Nobody's perfect, however convincing an impression I may do. I missed Monday's update, for which I want to apologize, especially to all those people who left angry emails in my inbox - I fully appreciate just how abandoned everybody felt. It won't happen again.
Anyway, I have not been able to avoid doing a little planning ahead, and consequently I know this story will soon be coming to a close. The whole Hero thing, not the blog. Frankly speaking, free writing only works so well over an extended period, especially in a storytelling format - eventually you start being bothered by the stylistic inconsistency. When your tale begins as sort of a hybrid of fantasy and African mythology, at least in its presentation, and gradually morphs into a Terry Pratchett-type piece except when it's busy being, er, something else, it's probably time to think about bringing things to a close. Then I get to go back to wondering what should be the direction of my online writing. Joy. Still, I reckon there are several more parts to go, including today's, which I hope will be a return to the sort of form I was going for at first. Read my comic, by the way. Also, ninjas.
Shortly, very much so because a dwarf was involved, the dwarf and Hero emerged into a vast underground cavern. It was very vast indeed, so much so that tedious comparisons would be pointless and will therefore be forgone. In this vast cavern were many more of the ninja dwarfs or "dwinjas" as they called themselves. None were mining or forging, and not a single whistle or rally-ho was to be heard. They played blues guitar instead, at least when they weren't busy training to perfect their ninjitsu abilities or playing basketball with a hoop of regulation height. Truly their hops were mad, as were their skillz generally.
Hero's companion introduced him to the council of elders and explained that Hero was on a quest of great importance but was completely inept and needed some overhaul, "right quick." Hero wondered how it was that everyone seemed to know of this "quest" except for him - was it written on his face? - and was about to ask about it, or at least try to find a reflective surface, when he was tripped up again by his guide. He quickly learned that the anger that resulted was the purpose of the exercise, that he had to learn to master his anger before he could go around spouting sophistical nonsense about how mastering one's anger is key to discipline.
Of course the real purpose of the anger was to channel its energy into moves of great coolness. This information marked the beginning of Hero's training session, which lasted for however long it lasted - there was no way to mark the passage of time underground and gradually its importance faded. The dwinjas trained Hero in all the arts they possessed - swordsdwarfship and the use of other weapons, martial arts, agility, stealth, environmental awareness, poetry, and watercolor painting. They tried to teach him blues guitar but he said he preferred harmonica, which nearly got him thrown out.
At the end of it, Hero was a new man - more powerful, confident and competent, although still pretty dumb. Neither did he yet understand what his quest was, but the dwarves assured him that would become clear even to his limited faculties when the time was right. Equipped with a full complement of weaponry, he bid his new friends a fond farewell and carved his own way out.
When Hero finally emerged from the dwinja hideout, the sun was at its zenith, and he wrote a poem about the nature of shadow and painted the scene. Then Hero donned his new baseball cap and shades, and stepped into the next phase of his quest, which happened to be a chasm that definitely wasn't there before.
The fall of Hero was not a panicked one. He was an honorary dwinja. Instead he enjoyed for a couple of minutes the cool breeze that rushed past his face. The bottom of the chasm was impossible to see thanks to the sunglasses he was wearing but there was no way he was taking these babies off and so he didn't worry about it but instead reached for his pocketknife. The dwarves had upgraded the grappling hook attachment to be rocket-propelled, giving it a much greater range and some nifty flame effects as well, all of which mattered little because as he was pulling it out, Hero dislodged the mystery potion that had lain forgotten in his pocket ever since he left the witch. Like lightening Hero caught the bottle, but it was wrong way up (dwinjitsu is not perfect). The top came right off and the contents poured out into the void.
The potion fell faster than he, which Hero thought was rather strange, but not as strange as when it suddenly splashed all over the emptiness and became a floating puddle of shifting colors that morphed into a portal of black and white and gray, containing images so fantastic that Hero couldn't even begin to process them before he fell right in.
to be continued...