This is my NaNoWriMo 2016 project. It’ll be available as a full book eventually, when it’s done. Thanks for reading!
Far to the west, beyond tall mountains and deep valleys, was the swirling sea. No one had ever seen the far side of it, but people gave thanks each day that its endlessly rolling waters fed the rivers that made mass trade possible throughout the kingdoms. The most hardy of adventurers made their home on ships out in the sea, stopping at small towns along the coast to resupply before seeking their fortunes once more.
To some, they were heroes. To most, they were Pirates.
On this particular day, the Wizard of Whimseria had run afoul of one particular crew of Pirates on one particular ship. He was not having a good time.
“Attention! Attention! Unhand me you foul miscreants! I am the royal wizard of the royal court of royal Whimseria, and I shall not be treated like common rabble!” The Wizard swallowed.
The small group of pirates let him go, and their Captain stepped forward, raising an eyebrow. She cut an imposing figure against the outline of the bright blue sky. The Wizard might have been quite taken with her…if he weren’t also very much afraid.
Everyone waited a moment. Nothing happened. The Captain spoke. “Well?” she asked. “What now? We’ve let you go, as requested.” She grabbed her chin with the points of her finger and thumb.
The Wizard looked left. The Wizard looked right. “I..er. I hadn’t thought that far ahead.”
The Pirates all let out a chuckle. “Hah, no, of course you hadn’t,” said the Captain. “You know, the others and I are of two minds. We went through a lot of trouble to kidnap you, as you might remember.” She put her arm around the Wizard’s shoulders. He could tell even from this that the captain was much stronger than him. He thought she noticed a slight point to her ears. “Stop looking at me and pay attention. You’re always asking us to do that, no?”
“Right! Heh. Sorry,” said the Wizard.
The Captain nodded. “Some of my crew think we should keep you on board, seeing as how we went through all that kidnapping effort. However, the rest of us desperately want to dump you on that little island over there, as soon as we are able.” The Captain pointed past the Wizard’s nose with her free hand.
The Wizard turned and looked over the side of the ship, out to the rolling seas. A short distance away, he noticed a small and seemingly-abandoned island. “That’s funny, I didn’t notice that before. What a…quaint little patch of sand.”
“Walk with me,” said the Captain, forcing the Wizard to walk with her towards the side of the ship. “When this whole game started, I wanted to capture the royal wizard of the kingdom next to your’s, you know, the one lead by that map-obsessed goofball who thinks the ceiling talks to him. But ‘no’, said previously-trusted members of my crew, ‘you would be much easier to capture.’ Hmph. Shows what they knew.” The Captain poked the Wizard in the chest.
“I suppose they were right, in a way. You weren’t that heavily guarded…but your whole kingdom is so…ridiculous.” The Captain tipped her hat to block some of the sun.
“Ahem!” said the Wizard. “I’ll not have you insulting the fair people of Whimseria! We are a proud and silly people, and we shall live up to our name, no matter what insults a sea-faring lady such as yourself might think to — “
“Enough Wizard! Good god man,” said the Captain. “I had no idea that Wizards talked so much before I met you.”
The Wizard shook his head. “Oh no, only I do that. It’s my specialty! In fact, it’s why I’m no longer allowed to go to the Wizards of Our Lady club meeting every month. The others said that I was simply much too verbose, and I would have to never come back.”
“You hear that everyone?” asked the Captain. “Even got kicked out of his own weird Wizard club! Who still wants to keep him on the ship to hold him ransom?” The Captain and the Wizard both looked around. No one raised their hand. The Captain shrugged. “Well, my strange friend, looks like you’re going to the island. Any last words before you leave the ship?”
The Wizard broke free of the Captain’s arm in a flourish. He whirled around and pulled forth a stubby wand out of his blue cloak. “Yes! This!” The Wizard muttered something unintelligible under his breath. A small bit of smoke began to gather at the end of his wand. With a loud POP sound, it formed into a cute little yellow bird.
“Cheep cheep!” said the little yellow bird. It looked around, then flew over and landed on the Captain’s shoulder.
The entire Pirate crew let out a loud laugh.
“Oh that’s right,” said the Captain. “And you’re even terrible at magic! Thanks for the new pet.” She patted the little yellow bird on the head.
“Y…you’re welcome! That was part of my plan all along! That little bird is no ordinary bird, but is in fact quite deadly, and — “
The Captain held up a hand and the Wizard stopped talking. “I don’t want to hear any more Wizard, and I don’t want to have to draw out my sword. I usually only do that when I want something to die immediately. Now then, off you go.”
The Wizard turned and looked out at the island. “Right! So. Do I get a boat or something?”
The Captain blinked. “What?”
“How am I meant to reach that lovely patch of land out there?”
The Captain smiled. “By swimming, of course!” She grabbed the Wizard by the back of his cloak, and promptly hurled him out to sea. He flew through the air for several seconds, and landed rather close to the edge of the island. Flailing, he bumbled his way onto the shore.
“Certainly, not my best day. Oh well!”
The Wizard watched as the ship sailed slowly away on the rolling sea. He pulled his wand out of his damp robes and shook some of the water off of it, and began to hunt along the shore. Soon, he found a small red crab wandering about, minding its own business.
“Hello, my little sideways-walking friend! I am the Royal Wizard of Whimseria! Ordinarily I would not talk to creatures such as yourself, but I’m in a spot of trouble and I need your help. With your permission, may I use my exemplary magic to turn you into a vessel which will carry me back home?
The crab blinked. It began to walk away.
“Excellent! Thank you!” The Wizard flicked his wand through the air and muttered some unintelligible words. A small bit of smoke came flying out of the wand and hit the crab directly.
With a loud POP the crab turned into a bright pink bunny rabbit. The rabbit smelled the air a few times, then hopped away towards some nearby woods.
The Wizard scratched his chin. He straightened out his pointy hat. He looked at his wand, flummoxed. Then his eyes brightened. “Aha! Surely my wand has been affected by the water! I shall wait for it to dry, and then unleash my magic once more.” He watched as the bunny hopped away into the trees. Then he noticed that the trees weren’t “island in the middle of nowhere” types of trees, but rather much more like those outside the castle he lived in.
“Curious! These woods are not the sort I’d expect to be out here! I shall explore them!”
The Wizard marched directly into the woods, without any thought for his own safety, nor any fear of never escaping the island. He believed in eternal optimism, often to his own detriment. The good thing was that if you were always optimistic, you never noticed the detriments.
The woods were dark and foreboding inside, a lush forest full of animal noises and undergrowth. After taking a few steps inside, it seemed to the Wizard as if night had fallen. He quickly popped back out to discover if the sun was still up…only to be greeted by the light of the moon.
“Interesting!” mused the Wizard. “I haven’t seen anything like this since my time at Wizard school. There must be something strange afoot in these woods!” He pressed on into the growth, crossing over branches, through small creeks, and around large dead stumps.
After an hour of aimless optimistic wandering, a hissing, growling voice greeted the Wizard. “Whoooo are you? Why do you wander in my woods?” It seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere.
The Wizard stopped in his tracks. He looked all around, trying to figure out who was speaking. “Hello! I am the Wizard of Whimseria, and I — “
“You don’t look much like a Wizard!,” shouted the voice.
“I beg to differ!,” the Wizard shouted back towards the dark trees. “As you can see, I’ve got robes, a pointy hat, the beginnings of a fine beard, and this wand of great power!” The Wizard held forth his stumpy wand.
The trees laughed and shuddered. “That is not a wand,” hissed the voice. “That is an ordinary stick. The only magic that might come from that couldn’t harm a flea.”
“I think you’re wrong!” shouted The Wizard. He looked for a moment at his wand. As he was not capable of true, complete doubt, he had no reason to believe that the stick was anything other than sacred and most magical. “Why, I’ve cast many spells just today. My family is a proud and long line of expert Wizards and — “
“Whatever helps you sleep at night,” hissed the voice.
The Wizard briefly wondered why so many people cut him off mid-sentence, but he let the thought quickly fly out of his mind.
“To say you are not the one I was expecting would be a serious understatement,” said the voice. “But I guess we’ll have to make due.”
“Do you know a way off this island, oh mysterious voice of the night?,” asked the Wizard.
“Hah! I know much more than that. Much more than you’ll ever know.” The ground began to rumble. “Do you wish to meet me?”
“Of course!,” shouted the Wizard. “I always enjoy a good conversation, and this is the best I’ve had all day. If you have a face for me to see, so much the better!”
“You may regret those words, Wizard,” said the voice. The rumbling intensified. A loud crunching sound echoed in the distance. A sudden blinding flash of white light caused the Wizard to stumble off his feet into the soft forest floor. When he opened his eyes, a white-cloaked figure stood in front of him. It had the body of a human female, armored in the finest plate armor the Wizard had ever seen. The white cloak was guilded on the edges with gold foil. The hood was ornate and —
The being’s face under the hood was not a face at all, but a white, featureless surface. The Wizard couldn’t tell if it was a mask or not, so well did it blend into the being’s neck.
“Hello,” said the white-cloaked being in a familiar hissing voice. The white surface of its face rippled slightly where its mouth would have been. “My name is Osiris, and this is the Isle of Heroes. You have unwittingly trespassed upon my home.”
“Ah!” said the Wizard, standing up excitedly. “‘The Isle of Heroes! What a wonderful name. Suited to me quite well, naturally. It seems I am in the right place.”
“No Wizard,” said Osiris, shaking her head. “You are not yet a hero. And you may never become one. But…we shall see. This is not how I meant for things to begin. But you are from Whimseria, so I guess that’s something.”
“Why do I feel as if I’m not a part of this conversation?,” asked the Wizard.
Osiris straightened up a little. “Sorry. Wizard, what shall I call you?”
“You may call me The Wizard!” said the Wizard, holding out his hand to shake hers. “That is my sole name and title, and I wear it well!”
Osiris folded her arms. “I prefer not to shake hands, especially with those who have no name.”
“Oh but I do have a name — “
“Spare me, Wizard,” said Osiris, holding up a hand. “It will do for now. Listen to me instead of speaking. Your kingdom is about to be besieged by the King from the neighboring land. Do you wish to assist me in stopping him? I cannot take you if you do not agree to go.”
The Wizard let out a hearty laugh. “Hah! The Kingdom of Whimseria hasn’t been attacked for over 1,000 years. We are a peace-loving people, dedicating our lives to the pursuit of magical arts and silliness, of course — “
“That peace is about to end,” said Osiris. “The map-loving King in the neighboring land is building a massive army. He intends to wipe out all life on your island.”
The Wizard whipped around, and took in the trees, the birds, and the leaves. “My island? You’re giving me this island? That’s very generous of you. Thank you!”
Osiris shook her head and sighed. “Your home kingdom of Whimseria is on an island, as are the other realms you may be familiar with. Hopefully. This is going to be…hard.” She held out her hand, which the Wizard promptly took. “Come on then, we’re going to have to fly back to your home. The old portals are too disused and filled with monsters.”
“Ah lovely! We Wizards are masters of fligh — — aaaaaaaaah!”
The Wizard screamed as the ground quickly shot away beneath his feet.