Friday, April 28, 2017

Tried and didn't die -- The Wishgiver

[Ana Mardoll wrote The Wish Giver wish you should read, before writing it she described the idea on twitter which included this "Ugh, now I wanna write a fantasy narrative where the local dragon can grant wishes but only to people who defeat her.  If you're coming with intent to become world-king or wev, she will CRUSH you but SOMEHOW the folk who come for body alterations always win."]
[Someone asked "what would happen to those who had a wish that was morally very sympathetic but ultimately wrong?"  This non-canonical (I'm not Ana), but I maintain that it is, at least, a possible outcome.  Originally posted at Ana Mardoll's Ramblings.]

Every part of me ached, I tried to push it away and return to the unfeeling darkness I'd been in, but the ache called me back to my body and soon I was mostly awake. I let my eyes stay closed and held on to the last pain dulling vestiges of sleep as I tried to call forth where I was, what had happened, and why I ached so much.

Things came to me slowly. I was on a quest to the wish-giver. I'd finally reached my destination but my horses were both exhausted. I'd hired a local and her donkey to carry my armor as I walked to the great dragon's den, and help me don it when I arrived.

The fight began, it seemed impossible to touch the beast, such was her skill in combat, the battle dragged on and then . . . nothing.

How could there be nothing? Any fight must end. Had I injured my head? My whole body ached, but I didn't sense the kind of pain that such an injury would create.

I allowed myself to cross the final threshold into wakefulness, and I groaned.

"It took you long enough," I heard someone say. The voice was familiar.

I opened my eyes to see the donkey-having local. I'd never seen the room before, but I guessed I was in an inn.

"What happened?" I asked.

"You collapsed from exhaustion," she said. "I warned you about using such heavy armor."

"Exhaustion?" I asked.

"The wish-giver was playful today, it seems," she said. "You should count yourself lucky and return whence you came; I doubt she'll be as kind if you challenge her again after she spared you injury when she could have easily killed you."

I wanted to protest, but she was right. I'd been hopelessly outmatched. If the dragon had wished it, she could have simply devoured me and I wouldn't have even been able to scratch the inside of her mouth as she did.

I would return to my village in failure. The only outcome I'd been unprepared for. I'd been prepared to die, I'd been prepared to succeed, but how would I explain that I hadn't even managed to die trying?

"How did I get here?" I asked. "And why are you with me when your job is done?"

"I brought you here," she said, "and I have stayed to make sure you will not speak ill of me for raiding your coin purse to pay for the room you now rest in."

I smiled. I'm not sure why.

"Raid it again," I said. "Buy something nice for you or your donkey."

She gave me a strange look.

"Consider it payment for bringing me back from the wish-giver's den," I said. Our arrangement had included no such provision. "Such kindness deserves to be reciprocated."

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