Not Quite As Planned

Artist: John Bauer - Public Domain

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

A week had passed since the Baron had sent his courier pigeons out to request aid from his old travelling companion, the alchemist. It was a warm summer’s day with a mild breeze that whisked the clouds lazily across the sky. The little hamlet was humming with activity in its small market square. It would have been a perfectly peaceful day in the humble hamlet was it not for the grating sound of the rickety squeaking wheels of a large wagon that was rolling into town. It was slowly pulled along by four huge black draft horses. The wagon was strange indeed. It was bright yellow and red, with awnings of some exotic form of animal skins that hung off the sides.  There seemed to be a little hatch on the back. The bench on the front should have been big enough for three but it seemed only just large enough for its current occupant, a man dressed in the oddest of costumes.

At first glance he looked like a clown, at second a jester of sorts and at a third glance like royalty. He wore an enormous brown hat with plumes of bright red feathers. His yellow suede tunic was covered by a voluminous purple cloak. His royal blue boots clashed with his unkempt white beard and moustache. The round rimmed spectacles that he wore constantly needed to be adjusted, poked, pushed up and otherwise prodded, it’s a wonder he wore them at all.  He either had a marvellously original fashion sense or none at all and there probably wasn’t a person alive who could tell you which.

He steered his overbearing wagon through the hamlet square then made his way to the Baron’s keep. He was quit nimble for a man of many years, hopping off the wagon like a spry cat. Just as he landed on his feet the Baron burst out of the keep to greet him. They both smiled with glee at one another. “You came!” shouted the Baron with joy. “It’s so good to see you Lisandro.”

“I received your summons.” replied Lisandro, the words rolled out like an aristocrat. The Baron smiled. They gave each other a hearty embrace and exchanged more happy salutations.

“How are the spectacles working out for you? Let me see!” Lisandro stated as he grabbed the Baron’s head to inspect his glasses. “Good good.” The Baron struggled to pull his head back to no avail. “Excellent.” said Lisandro, and let go of the Baron’s head.

“You must be tired and hungry from your journey?” The Baron said. “No I’m nothing of the sort” scoffed the Alchemist. “You always did have food on the mind.” The Baron almost looked ashamed as he glanced down at his portly belly.

“Let’s get down to business. Where is the Prince?” continued Lisandro.

“Right here” The Prince said emerging from the door. “I heard all the commotion.”

“Greetings my Prince Harold” Lisandro said as he took off his hat and gave a swashbuckler’s bow. “I am Lisandro and I have come to lend service to you in your quest to banish the land of the mighty trolls”

The Prince smiled and felt quit relieved, but he was wondering how this flamboyant old man was going to help him. So he asked, “The Baron has said you would be able to help, how can you do this?”

At that moment, as if reading his mind the alchemist produced a small glass vial with a translucent red green liquid that one would swear had a glow. “With this my boy, with this. I started working on it as soon as I heard of your plight” said Lisandro.

“What does it do?” asked the Prince. The Baron looked curious too.

“My boy, this is the solution to all your problems. This potion created with dust from the stones in the mines of Alara, mixed with the blood…”

The Baron cut in “If you are going to give one of your speeches on how you made it, I’m getting some grub. He does this every time my dear Prince. He will go on for an hour if we don’t put a stop to it right away. Just tell him what it does in plain words.” He had experienced the diatribe of words regarding the alchemist’s potions so often he had no patience for it anymore.

“Right, drink this potion and you will be invulnerable until this time tomorrow. Nothing will be able to hurt you.” said Lisandro a little hurt by the fact he couldn’t give his customary explanation of just how difficult it was to make the elixir.

“My Prince, if I may, in exchange for all my help, I only ask for one thing” Lisandro bargained with a hinted grin.

“Oh, what’s that?” asked the Prince.

“If you happen upon any Lumine Flowers, I would ask for but a single one” Lisandro said.

“You have my word.” said the Prince reaching for the vial. He was willing to say anything to get his hands on that potion.

The alchemist then handed the vial to the young prince. His attention turned to the Baron. “Now about that famous grub and rest, I’m famished.” the Burly potion maker bellowed.

The Prince made his excuses and then rushed up to his chamber. He donned his armour and weapons hurriedly with anticipation of ending his quest that very day. Lodging with the Baron wasn’t as bad as he thought it would be, it was no castle chamber but the food was surprisingly delicious. The Baron did seem to have a knack for fine dining.

Within an hour of receiving the vial the Prince was at the edge of the Oak Wood. He took the vial from his leather pouch, which  he had  filled with straw so that the vial would not break. It was early afternoon. He opened the top and drank it down. He waited a moment. “I don’t feel any different” he thought. “I better test this.” He pulled a razor-sharp dagger from the sheath on his leather belt and attempted to give himself a small cut. To his surprise nothing happened. Then he tried to stab his hand right through. The dagger wouldn’t go in. In fact, the little point in the end of the dagger actually bent a little as if it had hit a steel anvil. “Remarkable.” said the prince. He took a deep breath and threw himself off the horse head first. He didn’t feel a thing. He got back on his horse with more courage than he had ever possessed in his life. He kicked his horse into motion and went confidently into the forest in search of trolls.

He had been in the forest for a short while and still had not seen any trolls. He couldn’t remember where the troll’s den was located since he had first stumbled upon it at night and was in such a panic at the time that he could not keep track of anything. Evening was approaching but the forest was near black already, so he got off his horse and started to lead it in. The next thing he knew there a large hand gripped his waist and he was lifted off the ground. Out of the corner of his eye he could see his horse being carried away by one of the monstrous creatures.

It all happened so fast that he didn’t even have time to be afraid until he saw the mouth coming at him. There was a crunch but it was his helmet breaking. After the dust had cleared so to speak, it was an awful predicament for both Trolley and the Prince. Trolley had thought that he had come upon a serious meat treat. Trollger had grabbed the horse and Trolley grabbed the human morsel. Things however had not gone as planned for either Trolley or the Prince.

The Prince was hanging there, feet and arms dangling with his head in the big troll’s mouth. Trolley had crunched down expecting a delightful mouth watering treat but the human’s head was harder than a rock. The Prince had gone in expecting to do battle but his head was now stuck in a Troll’s mouth. Trolley was trying every which way to get the Princes head to pop off but nothing was happening.

For all this, the Prince couldn’t shake from his mind the thought that a troll’s breath wasn’t so bad. In fact it smelt much like fresh farm soil.