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Where are All the Humble Farmhands? by Lawrence Von Haelstrom

Lo, it is I, Lawr’nce von Haelstrom, High Wizard of the Eighth Order of Torabon. I am loathe to state that the signs of the Shagallath Prophecy are now apparent in the Clouds on the Wind. The Dark Lord Vargaalen has taken command of the Armies of the Tortured Plains and is set to cast the Third Realm into a thousand years of darkness. But, as the writings of Shagallath state, all that is needed is for the Breaker of the Seal of Bahrn’g to face Vargaalen at the Faloran Cliffs to restore the order of the Brightness of the Day and return Vargaalen to the Chamber of the Underworld. It is known that the Breaker of the Seal shall be an unlikely humble young man from the Western Lands, a youth several summers shy of his Naming Year, and he will unlock the Seal from its encasement in the Alorian Dimension Chalice. And it is known that a High Wizard of the Eighth Order of Tarabon will guide this youth on this mission and unleash his true potential.

And here I stand. But where are you, humble farmhand? Aren’t there any humble farmhands anymore? In previous generations, it was quite easy to find a youth for a quest such as this. I would visit a farm town once a harvest during the Shreve-time. They would be amazed at my fyreworks and tales from the outlands, and, when the time came there would be no shortage of youth who would at first deny their true destiny, but, after a series of tests and adventures, would finally claim their birthright and defeat whatever Dark Lord had arisen. But, now, I don’t know, I just don’t get these parents these days.

In my search for the prophesied Breaker, I walked to and fro the four corners of Evans’ Grove–by the waterholes, the town squares, the village armory–anywhere the youth might spend their hours after the day’s schooling was over. But no one ever seemed to be at those places. I asked one of the Town Mid-Elders what her children did after schooling, and she said her daughter stays late for her enrichment program and that she walks her son to Association DragonBat practice. What about weekends? I asked. Do they have time to wander about the land on weekends? Well, she said, Alexandria is required to perform twenty hours of community service per learning-session, and Tolar has one-on-one DragonBat sessions with his coach so that he might make the traveling team next Blossoming-Time.

Then at the last Shreve-time Festival, the Elder Council wouldn’t let me perform for their children until they took my fingerprints. When I asked if there was any poor orphan boy in the village who could be my assistant for the performance, they looked at me liked I was Vargallen himself holding a lolipop! One of the Elders said to me, “We understand that in years past your Shreve-time performances have been well received–why, I remember when I was a youngling and, oh, how I looked forward to any visit by a Wizard of the Eighth Order of Torabon! But times have changed. We must do what’s best for our children.” Hark! How times have changed, indeed!

In exchange for following me on the quest to unlock the Seal of Bahrn’g from the Alorian Dimension Chalice, I arranged to offer advanced university credit. Anyone who might be the Breaker of the Seal had to complete an application and provide a letter of reference from a teacher or community leader. That should make these fools happy! I thought. The Shagallath Prophecy speaks of a humble one, but Great Lodroth help me if anyone in this age knows humility. You would not believe the entitled little sharts who applied for my program. On handing me his application, one asked me about the food I would be providing. Food! I said, we will forage the land and in it find the strength needed to defeat the Dark One. He said he was allergic to Chrotholium Clover. Look, lad, you’re not the Prince of Gardrath or anything. Great Lodroth, you’re not even from Gardrath, you’re in Evans’ Grove of all places. Like you have anything to be proud of. Oh, and the youth are nothing compared to the parents! One elder asked if I could just bring the Seal here so that her son wouldn’t have to leave his friends. “Proper socialization is so important these days,” she said. Fools, all of you! The Army of the Tortured Plains is nigh upon us and you’re worried about proper socialization.

You know what? Fine, let the Dark Lord Vargallen unleash his thousand years of darkness and torture upon your eternal souls. You people of Evans’ Grove deserve it. Me, I’m a Wizard of the Eighth Order of Torobon. I can handle myself, thank you very much. Lodroth, help us all.

Lawrence von Haelstrom is a High Wizard of the Eighth Order of Tarabon, and former Bull-Roping champion.