. “What do you know of prophecies?”

“How many Alfred’s can there be, good sir?” The bard did not wait for a response before continuing, “If not you then who? Did you not slay the mighty red dragon called Blaze? Was it not your sword that ended the life of the outlaw Devon the Red? Did you not slay the Hunchbacked Calyphus?”

“If you do not cease your babbling, I shall cease it with my fist,” the knight demanded. “First, the prophecy tells of a knight named Athelfred, who I am not, not Alfred, who I am. Second, The knight slays a mighty dragon, not a dragon specifically named Blaze and he does it single-handedly in the prophecy. I had plenty of help from soldiers and other knights. I could not even say whether or not it was my lance that finished the beast.”

“Forgive my interruption, good sir, but you can not deny that Blaze was a mighty dragon indeed and as for the spelling of the name, the difference of a letter or two can not matter greatly.”

“True, Blaze was mighty, but of mighty dragons there are many.” He sloshed down another gulp of ale. “And, I believe the spelling is of utmost importance, because it is not the spelling of my name in the prophecy.”

“Well, good sir…”

“Third,” Alfred continued, purposefully interrupting, “the prophecy states that a powerful outlaw will be defeated, yes, but it never names Devon the Red. I believe it was an arrow from one of my men that sent him to hell anyway. It could be any outlaw and of them, there are many more of those than mighty dragons. Fourthly, the prophecy tells of a great swamp beast that will be slain. The Hunchbacked Calyphus, is such, but ‘tis never specifically named in the oracle’s tale. And again, many others were with me that day and aided in the quest. The future foretold is not mine and is probably not yet even of our time.”

The bard sat quietly for a moment. “Good sir, I doth not believe it to be mere coincidence that you have already killed three beasts of the prophecy, regardless of how they were or were not named. And, do you deny that the name of the last beast of the prophecy is foretold as Volger the Giant? Is it not his name that is given?”

The knight spilled the last of his ale down his throat and wiped his beard with his sleeve. “I will not deny that in the case of the giant, he is so named. But, sons can be named after fathers and giants live longer than we do. Volger is young, he will live far longer than I. It is not my destiny to slay him. And, as if all that I have said is not enough, due to my aging body, I have been tasked with guarding this small village for the queen. My men are scattered and my glory days are long past. Now, I say again,” he demanded angrily, “leave me in peace!”

“Good sir, is it not in your nature to help people in need?” Aldos paused, sorrow in his voice. “The people of that village need you. They need the Good Knight Alfred. Regain your glory! And, I can assure you without a doubt, you are the one and the time is nigh!”

Alfred sat quietly for a moment and then rose from the table. “Meet me out front in the morning and I will go with you to the village, but only to help the people. Not for you or your foolish beliefs.”

The bard rose and bowed, “Oh many thanks, good sir, many thanks indeed. I shall see you on the morrow then.” He bowed again and made his way out of the tavern as Alfred retired to his room for the evening.

In the morning, the knight and the bard began their journey to the village. Alfred had no men to aid in this quest, but Aldos assured him that it was foretold that he would kill Volger in single combat. He swore, no help would be needed. It was a two day ride on horseback. The knight spoke little and the bard would not shut up. It was a trying time for Alfred who wanted only to strangle the bard, while the bard wanted nothing but to sing and sing and sing.

When they arrived at the village of Dunley, the giant had already been spotted nearby in an orchard. It was shaking the trees and eating all the apples, creating chaos and panic throughout the valley. The two travelers wasted no time in getting there and confronting the goliath.

The knight placed his helmet on his head and took his shield in hand as they rode toward the giant. He gripped his lance tightly and the warhorse trotted forward. “Behold giant! he screamed, “Your death is upon you! Prepare to meet your fate!” Alfred charged forth and lowered his lance for the kill.

Now the giant, who was twice the height of the knight even sitting astride his warhorse, began to move forward. The ground shook as he walked. He wore no armor. His club was the size of a tree. The awful smell of the lumbering beast already burned in the noses of the two men. He wiped the apple sauce from his lips with his hand and he smiled. He showed no fear nor concern as he prepared for the knight’s attack.

The giant’s club swung out to defend against the knight and his lance struck it hard. The tip drove deep into the wood, but the weapon shattered on impact. The knight swayed in the saddle and the giant kicked his horse as he rode by. Alfred heard the bones of his beloved mount crack and snap, as the horse buckled underneath him. He went head first into the grass with blinding force. 

Alfred was out for a moment, but was jolted back to awareness by the shaking of the ground and the screaming and chastising of the bard. He staggered to his feet and drew his blade. The giant was upon him quickly, the huge wooden club arcing down to end him. He swiftly moved to the side and the club struck the earth with thunder, dirt and grass flying in all directions. Before the knight could fully recover his balance, the club struck him hard and sent him spinning through the air impacting against the nearest tree. He slid to the ground in a clunking heap. He could barely draw breath into his crushed lungs and he knew many of his bones were broken. His legs had no feeling and he could not stand or reach his sword as the giant approached. Again, the sound of the bard’s criticisms could be heard in the distance.

The giant picked up the knight’s sword off the ground. It looked like a toy in his hand. He smiled at the knight for a while, looking into the eyes of his enemy. He was savoring his victory. When he felt enough time had passed, he pushed the blade into Alfred’s neck and watched as he bled out and ceased to breathe.

“Wolger crush! Wolger KILL!” The giant turned his attention to the bard.

The bard waved his hands in the air as he approached the giant. “Wait… wait a minute! This  was not supposed to happen this way! Are you not Volger the Giant?”

“No. I Wolger. Volger my cousin. He live on other side of valley.”

“Oh, sorry then,” he looked back at the body of the fallen knight, “My mistake.”

“Why you want cousin?” the giant grunted.

“Well, this knight you see was supposed to slay Volger the Giant.” He stood with his hand on his chin and a perplexed look on his face. “Oh my, I guess Alfred was right about the prophecy. I guess a letter or two difference in a name is important after all. Speaking of which, you say you are called Wolger, not Volger, and if memory serves me right, you must be the same Wolger the Giant who is foretold to one day slay a noble knight of great renown?”

The giant nodded in agreement.

“Well, this is just dandy! Why do we have so many damn prophecies in this land? They are far too difficult to keep sorted out.” The bard could tell by the blank stare on the giant’s face that he was only talking to himself at this point. “Now, I must rework my entire song. Perhaps, I should have written one about you instead, good giant.”

“We fight now?” asked the giant.

“Oh, not at all,” he replied. “I am not a fighter and no oracle has ever prophesied the glory in killing a bard. It would gain you nothing.” 

The giant stood confused as he watched the bard walk away back to the village, complaining about not getting paid or something. He went back to shaking trees and eating apples.

October 07, 2020 02:42

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David Brown
01:10 Oct 15, 2020

Classic. Exciting. Humorous. Loved the bard and knight tête-à-tête. Well done, sir!


Ryan Dupont
20:44 Oct 21, 2020

Thanks for the kind words and for taking the time to read my story! I am glad you liked it.


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Ray Dyer
00:18 Oct 15, 2020

The Reedsy Critique Circle sent me to your page, and I have to say that I'm so glad they did! Unfortunately, my only critique of this story is how much I enjoyed reading it. Like most stories of this sort, there is a momentary "culture shock" as the reader gets into the rhythm of the dialogue, but there is quite a rhythm, and after a while it reads just as easily as any other story. By the time Alfred is saying that someone else's arrow sent the bandit to hell, I realized that I was reading his dialogue as easily as I would any modern-style ...


Ryan Dupont
20:52 Oct 21, 2020

Thanks Ray! I am glad you enjoyed it. When I write this type of story I always stress about the dialogue and whether it is going to sound too goofy or too modern, both of which would harm the story. With this one I tried to make some of the dialogue more comical, especially in regard to the bard, and I think it worked out okay. I do like writing the unexpected twists that do not follow the path the reader suspects they are traveling down. Thanks again for your kind words and for taking the time to read my story and post a comment. Take...


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Kristin Neubauer
15:57 Oct 09, 2020

Hah! There were so many things I loved about this story, Ryan. First, your writing. The way you write, the language you use puts me smack in the medieval times. Second, your approach to the prompt. When I read this prompt, I had no idea how anyone would write about it - no I do. I loved the bard's song. And finally, the humor, the twist....hilarious! I am going to be giggling all day 😊


Ryan Dupont
20:47 Oct 09, 2020

Thank you so much Kristen! Your comments are so appreciated and I'm so glad you liked it. I wanted this story to be silly and humorous and I think it worked. Most of my writing tends to be on the dark side of things, so I haven't really tried this type of story before. Thank you for your continued support!


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Yolanda Wu
00:48 Oct 09, 2020

Who doesn't love a good old medieval fantasy story with a knight, a bard, dragons and giants. Everything in this story was my absolute cup of tea. I know you said for my story that it is not what you usually read, the truth is, it isn't what I usually write either. I definitely consider myself a fantasy reader, and most of the novels I've written have been fantasy. But anyway enough about me, time to praise this brilliant story. This story was hilarious and I loved all the twists and turns. The interaction between Alfred and the bard was...


Ryan Dupont
01:15 Oct 09, 2020

Thank you so much for the wonderful comments! You have made my day as well! I had a lot of fun writing this one. It was one of those stories where I wasn't sure exactly how it would end until the end. I will read some more of your stories as soon as I can. I wish there were more time in the day! I like reading fantasy, sci-fi and horror and I love combining those genres in my writing. I'm new to this site, but I have really been happy that I found it. It is nice to share stories with and support other writers. It is sometimes hard for...


Yolanda Wu
01:34 Oct 09, 2020

We love the stories with the endings that we as the writer don't even see coming. Trust me, it is nerve wracking for everyone to put their stories out there for total strangers to read, but it's so rewarding. Everyone on here is so nice and the feedback and criticism that I receive only helps me to continue bettering my writing. I'm looking forward to reading more of your stories, in the meantime, I will check out the ones you already have on here. :)


Ryan Dupont
05:00 Oct 09, 2020

Thank You!


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Skyler Woods
23:43 Oct 07, 2020

This story was hilarious! It was also action-packed! That bard was crazy and I felt bad for Alfred The Knight! Loved Wolger! A masterfully written story! 💗💗💗


Ryan Dupont
00:54 Oct 08, 2020

Thank you so much for taking the time to read it and leave a comment! I am glad you liked it.


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Unknown User
21:19 Oct 07, 2020

<removed by user>


Ryan Dupont
22:19 Oct 07, 2020

Thanks. I'm sure I won't win 'song of the year' with this one, but I did mean for it to seem a bit ridiculous. After all, Aldos did say it was a work in progress :) Thank you for reading it and I really appreciate you taking the time to leave your comments.


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