Oh, how glorious it is to be a hero! Though lugubrious and painful burdens come with that role, like having to walk until your feet hurt, it is the respect and admiration one obtains from one’s peers that make it worthwhile, as well as the feeling that you have truly done something right. When you walk down your village and see the people, you know that you have rescued them from certain doom. When you purchase a loaf of bread from the bakery, there is not only the anticipation of devouring a beautifully-prepared meal, but the pride you feel knowing that the bread could not have been made if you had not vanquished a malevolent beast.
Coover had been on a miniscule voyage to the bakery, and due to his glorious deeds and victory over the nefarious sorceress, he needed no coins in order to have a loaf of bread in his possession. The baker just handed one to him, and Coover took it, bringing it back to the abode of his parental figures. Another fine element of his heroism was how it benefitted his family. Ever since he vanquished the malevolence of the devilish Aosoth who was very evil and mean, Coover and his family had been given a bigger home to live in, with the villagers toiling feverously to create a larger foundation, and food that cost nothing was handed their way.
As Coover entered his delightful place of dwelling, he expected to see his maternal figure bestow another hug onto him, but instead found a strange shadow standing in front of a window. A demonic figure, almost eclipsing the light with its bat-like wings. Dropping his bread, Coover sought his sword. Just as he was about to run to his room, the daemon leapt in his tracks. It was a dragon. Not just any dragon, the one who saved him.
‘Coover,’ it said in a feminine voice, which made the boy who bore that name raise his fists. ‘I haven’t eaten your parents, if that’s what you’re thinking. They’re out, likely celebrating your fame.’ She closed up her wings as she sat herself down. ‘You should really honour your parents, you know. My own father fought valiantly in the war against Aosoth, only to fall in battle.’
‘Your kin, battle Aosoth?’ Coover chuckled, ‘You jest.’
‘I am grateful,’ continued the dragon, ‘for you defeating her once and for all.’ At this, she held out her hand, and Coover once again looked for his sword. ‘You’re supposed to shake it. I’m showing gratitude.’
Coover turned to the beast. ‘What do you want with me?’
‘As I said, I cannot thank you enough for defeating the witch once and for all, but it has now come to my attention that you have been taking credit for my own conquests. The people of Kirkalan believe you defeated Sam Wich.’
‘Why should I not take credit? I am giving hope to these poor peasants, which they need after having basked in the dark shadow of the dark, shadowy Aosoth for so long.’
‘I need my deeds to be acknowledged,’ she said, ‘for my people. We are sick of hiding and wish to protect the people as you have done.’
‘Hah!’ cried Coover, raising an arm into the air, ‘You are using your feminine wiles to lure me into a trap! Just like that one time with the evil seductress Grimhelda, who said she wanted to make me her love, when all she really wanted to do was eat my heart! I almost fell for her deceit, but I realised what is what she wished to do, and destroyed her in seconds.’
The dragon was silent for a moment, before she stood up. ‘You just made that up, didn’t you?’
‘That is unimportant! You, fiend, want my fame for yourself so you can trap the innocent people of this magnificent land! Well, I’m onto you!’
Rolling her eyes, the dragon walked to the window. ‘I have no time for this.’ As she stretched her wings to fly away, she added, ‘I’m not even sure you did kill Aosoth.’ She then flew away, the coward. Ah, even the mere sight of Coover is enough to send the monsters fleeing. As long as he lives, and he certainly had a long life ahead of him, that dragon’s scheme would never succeed. For decades, Coover would stand as a symbol, something for Kirkalan to look up to, a reassurance that they would never have to be afraid ever again.
After watching the dragon fly away into the distance, Coover turned around, and saw the loaf he had purchased lying there on the floor, begging him to pick it up. He did just that, and stared at the bread for a while, thinking of all the mouth-watering delights he could create.
Just then, his parents arrived home.
‘Hi Mum. Hi Dad. I got the bread.’
‘Oh good. Anything happen while we were gone?’
The figure, draped in a purple cloak concealing all but his hands, made his way to the caves. Part of the darkest of Kirkalanian mountains, this place was perfect for various concoctions and experiments. And did he have an idea for an experiment.
‘Is that you, Mark?’ Inside the cave, illuminated by several candles, stood another figure in a purple cloak. In his hands was a spell book, which he closed upon meeting his partner. ‘Up for a game of draughts?’
‘Aw no, Bill,’ said Mark, gesturing towards Bill’s book, ‘I’ve got an idea for a spell we could do.’
‘Oh, good!’ Bill dropped his book as he began to rub his hands in excitement. ‘We haven’t had a good spell together in donkey’s years! So, are we gonna make it rain? Turn the milk into blood? Kill all the hamsters?’
Mark shook his head. ‘No, something bigger!’
‘You don’t mean that door thing, do you?’
‘We’re gonna resurrect Aosoth!’
Freezing on the spot, Bill was silent for a minute before he responded, ‘You really think we should?’
‘Well, I know everything we need, and I think if we work together, I think we can get everything…’
‘I said, do you think we should?’ Bill approached Mark, eyebrows arched underneath his hood.
‘Well, we’re evil, aren’t we?’
‘Yeah, but not evil enough to resurrect Aosoth. I mean, I was at the pub with Bob and Gary, and they had a lot to say about her, I’ll tell you that. Apparently, not only did she sacrifice small children and drown kittens when she was bored, she snored really loud too.’
‘Just think,’ said Mark, raising his hands in the air, ‘Kirkalan is so boring now. With Aosoth, everyone was living in fear and it was glorious. People cowering in their houses, bankrupting and ruining themselves all to prolong their lives.’
‘Exactly. She was awful.’
‘Wonderfully awful. Without her, there’s no more fear. Everybody is “peaceful” and “happy”. It’s so bleeding boring. Besides, you like making people afraid, don’t you?’
‘Well, yeah,’ said Bill, ‘But Aosoth really gave me the creeps. Those red eyes, brrr.’
‘Yeah, I wish I had that sort of power.’
Bill sighed, burying his unseen face in his hand. ‘I may practice black magic and worship demons,’ he continued, ‘but even I have standards. I never really liked bringing back the dead anyway. Utterly disgusting that is.’ Slumping his shoulders, Bill glided out of the cave, mumbling to himself. ‘Wait til Bob and Gary get a load of this.’
‘Well, fine!’ Mark stomped his feet on the floor like a child sent to his bedroom. ‘I’ll do it myself then!’ Walking over to Bill’s desk, he looked over all the alchemical and magical items they had managed to amass over the years. It was far from everything he needed to resurrect the mightiest witch in Kirkalan, but it would do. For far too long, he and his friend had only used their resources and powers to pull pranks, little diversions that would disappear before the next day. They had never really tried to dominate this land.
Well, if Aosoth were brought back from the dead, she would be the dominator. Maybe she would even let Mark have some land of his own to play with. Heck, maybe bringing back Aosoth will bring her greatest minion back. He was apparently scary.