The World’s Least Popular Fantasy Novel
The Ancient Village of Blandor is located high in the Mountains of Security. So high, in fact, that even the Great White Dragon D’oul Daifan is unable to threaten it. So high, in fact, that during the March of Darkness, the Orc Hordes ran out of breath during their assault and abandoned the effort altogether. It has never been touched by war or hardship and is a lovely place to raise a family.
“But, is not the Ring of Strength safely held in the Chamber of Hope?” asked Gilby.
“Aye, ’tis,” replied Andoth, King of the Indigo Forest.
“And is the Ring of Strength not securely restrained by the Force-field of Poth, never to be disturbed?” he asked.
“Aye, dear Gilby, ’tis.”
“So the Ring of Strength is completely and utterly safe and will never be in danger of being taken by the Demon Army of Lord Rourmouk?”
Andoth removed his pipe and blew a puff of lemonweed smoke at Gilby. “Indeed,” he said, “It is impossible.”
“Great. Then we’re fine.”
A sea of Dark Elves – a thousand deep, a thousand wide – encircled the relaxed Gentlemen of Hogarth. The Elves’ Battle Hum echoed off the side of Mount Death and drowned out the River of Screams. Their sharpened blades, held aloft, caught the last remnants of sunlight. Mi’rga’nath, Dark Prince of the Elves of Deathgate himself, approached on his night-black demon steed. He pointed his Lance of Piercing at Bandark – who trembled not a bit, stood his ground, and drew his sword.
“We have no quarrel with you,” said Bandark, “but by Minarva we are not afraid to fight you to the last man, and to die doing so!”
“Not a problem,” said the Dark Prince, “I thought you were someone I knew. You have a similar looking horse.”
In a single, fluid motion the Great Wizard M’arshon waved his withered hand. Immediately, the mighty Borgoth died and disappeared, the threat removed.
Then, in the dark, Gilby felt the arrow pierce his skin. In his mind he imagined a thousand scenarios. Orc assassins? No. The dread Archer of Blith? No. Had he been betrayed by his friend Bandark? No. In a moment the truth revealed itself: arrow tips are sharp, and he should not touch them in the dark.
Turdok the Dwarf was furious.
“Fools!” he shouted, “Surely we’ll die should we dare enter the Mines of Mortality, for it is occupied by the dead only, or those who will soon be dead!”
However, the Mines of Mortality were surprisingly empty and well lit. After a brief stroll, Bandark and the relaxed Gentlemen of Hogarth emerged into the daylight – their weapons and armor unscathed from conflict of any sort.
Turdok ate his words, and a delicious Scrumple pie.
Bandark looked grim as ever.
“As long as Whinn the Guardian wields his Sword of Death, he is completely undefeatable. And the Bridge of Wisdom remains impassable,” he said.
“What shall we ever do,” whined Filmar the Halfling, “we haven’t any time!”
“We can not defeat such a creature,” said Gilby.
“Look, he’s sleeping!” exclaimed Bandark – and they were off, having lost no time.
And there, after a brief journey of no longer than a week, they stood in the Lair of Ithganar, the most feared Black Dragon in the Kingdom of Panik. The ground was littered with the armor and bones of the many unfortunate souls who had crossed paths with the centuries old Wyrm while trying to claim her wealth. Everywhere, floor to ceiling, length to breadth, was the incredible treasure this most evil of Dragons had amassed over the centuries. Rubies, sapphires, amethysts and diamonds caught the torchlight. Gold, silver, platinum coins – as common as sand on a beach. Weapons and armor scattered everywhere, glowing with unknown magical powers. And before them, the legendary Ithganar – who two days previous had died of natural causes.