Note: For the uninitiated, I am blogging an entire novel I wrote when I was much younger. For an explanation of the project and the earlier chapters, look through my archives to catch up on the story.
The Quest Begins
Jordan’s quest got off to a slow and shaky start. Jordan always admired the shining suits of armor that knights wore, but he never knew how heavy they were. The one he was given must have weighed 100 pounds.
It took him a full hour to mount his horse, and he kept swaying from side to side if he didn’t keep perfectly still. He was sure he’d topple into the mud before long.
To make matters worse, it was a boiling hot summer day that made him feel like he was being charbroiled like a spare rib inside the suit. Sweat was pouring from his body in rivers. Jordan was sure he’d suffocate.
He had to travel through the whole city in this manner, because it was a tradition that a new knight leaving on his first quest be sent off by a huge parade. Thus, all the peasants of Lutevale were lined along the streets to see him off.
Jordan had to wave, show off his sword, and look knightly for more than two miles. It was pure torture.
Finally, he got clear of the city and his honor guard returned to the castle. He was alone.
“I can’t see, hear, or move in this armor,” muttered Jordan. “I’d lose a battle with a squirrel if I wore this stuff.”
Jordan fell off his horse (it was the only way to get off while wearing the armor) and removed the entire contraption. He buried it underground so no one would find it.
From then on, he moved much faster.
Jordan resigned himself to going on the quest. Even though King Ronald was an idiot, there didn’t seem to be any choice. If he didn’t go after Shudder, the king would send 100 knights out after him. And there was nowhere to turn for protection. He wouldn’t return to his life as a peasant even if he could. There was no way he could live under King Ronald’s boot. The only city outside Ronald’s rule was Heathvale, and the people who lived there were horrid savages, ten times worse than Ronald himself.
There was nothing to do but go along with Ronald’s plans and attempt to defeat Shudder. Maybe, if he was fortunate, he’d die a tragic death and a heroic poem would be written about him someday.
Jordan rode on and things went along quite well for him. He didn’t encounter a single giant on his trek through their country. They were all sleeping in the hot, humid weather. He could hear the ground shaking snores from miles away. There wasn’t even any difficulty at the troll bridge. All the trolls were busy torturing another traveler, and Jordan passed by with no trouble at all.
The freedom of it all was enchanting. After being stuck in a castle for four years, Jordan marveled at the beauty of the country. Knighthood might not be all bad!
In four short days, Jordan managed to travel right to the outskirts of Malevolent Manor. It was easy to tell he was near the place. The sky overhead was blue, but he could see black clouds in the distance which obscured the sky from sight.
There were fewer and fewer birds and animals around. There was constant thunder which was making Jordan’s horse more and more nervous.
Jordan was feeling pretty nervous himself.
Towards nightfall, he stopped at a small stream to rest for the night. There was absolutely no way he was going near Malevolent Manor until daybreak.