The Everyday Life of an Amateur Adventure
I don’t write journal entries because it takes too much time. But mom says it will help me keep my sanity out there, so I will.
The Amateur Adventurer,
“Bye mom,” I whisper as I give her a goodbye hug.
“Stay safe and don’t do anything irrational,” she cries in my shoulder. “And most importantly, don’t change who you are at your core.”
“Yeah yeah, I know mom.”
I pull away from the comforting smell of my mother. I look into her dark green eyes as she gives me a tired smile. Her brown hair a mess from getting up early to see me off.
I pick up my dark brown backpack that’s full of all the supplies I need for my journey. A set of travel blankets, snacks, my knife, a med kit, a weapons repair/tool kit, my unused journal, and other miscellaneous objects.
“I’ll make sure to visit!” I call back as I open the old wooden fence.
“You better or I’ll come hunt you down myself if I have to!” She shouts back before going inside the little cottage that I call home.
I walk the old dirt forest path that leads to the city. The air is cool and crisp; the trees make it dark and hard to see. There are no animal sounds, only the familiar sound of rustling leaves in the wind, which I have heard for all of my childhood. I think I’ll miss this during my adventure.
Ever since my mother was destined by the priest to farm. She must stay where the fields are, so she can’t come watch me go through the portal. I’m not that disappointed. If she is caught stepping out of her fields for more than a few minutes, she could be punished by hanging. I would prefer my mother alive, not dead.
I look up at what little of the sky I can see that sunrise is slowly approaching. It will take me at least an hour to get to the city so I better hurry along. The portal opening starts a few hours after sunrise. That’s where my real adventure will begin.
This world is safe, rid of any other living being that was not human-like. Several centuries back, Ethward Scaramanga Leonidas the Great went to “war” with everything and killed all of the other creatures. The plus side? Us human-like creatures are always safe from animal or monster attacks. The downside? Any animal product must be imported. Only the aristocrats can afford such luxury, so we are mainly vegan.
I travel up the final hill that over looks the City on some cracked stone stairs, a fog surrounds me and I think back to my childhood shenanigans. When I was a child, I would wake up this early to sit in the fog, imagining myself to be one of the ancient animals that once roamed the same forest. That I was hunting my next meal or hiding from a predator. When I would come back home, my mother would fuss and tell me that it was dangerous to go out alone that early in the morning. Though, it was never like I actually listened to her. Maybe if I did it would have spared me a lot of trouble later on.
Just as I reach the top, I see the lights of an awakening city. The City is the only city that we can travel to that doesn’t take many months. It has high light-gray walls and a deep canyon surrounding it. The canyon used to be filled with water during the monster days when other creatures were around. You can see vivid marks from when the castle was attacked more than a hundred-thousand years ago. The reddish colored rooftops peek out from the top of the walls. The stone wall castle is enormous and overshadows the city. Our flag, black and white with a sword over top of a portal archway, waves in the wind.
By the time the sun is well in the sky, I am at the gates. I cross over the long cobblestone drawbridge with an archway that has a metal gate that is almost always lifted to get inside the city. Just as I walk through the gate I hear one of the guards mutter to himself,
“Another under the metal benders hammer.”
I paid no mind to the comment.
The city was bustling with activity even though it was early in the morning. Stalls with food and needed items for everyday life have vendors shouting to get the attention of customers. The streets are made of cobblestone. Most of the houses are made from red and gray bricks with sturdy oak logs at the bottom. As I looked around, my eyes followed a dark alleyway that sits in between two houses and a vendor selling cloth. A man sat with his hands between his hands and shoulders shaking. My mother said that those were people who experienced great trauma in their adventures. That was the sacrifice some had to make for the rest of the people. Now, as destined by the priest, I had a good chance of becoming someone like that.
I shook off the fear and headed towards the crowd that stood in the main square waiting for the portals to open.
Just as I was about to pass by the last stall before getting to the main square a female voice shouts,
“You there! Girl with the brown tunic, belt and suspiciously black hooded coat! Come here.”
It caught me off guard making me slightly jump and look over. A older woman stands in her stall waving me over. I thought I recognized her but not sure from where. I decide that not doing what she says would be rude, especially to an older woman. She was dressed in a plain green dress and a brown cloth over her head giving a nice contrast to her blonde and blue eyes.
As I walk over she gives me a huge smile, a genuine one. A kind of smile I had only ever seen my mom give me. I make it over after pushing through a crowd of people looking at wares from other vendors nearby.
”Can I help you?” I ask cautiously and she shakes her head.
”No! I’m here to help you. I am to give this to you.” She passes a bulky item over the counter to me and I give her a confused look.
”Oh, did your mom not tell you?”
I shook my hand in response and the lady clicks her tongue.
”Years ago one of my merchant carts was attacked by bandits near your home. Your mother saved me and the cargo at the risk of her life. She had asked that in exchange for the help to get a hold of a pair of magical daggers for you when you leave for your trip.” She explained.
”How did you know who I was.”
”She told me. Now take‘em or not.” She tells me and turns to the customer that walked up beside me.
I carefully take the daggers and put them in my back pack. The last thing I need is my group interrogating me about where I got such nice weapons. Since adventurers fund their own equipment and my mom isn’t even half as rich as the poorest human farmer it would be suspicious for me to carry a weapon that costs a fortune.
I continue walking towards the main square where the portal are. The portals themselves are big arches enshrined with detailed languages and pictures that us commoners can not understand. They make a diamond shape that at certain times of the day seem to cover the main square in its shadow.
On this fateful day only one of the four was being opened, it was the Enchanted Realm. I had known about this for since I was first proclaimed by the priest to be an Adventurer, but the Enchanted Realm scares me. For one, the portal itself was unstable and could collapse if enough pressure was put on it. Plus, the portal had a tendency to put adventures in the middle of deadly situations. A few groups were teleported into the middle of a battle field and were immediately killed. Another group fell out of the sky and died. While another group got teleported straight into a hostile ogre camp. This happened pretty often. It also isn’t uncommon for groups to get separated unlike in other portals. Since we have no control where you get teleported in any portal you always prepare for the worst, especially in the enchanted realm. That’s what one of the old adventures said at least. The scientists at head state estimated that out of all the adventurers that get teleported to the Enchanted Realm, only 20% survived the first day. So my odds were obviously looking great.
I neared the portal to the Enchanted Realm, pushing past sobbing family and interested onlookers. The portal opening was a huge deal and only happened twice a year. I’ve never actually seen it happen.
In front of the Enchanted Portal a group of kids about my age stands in a circle talking. Dakari spots me and gives a loud groan, causing the others to look in my direction. They all give me disapproving looks, like they know that I’m going to be the sole reason we are all die on this trip.
I stop a few feet away from them as to avoid contact but still let people know I’m an adventurer. I look over to see who’s in my group. To start, there Dakari. He’s been out for my blood since the moment I walked through the door to the Adventurers Academy. The reason being because I’m not fully human. I’m called an “inhuman”. Though I don’t think anyone actually knows what that means. Anyways the funny part of it all is that no matter how many times he challenges me to a match I always win.
Then there’s Clive, Macualey, and Aloura. They would be the background characters in a story. They hate me but don’t have any arrows behind the bow. All talk, no action. I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if they were the first to die on our trip.
Last, there’s Maoz. We’ve never actually talked before. We’ve always just watch each other from the sidelines or from across the meal hall. I don’t know if he hates me or not but because I’m “inhuman” I wouldn’t be surprised if he did.
The trumpets sound as King Melchior Orestes Shadrach the first comes to the podium set before us to give us a little pep talk before our certain doom. We stand in a half circle around the podium while the crowd surrounds us but a good yard away.
He starts with,
“These brave young people who shall travel to the dangerous Enchanted Realm shall put their all into it! They shall apply all their training that they had done over the years to …” I stop listening.
He was right. All the training I have done since I could walk was all for this moment. The moment I would cross over the portal to a place I had never seen.
What is beyond the portal is top secret, so I have no idea what I’m actually getting into really. All I have is the stories from old adventurers to go off of.
I remember all the late nights I trained by fighting older adventurers and instructors. How I, by the time I was 13, could outfight almost everyone in the academy. Running at the fastest my legs would take me for hours on end. Studying battle tactics and bits of what I could find on the Enchanted Realm’s geography. Since nobody has been alive long enough and came back to actually map the entire place without dying. I only have the countries within the Enchanted Realm memorized to get me started.
King Melchior Orestes Shadrach the first ends his speech. Loud trumpets playing the city tune, snapping me out of my daze. Since none of us are distinguished adventurers, we walk up to the arches and stand in group formation. That means two in front (Maoz as leader, Dakari as right hand man); Clive, Aloura and Macauley in the middle (they act as support for the leader and right hand man in combat); finally in the back there is me. I’m the merchant of all wares, I do everything from medical help to leading the battle. Of course, nobody really listens or lets me do anything anyways, so I just kind of stand around.
The portal looms over us as if it’s signing our death sentence. A mist clouds the entrance and trumpets sound signaling us to go in. Everyone looks at each other nervously. Maoz looks at Dakari and back at the rest of us and nods. He takes a deep breath and takes the lead going into the portal.